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Kevin
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 3:44am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

As often as Jammer talks about this being a lightweight season, I've found that several of the episodes have shocked me with their darkness. These are some difficult issues being experimented with, and although Voyager isn't always the best Trek franchise, this season in particular has brought out some of the darkest Trek I've ever seen. Episodes like Retrospect, Nemesis, and Mortal Coil are among the most pronounced, but even Random Thoughts brought out a side of Trek that we've rarely seen done well. DS9 was gritty and gray, but these cross the line into bleak and depressing. I feel worse for having watched them. But in a good way.

On a side note, it's interesting that Voyager is finally starting to act like a ship lost all by itself. Seeing Voyager trading for better weapons is very un-Star Fleet, but much more realistic given their circumstances, as was the unauthorized use of the comm array a few episodes back. Normal Trek might have used it once, but Janeway forced her way in repeatedly. Feels like the show is finally finding its groove - just hope it keeps it up!
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Kevin
Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Code of Honor

One more sign that They Just Didn't Care to add to the pile: when Yar is abducted, NOBODY reacts to it with the least bit of surprise. I'm guessing this was because Yar and her abductors were filmed separately from Troi and Picard for the shot, but the way it comes off, it looks like Yar's abduction was pre-arranged by both sides with only Yar herself not in on it.

Also, the ending is total bull: somehow Yareena's momentary death annuls her marriage but not her property ownership. But then again everybody was probably fed up with Lutan by now so they all just went along with it.
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Kevin
Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 1:17am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

Justin, non-touch telepathy in Vulcans was established canon before Voyager - I direct you to Memory Alpha:

Stronger minds were capable of non-contact telepathic projection and scanning, usually over short distances, (TOS: "The Devil in the Dark", "The Omega Glory"; VOY: "Random Thoughts", "Prey") but sometimes even over interstellar distances. (TOS: "The Immunity Syndrome"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Also, it's important to remember that, like it or not, Voyager was an officially sanctioned Trek property, and thus, it's stories ARE canon.
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Kevin
Thu, Jan 2, 2014, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Nemesis

I enjoyed this episode more than I expected to. The twists were nicely done. Regarding a couple of the questions that are in the comments, I agree that the simulation was probably customized for the particular race being brainwashed - that seems easy enough technically and makes bonding with the Vori easier. I may have imagined it, but the Kradin makeup seemed a bit more grotesque and intimidating on the simulated soldiers than on the ambassador - that may be my own imagination recasting them as good and bad guys, but it seemed to be a subtle difference.

As far as the language used, I thought it was well done. It's easy to start using stilted language and then drop it, I'm glad the writers were able to do it convincingly through the entire episode.

I understand that the language was part of the brainwashing, but realistically, we should hear stuff like this more often. The translator should have been rendering words and short phrases literally, sort of like Google translate. The translator is working with languages that it has never encountered before, and it should lose or misunderstand most of what is said, at least for the first few days of interaction with a species. Other Trek series had the advantage of working with more or less known species, but the entire run of Voyager should have really played with the idea of communication issues - that could have been fun.
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Kevin
Wed, Dec 25, 2013, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Darkling

This was a bad episode. Picardo's portrayal of the evil Doc was actually quite chilling, but the script just wasn't there to bring it home. This could have been one of Trek's better forays into horror, but the writers just phoned this one in.
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Kevin
Wed, Dec 25, 2013, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

This episode brought up a few interesting questions for me. As far as Voyager was concerned, why not investigate the Borg Cube and try to acquire some of their technology - Transwarp should have been quite interesting to someone in Voyager's position. On the other hand, it shows how deeply the events of TBOBW affected the Federation. Janeway came off as genuinely terrified, and made decisions the way a skittish prey animal would. It was nice to see that Janeway is still human, and Voyager is not all-powerful.

The Cooperative was interesting, but I had a problem with the quasi-mystical telepathic borg. Weren't nanoprobes the key to the Borg's communication and regenerative properties? That explanation is both grounded in real science and seems to sit better with canon than "Neural-electic blah blah blah..." I understand the writer's were probably reluctant to inject nanoprobes into Chuckles, but that would have made an interesting continuity concern as well.

The other thing that was intriguing about the New Collective is the question of who was in charge. A perfectly flat democratic group mind should not have a leader, yet the Borg derives its efficiency and power by being a collective mind driven by the will of the Queen. I would have liked to have understood that better, because it seems that the leaders of the good cell would not have necessarily been able to impose order, unless the order itself comes from the innate Borg programming...

Anyway, a good episode with the exception of the magic telepathy hokum. It left you asking questions, which is what great sci-fi is all about.
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Kevin
Sun, Dec 22, 2013, 2:30am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

I've got to chime in with the supporters on this one. I liked that the TakTak were so weird and, well, alien. That was refreshing, although I'm glad we didn't have to endure a whole episode of that. It reminded me of Darmok a bit, but I don't think Voyager could pull that off.

As far as the main plot, again, I liked that the alien was so unusual. Yes, it was an implausible explanation, but there is a good likelihood that such things may exist (there are giant single celled organisms right here on Earth, after all) and it was an interesting idea. The story was very "Alien"-esque, but it mostly worked.

I thought that the flashback was too long and involved. It could have been tightened up by focusing only on what the Doctor actually witnessed, dropping the pointless banter and such. The ending felt rushed, again probably because of the flashback eating so much time. But for my vote, I'd say this was a solid 2.5 out of 4 - a little better than average with a few standout moments and some nice ideas.
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Kevin
Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

For me, the episode worked. I don't think I would have said that when it actually aired, but now I found the meaninglessness of it to be meaningful. The arguments against religion on this thread are really arguments against a certain religiosity, with it's accompanying pomp and bombast. The episode anticipates that, and diffuses it with Janeway's self-inflicted trials, which are meaningless.

I laughed out loud at the final scene. Janeway has experienced something profound that she doesn't really understand. The Doctor does what Trek always does to these phenomena - technobabble. However, just this once, Janeway as a character actually hears it being just that. That final scene says this time she doesn't buy it anymore than we do, but if the Doctor wants to have his explanation, arguing the point would be meaningless.
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Kevin
Tue, Dec 17, 2013, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Remember

I thought this was a very powerful episode, but the confrontation at the farewell party was a bit much for me. I have a hard time believing Janeway would have tolerated that kind of interruption and outburst - she's much too diplomatic for that. Also, even though Trek is much to saintly to let it happen, I thought that this would have been one of the best episodes of any series had it simply ended with the scene where the children are being taught that the holocaust didn't happen. The idea that a society could go through that and then actually cover it up and move on was truly chilling. If the writers had simply let that stand and force viewers to process those ideas in the raw...wow.
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kevin
Sat, Oct 12, 2013, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Awesome episode, and very brave. Star trek has a long history of tackling the issue of racism, but usually through alien cultures. Removing that layer clearly makes some people uncomfortable, which had to be point. It's important to remember how recently these racist feelings were out in the open, and that they didn't just disappear. Clearly, intolerance is still alive in one form or another.
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Kevin
Sat, Jul 27, 2013, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Q and the Grey

I think it says something that this episode effectively has its own entry in the Evil Overlord family of Stupid Plot Tricks:

"If I Am Ever a Starfleet Captain... If my ship is whisked to the far side of the galaxy, leaving us with a seventy-year journey home, and a super-being offers to take us home instantly in exchange for having his baby, I'll agree and ask what we can get for two babies."
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Kevin
Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

The final insult is when at the end Picard says, "Our plan for them worked out well." Excuse me, Captain? "OUR" plan? Your plan was to let them all die and let the Prime Directive soothe your conscience. Nikolai did all the hard work planning this out. But sure, now that it's all worked out, now you're sad that even one of them didn't make it.

I'd give an extra two stars to this episode if Q had shown up at that moment and smacked Picard across the face with all of that.
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Kevin
Sat, May 18, 2013, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

You're welcome, I'm sure. Of course, this episode DOES have SOME problems-chief of which is the implausibility(not to mention disputable utility) of a cryongenic capsule drifting out into deep space,light years away from earth. Let's log that one as a convenience of/for the writers,shall we? Ditto trouble with the Romulans and/or the Neutral Zone-which provides a crisis to distract Captain Picard & crew from their out-of-time passengers,thereby causing anxieties and conflicts to develop between them, which would ordinarily have been given some level of priority. However, these flaws do not detract from the greater points of interest; i.e., the differing responses of three ordinary humans who wake up 370 years in the future. Usually, anachronism is played for the Cheap Laugh, especially on TEEVEE: "Happy Days and "That 70s Show" being the best (and worst) examples.There's little of that here and, in fact, one of the more sophisticated yucks comes from the comparison of the Enterprise to the "Q.E.II". Although it is observed by Data that the C&W singer has adjusted most easily to the situation, I must point out that his "adjustment" involves the further pickling of his liver via prodigious consumption of martinis;picking up where he left off,back in the 21st Century.
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Kevin
Wed, May 15, 2013, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

I LIKED 'The Neutral Zone'! The new series (TNG) had to find some way to separate itself from TOS,and this episode makes a start. Using the same premise as 'Space Seed'-antiquarian, frozen humans- it spins the tale out in a decidedly different direction; instead of over-the-top, eugenically advanced Super Villians,we get more normal( i.e., grounded in everyday reality)humans.The one trump card TNG held over TOS was its psychological sublety vs. TOS (sometimes) heavyhanded commentary. Sooo...in place of Khan, hellbent on seizing control of a starship,presumably en route to conquering the (known) Universe, we get Ralph Offenhouse.Pushy, arrogant, used to getting his way he is,simply, an obnoxious Capitalist Pig;"do you at least have a Wall Street Journal?" he snaps at Will Riker. But is Offenhouse really all that simple? Although driven by the Profit Motive,seemingly, he shows surprising depth and feeling in his encounter with Jean-Luc;in fact,it is the Captain who comes across as more than a little smug,assured in his comfort zone that we've "grown out of our infancy". Offenhouse actually outpoints Picard when the Captain snorts at the notion Ralph posits that the power to "control your life, your destiny" is the ultimate object of the financier. "Such control is an illusion" he contends."Oh really?" Ralph replies,"I'm here,aren't I? I should be dead,but I'm NOT!" Tellingly,Jean-Luc has no answer ready for that one. Later, Offenhouse demonstates superior capabiltites by not only finding his way to the Command Deck, but by actually making an on-the-spot assessment of the Romulans which Picard concedes is accurate.ERGO: Clearly the writers were after a more rounded and nuanced characterization in Offenhouse than is found in TOS. And they got it. He's not loveable, but he's tantalizingly real.
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Kevin (now with a) H
Fri, Mar 29, 2013, 6:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Reading here keeps reminding me I want to rewatch TOS. I honestly can not remember when I last gave the series a run through. My best guess is the late 90's when we first got cable TV, if not earlier than that.

As for the final TNG episode, something tells me I only watched it once. I'd better remedy that.
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Kevin
Thu, Mar 28, 2013, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

In a since this review is a closure to a piece of childhood for many of us here. I started reading the DS9 reviews on ST-Hypertext (or what ever it was called at that point) back around 95-96 at roughly the age of fifteen. It is interesting to ponder if this site will still exist twenty five years from now. I like to think it will be, if only to serve as a memory. Something tells me I'll keep passing through here, even if it's only an annual occurrence.
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Kevin
Thu, Feb 28, 2013, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Body Parts

In this day and age, it's hard to read about the teaser and not mentally hear the line read: "I got the results of the test back -- I definitely have Dorek Syndrome."
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Kevin
Thu, Sep 13, 2012, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

@William B.

Sorry Jammer. I've outpaced you and need to talk. I completely agree with you william about Parallels. I know that I've seen tons of negative comments about the 7th season in general, but I wonder if it was really more viewer fatigue than anything TNG did wrong. Actually, for me rewatching on netflix, season 6 was terrible, the worst, but by the begining of 7 you could tell they knew it was the final season and really did a fantastic job of tying up loose ends and bringing the characters to a close. I never watched DS9 growing up because I hated the 2 or 3 episodes I saw, so I'm not sure what happens with these characters there, but I find season 7 to be the best by far in both terms of character development, story closure, and universe settling. Knowing that they're done gave them license to finish things right and they did a good job of forcefully imprinting TNG's values onto the Star Trek universe as well. I hear DS9 went bad with the dominion wars, but everything after this bears that stamp of Picard's moral authority, and when they violate it it is certainly with an apologetic glance back at TNG's fans.

Sorry Jammer. I'm eagerly awaiting your season 7 reviews.
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Kevin
Sun, Sep 2, 2012, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

I know no on is a fan of Crusher, but I actually liked her performance in this episode. Yes, the plot would have been better had a three year old written it in poo, but McFadden turned in a solid performance and really made the most of the crap she was given to work with. The character of Crusher shines in this one despite the extremely clumsy writing.

Worst line of the episode is Worf agitatedly asking "Are you through yet doctor?" at the scene of Reyga's death. Completely out of character. Worf sees danger everywhere, (Those fluffy bunnies could be armed, let's just go ahead and shoot them...) but here when Crusher implies murder may have occurred, he just seems like he's got better things to do. After that, the whole question in my mind for the entire rest of the episode isn't who did it, but where the **** is security?

Horribly written, but one of the better Crusher performances, which stands out more against the terrible backdrop.
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Kevin
Wed, Aug 29, 2012, 2:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part I

Did anyone else notice how bad the makeup was? To me, Worf, the Yridian, and Data's makeup jobs were extremely artificial and plastic-y. Spiner's closeups really show his age lines and Data's color seems to change several times between scenes. Even some of the human characters seemed worn or overdone.
I'm usually not picky about these sorts of things, but the crappy makeup on this episode really ruined it for me.
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Kevin
Mon, Aug 27, 2012, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Just a note to everyone, I'm really enjoying reading the reviews and all the comments. I'm watching all the Star Trek series on Netflix in "chronological" order (meaning from Enterprise on, yes, I am that much of a nerd!). This one was bad, I mean bad. My first thought was the dog did it before I even knew there was a crime. I mean, really, why else show a dog!?!

But I completely agree with David. My feelings weren't "C'mon LaVar" but "No, not again Geordi."

As hokey as it sounds, I actually found myself halfway through this episode asking "Poor Geordi. Will you ever find true love..."

"Witness the sad life of Geordi LaForge" has got to be one of the best and most succinct summaries of TNG I've ever heard. It made me laugh and cry a little at the same time.
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Kevin
Sat, Aug 25, 2012, 3:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

@Josh
There are 4 lights. I'm watching the episode now on netflix. At time stamp 22:43 you can pause it to see that the small blue light you saw is not present as the lights are coming on. Rather, what you saw as the 5th light was a reflection of the production lights on the canisters of the prop lights. I'm taking time to respond because the idea was so interesting and shocking that I had to check it out.

That would have been seriously devious and extremely dark. Nice observation, in real time it does appear to be another light, but I for one am thankful that "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!"
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Kevin
Wed, Aug 22, 2012, 2:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: True Q

I'm not a Beverly hater (except for any scene that involves Wesley - I despise Wesley), but Q's line is spot on.

"Crusher gets more shrill with each passing year."

@John

I think you're right, this episode was really just a vent for the writers (and probably the actors too).
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Kevin
Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Waltz

Just finished another viewing of this one (yay Netflix), maybe the third time I've seen it since its original broadcast. The last two acts do seem over-the-top, making the whole come off a little too much like an overwrought morality play between the two characters, "Pride" vs "Justice."

That aside, there's a plot point I still don't understand, and perhaps someone can explain if I'm just being dense. Why does Dukat rig the distress beacon to malfunction? Understandably he doesn't want to be "rescued" by Starfleet, but if that's the case and the shuttle is flightworthy, why does he lie about that as well and wait around on this deserted rock, with or without Sisko? I guess I'd rather not resort to chalking up what seems like unsound tactical behavior to Dukat's emotional instability. What is his motivation?
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KevinW
Thu, Oct 6, 2011, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Unification

@Capt. Tripps

Well, it's clear in TOS and TNG that many Federation member planets contribute to Starfleet and depend upon it. I don't remember any reference to member planets also having their own independent navy, so it seems reasonable to infer that independent navies don't exist and Starfleet is the only government-sanctioned starship operation in the Federation.

Eric D. correctly pointed out that there are a few independent operators, e.g. Cyrano Jones and Kivas Fajo, operating in Federation space. However they are private individuals and not part of a government-sanctioned milatary-ish organization.

"Not everyone in the Federation is even in or contributes to StarFleet, and each member planet maintains a civilian fleet..."

Where is any of that established? Or are you inferring that?
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