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William B
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Regarding this thread in general, Booming talked about the West specifically not because of this episode but because of how they interpret the Prime Directive's motivation. That got the topic of Western/US foreign policy up. Jason posted once about drones and then every subsequent post about that topic was clarifying his intent on bringing that up. The idea that he's only focused narrowly on drones is IMO a complete misreading of what is going on. If people are misunderstood or criticized, they will typically defend their position or clarify their intent. That's how conversation usually goes.

I genuinely don't see any evidence that anyone is indifferent to non-Western crimes. People are, however, very resistant to being told that because they didn't bring up XYZ they don't care about those topics, or are not allowed to bring up other topics, and IMO rightly so, for the reasons Peter articulates.
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William B
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I guess at further risk at being dragged in, without getting into Booming's general behaviour on the board either way I don't think their initial behaviour in this thread in talking about the PD was out of bounds or showed a tacit support of German genocide or whatever. It seems extremely plausible to me that Roddenberry et al. were primarily basing the Federation on the US with some specific modifications, and the modifications are then primarily *modifications to US policy*. The PD in this scenario is a modification to US policy because the Federation is basically in part inspired by the US template, and so it's totally relevant to view the PD as a response to US policy. Possibly this is incorrect and Roddenberry, Coon et al were thinking of other instances of imperialism or whatever.
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William B
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

It's also funny because Jason is obviously not in the "ultra-woke" crowd or whatever and has pointed out how much he dislikes them, that he'd vote for Trump to spite people who put up "silence is violence" signs, has made fun of our own Prime Minister's definition of genocide in this very thread. FWIW I think I skew further "left" than Jason.

Aside, my saying "logical, fact-based" isn't a particular statement that I agree with his conclusions. Maybe the facts he linked to are misrepresented. Whatever. I haven't seen any evidence that they are, but anything is possible. But I see no evidence at all that he's deliberately misrepresenting to grind some axe.

I guess one major flaw we Canadians have is pretending to be above the fray at times so maybe this is an instance of it. Still. And now, exeunt.
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William B
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 10:54am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Holy moly. Jason is a lawyer. He's Canadian but we Canadians are extremely tied to the US and so we have particular stake and complicity in US choices. He is saying in his typically logical, fact-based way that he finds the legal justification for drone strikes troubling, and he has reasons to be interested in North American law. Nothing he's said has given and indication that he's trying to make any global statement. Lawyers also know that they can't litigate every case simultaneously.

Why am I defending Jason right now rather than Chinese dissidents? I'm so monstrous! Oh well.
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William B
Sat, Mar 27, 2021, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

FWIW, 12 Angry Men was a tv film (1954) before it was a theatrical release.
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William B
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

@Trish, wow, fantastic catch. I like Peter's idea that it was memory leakage going on.
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William B
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Hollow Pursuits

IMO the issue is that holodecks are not treated as private spaces at this point in TNG. If Reg was in Ten-Forward instead of at work, would anyone criticize Riker for barging in to look for him? OK, so people probably book holodeck time in advance usually. 1. Barclay probably doesn't do so in this case, because he's supposed to be at work; 2. if Barclay reserved a seat at a restaurant or mini-golf course or library or Mott's barber shop or something on the ship, Riker barging in would still not seem inappropriate, again keeping in mind that he's supposed to be at his job and it's a tiny community of just over a thousand which is also a Starfleet vessel. As far as whether the holodecks should be private, that's maybe a different matter, but the technology is still in its relative infancy (they're new as of "Encounter at Farpoint"), and so that they haven't developed norms around expectation of privacy in what is essentially a tech/service publicly available to the crew and civilians onboard isn't surprising to me.

Finally, at this point that holodecks could be used for, er, non-wholesome reasons (not counting holodeck malfunctions) hasn't really been explored much, to my recollection. It seems to be mostly for doing PG holonovels, various planet settings, stand-up comedy practice, combat training, engineering help from designers, etc. Worf and K'Ehleyr used it for sex but that seems to have been more an impulsive Klingon drives thing than an indication that it's assumed in general that people are going to be doing things that need privacy. And again, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have a right to privacy, but some places in our society -- shops, libraries, restaurants, etc. -- are largely public and there isn't an expectation of privacy. I think the crew treats the holodeck like a kind of reading room in a library, or a study room at a college or something. Perhaps as people get more used to the holodeck and the awareness that it is likely to be used for things people would rather keep to themselves the norms will modify, or people will make explicit petitions to have rules in place to protect their privacy, but I think it's just that new technology often doesn't automatically come with a set of fully-worked-out codes of conduct that match the codes that will eventually develop.

Regarding the over-the-top portrayal of Barclay, we know that he got along better with his last crew, so the issue seems to be that something went wrong early on between Barclay and the others, and then his nervousness compounded the issue, and this made the crew start to treat him badly, which made him more nervous, creating a cycle that we are now walking in on a fair amount in. Yes yes, by the 24th century people should be past lots of things, but I think the basic dynamic is very familiar to me and I've seen similar things happen to people (in fact, I've seen worse), and I think we are seeing Barclay at a low point after things have progressively worsened.
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William B
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

I think Frank Offenhaus is correct about the episode's intent. Troi says Manua believed what she was saying, and the episode never questions or undermines Troi. Troi also believes Riker, obviously. So the POV put forth by the episode is that it's possible for someone to believe they were sexually assaulted when they weren't. The episode is not saying that Manua is deliberately lying, or if it is, it is disguising it pretty deeply (having Troi also be deceived without explanation).

I agree that it shouldn't be in the episode, at least in its current form, since the episode presents and then immediately drops the bombshell of a notion that Manua believes her accusation is true, rather than dealing with it.
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William B
Tue, Mar 2, 2021, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Re: MAND S1: Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

No, it's ___ and ___.

In all seriousness (very vague spoilers up to the end of s2), I watched the show and liked it. The acting and stunts are good. I really like the creatures -- the blurrgs and banthas and such -- some of which we've seen in previous SW media, some of which I understand are from the extended universe books. I think what people are responding to, in part, is that the creators set themselves reasonable goals and achieve them (like its title character), which *is* harder than it sounds; the temptation to go really big and get points for "ambition" is easily succumbed to. Arguably the show starts to slide down this in season two, though I think I like it better than season one overall.

In terms of my overall enjoyment, I'd probably dock about a half star per episode from Jammer's ratings, on average. I get why Jammer rates up (he's always done the Roger Ebert thing of rating according to expectation), but the simplicity of the show's leaves things a bit pat. Sometimes the show still surprises.
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William B
Sat, Feb 27, 2021, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Unforgettable

To be fair if I got to spend that much time with Virginia Madsen it would probably be one of my favourite episodes too.
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William B
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

omg haha amazing.
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William B
Tue, Feb 23, 2021, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Crossfire

That's funny because going by their jobs it's Odo who is Louis. Which I guess fits better than you'd expect. Odo did basically collaborate during the occupation, just Louis had far fewer illusions about his role.
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William B
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 9:20am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

I might be misremembering if they revealed it explicitly, but I think I figured that the play did happen but before Riker went on the mission.
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William B
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

Picard turned down admiralty, too.
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William B
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I think it is probably a plot hole, but maybe not that big of one, because I think part of the story is that Uxbridge has a very strict code for himself -- where he'll use deception, but nothing that causes deliberate harm, even non-lethal harm. It's possible the code isn't entirely consistent, but I think turning the Husnok weapons into cotton candy would maybe constitute harming them (by trashing their stuff) in a way that simply deceiving them wouldn't.

I think also probably he wanted to use fairly low-impact techniques to avoid getting noticed. If he started using bigger godlike "you stay away from here or I'll make all your ship's controls work in reverse or turn you into newts" or whatever it would alert both the Husnok and those around him to his true identity. Plus I think maybe he's operating under a kind of Prime Directive of his own, which allows mild deceptions but not more involved interference.

Of course that kind of interference would have been preferable to genocide, but I think we're maybe meant to see him as very powerful but not omniscient, and having really believed his plans would work, and/or not being able to readjust his ethics fast enough to keep up with the destruction.

If it were convenient the episode could maybe have given more details on Uxbridge's code, but I also kind of think that even given a longer running time, it might have interfered with the story dramatically, particularly for a one-off. I think we maybe just have to imagine why Uxbridge might have restrained himself from all but the smallest actions, thinking those would be sufficient, until the reality that they weren't actually settled onto him.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@Peter, I agree.

I guess one place we could say is that he should be asked to not impersonate Federation citizens, because it does mean that people are dealing with someone who could massacre them with a thought, without knowing that this is the case. Not that it's enforceable. Of course humans can do second degree crimes impulsively under certain circumstances, but 1) humans are mostly, at least in principle, aware of that, and 2) a human's abilities to do impulsive damage are more limited. It's clear that Uxbridge never anticipated this event, and now that it's occurred he's not going to reenter human society again, but if there were a place to offer "judgment" I guess it would be there. Even there I agree that he genuinely planned to live among humans as a human, and peacefully. I don't have any condemnation for him, all in all.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 11:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I will say it is maybe worth noting that Uxbridge was living on a Federation colony pretending to be human. While it's self-defeating to attempt to police godlike beings, sure, Uxbridge was sort of pretending to be operating within Federation limits. So maybe that's a grey area, and I think if Uxbridge was more like a humanoid in disguise from a species with no formal relations with the Federation who deployed a WMD in a more conventional way (rather than purely by thought), there might have been some attempt to police them, at least enough to declare "Please don't pretend to be human and then do things which would be crimes under Federation law." I think that Picard (correctly) recognizes that this would be pointless for Uxbridge, both because how would they stop him, but also because Uxbridge doesn't seem to be about to move over and pitch his tent in Andor next week.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@Bob (a different one)

That's a good point about the "You're free to return to the planet." I guess he's just trying to communicate that he's not going to bother Uxbridge anymore. Uxbridge has demonstrated that he'll limit his response to the Enterprise's meddling (primarily trying to use misdirection rather than force) so even if Uxbridge could crush them like a bug, he probably won't.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I agree with Jason but also I think Picard is referring to the notion that Uxbridge literally committed genocide with a thought. The metaphor/analogy might be to a pacifist who has a nuclear arsenal and impulsively presses the button, but even that doesn't get at how extreme Uxbridge's situation is. It's not even a guy pushing a button; the thought to reality channel is shorter than any law devised by mere mortals is designed to contend with.
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William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Nice to scratch a Star Wars fanfic within your Star Trek fanfic, and to be honest that the whole universe rests on the Ed/Kelly ship does seem to be a meta statement of the show's central theme. Still, the fun here often comes from just "hey, there's AU Alara!" type stuff which doesn't really sustain the hour. Maybe 2.5.

So season two was indeed a big step up from season 1. I'm pretty much at the point where I enjoy the characters and spending time with them. I would say my top episodes of the series so far are, approximately in order:

Deflectors
Lasting Impressions
A Happy Refrain
Sanctuary
Identity 1
Home
About a Girl
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William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

It's funny that "Sanctuary" had Frakes and Sirtis but this one is the remake of "Second Chances." Anyway as Jammer says, Palicki is excellent and there are some intriguing moments when it focuses in on the Kellys, but the Ed/young Kelly stuff just feels misguided all the way through. I think what makes this play worse than, say, Tom/Deanna, is that Ed's captaincy, age, and years of memories of their marriage give him such a huge advantage; in "Second Chances," she and Will had essentially broken up soon after the transporter duplication, and so she and Tom had the same *romantic* history without the platonic (?)/collegial Enterprise time, and she wasn't in such a position of authority over Tom as Ed is here. That the episode doesn't really go there at all is I guess ok but also feels like it feeds into the shallow take on the relationship; the only time Ed exhibits having learned anything is his lying about how soon he called her back. The emotional blackmail of telling Commander Grayson that he'll date the vulnerable, time-displaced Lieutenant Grayson unless Commander Grayson agrees to date him really does Ed no favours. 2 stars for Palicki.
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William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

Good, and I like the use of Dolly Parton's feminist anthem, though I think it would have been more effective if mentioned a bit less frequently. The Bortus and Klyden battle for Topa on the micro and the battle for the Union's soul on the macro in terms of how they deal with the female Moclans; having Grayson and Keyali in charge during the battle was a nice, understated bit of business. I think the Union court battle happens a bit too quickly to feel real, though the superstar casting (F. Murray Abraham! Tony Todd! All the admirals) gives it real weight. It still feels a little less personal to me than, say, "Deflectors" and the action sequence, while zippy, feels unnecessary (why do the Moclans actually attack?). I think a high 3.
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William B
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Thinking a bit more about this one. The use of "The White Cliffs of Dover" and the 1945 UK setting got to me, and I think it fits because it suggests the longing for a time when "the war" is over, and in this case "the war" is the daily conflict that Locar has to go through living his secret. Locar becomes an expert in deflectors; and he let them down long enough to be badly hit. The war continues apace.
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William B
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

Very good. Named I'm sure after the film Laura (detective falls for apparently dead girl) which was sort of made in TNG as Aquiel, which is bad and all. But this makes a real compare contrast with the last one about how to do a Gordon story, and more generally where the show's strengths lie. Gordon's explanation for why this is distinct from other holo-addiction stories (specifically Bortus' porn thing, though on a meta level we know it's also Barclay etc.) is plausible and also is something of a hook for us to get to know Laura as a person, enhanced by the 2015 elements. But it's also clear that Gordon is a lonely guy who doesn't feel like his life is going anywhere, who doesn't entirely fit in with his crew and whose love life has stalled. It's really poignant to watch him and Laura bond, and while the zag that she goes back to her ex feels slightly adjacent to the story they were telling, it does follow naturally, and really it does make sense that it's part of the central issue: Gordon finds a complete person who is long dead, who would have maybe been right for him, but she's right for him because she's already a complete person, whose life is centuries over. I found it very moving, especially Gordon's doomed attempts to share his discovery with his friends. Bortus subplot a scream. 3.5, sure.
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William B
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Yeah, I agree with Jammer's take here. Gordon is okay, but I don't know that saddling him with a "best friend's family killed by Krill" backstory makes sense in terms of what we've seen (eg "Krill") or feels right for this guy's aesthetic. Miles in The Wounded was a minor enough character seen in professional settings before then that having an additional war backstory didn't feel like a stretch at all. Mercer revealing at the end that maybe he was jealous felt all wrong for this story. The Union/Krill stuff is too sketched in for Orrin to feel fully real.

For what it's worth, the Union considering extradition doesn't seem far fetched to me, if indeed Orrin was guilty (which as it turned out he was). I don't approve of extradition to a state that uses torture so it would be wrong. But the Union considering it under the circumstances seems real.

Seems like it would have been easier to throw the blood into space than exit the shuttle. Not sure why bother having Keyali show up at the shuttle bay just to get zapped. I guess prove Gordon's loyalty.

Anyway sure 2 stars.
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