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Sun, Jan 30, 2011, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Blaze of Glory

I always thought the Maquis were a horribly-designed component of the alpha quadrant politics. How could a tiny bunch of rag-tag colonists every be anything more than a nuisance to huge and powerful empires like the Cardassians, or the Federation? It's absurd.

Most terrorist operations work by causing civilians casualties often enough and random enough that the terrified population eventually demands that the government negotiates with them to reach a compromise.

But in the world of Star Trek, war is practically permanent, between large powerful races. The casualties caused by the Maquis would be barely noticed, and in any case the races involved would simply wipe them out in a few weeks.

So, all in all I just never found the Maquis concept credible, so it taints pretty much every story they are involved in.

However, in this episode in particular, I had a bigger problem with the starting premise; that if the Maquis managed to land a huge missile attack on Cardassia, that would start a huge war between the Dominion/Cardassian forces and the rest of the alpha quadrant.

Obviously, if the dominion thought that they could defeat the federation & co, they would already be doing it. And that's *with* a full-strength Cardassian empire on their side.

If the Cardassian forces were both weakened by the missile attacks, and distracted by rescuing survivors and rebuilding the damaged areas, then it's obvious the combined Dominion/Cardassian threat would be less than it already is.

So why would they attack the federation & co? To begin with, they would already know that the missiles came from the Maquis. And they would be certain to lose. Starting a war would be moronic.

The most likely outcome would be for the dominion to abandon their newly-weakened ally and retreat back to the Gamma quadrant to re-group and hatch another strategy. The Cardassians would be terrified of the Klingons and would beg the Federation to forgive them and protect them.

The missiles hitting Cardassia would be the best thing for the Federation in years. Sisko and Martok would be sitting back and watching, clinking champagne glasses as the missile strike landed.

But it gets worse, because we eventually find out that the whole thing was a plot by Eddington to lure Sisko to take him to a specific place to rescue his wife. So Eddington has to be able to predict that Sisko would think a Maquis missile attack on Cardassia would result in a huge war between everyone in the alpha quadrant. And he would have to predict that Sisko would try to avoid this by *begging* Eddington to take him to the 'launch site', alone.

The goal of getting Sisko to take Eddington into Maquis territory on their own could be acheived in a lot of ways that would be 100 times more beleiveable than this missile attack = universal catastrophe hogwash. A simple trick like a faked message from Sisko's other Maquis friend asking for help because of some old pact from the past, would be a more believable way to motivate Sisko into the exact situation Eddington wants.

So.. blech... my enjoyment of the sisko/eddington story (which I do actually enjoy) is seriously hampered by the moronic way the writers get things moving.

One more random criticism; not really about this episode but just in general... why oh why do federation ships not all have cloaking devices? The Klingons have had cloaks for as long as I can remember; definitely several hundred years by this point. Same with the Romulans. Are we supposed to believe that the scientifically advanced Federation has never been able to figure out how they work? Even with the hundreds of Klingon ships that have been captured? Even with the Romulans installing a cloak in the Defiant? It's just ridiculous. Every Federation ship should have a cloak by the time of the DS9 stories... there's just no excuse for having Sisko in a bloody little runabout with no cloak having to evade Jem-Hadar ships using technobabble of the week bollocks. The 'how do we conceal our warp trail' thing is one of those Trek tropes that is used to soak up time on every second episode. Here, it's used to show Sisko bluffing Eddington (again) into piloting the ship to prove he wants to live. But there are other ways to do that; it's just lazy for the writers to rely on such a tired old idea that shouldn't even exist because cloaking should be either common for *all* races, or not possible at all.

If only two races had the ability to cloak, they would be ruling the universe by now, because cloaking in reality would be an unbelievable tactical advantage in *any* military engagement.
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Sun, Jan 30, 2011, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

I've watched this a few times now and have to say that it's in the top 2 or 3 of all Trek time-travel episodes. And there's a lot of them.

However, having watched it a few times, it seems obvious to me that the entire premise of there being some kind of dilemma is just absurd. In fact, both groups of people - the original defiant crew and the 8000 colonists - would only have wanted one thing, which was the survival of *their* group.

Taking the colonists first: There's just no way Odo could have developed his emotional behaviour like that without having had some serious relationships during the 200 year wait. Those would mean far more to him than Kira, an ancient memory that would really just remind him what a gruff, unlikeable, and emotionally stunted jerk he had been all those years ago.

Same goes for Dax... the symbiont would have long ago given up feeling guilty and formed much more significant relationships with the descendants than he ever had with Sisko. He knew Sisko for 15 years or so? Obviously there would be people on the planet he had known for their entire lives.

On the other hand, for the members of the original crew, the idea of sacrificing themselves so the 8000 descendants could live wouldn't even be a consideration. Think about it: If they decided to let the past repeat itself, that would cause a ton of suffering and grief to their friends and relatives back on the station and around the universe.

But the sudden disappearance of 8000 people who never had any contact with a single other person wouldn't move the grief meter at all. For them, they would all 'die' at the same time, presumably without any pain or suffering. For the rest of the universe, it wouldn't matter at all.

Why would the Defiant crew ever think there was a choice here?

So, it's pretty obvious that both groups would have no dilemma, and would pursue the course that obviously benefited them the most.

For the colonists, this would mean they should capture the defiant crew, put them all in some sort of stasis that would end after they travelled back in time, then just autopilot the ship straight into the anomaly at exactly the correct time. Dax would have had 199.9 years to plan all this, after all.

For the defiant crew, they would just try to do anything they could to stop that plan from happening.

In fact, I think I would have enjoyed watching *that* script a lot more than the one we got, with all that fake agonising over choices that didn't actually exist at all.

I still enjoyed it though, and as I said it's one of the top 3 Trek time-travel episodes. It had less obvious plot holes and creaky contradictions than the 'Enterprise' episode where they encountered their own ship 200 years after a similar anomaly did the same thing.
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Sat, Jan 30, 2010, 4:28am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Well, I've just finished watching this from start to finish over a ten day period. I've never seen it before but I had heard a lot of hype about it.

The original BSG was right in my formative years and was one of my weekly must-watch shows when I was 11 or 12 or so. I didn't really want to watch a new version, especially being so different in tone from the original, but eventually I relented.

And I'm glad I did. I don't watch much TV these days so I'm short on comparisons with shows like The Sopranos, The Shield, or The Wire. But this series is certainly cut above just about anything I've ever seen on TV.

If I had to pick one defining characteristic, it would be the commitment of RDM & co to taking risks and not always saving the good guys at the last second. Important characters can die on this show at any time, and just that simple fact makes watching it more interesting than anything else that I've seen in the last 20 years.

I will admit that season 4, overall, wasn't good enough to keep up the standards from earlier seasons. And the final wrap-up was pretty unsatisfying; for once there weren't any really shocking revelations and it was pretty predictable once we got to Daybreak. I guess if they went crazy and came up with an ending that turned the whole story upside down, it would probably come off as cheap and annoying, like the 'it was all a dream' trope, and nobody wants to close out 4 years on that kind of crap.

Still, RDM has really set a high bar for Sci Fi on TV now, I've watched Dollhouse, Firefly, Enterprise, Stargate etcetera and none of them can hold a candle to the storytelling and acting on display in BSG.

Torchwood is another contemporary show that takes a few risks, and Russell Davies has said many times that RDM and particularly BSG has been a real inspiration to him as he revived Dr Who and then created Torchwood.

I do love Dr Who and I enjoy Torchwood, and yet, despite obviously trying to foster the same kind of innovative approach as BSG, neither show really comes close in the sheer quality of the writing, acting, set design and FX.

I'm looking forward to Caprica, the pilot was pretty enjoyable even though it's clearly not BSG 2. But most of all I just hope that the BSG revival has made a long-term difference to the way one-hour Sci Fi dramas are done on TV from now on. If you go back now and watch TNG, VOY or DS9 they seem incredibly lightweight compared to this masterpiece.

So my hat is off to RDM and friends. And to Jammer as well for providing one of the most comprehensive review sites on the planet!
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Sat, Jan 30, 2010, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Deadlock

I found Tyrol's desire to leave completely understandable... go back to his outbust at Adama a few episodes ago, he was obviously desperately unhappy with how things had turned out for him. I think his initial reaction was to stay like Saul, but after a couple of seconds he mentally shrugged and thought 'why not?'

As for Ellen, the writing was too much 'old' Ellen. As others have observed, when the final four were 'woken up', their personalities didn't change. But in Ellen's case the change should have come from the memories she now had. Her fake life as a human never had her as a brilliant scientist and an achiever of great things, which is obviously what she was in her real life on Earth. I would have expected her to show up on Galactica and take charge of the other Cylons, have a firm plan to deal with Cavil and act like someone who had created these things. But also prone to petty vindictiveness.

Writing her instead as *exactly* the same as fake Ellen was a jarring mistake imho
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Fri, Jan 29, 2010, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: No Exit

Just while people are talking about contrivances and all... I didn't see the show at all while it was new, but I've watched the entire thing, including razor, over the past ten days or so.

Quite a marathon.

It's good to see the episodes one after the other like that, but it does tend to highlight issues that you might not notice with a week between shows and hiatus's (hiatii?) between seasons.

The main thing that has bugged me became most painfully obvious during the mutiny arc of Oath and Scales. At no point has the leadership actually tried to explain to the people just why the alliance with these cylons isn't getting into bed with the enemy.

Think about what the main characters know:

- There is a bitter split between two Cylon factions
- The rebel faction realise the war was a mistake and want to be at peace with the humans
- The evil faction is led by one particularly nasty Cylon who has caused the whole thing
- The 'final five' are not even close to being 'machines' evolved from centurion cylons. They are basically people and there's no reason to think of them as toasters

If the leadership had made an effort to publicise this information, over and over, drilling it into people's heads, there would never have been the intense mistrust and subsequent mutiny.

Especially considering how long Athena has been with the Human side, in the real world there would have been a lot of discussion about why and how she is able to change sides and why other Cylons can be trusted if they want to switch.

Think about the real world, it's not uncommon at all for a faction within a group to split and ally with the other side. This happened in WW2 a few times in different theatres. In the pressure of the war, these changes of allegiance usually work because of necessity and obviously in BSG both parties are stronger against Cavil if they stick together.

This falls into the standard script-writing phenomena of having the characters behave unrealistically to lead them into conflict and other dramatic situations. It bugs the hell out of me.

Particularly in the case of this mutiny. They could have had 90% of the fleet accept the Cylons in good faith. Gaeta could have been motivated by going a bit mad, with losing his leg to a Cylon and also nearly being executed by Tigh who turns out to be a Cylon.

If Gaeta had led a mutiny, and he had perhaps 10 guys he was able to persuade to join him (instead of 50 or more), we could still have had an exciting, uncertain munity with plenty of tension.

It's ridiculous to try and portray the entire fleet as being incapable of reason and unable to understand the difference between good Cylons and bad Cylons.

It bugs me even more because the writing has been so good in almost every other way. Moore is good enough, he shouldn't need to have people act like morons just to create tension.

Still, BSG is so much better than anything else...

I have recently watched every Star Trek series from start to finish as well and trying to compare *any* of those to BSG makes Trek look like a children's show. 'The Inner Light' in TNG is just about the only episode that measures up to any BSG episode.
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Sat, Oct 31, 2009, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

Yeah, this show was garbage, for all the reasons listed in previous comments.

One thing that afflicted the entire trek universe, from TOS through to Enterprise, was the problem with Starfleet.

Far too often they have used starfleet as the source of some evil-doer who creates whatever disaster the show is focusing on this week. While every single regular cast member is the epitome of a heroic starfleet officer, it's ridiculous that every other member of starfleet is corrupt, evil, stupid, arrogant, ambitious, paranoid, and inept.

YOu can get away with this a couple of times in the life of a series, but Star Trek has gone back to the well twice a season for every one of the 27-odd seasons that make up the franchise across all series.

It's far beyond the point of just being lazy writing, it's criminally lazy writing and makes about 20% of all stories completely predictable.

While I'm complaining, I'll add that Jake Sisko is a terrible character. Are we supposed to be sympathetic to him? He is always whining, making terrible decisions that put other's lives in peril while trying to make himself feel like an adult investigative journalist. Perhaps the writers are doing this deliberately but by this point in the DS9 series I despise him more than any of the 'bad' guys.

I haven't enjoyed a single episode when Jake is the primary character.

This may not be the writers' fault. Cirroc Lofton is as bad an actor as Jake is a character, so perhaps he's not bringing the writers' vision of jake to life. His emotional scenes are flat as a pancake and he has no physical presense at all.

I know Jammer likes both Jake and Cirroc so perhaps I'm digging my own grave, but the DS9 story would have been a lot better off if Jake had never existed.
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Sat, Oct 31, 2009, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

Although I enjoyed this, I don't agree that it's the best of DS9, nor even in the top 5. Avery Brooks solo performance in front of the log recorder is far too hammy for that.

It's something that he's been getting progressively worse at as the years go by, overacting, overemoting, chewing the scenery... but this episode has the worst of the lot.

I also thought the final scene where Sisko gives Garak a couple of solid blows to the face was over-the-top. Kirk was happy to throw his fists around when necessary but it was never the first thing he thought of. It was unnecessary in the context and the fact that Garak didn't seem to suffer much discomfort from it just makes it worse.

Finally, I think you may as well remove the 'bot checker' field from this comment form - it's always the same question. Is it broken or did it never actually work?
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Fri, Oct 30, 2009, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

I really hated this episode for it's single glaring logical flaw that rendered it completely pointless.

As mentioned in a comment above me, these geniuses could not have predicted the Prophet's interference in the taking of the station, so their prediction for that event would have been wrong.

There are so many potential cataclysmic events that could destroy the dominion:

- a meteorite strikes the founders homeworld, killng them all... the vorta and jem hadar starting infighting and the invasion collapses

- as they push further into the alpha quadrant, the jem hadar encounter a virus that is lethal to them thanks to a flaw in their DNA. The virus has a 2-year incubation period and in extremely virulent, so by the time they realise what is happeneding they entire race is already infected. Within 5 years there isn't a single Jem Hadar left in the universe.

- Q turns up and uses his genuine godlike powers (as opposed to the founder's fake godlike powers) to push the dominion back through the wormhole and seals it forever

I could go on for days. In fact, the further in the future you try to predict, the more likely it is that something of this type will occur, ergo by the time you've gone out 1000 years it's almost guaranteed that something will occur that you didn't anticipate that will change things completely.

What I really don't understand is how the writers can get through producing an entier episode script and not realise this. They could include it in the story and still make the episode work, so are they just lazy?

Ruined the episode for me.
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Wed, Oct 28, 2009, 8:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

One thing to add to these comments... I thought it was great to see Nog out of the academy and doing something useful. He was acting like a real starfleet cadet, doing everything eagerly and properly.

It would have been easy for them to forget about his story, we haven't seen him for a while, but I enjoyed bringing him into this episode, even if it was a contrived situation.
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Sat, Oct 24, 2009, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Little Green Men

@gatton - I don't think the math involved was unrealistic to have Rom doing it. In previous episodes he's been described as a mechanical genius so it's not too hard to believe.

I enjoyed the episode a lot, mostly because I'm watching every star trek episode across all series, and DS9 is the last series. In TNG, ENT and VOY, the ferengi are portrayed as bumbling idiots and I really hated them. But DS9 gives them a lot more credit and I just find it a relief to watch a Ferengi episode and not be completely aggravated by them.
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Tue, Aug 25, 2009, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Nemesis

Peter is correct. As George Orewell pointed out in 1984, language is a powerful thing. Corrupt the language, and you corrupt a person's ability to express ideas.

A person wasn't "killed" they were nullified. The enemy didn't have a name, they were simply nemesis. Brainwashing, pure and simple - and a sofisticated idea for Trek to play with.
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Sun, May 10, 2009, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

I still cannot get over the abandonment of technology. Were there no sick or infirm people that needed medical technology? Were there no parents? I can't think that any parents would willingly revert to a time where child mortality was the accepted norm due to lack of technology.

I also can't help but to think that if there were never an Atlantis series on SciFi, that Moore [et al] could have written a different ending. The majority of colonials that didn't give up technology could have settled in a place called Atlantis only to be wiped out mysteriously some time later. The legend is gift wrapepd for this series.
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