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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Remember

I cannot believe the nit-picky comments here. Why did Jora/Kirina pick B'Elanna? Why not? She had to pick someone, B'Elanna was working with the Enarans a lot, and B'Elanna had the personality to push the truth no matter what. Why didn't Jora/Kirina do it herself? Because she's not B'Elanna, she was obviously far more cowardly and shy. B'Elanna would have NEVER done what Jora/Kirina did in the final dream. Why didn't the Enarans know about the massacres when they're all psychic? Because it's established they can't read minds, they can only project the specific memories of their choosing when they want to, and can hide them just as easily. And also, it's established that they didn't want to know even when proof is readily available, which is certainly true of the many people who deny historical atrocities on our planet. Was the episode black and white? Of course it was. Because sometimes people are just 100% wrong. That does happen. And I certainly don't want to see Star Trek try to present the "other side" of the issue where genocide is concerned. This was a powerful, disturbing episode. It had something important to say. I'm disappointed at all the people nerdily nit-picking it apart, or saying it's not a realistic analogy. It is, and you guys remind me of the Enarans who refuse to believe the truth also. I mean, the Enaran government officials even dressed in a way vaguely reminiscent of the Nazis. This did happen, and with their well-done metaphor there was really only one position Star Trek could take on it. And like The Diary of Anne Frank, they personalized it to the experience of one person, which made the point more relatable. Kudos.
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

@ Trent,

Since you already granting that diplomacy with the Dominion is futile, the only other side that remains that you mentioned is to show the Federation trying it anyhow. I guess I wouldn't have minded that, but personally showing airtime of futile negotiations with essentially Hitler would cast the Federation perpetually in the role of Chamberlain, which is not flattering. And I do disagree with this statement:

"You have to ignore the Federation working with the Cardassians and Romulans to genocide the Founder homeworld. You have to ignore Sisko constantly sending cloaked warships and runabouts into or near Dominion space. You have to ignore, in this episode, him appealing to 17th century human salvage rights to justify stealing another Empire's crashed ship."

I don't think any of these things require ignoring. I blatantly disagree with those who call the Federation complicit in Tain's attack on the Founders. The Federation is not a Dominion ally and has *no* right or reason to intercede on their behalf when being attacked by a foreign power. It is not even a moral imperative to do something, let alone a legally mandated action. Now maybe the issue of genocide itself opens up issues, but I'm not even sure Sisko had any idea the fleet was going in to do anything other than attack. The only time I think we hear it's about wiping out the Founders was Tain saying it to Garak. I guess I could be remembering that wrong.

Other than that, all of these "incursions" into Dominion space by Sisko, the Federation, Vulcans, Bajorans, etc, were labeled *by the Dominion* as aggressions, but the show is very clear that they are nothing of the sort. The Dominion essentially claimed to have annexed the entire Gamma Quadrant, which if you realize the scale of that is utterly preposterous. And they clearly only did so because of the wormhole, making their claim mealy mouthed and dishonest. Basically their view really is that they own anything they say they own. But that's not how territory rights and borders work, which in real life must be negotiated (or won at the point of a gun). You only 'own everything' if no one can stop you, which is what the Dominion assumes by default. But their idiotic claim doesn't make the desire to explore vast space an "incursion" that by any reasonable definition shows the Federation as aggressive. The only outright aggressive action the Federation really took until later seasons was sending the Odyssey, and even they it was only for a rescue mission (to save a Starfleet Commander) and not to attack.

From that standpoint the series in no way IMO shows reciprocal provocation from both sides. There is essentially no provocation from the side of the Federation, which I think almost goes far enough by itself to count as their diplomatic effort. I might have also liked the odd episode of attempted peace-making, but we do get one conversation pre-minefield between Sisko and Weyoun that sums up nicely what all other diplomacy would have been like. This is not a Versailles/Germany situation where one side goes on the warpath but where you pushed them there. This is the real Federation as we know it, confronted with a bully. Probably not much different than early dealings with the Klingons.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

Ira Behr did the introduction to a DS9 Technical Manual book in the 1990s, and in it gave his one line summary of the show: "technology changes, but humans won't". I always considered this a glib, dishonest and reactionary answer. And it's an answer DS9 can only sell by withholding information, rigging its little dramatic dilemmas, and turning a blind eye to very specific things.

And so in this episode, you have Sisko and a Founder fighting over a crashed Dominion ship. They fight, people die, and we get a sentimental coda which espouses a message typical of war films: war is bad, sad, but ultimately unavoidable because of human predilections, whilst footsoldiers themselves must sadly die for commanders, who take on the White Man's Buden to make tough choices so others don't have it. War? *sigh* Whatcha going to do?

To justify this kind of philosophical shrug, you have to basically renounce science, rationalism, and any kind of forensic look at the Dominion/Federation war. You have to ignore the Federation working with the Cardassians and Romulans to genocide the Founder homeworld. You have to ignore Sisko constantly sending cloaked warships and runabouts into or near Dominion space. You have to ignore, in this episode, him appealing to 17th century human salvage rights to justify stealing another Empire's crashed ship.

The Dominion are brutal tyrants. In this episode they fire at and destroy a runabout without provocation. Sisko is right not to lay down arms and trust them in this episode. But the Dominion are also "right" in their madness; the Federation and its "allies" have tried to wipe them out. Have been encroaching on their space. Given this, and given their past history with solids, declaring Federation travel through the wormhole off limits, and sending Changeling spies to spy on and meddle with the Federation, and then escalating into outright war, makes some kind of sense.

What makes no sense is the Federation, a body with centuries of experience, and countless military, ambassadorial, scientific, psychological and sociological experts, nonchalantly dancing about the Dominion like 20th century Imperial strongmen.

In its drive to make war seem inevitable, discussion naive, diplomacy a dead end and compromise and coexistance a pipe-dream, DS9 has to make the Federation look stupid, incompetent and callous. And because the Federation represents us in contemporary times, this necessarily means we the viewers are also stupid. It makes our political/philosophical approach to war stupid. But DS9 is not critqing human stupidity. It is not wagging a finger at us or contemporary society. No, DS9 is praising this stupidity and couching it in "tough choices" and "pragmatism".

And because DS9 never properly critiques the Federation, never accuses it of failing to explore other options or tactics, never even shows these options being explored, and instead tricks you into accepting conflict as an inevitable consequence of choices the Federation and Dominion had no choice but to make, it makes its audience complicit in the stupidity.

From season 4 onwards, it becomes increasingly harder to watch the Dominion/Federation arc. It's like watching two dopey cultures interact. Not once is the Federation meaningfully critiqued. Not once are Sisko's dubious choices countered, challenged or seen to have ramifications. In its headlong rush to have big CGI armadas trading blows, everyone has to act as stupidly as possible.

Ira Behr is not wrong in wanting a pessimistic show. But that pessimism is rarely earned and is often got to by cheating and cutting corners. Behr is also not wrong to deem relations with the Dominion to be futile. But try anyway, show why it's futile. Just one or two episodes. And at the very least, if you're hellbent on portraying things as inherently futile, then make the logical leap to the next step: meaningfully prepare for war early. Secure the wormhole, rig it sooner with mines, park a Fed fleet over Bajor and maybe even send lots of covert Fed teams to try and emancipate conquered Dominion races. Why does a Federation that has access to Genesis devices, and that repeatedly thwarted the Borg, struggle to lock down a single wormhole?

Anyway, this episode contains two good scenes, both which involve Sisko angry, sweaty and barking orders. The episode's core idea - the Alamo in miniature - is good, but the script is slack, lacks tension or conflict, and the relationship between the Vorta and Sisko rather dull. Worf and Dax also act woefully out of character in this episode, and I don't buy them falling apart so easily. Worf's hounding of OBrian is particularly ridiculous.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

I must say, this film is damn perfect. I didn't grow up on Star Wars, but by god I love this movie so so much, especially the god. damn. score.
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Not sure if someone above has addressed this, but another part of the problem with this as a portrayal of a disabled person is that part of the sci-fi premise in the window dressing (her home planet) actually makes it so that she's not simply *disabled* but rather differently abled. Unlike the euphemism used by some now, to indicate they are "abled" but not in the way of the majority (which is really a dishonest way of saying they are indeed disabled in that one aspect but have other abilities), in the case of Melora she really isn't disabled at all, just unsuited to that particular Earth-like environment, whereas in her native environment she no doubt is vastly superior to Sisko and the others. She breaks the direct parallel to disabled people and instead makes it more of an adaptation issue. Within context of this show, she's as disabled on DS9 as someone now on Earth is who has a 2 am - 10 am natural sleep cycle. They will be at a disadvantage if the majority rule is that you're at work from 9-5, but it's not so much that they're disabled sleep-wise since they would be perfectly functional if work started at 11 am, but rather just poorly adapted to the current social structure and would do better perhaps than other people if it was other than it was.

Because of this and other mixed messages I've never thought this episode worked pretty much at all. The one possibly nice premise, of someone who loves zero-G, could never work in a series that won't afford cable budgets all the time to have flying scenes. If this was shot now it would be a whole different story.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 8:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Yeah and that is why certain groups are often portrayed as being unfriendly or whatever you want to call her behavior so that the normals can feel justified in being annoyed of the groups these people represent.
In essence they turned a script by a guy in a wheelchair that wanted to shine a sympathetic light on how it is to be disabled, especially in connection to the problems normal people create, into a script that made disabled people look shitty.
To give a visual representation of what they did.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

@Booming well that's because they probably are bothersome and problematic. If I have to, say, install a ramp so that one employee in a wheelchair (out of say 50) can access my business, that is bothersome and creates problems.

Doesn't mean I shouldn't be bothered mind you. Many good and necessary things cause bother and even problems.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 5:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

I get it but in this case it is more about the vast majority often perceiving people who are outside the spectrum of normalcy as bothersome or problematic and switching that around is less easy to digest so they didn't.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 5:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

"The disabled person being the problem and acting difficult while the normies are not. Never seen that before...

In the original draft, written by a disabled person, it was actually the other way around. The normies were the once creating the problems and the disabled person was the one who had to deal with that but for some very easily understandable reason they didn't do it that way."

Imagine that, human beings caught up in their own narrow perspectives.
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Cody B
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 4:51am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Episode 8-Worst episode yet. This week we are taken into filler inception. A show that is nothing but filler gives us it’s own filler episode. I’m sure someone will try to defend this episode because “Easter eggs dude!”. Yes they mentioned Kirk and shown some Gorns oh boy. #Clever #EasterEggs #FanService
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 2:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

The disabled person being the problem and acting difficult while the normies are not. Never seen that before...

In the original draft, written by a disabled person, it was actually the other way around. The normies were the once creating the problems and the disabled person was the one who had to deal with that but for some very easily understandable reason they didn't do it that way.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

"Extremely mediocre episode. What bothered me endlessly was how Melora's borderline insubordination in the beginning is never even commented upon.
"I know Starfleet isn't strictly military, but an ensign being rude and even hostile to superior officers without anyone even saying something?"

Indeed, it wasn't realistic. "Rude guest star joins the main cast for an episode" can work. In Data's Day the Vulcan (Romulan as it turned out) Ambassador was noticeably rude - but she wasn't part of the Starfleet hierarchy. In numerous TNG episodes Ro Laren was rude too - and got in trouble for it. But simply inserting a bolshy, unprofessionally difficult Ensign into the DS9 cast and seeing them completely overlook her behaviour made no sense.
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

This episode reminds me of the time in TNG/Descent when VADM Nechayev dressed down Picard telling him, "Your priority is to safeguard the lives of Federation citizens. Not to wrestle with your conscience."

In Janeway's situation, her priority is to leverage and maintain a tactical/situational advantage (without her or her crew committing outright crimes like the Equinox crew did). By allowing valuable information to be discarded that saved the life of her CHENG, she's doing her command a disservice.

Proper procedure should have been to have the Doctor forward a memo (and opinion) to Starfleet Medical and let them decide about deleting the research from the medical databases. Like MikeZ said, this cancel culture is getting ridiculous.
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Hotel bastardos
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Well, he's a renowned shagger- but the thing is , now his esteemed colleague has experienced his "length" - how can she look him in the eye
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

This is a fantastic episode and a rejoinder to those who say that DS9's first season was weak. I love how Neela flirts with O'Brien to keep him distracted (poor Miles), and the whole mystery plot unfolds in a satisfying and logical progression.

Two things I would change about this episode:
1) Eliminate Sisko's cheesy slo-mo "Noooooooooo".
2) I wish they had kept Winn's involvement in the plot more ambiguous. That scene where she meets with Neela right before the assassination attempt is a little too on the nose. In light of Winn's arc over the next six seasons, her motives and intrigues should have been more opaque at this point.

Regardless, this episode set the standard for all of DS9's great season finales, which always shook up the status quo.
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James G
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

Comments here apply to both parts.

I was really looking forward to this one - the idea of Data's head being discovered in San Francisco was fascinating and intriguing. In practice, the whole story turned out to be, for me, an overlong dog's breakfast of fanciful nonsense. It's comfortably one of the worst-conceived ideas of the whole Trek canon, so why it was singled out to be padded and stretched out to a two-parter is beyond me.

Now - I know you have to suspend your disbelief a bit in science fiction. Especially in time travel stories. But Christ on a Bike, there's so much wrong with this.

This idea that the aliens are invisible because they are living in a fractionally different time - why? You'd just see them as they were a fraction of a second previously. There's no character development for the villainous aliens at all. Why is it even necessary for them to be visiting 19th Century Earth from the 24th Century? Their own time could just as easily be the 22nd Century, or the 26th, or even the 13th!

Star Trek period pieces always bore me I'm afraid but the Mark Twain character makes this one unbearable.

There's a curious feature in this story in that Crusher appears to speak a lines intended for Geordi: "I haven't been able to determine if our phaser energy can generate a stable field". Similarly for some reason early on in the first part, Geordi turns out to be an expert in cellular fossils, and their origin.

I think it's just really sloppy writing.

There's some real, awful technobollocks around this idea of "synchronic displacement".

We're supposed to accept that Data's head is over 500 years old now, for the rest of the canon.

I quite like the idea that Guinan was in 10th Century San Francisco, even though it's a bit of a coincidence. She continues to live for another five centuries or so before she turns up on the Enterprise. I sort of like that. But at what point in this timeline do the Borg attack her planet, and leave the rest of her species wandering like nomads? She already seems to have that existence.

Data tells us that there is "no way to prevent it", on the subject of his severed head. You just can't change destiny. But Guinan refuses to tell Riker what he should do, on the basis that you can change it. The whole 'First Contact' movie is based on the idea that you can. Who's right?

I wondered if Data building some sort of improbable technology from 19th Century bits and pieces was an homage to Spock doing similar with 1930 tech in City On The Edge Of Forever.

Anyway the various plot holes and logical faults are not really the problem here. It's just not engaging or interesting, it's not coherent and all the fanciful flamboyant tripe like the old bugger with the cigar and Picard's acting troupe, and the old Irish landlady are grindingly boring.

For me the worst episode of the 5th series, and - hopefully - of the 6th.
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James G
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

I watched the first of this two-parter a few days ago, and the second part just now. I really didn't like it. But I'll summarise my thoughts about both parts in the comments for the concluding part.
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

Watching this now, I give it two stars for making me laugh, knock off half a star for abandoning the salamander babies!
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

nBSG was really good through 2 1/2 years and RAZOR, but after that is was garbage to include that horrible finale.
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

It may not be well executed, especially the Janeway decision making part, but the main idea is quite original.
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Top Hat
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Family

O’Brien’s rank is one of those odd topics where the writers and production people weren’t on the same page.
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Seth MacFarlane on Star Trek and NuTrek:
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

Wow @Jack Bauer, that ENT documentary was extremely cathartic!

Reminds me of the Ronald D Moore interview @Keiren posted in @Jammer's review of Voyager season 6,

I especially liked hearing a little more about the Ronald D Moore/Brannon Braga feud. Man, Braga fucked up. But Star Trek's loss was nBSG's gain!
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

I've always regarded this as a poor and very overrated episode.

Yes, the idea of Odo losing his "molecular cohesiveness" and "slowly dying" is good. Yes, almost every scene with Garak is excellent. Yes, the climax in which Gowron is apparently revealed to be a shapeshifter, is exciting. Yes, Quark's relationship with Odo is once again seen to be quite touching.

But there are too many poor decisions. The Founders allowing the Defiant to park above their homeworld is nonsensical. They should put Odo and Sisko in a Dominion ship, keep them in locked quarters, travel secretly to the homeworld and then beam them down. Taking the Defiant - and using a hokey "location blocker" which simply plugs into a bridge console - is unbelievable, especially when the episode goes to lengths to point out how a single ship has the ability to raze the entire planet.

Sisko's taking of the Defiant is itself a bad move. You don't want to accidentally instigate a war with the Dominion. You want their medical help. Send a runabout instead. And if you do take the Defiant, don't take Garak with you.

The Founders "punishing Odo by turning him human" is also a bad move. The series increasingly shunts Odo into a Little Mermaid arc, when it should have gone a twisted Beauty and the Beast route. Make him hopelessly pine for Kira, and Kira be romantically repulsed by him. We know from DS9's final seasons that finally bringing them together doesn't work. It leads only to a sitcomy, forced romance between two characters with no romantic chemistry.

As with most of later DS9, this episode also contains many scenes in which Big Bad Villains stand about and deliver Bad Guy dialogue. Unfortunately the Founders, the Jem'hadar, the Vorta, the Breen etc are all cartoon-level characters whose dialogue always feels like cartoon-level dialogue. This series' always sidelines its more interesting adversaries - the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Klingons and even the Bajorans - for the comparatively weaker Dominion, who always work best when they are faceless, off screen, implied, undercover or in the margins.

Give a Klingon or a Cardassian verbal scenery to chew, and they will chew it. There's a certain theatrical pomp and pageantry a Klingon or Cardie gives you. But put a Founder in front of Odo and get her talking about Great Links, Conquest and Evil Solids, and you just end up with hokey material played straight.
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

I've thought about this for some time actually -- Trent went thru his ranking of the doctors from the 5 "classic" Treks. So here's the definitive ranking :)

For me, no question Bones is No. 1. He was part of the Big 3 -- no other Trek doctor had as important a role as he did and Kelley really delivered. I didn't always like the writing he was given in terms of being forced to disagree with Spock but on occasion it really worked ("All Our Yesterdays") comes to mind.

No. 2 has to be the EMH doctor -- really think Picardo's acting elevated this character to be (after 7 of 9) the best VOY character for me. I always enjoyed is acerbic wit, facial expressions, and he's definitely the most humorous of the doctors.

No. 3 is Phlox as I think of the range of tones Billingsley could portray. "Dear Doctor" and "Damage" are a couple of episodes I think of when he has those really deep ethical conversations with Archer. Also in "Regeneration" he does a brilliant job confronting his own mortality. Really liked his curiosity about humans in early ENT.

No. 4 is Bashir -- ranking him 4th doesn't feel right to me given how much I like him on DS9 but all things considered, I didn't like how, at the start, he was overly attracted to Dax ("Emissary" for example). Him and O'Brien made the 2 best buddies on any Trek series, but the genetic meddling I thought was unnecessary as well as making him super-competent as a bridge officer.

No. 5 is Crusher -- no question about this for me. Of all the doctor actors, McFadden is the weakest for me and I prefered Pulaski from Season 2 over Beverley. Yes, it's nice to have the mom thing and being buddies with Picard but I just found her too plain.
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