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Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:19am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ Nolan

Sorry about that. I'd just finished watching the episode and Icheb's graphic brutalization was still fresh on my mind.

I'm revising my episode score downward a half star. After rewatching this with some of the criticisms (mentioned here) in mind, I can only go 2 stars. Seven and Raffi are the only reasons I'm not rating this lower: the actresses playing them are excellent at bringing depth to their scenes (despite the banal trite script they were given).

@ Dougie

Yes, an elevator scene with an alien is preferable to most of this. (I'm assuming this is a dig at The Orville
... please watch the second season before you make jokey insults about what is or isn't Trekkish).
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R.
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:09am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Remco_Spock_Helmet

You think we're incapable of experiencing joy just because we're dissecting an ensemble science fiction show?
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Artymiss
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Reading these comments makes me very glad I stopped watching Picard half way through the first episode.
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Bold Helmsman
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:31am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Regarding hope, I might advise you to read up on the story of Pandora's box (or pithos, if you prefer). For my part, I can totally understand what Sir Patrick meant about hope, especially in regards to his well known feelings about Brexit.
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Latex Zebra
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:09am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Remco_Spock_Helmet

I applaud you! Please imagine the of Leo clapping in Wolf of Wall Street. That is I wish I could send you.
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Adam
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:55am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

In this show so far we have the usual modern agendas.

* Mysterious and powerful female character, inspired by the Hunger Games, who the galaxy revolves around? Check.

* Female empowerment shown by every character in a position of power being female, and a female character kicking the shit out of four men at once? Check.

* Everyone who demands better than this is a sexist misogynist? Check.

* Everyone is racist (for not wanting to help their oldest enemy, the sneaky tyrannical race who annexes worlds and starts wars)? Check.

Other problems with this show:

* Unnecessary swearing because Game of Thrones? Check.

* Complete rewrite of Picard's character to make him an old, bitter, forgotten failure a la Mulder in new X Files, which was also crap? Check.

* Foot-draggingly slow pace featuring a confusing storyline, with an additional B-plot that so far doesn't make sense? (Romulan Empire captures a Borg cube and immediately invites species across the galaxy to inspect it??) Check.

* Dodgy acting, even from Picard, who in ep 3 appears to be reading the script and veers from looking like he's asleep to bursting with energy? Check.

* Multiple variations of Starfleet uniform, a la Star Trek Online, when Voyager and TNG have already shown us what the uniform should look like in this time period? Check.

* Complete failure to show us what happened to any of the TNG characters after Nemesis, because the new show is completely plot-driven? Check.

* Complete absence of any notion that Picard may have married Dr Crusher? Check.

* Extremely shallow Easter Eggs such as Picard going into some room with mementos from the final season of TNG and the films? Check.

* Mass hysteria and automatic 5 star reviews by all the internet because that's how we do things these days? Check.

* People defending it by saying "Trek has moved on from the 90s" because the show has ejected everything that originally made Trek a success? Check.

Honestly folks, if you think Picard is a five-star show, watch your favourite TNG episodes again. If you think this is telling a good Borg story, watch Voyager's "Dark Frontier". If you think modern Trek is good because "The 90s are old", you missed Trek's best era regardless of how many times you call people "boomer".

I don't want to see any more of this tired, painfully derviative mess, which appears to have Picard flying around in an ENT-era ship. We had better than this. The modern era killed it off and it's not coming back.
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Remco_Spock_Helmet
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:54am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Have any of you people ever been diagnosed as being... anhedonic?
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:52am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Tim C,

I agree with you completely. I would have zero interest now in a rehashing of the safe, episodic format of TNG or VOY (that had to live with the restrictions of network ratings, which, thankfully, the new shows do not have to). Would I watch it? Sure, at least once, because it's Star Trek. Like it? Probably not unless there is some incredible storytelling. Will I label its fans "supposed" Trekkies or "cynical" or any other name because they happen to like what I don't? Absolutely not.

Star Trek is a setting (that is not a definition either, like Tim C. says, anyone who claims to know what it is, is lying) and within this setting there are many adventures/crews to follow. One may like some and not like others (ex: Enterprise for me), but regardless, they are all parts of Star Trek.
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Trent
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:47am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

"Discovery" Season 1 started with such a interesting premise. We had a strange alien artifact in an asteroid belt and the cool political implications of the Klingon Empire's return, the Federation forced to negotiate with space fascists. As the season went on, all this interesting stuff got thrown away, buried under mountains of needless subplots, introductions, mystery box tactics and random segues.

"Discovery" Season 2 did the same thing. You had the cool idea of first contact, alien signals, and god-like beings. All of that went out the window for mystery box tactics, twists and random segues.

Neither season trusted the political, philosophical and scientific implications of their first, core ideas to be interesting in-and-of-themselves. The seasons couldn't fathom how to intelligently milk these premises without resorting to gimmicks. The seasons couldn't fathom a show where intelligent professionals investigated and coped with these core problems as professionals.

Virtually every episode of these two seasons epitomizes bad writing; every episode is a con, and the con becomes obvious at about episode seven in each season, the writers obviously spinning wheels and plucking stuff out of left field to constantly titillate or distract or appease producers.

Picard's first few episodes have a great premise. The Romulans wanted help, Starfleet betrayed them, there are xenophobic tensions within Federation member-worlds, and Picard stands for a kind of multi-species bridge building in a time of bigotry. This offers you a rich sandbox to tell interesting political, philosophical and scientific stories. Like the first few episodes of Disco S1 and S2, you're intrigued by these themes and your imagination spins wild fantasies. Oh the possibilities! Something like "The Drumhead" stretched for 10 episodes, or "The West Wing" in space, ambassadors and representatives frantically working to keep alliances from splintering. Or take the Nick Meyers route, and do something like "The Undiscovered Country", a rousing jaunt but with a touch of class.

Instead, like Discovery, we constantly rubber-neckedly veer off into wild and ridiculous directions. Synths. Mars attacks. Undercover cabals. Mysterious Borg cubes. Undercover Vulcans. Incest romulans. Data's sister. Twins. Mad scientists. Doom Prophesies. Undercover assassin scientists. The pregnant wives of the sons of drug addicts. Cameos ("Hi Seven! Bye Seven!"). Piles upon piles upon piles of unnecessary stuff, like spam or graffiti blasted into eyeballs.

The show is so tonally incompetent, this episode begins with eyeballs plucked from a kid's eyes (like every act of violence in the show, the victim is unmet and so garners no emotional weight) and then segues into guys having a jolly time dressing up as pimps and pirates.

The only common thread in these three seasons is Kurtzman. And Kurtzman loves big "mystery box twist endings". And this show will have one. You can feel it coming. And it will be so hilariously Kurtzmany.
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Lucky
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:41am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

Well put Bob.
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Adam
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:33am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Where Silence Has Lease

This is a truly excellent episode, albeit let down by Mr Fish, as I call him, the giant face. The weakest TNG got was when it tried to be the sequel to TOS. I guess that explains why Voyager, DS9, Enterprise and later TNG had nothing whatsoever in common with the original show.

The scenes with Riker and Worf are probably the best I've seen in TNG. Visiting another Galaxy class starship was a nice idea. The quiet darkness with only the sound of wind, and the mind-bending scenes where Worf starts to freak out, were so well done. And this is the first appearance of the self destruct which would become a Trek cliche, and which was superbly done here.

If every episode of Trek had been this suspenseful, this meaningful, well, science fiction would have a different landscape. Watching it makes me realise how empty and agenda-driven the new Picard show is.
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Boura
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:29am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Trent

You've summed it up perfectly, I agree with your entire post. I also thought this was the worst episode so far.
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Sleeper Agent
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: By Any Other Name

-No one likes a predictable story; I therefore salute the death-by-cube-crushing scene. Even today that would be unpredictable, not to mention the late 60's (!).

-Scotty drinking the alien under the table has to be one of the best Trek-moments in history.

-I like the idea of Bones injecting the alien with crystal meth, but it isn't very exciting TV. Perhaps it could've been.

-Flirtatious Kirk makes my skin crawl.

-To those of you who are upset the aliens got away without being punished: do you really think the circumstances permitted that?

II of IV

@Springy - Great comment! =]
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Black winter day
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:21am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

What a horrible mess of an episode.

To me, this is where Star Trek truly died.

Ok, i get it, in the 80s music was Queen, Dire Straits and Metallica and now its Cardi Bi.

And in the 80 and 90s sci fi/Star Trek was TNG/Voyager and DS9 and now its Discovery and Picard. Long dumb ridiculous and grim shows with retarded scripts, ridiculous action sequences and good special effects, which are the only things the powers that be think the viewers want.

This is not i want from Star Trek. To me, the last real Star Trek was Enterprise. We had a good run, more than 700 episodes, 10 movies.

Its a lot for a franchise and we had some wonderful moments, but it apparently ended at 2005.

I dont know what the hell this is and why it is called "Star Trek", but this is not the Star Trek i know and want to know.
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Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I think that's a mischaracterisation of my opinion, Booming. It's not that I don't think Star Trek has an identity; it's that I think it has *multiple* identities, and it suffers whenever it tries to copy itself. TOS, TNG and DS9 are all quite distinct from one another. VOY and ENTs biggest creative weakness was their unwillingness to move on from the TNG model. It led to the eventual cancellation of the franchise. People had been there and done that.

Trek has to keep moving forward and reinventing itself. In Disco's case, it's as a slam-bang action adventure, the kind that VOY was always trying to be. And PIC wants to try being a long-form streaming-era drama. Much better to have these honest attempts at something new than a rehash, I feel.

Some vocal commenters seem to think that Trek has lost its optimism. I disagree. The writers of Disco have not been great at it, but there *have* been honest attempts to maintain the spirit. And PICs first season is one singular story, perhaps even to continue into the next, so I think it's a bit early to judge it at the episode five mark.
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Robert
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I don’t think Roddenberry’s vision is gone, it’s just being approached from a different angle. The writers are taking concepts and characters from the past and rolling them in the mud to see if they can still dust themselves off and be that better person Roddenberry envisioned. I honestly get why some people don’t like it, the approach almost seems like a reversal of TNG. But on the other hand, Trek stagnated for awhile after Enterprise failed and it seems like it needed something to inject some new life into it.

As long as we have characters challenged with huge moral stakes, challenging them to go beyond the human condition in the future, Gene’s work is very much alive.
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Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:26am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ Robert
Tim C' argument boils down to "Star Trek has no identity and can therefore be anything." and that is, in a sense, obviously true. That is why people mention Roddenberry. He imagined the future in a certain way. DS9 more so than Voyager moved away from that and STP and Discovery have basically no connection to what Roddenberry wanted. And of course you can make the argument that he was a pervert and on drugs or that TNG was bad during the time he was executive producer. Still he had an identifiable narrative and that narrative is gone. Some have said that CBS owns STar Trek so they decide what it is. That is probably true but also really depressing. Star Trek is no different from some other product that every now and then gets changed to newly appeal to people. Do you want fries with that?
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R.
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:22am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Trent

I misspoke. I liked Jeri Ryan's performance, and she did sell it despite the clumsy writing, moreso than how Seven was written.

It's frankly depressing (and yes, nonsensically conceived) that someone as intelligent as Seven who seemed to be on the road to something better last time we saw her would wind up as a Punisher-esque type lawgiver. It seems like these writers can't let these characters be truly content in their lives, there has to be some awful trauma or dark edge overshadowing their existence.
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Robert
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:09am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Tim C

Well put. Though, I’m afraid the battle over which Star Trek is “The One True Star Trek” will never end. This happened during DS9 and happened again in Voyager. In 20 years when another Trek series is produced, there will be those outraged at it being so different from DISC and PIC. Go figure.
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Omni
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Sidenote:

Were the advertisement pop ups done by the same studio that did Short Treks "Ephraim and Dot"?

I ask out of pure interest, not as a praise or critique. Frankly I wouldn't have cared if they'd been some cinematic epic by Blur Studios, or whether they'd been done by Modern Toss in the style of Space Argument. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtNXanYemAM )

A "Come To Quarks! Quarks Is Fun!" reprise would have been probably a fan-service step too far, mind.
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Omni
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:55am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I felt sorry for Gabe. Children of estranged parents have every right to establish clear boundaries about having little or no contact with said parents, and having Raffi show up at his workplace completely unnanounced is a violation of those boundaries. I don't blame him for reacting to her sudden intrusion into his life the way he did.

We as viewers (and readers of that book) know that factually, Raffi is correct about the conspiracy, but as far as he's concerned, she's the person who was there one day, then left him and his father to pursue a years long mission away from them, then returned with drink and drug issues after said mission went sideways, and then she shows up claiming to be clean while still sounding all tin-foil hat and manic. He doesn't need that in his life, least of all around his pregnant missus. Telling her to leave in no uncertain terms was the right call, for him at least.

---

Terrible advertising holo pop-ups can go straight to hell. To the boiler room of hell, all the way down.

Elnor not getting one did make me feel bad for the little guy though. Not even an ad for sword polish?

---

- 99.99% sure that "Bjayzl" was a pun on "Vajazzle". It HAD to be. The sparkly gown did nothing but reinforce that. It was about as subtle as a Bond Girl with the name "Diamante Nethers".

- Killing her may have been vengeance on Sevens' part, but also preventative justice. People should now be a lot more cautious when attempting to carve up ex-Borg, because Seven has sent a message on what they can expect if they do.

---

On the recasting issue;

- Brian Brophy is presumably too busy being the director of theatre arts at Caltech to be doing any filming.

- John Ales as Maddox was perfectly good in the role, playing him as a more sombre, haunted version of the character than the brash, arrogant version from TNG "Measure Of A Man".

- While Icheb was a good character, Manu Intiraymi is not a good person. I don't blame Star Trek production for not wanting anything to do with him (not least out of respect towards Anthony Rapp, who did not deserve that kind of offensive commentary from anyone, least of all a fellow Trek actor), and I was quite happy not to see him onscreen again. People might feel entitled to their own opinions, but some people are demonstrably wrong.

- Mark Bennington, who played the adult version of Icheb in VOY "Shattered" has visibly aged out of the role; he would have looked considerably older than Seven.

- Not much to say about Casey Kings' performance as Icheb due to limted screen time other than... he does good dying acting?

---

I guess Rios definitely isn't a hologram, what with the injection and all.
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Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Tim C, For a lot of fans, we liked Star Trek precisely because of its liberal humanist values and because its episodes engaged with thoughtful social commentary. DS9 was somewhat more morally ambiguous, but ultimately held to the same worldview - people were ultimately good if flawed, progress in mutually understanding was possible, etc. The shows didn't glorify violence. These newer shows just don't do that.

No fan has a right to declare what is Star Trek. If fans are enjoying the new shows, great for them. If some fans aren't as invested in the morality of Trek, that's fine. Ultimately, CBS holds the rights and gets to decide what is Star Trek. But for a lot of fans, the moral worldview wasn't just window-dressing - it was the point.
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Tom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:50am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Mark - Personally, it's even weirder to be hearing people claim that violence and swearing makes it an "adult" show. I can only speak for myself, but I got over enjoying violence and swearing for its own sake (which is how it's used in Picard) when I grew out of my adolescence and became an adult.
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Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Mark, or maybe we could stop being so judgmental towards other fans. Some fans were invested in Trek because of Roddenberry's liberal humanist vision of the future. It wasn't just a mindless action show. Some people don't like excessive violence in their TV shows. I think people expect this sort of thing from Game of Thrones or HBO, but not Trek.
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Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:44am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I wrote a lengthy piece detailing my thoughts on the criticism of "Discovery is not Star Trek", Andy's Friend. They are equally applicable to the same criticisms of Picard. You can find it in the comments of "An Obol For Charon": https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-dsc/s2/obol-for-charon.php

TLDR: We're all entitled to our opinions, but with such a wide variety of Star Trek tales having been told already, I don't think it's a valid criticism to dismiss anything dark as "not Star Trek".

BTW, it's not that I don't accept the utopian vision espoused by Picard in many of TNG's early episodes. Picard and his crew clearly practice what they preach, and the Federation as a post-scarcity society that no longer has to worry about things like poverty is a wonderful vision of the future. But TNG and VOY both had a very limited scope: they focused on the crews of ships that got to zoom away from the issue of the week, and not worry about what came after. DS9 showed us what it looks like when you zoom out from a Starfleet crew and look at a complicated bigger picture outside the Federation, and surprise surprise, it's not as simple as Picard would often present it.

To quote myself from the aforementioned linked comment:

"Much like the producers at Paramount back in the day, shackling Voyager's creative reins to the ghost of TNG in the hopes that residual popularity would last forever and sustain their doomed new TV network, the people who charge that "Discovery isn't Star Trek" would seem to prefer the universe to remain creatively frozen in amber, an Orville-style rehash of a storytelling style we've already had over 700 episodes of, in the fear that somehow, attempting something new will invalidate the things they already love. Personally, I think that's bollocks."

I'll let my other prior words do the rest of the talking, if you care to read them. I'm tired of this particular debate.
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