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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

So Data didn't need a pipe and deerstalker to exercise his Sherlockian skills!

I think the comments about poor old Bochra are unfair, even if his experience with Geordi's visor was the source of their knowing about it's possibilities. Both him and Geordi would automatically have been debriefed about what happened after returning home, and there'd have been no reason for him to treat that information as anything to conceal, or to fail to include it in the report he would have given about the episode. In no sense would that have felt like betraying his Federation friend.

As for knowing about Geordi's trip to Risa, I'd assume the Romulans would have a spy presence there, and a hotel booking clerk could have supplied the information.

A well crafted episode - though I prefer Startrek when there's an element of some ethical or interpersonal dilemma.
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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

An interesting contrast between the way the reaction of the cast to the indwelling symbiont in The Host and the way they responded to the analogous creatures in The Contagion back in the first series. No question back then of responding to it as a strange new lifeform which needed to cautiously investigated , but instead destroyed sight as a filthy alien monster.

I agree that the Deep Space version of The Trill was far more interesting. There was a hint that the Next Generation version might not be quite as nasty a set-up as has been assumed here, and that was when Picard commented that the updated combination seemed to have retained some characteristics of Riker. If they had wanted to reconcile the two versions they could have made it that, while the symbiont's personality was overwhelmingly stronger initially, the hosts was still potentially present, and needed a little time to make itself evident, or even in time equal of even dominant.
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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 3:48am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It's easy enough to produce perfectly reasonable counters to all those points. But the crucial one is the last one; I don't think the episode is very much about awarding points as to who is more in the right or who is in the wrong, it's more bout about misunderstandings arising between two likeable people which set them at odds, and which get resolved. That's what I meant by "comedy of errors".

(For example I'd question whether it's right to assume Geordi is "physically superior" just because he's a male. Knock his viewer off and he's much more the vulnerable one.)
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Gerontius
Wed, Jul 1, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

" he has her at a disadvantage the whole time". I can't see how that is the case. He is in no sense in any kind of superior position to Leah - possibly even the reverse. He is a senior figure within the Enterprise, but in the context of StarTrek it seems likely that she, if anything, is more senior than him, as a distinguished scientist and well-regarded designer of starships.

It strikes me that much of the criticism of Geordi is based on an unexamined assumption that he is dealing with someone with less clout than himself, a kind of superior intern, and, even, that by virtue of the fact that she is female, her position is more vulnerable. But we are surely intended to accept that in 24th century Federation culture, that kind of assumption is no more relevant than it would be to see Geordi's colour as putting him in a more vulnerable position.

I think it is a fallacy to see Geordi's actions as "creepy" or as some kind of sexual abuse. The episode is a sardonic comedy of errors.

For excellent reasons Geordi inadvertently caused the holographic Leah to come into existence and cooperated with her in saving the ship. The ship's computer adjusted her personality to assist in that, leading to greater closeness between the holograph and Geordi.

When the real Leah arrived Geordi instinctively, and perfectly understandably fell into assuming the real Leah was more similar to the holograph than was the case, and acted in a way that reflected that. And he also failed to advise her of the fact that he had already met with a holographic version of her, which was a mistake, but not a ethical fault on his part. And when Leah saw the computerised version of herself she quite reasonably misunderstood the whole situation.

And when all the misunderstandings were sorted out, it ended in their establishing a friendship on a different and more real basis.

Nothing "creepy", nothing "abusive" - as I said, a comedy of errors.
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Gerontius
Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

I rate this as a pretty good episode, Luxwana and all. (She's annoying all right, but that's her shtick, and you laugh while you cringe - and in this episode it was good to see a glimpse of another side in the final scene.

Unlike a lot of people, I don't see the idea of a culture that imposes a deadline on its members as at all absurd. In fact a central argument against a move towards legalising euthanasia is that it could lead to a culture in which old people could be encouraged or manipulated, into choosing to die, for the benefit of their children - or indeed might themselves make that choice because they see continuing to love as a burden on those children.

No need to have a law code compelling it if the social pressure and expectation become strong enough. Look at all the parents who freely offer their infants, female and male, for genital mutilation in cultures across the world.

And in fact there was never any indication that The Resolution was a legally
imposed requirement, rather than a universally accepted practice, underpinned by strong family pressures.

And as with infant genital mutilation, other cultures may disapprove (more notably of the female version) but can do little about it. Even without a Prime Directive.

And rightly so, because the principle behind the Prime Directive is undoubtedly correct - all human history seems to bear out the fact that forced interference with the cultures of other societies, however well intended, invariably damages those societies, and can even end in effectively destroying the people of those societies. Change comes, and contact can help shape that change - but ensuring that the change is for the good is a very tricky enterprise, even an impossible one.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It is true enough that the medium can well present the actions of a character in a way that encourages the viewer or reader to see it in a particular light, and this can open it to criticism. But that is a different matter.

For example behaviour that is sexist or racist could be presented in a way tat made it seem acceptable or sympathetic, and it would be very fair to comment critically on this or object to it, but that is a different thing from objecting to the fact of the character behaving in that way. It could be quite possible for the medium to give the reverse emphasis - or even to seek to avoid loading things either way and aim to invite viewers or readers to make up their own minds, as in real life. And again, as in real life situations, there are liable to be unconscious biases involved one way and another, even where neutrality might be the conscious aim.

And all those things are reasonable areas for discussion.
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Gerontius
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It always seems strange how many people seem to see criticising the behaviour of a fictional character we the same thing as identifying a fault in the writing and portrayal of that character.

People are imperfect. It is right that that should be represented in the characters as shown in a dramatic work.

Geordi's character is seen as behaving in a way that invites criticism (maybe more). But it is consistent with the character we have been shown, and in its way realistic (and in the context of the narrative, understandable and even excusable). The job of drama isn't to photoshop the way real people behave , and when we express disapproval of the actions of a fictional character we shot not slip into seeing that as indicating a failure on the part of the writer/ director/actor.
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Dropped to see if this thread was still going strong. Well, at leadt it's still going...

But that last post by Eamon - "STP? If it tries to say anything it’s that foreigners actually are bad, progress actually is dangerous, and exploration of the world or of the self are too mundane to matter. "

I can't make any sense of that as coming out of Picard. Bad foreigners? Some are, some aren't. Progress is dangerous? Everything is dangerous, obviously. Living is dangerous, but saying that doesn't imply you want to Give up living. As for exploration outer and inner being mundane, where does that come from?

I enjoyed the season, and look forward to the next. It compared very favourably to other first sesson incarnations of StarTrek. We've only had 12 episodes after all. There'll be some crackers yet to measure up to the best if what we've had before.
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Who knows? My body was, by some legal definitions dead for a while. Then I was alive by all legal definitions. I'm not sure that "here" is a appropriate term for whether I am alive or not. Is a car less here when it is switched off? Is a Television programme here when the TV is turned on. Am I here on this website when someone else reads what I have just written? In 30 seconds or five years?
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

The normal practice might well be to make First Contact formally after a planet had actually made an initial trip - but the special circumstances of Riker being missing was specifically given as the reason things needed to be speeded up this time ( in fact in a sense first contact had already occurred by that time, when Riker's alien identity had been revealed).

And a strict reading of the Prime Directive would have provided legal coverage for Picard's action. And given the element of xenophobia in the planet's culture which was evident, making an early preliminary contact would have been very wise, given the possible risks in leaving it all to chance encounters, which could have been disastrous.

As for the stuff about Federation membership, an early indication that it was potentially on offer would have made sense. No doubt there'd be likely to be long negotiations about that. We've seen in other episodes of the Federation is not automatic. And it appears that the Federation is probably rather more analogous to the United Nations than to the European Union, let alone the USA. Minimal or zero loss of sovereignty, and relatively modest requirements for membership.

By necessity any narrative has to greatly simplify the real world, especially when it comes to political matters. StarTrek is hardly exceptional in that - think of the White House in the West Wing, consisting of a President and half a dozen companions, much the same as Enterprise. There's a literary convention of simplifying reality to enable an intelligible story. (And in The Next Generation that story has to told in 45 minutes...)
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

The opening fragment with Data as Scrooge on its own is enough to make this an outstanding episode.

The rest was pretty enjoyable. I'm with the posters above who liked Ardra the vamp. And I got the impression that Patrick Stewart played it as Picard being considerably more taken by her than he admitted - he's a pretty sensitive actor at getting those kind of hints into a performance.

Most of the posts focusing on the issue of religion strike me as pretty much beside the point. The threat of the Devil returning to claim on a debt is a pretty classic theme in folklore, but so far as the Ventaxians were concerned Ardra was essentially a powerful alien invader with. A back story. She could have been a Q or a Borg Queen - the point was she was in a position to destroy and dominate them.

As for the business of Picard forcing the Ventaxian chief to recognise that the necessary changes to the planet's society and environment had been achieved by human action, there was nothing of an attack on religion there - St Theresa of Avila's words "Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours" express what is a pretty standard assumption of how things work in most religious contexts, not just Christian. (That doesn't mean that there aren't some quite powerful quasi-religious cults that would correctly recognize that as an attack.)
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Gerontius
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 8:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

The idea of the episode was excellent, but the execution was a bit clumsy, basically because the format meant everything had to be rushed. Krona was especially clumsily written and portrayed. I think it could have been done better with a more realistic interrogation not involving Riker's near death. Perhaps waterboarding to be plausible, if it was done today? And I'd have thought it would have been much more plausible to have had Krona set up for someone else to be "killed" by Riker, with himself as a witness he did it. After all with him dead, who could be relied on to manage Security? Sacrificial deaths for the cause are for gallant underlings as every leader knows.

And the decision that these people weren't ready for further contact really needed to have been taken by Picard, because they weren't.

The coercion of Riker by the nurse was a bit distasteful, but it can reasonably be seen as a critical comment on the cliche setup in Erroll Flynn/James Bond style stories, still typical at that time, where the Riker-like hero is the manipulative sexual exploiter in that kind of situation. Sort of "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander".
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Gerontius
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 7:05am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

Patrick Stewart gave us a first rate dying Picard scene. Which was what the whole episode was for.

The rest was pretty clunky. The castaway on a desert planet scenario, and Picard dying in Wesley's arms didn't need the stuff with Dirgo or the magic fountain, and would have worked better without them.

The garbage-scow business needed slow up Enterprise coming to the rescue should have been replaced by something else, pretty well anything else. People have pointed out the gaping flaws in it - notably the idea there would have been any reason to keep towing it once it's moving in the right direction at the right speed.

But Picard deserved a good death scene just for once.
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Gerontius
Sat, May 23, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Nothing improbable about reviving someone who has died. Depends on what you mean by death. When I had a cardiac arrest a few years ago, my heart stopped for some time, and that has generally be seen as defining the moment of death. But I¡m still here ten years later thanks to two strangers who gave me CPR until the paramedics arrived.

I'm not sure what definition of death the cryonics people use, but they must use one in order to freeze people, because otherwise they'd be shut down.
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Gerontius
Sat, May 23, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

My wife thought that Riker's dress really suited him. She was a bit disappointed he didn't wear it from time to time in later episodes.
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Gerontius
Sat, May 23, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

Moving the location of a settlement is a very different thing from what was involved here.

When i said "typical" I didn't mean universally the case, or even necessarily mostly the case, but rather quite frequently the case.

And I had in mind such settler states as South Africa, Southern Rhodesia (as it was formerly called), Israel and Northern Ireland. In all of these I believe that the die-in- a-ditch stance of the settlers here would have be familiar enough. This was not a colony of Earth or the Federation and never had been. They were settlers, not colonists, and there's a difference, which is why I used the term.

But I fully accept the validity of noting the differences between the colonial practice the different European states.
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Gerontius
Sat, May 23, 2020, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Menage a Troi

For once I read Jammer's review Nd good few of the posts here before seeing this again, (Though in fact I can't remember this one - I might have missed it.) So I had pretty low expectations of it.

Then I watched it, and found it thoroughly enjoyable. Even the Ferengi and Luxwana.
I was rather sorry Luxwana was able to wriggle out of her promise - it had been a very admirable gesture on her part to make the bargain, and actually quite in character. I think that she and Tog might have made quite a viable partnership.

Picard's cod declamation of a Shakespeare medley at the end was hilarious, and very skilled - he read the lines with conviction and beautifully phrased, but at the same time brought out the absurdity of tge performance.

The Next Generation could do the serious stuff the serious stuff better than we could have imagined possible in the format. But the lighter stuff, even the panto stuff, has its place as well.
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Gerontius
Fri, May 22, 2020, 6:12am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

It struck me that Worf showed remarkable self control. Normally mild people around the ship erupting into violent confrontation under the influence of Sarek's telepathic projections - and all he did was to be a bit harsh towards a subordinate in a bureaucratic way. You'd have thought he¡d have turn somebody's head off.

Perhaps it's that Klingon's aggressive emotions are a lot closer to the surface all the time than the case with Earth humans, and he'd be much more used to consciously holding himself back, whereas the others would do that unconsciously, and that was where the telepathic disinhibition was focussed.

And Troi didn't seem affected either.

But I'd have thought that we'd have seen something more like the Naked Time/Naked Now setup, with a range of different enotions being released. After all with it wasn't particularly aggressive emotions that Vulcan's held rigidly back.

Still that would have been a different scenario, and this one worked well. Good to see Patrick Stewart given his head. And the bar fight was wonderful, including that pugnacious lady - I wonder if they used her again, they should have.
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Gerontius
Thu, May 21, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

Actually of course "something" did indeed happen in the course of transportation - the fact that Fajo is alive proves that Data did not fire until then, and not while he was in Fajo's ship. In no way did Data say anything that was not true, except insofar as by saying "perhaps" he was implying that he was unaware of whatever it was that happened.
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Gerontius
Wed, May 20, 2020, 6:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

Data's ethical status is very much in keeping with Asimov's Laws of Robotics - and the relevant one here is the First Law: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." While these are never formally stated in StarTrek, it is clear tha5 in Data's case they are operative.

So this episode involves a dilemma within that law. The decisive element is not so much Fajo's killing of Varria as his indication of his readiness to repeat that time and time again. If Data fires he kills Fajo. If he fails to fire his action will result in the death of others. Either way he offends against the First Law. However failing to prevent Fajo from killing a succession of people involves a greater breach of the law, because he is only a single person.

It's a classic Asimovian story. I'd love to see what Asimov thought of the episode, which was first broadcast a couple of years before his death.

Ironically it is Fajo's protective screen that would have caused his death, if the timely transporter had not kicked in in the nick of time, since without it Data would have had no need to pull the trigger.

Why did Data lie by misdirection? I think that could also have been justified under Asimov's Laws - telling Riker that he had fired could potentially have hurt him, offending against the First Law, and could also have caused injury to Data, which woould make tge Tird Law relevant "A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law."
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Gerontius
Tue, May 19, 2020, 8:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Hollow Pursuits

Lovely to see this again, in my covid 19 lockdown inspired voyage through long past StarTreck. It's a great episode and Barclay has long been one of my favourite characters.

One gem I'd forgotten was Data's incisive intervention when he shut down the Brocolli infection and the "just joking" excuse for it by analysing them. That's how to do it, a far more effective way of countering that kind of talking and acting than by denouncing them as being offensive.

And I liked the way he reacted to Picard mis-speak of "Brocolli" - treating it as a matter of language rather than attitude.

In some ways Data could be an excellent Ship's Counsellor than Troi. (So would Guynan of course, and in practice that's what she is. I liked the floppy hat - it looked like a halo, making he some kind of resident Angel on the Enterprise.)
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Gerontius
Thu, May 7, 2020, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

Troi's reaction to Ral was more like some kind of mind control think rather than any kind of attraction. Of course that might be how Betazoids work.

I much preferred the Ferengi to Ral. I liked the little scene of the Ferengi character trying to chat up girls in 10 Forward. This was the first time the Ferengi started to show indications of having possibilities. The protests in some posts that people thinking like that could never cope successfully in the world are unfortunately not true, as has been demonstrated only too graphically in current events and recent history. They don't just run corporations, they run countries.
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Gerontius
Sun, May 3, 2020, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

It feels very strange the way so many posters here fumed away about pretty trivial flaws, while ignoring the delightful stuff that sticks in the memory - notably the way Data coped with his two dilemmas, dealing with the suicidal obstinacy of the settler community, and with the emotional issues with Ard'rian. Picard's moment of triumph, with his brushing the non-existent dust off the Enterprise plaque was another moment to savour.

As for the reaction of Goshevan to the demand for uprooting his community, I can't agree with those who think that kind of suicidal obstinacy is improbable. In fact it's very typical of the settler mentality. And not just settlers, consider the fact that for several generations now most people have accepted the concept of MAD, "Mutual Assured Destruction" as a basis for international relationships.

The assumption that there is anything improbable or absurd about a man like Miles O'Brien being able to play a cello, because he is the wrong class to do stuff like that does not actually recognise the way that the Startrek culture is portrayed as not bogged down in prejudiced ways of thinking and behaving, either racist, or in this case, class driven. (And after all, how absurd many people from a few centuries ago might have thought of the notion of peasants and labourers being able to read?)
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Gerontius
Sun, Apr 19, 2020, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Unnatural Selection

A strange comment by Jammer saying a disease which kills people by making them age at decades within a couple of says was a boring idea. It's a chilling concept. As in this time of Coronavirus any story about killer viruses feels especially close to home. We could do with some transporter magic right now...

I don't get the hostility to Pulaski. I was glad in this episode she had a chance to step up. The way the season shows her developing respect and liking for data more than justifies showing us the initial disdain, as something for her to get over. And Picard at this stage of the series really needed a bit of disrespect to counter his initial tendency towards stuffiness.
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Gerontius
Fri, Apr 17, 2020, 9:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona

Okona based on Han Solo? Never, he was channeling Errol Flynn, and doing it pretty well too. And I always enjoy Errol Flynn. (Of course Han Solo was also based on Flynn's character, but wasn't doing a straight impersonation, which the actor doing Okona was.)

The whole episode I found pretty enjoyable. Reading many of the outraged posts above I found myself echoing Shakespeare's comment on the Puritans of his time "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
It might not have been the greatest ale or the tastiest cake, but a pleasant enough diversion.

I was surprised to learn that the comedian was a real one - my assumption was that he was a parody, intended to be unfunny. Guinan's wordplay was equally unfunny, but the term "noid" strikes me as quite a good one. I can imagine it might catch on in a setting where non noids get together. Maybe on that planet where the synthetic people live in "Picard".
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