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Rahul
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

@MusicalTurtle

You seriously need to give this ep a second chance -- I think it's phenomenal. Really picks up around the mid-way point and just gets everything right (including Gath).

One of the very rare 4-star VOY episodes for me.

Also think Yvonne Suhor who played the girl that showed Kim the transportation device is one of the prettiest in all of Trek. Really tragic she died at just 56.
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Sahal
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

I didn't read the ending that way at all. I understood McCoy's line as referring to the idea that her breakdown on the stage was so complete that she had no memory of the events that precipitated and surrounded it.

It didn't sound like Lenore was going to be released, rather that she was going to exist in some kind of facility where she believed that her father was still alive. ("She'll receive the best of care.") If anything, his description made her sound delusional - not generally the kind of thing that leads to being released after seven murders.

Lenore most likely met the criteria for "not guilty by reason of mental defect," which usually leads to secure commitment, and meshes with the line quoted above. I rewatched the ending again, just to see if I could find what might have prompted your reaction, but I don't see it.

There were a few heavy-handed moments in the first acts, which can probably be chalked up to it being an early episode where character patterns hadn't yet been established. Those knock it down a little, but still eminently watchable. A solid three, if not three and a half stars.
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Rahul
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Operation--Annihilate!

I see an interesting connection here between the alien parasites and the Borg. Spock's description of the "brain cell" that attacks his back is that it's part of a much larger unit, much like a Borg drone is. They don't have to be in physical contact in order to receive orders from some kind of collective mind -- and that's where they draw their resilience/strength from. They essentially assimilate their hosts but they keep control over them using pain and will kill them if they don't cooperate, which is a bit of a difference.

Of course, the alien parasites don't seem to have some kind of affinity for technology and it's not clear what their ultimate goal is. They seem to want to move from star system to star system, rendering inhabitants insane.

I see it less as a body-snatcher show actually. It's more like an infection. Other Trek episodes bring out the body-snatcher theme better like "Return to Tomorrow" etc.
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Rahul
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 11:57am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

I absolutely love this episode and just saw parts of it again a couple of weeks ago but William B. really nails the allegory here so well. The idea of making war sanitized (by those all for it) and how Americans felt about Vietnam in the 60s (somewhat uninformed) with journalists etc. trying to really inform the public about its devastation etc. is pretty much what Kirk is trying to show Anan 7 & co. It's a very clever episode.

Bigger picture is that TOS greatly benefited from the backdrop of the Cold War / Vietnam and I don't think the series is purely "anti-war" but I agree with William B. re. Kirk's position that sometimes it is necessary and you have to own it. It's a similar decision that Kirk makes in "A Private Little War" where he decided to balance the scales and arm Tyree's people otherwise they'd be obliterated by the Klingons and the tribe they supported. It's really brilliant how TOS used these real world events so effectively as allegories. "Errand of Mercy" is another example of attempted colonialism, being prepared to go to war when all else fails etc.

So I think TOS is defending military spending or a strong military -- most often it should act as a deterrent, as a means to further diplomacy, and one hopes it never has to be used. Now I'm thinking of "Dr. Strangelove"...

@Chrome - yes I too loved seeing Mayama play a small but useful role here. Gotta love when Spock told her to sit on Mea 3 if necessary to watch over her.

This is also one of the best Scotty episodes for the entire series. It's not about his engineering prowess either...
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Rahul
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 9:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: A Simple Investigation

@Jason R.

"Season long arcs are great but they tend to blind the devoted viewers to alot of weaknesses that would otherwise be apparent to casual viewers."

Just to focus on DS9 vs. VOY, the former benefits from having some meaty background permeating many of the weaker episodes such that they don't end up feeling quite as weak. How many times on VOY do we come across the random "hard-headed aliens of the week"? Whereas on DS9 the antagonists are much more developed as part of a long arc so the episode winds up feeling like it was better. I think the casual viewer (which I am not) may find that there are some flaws in DS9 due to holes, missing background etc. But I would largely dismiss such criticism. The episodes can't truly be evaluated as standalones. What's interesting for me, given that I like DS9 a lot more than VOY, my average rating for it is just marginally higher than that of VOY.

"I am a big DS9 fan and long considered it to be the best Trek series, even above TNG and TOS. But now I am not so sure. I find myself coming back to it less and less, while my ability to watch TNG and TOS seems almost unlimited."

I am a fan of all the Treks except DSC and I'd say DS9 is my 2nd favorite. Having gone through it multiple times, I do find there are a ton of episodes I have no desire to see again but enough that I would re-watch. However, DS9 is nothing like TOS where I have basically re-watched it I don't know how many times. As for TNG, my 3rd favorite Trek, there's just far more dross to skip past, but what it, DS9 and TOS managed to do is to come up with the very best episodes Trek has ever produced. Achieving these heights is something VOY and ENT never managed to pull off.

I think those that boost VOY prefer something less dark and more fun. Whether the show-runners intended it or not, I do see it as kind of a counterpoint to DS9. And as for ENT, it has grown on me greatly. My initial viewing of it left a bad taste in my mouth (including "Faith of the Heart") but I now like it a lot and I appreciate the main characters a lot more and whenever I watch it, I never miss listening to that theme song!
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Rahul
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 8:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Errand of Mercy

Colicos as Kor is another wonderful guest actor to grace TOS.

I've always loved his great lines in his initial appearance along with Kirk/Spock and the Organians.

"Have we a ram among the sheep?" Kor to Kirk

"I need your obedience. Nothing more."

"I don't trust men who smile too much."
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Rahul
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Things Past

One thing about the use of Terok Nor never made sense to me: As a space station, the Cardies used it for ore processing and as a slave labor camp. Wouldn't this be horribly inefficient -- to transport tons of ore and Bajoran slave laborers up to a space station?? Packing ships with ore and slave laborers to take them up to a space station seems really dumb to me. Or was TN within transporter range from Bajor initially? Something like mining/ore processing is best done on the planet from which the ore is mined. It's as if transporting ore, slaves costs no more than an inner-city bus...
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Rahul
Sun, Sep 22, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

Very sad to hear of Aron Eisenberg's passing today. Always is the case when Trek loses one of its family members.
Noticed others posting about their favorite Nog episodes. For me, it's "In the Cards" - DS9's best comedy. (Although Jake plays a bigger role).
Nog and Jake really developed something special over the seasons -- from little brats to buddies to being at each other's throats and to mature young adults. Here, their partnership is at its best and most entertaining.

RIP Aron Eisenberg
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Rahul
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

@ Peter G.

The problem I have with what you're saying about going along with your commanding officer is that in all the Trek cases aside from this episode, those subordinates were on actual missions and, aside from Red Squad in "Valiant", were graduates of the academy and out in the field. But all those cases had real, concrete objectives and the subordinates had to obey their CO.

In this episode, what's the real concrete objective? To do some BS forbidden maneuver just to be cool? And the CO is not even an academy graduate. And they're all still based at Star Fleet HQ. I think it's an easy "no" for me to say.

This is already a pretty strong episode but it would be much better if Locarno was a graduate of the academy and on a real mission (with or without cadets) and then there is a cover-up (for something like a violation of the PD or a death etc.). It would make the motivations of those following the CO seem much more sensible/realistic to me. This whole drama over doing a forbidden flying maneuver at the behest of another cadet isn't quite good enough.
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Rahul
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

To me it seems a bit of a stretch that Locarno would be able to convince those under his supervision that protecting the team is more important than adhering to Star Fleet principles (truth etc.) .

Ultimately Locarno is expelled and really does take one for the team. This is at least consistent with what he told Wesley to do.

But him, Crusher and all the other cadets are, when first admitted to Star Fleet, presumably sworn to obey certain principles and codes of conduct (similar to the military I'd assume). They then get chosen for things like Nova Squadron where a leader like Locarno can impose his own principles including some that violate what they were initially sworn to? And the team members would all choose to protect the team even if it's so blatantly dishonest? What is really in it for the team members? To do something that looks cool prior to graduation? I guess that's what makes for a good story and Trek is replete with episodes of far more senior officers violating laws etc. I just think it's more of a stretch for these cadets who just had all these principles hammered into them to glibly abandon them for a dubious payoff.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 27, 2019, 10:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

@Doug Willis

I've never read his reviews nor will I ever do so. It's always something I have to scroll past when I scan the comments of an episode. I recall 1 brief interaction with him wherein he showed he didn't know what he was talking about. I also seem to recall he stated that he was a socialist -- that's all you really need to know.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 23, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

@Peter G.

I really don't believe that that 4 billion year old alien race in "The Chase" is or became the Founders. If they were, by the "Star Trek paradigm" I think they'd probably have turned into pure energy beings instead of "merely" shapeshifters given 4 billion years time. The Founders are nowhere near the most advanced species in Trek.

Another thing comes to mind re. as how long it might have taken the Founders to develop into shapeshifters from solids and why I don't think they've been around for even a million years: In "Errand of Mercy" (if memory serves) Spock speculates that the Organians had like a million years or thereabouts to develop into energy beings. But one thing that's problematic is in "Arena" the Metron told Kirk that in (again, if memory serves) 1000 or 1500 years humans could be like them. Now this seems quite farfetched.

I think what you said in your last paragraph is reasonable/logical as to the reason why the writers have it so Odo can't mimic humans properly but the Founders can -- it is a fanciful conceit, as I said -- and obviously Odo is DS9's Spock/7 of 9/Data so they have to make his face appear non-human and innocent enough looking for the audience's benefit. But the Founders need to be able to mimic humans accurately to be a real threat and thus, voila, they are able to.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 23, 2019, 10:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

@Peter G.

I think you might be confusing the Founders with that alien in "The Chase" (obvious similarities + Salome Jens was the actor for that alien - a "Progenitor"). So I don't think the Founders are millions, let alone billions of years old. They set up shop in the GQ like 10,000 BC after persecution from solids -- but I seriously doubt that persecution would have gone on for millions or billions of years.

Then they had their own way of exploring the universe by sending out like a hundred changelings who are supposed to make their way back to the home world. So maybe some of those changelings however long ago encountered humans and then made it back to the Founders' home world and taught the Great Link how to mimic humans accurately. But somehow Odo who has spent years amongst humanoid species can't properly mimic a human?? It doesn't make sense to me that the Great Link should be able to impersonate a human better than Odo unless there's he's somehow deficient or something.

It also escapes me now as to why the writers wrote Odo as being unable to properly impersonate humans -- was it so that he could look like an alien for the benefit of the TV audience? I think it's just a writers' fanciful conceit.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 22, 2019, 6:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

Really have a hard time rationalizing how Odo, who spends all his time on DS9 among humans, can't mimic a human face properly yet another changeling, recently from the DQ, perfectly replicates Adm. Leyton...
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Jonah Falcon
Sat, Aug 17, 2019, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

"Anyhow, the weakness of the episode is the lack of credibility of the 8472's plan to impersonate Star Fleet to such a degree from like 60,000 light years away."

The Dominion Changelings wave hello.
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Jonah Falcon
Sat, Aug 17, 2019, 10:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

I loved this episode because of Ray Walston. Oh, and because of Ray Walston. Could have used more Ray Walston.
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Jonah Falcon
Sat, Aug 17, 2019, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

"Does it? To whom? What's to say the "how we lived" bears any consequence on the "grand scheme of things"? Who says there IS a "grand scheme of things"?!? "

But they did affect the lives of others. They helped other people in need that the real Voyager didn't. Regardless of their fate, their help and charity lived beyond them.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 15, 2019, 9:12am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fight or Flight

Hi Chess,

I really like ENT although it's definitely a step (or two!) below reaching the heights TOS, TNG, DS9 reached. I like the idea of a prequel series and what it meant to achieve. I've gone through the series probably 4-5 times with the latter viewings mainly focusing on episodes I liked particularly.

As for how dark the show is, it gets grim/dark/pragmatic in Season 3 which is its best season and one of the best seasons of any Trek franchise. The 1st 2 seasons are hit and miss (mostly miss) but do have a handful of pretty good episodes, but nothing really jumps out to me as being dark. The crew is pretty green, naive in these seasons.

As for this "Fight or Flight" the scene with the dead bodies on hooks was, as I recall, fairly brief and although it is quite gruesome to think further about it, ENT maintains a standard of decency about blood/gore that typifies what Star Trek should be -- so this scene is a bit of an outlier but I didn't think it was unacceptable. I think a few episodes of DSC violated this blood/gore depiction "ethos" (if you will) as did TNG's "Conspiracy" which is better suited for "The X-FIles".
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Rahul
Mon, Aug 5, 2019, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@Lew Stone

I guess I'd say the "bi-polar writing" for the Janeway character has to do with her controversial and inconsistent decisions. For example, in "Caretaker" she destroys the array that could get Voyager home and violates the PD in siding with the Ocampa vs. the Kazon. Her character is one that is meant to deeply respect Star Fleet rules, but it doesn't always play out that way.

In "Prey" she's prepared to sacrifice her ship/crew to try to save a wounded 8472 from several Hirogen hunters -- this was a head-scratcher of a decision that was cleverly sorted out for her by 7 of 9.

Janeway wants to respect and observe alien laws, but sometimes she glibly disregards them like in "The Swarm" where she violates their space because she doesn't like bullies. The writing could have been better here making her elaborate on her decision.

Contrast this with the Sisko character and his realpolitik ("In the Pale Moonlight" and "For the Uniform") and I'd say the writing in DS9 is more thoughtful albeit much darker -- though Brooks' acting is much worse overall than Mulgrew's as Janeway. But I also prefer DS9 to VOY.
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Rahul
Sun, Aug 4, 2019, 10:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@ Lew Stone,

I've said many times on this forum that I'm not a fan of Avery Brooks' acting -- so I pretty much agree with what you're saying about him. One episode where he actually shines is "In the Pale Moonlight" but generally his huffing/puffing style rubs me the wrong way, his over-acting or under-acting is awkward. Even in "Far Beyond the Stars" his nervous breakdown felt forced although this isn't a huge criticism.

But I must completely disagree with you that he's a better actor than Mulgrew. No way. Brooks had far better writing to work with than Mulgrew did but she did a pretty solid job with the bi-polar writing she was given to work with. I've never really noticed what Mulgrew does with her hands as being a weakness to her acting and sometimes hand mannerisms convey a lot (like in "Chain of Command" with Ronny Cox as Capt. Jellico). So many more positives than negatives about Mulgrew's acting compared to Brooks.
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 1, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

@Fur

Totally agree with your comment.

That final moment when Shahna looks up at the sky in tears and says those words to Kirk are truly touching -- it's really the only part of this episode worth watching. It is also accompanied by George Duning's mournful/romantic music (the same for when the Companion/Hedford looks at Cochrane through the multi-colored dress in "Metamorphosis").

As you say, it is a "4 star moment, in a 1.5 star ep".

Definitely would be cool to see how Triskelion evolves decades/centuries after Kirk's visit...but I would be skeptical of the Providers keeping their word. They are gamblers after all.
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Rahul
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Asher0208’s post touched on some long-held feelings about TNG I’ve had. If I had to describe TNG in 1 word it would be “inconsistent”.

While TNG produced some of the worst Trek ever (Seasons 1&2 in aggregate), it also reached the highest of Trek highs (something VOY, ENT, DSC could not reach). I think what makes TNG their favorite among a lot of fans is episodes like BoBW, “The Inner Light” and “All Good Things…” — that and growing up watching it as their first intro to Trek. But it also did some world-building and told wonderful stories like the Klingon arc that starts with “Sins of the Father”. Of course, introducing the Borg was brilliant — simply the best villains Trek ever came up with. But on the other hand, its inconsistency came out in spades in Season 7.

Asher0208’s discussion on atheism is pretty much spot on. But I do believe Trek mostly tried to be agnostic about faith in the divine/atheism overall. While TNG leaned toward atheism, DS9 (being sort of the antithesis of TNG) went the other way by presenting a more balanced argument. It wasn’t flawless but it was an attempt at balance.

But as Asher0208 rightly says, faith in God is a driving force for good in our society while atheism mostly isn’t. I’d say it totally isn’t. Ultimately when humans don’t believe in God, they believe they should have dominion over other humans — and that is wrong. When humans don’t believe in God, they have no reason to have good morals. So we often see advanced cultures on Trek but their development is an after-thought. TNG was particularly poor in this area because it’s main thing is being science fiction — another way DS9 did a 180 from it. DS9 wasn’t great for science fiction but instead focused on world building. Ultimately, it wound up being more consistently compelling.

And finally about Crusher and Troi — again this is TNG’s hallmark of inconsistency — inconsistency in the main cast. With a giant like Stewart and capable actors like Frakes and Spiner, TNG also had bottom-of-the-barrel McFadden and Sirtis. Admittedly the writing wasn’t great for either of these 2, but neither was the acting. I much prefer Muldaur/Pulaski over McFadden/Crusher. I like Asher0208’s idea for improving Troi.
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Rahul
Sun, Jun 16, 2019, 4:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Friday's Child

@ Sarjenka's Brother

I also liked the portrayal of the Capellans -- a fearsome tribe with strict customs. Didn't think their costumes were goofy though.

But the Capellans are not inherently villains. Only because the Klingon was interfering was there dissension in the tribe and toward the Federation. But, presumably if there are different tribes of Capellans, maybe their analogues in the 24th century could be the Kazon.

On the topic of TOS S2 villains, I think what would be more interesting and plausible (since the Capellans are a tribe and are probably between 1 and 2 millenia of being a space-faring race) is if the modern-day Romans from "Bread and Circuses" or the Nazis from "Patterns of Force" (in a few centuries) developed into space-faring races -- basically bringing fascism into the 23rd and 24th centuries. But then again, this has already largely been done with the Romulans/Klingons/Cardassians.
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Rahul
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

One thing I marvel at is how much Jake (Cirroc Lofton) grew (physically) from 1993 (age 14) to 1999. In Season 1, he was a skinny kid much shorter (obviously) than Ben Sisko. At the end of the show, he's taller (over 6 ft.) and a basically a fully developed man. Must have grown an inch per season!
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Rahul
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@ Peter G.

Yes, we once had a discussion where I said something to the effect that the TOS cast and guest actors absolutely blew away their counterparts on subsequent Treks. Shatner is fantastic and I still shake my head at those who criticize his acting. Nimoy is outstanding as well and I'd say, that from the other Treks, only Stewart is in the same league.

But your comment about lighting/shots/direction got me thinking about something else that made the demands on the TOS cast far greater than other Treks. Obviously back in the 60s, Trek didn't have great special effects and I don't think the intention ever was to wow even the 60s audience with what special effects they had. Subsequent Treks, I believe, did try (especially DSC) to impress their viewers with VFX, CGI such that part of their audience came to depend on this aspect of entertainment and may not be able to recognize/appreciate classic, excellent acting to carry a show. Thus the demands on the cast/guest actors wasn't as high and, as a result, you got weaker actors. I'm generalizing a bit but I think this is essentially the development of a certain aspect of Trek and sci-fi overall.
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