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Nick
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:22am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

To echo other people's comments, I'm done with Discovery too. I might come back if there's a big shake up of the writers and show runners. Booming nailed it when saying this show is aimed at making people feel instead of think. There is absolutely nothing in this show that is thought provoking.

I'll give Picard another season and I actually like Lower Decks, and I'll give S31 and Strange New Worlds a chance, but I'm done with Discovery.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 6:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

It's really sad because this season started out with a lot of promise and some of the episodes early on were pretty good, then it all turned to crap at the end. I'm going to go on another one of my anti-Michelle Paradise rants and say she needs to be fired. It's clear she has no understanding of what it means to make a good sci-fi show. There's also no consistency in anything this season. Discount Seska goes from cartoon, to more sophisticated, back to cartoon. Plot points are introduced that go nowhere (Adira and Gray) or are just dropped (the music thing). Central premises of the season (the burn making travel hard) are waived away at a whim (oh, there's a trans warp tunnel between the Federation HQ and the dilitium planet). Big things like the Emerald Chain are introduced and not really fleshed out. In one episode, the Emerald Chain seems like Discount Seska's personal gang of thugs. In another, it seems like they are a larger organization. In the final episode, there's one line about how it just collapsed. Ridiculous. It's like the writers aren't talking to each other. Either that or that every hairbrained idea is just thrown into the script and jumbled together. Nobody is checking for quality or consistency. In my mind this is the fault of the showrunner.
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Nick
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

So, list of weapons that star ships use:

- Phasers
- Torpedoes
- And the most powerful ... pesticides (but only if you target a ship's "intakes").
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Nick
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

So starting off with the good, the FX on this show is absolutely stunning. I liked all the exterior shots of the ship and I also liked the sets of the ships interior, though as others have pointed out, having the turbo lifts flying around in this wide open space doesn't seem like a very efficient ship design. Discovery must be a lot bigger on the inside than the exterior view would suggest.

I was also fine with Burnham being captain at the end, I mean, the show is already all about Burnham, she may as well be captain. I still wish they would de-emphasize her character.

I also appreciated that they tried to give a little more detail on how Su'Kal caused the burn, but I'm not sure it really makes that much sense. Based on their explanation all the dilithium on the planet should have also been rendered inert, but I guess that dilithium is OK? I also wasn't entirely clear on how diltium has a "sub space component". Maybe it does, I don't know, I've never heard of that before.

Now for some things that didn't make much sense:

- How did Discount Seska know about the disguised shield emitter thing? The only possible way is if there was a mole in Starfleet, maybe they are saving that plot point for a future season? I doubt it though, as the writing doesn't seem that sophisticated.

- So the Vulcan fleet comes, somehow "blocks" Discovery's escape routes (I guess space isn't that big or 3 dimensional) and then just let's them go? What was the point of that from a plot standpoint, shouldn't Discovery have just escaped?

- Burnham's plan was then to have the bridge crew make the ship drop out of warp so the Vulcan fleet can catch back up, what's the point here? Isn't this the same situation as the beginning of the episode? I didn't really get the point of that.

- Discount Seska shuts off life support, but slowly, so the bridge crew will die, but still have enough time to cause trouble? Again, doesn't make sense.

- I'm not sure I really understand the data core room and how it works, I've never seen this concept in Star Trek before. Why was the bridge crew trying to go to the bridge if the data core room is all powerful? What was that weird moving wall that Burnham got pushed into and then came back out of?

- Burnham was able to beam all the regulators off Discovery immediately, but Discount Seska couldn't do the same with the Discovery crew?

- How did Burnham and Wheelchair Guy have enough time to come up with that plan to have Book use the spore drive? Were they talking before? It didn't seem like they even met before that scene. Also, it felt like a dangerous plan, nobody seemed to even know if it would work. I did like the idea of Book being able to use the spore drive, it's pretty consistent with what we know about it and with Book's character.

- It's kind of weird that the Emerald Chain ship is big enough to hold Discovery (which is also pretty big based on the turbo lift scenes) and can also fire its weapons at something inside its cargo hold.

- Why did Discovery have to dump their warp core and blow up the Emerald Chain ship, couldn't they have just jumped away? Seemed unnecessary.

- How was Grey visible to everyone on the holo deck? So the ship's computer can read Adira's mind and basically project her thoughts as a physical manifestation on the holodeck. What's weird is that this wasn't even needed to advance the plot, they just threw it in for some reason.

- I also didn't really like how they glossed over all the world building stuff at the end. So the Emerald Chain just "fractured" without Discount Seska? Seems kind of odd for an organization that large. I guess this means we are done with them, they will never be mentioned again?

- I didn't like the Su'Kal character, he came across as a whiny, annoying child, which I guess was the point. Not very interesting for me.

- It seemed really weird to place all this emphasis on the Dot robot saving the Lt. It's just a robot? Also, what was the point of the Dot robots, they didn't seem necessary to advance the plot.

Overall I was bored by this episode, nothing about it was thought provoking or entertaining. I did like the FX, but that's it.
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Nick
Wed, Jan 6, 2021, 4:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Frank, I agree with your comments on Burnham. She's always been a mediocre character but I actually really enjoyed season 1 right up until they returned from the mirror universe and she didn't start to annoy me until her "this is Starfleet" speech at the end of season 1. Like you, I was mostly fine with her in season 2 given Pike, Spock, and some of the other things going on. She has definitely gotten on my nerves more in season 3 and has become a focal point for all my gripes about the show. But I'm not sure if the issues with her character are a result of her acting, the writing, or the directing. Whatever the reason, if Discovery is going to improve, they need to jettison her or stop making her the focus of everything. It won't solve all the show's problems, but it's a step in the right direction.

I think the Expanse is an example of a good show where the lead character, James Holden, is not that great. He's not bad, but pretty uninteresting. The show succeeds because the world building is excellent and incredibly detailed, the plots are excellent, and many of the supporting characters (Chrisjen Avasarala, Amos, Bobbi, etc.) are outstanding.
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Nick
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 4:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

@Yanks, I was referring to the quality of the show, not ratings. Admittedly, this is more subjective, but I think there's general consensus that TOS, TNG, and DS9 were all really good, VOY was OK but a step down from those three, and ENT was either similar to VOY or another step down.

@Slackerinc and @Dave

So I just started my re-watch of ENT beginning with S3. It was so refreshing for all the characters to have lines and scenes (they even had a scene with the MACOs and they all had lines, amazing!) The episode was enjoyable enough but there was one really bad scene where Tucker was massaging T'Pol who basically had a low key orgasm. I forgot how stupid that show could be at times.
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Nick
Sun, Jan 3, 2021, 5:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Booming, great point. A transwarp tunnel that goes from the nebula straight to Starfleet HQ in a matter of minutes. Convenient! Soooo, Starfleet could have used this transwarp tunnel at any time to find a dilithium planet minutes away from their HQ?

The idea that the burn made space travel really tough for everyone was a central premise of this season which they just hand wave away at a whim.
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Nick
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 8:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Booming, you are right, it's just frustrating for me cause there are some things I like about the show and some of the core concepts are really interesting and could be really good if only they fleshed them out more. Oh well.
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Nick
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 3:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Booming, it's also possible that Vance wasn't reading the full treaty, but more of a synopsis of it. Given his role managing the day to day of Starfleet, he is probably the most knowledgeable about what's going on in the galaxy and in the best position to determine if the concessions they are making are reasonable. He would then present their offer to the President and if there's general agreement on both sides on the big points you kick it down to the lawyer types to hammer out the details. It's also possible that the President was never serious about this offer and didn't want to waste anyone's time, so he just told Vance to handle it and make her go away, which he did. Again of course, I'm 100% speculating.

I personally don't have a problem from a storytelling standpoint of keeping those scenes centered on Vance, he is the best character on the show after all. And they did throw in some lines to try and justify his role, but unfortunately the storytelling is so shallow you never get too much detail about anything. Like so many other plot points, this would have worked so much better if they just fleshed it out a little more.

@Dreubarik, All your points are valid, I do think the idea of the Chain seeking the "legitimacy" of the Federation is an intriguing concept, the problem is the concept is in a vacuum. So for it to make sense, you have to speculate on the circumstances instead of the show telling you the story. This would be easier If we knew more about the Chain as an organization and the problems they are facing, but the only things we know about them is that they run trading outposts, have slavery, strong-arm pre-warp civilizations, and are running out of dilitihium. So, not much.

@dave, personally I think Michael saying she loved Book was a death sentence for him. You can't have the superhero of the series tied down with a man to look after. Michael's time is very valuable and can't be wasted on a relationship when the galaxy needs repeated saving. Also, just think how much emoting SMG can do when Book dies, I bet it has the showrunners drooling.
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Cynic
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

How about this for the shocking twist: The state of the Federation mirrors that on the wrecked Kelpian ship: Federation HQ is just a fake holographic environment built by a century ago by a dying civilization. Holographic characters like Vance maintain the illusion that the Federation still exists and that Federation ideals live on. It would explain why there is no president shown here, and why we never see any Federation people other than Vance, his aide, Kovich and a handful of others. Or maybe Kovich is the only human/corporeal being at this whole facility, running the whole thing (mirroring Desai and his little outpost in the season premiere).

So when Su'kal is forced to accept the outside reality next week, he has a blowout that destroys not only his holographic simulation but the one at HQ as well, exposing the ruse, and wipes out all holograms everywhere, only nanoseconds apart! The event comes to be known as The Spurn.

As theories go, "It's pretty good for shit," even if it's holographic shit!
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

I would counter the point about the Admiral where maybe his role is to take a large amount of information and distill it into key points to present to the President and give advice. It's not like the president is going to read the entire thing, so somebody has to. Not sure that would be a Starfleet admiral instead of secretary of state like figure though. Also, to @Brian's point, you never saw higher than Admiral Ross through the entire Dominion war, despite some very large decisions being made.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

It kind of feels like teen soap opera storytelling, where the highlights are the emotional scenes and the plot mostly functions as a vehicle to get you from one emotional scene to the next, so you don't spend a ton of time developing it.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Booming, great point on the one person per side, in reality there would have been hundreds (if not thousands) of people on each side working on a deal like this for years. It's not something 2 people hammer out in a room for a couple of hours. In terms of Vance, it's possible he was never going to seriously consider the Emerald Chain's offer and just used the trial thing because he knew Discount Seska would never agree to it. Again, total speculation because obviously none of that is in the show.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

It's kind of frustrating cause I feel like this could work if they spent work building up the Emerald Chain and giving more detail on exactly what's happening. The storytelling is awful, like it's just a bullet point outline instead of a final product.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Dreubarik-@Chris L,

It's heavily implied that what Discount Seska is really after is the "legitimacy" of the Federation and values it above the spore drive. She stole the spore drive because she thinks it's the only way to get the Federation to the table. The reality is that the Federation probably would have come to the table regardless but I can see why Discount Seska might not realize this since she thinks in terms of power.

In terms of why she wanted the Federation's legitimacy, I'm guessing her hand is being forced and she needs it to keep her empire from falling apart. They are probably having trouble keeping the subjects in-line and realized a structure like the Federation might work better than constantly suppressing insurrections. It's also possible the legitimacy of the Federation would improve the Chain's standing with other governments and races. Who knows. It's unfortunate we all have to speculate on this instead of it being in the show.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

Also, just to expand on my earlier comments on VOY and ENT, when VOY was released Trek was on a upward trajectory. Going from TNG (which was great) to DS9 (which was extraordinary), made everyone's expectations sky high for VOY when the reality was that this show marked the beginning of Trek's decline. So when your weighing VOY against DS9 and TNG, it's relatively bad, and I think that caused a lot of people to be a little too harsh when judging it. I personally enjoyed VOY and thought it was a worthy series.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@The Queen, how did you feel about action scenes in legacy Trek? I thought the end of Way of the Warrior in DS9 was the best action sequence in Trek. The action back then was slower and the cameras steadier so you can actually see what was happening. The thing that annoys me to no end in NuTrek is the super fast starship battles with a bunch of lens flares, flashing lights, and spinning ships. The worst example is Such Sweet Sorrow from DIS S2. That battle scene could have been awesome but it was terrible. Also, I love the character Book, but his ship is annoying as hell.
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Nick
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 6:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

@SlackerInc, I didn't like the beginning of Enterprise as much because I didn't think the acting talent was as strong compared to Voyager. Scott Bakula was a step down from Kate Mulgrew. T'Pol wasn't as good as Tuvok / Seven. Sato and Mayweather weren't that interesting. I did like Trip and Phlox though, and Reed was OK. I thought the series got better when they brought in stronger guest stars (Jeffrey Combs, Brent Spiner, whoever played Degra, etc.). I also wasn't a huge fan of the temporal cold war storyline and the series got a lot better when they jettisoned it.
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Cynic
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Daniel (and others)
I wouldn't worry about the sphere data in the repair bots. Remember the only reason Discovery came to the future at all is because the sphere data wouldn't allow Discovery and its data to be destroyed. It won't let that happen now. My guess is that it could (probably should) just electrocute these Chain goons and be done with it; Zhara (sp) sitting in the Captain's chair getting lit up would be kind of satisfying.

Admiral Vance is the hero we deserve. He's been a highlight since introduced, probably the only character who is consistently well written and well performed. Here, he got all the good lines and great, dry, deadpan delivery every time. The "shit" comments of course but we also got, "No one seemed to like it when a red light just went off, so we gave it a face." And "Some of your regulators went for a space walk without their EVAs." LOL
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

@Paul M, that's really interesting. So if the expectation is that the dialogue in the writer's room is that sterile (and let's be honest, a black person using the n-word is not that big of a deal), I could see it dampening creativity. Also, how do you really explore dark, serious issues if people can't even handle a little something like that? Also, would be very ironic if the person who reported him was white.

I also read into the quote you referenced as her basically saying she doesn't need to change, no adjustments need to be made on her part. So she will be drawing heavily from what matters to make good teen soap fantasy dramas, since that's her background. I think this is very apparent in the show (see Gray and Adria).

If I could totally overanalyze the Paradise interviews a little more:

"Today, it feels like we have quite a lot of divisiveness in the country. There are things going on that are very troubling. And the great thing about STAR TREK ... is that we can ... reflect that, ... if we embrace the difference between us, ... we can overcome anything. And especially today, I think that kind of message is incredibly important. Also we have an incredible, very diverse cast, and we embrace that. We embrace that storytelling, and I think today that kind of storytelling is needed.”

To her, Star Trek is nothing more than a useful vehicle to deliver these messages to a wide audience. She probably feels a moral obligation to do it, which is fine. She's absolutely right that the message is needed and she should be delivering it. But I don't think she has passion for sci-fi and wants to make the best sci-fi show she can, I think all she really cares about is making the sure the message is delivered (passing the Bechdel test, meeting quotas, etc.).
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

@Paul M, that's the same interview I was reading. @The Queen, http://buzzymag.com/exclusive-interview-star-trek-discovery-michelle-paradise/

Here's another one: https://trekmovie.com/2019/04/25/interview-michelle-paradise-on-star-trek-discovery-season-2-finale-and-going-beyond-canon-in-season-3/

Some other notes from that interview:

- In terms of managing the writers room, she kept saying the most important thing was to create "a safe space" where everyone feels heard and contributions are valued, etc. Now, I'll admit I have no idea how a good writer's room works, and maybe this is just something you are supposed to say, but I would think if you are just trying to appease everyone in the writers room that things may not stay on track and focused and you might end up with some convoluted storylines that try (unsuccessfully) to blend together a lot of different stuff (and we have seen this lack of focus many times in S2 and S3).

- I haven't heard her talk very much about legacy Trek other than it being a vehicle to deliver commentary on diversity, optimism, and that if we come together we can overcome anything. She mentioned the need to respect canon and said they have a "Trekspert" on the writing staff, but didn't seem very interested in it herself. I wouldn't be surprised if she hasn't watched most of legacy Trek.

- In terms what inspires her, she talks about the human condition and character dilemma, but again nothing really about legacy Trek or science fiction in general. She also said she is inspired by science and reads Wired magazine (she's referenced reading Wired magazine in two separate interviews, so that seems to be her go to response when asked about anything science fiction).

However, I say all this with the caveat that I'm speculating quite a bit. I've only read a couple of interview transcripts and I am by no means an expert on her and I also have no idea how to make a TV show. So it's possible I'm being unfair. I'm also not saying she's a bad showrunner, it just doesn't seem like she's a good fit for a Star Trek show.
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

Definitely better than last week. Some thoughts:

- Though short, I liked the starship battle at the beginning, it reminded me of the way old Star Trek did them with the slow, graceful flight arcs (as opposed to the spining, zinging ships and flashing lights we typically see). I want to see more of this.

- I appreciated the depth they tried to add to Discount Seska's character, she's still not great, but improved over the cartoony, one dimensional character we have seen in the past (which begs the question, why portray her that way at all in previous episodes). The idea that she captured Discovery to give her leverage in negotiations is intriguing and a much better outcome than using it as a trojan horse to destroy Federation headquarters. Though I'm not really sure why her subterfuge at the beginning of the episode was necessary if she only came to talk (other than to deceive the audience). Still, I can forgive it.

- I also liked the idea of peace negotiations between the Federation and the Emerald Chain, but it would have been more meaningful if they spent more time world building it. The scenes weren't bad, but I think I would have enjoyed them more if I knew more about the Chain and its history.

- As usual, Vance remains one of the few bright spots this season (@Tim C, the "its made of shit" line was perfect). The only issue I had with his scenes was the use of the lie detector, it didn't seem to contribute to the plot and it was really distracting when they both kept looking at him every 10 seconds for him to confirm the truth. It's not all that different from the use of Troi in TNG but even she didn't tell Picard that someone was telling the truth after every single sentence.

- I think Burnham's character works best in action roles, though again I rolled my eyes at her overemoting this episode. I really wish she would stop that. Also, that fire suppression system seems unnecessarily deadly. So if someone is working in the tube, and a fire happens, everyone in the tube just dies? It would have been better if Burnham just opened the hatch directly (or maybe just shot the investigator instead?)

- Samets is really unprofessional, he does know ship is still in enemy hands right? I suppose this could be a sign that he is not well mentally (similar to Detmer's PTSD) as a result of jumping into the future, but I found his reaction a bit over the top and irrational (particularly since he's supposed to be left brained engineer). What was his plan exactly, go into the spore chamber and ask Discount Seska to call black alert?

I liked the idea of Samets sacrificing to follow Burnham in the future, and then Burnham standing in between him and his family, but that isn't exactly what was happening here. I think the concept/scene might have worked better under different circumstances.

- I liked the Morse code scene, for no reason other than it gave the bridge crew some dialogue.
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Nick
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 6:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

@SlackerInc, I think part of the hate for VOY and ENT was because they came right after TNG and DS9, two best series in the franchise by a mile, so expectations were really high going in (and probably unfairly high). VOY wasn't nearly as good as those two shows, but still a very enjoyable series in its own right. I do wonder what could have been with ENT, as it was cancelled just as it was getting good.

@Booming, agree with what you said. One thing to add is that planet had a freaking distress signal on it for 100 years! So it's either the worst distress signal in the history of distress signals, or everyone is incompetent. The only thing I can think of is that maybe everyone went into survival mode after the burn and maybe that nebula is out in the middle of nowhere, so nobody bothered to explore it. Still, there seemed to be some knowledge of a "dilitium nursery" in that nebula (I think someone in Starfleet mentioned that), which you would think would have peaked someone's interest. These types of obvious plot holes cheapen the payoff of the mystery box. I can forgive this kind of stuff if it's contained within a single episode, but this got stretched out over an entire season, so in theory they devoted the most amount of time to this story and this is the best they could do? Really sad.

@Paul M, I think its a competence issue. These writers clearly don't have what it takes to write series long sci-fi story arcs. For seasons 1 and 2 I think part of the issue was the leadership changing mid-way through the season. For season 3 I think the obvious answer is that Michelle Paradise is not qualified to run this show. Her claim to fame before this was work on the Originals which is a teen soap opera about vampires. The stuff they did this season might be fine on a show like the Originals where plots don't matter and holes can be explained away by the "fantasy" aspect of the show, but that kind of stuff is not going to cut it on a sci-fi show. From reading some of her interviews, she failed to acknowledge that the sci-fi genre is any different at all, other than the audience having higher expectations on special effects. So it's clear to me she doesn't know what she's doing. It might be fine if Kurtsman knew what he was doing and could mentor her, but he's just as clueless (though in different ways).
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Nick
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

@Burke, I was thinking about re-watching Enterprise. I mostly thought S1 & S2 were terrible. S3 was an improvement with the Xindi arc but still not great. I did really like S4 (sans the finale which was awful). Besides a noticeable improvement in the storylines, it did a great job divvying up the season into 2-3 episode mini arcs, a format that I thought worked really well and I'm surprised it's not used more.

I think Discovery could really benefit from this format, mainly because their storylines aren't compelling enough to keep interest throughout an entire season. IMO the burn mystery box would have been way better if they wrapped it up in 3 episodes, and then moved on to a 3 episode arc on the Emerald Chain, etc. For some reason the showrunners seem fixated on stretching things out through the entire season which is not necessary. The only time that really worked in Star Trek was on DS9 and I don't think anyone is going to re-create the success of that show anytime soon.
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Nick
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 7:42am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

Speaking of Voyager, I just re-watched two episodes, "Night" and "Drone" in season 5. When Voyager ran, I thought it was a mostly average show with some really good episodes sprinkled in, but after the re-watch, I'm amazing at how much better this series is compared to Discovery. For one thing, you know all the crew members and what they do on the ship, and each one has a defined personality. And they all get some screen time and the show rotates who is focused on. Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ, Jeri Ryan, Roxann Dawson, and Robert Picardo acting talent blow all the Discovery actors out of the water. The plots on Voyager were never that compelling, but at least they are rooted in science fiction concepts and pretty entertaining.

The best thing, there's no overemoting. As an example, there was an emotional scene at the end of the episode which the actor was able to convey without shedding a single tear. The scene was excellent and very touching and would have been much worse if the character just broke down crying.
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