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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Agreed Jason - any issues with the character aside, she isn't a good actress. John Boyega and Adam Driver are the strongest actors in these films, but Boyega's material in TLJ was a waste of his abilities.
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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Reacting to the theatrical cut ...
It's very ambition, kind of enjoyably majestic, weighty (the best part was the crew both being different and close enough to how they were before and reuniting), deep/thought-provoking, impressively so different from rather than trying to be Star Wars, but a bit too weighty rather than dynamic or fun and even in its deep themes at times a bit too awkward, abrupt and/or repetitive. It's interesting both in itself and in retrospect how much this film seems like a precursor to the Borg and to TNG-style generally but not really doing it well, TNG definitely did both the style and some of the specific themes much better.
The Kirk/Decker conflict is good but a bit too overdone, the idea of Spock maybe not being loyal way too awkward (McCoy quickly becoming suspicious too out-of-character), too much of the Decker/Ilia relationship, before and after she is replaced, feels too just there to be there and overfocused on. The crew in general, though seeing them reunite was fun, is too often too lacking in energy or warmth/chemistry and does get too overshadowed by the effects (which are strong but too often feel excessive).
A lot of Jerry Goldsmith's music is really good but a lot of it, though mostly with regard to the Decker & Ilia relationship, also feels a little too obvious and clearly-present and repetitive.
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Jason R.
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

There were flashbacks in TFA that hinted at some kind of origin for Rey that ended up on the garbage pile for TLJ (like most things Abrams set up in that movie).

That said, I can't imagine how Rey having some special origin would improve her character or make Daisy Ridley less dreary.

I'm long past worrying about whether Rey is a "Mary Sue" or not. Suffice it to say she's just not very good and after two movies, we've seen all there is to see at this point from her .
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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 11:58am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

Ehh, stuff I wanted to mention but forgot.

I suppose it’s inherent in my comments, but I meant to specifically mention how refreshing it was to get an interesting non-humanoid alien species AND a non-hostile humanoid race in the same DQ episode. Provides some dimension.

And that apparently Jammer is immune to the pathos of Vulcans dutifully returning to the stern discipline of logic after brief vacations in the more expansive domain of freer emotional expression. He gave TOS’s This Side of Paradise a similarly damning rating - the first ST episode that unexpectedly brought me to tears. In it Spock somewhat grimly submits again to his duties and responsibilities after experiencing a liberating range of emotions. His line “For the first time in my life I was happy” wipes me out every time.
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Top Hat
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 9:12am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

Bear in mind that Data didn't even know that Soong was his creator (or weirdly who he even was) before "Datalore." His "memories" of the colonists are decidedly partial.
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Jon R
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 7:32am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

Followup to myself.

Ok, in a later scene they make it clear that Data only has the colonists logs in his brain, not their memories. (I could have sworn it was referred to as memories in previous episodes) They also explained why there was no reference to her in those logs, because she retained her first name when she married Soong and hid their marriage from other people.
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Jon R
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 7:17am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

I'm watching this episode right now and in the first scene Dr. Juliana Trainer approaches Data and is like "do you know who I am?" and Data doesn't realize she's his "mother".

My immediate thought was "Isn't Data supposed to have memories of all the people from Omicron Theta? Shouldn't that allow Data to recognize her?"

I'll let that slide since I never liked the "Data has everyone's memories" aspect of his background anyway. I thought it was kinda dumb (did Soong scan peoples brains? How did he get those memories?) and the writers rarely did anything with it anyway. I think they forgot about it most of the time. :P

Overall I liked this episode. Its not top tier, but it's above average, especially for season 7.
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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 5:23am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

Oh my goodness-Picard and Crusher have feelings for each other-yes we know-this is hammered into us from Season 1 with brilliant observations from Wesley like 'You knew my father' and continues with garbage like The Naked Now.
If it takes Picard and Crusher a contrived mind link device to hold hands after twenty years they can't be that keen on each other.
Anyhoo, as someone above observes, who cares?
This is supposed to be science fiction a genre label that continues to be misapplied to kindergarten social drama like this forgettable episode to this day.
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van zeSpleen
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 3:56am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I read somewhere that fans are very interested in Rey's origin and parentage. Just watched Rogue One on dvd - Jyn's crystal pendant holds the clue, because her mother's (Lyra) side must have the Force in them, as blind monk Chirrut could sense Jyn's presence when she walked past him. Maybe Jyn was saved somehow and Rey is offspring from Jyn-Lyra's family tree, which would tie in Rogue One characters with Rey's future stories.
By the way, re swordplay and ancient Japanese folklore - I grew up watching black & white movies of Chinese swordplay and 'ching kung', much like Yoda's lightsaber fights. So Chinese audience may be wooed if Michelle Yeoh (of ST Dicovery fame) turns up with a lightsaber in SW franchise!
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Sleeper Agent
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 3:52am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

Oh, and in classic Star Trek fashion the planet they visited looked astonishingly a lot like a typical american country side.
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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 2:48am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

I don’t read Jammer’s reviews - or any responses - till I’ve seen an episode. I’m always curious to see what his rating is. It really doesn’t matter to me what critics think, as I’m capable of responding to a creative artifact and making up my own mind. But I generally find Jammer’s reviews balanced and reasonably fair - making allowances for his inexplicable aesthetic prejudices (and sometimes the sheer momentum of his affection for one series and his animus toward another).

His reviews generally at least touch on all or most of the general themes I caught, and sometimes he points out something I’d missed, or has an enlightening perspective. And the reviews are “multi-phasic,” in that they attend to most aspects of an episode: premise(s), script, dialog, plot, characterization and development, tropes and conventions, symbolism/metaphors/subtext/social commentary, deeper moral, ethical, or philosophical import, acting quality, production quality, effects, costumes and prosthetics, pacing, music...

Very few of the respondents here cover that much ground - most of us specializing in the two or three elements we focus on, and some of us grinding the narrowest of asinine axes.

All that said, I generally either more or less agree with his overall assessments, or at least understand where he’s coming from. All of which may explain (at least to me) my befuddlement when our judgments of an episode diverge wildly. This episode is a case in point: I was fully expecting to see a solid 3.5 or even 4 - as I was appalled to see (as examples) 4 stars for Barge of the Dead, and 2.5 for Alice (too high).

But then I remember we must have very different perspectives; he wrote these reviews in his 20s, as a college student, no doubt with a touch of intellectual hubris. I’m in my 60s, feel like I’ve had my intellectual pride beat out of me over the years, and have become more forgiving and less demanding of others along the way. I wonder how Jammer would rate these episodes now, from his more mature perspective.

I really think this episode is an example of Voyager (in Tom Paris terms) firing evenly, robustly, and smoothly on all cylinders. It’s a rather quiet episode, well-paced and consistently engaging. Characterization is spot-on for everyone, Tuvok and Neelix are written intelligently and sensitively, Russ and Phillips nail their roles effectively (and affectively), and new character dynamics emerge naturally.

Russ plays the damaged patient perfectly, with mannerisms, postures, expressions, speech, and affect that read both tenderly and movingly real to anyone who has seen people go through such experiences. And the ever-supportive, well-intentioned Neelix nails the truly empathetic and responsive caregiver, becoming the only member of the crew to insist on providing the “human” touch for a prickly character, even when he is discouraged from - or at best patronized for - doing so. Doc finally tolerates Neelix’s homely ministrations as much to humor him (and get him out of the way) as from any confidence Neelix might do any good.

And as much as the rest of the crew depends on Tuvok, respects him, or sometimes values his strength and insight, they’re all content to wait for medical science to provide a miracle cure - partially so they can get the cloaking frequency from him. It’s not clear that they CARE for Tuvok the person as much as they recognize they NEED their Vulcan tactical/science appliance.

Only Neelix, the one guy on board Tuvok least respects and enjoys, cares for him personally with touch, voice, and sensory experience when Tuvok is comatose and useless to the others. Only Neelix (with advice from Seven as DISpassionate as it is COMpassionate) takes the conscious but broken and childlike Tuvok as he finds him, where he is, rather than pushing him to recover to his old self. When Tuvok is frustrated with himself and near despair, aware of his own cognitive and developmental disorders, it’s Neelix who has the patience, insight, and compassion to encourage him to become this new personality which has emerged.

I found it all both realistic and moving, and very much appreciated this interplay and the mutual insight between these odd-couple characters. Yeah, it reminds us of Tuvix, but for my taste it’s more real and better done.

Neelix’s bittersweet support of Tuvok undergoing full restoration to his customary personality carried radical ambivalence, pathos, and more than a little self-sacrifice. He all but knew he would lose this new friend with all his unexpected potential, but also knew not only that part of Tuvok would always feel the loss of his original nature - but that Tuvok was vitally important to the survival of Voyager, which needed his Vulcan logic and strength more than his newly poetic Vulcan soul.

In this sense, Neelix sacrifices his new friend for the good of the many; it’s ironic that touchy-feely Neelix makes a very Vulcan decision, while the Vulcan submits to it only when given the Vulcan-irrelevant promise that Neelix would still be his friend afterward. Everyone on board owes Neelix a heavy debt of gratitude for his warmth, compassion, insight - and, ultimately - clear view of necessity and steely resolve.

I get that Neelix has sometimes been badly written, seems frivolous, and could be annoying. But I’m with the posters above in considering him the heart of the ship, and indispensable.

I may be pre-disposed to this sentiment, as he reminds me in essential ways of my maternal grandfather. He wasn’t annoying, but he was soft-spoken, kind to all, considerate, emotionally perceptive in an unassuming way, gentle, humble, and patient. He also had unexpected strength and endurance of character, great physical and emotional courage, and an unbreakable will which was flexible only in means, never in ends.

After his stroke, and for the 8 years it took his body to run down, he was unfailingly polite when we visited the nursing home - while wringing his hands in despair that he didn’t know who we were, just that he was supposed to know.

So I guess the episode caught me there too, as some of broken-Tuvok’s behavior and mannerisms also reminded me of him.

But that’s only the prominent, character plot. I also thought the subplot with the “xenophobic” aliens was very well done, in an understated way, with less conflict and less technobabble than usual.

I found the cloaked, tentacled aliens more cautious, secretive, and defensive than hard-headed or bellicose. Yes they surreptitiously gathered intel on unknown ships passing through - but certainly no more invasively than Voyager has often done. A case can be made that there was no intention to hurt Tuvok, that had he not caught the alien in the act, he would not have been fired on. And if the culture that knows them best can consider them mythical - but for one rogue Mulder who has documented all of 12 incidents - they can’t be much of a threat.

I like that they remain mysterious; it seems to me that interstellar spacefaring humans (should there ever be such a thing) will have far more similarly inconclusive encounters than shootemup space battles with violent foreheaded humanoid bipeds.

I guess I consider the Neelix-Tuvok material the cake here, and the alien encounter the icing. The yummy sprinkles would be the completely altruistic Naroq, who is consistently straightforward about his motives and agenda, with never a hint of subterfuge or betrayal - and whose somewhat self-sacrificial gesture at the end brings about a win-win-win resolution for three species.

The plot doesn’t dwell on it, but - as he gave up his cloak-busting tech - it would seem his deepest motivations were indeed exploration and intellectual curiosity, not military dominance. Presumably he goes home with enough images, hard data, and sensor logs to prove that the shadowy species exists, and establish at least something about them. Whether the rest of his society can be satisfied with that, or whether they turn his research against the mystery race, we can’t know.

But that’s science. Explorers never have much control over society’s use of their discoveries.

So, overall, a humane and generally harmonious episode featuring creatures of goodwill, working in good faith through tragic circumstances. Seems about as Trek as it gets.

But OK, I could have done with a little bigger cherry on top of the cake at the very end. The writers might have let Tuvok remember and acknowledge more of the emotional journey he and Neelix had made. Not anything too dramatically overt, but a half-smile, a wink, something. As I’m watching through in order, I can’t conclude there’s a hard reset at the end of Riddle; I can still hope future character dynamics between these two will incorporate something of this episode’s rapprochement.

I am grateful, though, for “Sundays/Sundaes.” The homophonic verbal logic may indicate Tuvok 3.0 retains some of the creative spark of Tuvok 2.0.

AND I can entertain the notion that “Sundays” COULD mean that on one day a week, Tuvok might bake some confections with his buddy Neelix.
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Sleeper Agent
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 11:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

Trent (Tue, Oct 10, 2017)

Summarizes my feelings for this episode quite eloquently.


P.S. Drugs are bad, mmkay.
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Sleeper Agent
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

It doesn't matter what the Prime directive says explicitly, it's its core message and how it is lived by, that ultimately defines it. To this definition one clearly must include the idea of souverenity; because there is no way Starfleet would tolerate outside-alien intermingling in earthly affairs.

With that said, "Taste of Armageddon" would be a lot less fun if Kirk would have just beamed away at first best chance. One of its highlights being Scotty in command of the bridge, "The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank!" =]

A real treat of an episode, one of the finest of season 1.
IV of IV
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

Wowza this might be my favorite Trek episode. My only issue is that going forward the Captain wasn't changed more by it.
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William B
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

And in particular, Uxbridge was not planning on using *any* "force," even the threat of force. I think his pacifism was so strong that even depowering them directly would seem to violate his extreme, inflexible code -- only deception and illusion were allowed. Threatening them would be right out. The problem is that Uxbridge didn't really anticipate he would fail, and so didn't consider any intermediate options (threatening the Husnock, un-weaponizing them, destroying the particular attacking ship) between extreme pacifism with some deception and overt genocide. If he had known that Rishon would die and how he'd react, of course he would have taken more steps, but he didn't.
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Peter G.
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

@ Chayton,

Yep, I agree. This is a top episode for me. Maybe not in the "classics" category like some myth-level episodes are (BoBW, Chain of Command, etc) but among regular episode it's top-tier.
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

By “script” in my penultimate paragraph above, I more specifically meant “dialogue.”

(Sure wish these posts could be edited. By habit I’m a relentless self-editor.)
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Demon

We have literally another series about a threatening species of changelings that can mimic human beings and it's considered a total threat and they WILLINGLY let themselves be cloned by a liquid species they know nothing about? Call me whatever, but VOY is lame and should be embarrassed of itself.
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Top Hat
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

Uxbridge says "I tried to fool the Husnock as I tried to fool you. It only made them angrier. More cruel." So apparently he is not infallible, and misplayed his cards. And then: "I went insane. My hatred exploded, and in an instant of grief I destroyed the Husnock." He killed them all because he wanted to, not because he didn't have other options, and presumably doesn't have the power to simply undo that act.
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

Inner Light the prequel is on almost every top 10 list of STNG episodes - and to see this story resurface is poignant. The role of Nella, the casting is near perfect - a 100% believable Picard romantic interest (she is European in fact and does a great job of hiding her accent and RIP died of cancer in 2014). Back to the episode - I will never forget Picard's line (paraphrasing) - I wanted you to know what my music means to me - and what it means to be able to share it with someone and then she touches his face so tenderly with understanding as Nella is a serious musical person. And then at the end - Picard saying how it was like 'the day the music died' when he thought she was dead - the risk of merging yourself - and not being able to take that risk again. A great episode on its own - and cannot be appreciated or really understood without seeing the epic Inner Light first - enjoy both!
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

This episode epitomizes for me what made the entire Star Trek concept work - that the exploration of space is not simply a scientific journey - but rather an exploration of meaning, purpose, and connection - after the question has been answered Are We Alone? comes even deeper questions. I thought Tam was played exquisitely in this episode - his pain and his loss so easy to feel, his interaction with Picard like a teacher/student in both directions, his relationship with Troi illuminating Troi's struggles with empathy too - Star Trek's own Tin Man Data - recovering from loosing his 'child' Lal - struck by Tam's statement that the purpose of life is caring for someone which validates Data's sense of loss. Data taking a huge step towards humanity in 'witnessing' the miracle of healing that Tam/Tin Man's union created. And you add to that one of the most beautiful musical scores in Star Trek history (perhaps right after the flute folk melody of Inner Light/Lessons) and you have a nearly perfect episode - and not only is purpose & meaning explored - also the right to life and the right to die - even species extinction - I read every comment on this page and I cannot understand how someone would not see Tin Man as one of the great Star Trek episodes of all time.
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Latex Zebra
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Watched this last night for the first time in absolutely ages and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Light and breezy, I think the humour works and doesn't feel too forced apart from a couple of jokes. A decent story, cool bad guys, a funky space battle.
Yeah, not the best but not the worst. I reckon this is a 3.
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 2:27am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

With such unlimited power- and one presumes an intellect to match - could he not simply have deweaponised their ships and sent them straight back home to Planet Husnock with a strong warning?
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 1:05am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

@ Quibbles
Hahaha. Thanks for the description. I laughed quite a bit. I hope your mother recovered and is fine and in good health. :)

Yeah sex (and violence) in American television or media in general is a topic for itself. The only thing you couldn't show in German TV in the 90s was hardcore pornography, softcore was fine after 10pm. In Europe violence is seen more as a problem, sex less so (UK being the outlier). I think that is why sex in American shows is often so awkward and often seems somewhat prude and Star Trek is no exception here. Even though DS9 was fairly relaxed there too. Jadzia and Worf were doing really rough SM and nobody seemed to mind. Curzon's stories, Quark and his porn adventures, the Risa episode where everybody was just boning away.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

A fine-tuned comic delight, chock full of delicious details and delightful character turns. You couldn’t take your eyes off the screen for fear of missing something.

Voyager does loopy comedy amazingly well. I was entertained from git to go.
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