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Tim C
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

SPOILERS

Well, wasn't that just wonderful?

Not perfect, mind you. From a production standpoint, there's a slickness to this that definitely marks it as a sister show to Discovery, which at first didn't feel like it was the right fit. But from the moment Picard's TV interview started getting ugly, and we saw that old moral certainty (with outrage at injustice) poke through the calm exterior, I was sold. Picard's back, baby!

What I think I most appreciated about this first episode was that the writers have clearly molded this twenty-years-older version of the character on the guy that we knew from TNG, rather than the weird action hero we started getting in the movies. The scholar, the thinker, the speechmaker. A welcome evolution for the character is his clear relaxing on personal displays of emotion, which feels quite fitting for a now-retired man who for years felt he had to maintain a professional distance.

Aside from Sir Pat's expectedly winning performance, I also liked all these new characters we're meeting. Seeing Romulans so clearly devoted to Picard is a very fun bit of world building and a great way of showing just how much the Alpha Quadrant dynamic has changed in the last twenty years. The actress playing Daj *nailed* the fear and confusion someone in her situation would be feeling, and with a short amount of screen time had me completely invested in her story. The two plot twists regarding her - that she's Data's "daughter" and her shock death - both managed to take me by surprise and left me genuinely excited to see what happens next.

Also: B4's eventual fate was to end up disassembled in a drawer. Thank god!

Bring on episode two!!!

3.5 stars.
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Chrome
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I'm not going to write up any reviews until season 1 finishes, but I thought it was interesting. There's of course some jarring action moments that feel more like NuTrek, but overall I felt the episode was fairly slow and thoughtful.

Incidentally, Picard referenced Dunkirk, which was a French city and an initial German target during WWII. Germany halted its advance to conserve troops, and the allied forces were able to evacuate 330,000 people. Okay, enough history. :-)
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Toph in Blacksburg
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Some things that stood out to me after a first watching:

It took me a little while to realize that Picard’s two assistants at the Chateau were Romulans. Nice touch.

I thought that Data’s appearances were well done and very appropriate. I’ll be curious to see if they include him in future episodes somehow.
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Toph in Blacksburg
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Wow. I am really impressed with how this series has started out. A very interesting storyline that picks up some 15 to 20 years after the last time we saw the card and the next generation crew.

I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the season play out.
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Nolan
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Dagger of the Mind

@Kristy Miller

"The Gamesters of Triskelion" maybe?
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James White
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 6:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Peter G

That makes some sense. However, I'm not sure I'd want him with tactical authority if I believed he was delusional. Maybe an Emissary liaison with honorary title and little actual power over the station?
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Kristy Miller
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Dagger of the Mind

Can someone tell me the episode where the away team were held prisoner with a device locked around their neck that caused pain for disobedience?
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Fenn
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Peter G: "We could call it a fault or deliberate, but Jake Sisco seriously does not know what he wants, and sort of sits around doing nothing most of the time. That might come with the territory of being a writer/artist[...]"

That, and it very likely also comes with the territory of being in your late teens/early 20s. Rarely an age when people have everything figured out. He's a Federation kid with everything provided for him, who can afford to sort of drift between whatever looks interesting without needing a solid workable backup plan in order to stay alive...

... and then contrast that with Fifties Fake Jake, who might naturally be in the same sort of "drifting" state, but is also in a time and place where he needs money to keep on living. And crime is an easy solution to that. Easy to fall into and hard to fall out of, especially for someone who's mostly inclined to do nothing rather than make some serious effort to get out of this.

I dunno, I wrote that line originally thinking the acting wasn't quite convincing, but dammit now you've gone and got me thinking further about Actual Characterisation. Thanks, hahah.

As for Brooks... my first thought on that is one hell of a "damn". Wow. I have a lot to say about that.

It sort of opens up questions about exactly what counts as good or bad acting -- and what exactly acting even *is* or "should be". People do expect a certain degree of smoothness on TV. You won't have people overlapping in conversations, for clarity's sake. You won't have people lost for words, unless it's significant. Natural imperfections like that are normal to be part of real life, but on a screen, they can pull people out of what's being shown. People looking to impart a vision will generally try to smooth over anything "messy" that might detract from that, unless part of that vision *is* messy naturalism.

Hell, Visitor on set watching Benny/Brooks have his breakdown is a different context in itself: instead of watching something that's already been swept together and cleaned up for TV, she was in the same room as someone she worked with and knew. And watching him have a breakdown. But it's only natural to see the reality in it when you're there in real life. Happens automatically.

People watching TV are used to smoothness to the point where *that* is what is expected automatically. This is a very rare departure from that. That departure's gonna call attention to itself: it goes so sharply against the grain of the TV version of "natural" that it's impossible not to notice. Perhaps a different show with a different director might discourage this, opting instead for something that doesn't "break the flow".

But Brooks is the one calling the shots, on an even more fundamental than a director usually would. As director *and* actor, Brooks would have had complete creative control over his personal part in that scene -- what his vision of it was, and how he would bring it to be. And I'm getting the impression that this jarring break from conditioned TV smoothness very much *was* an inherent part of his vision. The all-out, heartachingly genuine approach is what he went for: completely embodying the character in himself, feeling what he feels and reacting how Benny Russell as a real human being would react. I think it's fantastic. He makes the imaginary story into something utterly real, blends the dreamer [the actor] and the dream [the character]. It's fiction, and yet -- as he so fervently insists -- *it's real*. For the themes of this story, it couldn't possibly be a more perfect approach.

So in essence, it's not just Benny Russell and Benjamin Sisko -- Avery Brooks is his own layer to this. It seems he's just as much part of this as his characters are, and he adds his own dimension.
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Fenn
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 5:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Dave in MN: Jammer's saying on his blog (latest Picard trailer post, last comment) that he's putting up a place to discuss Picard sometime this evening.

Shouldn't be too long now.
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Booming
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

Guys could you please not discuss the new show in a thread that is readable in the comment stream!
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Booming
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

I always thought that the Cardassians at least suspected that there was more to it than Bajorans inhaling incense and wearing robes. The orbs are obviously some form of tech. The Bajorans used them regularly to communicate with the prophets and for other stuff. Sure the Federation didn't really know about them but mostly because they had no direct contact to the Bajorans before the occupation ended.

Let's say you become super powerful and people then would serve you and you come up with a few crazy rules would that mean that you have founded a religion?

What is a god really? For the Abrahamitic faiths god is omnipotent, the Buddhists have something like super beings but one thing all these religions have in common is that their super powered believe receivers are fairly hard to reach and impossible to proof. You have to believe that they exist without proof. For the prophets, or wormhole aliens, you just have to pick up the right orb or fly into the wormhole and wait there. It is not much more complicated than a phone call.

And why not just contact them. Say hello. Make sure that they will not start eating Humans or go full Nagilum. In what way would contacting them be a PD violation? They are obviously a space faring people and aware of and in contact with other species. Also their arm reaches even earth. They made Sisko's birth mother have sex with Sisko's dad which is pretty disturbing. Did Federation security ever investigate that? How many more women were forced into sexual slavery to produce useful offspring? The public demands answers!

Even after the prophets destroy several thousand Dominion ships the Federation is still passive towards them. Isn't the Federation all about meeting new civilizations and that stuff?!
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Fenn
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 4:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

@Peter G: well, when you put it like that, it is actually kind of a relief. There's so many layers of angst getting between these two that they really could take years digging through it all -- and we'd have Pining Odo the whole time (and also the nondescript Kira that we always seem to get on the other side of this).

I haven't seen much further than this, and definitely not to any Serious Odo/Kira-centric episode, but the background bits of their relationship I've seen? Not sure how I feel in general, but relatively, I do know that I prefer Soft Sappy Odo to Pining Odo. So, in retrospect: yeah, glad that this one put the kibosh on the latter.

Kira still seems to be Nondescript Kira, though. Dammit, Kira.
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Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Oh, and they shoulld've hired someone else to deepfake Data to look younger. The de-aging algorithms they used simply aren't up to par with today's technology.
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Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

I don't know where to post about the new Picard series so I'll just do it here.

First off, the soundtrack was really REALLY obtrusive, repetitious and dull. Many scenes would have been much better with silence instead of manipulative music spoiling surprises and telegraphing what the audience should feel. It felt like stock music for a cable show, "sad", "nostalgia", "dream" and so on. Also, why don't they use an actual orchestra instead of these Law and Order: SVU MIDI synthesizers? Is CBS that cheap?

Some plot points I'm not clear on:

Why didn't the Federation start evacuating what they could with the fleet they have (even bringing roundabouts and shuttles)? Didn't the Romulans still have a fleet of their own to start evacuations? Wouldn't Romulus have been flooded with Ferengi etc offering Romulans passage for a price?

Speaking of which, if the Romulan sun went supernova, how could there be enough time for the Federation to build a fleet or anyone to come to the rescue?

Also, was the emotional alien woman with Scottish accent a Romulan? I assume her demeanor precludes being a Vulcan. Also, why did the Romulan talking to the twin at the end have an Irish accent? Romulans have earth accents?

Um, the twin thing. *sigh* Was I supposed to think that both girls were raised with each other and Daj never told Picard she has an identical twin?! Sorry but I'm not buying that.

What was the deal with her mother? How did she know about Picard? If that was actually her mother and not a program pretending to be her, wouldn't she call Daj2 and tell her about her sister in danger?

Also, why would Picard spend all this time with Daj and not just SCAN her to find out if she's telling the truth?! Couldn't he get ahold of his ex Beverly and ask for help?

Also, why doesn't Picard have Irumotic Syndrome? I know not everything needs to be explained in the first episode, but I feel like his incurable-in- the-alternate-future disease should've gotten a brief mention. Maybe that was the reason Picard didn't remember Data's painting of Daj is hanging in his house?!

I don't want to say I hated this because I liked most of the acting (unexplained character accents not withstanding) and the "future" looked sufficiently cool (I don't mind the recycled use of Discovery FX in a few scenes, after all Starfleet stil uses Miranda class starships so I imagine legacy tech has its appeal). The cinematography was pretty good excepting for the tired overuse of sepia filters).

I wish they could've found a way to splice in the original physical model footage when they zoomed in on the Enterprise D. It looked obviously CGI. Barely any shots of ships in space for a Trek show, that was kind of a bummer. But overall, it was visually appealing.

But good God, the blaring tacky CSI soundtrack and the endless "wait, what, how can that be" moments marred what should have been an immersive fun experience.

To be fair, I'm going to rewatch after I play with the sound equalizer settings (to minimize the soundtrack as much as possible). Maybe some of my WTF questions were answered, I was just too distracted to hear them.

Stewart gives a great performance as always and so, plot and soundtrack problems aside, I'd say this was much better Discovery's first episode and I will watch episode 2 after I rewatch this.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"Yeah, well the Bajorans don't have a religion.

Religion exists to explain things that (so far) cannot be explained by reason like what comes after death, why are we here and so forth. You can accept the explanation which is called faith. The Bajorans know that the Prophets exist and that they watch over them. "

Prior to Sisko and Dax discovering the wormhole and actually talking to the Prophets directly (and documenting it) they didn't know the Prophets were real anymore than modern Christians know that Jesus (as the son of God) was real. They had a bunch of legends and stories same as modern religious people do today. They had the orbs of course, which are admittedly more impressive than your typical artifact what with the glowing and the sparkling - but then again for an advanced civilization like the Bajorans with holograms and space ships, maybe not proof of anything really.

Bottom line the Bajoran religion didn't cease being a religion overnight just because someone proved their Gods to be real.

Throughout DS9 there is this ambiguity about just what the prophets really want and why. That they exist is pretty obvious thanks to the events of Emissary, but their status as "Gods" is as much a matter of faith as anything a Christian or Buddhist believes today.

"Sisko talks to them a few times but there seems to be no scientific effort to contact these super powerful aliens that live nearby. It's is complete nonsense. "

I am not sure what you suggest the Federation should be doing to contact them. They only seem interested in talking to Sisko. Since the wormhole is their home, they kind of can speak to whomever they please. Is the Federation supposed to send probes to invade their home and force their engagement against their will? That would seem to be a violation of the PD not to mention incredibly stupid given that they are basically omnipotent within their domain.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@ James White,

The answer to this was alluded to a few times but never quite made clear: because the Bajorans wouldn't stand for it. No Sisko, no Bajoran membership. I think in the end Starfleet's hands were tied and they had no choice in the matter.
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James White
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Peter G

Interesting take. One question - if what your saying is true, and Starfleet held this opinion of Sisko, then why wasn't he relieved of command?
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@ Booming,

While I agree that the Federatin not taking the Prophets seriously was always a stupid omission in the series, I could come up with a head canon that makes sense of it.

Imagine that any attempt to contact these so-called aliens meets with simply nothing; any non-Bajoran trying to have an orb experience gets nothing. Scientific tests show nothing. They are just rocks in a box, which is what happened to the Cardassians trying to steal their secrets. To what extent do you really think that Starfleet is going to actually believe Sisko that he had these experiences? I mean ok, he's a command-level officer so that comes with some gravity. But on the other hand he began having these experiences during a grieving process where he had a bad attitude, and during which the Bajorans started portraying him as some kind of prophet or something; and Starfleet isn't going to wonder if he's lost it? And they have literally no other data than his word, and the Bajoran religion.

Imagine for the moment if someone you knew well claimed to have visions of the Virgin Mary, and cited to you all the Christians who agree that she exists. Would you look at that and take it seriously, or would you start to wonder if your friend is ok in the head? And yeah, the wormhole aliens are 'in the wormhole' in some sense, but not just sitting there like playing marbles in space. They're unreachable, un-contactable, and undetectable. So it makes sense that Starfleet would really wonder if they exist, *until a certain point late in the series when it should be clear.* However this was never shown in the series, and it would have been good to show an admiral or two frustrated that all attempts at commucation with them failed.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

The one thing I like about this is how overly contrived it is. Sentient hologram starts meddling in order to get a couple together? Wow, talk about 'crazy'. But in a way doing this kind of episode says something: it says that Odo was just so dug-in and shy that there was simply no way they were ever going to get together barring a deus ex machina. Basically it would take another 5 seasons of the show for him to be brave enough to tell her how he feels and do something about it, so this episode is saying, hey, let's skip all that and just shove them together. Kind of like butting heads of a couple of numbskulls, which they both were being about this. I kinda like how brazen the writers were being in recognizing the situation they were in - wanting a Kira/Odo romance but being nowhere near it natrually happening - and taking the bull by the horns. A zany episode with a good heart is a nice way to cross that bridge without playing the Dawson's Creek card of dragging things out interminably. I'll thank them for that.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 2:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

I agree with your take on this one, Chrome, as well as your rating. This one always amused me in certain places, but otherwise felt sort of pointless and vaguely self-aggrandizing. On TNG they were sort of careful to avoid claiming to be awesome, and this episode is basically saying "Voyager is so amazing! How can you impugn us like this??" For a similar episode in this vein, but much much better, see Babylon 5's "Deconstructing Falling Stars", which really hits you in the guts as well being very interesting.
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wolfstar
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

Awful, misguided episode. The fact it neuters the 8472 isn't even the main thing wrong here - it's just really poor drama; insipid, pious and nonsensical. It's bad, but not in the ways that Voyager is more typically bad. Several of the dialog scenes are horrendous, then there's the issue of Walston's performance. Just a really ill-thought-out script that should have been either a) nixed at concept stage, or b) once it did make it into the draft phase, needed a hell of a lot more work.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

@ Fenn,

Some nice comments there. I actually do think that Lofton playing a weak/sleazy character here is not accidental on the part of the writers, and it is in fact relevant regarding his character's (lack of) direction in the series. We could call it a fault or deliberate, but Jake Sisco seriously does not know what he wants, and sort of sits around doing nothing most of the time. That might come with the territory of being a writer/artist, but showing him in this episode as going down a wrong path is interesting.

Regarding Benny's breakdown near the end, yeah, this has been a major source of contention. Most people call it terrible overacting. I've been defending it, and usually my objection is that people have a very sanitized idea of what a breakdown is 'supposed to' look like. Real life can look strange and ugly. That being said, having recently watched the What We Left Behind documentary, it is made clear in the interviews (with Visitor especially, I think) that this was no 'acting thing' and that Brooks was so invested in the scene and the situation that he was really having a breakdown there. He did not get up after they stopped shooting, from what they say. So I maintain my position that this is a brillian turn for Brooks from start to finish, both directing and acting. For people who don't like it, hey, to each their own, but calling it bad acting is factually wrong.
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Chrome
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

Just found his comment about it on his blog. Looking forward to them!
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bewodjthjdoirldbnoasknvi
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

I'd assume he is, he's been commenting on the Picard trailers on his blog as they've come out.
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Chrome
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 10:39am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

Hey Jammer, are you going to be reviewing the Picard series?
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