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Dave in MN
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@ Rahul

If one is going to commit time to trying out a new show, usually people don't limit themselves to just the pilot. Generally speaking, the first episode of ANY show isn't on anyone's "best of the series" list.

The Orville's pilot episode is a poor representation of what it becomes, especially by the end of Season 2. It gets so Trekkish!

We've both been posting here a long time and I believe I have some familiarity with your likes/ dislikes. I hope I'm not misreading things when I say I think you might enjoy some of the later episodes.
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Burke
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I must admit i have completely lost interest in the upcoming Trek shows. I'll be passing on this and the new seasons of PIC and DIS as well.

All the great episodes and stories that i love are still there, on streaming, ready to be enjoyed. And that is enough for me right now.
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Crevecoeur
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Bonding

This is a rather interesting episode, and I echo the dialogue is a high point.

Troi and Picard's joint duty in this shows an intriguing facet of procedure. Further, the scene in which Picard is called to talk to the boy in the corridor, to warn him that thing is not his mother, allows for an appealing gravitas that, though standard in the characterization, feels specially plausible here.

The episode is quiet, stimulating.
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Daniel
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Jammer,

As a big fan of your reviews and the comments section of each and every episode of Trek, I was immensely looking forward to reading your thoughts on Lower Decks once it is released.
I have a strong feeling that the series itself will be quite different to what the trailer leads us to expect, there is just too much love for Trek and too many little details in there.

Alas, I still hope you will reconsider in the future!
Thanks for your dedication and your great work.
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Rahul
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Dave in MN

Maybe I'm being a bit cavalier in saying I'll stick with it. I intended to watch all the short Treks, but didn't end up doing so. Just being an animated series isn't an excuse to cast it aside but it really comes down to if I feel it is Trek -- and that does go beyond just having the label affixed to it. I hope there will be plenty of references to the non-animated episodes, which could add further details to the Star Trek universe.

I was pretty turned off with ORV's first episode and can understand how things only got better but there's certain aspects about the series that aren't my cup of tea.
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EventualZen
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Jetrel

@Ken
>First, I have no idea why Janeway is so welcoming to this doctor who designed and implemented a weapon that murdered millions.

Surely phasers and photon torpedoes have killed millions over the centuries but no one is complaining about the inventor of them. Granted they are often used in self defence but still.
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Dave in MN
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

And Rahul, The Orville has advanced a thousand light years from the pilot. It's the Trekkiest thing in decades and you're missing out.

It is a bit odd to me that you'll commit to watching Lower Dreck but won't give The Orville a real shot.
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Dave in MN
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@ Rahul

If it were a pantomime puppet show but was labeled "Star Trek", would you watch it? How about if it were a show a single female Klingon and her 3 female friends all trying to find a mate?

There comes a point where it's NOT Star Trek no matter what label is put on it. A few Easter eggs don't make up for the abandoning of the Trek moral-quandary ethos.
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Rahul
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Dom, I hear what you're saying. Just for me personally, I have this pet project of wanting to watch ever Star Trek episode, so I guess I may not be helpful.

But I don't really know how change at the top gets engineered for Star Trek's showrunners/writers in the short term. Maybe it has to be some high profile criticism, certainly a drop in viewership, advertising? And I don't know how I (being in Canada and not having to subscribe to the CBS All Access stream) impacts the viewership ratings.

But I'm with you in that Star Trek is not fulfilling its potential under the current direction and Lower Decks is not going to help the situation.
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KMR
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Drive

Seems like so many shows, especially from Voyager, do everything they can to break the suspension of disbelief. In this one a race on a mere 2.3 billion km (or 2.12 light hours) course goes through a gas giant, 2 pulsars, a nebula , a red giant and some odd stuff called a Moebius inverter. In real space you would need to travel thousand of light years to come across all of that, in this star trek voyager episode you have it all in 2.3 billion km, which is not even 2.2 light HOURS (up to you to calculate how many hours there are in a year, for conversion to light years distance) . For comparison Uranus distance from the sun is 2.9 billion km, or 2.7 light hours.
The least I would expect from Star Trek writers is that they have their astronomy well figured out. Alas, apparently, they have no clue...
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Dom
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Rahul, with all due respect, but isn't "But this is Star Trek, after all so I'll stick with it" part of the problem? If CBS is putting out bad content yet people subscribe because it has "Star Trek" in the name, then what incentive does the company have to hire better writers and fulfill Star Trek's potential.
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James G
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Yet another one I hadn't seen before - looks like most or all of the rest of the fourth series will be new to me.

I hope that whoever wrote this abomination was either provided with the appropriate psychiatric care that he or she evidently badly needed, or weaned off their drug habit.

I must admit though that I became morbidly fascinated as well as repelled, as the episode wore on.

A few thoughts. Isn't it extraordinarily unethical for Beverley to tonk Riker's body while he's unconscious in it? Isn't it even more unethical of the weird ambassador slug to use it for that? Reminds me of that episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer borrows Lister's body and then proceeds to abuse it hedonistically.

And what happens to the minds of the hosts, when they submit to being taken over by parasites? How could a relationship like that between two species even have started?

I don't get why the Transporter wouldn't have worked, and this nonsensical plot element adds nothing to the story except an easy excuse to have the shuttlecraft attacked.

The conclusion is hilarious. Interesting though that they both let go of their relationship a lot more quickly and less emotionally than when the parasite slug creature was inhabiting Riker. Troi's persuasive words on Ten Forward don't count for much when Beverley is confronted by a lesbian lifestyle.

Anyway - really quite vile but it functions as a bad taste parody of the worst kind of pulp science fiction, albeit unintentionally.
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Rahul
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Just watched the trailer and have to shake my head at what direction Star Trek is going. This is definitely nothing like the original animated series. But trailers also have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Seems like Star Trek trying to take a page out of The Orville's book which is not good for me. I watched the first episode of ORV and realized it is not for me, not what I'm looking for. I'm not interested in juvenile humor being the preeminent ethos of a series.

But this is Star Trek, after all so I'll stick with it. Each episode is only half an hour. With an animated show, you won't get the acting performances that are occasionally wonderful, but can also be a drag if not done right. Perhaps the animation can be cool in depicting some phenomena -- the views of the ship from the outside look good. But ultimately, it will come down to the writing and the premises of the episodes, what ideas and themes are elucidated.
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Neo the Beagle
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 11:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: And the Children Shall Lead

1/2 star?!? What makes any of this dog shit of an episode worthy of such an accolade? If there were ever a time to introduce negative star ratings, this was it...
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Troy G
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 10:23am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Will there be a Lower Decks tab along the other series?
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Yanks
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Thanks Jammer.
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Dom
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

and for the record I actually enjoy Rick & Morty's bizarre humor. It's hilarious. But it's also not Star Trek. R&M isn't asking questions about the nature of humanity. It's not trying to to be socially relevant or challenging.
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Dom
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Jason R., that's the problem I've been calling out for years. There are some folks in these forums who claim that Star Trek is anything with the label "Star Trek" slapped on it. But for that "Star Trek" label to be meaningful, it has to actually mean something. Right now, what does Star Trek mean? Aside from people drawn to anything Trek solely for the label, how much overlap is there between people who liked TNG's Lower Decks and people who liked the trailer this show?

This line in Jammer's review captures my very ambiguous feelings about Star Trek during these past few years:

"But the overall arc of the Trek universe is appearing more and more mercenary and expansive, and less relevant and thoughtful."

CBS might succeed in the short term by getting subscribers to its streaming service. But how many people will still care about this franchise in 2030?
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James
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 7:05am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I take issue with the idea that science and philosophy are niche topics, at least on the level that Star Trek presents them. Maybe that was true in the 1960s and the 80s, and so there were (especially in the 80s) a slew of movies and show ridiculing nerds and nerd culture. At this point in time, from my interactions with youth in my teaching experience, I can say with some confidence that being a 'nerd' or into such topics as science and philosophy is no longer something to be ridiculed, in fact the idea of 'cool' is increasingly associated with being genuine. You can see this come across in the fact that teen movies are no longer mean-spirited road trip journeys and college jocks hooking up with girls, but invoking more the underdog with a passion for singing or musicals or tapdancing, following through with it and discovering their true self.

I wish this was true of when I was growing up, but I see a lot more positivity and acceptance, possibly due to the fact that it is no longer baby boomers raising kids, the fear instinct and drive towards material success no longer pushes parents to instill in children values like obedience and conformity but rather encourages exploration of unique talents and desires. From post-millennial generations I don't think there is much bitterness against either someone having an interest in certain topics, or a feeling that they or someone else should have more of an interest in them.

All of this is aside from the fact Star Trek is still barely above pop-culture science and philosophy. At best, it's a college level freshman's discussion, and at worst it's purely for entertainment purposes with no higher value.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

As a business decision, I find CBS's strategy here dubious. Don't get me wrong - I understand the idea behind expanding the Trek brand, creating different products for different tastes etc... I see the logic but I also think this will fail.

I think retail branding has something to teach us. Many high end brands like say Armani or Coach develop a certain cache, a certain following. But it's niche, it's exclusive, and ultimately there is a ceiling to how much money you can make selling to a narrow high end niche.

The frustration there is that the brand has huge name recognition with many beyond your niche but they can't afford it. It's too exclusive. So you expand the niche. You make it less exclusive. A different flavour for every taste and price point.

But this expansion is the death knell of a niche brand. Suddenly an Armani suit isn't a big deal anymore because everyone has one and your longtime niche buyers, the ones who made your brand, see you as selling out. They move on to greener pastures. Meanwhile the mainstream mob is fickle, you are beleaguered by competition and as the influencers in the niche abandon you, so too do the main streamers until your brand is devalued and your sales plummet.

This pattern applies to Trek as much as to a designer suit. CBS purchased a brand, Trek, which was a niche product popular with a niche of people, albeit one with enough pop culture name recognition that it was known somewhat beyond the niche. Now CBS is going to make a Trek for every taste. But if everyone is watching Trek, then it loses its identity and the original niche abandons it because it is no longer *their* identity. And the mainstream follows just a little bit later. The brand is truly hollowed out.

Setting aside any consideration about art or what is true Trek or whatever, just as a business strategy, this is a terrible path CBS is on and a terrible waste of the investment they made when they acquired the Trek brand. Just my two cents
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Gerontius
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 4:33am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I doubt if I'm too likely to get round to watching this, but I'm glad Jammer decided that even though he won't be either he'd provide a comments facility for the regulars here to exchange views about it.

I hope that when the next season of Picard turns up he'll do the same thing, since I definitely hope to watch that. In fact I very much hope he'll be reviewing that, even if that means subscribing to CBS. (In my part of the world Amazon prime put out Picard.)

The pity is, I really liked the Lower Depths episode. I think it could have been the basis for a pretty good series.
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Booming
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

People who think: "Maybe this will be smart or something." must understand that all these shows aren't Star Trek and they aren't supposed to be.
Star Trek the cultural phenomenon is the only property CBS owns that pulls people into their streaming service. Star Trek, until the end of Enterprise, was very niche. The movies less so than the shows. It was about science, heady, philosophical topics and even though smart nerds don't like to hear it, most people couldn't care less about philosophy or science. Think about all these comedy shows that made fun of science Nerds and Trekkies. I always (and with always I mean I'm starting now) compared this to vegetarians. People make fun of vegetarians, less so lately, but still. Why? Because they remind us that our modern lifestyle is ignorant and destructive and that we should take better care of ourselves. The same goes for Trekkies. Most people know that science and thinking about difficult philosophical questions is important and that they should do it more. Trekkies are a reminder of what most people are not. Ridiculing Trekkies makes perfect sense. But from a marketability standpoint people knowing Trek, even in a somewhat condescending way, is good. You just have to get the general public from "I know this but it is not for me" to "I know this, I'll give it a try"

One thing had to be done.
Broaden the appeal

Out goes philosophy and science, in goes big emotions, faith/family and ACTION.
From a Trekkie standpoint it is AntiTrek but even that works for CBS. Maybe they even planned for it. Trekkies are pretty dedicated, producing something they hate creates additional buzz and non Trekkies see it and think:" Maybe it's for me now."

They looked at the most succesfull movie franchises and these are Star Wars (space battles), Transformers (simplistic emotional message) and Marvel (quippy humor). In Marvel and Transformers tech is basically treated like magic and it is the same for Discovery and even more so for Picard. Remember the thing that fixes machines and can also project 100 ships into space from Picard...

That is why Rick and Morty 0.5 makes perfect sense. This time they looked at successful animated shows and Rick and Morty is very successful maybe even the most successful right now, so make a show that is like it. One should mention here that Rick and Morty was created by other people, not by McMahon.

What I find interesting is that now I even start to question if Star Trek was ever really important to me in the past. That is how terrible Star Trek is now.
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Brian Graff
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 2:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Too Short a Season

I just saw this - never having seen it before.

It has to be the worst episode ever of any of the series - horrible acting, nonsenesical story, just putrid.
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Tommy D.
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 1:43am (UTC -5)
Re: Interstellar

I love this movie. As the review points out, I think it has the right balance of science and sentiment, even if the conclusion is a little soft. And I think the score really adds a kick of adrenaline to a lot of the scenes.

I think the depiction of the water planet is the most mesmerizing to me, which is odd because I do not like open water at all. But the idea and execution is so well done its probably my favorite part of the movie, as odd as it is.
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Tommy D.
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Lumi. Thats a well balanced and reasonable post and I agree with it. I would add that I think the trailer for Lower Decks reminds me of the initial trailer for The Orville, which I thought was filled with bad humor as well, but the show ended up being pretty decent.
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