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Zakalwe
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Author, Author

A few commenters, including by Jon directly above me, express incredulity that the Doc didn’t realise his novel would offend the crew.

If you accept that he is essentially a real person, with a sentient being’s flaws (which, in-universe he clearly is and has) then it’s obvious that he does know his novel might offend people, but he doesn’t think it’ll be that big a deal. As people are prone to, he doesn’t quite think things through properly, which explains why near the beginning, before the crew have seen his first draft, he tells the publisher he has amendments to make to the characters.

Then, once the senior staff start chewing him out over it in the first meeting convened by Janeway, he gets defensive, lies about not knowing he’d offend anyone and refuses to back down in the face of perfectly reasonable argument. Anybody who’s used the internet recognises this as a classic human response to criticism. It’s entirely believable and ironically provides ample evidence itself of Doc’s sentience.
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Pally
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Conspiracy

I do like that in Star Trek Online these parasites are brought back for a couple of missions. I know that STO's canon isn't entirely official (at least i dont think so) but I love how it delves deep into the lore of each of the series.
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Peter G.
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Exactly, Chrome.
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Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: A Fistful of Datas

Dreadful epsiode. The only time in TNG I actually loathed Brent Spiner for his painfully unsuccessful attempt at playing that bad guy. Terrible, 0.5 stars.
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Brian_C
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Mortal Coil

I have to admit. As much as the Neelix character annoyed me at first, Ethan Phillips really did a fantastic job all through the series. It certainly wasn't his fault the character was a little annoying. It was the way the character was written. I doubt anyone could have done a better job with the material than he did.

Sometimes you have to see some bad acting to appreciate the talent it takes to make even an annoying character completely believable.
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Chrome
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

@Chris P

Even if we assumed Starfleet had some sort of “sign away your life clause” when you enlist, something I find hard to believe given the respect to crew’s medical decisions captains give in other Treks, that argument is irrelevant because B’elanna is not Starfleet. She already threw in the towel and joined The Marquis.

When The Marquis agreed to work with Janeway, I’m sure they never imagined they’d be giving away their medical decisions. The problem is Janeway decision to quash B’Elanna’s rights should have some lasting repercussions among The Marquis crew, but it doesn’t - which is just sad.

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Shaun
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 2:04am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: One

I am like Jammer, not the biggest fan of Voyager, but this is a 4* episode. No question. Just a great psychological thriller with the most interesting character on the show. Awesome.
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Sean Hagins
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:59am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Resistance

I confess I have to agree with those who said Caylem is annoying. Mental illness is a sad thing, especially when it is brought on by something traumatic. Watching it like this though is unpleasant
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Constable Cuddles
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

Odo blows on Quark's dice.
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Chris P
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

"If B'elanna's rights can just be ordered away so simply, what's going to stop the next captain from doing the same thing?"
______________________________________________

Perhaps there's an analogy to throwing in the towel in combat sports. The rule says that the combatants will battle until the referee deems the bout over but, sometimes, the referees allow things to go too far and allow excessive damage. At that point a cornerman can get their fighter disqualified by throwing something into the ring/cage. Usually a towel.

In a similar manner, assume that any Starfleet officer serving aboard a vessel to abides by their captain's medical decisions but, if the guilt of survival is too much, they can, at a later date, choose to disqualify themself with a phaser. Until then they are part of a group and responsible to their crewmates and officers with whom they share a profoundly powerful mutual agreement of cooperation and survival.
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Dick
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

Just watched this episode, and I'm sure the other comments covered most of my gripes already, but here they are anyway:

*Why in the world is Tyler/Voq not sitting in the brig with L'Rell? Sure, he claims to be 100% Klingon-free, but the Starfleet doctors don't understand what's going on in his head so why should they trust him? The entire Tyler/Voq subplot in this episode fell flat for me.

*On a similar note, Empress Georgiou should also be in the brig or at least have a 24-hr security detail. No one should be going into her quarters and talking to her alone. And of course the decision to lie to the crew and put her in command of the ship defies any explanation. Maybe Cornwell is a stereotypically crazy admiral who would endorse such a plan, but a logical, truth-telling Vulcan like Sarek never would.

*Burnham's stupid decision to lie to Saru about the Kelpiens a couple of episodes ago has no payoff in this episode. Saru is mildly annoyed when he learns the truth and then the whole matter is forgotten. It also appears that she is going to lie to the crew about Georgiou's true origins. Are the writers trying to sabotage Burnham's redemption arc by making her as untrustworthy as possible? Are they capable of that level of incompetence?

Anyway, I'm glad that the show appears to be headed in a different direction for Season 2. I can live with the awkward characterizations and blatant visual discontinuities of STD if they just get some decent writers.
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Sean Hagins
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:33am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

I liked this episode for entertainment, but the plot holes some of you mentioned are inescapable.

Rather than even asking for Seska to be turned over to them, why didn't they just beam her over with the Kazon bigwigs and say that they are not going to return her as she is from the Alpha Quadrant and needs to stand trial for treason?

And besides DS9 *(and maybe Enterprise), all of Star Trek seems to have the problem of not firing back (well Voyager and TNG) It always amazed me in Yesterday's Enterprise how Picard took MULTIPLE hits and when he finally fires back, they blow up a Kligon bird of prey! Why didn't they sweep phasers on them before?

I can actually picture Voyager being overwhelmed by 6 ships of lesser tech, but at least make it look like Voyager is fighting!

And the whole thing with the command codes makes sense too (what you guys said about changing security codes). I just have to pretend that Seska somehow figured out how to bypass this since she is familiar with Federation tactics.

Seska herself is nutty as a fruitcake! The Kazon obviously see her as inferior, so why bother joining them? I don't see what her objective was? As I said before, if she admitted from the beginning that she was a Cardassian spy, I am sure Janeway would have forgiven her as she did the Marquis-they are all 70 years from home and all in this together!

Well, I just try to enjoy the show and not dwell on the absurdities
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ Elliott,

"The fact that Miles could be traumatised into behaving like an animal doesn't mean that he isn't an evolved human, but the writers take the opportunity to essentially say that human evolution didn't happen, it's just state propaganda that elites like Picard and co. spout at alien dignitaries."

Are you sure that's what the writers were saying? It's something *Miles* was saying, after disappointing himself, just as Picard was down on himself after admitting he wasn't strong enough to resist the Borg. I see no difference between these two situations, and O'Brien admitting his weakness is no different.

What you're interpreting as DS9 crapping on the evolution of humanity reads to me as a completely different statement: that although a layer of civility can be grown and matured over the base savage, the savage is still down there, somewhere. And you know what? That is completely accurate, and nothing DS9 or any other source says will change that. I can't see it as being un-Trek to tell the truth about something. The "evolution" Trek speaks of in humanity isn't about genetic evolution; that was Khan's game. They are genetically the same as us, but are brought up differently, which means they learn better how to use reason and be civilized. It *does not* mean they are fundamentally different than us as a matter of type, and if they were then Trek would have no application to us at all.

What's different between me and Miles is that I would probably resort to rage much sooner than him and do something I'd regret, whereas he can hold out longer, and has an entire culture backing up his ethics whereas I grew up in a culture that in my view supports all sorts of degrading an heinous activities. So for me to remain moral is up to just me and my own willpower, along with maybe the smaller culture of friends I've made. For a Starfleet officer there's an entire Federation of people backing up that belief, along with a consistent upbringing of like values that are not inconsistent with each other as ours are now. This all creates a very strong package of civility, but O'Brien learns here that even that can only go so far, and that layer can be stripped away.

So why bring it up at all in an episode, you might ask? Because I strongly suspect that so many episodes in TNG made the characters appear to be placid that one might even wonder at times where they truly were placid specimens that didn't have that core of danger that we and all other humans have had. DS9 would like to remind us that, nope, it's still there are right, just buried underneath great culture and upbringing. The lesson? it's critical to keep up the environment necessary for these traits to thrive and not to take them for granted as if it's already mission accomplished. Sounds like a very Trek moral to me.

I think there's a "B" message in there too about be so far removed from your inner self that you stop thinking it exists. I'd call that scenario a danger. TOS was rather good about the characters being advanced but always giving a nod to the dark parts of them still inside that needed to be kept in check. This particular whole view of people was lost to an extent in TNG, and I think it quite appropriate that DS9 should give us a reminder that "the enemy within" never goes away.
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Chris P
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

Rahul nails it: the look and feel of this episode sets it above most of the others. The visual production and the dynamic nature of the story allowed people to overlook the incredible cavalcade of plot problems. This is Threshold/Maneuvers level writing in that regard.

3 stars. There's a perfect episode here from the everybody except the writers, whose story badly needed a rewrite to smooth out the bumps: there's a massive list of contrivances, plot holes, and unusual behavior from the characters.
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Tom Paris
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

"No, not a utopia, but there are tangible consequences to having certain technologies. Having repilcators doesn't make humans perfect, but it does eliminate the need for competition over resources."

Does it really? Can you replicate relationships, the love of someone you desire? What about land, and ownership of it? If want a large plot of land overlooking Golden Gate Bridge, can I replicate that? What about social status - power, fame, success, employment. You can't replicate the position of captain of the Enterprise. In one TNG episode Picard in an alternate timeline viewed himself as a "loser" because he hadn't risen to the lofty heights of captain. And you can't even replicate all material things, which is why Picard occasionally runs off with Vash to chase after archeological relics.

As far as I can tell, we only strive after material resources in order to get more intangible ones. Being able to replicate pots of gold and infinite plates of tiramisu isn't going to stop us wanting finite things, and competing over them.
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Elliott
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

The fact that Miles could be traumatised into behaving like an animal doesn't mean that he isn't an evolved human, but the writers take the opportunity to essentially say that human evolution didn't happen, it's just state propaganda that elites like Picard and co. spout at alien dignitaries.
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Elliott
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Patrick G.

From that episode:

O'BRIEN: When we were growing up, they used to tell us humanity had evolved, that mankind had outgrown hate and rage. But when it came down to it, when I had the chance to show that no matter what anyone did to me, I was still an evolved human being, I failed. I repaid kindness with blood. I was no better than an animal.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ Elliott,

But my question about Hard Time, again, is in what way do you think they were pissing on Roddenberry's ideals in the episode? And the same goes for ITC. How do those stories go against Trek as previously established?
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Elliott
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Patrick G.

You made my point for me--I agree with your conclusions about "Hard Time," and "In the Cards," so WHY do the characters take the time to piss all over the Roddenberry ideal when the episodes themselves do not actually disprove those ideals' validity? My opinion is that it is the writers being in love with their own subversion of the show they were writing for. And this is a persistent and damning feature of DS9.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ Elliott,

I don't really see what Hard Time shows other than that a good man can be broken. We already know that since even Picard broke, so in a way this episode is old news and completely in keeping with TNG's vision of humanity. In the Cards is a funny case, because it literally intends to be a funny case, but more to the point, I think it rightly pokes a hole in the "everyone will be contented with replicators" theory of economics. While others on these boards argue that 'Federation socialism' is a crock (which I think is a mid-directed argument) all the same I think it's too pat to say that no one will ever want anything from other cultures that you can't replicate. The idea that a culture will never require foreign exchange with other cultures is pretty absurd. Show people something they can't have and they will look for ways to get it, every time. ITC shows the need for *some sort* of economic system even in a post-scarcity world, and I view this as an obviously true assertion. Whether Federation credits end up being accepted as foreign exchange is another question, but it's not anti-Trek to suppose that people in the future will trade with alien cultures. That being said the whole "the Federation has no money" idea has been an inconsistent notion ever since TOS and has never been rooted in a definite theory of commerce, so I'll pretty much shrug my shoulders at this point at *anything* to do with economics in the 24th century.

@ Chome,

I think the argument being made isn't that the people who made the treaty are bad, but rather that they were looking at the big picture and losing sight of the details of the parties involved. It's completely consistent with TNG that Admirals and Ambassadors can be wrong or even aggressively ignorant about the problems on the ground faced by the Enterprise. There are even cases where there is moral conflict between Starfleet members, such as when Nechayev dressed Picard down for deciding not to use Hugh as a weapon. I would imagine that even had he received explicit orders to use Hugh Picard would have stood his ground and refused. Same (for better or worse) in First Contact with the "to hell with our orders" line. Trek is rife with the Captain overruling Starfleet Command when information on the ground shows their decision to be faulty, and Picard himself says that Starfleet doesn't want unthinking drones who only follow orders.

Now, for Kira to call it naive is one thing, and although she may have a point I don't think we have to take her remark as gospel. For Sisko to sort of side with her can have many explanations. I think he believes it, but at the same time his post is contingent on him developing a rapport with the Bajorans, and I think part of this requires adopting a general policy of considering issues of compassion and 'common sense' over and above following the letter of the law all the time. The Bajorans wouldn't have responded that well to an unbending stickler like a Picard, and so I think Sisko bends many times not only because he's reasonable in an an unceremonious way, but also because he knows there are factors that matter in people's lives other than Federation rules. And I don't think that's so anti-Trek either, even aside from being a diplomatic reality for Sisko. I will grant, however, that the series in general has a major conceit that Sisko (as Kirk did) can disobey orders as much as he likes without repercussions, and even though this is mostly probably a TV trope of the cowboy Captain, it does eventually ruffle the feathers after umpteen times of orders not mattering (someone just posted a comment about The Die Is Cast to this effect). That being said, DS9 seems to want to ask "what is right" and show that this can be in conflict with "what do the rules say". Whereas Picard would formally request a change in rules, Sisko isn't like that, and that is certainly a difference between them. But I don't think the idea of calling it like it is when the rules are dumb is anti-Trek; it's more like an admission that diplomats can mean well and make mistakes. It had already been argued before in TNG that the Federation gave up too much with their treaty with the Cardassians, so that's not new either.
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Chrome
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Peter G.

Actually, I was going to give the example of “The Maquis” where the treaty that Picard made, which took some real soul-searching and reasoning with parties on all sides, was essentially dragged through the mud and put out back to be shot. Characters in the DS9 two-parter continually question Federation diplomacy without anyone being a voice defending the treaty. Kira calls the Federation naive and gets no rebuttal. Meanwhile Sisko lies to superiors and blames Earth (God knows why...) and we’re supposed to side with that? I mean I get that tensions were so high in the Maquis situation and that there weren’t any good answers, but that conclusion actively undermines the hopeful message from TNG that even when things look lose-lose there might still be a way forward.
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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

Can I just say that certain comments by Picard have been taken out of context and used to justify an exaggerated concept of human evolution in the future. I really don't see DS9 as being fundamentally at odds with the values espoused in TNG and certainly not in TOS.

Even Season 1 of TNG, when Rodenberry was still in charge, had a character (Tasha Yar) from a planet every bit as violent and destructive as the worst of the past. This was a human colony let me remind you.

I disagree with Elliott's claim that a post scarcity society would largely eliminate the violence that plagues our current society - and I'm not even sure that's what Rodenberry had in mind frankly.
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Elliott
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Peter G.

Two examples that spring to mind immediately (and please note, this has nothing to do with my assessment of the quality of these episodes):

1. "Hard Time"--O'Brien reaches the conclusion that what he had been taught about evolved humanity wasn't true, because after seeming to endure endless years of imprisonment, he found himself unable to live by human ideals. That actual conclusion one can draw from his experience is, imprisoning and torturing people fucks them up, but the writers wanted to take a dig at the Roddenberry ethic without any real justification.

2. "In the Cards"--Nog reaches the conclusion that the human ethic of not needing things isn't true, because the DS9 crew all want things that they can't have without trading for something. Instead of the obvious, "Hey, my dad would really like this thing, maybe I can wait tables at Quark's for a week so I can get him this luxury item that will bring him a little joy." It's "Obviously, currency-based economics is superior to your doe-eyed socialism, naïve little humOn."

To your other points:

"He doesn't shirk them. There are no facts in evidence in S1-2 that would support this premise."

In the first two seasons, Sisko regularly lies, obfuscates and blackmails people to get what he wants.

"Being in a culture of advanced values doesn't mean you just automatically acquire them. All virtues need to be cultivated and maintained through work, and for some people it takes more work than for others...It sounds like you view Trek as a technological utopia."

No, not a utopia, but there are tangible consequences to having certain technologies. Having repilcators doesn't make humans perfect, but it does eliminate the need for competition over resources. There is literally no way to keep up with the Joneses because all our "stuff" is free. This is a fundamental change in society. I don't have a problem with Sisko not being as virtuous as Picard, but there has to be a motivation for it. Look at "The Maquis" from the previous week; the idea of human terrorists isn't impossible in Star Trek, but there has to be a motivation! Humans aren't religious and they live post scarcity, so the usual motivators for terrorism *cannot* exist in this universe. In "Journey's End," the set-up had to do with some vague spiritual connection to the land. That is the closest thing we get to a motivation for these people. That being the case, their actions are not morally-justified. They are behaving incredibly immaturely and selfishly, yet we are meant to be "both-sides"ing it.

If DS9 was going to do this thing where they test Federation values, then they had to create a justified context for it. I think that they partially succeeded with the Dominion War in this respect. A massive war-effort is going to alter the socioeconomic conditions of a society. I don't want to get too into it now, but that kind of seismic event is necessary to tell these kinds of stories in Star Trek--just like how in "Hard Time," you had to subject Miles to extreme torture to get him to break the Roddenberry mould.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ Chrome,

That's a reasonable position to take. But can you give one or more clear examples of DS9 ripping apart TNG lessons, excluding a minor few infamous episodes?
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Iceman
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Die Is Cast

"The Die is Cast" comes close to perfection but ultimately fails to reach it. The Garak/Odo material is just as good as the previous episode, but there's a weak subplot about the Defiant's rescue of Odo. It takes away from the tension of the Odo/Garak scenes, and it's devoid of credibility. First of all, why is it necessary? All the changeling would have to do is inform the Jem'Hadar that Odo is on the runabout escaping one of the ships, and they would have to grant him safe passage back to DS9. Second of all, why is everyone consequence free when they get back to DS9? Sisko disobeyed direct orders. Such plot holes wouldn't matter if the actual material was strong, but it isn't really. It provides a nice space battle, but on the whole, "The Die is Cast" would have been more remarkable had it kept its focus squarely on Odo and Garak.

3.5 stars, albeit a very strong 3.5.
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