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Matthew Martin
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

Also, Gaeta's character arc over the four seasons, from doe-eyed kid, to naïve Presidential chief of staff, to frustrated officer, to, finally, a bitter mutineer is one of the finest arcs for a "secondary" character I've ever seen on a TV show.

As for Zarek, I think he stayed consistent from Bastille Day to the end. Shooting the Quorum might seem out of step with him as an idealistic revolutionary, but in his mind, revolutions are bloody. He even says that to Felix when he sees the bloody aftermath. This is what a coup looks like. It's messy but justifiable as long as you're the ones left to write the history.

There's a reason he was in jail at the start of the show. He was always violent and willing to use violence to accomplish what he sincerely believed to be right. He's not like Baltar, whose primary character trait is an ability to say or do anything to survive. Zarek was an idealist, albeit one more than willing to get blood on his hands to see his ideals win the day.
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Matthew Martin
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

I don't often disagree with Jammer. Usually it's over the DS9 Ferengi episodes that he hates but which are my guilty pleasures.

In terms of BSG, we usually always agree.

Giving these two 3.5 and 3 stars is a big disagreement with me. They're both 4 stars solely on the basis of their tension, action, great character moments, and really tight scripting and editing. I see them, together, as a flawless two-parter.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 8, 2020, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Sometimes a Great Notion

I've watched a lot of TV in my days but I dont think a character death has hurt me as much as Dee's.

She was always so pure and good. I understand why, therefore, it had to be her. I get it, I just hate it.

I've watched and rewatched this show maybe five or six times over the past decade and Dee's death makes me weep every time.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 8, 2020, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Faith

@Edward

It did, but I think it's one of the shows greatest legacies. It's a great illustration of "divine providence" told with a sci fi backdrop.

I view each if the seasons as having a strong theme that doubles down on one of its core components.

Season 1 - unity = military and civilian losses have to come to grips with what happened and co exist. That story really concludes in season 2' Home arc.

Season 2 - law and order = martial law in the first half, the pegasus arc in the middle, the stand alone episodes after that. There's a strong sense of a tug of war between following laws and making them up/breaking them as we go.

Season 3 - personal suffering = New Caprica's arc damaged everyone and they spend the rest of the season picking up the pieces.

Season 4 - religious providence vs free will = "God" is guiding them to earth. In the macro, the characters really have no say in it, but in the micro we see them make a thousand little choices that may not have big picture consequences but which personally affect them and those around them.
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Matthew Martin
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Six of One

Baltar busting out an "Oh my giddy-od" is up there with "no more mr nice Guius!" for funniest one liners in the show
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Matthew Martin
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Dirty Hands

"Xeno Finner? What'd he do?"

"Pissed off the President."

And then the awesome look Laura gives him.

Loved it
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Matthew Martin
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: The Woman King

As far as stand alone episodes go I liked it a lot, maybe better than most others.

BSG is almost too good for it's own good sometimes. There are so many 9/10 or 10/10 episodes that push the series' plot forward and are dramatic masterpieces.

When an episode like this comes along, one that's almost entirely skippable in terms of the series' plot but is still a good character study with good acting, etc, it might be easy to overlook it.

I think it is worthy of 45 minutes. I can't say that for Black Market.

Think about it like this, over the course of the whole show, there are only maybe 6 at most episodes that are "skippable."

That's an incredible run.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Unfinished Business

I enjoyed it, but I did so by viewing the New Caprica flashbacks as the A story and the boxing as the B story.

The NewCap stuff was great, especially Bill and Laura.
Intercutting it with the boxing was, essentially a thematic device to justify the flashbacks. The show needed a modern setting and reason to reopen (and hopefully close for good) those old wounds.

Look at the episode from the writers perspective...

You've got all this great NewCap stuff but you cant air it during Lay Down Your Burdens 2, becuase the time jump and cylon arrival is your cliff hanger. I suppose you could show all of it in Lay Down 2 but then you're stretching the episode to close to 2 hours and really killing the pacing of the season finale.

No, it was right to get to the cylon invasion as soon as possible, but you also don't want to lose things like Lee and Kara having their falling out or Bill and Laura getting high.

So they created a framework and gave it a justifiable premise: characters let all their pent up frustrations out in a boxing match (fighting but with a sense of control) and allow the viewer to go back and see how it almost was a dream come true before it all came crashing down.

The execution might've been "only okay" but I appreciate the idea behind the episode and the highlights are really great.

3.5 stars for me, or 9/10
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Matthew Martin
Tue, Jun 2, 2020, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Exodus, Part 1

I think it would have worked better had Occupation and Precipice been two episodes and Exodus been a two hour event. Just flip those two and it works perfectly
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2

I think the only thing holding this episode back is a kind of lethargic pace.

Compare it to cliffhangers like Kobol 2 or Pegasus. One ends with a bummer ending, the old man is shot and left for dead. The other ends with tension turned up to 11, Adama marching down the hallway ready to go to war with Cain.

This ends with a bummer as well, but the tension, the operatic drama, the mood is a bit more "going through the motions" than in Kobol 2. I suppose it was a necessary evil since they decided on the time-jump. Once you do that, you're almost forced to lay a lot of pace-halting exposition down, showing us where everyone is and how they've changed.

You can't show all those changes after the Cylons find them, because then the normal New Caprica life they settled into over the past year is out the window. You can't hold off on the Cylons returning until next season because then you have no cliff hanger. All you can do...is both. So that's what they did and the pace suffered.

A necessary evil but one that I would still rather praise for its ambitions (balls, as you call it) over a lesser show that was too scared to take such lofty chances.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1

Doing my quarantine-induced rewatch right now and finally got to this one.

I feel the same way you do, Jammer, in that the episode just sort of stops without bringing anything to a thematic conclusion. I'm glad you mentioned Kara jumping away in Kobol's Last Gleaming 1 because, for all the praise that part 2's ending (rightly) gets, the end to part 1 as Kara calls Adama out for lying and then jumps away, is almost as emotionally resonating as seeing his bloody body lying in CIC.

As for this, when you view parts 1 and 2 as a single entity, I would rate the whole a perfect score. But, you can't really do that since this aired as a single hour of TV. In that case, I agree with your score. It's just sort of lacking a spark and an emotional hook that other part one's (such as the ones you mentioned, as well as Act of Contrition) had in spades.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, May 28, 2020, 12:19am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S1: The Hand of God

On my third or four rewatch and I think this is my second favorite episode of the season, after Kobols Last Gleaming 2.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for a great soundtrack. This episode had the best music so far, especially with Adama's Theme.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, May 14, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

The Hirogen dont have holo tech but they have the means to create little neural thingies that make you think you are a holo character.

Mkay
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Matthew
Tue, May 12, 2020, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ascent

For a “Type Y” (IIRC) planet, this one is pretty nice. Breathable atmosphere, plenty of deciduous and evergreen vegetation, water in liquid state. Kind of makes you wonder where cutoff for Class M lies.
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Matthew Martin
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

best scenes of the episode were the ones that featured Picard and Seven, sitting next to each other, playing verbal chess. The single best scene this week came at the end, where the two ex-Borg share a moment of solidarity, both acknowledging that, after all these years, they both know a little part of them is still gone. Picard leaves Seven with a hopeful word, in true Picard fashion, telling her that they keep getting that little part of their humanity back, a piece at a time, every day.

Seven then beams back to the planet and murders the villain of the week.

Picard's still searching for his little missing piece of humanity; Seven seems to be chipping away at what's left of hers. That's great, great, great, stuff and I wish the whole show was that good. After episode one, I was left with the impression that this would be a return to Star Trek being a show that loved pondering ideas, debating morality, and resolving conflicts. Halfway through the first season and that feeling has yet to reappear except in little, fleeting, glimpses like we had with Seven/Picard.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Full Disclosure: I still really like Picard and am looking forward to seeing where this storyline goes.

That being said, I have an issue with something three episodes in...

Jean Luc Picard, as depicted in this version of the future, is sort of the last bastion of Gene Roddenberry's dream of an optimistic, peace-seeking future where everyone works together, where poverty is eradicated, and earth is a paradise of positivity. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine flirted with abandoning that dream but never went all the way; in fact it made a point to say Earth is still a paradise and that "it's easy to be a saint in paradise" but it's hard to live out in the interstellar frontier.

Now Picard is showing us a future where earth is bitter, xenophobic, and isolationist. Where people like Raffi live in the near-25th century equivalent of a single-wide, smoking the near-25th equivalent of mary jane, and resent Picard for living in his chateau in France. Meanwhile he's just trying to right the wrongs caused by someone else and can't get an inch of help from either the Federation or Starfleet because they've completely lost Gene's way and have become what the showrunners think Britain has become with Brexit and all that.

To be clear, I have no problem with Star Trek using the politics of the day as a storytelling motivator. In fact, I would encourage it.

Science-fiction is, by nature, allegorical. It's purpose is to teach us about what we are, what we're becoming, what we could be without making it obvious that we're being preached-to. Not all sci-fi is the same: Some is overt and cynical, creating environments that simply take the problems of today and turn them up to 11, beating us over the head with our own present sins.

Gene Roddenberry dreamed of a sci-fi show that dared to hope for the best.

He created Star Trek as a way to say "look how great things could be if we only just stopped fighting with each other." Yes there were still issues that needed addressing: In the days of the Original Series there was Vietnam, race relations, economic inequality; but how he dealt with those issues was two fold. On the one hand he made a point to remind us over and over in the show that earth had moved beyond those. At the same time he featured OTHER, ALIEN, BAD GUY species that still had those problems, allowing Kirk, Spock, and later Picard, etc, to lovingly (sometimes sternly) lecture on how stupid it is to be racist (Let This Be Your Last Battlefield), or to send people to death fighting a pointless war (A Taste of Armageddon), or to assume the worst in someone simply out of habit (Day of the Dove).

The key is that earth/humanity (a united humanity, mind you) moved past those things and the drama came from other alien species that hadn't.

Picard (and Discovery) has either forgotten that, or has decided it's maybe too much work, or requires too much of a writing-commitment, or is just too subtle for the dumbed-down audience they hope to attract, to tell those stories.

And that makes me sad.

I said after last week's episode that I was okay with Starfleet being a bunch of isolationist jerks, provided, in the end, they admit their fault and revert back to how they should be (how Gene envisioned them to be). We're not talking about changing the color of the uniforms here; we're talking about something that is foundational to Star Trek itself. Without an optimistic, peaceful earth, it's not Star Trek at all.

Picard's third episode takes the old hero back to the stars. What comes next we'll find out in the weeks that follow. He's searching for a synthetic...I hope he finds the the optimism and hope for the future that everyone around him lost over the years.
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

"what happens if Sir Patrick Stewart dies? He's getting pretty old. It looks to me like he's really deteriorating"

Really deteriorating is not really an appropriate suggestion to make considering, like you say, he's 79. He's not going to be action Picard from the 90's now, of course not.
He's in fantastic condition compared to the average 79 year old!
Actors die irrespective of age and chances are Stewart will be fine, but there are no certainties for any of us and you cross that bridge, if, god forbid, you have too. The show would go on regardless!
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

It's great to see Brent Spiner back to help launch the series, and even if it's true that he will not appear again in the series in Season 1 at least, it's a lovely couple of scenes and I for one think they did a fantastic job of de-aging Spiner as best they could without going to far to make it look too jarring.

The Romulan attack scenes were the least interesting to me to be honest, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Hopefully the show goes from strength to strength going forward.
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Matthew
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

Two things that make me laugh/eye roll in this episode:

1. Picard and Troi practicing the speech in the beginning. I’m *pretty* sure that insecticide aliens from far beyond the moon don’t write their language in the Roman alphabet, so what’s up with the goofy pronunciation drilling? Picard’s script should just be written out phonetically. But then, oh shoot, there goes the dramatic reason that Picard needs to de-stress in the holodeck.

2. Crusher imitating the dames on the holodeck with the powder compact, acting like she’s never put makeup on before. Meanwhile her own cheekbones are contoured til the spacecows come home.
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Matthew Siegel
Sat, Jun 15, 2019, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Muse

I weirdly liked this a lot, even though on its face it doesn't seem that interesting... the way it gradually became about the creative process as a whole was just engaging. Perhaps because I did not expect that to be the theme of the episode, but it's a unique and interesting theme that works here.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Let me see if I have this right...

So, a few weeks ago Disco comes into contact with a giant space sphere thing, which has been gathering intel on galactic life for a long freaking time. Disco brings that bad boy on board and downloads the history of the world part one into their computers.

Later, Disco sends a shuttle into a crazy timey-wimey space anomaly. While there, a probe from the future latches onto the shuttle. The probe hacks Ariam.

Ariam goes to Section 31's HQ (Disco is there on the orders of Admiral Whatshername) and begins downloading the space sphere's info into the HQ computer (a special AI called "Control").

The conclusion that everyone reached as a result is that: Control sent a probe from the future to get that info, so that it can evolve and destroy all sentient life in the galaxy.

Now I assume the fact that this opens a queen-mother of a temporal paradox is just going to be ignored, as happens with 99% of time travel stories in fiction, but is that basically what we were told this episode? Right? Control came back from the future to take over robolady so she could give control in the past the tools needed to become wicked smaht in the future and destroy everything?

I'd prefer something simpler, like saving the whales or rescuing Data's severed head from Mark Twain, but whatever.
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Matthew D. Wilson
Sun, Jun 24, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I really wish the hardcore fans who hate TLJ wouldn't assume all hardcore fans agree with them. We don't.
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Matthew Davisson
Wed, Mar 14, 2018, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

Can someone tell me why Harry didn't receive punishment yet Tom was locked up for 30 days and got demoted? Harry also disobeyed Janeway and stole a shuttle.
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matthew
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Basically the evil, sadistic Lorca, while posing as a Starfleet captain, was winning the Klingon war, and the moment he left (first back to the mirror universe and then to death) Starfleet started losing the War. So what is Starfleet's solution? They go out of their way to recruit another mirror universe character; they seek out another evil, sadistic person to help them win the war. Because winning, even if it means throwing away your principles, is all that matters.

If that's seems like Star Trek to you, then you and I have different understandings of Star Trek.
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matthew
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

The opening teaser establishes the theme of this episode: Michael vs Philippa...or more precisely Michael vs an immoral and ideal-abandoning Federation willing to not only work with a Terran Empire warlord but give her command of a Starship and send her to nuke a planet.

Does that sound like Starfleet to you? I know the conflict allows Michael to give a big, grandiose speech about "Federation values" and she's right on, but it doesn't change the fact that the mission Michael opposes was ordered by Starfleet. It shouldn't take a commander-ranked, ex-con mutineer to put admirals in their place and remind them that WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO GO AROUND NUKING PLANETS!

I mean MY GOSH did you HEAR Admiral Lisp Lady's argument?

"We were losing the war, we had to do something."

I'm going to type this very slowly because I want to get it right and because it highlights not only what makes Star Trek so attractive and so unique among other sci-fi show, but also illustrates (by contrast) what has persistently irked me about Discovery...

Ideals cast aside for self preservation is the literal-opposite of Starfleet's mission in the show, and is the literal-opposite of Star Trek's idealism as a show!

Starfleet was Gene Roddenberry's in-show conduit, to show the viewers of the Star Trek TV-show what kind of a future we could have, if we stopped being so selfish. The idea of bombing each other into the stone age under the guise of self-preservation and the (very subjective) "greater good" is EXACTLY THE KIND OF 1960'S COLD WAR STUFF RODDENBERRY WAS ARGUING AGAINST WHEN HE MADE STAR TREK!

And here we see Starfleet using that logic to justify their actions.

For an episode that, plot-wise, was incredibly boring and uneventful, that realization (that Starfleet as Discovery's writers have made it, is the exactly what Gene Roddenberry was writing against in 1967) elicited the biggest emotional reaction of the whole season: And it was a reaction of profound sadness.

Oh but I guess it's all forgiven because the Enterprise showed up.
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