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John Harmon
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Well, there's now vaping in Star Trek. That was a truly cringe "how do you do fellow kids?" moment. I'm sure Alex Kurtzman patted himself on the back for that.

And hearing Raffi say "pro-tip" to Picard felt as out of place as all the heavy cursing (we get it show, you're edgy). Seriously "pro-tip" is already a dated term that came from a reference to gaming. Hearing someone who's supposed to be from several hundreds of years in the future use it in a melodramatic context where she's pouring her heart out made me actually laugh out loud.

I just don't get why it's so hard for writers to write future people as future people. Trek writers used to be good at it. They avoided using contemporary slang so they wouldn't date the show, they had them all speaking more formally or classically, so the dialogue would always be timeless. They were smart about it. Now, I just don't think they care if the show is dated or not. It's just about what "feels good" in the moment regardless if it makes sense for the character or the setting.
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John Harmon
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

That article about Chabon answering fan questions on Instagram is 100% him just making stuff up on the spot. I don't believe for a second he had any of that stuff thought out.

He's really good at quickly making up answers like this but fails to include these details in the actual show.
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John Harmon
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Comparing Star Trek to B5 is a bad comparison. B5 was deliberately made to be differently. Star Trek is a post scarcity socialist Utopia. B5 Earth is a horrific capitalist dystopia.

The only explanation for Raffi living in a trailer and being bitter about it is a straight retcon. It's been mentioned time and time again on Trek that in the Federation and especially on Earth, they have eliminated poverty and homelessness and people going hungry.

The entire point of Star Trek is that we humans finally got our stuff together and everyone is taken care of. There's really no wiggle room there. Chabon and Kurtzman just retconned it because they're too lazy to work within the confines of what was set up already.
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John Harmon
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

“Case in point: My disbelief in Picard being returned to his home after the episode on the rooftop, which was later explained by the ensuing conspiracy/cover-up.”

You can still be confounded by that, because it still makes no sense. Saying “it’s a conspiracy” isn’t enough. Because that was a gigantic explosion at the heart of Starfleet HQ. No amount of altering camera footage should be able to hide that that happened. Not to mention Picard being able to survive an explosion right in his face that knocks him back twenty feet. Who took Picard home? If it were the Romulans, why wouldn’t they just kill/kidnap Picard right there?
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John Harmon
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

It’s fine to have a tv show with a big mystery arc over a season, but if you’re gonna do that, you still gotta make each episode mean something beyond just trickling in a little more information about the one big mystery. It makes all the characters feel like plot devices instead of people and makes so many of the episodes feel like filler to pad out the season.

I’m hopeful that now that the plot has moved beyond this 3 part pilot, things will start ramping up and we’ll have smaller arcs and engaging character moments.
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John Harmon
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Wait, so Picard didn’t save any of the Romulans? I thought he did lead the rescue mission, but it got interrupted. This makes it seem like the rescue mission never got off the ground at all.
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John Harmon
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

@Booming

“It is interesting that many people who like the show can barely make it through a single post without making derogatory remark about the people who dislike the show while people who dislike the show do not behave that way.”

Yeah I’ve noticed that too. Same with Discovery fans. They can never just discuss the show, they have to belittle those who don’t like it to muse themselves feel better.
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John Harmon
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

I thought it was weird that it was explained that the Borg will leave behind a cube and disconnect it from the collective.

Weren’t we shown numerous times throughout trek that they never leave their technology behind to be taken by someone else? They even go back to recover their dead.

Was there a time in Trek before this where they left behind their drones and a whole cube? They usually got blown up completely if they were defeated before.
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John Harmon
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

After the pilot gave me hope, this episode dashed them pretty much from the beginning. That was like ten straight minutes of just exposition and info dumping.

The utopia Planitia scene was a little much. All the workers are just bigots to robots for no reason.

So you know how the Romulans have a secret black ops unit? Well now there’s an even SECRETER more BLACKER OPS unit. That actually made me and my wife laugh. Kurtzman just loves secret organizations.

So this super super super secret group of Romulan spies are also cultists who hate artificial life. For...some reason. Even though we’re told there is no romulan artificial life and there’s never even been research into it. So these people hate androids even though they’ve never seen them. That just sounds weird.

But also I remember in TNG The Defector, Admiral Jarok admires Data and says “I know a host of Romulan cyberneticists that would love to be this close to you.”

I so could have done without the admiral cursing at Picard. That was so off putting.

I’m going to hold out a little hope that the series will get better, but this episode gave me discovery headaches.
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John Harmon
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I really hope it’s not Picard inspiring the Federation back into being “good.” That sounds so hamfisted and terrible. And is what they already did with Discovery season 1, having Michael Burnham make Starfleet see the error of its ways.

Having the random admiral be corrupt is far different from an entire civilization being corrupt. It’s beyond absurdity to think a culture made up of 150 different planets could be isolationist and xenophobic.
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John Harmon
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 3:00am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

“All I could think of was that TNG spliced-up parody video, created in the early-to-mid 1990s, where Data announces, "I have six aces!" and then laughs maniacally (using the audio from "Deja Q").”

That sounds hilarious. Does this video still exist somewhere on the internet?
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John Harmon
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:56am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Loved the review. Definitely agreed. Glad to see it was a pretty long one too. That’s bound to happen with the first episode at least.
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John Harmon
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:09am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Jammer thank you for continuing to maintain this site and your reviews. I don’t know what your job is or what has your schedule ever hectic, but thank you for making the reviews happen. Honestly it wouldn’t be Star Trek without a Jammer review to go with it.
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John Harmon
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:11am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

If I had a complaint, it’s the music, or at least the theme. It was pretty bad. Not at all memorable or standout like a theme should be. Especially a Star Trek theme.
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John Harmon
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

That was quite a good a start. Considering Discovery was constant mind numbing action and melodrama from minute one, I was really worried about Picard and I’m glad I was wrong.

It was well paced. There was time for the story to breathe which was great. Shockingly not everything in the trailer ended up in the first episode which I really thought would happen.

Picard felt like Picard. As much as I usually groan at fan service, the moments like that in this were well done and definitely touched me.

There’s just no hiding the fact that Brent Spiner is a 70 year old man, but I quickly got over the looks. It helped that he was only shown sparingly. I’m sad that B-4 didn’t make it. I loved that aspect of the Countdown comic, that the memory transfer worked.

I’m confused as to how Picard’s rescue attempt on the Romulans was connected to the “rogue synthetics” destroying the Mars shipyard. That journalist was basically blaming him for it.

I’m also confused how Starfleet had a slave race of androids anyway. Wasn’t that the point of Measure Of A Man? I guess they weren’t sentient?

At any rate, I’m intrigued where it’s going. I was actually engaged and it felt both familiar and new, which is what I want from new Star Trek. I can’t wait to see more.
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John Harmon
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

The big difference between the effects of The Orville and Discovery is that I’m actually impressed with the effects of the Orville, despite Discovery constantly trying to provide the biggest spectacle.

When I watched that hour long battle in the season 2 finale of Discovery, it was actually giving me a headache. Star Wars prequel level space battles aren’t interesting. They’re mind numbing and boring.

The Orville brilliantly combines real physical model shots with CGI and it looks great. When I saw the sequence of the ship going into the planet’s rings and hiding on a chunk of ice, with the Kaylon ship passing overhead, I actually said “wow” out loud. The sequence had a great sense of scale and awe and you knew what was happening and it looked great.
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John Harmon
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I gotta agree. Paying attention does not make this show more enjoyable. You have to pay as little attention as possible to get any kind of surface level enjoyment from it.
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John Harmon
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Are we actually supposed to believe this is an acceptable way to write out the spore drive? Was there any evidence that Starfleet didn't plan on implementing it in more ships? We saw in season one that Discovery wasn't the only ship working on a spore drive. Stamets got it to work.

Considering how technological progress happens in humans, when we discover a technology that irrevocably changes our society, we don't just mothball it if it seems a little dangerous. We work the problem until it's fixed.

It's entirely unbelievable that Starfleet would discard all information on this fantastic technology and never try to develop anything like it ever again even though it cuts travel time around the universe down to zero. Humans just don't work that way and technology progresses, it never regresses.
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John Harmon
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Alan Roi the season is over my dude. You're constantly replying to every negative comment about this show like it's your job.
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John Harmon
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 3:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

These are basically all the thoughts I had while watching the episode. Don’t blame anyone not wanting to read all of this, or just wanting to skim, but I figure it’s best to put everything in one comment rather than spam a bunch.

Well I’ll start with the good. It was cool seeing Starfleet HQ. Future San Francisco looked neat.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way. That’s seriously all the writers could come up? This whole season Alex Kurtzman has been saying that by the end of the season it would explain away all the canon inconsistencies. And their best shot is “everybody kept it a secret”? That made me actually laugh out loud because I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. An entire season, tens of millions of dollars spent just to ultimately say “everyone just pinkie promised to not talk about it”? It’s almost impressive what a middle finger that is to the audience.

So it turned out Michael Burnham was the Red Angel all along after all. Kinda makes that whole couple of episodes about her mom pointless. Also, was anyone expecting anything else? It was obvious from the first episode of the season it would turn out to be Michael Burnham, based on nothing else than the fact that the writers love making her the most important person in the universe. And the show treats that moment like it’s a shocking revelation. We were all ahead of the show there right?

Speaking of, I guess Discovery just happens to have the ability to replicate an Iron Man suit? I didn’t even know they had replicators. But they sure built that super advanced time traveling space suit in no time like it was nothing.

The non stop space battling was nauseating. It was full on Star Wars prequel white noise. I’m sure a bunch of animators were underpaid to create all those space battles that I had to close my eyes during because it was giving me a headache. This type of action is mind numbing and frankly, boring. Throwing more stuff at the screen isn’t exciting. For that matter, overly long scenes of people just punching each other isn’t exciting either. All I can think of is how intense and exciting Wrath Of Khan still is, and it was only two ships battling like they were slow moving submarines and not a single punch was thrown between Kirk and Khan.

And during the battle I noticed the Enterprise deployed a bunch of Star Wars repair droids that looked like Skeletor’s hover bots from the old Masters Of The Universe cartoon. Didn’t know they had those.

Admiral Cornwell’s death was ridiculous. So the only way to close the blast door was manually from the inside. Good thing the Enterprise designers created that room to be as dramatically convenient as possible. Why could they not beam her out of the room exactly? Also, this photon torpedo, that had the destructive capability of turning the Enterprise’s saucer section into a crescent shape was held off...by a blast door...is that what we’re being asked to believe? If the door was open, more of the ship would have blown up. But that one singular tiny door was so capable of holding that blast, Pike didn’t even flinch even though he was only a few feet away from it.

Leland wasn’t actually a bad guy right? Am I wrong there? His body was taken over by Skynet, right? It really bothered me how much the show reveled in the sadism of his death...this guy who was really just a victim.

Noticed they couldn’t resist ending another season without a “this is Starfleet” moment.

Security Chief what’s-her-name saying “yum yum”. I cringed out of my skin and now I’m a skeleton.

Didn’t really like Spock monologuing about how Michael Burnham is so great that she’s the reason he is who he is. I can’t believe how much the writers love making her the center of everything. No wonder she has this hero complex. Can’t really blame her. It would have been a missed opportunity not to have a goodbye between them though, so I can’t fully blame them there.

Seeing the bridge crew in the end, with the shots of the Enterprise in space dock was a neat TMP homage. And I appreciate Ethan Peck giving his all in the character, but boy howdy does the full Spock look not look good on him at all. Sad to say it was another laugh moment for me. I felt sorry for him. I also felt sorry for Rebecca Romijn in this. Her wig looked terrible. She herself was great though. I laughed again when she actually gave her name as “Number One”, but I’m sure that was an intentional joke moment.

The ending is intriguing in theory. Taking Discovery to the future frees up the show from a lot of constraints. However, it’s also emblematic of the writing problems in this show. The writers are literally having the show run away from what they think are its problems. They think taking the show out of prequel territory and eliminating all canon inconsistencies will fix the show, but that wasn’t the problem at all. The core problem is the writing style. Style over substance, weak characterization, lightning fast pacing, and boring overextended mystery box plots. Taking the show far into the future won’t fix this show alone. The writers need to fundamentally change how the show is written and structured for it to have a chance of really being good. Otherwise they’re just going to keep wasting tens of millions of dollars on fancy effects coupled with writing on par with bad fan fiction. We’ll see.
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John Harmon
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I have a question...if this show didn’t have the Star Trek brand attached to it, would anyone care about this? I see people doing mental gymnastics to excuse the sloppy writing and I just can’t imagine this show would have ever made it past season one if it weren’t for the strength of the Star Trek brand alone pulling in subscribers.

This show is objectively a mess, writing wise. I’m honestly floored that this show is written by actual professional Hollywood writers. Maybe it’s because of all the mess this show has had behind the scenes for the past two seasons. Or maybe it’s the Alex Kurtzman influence, who has a particular talent for failing up in his industry. Every script he’s written has been awful and he’s brought down multiple franchises.

It seems like they’re preparing for a major change of scenery for the series, as if that fixes all the problems. I just don’t know if can be fixed if the next season is going to be another season long mystery box story arc with nonsensical plotting. If this season finale is meant to “fix” the canon issues Discovery has with the rest of Star Trek, it just means they wasted an entire season “fixing problems” they made themselves. The show should be called Star Trek: Course Correction, because that’s what this season feels like. If they want to iron out the kinks of the show, they need to get rid of Kurtzman’s influence completely and hire writers who can actually do sci-fi and good character work, as opposed to soap opera melodrama.
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John Harmon
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

I could actually believe this as the real review.
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John Harmon
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@Alan Roi are you a CBS rep or something? You can’t let anyone’s even slightly negative comments about this show go. It’s very odd.
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John Harmon
Mon, Mar 25, 2019, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

I swear if they turn Leland into the first Borg, I’ll be officially done with those show for good. That would be so lazy and cheap that I fully expect them to do it. I remember people joking last season that these hacks would bring in The Borg in season 2, but I never thought it could be true. I guess we wait.
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John Harmon
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 3:53am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

The term “Mary Sue” was actually coined by a woman, Paula Smith, in the 70’s, in regards to Star Trek believe it or not. She was a fan fiction writer fed up with reading fan fics starring what she believed to be perfect characters who everybody loved. She brought up the criticism as a way to help other fan fic writers craft more believable, non self insert characters. This is actually her parody story, titled “A Trekkie’s Tale”, in its entirety, featuring the original Mary Sue:

“Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky," thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. "Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet - only fifteen and a half years old." Captain Kirk came up to her.
"Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?" "Captain! I am not that kind of girl!" "You're right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute while I go get some coffee for us." Mr. Spock came onto the bridge. "What are you doing in the command seat, Lieutenant?" "The Captain told me to." "Flawlessly logical. I admire your mind."

Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott beamed down with Lt. Mary Sue to Rigel XXXVII. They were attacked by green androids and thrown into prison. In a moment of weakness Lt. Mary Sue revealed to Mr. Spock that she too was half Vulcan. Recovering quickly, she sprung the lock with her hairpin and they all got away back to the ship.

But back on board, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Mary Sue found out that the men who had beamed down were seriously stricken by the jumping cold robbies , Mary Sue less so. While the four officers languished in Sick Bay, Lt. Mary Sue ran the ship, and ran it so well she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Vulcan Order of Gallantry and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood.

However the disease finally got to her and she fell fatally ill. In the Sick Bay as she breathed her last, she was surrounded by Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott, all weeping unashamedly at the loss of her beautiful youth and youthful beauty, intelligence, capability and all around niceness. Even to this day her birthday is a national holiday of the Enterprise.”
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