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methane
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Third Season Recap

A season that was definitely a step up from the previous two, though still below the standards of TOS, TNG, & DS9. I agree with Jammer (and most of the other commenters) that it got better as the season progressed. The overall plot had some good ideas, though they weren't always well developed. My scattered observations on the season:

I must begin by reiterating what everyone knows: the "test strike" was a silly idea to start the plot. The idea "Grumpy" states above (the attack was supposed to be the big attack, but failed) would have solved the problem.

Daniel from the future! & temporal war nonsense was of course a minus.

On the other hand the idea of the expanse was really good; the exploration of the spheres was one of the most interesting parts of the early season, and it would prove to be an important part of the conclusion. The zombie Vulcans in that one episode (which was tied into the Expanse) went on too long, though.

I'm ambivalent on the transdimensional aliens. They were intriguing, but not fleshed out enough to be really compelling. And of course, they were (sigh) involved in the time travel nonsense (as Jammer points out, we don't even know if they're involved in the temporal cold war, which we're supposed to be interested in).

On scifi gimmick episodes: I don't hate "Extinction", though I won't say it's good. "Twilight" & "E2" were OK, but we've seen those ideas done better. "Similtude" was good with some problems.

I think Shran's first appearance this season was one of the highlights of the season (and maybe the series). One of the other highlights (as Jammer points out), was Degra's development into a three dimensional character. What both have in common is that they're each complex, conflicted characters who bring up issues of diplomacy that aren't solved in one episode. This was stuff the Enterprise should have always been about. Expanding the role of the Andorians in this season (and an alliance/competition with the humans) would have improved the season. More complex Xindi characters besides Degra (with different aims & goals) also would have been a boost.

Unfortunately, Brannon & Braga were always more concerned with action than the diplomacy (or characterization) aspects of the series, and this season was no exception. Early in the season, a lot of that felt just as repetitive as previous seasons (with the notable exception of the episode that showed the characters finding the inside of a spheres). However, as the plot tightened later in the season, the action scenes started to become more compelling (though never spectacular). This was greatly aided by the continuity of the season. The ship was getting smashed & not fixed, crewmen were dying & people were still talking about it in subsequent episodes; stuff that happened in one episode had consequences that lasted. If only Voyager had been written like this!

Characterization still wasn't an emphasis for the series, but there was more of it here than in previous seasons (that continuity helps). To start with the negative, I never really bought Trip as the big anti-alien guy, even with the death of his sister. I also wasn't interested in the "throw guys out the airlock" Archer we saw early in the season.

The captain was interesting in "Shipment" (when he's the opposite of "throw guys out the airlock") & especially in "Damages" when he's understandably conflicted. Reed and Hoshi had some interesting (albeit small) character moments. Phlox was good as always, though I don't really think he changed this season. Mayweather was present, and they found more places to use him later in the season.

T'Pol had more development than anyone. While it wasn't all well done, I think it was mostly good. I would say the same thing about the Trip/T'Pol relationship. Lots of missteps on the writers (the characters have sex & then T'Pol downplays it), but overall I think it was positive (though very slow-moving).

The MACOs started out really cliche...but were OK at the end.

So we saw towards the end of the season the Reptilians could beam Hoshi off the bridge of the Enterprise. Why not beam everybody off the Enterprise? They wouldn't have been chased by the ship anymore.

And of course, the "cliffhanger"...sigh...

I see some people think this season went against Star Trek cannon. I would disagree. There's no reason why we would have had to have seen a reference to this in the other Star Trek series, and the Federation is big enough that I can buy not having seen a Xindi onscreen in those series. Still, it would be nice if a show like Discovery would stick one in...even if just in the background of a scene.
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methane
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

"Peter G." (from...dozens of comments ago)

"Maybe, maybe not. With no diplomatic relations it's not clear how official the borders were between both sides. Don't forget that there's most likely no neutral zone yet, which would have to be hammered out in a treaty. Do you realize what 'borders' means in space where no treaty has drawn out the proper lines? It just means that the Federation leaves colonies and relays wherever they please, and that is now 'Federation territory.' It has no more legal truth to it in the eyes of the Klingons than that...The fact that you might foresee the Klingons having no interest in negotations wouldn't affect that mandate at all. The Federation still has to exhaustively pursue that route until it's no longer possible to."

Diplomacy is exhausted when one or both sides refuses to talk. That is the case here.

About borders, I agree there would have been all sorts of chances for disputes over the previous 100 years, and the Federation would surely have liked to discuss that at some point during that time. Yet the Klingons have refused to do so for 100 years. They haven't refused to fire at human settlements/ships/whatever (the first episode gave basically no information on the attack that killed Michael's family, other than it happened).

And space is big. The Klingons deliberately came into Federation space and still aren't talking.

"Peace through strength is a modern notion, and the Federation is supposed to be more advanced than that."

Peace through strength isn't a modern notion, but that's irrelevant to a show set in the future.

In every Star Trek show, strength has been essential for safeguarding Star Trek ideals. The Federation actually has been at war many times (although these wars usually happen prior to the filmed series). Even when at "peace", the Federation is constantly tested by other powers (Klingons, Romulans, Xindi, Cardassians, Borg, and Dominion are just the big names), and its military strength is always absolutely necessary to keep another war from breaking out. The writers sometimes take the time to have the characters say the Federation is stronger because of their ideals (citizen soldiers have more to fight for; it's easier to find allies; etc.), but it's always clear that without ships with phasers, torpedoes, and shields, those ideas would be lost.
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methane
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Peter G.:

If they were meeting the Klingons in neutral space I would agree. If the Klingons responded to hails to say "let's talk," I would agree. If this was an unknown species in Federation space (not the Klingons) I would agree.

But in 100 years the Klingons wouldn't have forgotten how to communicate with the Federation. In 100 year the Klingons wouldn't have forgotten the notion of borders, or that civilizations have a right to protect them.

The Klingons of 100 years before would have looked on another nation entering their space as an act of war. The current-day Klingons would have understood that they were declaring war by entering Federation territory, and their refusal to communicate was a refusal to initiate any sort of diplomacy that would change that impression.

If you're a multi-cultural idealist, you have to respect everything you know about Klingon culture & understand that they're starting a war. You'd also understand that they'd respect you if you shot first. Indeed, every moment you spend not defending your territory demonstrates to the Klingons that you are their inferior. If you're a pragmatist, you also understand you have a better chance of winning the confrontation if you shot first.

Everything known about the Klingons indicates the Federation would have more respect from them after a battle. That respect could actually lead to diplomacy in the future, which the Klingons were quite deliberately refusing at the time.

I don't think responding to an act of war as if it was an act of war violates any of Starfleets principles. It isn't an act of aggression (the act of aggression was the invasion of the Klingons). It isn't an act that shows a lack of understanding or respect for other cultures (quite the opposite). And it isn't an act that eliminates future diplomatic options.
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methane
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

"Once again I think TOS was light years ahead of the other Treks, in that it both created the idea of the Prime Directive and also explored in great detail what it would mean to have a rule like this. "

I still haven't seen the second episode, but I have been somewhat following the comments. I just want to note that the Prime Directive has no application here. The Klingons are a technologically advanced, space-faring race, who have already established contact with humans and Vulcans.

The idea "We come in peace" for the Federation has no application either...they're in Federation territory! It's the Klingons who have invaded Federation space, and they're not saying "we come in peace". By the end of Archer's era it should be known that Klingons understand "shoot first & ask questions later" as a perfectly appropriate response to any incursion into sovereign territory. In fact, it should be known that any other response would be seen as a sign of weakness.

Once the Federation established that the Klingons were refusing to talk to them (the Federation way of resolving disputes), taking military action against them (the Klingon way of resolving disputes) is a defensible course of action. Ironically (to us), shooting at them actually shows respect for their culture.

Which isn't to say that I agree with her attempted takeover of the ship. But her recommendation to start shooting was reasonable.
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methane
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

The first episode left me intrigued, although it didn't make me feel compelled to see more right away (a side note: I checked Amazon, and you can buy digital episodes of the first season of "The Good Fight", another CBS streaming exclusive, but apparently no Blu-rays or DVD's yet).

It mostly looked good, except for when they put flares in. No more lens flares! The aesthetic reminded me more of TMP than any other Star Trek design, which is a bit of a surprise.

This episode was mostly plot. There was little characterization beyond the main character, and I'm not sure how I feel about her yet. Oh, and Saru seems promising. The big problem in the episode seems to be the new Klingon makeup getting in the way of the actor's abilities to emote. It's possible that I'm mistaken, and the director simply wanted the Klingon dialogue to come off as a somber speech with little overt expression (a bit strange for Klingons). If not, that might be trouble when the Klingons recur in this series.

So the pilot is certainly promising enough to give the series a chance, but we still don't know how interesting the characters will be, nor whether the writers can tell new stories week after week.

Now, for a few more complaints. If the stories are good, these won't matter much, but I'm going to list them anyway:

-No reason yet as to why Sarak. If there isn't some key story point there, they would have been better off with a new Vulcan.
-I do like a lot of Fuller's stuff, but naming a woman Michael is just silly.
-I'd like to see a little more color differences in the uniforms. It doesn't need to dominate the uniform, but make the differences in field stand out. That's an iconic part of Star Trek.
-For that matter, the ship sets could use some color.
-This may seem like a strange complaint, but did the bridge seem too big to anyone else? This is something else that I might take back when I look at more episodes in the future, but I would think you'd want a tighter set so you could get some shots with basically the whole bridge crew in one frame.
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methane
Sat, Sep 23, 2017, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

Just a note to anyone who's setting their DVRs to record the first episode on CBS: 60 minutes is supposed to start at 7:30 ET/6:30 CT, with Discovery starting 1 hour later. However, CBS is airing a doubleheader in football, so there's a good chance 60 minutes won't start on time. You'll want to add time to your DVRs.
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methane
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

I did decide to watch the rebroadcast of this earlier this week.

Like others have said, I was struck by how little creativity was put into the universe. There's a difference between being inspired by Star Trek & pretty much just doing Star Trek with different labels. The latter is what we see here. If nothing changes, it will be difficult to take seriously as a drama. It will always be 2nd rate Star Trek, rather than 1st rate something new.

The plot here is straight-forward; not awful, but not original or memorable. None of the crewman are real characters yet, just a sentence or two description. They may become interesting characters later, but there's not really anything to go on yet. The most screentime goes to the captain, and the only thing we really know about him is that his wife cheated on him & he's not thought of as a good captain.

The show was somewhat stronger as a comedy (making it look so close to Star Trek helps the comedy). I did laugh several times, but there were still many jokes that didn't land.

I'd give it 1.5 - 2 stars. Unless the writers have some twist they will spring on us later (our "Federation" has a civil war!), I don't have high hopes for the future of this show. I will probably keep watching for awhile...but likely while fooling around on the computer.

----------------------------------------------------------

"FarScape rocks.

But that is a different kind of humor than they are going for here."

Well...Farscape could be just as crude as this episode. They certainly weren't afraid of making fun of bodily functions. But their humor was always more organic than Orville's shown. Actually, in terms of tone, Farscape is probably a good comparison to Orville, in that both want to mix humor and drama. Farscape could do both really well. Orville's pilot episode doesn't give me hope that it will do either well. Farscape also seemed fresh and original, despite the fact that it uses many familiar science fiction elements*. Orville went out of its way not to seem original.

To be fair, Farscape took about half a season to start to click. But it always felt like it had more potential than this Orville episode shows.

*Farscape might not seem as fresh to people starting it now, as the first Guardians of the Galaxy film felt like a Farscape rip-off (I haven't seen the 2nd movie yet).

-------------------------------------------------------------

"Everything I watched with [Brannon Braga] at or close to the helm was terribad: Voyager, Enterprise, that Dinosaur thing a few years back, Salem..."

Looking over his credits, I was interested in "Threshold, "FlashForward" & "Terra Nova", to some extent. "Terra Nova" was probably the worst; I think the writers were told it had to be kid-friendly, and they felt that meant bland and unchallenging. I'm not predisposed to hate something Braga's involved in. However, if he's involved in a Star Trek clone, I would like to know what new inspiration he's had since he last worked on Enterprise.
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methane
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Broken Bow

"I realize that Tasha Yar leaving screwed up the gender balance on TNG, and I would take Worf over her any day. Thank goodness she left."

That's interesting. While I don't think the actress was great, I think the biggest problem with the character was she was only on in the first season, when the writing was poor. I wonder what she would have been like had she made it to the 3rd season, when the show started to be good. Yar as a character has much in common with Ro & Kira: the Federation outsider with a rough childhood who didn't fit in perfectly with Star Fleet ideals. I think she would have been a strong character once the better writing staffs took over.
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methane
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

I'm tired of streaming shows that draw out one single story out to a pre-ordained 10 or 13 episode length, even though they only have enough material for 7 episodes or so.

If the new series has enough material to do thirteen 55 minute episodes, I'd be fine with that. Just don't do episodes where they just seem to be passing time.

I haven't gotten to the final season of Enterprise in my rewatch, but I know it improved by making several 2 & 3 part episodes that year. The writers didn't have to come up with 24 stories that year; they focused on developing some of the better ideas over multiple episodes.

If I was running a Star Trek show for a streaming service, I'd want to take full advantage of the lack of time constraints. If I had a story that went for 25 minutes, I'd make a 25 minute episode. If I had an story that went for 2 hours, I'd probably make a 2 hour episode, rather than divide it into 2 or 3 episodes. I'd start the season with a rough idea of how many minutes I wanted to film, not how many episodes.

Having them wildly different lengths would also make each episode feel like an event. I'd remove many "B" and "C" plots that don't have a lot to do with the main episode; if they are good ideas, give them their own smaller episode (or maybe do regular "day in the life" episodes that are basically a bunch of B & C plots strung together).

A lot of "science fiction gimmick" episodes that were tired in Voyager & Enterprise would have worked better if they were cut down to their bare bones without filler. As soon as the idea starts to run out of steam, come to your conclusion. Meanwhile, you could plan several episodes centered around diplomacy and other issues that could benefit from having the running time of a movie.
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methane
Mon, Sep 11, 2017, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Broken Bow

"Finally, TNG and VOY each had a 33% female main cast."

To be fair to TNG, the main characters at the beginning were 3 men, 3 women, 1 android, and 1 boy sidekick. Worf wasn't planned to be a central character. Of course, one of the women left in the first season, and Worf essentially took her place as a lead character. Bringing Ro on was probably an attempt to rectify that imbalance, but of course that actress didn't stick around either.
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methane
Fri, Sep 8, 2017, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Damage

A strong, well-plotted episode, with lots of good dialogue. They even made use of all the characters in the show!

Unfortunately, I would only rate the episode about 3 stars. The problem is that these characters have largely been 2-dimensional for 2.5 years, so it's hard to ever feel as strongly about them as you did about the characters in DS9 or TNG.

I disagree with those that say T'Pol's opposition to Archer was explained by her drug addiction. It was used to explain her emotional outburst (smashing the Captain's desk), but not her reasoned opposition. That said "Joseph S." is correct, her dialogue was written to refer both to Archer's actions & her own.
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methane
Sat, Sep 2, 2017, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

Matt-
You sound like you wanted to see American Indians in Star Trek...which is fine. But that was never the allegory for the Maquis. The American Indians were in one episode that didn't even have the Maquis in it (the organization was formed afterwards). The writers took an opportunity when setting up the Maquis to do one episode with parallels to the American Indians. That didn't change what the Maquis were about.

The Star Trek writers didn't hide the inspiration for the Maquis...and it wasn't American Indians. The Maquis were named after French resistance fighters during World War II. If you don't know history, a peace treaty with Nazi Germany had given a large area of France to Germany, while the rest of France was given an government friendly to Germany. A resistance in France to this redrawing of the map sprung up...which was called the Maquis.

That is what the Maquis in Star Trek is about...that is what it was always about. Not about the French resistance movement in particular, but about the type of resistance movements that can spring up when borders are redrawn by governments. That is what pretty much every episode that featured the Maquis was about (and remember...the Maquis weren't in the American Indian episode of TNG).

The fact that Chakotay joined the Maquis doesn't change that. If Chakotay had been Brazilian it wouldn't have made the Maquis about Brazil. Torres being part of the Maquis didn't make the Maquis about Klingons.

If you want to be reminded of what the Maquis were originally about, you should rewatch their original appearance in the Star Trek Universe...which was in the Deep Space Nine episodes "Maquis" parts 1 & 2.
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methane
Sun, Aug 27, 2017, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

"I guess one of my other main issues is that the writers (over the years) forgot what the issue was originally about. Originally it was an (obvious) allegory for the forced relocation of the American Indians"

The theme of that TNG episode was about the forced relocation of the American Indians. At the end of the episode, they decide not to force their relocation, and that is the end of any meaningful parallel with American Indians.

With no relocations, the Maquis were about people on the boundaries of civilizations who suddenly found themselves under different rulers. If you're searching for historical parallels, you're better off looking at the "old world" of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, etc., where people living on the borders would find their home suddenly placed in a different nation without them having any say. If you've ever studies European history, you know that sort of thing happened regularly.
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methane
Tue, Aug 22, 2017, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part I

"So this IS the first time in Star Trek that we ever meet the Maquis? "

I looked over some stuff at memory alpha to verify it:

TNG episode "Journey's End" aired 28 March 1994:
-Admiral Necheyev tells Picard they have a new Cardassian treaty & they need to move those "Native Americans" off their planet because it ended up on the Cardassian side of the new border. Violence breaks out...but ends with an agreement that the colonists will stay where they and accept Cardassian rule.
-This introduces the ideas necessary for the Maquis, but not the Maquis itself. Also, this was intended to be Chakotay's home planet, though that was never mentioned onscreen (according to memory alpha).

DS9 episode "Maquis part I" aired 24 April 1994:
-first actual appearance of the Maquis, an organized resistance to the new treaty.
-first mention of the badlands...they note a few ships have gone missing there.

TNG episode "Preemptive Strike" aired 16 May 1994:
-Ro is sent to infiltrate a Maquis cell; she joins the cell instead.
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methane
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part I

--spoilers for the 2nd to last episode of TNG--

Ro on TNG was introduced as a Bajoran refugee, part of a group of Bajorans who had left their planet during the Cardassian occupation. She wouldn't join the Maquis until the second to last episode of TNG season 7. DS9 season 2 was airing at the same time as TNG season 7, so these DS9 episodes are several months before that. I'm pretty sure these DS9 episodes are the first mention of the Maquis in the Star Trek Universe.

Pillar was introducing the Maquis in both DS9 & TNG to prepare for Voyager, which was going to start the next year. I think I've read that Behr (who would take over DS9 in season 3) was annoyed that DS9 had to introduce the Maquis just to set up something for Voyager. Of course, DS9 would do way more with them than Voyager would (which pretty much forgot the whole idea after their pilot)
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methane
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

This benefits from good acting from the guest star & somewhat clever writing detailing how the ship was taken over (organic explosives they didn't know to search for) & how it was taken back (aliens ignorance of the transporter). Despite that, it's an action plot we've seen before that didn't allow for much characterization from our characters. So it never really grabs the viewer.

And yes, religious differences do often come down to silliness over "9 days or 10".

Corey says: "the Sunni/Shia conflict has always spawned, not from religious doctrinal disputes, but issues of power, politics, resources and land. Religious mumbo jumbo comes after."

eehhh...of course the people in charge of each sect seek "power, politics, resources and land". That's true of pretty much every religious or governmental leader. Once two groups are divided, they naturally compete over all of those things.

But religious doctrinal issues are special monstrosities that leaders use to channel power to themselves, dehumanize their opponents, and make compromise extremely difficult. These doctrinal issues aren't just pushed by the top leaders, but by clerics at all levels of society, who have an incentive to continue to advance the correctness of their views. This is essential for clerics to maintain their own importance in society. This whole system is key in keeping the divisions permanent.
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methane
Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

So, I finally watched it a few weeks ago.

It's he first Star Wars movie since The Return of the Jedi that I would give a passing grade to (no, I don't think the Force Awakens was a good movie). I'd give it somewhere between 2.5 to 3 stars.

-As others have said, it's plot-driven. Only the droid felt developed as a character.

-I didn't have a problem with Tarkenton. That may be because I didn't know he was going to be in the movie when I started watching it (I probably knew at some point, but had forgotten it in the 8 months or so since the movie came out). I realized he had to be CGI as soon as he appeared onscreen, but I thought it was done well-enough. To echo nearly everyone else, Leia didn't look as accurate.

-I agree the ending doesn't line up well with the beginning of the first movie.

-Glad Disney allowed the to actually kill all the featured characters. It would have really felt hollow if they forced a happy ending for them.

-some of the fanservice was hollow. I agree with the commenter above who said Vader choking random lackey was tiresome...filmmakers doing this at every opportunity undermines the previous movie rather than building up the current one.

This could have been a classic with better character development. But the plot carries it along well enough that it gets a passing grade.
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methane
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

"The reason I dislike this episode is that I don't believe any ethical person would create a clone they know will have to die, in order to save someone"

Every time a human life is create people know it will die. I don't think lifespan is what makes a life worthwhile (a life that lasts 100 years isn't necessarily more worthwhile than one lasts 10 days).

As someone pointed out near the top of the thread: the decision to create this life is analogous to parents who have another child in order to provide a tissue donor for one of their other children. I understand people may feel uncomfortable about that, but as long as the parents will love the new child, I have no problems with it. Similarly, I have no problems with the initial decision to create the new life in this episode. Again, I must emphasize: quality of life is not determined by lifespan!!!!

If they would have stuck to that premise, this might have been a strong, poignant episode, as we could watch a human lifespan play out over a relative blink of an eye (would have been even better if they gave him a lifespan of a few months, and had his life play out over half a season). The idea didn't need a forced conflict.

Of course, they had to pile on all sorts of twists & turns: DNA memories*! Now the procedure will kill Sim! now maybe there's a procedure to make Sim live a "normal" lifespan!

I didn't dislike the result, although I agree with some of the problems others have stated. The biggest problem is that all the twists took away time to really absorb & dwell on the ideas or to give much characterization (with an idea that opened the door for a lot of characterization). I'd give the episode 3 stars.


*They could have easily gotten away with not using DNA magic. Just say that the symbiont had some small amount of telepathic powers that let Sim absorb some of Trip's memories. Telepathy is a magic that's been in Trek a long time!
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methane
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Rajiin

Elliot said:

"Isn't it convenient that Archer doesn't pay for the sex slave but still gets to take her back to his ship? For someone who frequently harps on the "have your cake and eat it too" contrivance in scripting, I'm surprised you didn't pick up on this point. All he had to do was get into a silly fight for which there are no consequences. I'm curious about what the writers were thinking; I mean, I'm all for liberating slaves from prostitution, but it's rather selective here AND the dialogue makes only a passing reference to "we don't believe people can own people" or whatever. "

The fact that the slave got to the ship without being purchased was a plot point. She had a mission to get to the ship, and she had to find a way even if she wasn't purchased.

That the Enterprise crew didn't go and free everyone is understandable. If they went in with weapons and freed everyone they weren't likely to get any business done at the port, nor anywhere else in the region. And they could possibly get a whole new set of enemies when they're already struggling with the Xindi. But if a woman frees herself and then asks for asylum (essentially what she did), they can't really turn her down. (Which doesn't mean they need to give her permission to wander the ship freely. Archer should have been weary of her).

------

On the episode itself: the main plot was tired, but not awful. Most of the rest of it was better than what Enterprise had been giving us. The spice merchant was fun and the T'Pol/Trip stuff was fine here. Overall, I'd give it a passing grade.
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methane
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Second Season Recap

This season wasn't full of bad episodes. The problem is, there aren't any great episodes either. Most of them are just above or just below passable. On the whole, an uninspiring season of Star Trek.

Some notes:

-the best episodes of the season were probably the Borg episode (which I think can fit into cannon if you squint a little), "Stigma", or maybe "Future Tense" (as a pure action episode)

-I don't like the Duras family being villains across centuries. I don't like the idea that if you're good/bad then your ancestor or descendant was/will be the same. That's the sort of reasoning that justifies an inherited aristocracy. I would rather an ancestor of Duras be a hero & the ancestor of Worf be a villain.

-I said in my review of Season 1 that, despite my dislike of the whole idea of the "Temporal Cold War", it really didn't hurt that season. It didn't hurt this season either. I thought "Shockwave part II" was OK (if unmemorable) & "Future Tense" was actually enoyable.

-I also said in my review of season 1 that I hadn't remembered how bad Jolene Blalock was that first season, and that I remembered her doing better later. She did indeed improve significantly in the 2nd season. She won't be remembered as one of the great actors of Trek, but she was fine this season.

-Of the crew, T'Pol & Phlox got some good character moments this season. Aside from them, Ensign Mayweather in "Horizon" is the only who really got any development (and that was in a middling episode). Tucker is well acted, of course (and is heavily used as the everyman by the writers), but I wouldn't say the character has really done any developing before we get to the season finale. I don't know what to say about the captain. He's written blandly, and I don't think Bakula elevates the material.

-I think the episodes in the first two seasons of Enterprise weren't worse than the first 2 seasons of Voyager (and were perhaps better, although I haven't watched Voyager in a long time), but Enterprise suffers by not having memorable characters that draw you back even when the writing is bad. Berman & Braga said they were excited to do a prequel so they could write less "perfect" humans. Yet the humans on the show are so very bland.

-About the finale: I wasn't really impressed. Once you take out the pointless Klingon plot, and the foolishness of an alien species deliberately giving up the element of surprise, the drama is mostly in watching the characters reactions to the attack on Earth. That doesn't resonate as well as it should, partly because we haven't been drawn in by these characters for 2 years so far.

-About the change in direction & the Xindi conflict: clearly a change was needed, and more serialization is certainly welcome. However, this Xindi conflict was clearly unneeded. The first 2 seasons of the show were stronger when dealing with the cultures of the Andorians & Vulcans. I'm pretty sure I thought at the time a focus on them (and other prequel elements) would have been a better direction. i remember the 3rd season being a mixed bag; I'll see how well it holds up.

-Of course, mostly what the show needed was better writing.
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methane
Mon, Jun 12, 2017, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Strejda-

"Evolution never intends for any specie to die, it's point is to avoid extinction"

I wouldn't say evolution has an intent or a point. That implies evolution is something with thought & goals...a "guiding hand". Evolution is controversial because there is no guiding hand involved.

Evolution by its nature is random, which is why predicting how a specific species will evolve doesn't work (you can make some general statements...a large species confined to a small island will likely shrink over time or die out...note in this case you can't say it will definitely shrink, as it may die out!). So saying with certainty that a species will definitely get smarter is completely misunderstanding what evolution is.
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methane
Sun, Jun 4, 2017, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Search, Part I

"How is that Dr. Bashir knows how to use a console on the bridge of prototype ship he's never been on before and can fire weapons on an attacking ship? Starfleet Medical teaches this?"

Given the consoles are all touchscreens (and not physical buttons), I assume the consoles conform to whatever setup the user chooses. Different species would have different optimal console designs (based on hand dexterity & field of vision), and individuals themselves could customize their consoles to their liking. Even if Engineers decided a brand new console design was the most optimal, it would still be an awful idea to prevent someone from calling up a different version. For example, if a visiting doctor suddenly needed access to a console in a medical emergency, you'd want him to instantly call up the screen he's most comfortable with using, rather than making him have to endure "introduction to starfleet console display 475.2 beta" before using it.

Bashir would just call up whatever console display he's comfortable with and go from there. He might not know all the new systems on the ship, but he should certainly be able to do all the basic stuff right away (engines are still engines, communications are still communications...), and ask the computer anything he's unsure about.
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methane
Wed, May 31, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

One thing I did praise the writers of this movie for doing was giving everybody in the cast time in the spotlight. I think they did better than any previous Star Trek movie (including TOS & TNG movies) was using everyone. If you asked me who the leads were, I'd probably say Kirk reflexively, because he's the captain. If I wasn't thinking too hard, I'd probably say Jaylah next, because she's the character I remember the most from this movie. But of course, she couldn't be the 2nd lead...she missed the first hour or whatever of the movie, not appearing until the crew ended up on the planet. (note: extended action limited memorable character moments during that whole stretch).

But the truth is, I don't think any character was a lead this movie, at least, not in the sense of previous Star Trek movies. Uhura's screentime was down, but so was Spock's & Kirk's. That meant more time for Scotty, Checkov, Sulu, & McCoy, as well as more time for Jaylah.

I think that was a strength of the screenwriters; it takes skill to get every character contributing meaningfully in a movie...especially when so much of it is driven by special effects. Yes, it does highlight how there was only 1 woman in the original crew, which is probably a reason why writer's introduced Jaylah. Because of her, I do think the overall screentime for women did not go down from the last 2 movies.
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methane
Wed, May 31, 2017, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

damyen said:

" the movie you liked the most is the one liked least by the rest of people"

go back to my review, I said:

"I will say that unlike the last 2 movies, the parts I disliked in this movie bored me, rather than annoying me or making me angry (blowing up Vulcan for not much payoff...transporters that go across the galaxy!). That's somewhat offset by the fact that I don't think the good parts of this movie hit the peaks of the last 2 movies (though it's obviously been awhile since I've watched them)."

Note that I never once said this was my favorite, though I did imply the planetary section was perhaps the best section of any of the movies.

More to the point: I was never upset over the Spock/Uhura relationship in the other movies. Those movies had problems, but the Spock/Uhura relationship wasn't one of them.

"You guys keep trying belittling uhura for her relationship with spock"

Where did I belittle her relationship with Spock? I did note that relationships were missing from this movie, but that women overall had more screentime. I don't think the lack of relationships is what kept Beyond from being a success. I read an article the other week (I forget if it was a newspaper or online) that specifically noted how Marvel had mostly abandoned relationships in their movies, and they continue to be blockbusters.

Look, I understand you wanting more screentime for Uhura, and perhaps my post came off as more adversarial than I meant it to. If so, I apologize. But I think there are problems with all 3 movies, but those problems don't have to do with how much one character or another has screentime.

"you dont care about women represenration. You just dont want them to get in the way of the original trio and 'steal' screentime for those dynamics you prefer."

I'm not going to claim I care about women's representation as much as you do. But don't accuse me of not caring at all.

The original cast was heavily male, which means that any remake focusing on that crew is going to lean male, however much screentime they give Uhura. If they decide to come out with a new, mostly-female crew for Star Trek movies I'd be interested in it, as long as the stories are good. I do have affection for the original characters, but I'd be exicted about well written Star Trek with a new crew.

"And it exactly is just a desire of some people to keep trek like it was 50 years ago"

Stop putting words in other people's mouths! Star Trek needs to develop. I've never complained about Uhura's screentime. But whatever the character breakdown, it needs to develop by adding quality stories.
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methane
Tue, May 30, 2017, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

Women did better in Beyond than in the 2 previous movies. Yes, Uhura had less screentime, but what was mostly lost was her "girlfriend" screentime. There wasn't any translating for her to do, but in the Enterprise-crashing attack she was the kick ass warrior who nobly sacrificed her own freedom to separate the saucer section. That's about as much spotlight as she received in each of the 2 previous movies outside of her girlfriend activities. Any lost screentime for Uhura (or other women from previous movies) was more than made up for by the addition of Jaylah, who took up a lot of screentime & handled herself capably. In smaller roles, the Commodore was a woman & the redshirt who hid part of the weapon for Kirk was a woman. Each of these was depicted as capable & competent (I mean, I think we're supposed to appreciate the redshirt, although I question surrendering a weapon of mass murder to an obvious villain even if it saves Sulu's life)

Overall, women got more screentime and were consistently shown as being competent & capable.

Of course, none of the women's screentime was spent talking to a boyfriend or being shirtless on screen. Apparently this is what Damyen missed. I don't mind relationships on screen, and I certainly don't mind shirtless women, but I don't think many will agree that adding that would have made Beyond great.

The decline in Star Trek's movie box-office has nothing to do with trying to "placate old fans". The old fans were a big part of the success of the first 2 movies! The whole reason why the studio picked Star Trek to put their generic action formula in is because there were lots of Star Trek fans to sell to (note, these aren't all old people; young people are still discovering the TV shows today, despite the fact they're all dated). Now, these fans were not the only reason it had success, but the studio absolutely counted on those people for a good chunk of the box office release.

The decline of the reboot Star Trek movies is similar to most movie franchises. And when you reduce Star Trek to mostly mindless action movie, you really shouldn't be surprised that it's following a standard action movie decline. To be fair, the TNG movies declined as well (they also felt studio pressures to action it up!). I don't think anybody talks about the TNG movies being classics, aside from maybe First Contact (which I wouldn't call a classic, but that's another review). Similarly, unless an upcoming sequel raises the quality, I don't think many will remember these movies any better than blockbusters like "Independence Day" (a blockbuster in its time which got a belated sequel this year to no interest).

Damyen, the studio would be better off listening to what old-school fans really want. The original series was massively popular in the 1980s. Then the Next Generation came out and averaged 20 million fans a week in the US for 7 years at a time the country was much smaller than today (1990 population was 248 million, today it's about 325 million). People are still discovering the Star Trek TV shows today.

Star Trek done well has a far bigger potential audience than these movies have done. But Star Trek done well is not mindless action movie. You can make it work as mindless action movie, but 1) you won't fully engage the natural audience for Star Trek & 2) it'll never be as good as a great mindless action movie in a franchise designed for action above all else.

Making a Star Trek movie that's a pure action movie is like making a Superman movie a depressing story about mindless destruction and hopelessness. Sure, you could do it, and you'd probably make money the first time you did it...but you'd leave everyone much less excited for the next one. You're not playing to the strengths of the character, and the strengths of the character are why he became such an icon in the first place!

Speaking of which...several commentators earlier on this thread mentioned Marvel. I don't think Marvel Studios has been as consistently successful creatively as others, but Marvel Studios has done one thing absolutely right: tailor the stories to the characters & not the characters to the story. If it's going to make a Captain America movie, it's going to be a movie that goes to the strengths of Captain America as a character. They're trying to make a great Captain America movie, not a great action movie that happens to have Captain America in it! If they make an Iron Man movie or an Ant Man movies, it's going to be completely different.

The producers of these Star Trek movies have not been trying to make a great Star Trek movie! They've been trying to make a generic action movie with Star Trek characters thrown in for flavor (so they have at least one audience they think is guaranteed). Of course, favors without substance will go out of fashion over time.

--------------

Star Trek: $287 million; STID: $467 million; STB: $336 million
The Martian: $630 million; Gravity: $723 million; Interstellar: $675 million

The audience for smart science fiction is demonstrably larger than Abrams Star Trek. The fact that the studios don't want to make Star Trek smart science fiction is lousy business. That would appeal to the strengths of the franchise and make money for them!

Damyen I assure you they could make a smart movie and still give Uhura a notable role! The old school fanboys that you deride would be happy with the result. Would you?
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