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marcus
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Elogium

man sometimes i think the writers are just a bunch of teenage perverts. were there any women in the writers room? the pregnancy jokes about eating dirt and bugs was just wierd and gross. it seems like they was Kess to be a manic pixie dreamgirl for the show but every thing they do here is just off putting. Neelix is a jealous creep and its boring and likewise offputting. I dont understand what the writers were thinking on this one.
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James White
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

You guys are just too timid to just say fuck you to Kurtzman. Try it; it's easy.
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Booming
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Trent
"The Soji/Romulan romance goes nowhere."
Not true! It was the classic girl meets boy, boy is spies on girl, boy uses implanted memories of girl to start genocide, boy tires to kill girl with red mist, girl punches her way through the floor to freedom story. What woman hasn't experienced that?!

This may be just the balcony Mojito talking but I think STP is maybe the greatest Star Trek show of the decade.
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Jon
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Qpid

Trivia Time:

Clive Revill (Sir Guy of Gisbourne) staRred as Fagin in the origininal Broadway cast of the musical OLIVER! opposite Georgia Brown (Worf's mum.) Also in the cast was a pre-Monkees Davy Jones as the Artful Dodger.

And to add another layer of coincidence, Jack Wild, who played the Artful Dodger in the movie version, was also in the Kevin Costner ROBIN HOOD.
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Trent
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Why does Jurati have the Magic Iphone in this episode? Rios and Raffi use it, then leave for the synth compound, while Jurati and Picard walk to La Sirena. How does Jurati find this thing, figure out how to use this technology, and so quickly, and at such a crucial moment?

Regardless, watching this episode again lowers it even further in my estimation. It really kills whatever good-will the series had managed to cling on to. The Romulan Refugee arc goes nowhere. The Borg cube stuff goes nowhere. Picard's illness pops up once and then is suddenly cured. The Federation/Admiral stuff goes nowhere. The synth attack on Mars goes nowhere (how were they hacked? Why are they no longer banned when they're clearly still vulnerable to hacking?). The Soji/Romulan romance goes nowhere. Every single plot thread in this show was botched - PaghWraith and Jesus Sisko level botching - with the exception of Soji's confrontation of her identity as a synth.

And this episode sort of crystallises how throwaway everythiing that came before is. It retroactively destroys the whole season, and does so in a cartoonish way at odds with everything prior. Picard sacrificially flying a little "fighter jet" into the heart of an enemy fleet like Braveheart while trying to hold off space tentacles seems about the worst place a show about Picard should end up.
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Booming
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Ok ok back then everything broad and great, today everything specific and garbage.

Noted.
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Andy's Friend
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Sorry about the typo, Nothing but the Tears
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Andy's Friend
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Bothing But the Tears

“young people today are much more aware of diversity and equality. These are things that have always been important to me but I'm still shocked looking back at how tone deaf I was by comparison, just like many of my peers.”

Very few of us cared back then. We simply tried to treat each other politely, most of us anyway, with no fear of calling people what they were. It is not the word spoken, it is the intent that matters. One may be scathingly offensive using the politest language, or the opposite using the most offensive language: it is all about intent. If you ask me, it was a much healthier society back then, when people didn’t let themselves be offended and their world torn apart every other minute by what is not offensive in itself, but (some) people insist on perceiving as such due to acute myopia. Which leads me to...

“I don't think it matters how many stories you tell. They have to be worth telling, well told, and the amount of time devoted to them needs to be appropriate. Plus, no matter how good the story, things still hinge on the characters.”

And you’re entirely right. The thing is, very often, in older series the characters weren’t really characters. They were more akin archetypes, or symbols: mouthpieces for a particular worldview, a particular philosophy, a particular age group, social class, and so forth. And the individual episodes therefore tended to be more akin myths: individual, primordial stories about right and wrong in the guise of foundation myths, coming of age myths, and so on.

That was their power. That is why they resonate still: all good stories are primordial myths. And all myths are necessarily introspective. They are reflections of our (possible) selves and our (possible) fate. Moralistic in nature, they attempt to teach us a lesson: they are moral tales. TOS in particular excelled at telling this kind of stories. At their most simple, the best TOS episodes are reducible to fables.

Stories, to use a necessary simplification, used to be more simply about Man, or Woman; about Father, or Mother; Son, or Daughter. They were about being Young, and being Old. About being Rich, and being Poor. And so on, and so forth. The challenge, to writers, was to find new ways to tell old stories. The challenge to viewers—of science-fiction in particular—was to recognise those innovate iterations of old tales. For the tales themselves were about every single one of us.

What are they about now? They increasingly are but escapism, true escapism in its ugliest shape: in the form of voyeurism. They increasingly are about the lives of *others*. Very detailed lives of very detailed people that could not be you and I but can only exist as their very specific, fictional selves.

That is what we have lost, as we increasingly focus on the micro-level of multiple strands of individual psychology instead of the macro-level of archetype and myth.

“TV, in particular, is a lot more complex and demanding than it used to be back in the 80's or 70's, for that matter. Most shows back then had one story per episode. That's really all you needed to keep track of. And while there are shows today just stretching things out, there are also those that are ambitious, complex and challenging.”

I am exaggerating for the sake of argument, of course. But tell me, do you think we are presented more these days? Or can it be that paradoxically, we are presented less in the more ‘complex’ stories of today? Can it be that the stories of old, focusing on just one story, presented us a proverbial forest, while the episodes of today can’t even see the proverbial tree for the branches?
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Chrome
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

This conversation makes me realize how little sci-fi television I've watched. If you're up to a challenge and want to go the book route, why not check out "Dune", "Hyperion", "2001", "Foundation's Edge" or even lighter stuff like "A Wrinkle in Time" or "Brave New World". If you liked any part of this show, Asimov's "The Complete Robot" - which was actually featured on screen - is a collection of good and short robot stories.
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Peter G.
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I'll throw out one more show that I do like, which is Killjoys. It's not 'great TV' but I've consistently liked it at least. It's sort of like Firefly in some ways, combining a light tone with some stark views of the future.
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Nothing but the Tears
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Andy's Friend

As someone who's not among "younger people" these days, I find your blanket judgement of a whole generation to be pretty unfair and, quite frankly, inaccurate. They have to navigate a complex information and media landscape that is far beyond anything human society has ever had. They've got tons of tools to be creative, many of them online, and they're being used, massively. Growing up is hard, no matter the decade or era. But I imagine it's even more difficult to figure yourself out in times like these, where your every move and action is under the microscope via social media.

And, yes, while some shows spell things out for you, TV, in particular, is a lot more complex and demanding than it used to be back in the 80's or 70's, for that matter. Most shows back then had one story per episode. That's really all you needed to keep track of. And while there are shows today just stretching things out, there are also those that are ambitious, complex and challenging.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that many young people today are much more aware of diversity and equality. These are things that have always been important to me but I'm still shocked looking back at how tone deaf I was by comparison, just like many of my peers.

The final thing I wanted to add is that I don't think it matters how many stories you tell. They have to be worth telling, well told, and the amount of time devoted to them needs to be appropriate. Plus, no matter how good the story, things still hinge on the characters.
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Buck
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

And it would have been good to see Mr. Mendoza pop up occasionally, especially to have a drink with Quark and do some sparring and negotiating. Hispanic presence in Trek is well documented as being absolutely abysmal.
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Buck
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

If the Ferengi were NOT present for a business negotiation, it would have been an odd omission for a species that has been built to be singularly focused on commerce. That said, I agree that their development was always stagnant until Quark arrived and took an everyday presence.

But the discussion about the chairs was well written and perfectly performed.
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Smith
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

This was an entertaining episode. My only problem was that the Paris spy mission just wasn't believable. Most of Paris acting out of character happened only on the bridge...yet the majority of the crew wasn't on the bridge so how would they know Tom was acting out of sorts? Why would Janeway endanger an entire ship of Talaxians just to out one spy? What assurances did they have that the Kazon wouldn't kill Tom? Voyager is a FAST ship even by federation standards and is almost always flying in one direction toward the alpha quadrant. How does Seska constantly catch up to them with supposedly inferior Kazon tech? What assurances did Voyager have that Tom would have unsupervised access to the exact Kazon console that could recreate the logs from Voyager? How does Tom know how to work a Kazon console? What assurances did Voyager have that Tom would be able to escape the Kazon, communicate a message, and to be able to reach voyager before being caught? I liked the Neelix journalism story...but the Tom story just wasn't believable.
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Andy's Friend
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Mal

"And then what do we have to show for scifi TV from the 70's??? Pretty much only the Tom Baker era of jelly babie Doctor Who."

It would seem that you were writing while I was posting, and just missed my post :)

The two series from the 1970s I recommended are at the extreme opposites of the Fun--------Serious spectrum. As such, I consider them the finest in each category, which is why I would recommend them as essential to children and adults, respectively.

But there were many other science-fiction series being made in the 1970s; don't forget that both the fictional TOS and the real moon landings sparked off immense interest in the space genre. The original Battlestar Galactica is from 1978, for example, and in my opinion the first season was no worse than modern BSG.

The problem is twofold. Young people today don't remember/never knew the old series; and more importantly, young people today are more impressed by appearance than by substance.

Take The Expanse. It tells but three stories in thirty-odd episodes (S1-3). The original Battlestar Galactica managed to tell more stories in one season than The Expanse has done so far in three. And in my opinion, despite its family-friendly nature it managed to tell mostly better stories, too. But try telling that to people today who can't see past production values, and demand a GrimDark! tone before they can take anything seriously.

I think the latter is truly the problem today. Many younger people apparently can't look past the superficial in our present day. My guess is, they are probably not used to having to search for meanings in narratives, as everything is made so blatantly obvious and explicit these days. So they can't see past the family-friendly tone to see the seriousness of the story and the themes being told: they seem to simply lack in imagination. It's that same old story: a train entering a tunnel in a 1950s Hitchcock film you can watch with your children isn't just a train entering a tunnel...
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 7:53am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"A few months ago I tried B5 I thought it was garbage. Yes it has a well thought out mythology but the mythology itself is really corny. Bad VFX. Uninteresting characters"

How old are you?

I first watched B5 in my teens. I was very forgiving of many things then that I am not now.

Alot of people here who love B5 watched it in their teens.

Which isn't to say B5 is garbage, just that most adults wouldn't have given it a chance.
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Mal
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Startrekwatcher, I agree, Jericho is amazing!! But I'm not sure if it is scifi?

Leftovers was well made, but let's be honest, it isn't for everyone.

OTOH, Sarah Connor Chronicles is one of my favorites. It has the amazing Lena Headey as the lead, long before she won fame for GoT. And of course I only watched the show in the first place because it had River Tam from Firefly playing a T-1000.

Plus, Sarah Connor Chronicles has one of the most epic scenes in all of scifi:

https://youtu.be/EKIK5ei_Lhg

It is almost like the opposite of Babylon 5's The Rock Called Out no Hiding Place.

https://youtu.be/Zly_tL5mMc8?t=200

Don't worry @ Mike, B5 is a show that is like one of Garibaldi's fine cigars. Some people are so anti-smoking, they miss the entire point. The show will always have an audience. Faith Manages.

@ Jason R., I get what you're saying about 80's/90's kids, though just for the record, Firefly ran in 2002, so very much in the new millennium. But your point is well taken - there are golden ages.

There was something in the air from the 40's (when Asimov wrote the Foundation series) through the 60's (when we got TOS).

And then what do we have to show for scifi TV from the 70's??? Pretty much only the Tom Baker era of jelly babie Doctor Who.

Even what we think of as "old" scifi television - say Max Headroom, or "V", or War of the Worlds - were actually 80's shows. In the 80's, Asimov wrote the Foundation sequels. Of course TNG premiered in the 80's.

Whatever magic was lost at the end of the 60's, came back in the 80's and stayed with us through the 90's.

And then the 2000's were a desert for scifi TV. (There were some great scifi movies, like Children of Men and District 8 and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but let’s stick to TV). That's why nBSG - which though very good, but by no means "essential" - still gets praised so much.

There just wasn't anything playing at that level in TV scifi at the time.

Farscape was dead.

Space Above and Beyond had been struck down in its first season.

Firefly was killed.

Star Trek was on life-support with ENT.

For whatever reason, the Sarah Connor Chronicles didn’t get the love it deserved and suffered the FOX cancellation curse just like Firefly before it.

So what did we really have when nBSG provided us the TV scifi solace we desired? The nuWho reboot?

For a while, we all basically had to branch out to scifi-adjecent shows like Sherlock or Jericho.

That's part of why people are so grateful these days for The Expanse. Are there other shows? Maybe? Dark Matter fizzled. Man in the High Castle isn’t exactly scifi, or maybe it is. Who knows?

The Expanse is real high quality scifi in a form we just haven't seen in a very long time. Maybe it isn't “essential" like TOS. Maybe it isn't ground-breaking like Babylon 5. Maybe it isn't a big-tent success like TNG. But right now, it's a light in the darkness that is Discovery and Picard. That, and The Mandalorian, is all we really have at tier 1 for the genre on TV.

May the 20's be our salvation.

So say we all.
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Booming
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Startrekwatcher
The Expanse is not a mystery box show. The mystery box approach means that you write mysteries into a story without knowing where it will go. The Expanse is based on books. It has a central mystery but that is planned out and then executed. It is actually the opposite of the mystery box approach.
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Andy's Friend
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 7:22am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Tom

“Here's a question: What would people consider "essential" sci-fi TV?”

I am sad to say, but I agree with Peter G. There just isn’t that much science-fiction I would re-watch.

I agree with James White and wolfstar in that the Black Mirror is—in my opinion by a very wide margin—the best and most relevant science-fiction produced in our present century. Even if, because of its very nature, the episodes are of uneven quality.

I also though that of a handful episodes of BSG. Those are the only episodes of BSG I ever re-watch, though.

For all the praise The Expanse receives, I found it to be binge-worthy only, with no profound ideas. It's much better than Discovery, yes, but everything is.

I have grown considerably fonder of VOY over time. As it aired, I had a hard time with the unimaginative stories of many episodes; with the lack of world building in the Delta quadrant; with the Kazon, Neelix, and so on, and so forth. It was indeed, in many ways, a missed opportunity. Now, I appreciate that some episodes are indeed outstanding. But I appreciate especially how so many episodes have some few lines of dialogue, some small gesture towards the Other that is in the very best spirit of Star Trek. Keeping an open mind. Attempting to dialogue. Seeking cooperation. Daring to trust. It may be just a single scene, a single minute, a single line. And then I find it all worthwhile.

One series I like is Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979). It's the kind of sci-fi that is 'essential' to children. For behind all the harmless, campy fun, there lies a reality full of stars.

One series I find interesting that no-one has mentioned is Space: 1999 (1975). There is a world of difference between the first and the second season. The second was more a failed Buck Rogers in the 25th Century than anything, very erratic in tone, badly blending fun à la Buck Rogers with the dark themes often explored in the first season. The first season, once you accept the inane premise (a nuclear explosion causes the colonised moon to break orbit and be whirled across the galaxy at Ludicrous Speed, exposing the crew of Moonbase Alpha to the adventure/mystery of the week) is worthwhile to any serious science-fiction enthusiast. It is a much darker, slower, more serious—British—TOS, with a much eerier tone overall. Some episodes, today, feel almost like sci-fi horror, in a good way, but definitely not family-friendly. It has some very good ideas in the mix. One of them, in my opinion, is among the best episodes of science-fiction ever made.

So I would say TOS-VOY, Buck Rogers (for children), Space: 1999 (first season only), and Black Mirror.

@wolfstar

You asked me some time ago what series I might recommend, but I never got back to you. It just occurred to me, one in an entirely different genre: Brideshead Revisited (1981). The first episode of which, incidentally, is also (but much more appropriately than here) titled ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’.
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Burke
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 6:45am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I'm currently binging for the first time the Battlestar Galactica remake, and kicking myself after each episode for not having done it sooner. What an amazing show. Watching this righ after the Picard finale is such a big contrast, it made me realise that i should stop watching things i don't enjoy anymore just for the sake of the franchise.

Also recently rewatched Lost, and i got to say, if you have you remote in your hand, and skip all the pointless flashbacks/forwards, the just is still pretty good, even the last couple of seasons (hey, even the time travel stuff is good).

The Expanse i've only seen the first season so far, i will finish it once i'm done with BSG.
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Mike
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 6:17am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Well, if my favorite show (B5) is garbage and you praise Lost (the one show the word "garbage" was made for) there's hope for the other shows you put in the trash. I guess the only way to find out is to watch instead of listening to conflicting opinions on the internet. I wasted 10 hours on Picard anyway and The Expanse can't be worse.
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Startrekwatcher
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 6:07am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Oh and just remembered some more crappy shows—invasion, the 4400, dollhouse

Jericho and terminator the sarah Connor chronicles weren’t too bad
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Startrekwatcher
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

V 2.0 is another one to avoid.

A few months ago I tried B5 I thought it was garbage. Yes it has a well thought out mythology but the mythology itself is really corny. Bad VFX. Uninteresting characters
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Startrekwatcher
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Mike

Then you should Also avoid Alcatraz, Wayward Pines, the leftovers and twin peaks 2.0, life on mars, Star Trek
discovery. True blood was a pretty crappy show too.

A lot of these have in common Abrams or Lindelof or Kurtzman all students of the Mystery box and/or artsy pretentiousness—the Leftovers was really bad about this

Supernatural was a pretty decent scary show in the beginning for the first few seasons with self contained overarching season long arcs with standalone format until it veered into meta overkill and camp
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 5:49am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Many of the shows on Peter G. and others' lists such as Babylon 5 and (God help me) the Lexx are also on my list of favourites.

However, I can't help but notice that with few exception they are 90s era shows or just scratching the edges / straddling the 90s like TNG or Firefly. (on both ends)

I suspect that many of the people on this forum like me are late x'ers / early millenials, in other words, children of the 80s who came of age in the 90s.

It could be that the 90s was just a golden age of scifi in television, or it could be that there is a window of time in which taste develops and once you leave that window it crystallizes.
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