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Tomalak
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 1:41am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

@SlackerInc "What a twist at the end. I guess she was wrong and she's actually creating divergent timelines (which is the only way time travel makes sense IMO)."

So there are now two parallel timelines? Triggered by what? Does 'the time line' somehow consciously knows it has been interfered with by time travellers and reacts by splitting in two?? Or are you saying every time alternative outcomes come into play there are new universes? In which case there was already a divergent time line in which Kelly and Ed only went on a single date, and time travel did not change this. Either way, I am not clear on how this makes sense of time travel.

I think the only way it can make sense is if any actions we see time travellers take in the past already happened, and therefore can change nothing in the present. Obvs that would make for boring Sci Fi though, so there are efforts to present a paradox that isn't really there. I am happy to suspend disbelief for the sake of enjoying fiction but I don't think there is a paradox in reality.
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SmallKiwi
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 1:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

At the risk of sounding like a teenage boy, did anyone else love Young Kelly's look? Adorable. Makes me hope for a hair style change for "Old Kelly" in season 3. Something a little more fun.
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Amala
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Lynos

Yeah, you cant tell people that this character who was created only 3 years ago, and was never part of the trek's lore, is the most important person in SPOCK's life and the reason why he is Spock and kirk&spock are friends, and then get surprised when fans find it way too forced, or even a little bit pathetic and trash from a writing standpoint. They really couldn't help themselves.

Michael is a mary sue and people who like Discovery and can't accept criticism need to get over that because it's delusional to deny the evidence she's a self insert fanfiction character created by a writing team who has no respect for 50 years of canon and characters that they don't own and have no credit for.
It's like Spock was so iconic and they selfishly wanted a piece of that, as if people need to thank them for the creation of this character who was unique but now is just used to make their own character important. How selfish is that? Their ego is huge!
If Nimoy were still alive, he'd be disappointed. Not only they diminished the character integrity, they created a backstory that doesn't even make sense with the Spock you see later.
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Amala
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 8:48am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I agree with those here who felt Spock's monologue about how Michael made him balanced and how she saved him was way too over the top.

I suppose Kurtzman only wants you to acknowledge the latest story he is getting paid for, but I'm not going to pretend he didn't literally co-wrote a Spock in the movies who doesn't have a sister but not only still finds a balance, he does that before Nimoy's version did. He even has a girlfriend! It seems like his life was better without Michael's influence anyway or she isn't that relevant to his evolution and his ability to acknowledge his feelings. I always thought that it was his human mother who helped him understand some things, anyway. He's human too, he could never escape from who he is.
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Tomalak
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 6:05am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

I really liked how they tied this in to Mercer's prophetic comment about how Moclan society is so different that he wonders how much they can really get along. At the time I thought "Hmm well as long as they keep their strange laws to their own planet it shouldn't become a diplomatic issue". This episode answered that.

On Sirtis, she was heavily billed on social media - and then barely got a line this episode. Disappointing, really. Why bother promoting that? I hope she is back again.
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Mal
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 1:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

"i could easily imagine a story constructed around efforts to cheat the fate shown that ultimately fall apart, slowly building to acceptance"

- Jeanne

Oh, I agree completely. Angel - the Joss Whedon show - was particularly good at these. In the Season 2 episode "The Trial", Angel jumps in a swimming pool with no water and undergoes a series of trials to save Darla from dying. And though he passes each test, in the end there is no cheating fate. Or take the great Season 5 episode "Destiny", where Spike beats Angel to the holy grail, only to find the goblet filled with Mountain Dew. Or one of my favorites, the Season 4 episode "Awakening", where Angel goes on a quest to find a sword to defeat the beast - which would have been a hell of a lot better alternative to taking out his soul - but alas it was all a delusion.

In the end these Big Damn Heroes choose not to run away from fate. They choose to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

"but I'll take what we get"

- Jeanne

Indeed. When I want introspection, I always have Babylon 5.

In the Babylon 5 season 3 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", brother Edward tells Delenn and Lennier about the keystone to his faith:

"On the night before our Lord was crucified he spent the night alone in the garden at Gethsemane. And he knew they were gonna come for him, and in a moment of weakness he asked if this cup could pass from him. If he could be spared the pain and death that would come with the morning.

And of course, the cup would not pass, and the soldiers would come to Gethsemane. But he did not have to be there when they arrived.

He could have chosen to leave to postpone the inevitable for a few hours or even days. He knew what would happen, but he chose to stay. To sacrifice himself, and thus atone for the sins of others.

It's a very fragile, human moment.

And I've often thought about that night.
And I honestly don't know if I would have had the courage to have stayed."


Pike stayed. To save us all.
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Mal
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 10:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Through the Valley of Shadows
Season 2, Episode 12
Mal’s review before Jammer’s

3 Stars

“Incoming transmission from Amanda Greystone”

- Or was that Cylon-Zoe’s mom’s name?

A few weeks ago, Amanda Greyson, wife of Sarak of Vulcan, tells Captain Pike that her son did not kill those starfleet personnel. Her son is kind and gentle, she said. And indeed he is. This week’s enjoyable outing “Through the Valley of Shadows" starts with Amanda calling Michael to check up on her after her foster-daughter’s clearly traumatic experience of meeting the biological mother. The call happened because Spock thoughtfully remembered to contact his mother (hint, hint) and caught her up on the family gossip - specifically what his sister had just gone through. What are good sons and good brothers for? And Spock is the best brother. To Sybock. And to Kirk, his brother from another mother. And now to Michael. The simple vignette with Amanda ends on an equally simple yet powerful exhortation: “Take care of each other. I love you both.” Amanda may not be the best actor, but we scifi fans in general (and Trekkies in particular) are used to bad actors. It is the thought that counts.

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

This enjoyable Chris Pike outing is enjoyable because Pike is enjoyable. It is shocking what good leadership can do, and what bad leadership has wrought. The poor crew of the Discovery, refugees many of them from the Shenzhou, were beaten and bruised at the hands of Lorca. But now, one man - and two of his Enterprise crew - have vowed to drive back the night and rekindle the light of the Federation. On the Starship Discovery, hope lives again! (Am I the only one who misses Andromeda?).

We are treated this week to enjoyable mess-hall banter. I have four 20-something youngsters who work for me, and they like to play this game called “Cities", where you have to name a city that starts with the last letter of the city the previous person said. Watching the below-decks crew play their "opposite compound word" game seemed very familiar and was a pleasure.

And we get a little of Janet Reno (was the ex-AG also a lesbian? they do look similar), trying to play marriage counsellor. Not exactly riveting, but I appreciate the time this episode takes to stop and take stock of where things are in folks’ lives. Foster family - Michael/Spock/Amanda. Gay family - Stamets/Culber. Interracial family - L’Rell/Ash Tyler/and baby. IDIC. Family matters.

There is a lot to be said for comfort. And after decades and decades and decades of Trek, nothing feels quite so comfortable as a nice A/B set of stories. Plot A, Captain Pike and the Temple of Doom. Plot B, Spock and Michael’s crazy adventures.

When Pike beams down to the temple planet, this show felt to me for the very first time like TREK! When he looked up - way up - at L’Rell’s son, with those two bat’lets menacingly close at each side, my mind raced back to Chris Pine at the opening of Star Trek Beyond (my favorite of the nu-Trek films) staring way up at those tiny, tiny aliens; or further back to Archer (maybe because the uniforms are so similar); and further, much further back, to Kirk’s trial, where they too looked way, way up a Klingon judge - before he and McCoy were sent to Klingon Siberia.

Last week I re-watched The Cage, maybe after more than a decade. A few parts really stuck out (“I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge” - seems like he finally has!), but mostly it is interesting how little Pike is really in charge in the Pilot. Pike spent a good chunk of the episode in a, well, cage! It is an interesting command style, and the light touch is clearly very effective. Here on Discovery, Pike has singlehandedly turned around the fortunes for one of the most unfortunate crews of the Federation. Maybe only Captain Ransom’s crew on the Equinox (VOY) came remotely close to this level of breakdown. Pike, so ideal that the Federation sent him far away so he could repopulate civilization if the Klingon war went south (“Sir, I was wondering. Just curious. Who would have been Eve?”), has redeemed the ship, and thereby the show. It will be sad to see him go.

But go he must. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

I particularly loved Pike’s catechism when faced with the inevitable: “You are a starfleet Captain. *breathes* You believe in service. Sacrifice. Compassion. And love. *breathes*.

Service, sacrifice, compassion and love - let these be your rod and your staff. They will comfort you.

Anson Mount plays it perfectly. He has earned that chair. As L’Rell and Ash Tyler’s son (@Booming - LOL - Television - love it!) says, “I honor you, Captain.”

I will not waste time on the B story. Save to say that the more they keep SMG in the B or C plots instead of the A plot, the better things will go for this show. When a zombie Control freak acts better than your show lead… .

Nor will I go into the time crystals, though I find it fascinating to think this whole season arc - Control, Red Angel, etc. - is all the Federation’s fault (Leland, Michael’s mom, etc.), and Klingon time agents were just trying to contain the damage and get their crystal back! But there is no point speculating about a time travel plot where literally anything can happen.

I’ll end here, but with this friendly reminder from our own Mr. Spock: call your mother.

Love,
Mal
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Mal
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 3:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

That was awesome @Jammer! We love you!
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Mal
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 9:15am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

“We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, it suddenly threatens to start all over again."

- Picard

Of course he would say that. This was a real tipping point for Picard’s command. I’m sure he could feel the walls closing in on him. It was the beginning of the end for him. He was done. Picard will resign. He will not serve out his term.

https://youtu.be/qjUvfZj-Fm0
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Mal
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

I'm not going to write a long review. I just wanted to say that I love watching The Orville.

I look forward to new episodes of The Orville the way I used to look forward to new TNG episodes when I was a kid. Watching The Orville is like a nice massage after the rough ride of that other show where - ironically - people are actually supposed to be on some sort of star trek.

Thank you Seth McFarlane!
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Mal
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Season 2 Episode 11
Perpetual Infinity

2 Stars


“Mom”

- SMG has the first word of the episode. Oh wait, that’s the last word of the recap. After the recap we go straight to a flashback. Time is powerful stuff.


How excited was I last week that Keema from The Wire - one of the best characters from one of the best shows ever made - was going to be on STD! How sad then, that “Perpetual Infinity” makes the one cardinal sin for which television simply cannot be forgiven: it was boring.

Last week @Jammer said that at the very least “Discovery is almost never boring.” Almost. Which is unfortunate, because after we got through the abysmal third episode of this second season, things were actually pretty entertaining.

The plot holes hit you one after another. I felt just like @Tim C, yelling at my screen - guys just eject the fucking storage drive and then blow it up real good. Data gone. This would actually be one of the few times that we might could have had Tilly chime in in her characteristically awkward manner (“Captain, we could always set the ship to self-destruct” followed by Pike rolling his eyes like “not this shit again"). Instead Tilly recites the third law of Newtonian mechanics (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). For a few weeks I have had the nagging feeling that this show - STD - is just written with far less respect for people’s intelligence than say TNG or DS9 was. “I like science”. Power of Math! And all that jazz. Which is ok, I guess. But also disappointing.

Seeing as @Jammer dubbed the first half of this season “The Search for Spock,” I went back and watched a few of those classic Trek movies. And through all of them - yes, even V - the one constant is that it is actually a joy to spend time with Kirk, and Spock, and McCoy, and Scotty, and Uhura, and Chekov, and even Sulu. These actors, you can just luxuriate while they do their thing on screen, and it feels great.

There is a scene in ST:V (The Final Frontier) where Spock and Kirk just stand back and watch Bones deal with a flashback of the death of his dad. In a movie that is widely panned, this scene is so vivid, you might even remember it just from my reference. Now compare that to Michael Burnahm watching the recording of her mom’s last moments with the family. So much happening: loud noises, CGI, SFX, red alerts, Klingonese, background music with a heavy beat, Klingons roaring, shots fired, weird slow-mo green phaser fire - all in the 41 seconds immediately after the opening credits. And not even a moment to take it all in.

Who can keep up? And more importantly, is anyone able to savour this show? Or is it all just fast food?

Next, I know many have commented that this universe is just too small. They can get from one place to another in too little time. @Jammer says that like GoT S7, maybe best not to think about it. (I agree). But there is also the smallness in the insane number of people who know each other from back in the day.

Spock is Michael’s brother. Oh... kay… ST:V has that same problem with Spock and Sybock and faced similar backlash from viewers. Pointless, but mistakes will be made. Michael's relationship to Sarak and Amanda follow from Spock, so no additional story-telling sin is implicated. But then Leland, a captain in Section 31, actually knew Michael’s biological parents 20 years ago. And Michael’s biological mom is the Red Angel. And this mom has been visiting Spock since he was a kid. Not to mention that Leland and Pike go way back. And Pike, by the way, has a science officer named Spock. And now Pike is Michael’s captain. But Michael’s old captain was a carbon-copy of Philippa Georgiou. And Georgiou now works with Leland. Come one people, this is ludicrous. Not even in France - where everyone important went to the same Grande Ecole - are things this incestuous. And Star Fleet is supposed to be some sort of meritocracy?!

Compare that to TNG.

We meet Family on TNG too, but no one has any relation to anyone else. Picard’s bro, sister-in-law and nephew - no relation to Star Fleet. Riker - no one has any prior relationship to his dad (except maybe Troi, but you know, they dated, so it makes sense). Speaking of Troi - no one wants anything to do with her mother. Tasha’s sister - no link to the rest of the crew. Geordi’s family - no link. Data, we meet his bro and dad, and everyone is worse off for it. (Obviously no one knew Data’s daughter from before - she was born on the show). But there is no secret back history where people actually already knew Lore and Dr. Soong from back in the day. Howzbout Worf? His baby-mama, his son, his bro, his foster parents - no one on the TNG crew has any past link with any of them. Shall I go on? Only Guinan knows Picard from yesteryear (thanks maybe to Mark Twain). And Beverly and Wesley are Picard's dead colleague’s family. That’s literally it. Not like STD, where every fucking person has some fantastical link to Michael. Saru is like a brother to Michael. Tyler is like an ex-lover to Michael. At some point it just gets ridiculous.

There are no doubt a few pieces here and there that work. @Booming is spot on, when SMG pushes the mission logs away as Spock walks in - yeah, we’ve all closed that Instagram we were surfing incognito when someones comes within eyeshot. Human. All to human.

That, by the way (human, all to human) is a Nietzsche quote. But see, you don’t actually have to point that out in dialogue. Imagine Picard stopped his lecture to Q (“what a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties”) to point out that he is quoting from Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2. Again and again, STD breaks the perfectly good flow and injects their verbal footnotes into the conversation. Writers, we get it. Great shit has been written before. But when people talk in the real world, they don’t cite their quotations of the Princess Bride (“Inconceivable!”) or Casablanca (“I’m shocked! shocked!”). They just say it and move on.

The first time this citing your sources business really bothered me was in Season 2 Episode 2 “New Eden,” when Pike admonishes Michael that “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…” and Michael says “I know my Shakespeare captain.” Yeah, so do we. And even if we don’t, there is always Google. You don’t need to explicitly cite your sources. That episode had the same problem with Clark’s law (any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic). Babylon 5 in the second season episode “The Geometry of Shadows” handled Clark’s law far more elegantly (“perhaps it is magic, the magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology”). And Babylon 5 in the fifth season episode “A View from the Gallery” handled Hamlet better (“I knew him, Horatio…”). Its crazy, but JMS was famously bad at writing dialogue. It is hard to believe, but STD writers are even worse.

All of which is to say that I think the speed - fast pace - the loud noises - the CGI and SFX - quick cuts - is all to mask and distract from what this show lacks. Jazz hands don’t make a dancer any more beautiful, they just draw the eye away from the blemishes. But when you go back and look again, all the flaws are plain as day. Move as fast as you like, but as the great Bob Marley sang, "you can’t run away from yourself.” On his album "Live Forever”. Released in 1980. Look it up.
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Tomalak
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

Not just the best Orville episode but one of the best episodes of any Trek (it's so similar to Star Trek I am happy to group it in that way).

What a shower of shit Discovery is by comparison.
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SmallKiwi
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Also, how can you not understand that the moclans are not coded as homosexual? Theyre literally homosexual. Monosexual. They're coded as conservative.

They're also not human. It seems weird to read so deeply into a monosexual species as a portrayal or criticism of homosexuality.
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SmallKiwi
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

I saw this as a critique of Star Trek's often stupidly simplistic portrayal of alien cultures. The moclans are meant to remind us of Klingons, but they're simultaneously a more complex and nuanced portrayal of a conservative alien culture, AND more realistic, for good or for bad. Star Trek regularly dismisses the short comings of various alien cultures by simply not exploring the problems that would inevitably arise from such cultures. I find The Orville's willingness to dissect these issues (with core species no less) very refreshing.
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SmallKiwi
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

I rarely post on here but I thought this episode was the best yet, easily 3.5 on a show that had yet to hit regularly above 2 stars for me. "Nothing left on Earth Excepting Fishes" being the only other episode that stood out, despite being a fairly uneven episode. I've overall enjoyed the show for its humor and fun scifi adventures, and some really great alien designs. But this episode is special. I was so certain I knew where it was going, and I loved being surprised. Plus the comedy here was some of the best yet. The culmination of many episodes worth of buildup to a very satisfying change in the shows status quo. I especially liked the scene on the bridge after the breakup where the crew disparage a bewildered Isaac is both very real, and something you would never have seen on TNG.
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Tomalak
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:09am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Slacker, it's not a misunderstanding. Other atheists came up with a term that is deliberately offensive to anyone who disagrees with them and you apparently use it without even realising that. Obviously people can call themselves whatever they like - but it's obviously incredibly closed minded to say everyone who thinks freely could reach only your own conclusions about big questions. Is that what you are saying? Or are you saying that plenty of devout Christians, Jews etc can also be free thinkers?
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Tomalak
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:43am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

"This [implying that only atheists can be free thinkers] is common usage in my circles"

That says so much more about your circles than it does about religious people. Absurd.
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Tomalak
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Is there any purpose to claiming only atheists are freethinkers other than to detail the thread? I am agnostic myself but I find sentences like that absurd.
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Tomalak
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

I don't mind plots that don't make total sense if the jokes are good. But there was hardly any humour this week either.

The birth scene was interminable. Do they think there is something inherently moving about watching a birth? Boring.
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Mal
Sat, Jan 19, 2019, 12:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Inquisition

I’m surprised at how strong the evidence is against Bashir.

When you look at it objectively:

- Bashir sabotaged the Defiant communication system and almost precipitated a war with the Tzenkethi. Only it turned out that that was a Founder impersonating Bashir (The Adversary)

- Bashir helped the Jem’hadar when they wanted to break free of their ketracel-white addiction. O’Brien was so emphatically opposed to helping the Jem’hadar that he disobeyed Bashir's orders (Hippocratic Oath)

- Bashir spends a month as a guest at the Dominion DoubleTree (In Purgatory’s Shadow)

- Bashir almost blew up the Bajoran sun, and a huge chunk of the Federation, Klingon and Romulan fleet along with it. Only it turned out that that was a Founder impersonating Bashir (By Inferno’s Light)

- Bashir lied to get into Starfleet. He’s genetically engineered like Khan Noonian Singh. He was only allowed to keep his commission in a deal that sent his father to prison (Doctor Bashir, I Presume)

- Bashir recommends surrendering to the Dominion (Statistical Probabilities)

Add to that the fact that Bashir had access to the absolute most sensitive of Federation intelligence when he was filling in for Worf as strategic operations officer (Soldiers of the Empire), plus the fact that Bashir is starfleet’s closest contact to Garak and thus the the Obsidian order - it would be almost criminally negligent not to subject Bashir to a rigorous evaluation seeing as he holds a sensitive post in a time of war.

DS9 has suffered treasonous defections (Lt. Cmdr. Eddington), starfleet saw an attempted coup (Paradise Lost), are we really so naive to think that in a time like this, the Deep State wouldn’t resort to extra-legal means to do what they thought was necessary?
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Mal
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Watching “Far Beyond the Stars” 20 years later, and it is shocking how much the hour punches you in the gut. Twenty years - more than half my life - so much is different, but so much has stayed the same. Maybe that’s what makes this an episode Star Trek, and not just any other “don’t be racist” propaganda.

I thought nothing of this episode when it aired. I was in college, chasing girls, and far more interested in the newly added Jeri Ryan (7 of 9) over on Voyager, than a history lesson. All I wanted was to get back to the Dominion War! Season 6 seemed too late in the game for this kind of messaging crap. I get it, racism is bad. No duh.

We watch Star Trek because it is amazing to see how well a world can work when people focus on what matters, not on what divides us. We watch Star Trek to see how good people can be when everything is just right, not how nasty ordinary life has been.

But a lot has happened since Kirk saved the whales, since Picard saw four lights, since Archer tortured a guy, since two dudes brushed their teeth together in a bathroom. Now, 20 years later, they tell us black lives matter. In 2015, Sandra Bland was arrested for not using the indicator signal when changing lanes, and she hanged herself to death in jail. What the actual fuck.

There is a line in Season 1 of Man in the High Castle, “It takes a lot of effort not to be free.”

So, is it worth our while to every now and then see how bad it feels when society is unjust? And not just in an allegorical way, like TNG’s “Angel One” in which we visit a world run by women? But real, something from our honest to goodness past.

I didn’t realize this till today, that Avery Brooks was actually alive - and black - in the 1950’s, when “Far Beyond the Stars” takes place. I didn’t realize till today, that Benny Hill is ex-Navy, which means he was in the service when it was desegregated in 1946 just before Korea. I didn’t realize this till just today, that the U.S. Navy elevated its first black officer to captain in 1961, just a few years after the events of “Far Beyond the Stars.” So it makes total sense that a black man like Benny Hill, ex-Navy, in the 1950’s would be dreaming of a black captain, while white people would be all like, dude there ain’t never been nothin’ like that - what chu talkin bout boy?

For Benny Hill, a black captain would be palpable, just around the corner. For the editor Odo it was simply inconceivable. I hope we can all remember how insane and unreal it seemed in 2008 when someone said they wanted to be a black President. Even though the actual thing was only months away. Sometimes it still seems unreal.

I’ve gone back through this entire thread and read all the comments. Even my own (@Mal) from a decade ago! First of all, thank you so much to Jammer for maintaining this place where people can actually discuss in a (largely) civilised way.

Above all others, I would recommend the exchange between @Luke and @William B. Because @Luke asks exactly the right question: what’s the point of having this episode? This isn’t exactly why we have stuck with Star Trek decade after decade after decade. If we wanted to be lectured to, we always have Joss Whedon (I kid because I love :-)

But as @Peter G so eloquently puts it in perspective to the current sad state of Trek, "the writers seem to have taken no responsibility for being prophets, and instead are just trying to provide entertainment to bring people back for more. They're not teachers, just circus performers.” We are living in a time when Star Trek has lost its soul.

Today if you want soul in your scifi, there is The Expanse, there is Man in the High Castle. Go back and watch Babylon 5. Or dive into Battle Star Galactica. These shows were about something. When Bones poured Kirk a drink and Kirk told Bones he didn’t really know what he was doing with his life, it was something real. When Picard came back from his rape by the Borg, he was never quite whole again. When O’Brien killed his cell mate after 20 years together, it almost killed him. And Trek now? When was the last time you really cared about Trek? Did Janeway ever rise to the level of President Rosalin. Did Tucker/T’Pol ever love like Crichton/Aryan? To ask these questions is to realize how ridiculous our beloved deep space franchise has become.

But scifi - Science Fiction - still matters. As @Elliott says, “Far Beyond the Stars” isn’t about racism = bad. It is about science fiction = good.

Science Fiction is good when it doesn’t just criticise the bad, but dares to dream about what can be good. Too much of our scifi now is just cynical and critical - racism bad, bigotry bad, nationalism bad, capitalism bad. But great scifi - and Star Trek is the greatest of great scifi - is about what is good. Wonder is good. Bravery is good. Sacrifice is good. Engineering is good :D These are shows about duty and honour, honesty and loyalty. And whether it was Kirk/Bones/Spock, or Picard/Data/, or Julian/O’Brien, these were the best of people working and living without want, but with real and wholesome ambition.

Today we can find goodness only in old episodes on Star Trek, or new episodes of non-Star Trek. I don’t think we can ever expect a “Chain of Command” or “In the Pale Moonlight” from Discovery. There will be no City on the Edge of Forever for this current DISC crew. These STD writers are of the generation that thinks taking Doctor Who back to meet Rosa Parks is great scifi. And when you confront them, they will point to “Far Beyond the Stars” and say DS9 did it first, 20 years ago. But they would be completely wrong.

Before “Far Beyond the Stars,”

- we had 6 years to see Odo work for the Cardassians, then the Federation, then the Cardassians again, then the Federation again, before we saw editor Odo uphold order in the 1950’s.

- we had 6 years to see Quark tolerate his mother earning profit and wearing clothes, and apprentice a woman wearing fake lobes, and settle with his brother’s union in secret, and lose his trade license for breaking a contract, before Quark gets called a commie in the 1950’s.

- we saw Julian pretend for years to be normal and hide his genetic superiority in plain sight before Julian passed for white in the 1950’s.

- we saw Gul Dukat and Weyoun bully for years before they shot Jake for breaking into a car in the 1950’s.

- we saw Worf as the only klingon in starfleet for a decade before we saw him as the only negro in white baseball in the 1950’s.

- we saw O’Brien retreat into Engineering from the ugliness of real life as a soldier for a decade before O’Brien hid behind robots in the 1950’s.

And yes, we saw The Sisko for 6 years, a black single-parent, facing incredible odds as the ass-end of the Federation, before we saw Benny Hill have a nervous breakdown in the 1950’s.

Today I still squirm from discomfort when watching Avery Brooks overact at the end, just as I did 20 years go when I first watched “Far Beyond the Stars.” Only now I think that maybe - maybe - making us squirm was the entire point.
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Tomalak
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 7:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

"it's really surprising that any Star Trek fan is so pro-capitalist since the Federation in Star Trek is a nearly pure socialist entity"

I see this argument made a fair bit and if you are making this point in good faith - rather than as some kind of "Ha! Gotcha!" - it deserves a response. Why would a keen conservative also be a keen Star Trek fan?

1. You can enjoy fiction without enjoying every specific bit of it. At least until Discovery, while Star Trek's political and moral messages have always been heavy handed and extremely unsubtle, they are reasonably rare and often confined to the closing minutes of an episode. I don't feel like I am watching a political campaign ad when watching Star Trek.

2. Similarly, it's not a contradiction to like someone's fiction while disagreeing with their politics. For all I know, Ronald Reagan would have written some awful Star Trek episodes (although he talked about sci fi themes a surprising amount for a leading politician), but that wouldn't actually alter my view of his Presidency. Ditto I can think a Star Trek writer's politics are something I would never vote for while enjoying his scripts.

3. I think there is a fair bit of liberals seeing 20th/21st century conservatives in Star Trek villains in a way that no conservative would.

Anyone can caricature ideas they disagree with, but there is this helpful notion - the ideological Turing test - that requires one to describe what your political opponents believe in a way that they would agree describes their own belief. You don't have to agree with that description yourself - you just need to be able to describe what someone else thinks so accurately that they would endorse it.

I don't think many Star Trek writers are even trying to caricature conservatives, but insofar as they do, they would usually fail the ideological Turing test. I don't feel in any way obliged to side with the evil caricatures when they don't remotely reflect my view of the ends and means in the first place! (Or, to separate ends and means, you could even happily agree with a character's verbal argument about tradition or whatever, but when they do something evil you could disagree with that bit.)

4. Perhaps above all, the notion of Star Trek as this post-economics, post-scarcity utopia has always seemed the weakest part of the franchise. Almost every time it is touched upon - which is rare - it comes up against problems like:

"Why is everyone cheering that round of drinks Picard bought everyone if it's free anyway?"
"What do humans do when meeting a society that doesn't practice post-currency economics and actually wants to be paid?" [Jake Sisko's answer was to whine at Rom for his latinum so he could bid in an auction.]
"Who exactly is allocating tables in Ben Sisko's dad's restaurant for free? Who is working in 'turbolift control' on a starship?"

This is before you even consider deeper, but rather obvious, questions like "If 4 million people all want an apartment next to the Royal Opera House, who gets to live there?".

So no, I don't look at Star Trek and think it provides any kind of example of why socialism works.

By the way, nothing I have written above is in any way meant to imply that Star Trek fans should be conservatives, either - it's just a response to the notion it would be in any way surprising that someone could be a card-carrying conservative and a Trekkie.
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Tomalak
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona

"In fact, seeing so many complaining so much about the minor faults and lesser details of what are, essentially, wonderful stories about a better future is what has made me all but stop commenting here on Jammer's."

Weird. I don't comment much but I really like getting very different takes on these episodes, and look forward to reading the review and comments here the minute an episode is done. I can't imagine anything more dull to read than people purely being positive about things they liked, and so worried about appearing to "complain" that they turn off their critical faculties. No thanks.
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Tomalak
Sun, Nov 25, 2018, 7:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

Every so often you hear about some eccentric woman somewhere in the world falling in love with her chandelier or candlestick or hairdryer and going through a faux marriage ceremony. Not clear how any of this is different - unless you also believe a chandelier programmed to talk back would also be a suitable romantic partner.
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Quinn Mallory
Wed, Nov 7, 2018, 10:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

Just got finished watching this after not seeing it since it iriginally aired.

I wondered how the two astronauts even managed to board Voyager considering it had its shields up? Plus, I presume it shouldn’t be as easy as “finding an airlock that fits an alien ship’s access port” or bypassing an alien door lock.

I don’t know if anyone else mentioned it in earlier comments, and I’m too lazy to scroll through them, but does anyone remember a sci-fi book titled “Dragon’s Egg”? I forget who it’s by as it was a book I read in the 80s, but the premise seems to mirror it to the point where it might have heavily inspired this episode.
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