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Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:39am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

I don't think the ambassador's outburst was bad. It helped show the need for balance and hiw his overindulgence lead to bad things. People say drunkenness shows our "true character" but I disagree. Sometimes it activates parts of us that we are adamantly opposed to simply because our brains aren't working. It fit in with the whole theme.
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Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Oh thank TPTB that so far it's not Discovery-esque! (By the time I realised I really didn't like DIS, I was engrossed in the plot so had to force myself to watch it through to the end of the first season. However if it hadn't been called Star Trek, I'd not have persevered beyond the first few episodes in the hope it would get better.) Some of the visuals showed that it's a product of the same era, but beyond that it simply felt like modernised Trek to me. A fitting ... update, I think would be the word. It's not a modern version of TNG but it's certainly still the same universe (and felt informed a bit by DS9 in a way, that the Federation and Starfleet are not perfect even though they'd like people to think they are).

In The Ready Room they mentioned that Picard was made for fans and new viewers alike. I think they got it right; for the casual viewer I think there was enough explanation that having watched TNG or any other Trek was not a prerequisite, but of course being a fan gives a deeper understanding and appreciation of the characters and references.

Count me incredibly relieved! Let's hope it continues to stay true to Trek.
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Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

One, thing that really irritates me about those reviews is this arrogant anthropocentrism: "Of course is a silly custom, because we humans automatically know what's objectively wrong and right!" This same happened when Jammer was talking about "TNG Half a life" when he automatically said that Kaelon's custom is obviously stupid, without even considering why it even existed in the first place. If aliens exists, they are culturally different that us - do we have the right to judge them by human standards? I completely agree, I would also say its a somewhat biased modern western viewpoint and reading this in 2020 it feels incredibly shallow and even bigoted. There are plenty of cultures in which ritual suicide is a social/culturally accepted path. To state that the episode fails because Worf's cultural mindset is 'silly' is failing in critical thought. Throughout TNG (and other star trek series) Klingons are shown to have a culture that espouses ritual suicide in various situations. They are also a people with very specific views about the physicality needed. Perhaps Jammer should have listened to Picard a few more times............... "that's a very human perspective, for a KLINGON in Worf's position, his life is over...... we don't have to agree with it, we don't have to understand it"
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Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 8:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

I believe Garak actually did reveal why he was exiled from Cardassia in this episode. Though he told three different stories to Dr. Bashir, one of them rings much more true than the others, even after Tain revealed that Garak completely made up his friend, Elim, who is mentioned in all three stories. From a writing standpoint, however, we can assume that everytime he mentioned Elim, he was really talking about himself, or his conscience.

So if we remove that and just focus on the events in the stories, which one sounds the most true? We find out in "Improbable Cause" that Tain was directly responsible for Garak's exile. He accuses Garak of betraying him, to which Garak responds with a rare outburst of emotion: "I never betrayed you! At least…not in my heart." From this, we can infer that Garak regrets his traitorous actions. Looking back at the stories he tells Bashir, the first and third stories can be easily shot down because neither of them involve him betraying Tain. The second story can't be dismissed so quickly. He explains that he set free a group of Bajoran children that he was ordered to interrogate, and then send to execution. This obviously went against the practices of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. I believe it was an offense severe enough to cause Garak's banishment. There's also the fact that when he tells the second story, Garak is in the middle of a severe narcotic withdrawal. I'm not sure if he was in a clear enough state to conjure up a completely fabricated story. He obviously remembered to name the false Elim, but I believe that was the extent of his trickery.

We also see in "The Die Is Cast" that Garak is no longer an effective interrogator because he breaks during his torturous session with Odo before Odo does. It's not out-side the realm of possibility that he took pity on those Bajoran children. His personal feelings toward the Bajorans throughout the series are at worst, shown as neutral. Garak is obviously one of the most complex characters in the entire Star Trek franchise, and he never peels back all of his layers, but I believe the reason for his exile is a layer he did reveal.
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Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

I take it Michael from 2010 would have HATED Farscape!

Anyway, this has to be one of my favourite episodes - I do enjoy character work as some of the Fi with the Sci, and this was very well done in my eyes, and very ... I think 'authentic' is the word I'm looking for. It's entirely realistic that pregnancy and the thought of a new life would trigger suppressed trauma to (re)surface.

The one thing that shocked me was B'Elanna tampering with the Doctor, especially after all the holographic rights already dealt with (including way back to whenever he was given autonomy) but it felt in-character and plausible. I did appreciate that she truly felt remorse over it, and the Doctor was very gracious in his response to it but again plausibly so (I thought, anyway).

Man, season 7 overall is shaping up to be pretty much how it ought to have been from the start. Some of the episodes have had interesting shot choices which made even otherwise quite flat or banal episodes a bit more interesting. Ah well, no point lamenting there wasn't more of this quality now, it's best just to appreciate the good we *did* get. (Admittedly it is easier to say straight after a sterling episode such as this than after some of the worse episodes.)
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Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 11:21am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Oh dear. 20 years later and people are dying in the US because they can't afford vital medication. In the UK there is uncertainty over the future of the NHS - which is overstretched and a bare minimum anyway; they're pretty good at keeping you alive but quality of life is not a priority. Not all of Star Trek's "message shows" are done well, but there are some I wish we could plonk government officials down in front of them and make them watch!

A bit scary that some people seem to think the NHS and similar systems were the subject of this though; the only vague parallel I could see was the difference between public and private healthcare but that's a very tenuous analogy, and people aren't routinely deprived of medical care because of their [financial] status in society. Occasionally individual fatal mistakes are made, but they are not systemic flaws!

Overall, I really rather enjoyed this episode. I agree there is the question of what really would happen in the long term, but I think the implication was that given a new choice to actually treat patients who needed it, the doctors would go with that, even if it meant playing the system to do so. How well that would work on the long term is debatable.
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Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 5:53am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

I am gonna be honest, I absolutely hate this episode. I hated it when it first came out and I hate it just as much today. I consider it one of the worst TNG episodes ever. I know I am in a minority of one on that one, but I really do. Not even hyperbole.

It's boring and doesn't even take into account the aspect of mind rape. We are just suppose to fall in love with this race and excuse their crime. I've always been disappointed more people never took issue with that moral standpoint of the episode. And of course the giant reset button next week doesn't help.

Of course, I do get some humor our of how incompetent Beverly is shown to be yet again. One of my favorite unintentional recurring themes of TNG. I love Gates but Beverly is just pure incompetence She probably didn't want to use the EMH because she knew it'd be far more effective than she could ever be. But I am getting off topic.

I constantly try to understand why people love this episode, reading so many reviews. It still has never clicked with me. We get small fragments of Picard's alternate life with large time jumps. We barely know any of these characters, they are just background dressing to Picard's experience. Which is fine, but for an episode like this I feel like it's important to connect with those characters. To fully understand them, beyond Picard just having a family. Take Picard's son. He wants to do music and wanted to do two other things before settling on music. And that is his entire character.

His daughter takes after him and then becomes a mother and that is it. These characters are cardboard. There is zero depth to any of them.

Rene Picard had a lot more development in family. We can understand Picard's pain when he dies in Generations, we can feel sadness that he never got to go to Starfleet like he wanted or experience life. All cut short in a senseless fire, the randomness of life. Intially I wasn't a fan of Family on first run either, but all these years later I've grown to really like and appreciate all the themes in that episode.

Do we really feel sad for any of this alien race? As a concept, sure but the actual individual characters? Again cardboard. And they mind raped someone selfishly. They inflicted unwanted harm for their own selfish desires. We would excuse a man, who raped a woman, because he was dying and wanted her to remember him? They basically make Picard experience Stockholm syndrome as a way to cope with his torture. It's really quite disgusting when you actually think about it critically. The episode touches on none of this. In fact, we barely get any of the denial stage and just get a 5 year time jump. It's so compressed, it's ridiculous. And this is one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek?

No and again I wonder why everyone loves this episode?

Tapestry was so much better, it really examined the choices we make in our life and how things we regret can make us better people. The path you didn't take, that is an interesting exploration of the human condition. I think that was far more of an effective character study of Picard and his life choices.

As you've noticed, I haven't really attacked the technology level and how feasible those parts of the episode is. That is just there. It's one of the few things I can complain about. They were advanced in one field and not so much with space travel beyond their little probe. 21st century humans have amazing communications technology and the ability to constant anyone in the world instantly. But yet we've only been to the moon over 40 years ago and we don't even know when we'll get back. Let alone going to Mar.

I even hate the flute and the sounds it makes. Those songs almost make my ears bleed, but I tend to hate wind instruments and find them unappealing universally. That one is probably just one of my quirks. It just adds on to my hate.
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Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes

Oops, forgot the footnote ^

*it practically was her native language after being reanimated and completely immersed, living as a Kobali.
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Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes

I don't have the brainpower to comment on the episode as a whole, or to read all the comments, but I just had to say:

What the HELL is wrong with a person speaking their native* language?!?!?! Who cares, as long as she can do the job?! I get that they're used to the universal translator making alien languages irrelevant, but ... seriously!! Maybe a quick glance would have been fine as it's something they're not used to, but staring is just ridiculous and unnecessary.

The Borg kids were fun; I really like the girl's feistiness.
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Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Spirit Folk

Y'know, the Doctor being hypnotised was one bit that (kind of) made sense to me, having being integrated into the Fair Haven programme.

I didn't particularly enjoy the original Fair Haven episode but I definitely preferred it to this.

*sigh* and this season had been doing pretty well on the whole.
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Mon, Jan 6, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Unnatural Selection

Don't worry Jason, it was only a half-serious callout on my part. But it does seem like the trend recently is that everyone should love Pulaski or at least respect the character (while, of course, the trend back in the day is that everyone should hate Pulaski). The truth is in the middle. She's not an overly atrocious character, but the character is flawed, and with only one season (and a shortened one at that), there just wasn't enough time for those flaws to be smoothed over.

As an aside, I'm not as much of a fan of the Kirk-Spock-Bones dynamic as its legendary status might suggest. There were way too many times that Bones was being contrarian just for contrarian's sake, and it hurt his character. He was fine in serious scenes with Kirk, and he was fine in lighthearted back-and-forths with Spock, but in the serious scenes with Spock he often looked just dumb (I think it was Gamesters of Triskelion where it just got too annoying for me). It hurt his character there too. So trying to ape Bones leaves a double-negative impression for me; one for being unoriginal and one for Bones himself sometimes being a weak character.
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Mon, Jan 6, 2020, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Unnatural Selection

Sorry Jason and Sen-Sors, but I must disagree. Calling anyone who disagrees with your opinion as sexist isn't fair. There are plenty of other reasons to have a negative opinion on Pulaski and/or a more positive opinion on Crusher.

- It wasn't JUST her antagonism towards Data that put people off; the very first impression of her is disrespecting Picard by ignoring protocol when she came on board the ship. So she starts off antagonistic towards BOTH of the beloved Trek characters. And while the Data bit may just be an attempt at cloning McCoy, the second was just uncalled for. She's a senior professional, she should REALLY know better than to blow off the captain like that. It's not a good look.

- Likewise, there was a bit of "try-hard"ness to the way the writers tried to push her character. There seemed to be a lot of pushing her to extremes on both ends. She's a luddite who hates transporters. But she's also the only person who can save Picard's life! She's antagonistic to Data. But she loves Klingon tea ceremonies! She was never really given a shot to just naturally blend in. You can say she has a strong personality, but it was more like the creators were forcing her to the front every chance they could get. It's like Wesley Part II. A genius kid could have been a good character, and in Seasons 3-5 he is a pretty good character, but the overt Mary-Sueness of his Season 1 basically killed any chance of making him likable. It's not quite the same with Pulaski, but it's still pretty in-your-face. (I think Ezri suffered from a similar situation as well)

- To piggyback on that, she only had one season. It sometimes takes time to settle in and become a natural character. Heck, Season 1 Picard is downright unpleasant, and obviously his character improved tremendously. Yes, some characters can hit the ground running like Ro, but maybe if Pulaski had stayed on she could have mellowed more, and more people would like her. But we'll never know.

- Crusher played a unique role in all of Trek, being the only main character that was also a mother. Trek has been outright hostile to family life at times (practically every main character is at odds with their family), but TNG was, in part, supposed to show that families and Starfleet could co-exist. Having a positive family unit in the main cast is a good idea. Or do you think motherhood isn't an important attribute? NOW who's the sexist one? =)

- And not character-related, but Diane Muldaur's voice is kinda grating. Sorry, but TV is an audio and visual medium, and these things are still important, no matter how much we might like to consider ourselves intelligent critics and say it's irrelevant. How often do people say they could sit and listen to Patrick Stewart read the phone book? Well, this is the opposite of that. And yes, Stewart's voice IS a legitimately positive aspect to Picard's character, so Muldaur's voice can be a negative aspect. And no, this isn't sexist either. I would say Auberjenois' voice did give me a negative impression of Odo as well (a minor one, of course... there are many other problems I had with his character).

So no, it's not fair to just call it sexist. Besides, it's a ridiculous claim to begin with. You do realize that women like watching handsome guys too, right? Are they being sexist if a hot guy is replaced by an ugly one?
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Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 7:54am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

As a trans woman, who has had surgery, I absolutely hate this episode.

It's very dated in it's understanding of sex and it's relationship to gender. Is this race single sex or are they multi sexed with an enforced non gendered society? Gender is not an absolute on our own planet, why would we except other races to have the same white western idaelized version of gender? The episode doesn't really understand the terminology it uses so it sort of jumps around. There are single sexed races in Star trek and other multi sexed with all sorts of genders. The episode suffers from it's time period and it's own cultural bias. The crew should not have been confused by any of this.

It's trying to talk about homosexuality but it's played out with trans themes. It doesn't help that the J'naii all look female. There wasn't much androgynous about how they were portrayed. It's such an odd way to try and make a point about sexual orientation, as they don't really quite understand the issue they are talking about. Riker is a straight male and is attracted to a supposed female (or one that looks female) of this race. How is that homosexual? Especially when she identifies with being female. You could've really made this a powerful episode had it been an actual trans story instead of this mishmash that doesn't work.

The episode would've worked better if they had cast a male actor in Soren's feminine role. Or cast a female in the Soren role who thinks of himself as male. Then you get both a trans and a gay story and the complexity of that understanding.

This episode also struggles with the very concept of non binary just pushing it as something that is evil.

It was just the typical gutless TNG writing based on guest stars that this season was full of. The show worked so much better when it wasn't about the guest of the week and just the main crew. It's very dated, maybe even worse than the worst TOS episode in some ways,.
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Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Loved this episode. Played the battlescenes over and over. I was so engrossed in the seeming futility of the Federation battle that I had absolutely forgotten about the Klingons. Boy! Did my heart leap at the announcement they had arrived! Dukat going mad was perfectly fine and totally believable...a man with his years of effort and ambition and
lying self image finally confronted with the futility of his obsession with bajor? I loved the Prophet ending...I was so struck by Sisko's realization of just how inexplicably important he was to the Prophets...And he finally realized that importance and was willing to blackmail and manipulate them to do HIS will. Excellent. The Ferenghi were all great., Talk about the insidious influence of root beer on them!

But am I the only one who was frustrated at Kira's compulsive babbling and questioning of Rom when he's trying to disable the mind destruction? Geemaneezie! It's her damn fault he failed. I am not a fan of the Kira character at all...totally devoid of awareness of her impact on others.

As for the Odo redemption...I just always assumed those sessions with the Founder were designed to manipulate and control him, with an added nuance of Founder jealousy of his attachment to Kira. The shock of Kira's imminent death broke that control. We have seen before that the Founders were adept at manipulation, e.g., The Gowron Martok changling deception. I do wish this had been gone into much more.
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Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

I took 'violated' to mean in the non-sexual way, e.g. if a doctor performs a procedure without consent that's a violation of an individual's right to decide (I forget the wording - but basically consent being important in all areas of life, not just sex). Of course the implications of this particular violation were wider than the effect it would have on the individual (Borg technology, yikes!) and I really thought they needed a part 2 to establish what exactly was going on.

The memory block was recent, so who put it there?
Was there a random drone some on the trader's planet?
What happened in those two hours - could modifying the weapon really have taken that long? (And did Tom Paris really not think to check in during that time?!) Why can't Seven remember more than a few minutes of working with the weapons?

It's the memory block that gives this far a more scientific basis than repressed memories in the real world. They couldn't prove Korvin's guilt BUT in order to prove his innocence for themselves they needed a part 2 to find out what exactly was going on despite his death. They needed to for Seven's sake if nothing else - and that way they wouldn't have been abandoning her like they said they wouldn't. Those memories got there somehow, that memory block got there somehow - maybe a creation of malfunctioning Borg tech or some other sci-fi explanation, it's more than just unreliable human memory.

I liked the idea of our heroes being on the wrong side of a judgement call, but the writers messed it up by putting in the memory block which was never dealt with. That's what made the Doctor so certain; without it the episode would have been believably ambiguous.

Seven was not at all at fault; I was incredibly disappointed that Janeway started out saying 'I have no doubt you believe what you're saying' and then ending by glaring at her after Korvin died. If she had no medical basis to believe the memories were accurate yet went spreading her account far and wide, yes she'd have been somewhat guilty in driving him to flee and end up dead. But as it was written, she had sound reason to believe these memories were accurate and expected the investigation to corroborate them - and we don't see her spreading anything beyond those who needed to know on Voyager either.

I appreciated the ending with Janeway and the Doctor, a bit deeper than 'and they all went on their merry way' like most episodes are. It wasn't perfect, but made a change and was fittingly downbeat after the events of the episode. Would have made more sense if they'd found the actual explanation for the memory block and memories though!
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Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part II

I commented on Part I that as a standalone it works really well (I no longer have the brainpower to analyse the plot enough to find holes in it, and a lot of commenters are insightful enough to find and share possible reasons for things) when putting aside one's frustration that ultimately it doesn't affect anything in the overall canon of Voyager. But other than the addition or subtraction of new characters, what does?!

I will have to watch it again in order to fully appreciate the episodes, but when I realised how everything was reset, I actually felt like the writers almost acquitted themselves - it was a much more organic solution than most resets, and almost felt inevitable from within the story. I was feeling frustrated knowing that it would all not really happen, but was pleaantly surprised when the 'how' began to unfold.

Nice touch that history took a different course this time too, not that it entirely made sense of course, but sort of made it feel worth it beyond letting Voyager survive.
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Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part I

Ah, Year of Hell, a.k.a. Voyager's writers have fun playing at DS9 but can't *quite* let go of the reset button.

I liked blind Tuvok (hooray for correct guiding and accessibility tech! [tactile interface]) and the dynamic between him and Seven was just perfect.

Neelix as security officer was a nice touch - you know things are bad when Neelix gets to put on a uniform!

To be honest, the very first time I watched it was as a teenager and I was glued to the screen, I couldn't believe they'd survive it - at that point the ending was actually a relief. Now it's frustrating, though that is for the next part. To be honest I've seen it a couple of times since but I still didn't remember how everything reset so I didn't skip it, but I didn't pay close attention like I normally intend to for rewatching. It's a good couple of episodes to examine what happens character-wise under extreme circumstances, and for that alone I may rewatch with more attention next time. So it does have some merit as a standalone piece, but in terms of the overall canon it doesn't do very much (whereas if the DS9 writers had been in charge, it most certainly would have had some kind of effect on the overall canon, even if they did still reset. Glimmers of those characterisations in other circumstances, probably with specific echoes of happenings in the episode even if it didn't really happen.)
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

Wow, I need to give this ep a second chance. Last time I attempted to watch Voyager was in between either Stargate, Farscape, or DS9 and I didn't get very far in the series, however I got to this episode, watched enough that I remembered what happened, and skipped it. Really, really disliked the lead alien - it was bad enough they he was creepy but I got the impression he was almost trying to force them to stay (the kind of character I wouldn't have been surprised if he sabotaged the ship to stop them leaving) and I just couldn't make it through the episode, so in my proper rewatch this time skipped it again. I'll have to come back to it when I can cope with Gath a bit better, and try to see the episode beyond him.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Phage

"It's just beyond silly to think a disease that eats their cellular structures physically can be overcome by grafting harvested organs from aliens. Yikes. Total turn off."

It's not overcome, they have to keep replacing organs as the Phage attacks them - I thought that was the point? As for how the species survived, it's clear they even harvest skin (or so I thought from the patchwork grafts, unless that's the remnants of their skin instead?) so surely they just kept replacing every organ system as it fails.

The stored organs could have been spare from when they harvested from corpses.

Janeway made the moral choice, but she should have decided to hold them on principle until a resolution to Neelix' situation was found - she would have shown there would be at least some consequences rather than just allowing them to go free.
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Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: The Cloud

VOY was the first Star Trek I followed when it was shown daily on a Freeview channel, though I missee episodes here and there. Then came TNG, and a long time later, DS9. I've rewatched TNG over and over (love it) and have seen VOY a few times through, but after a long Trek break for Stargates SG1 and Atlantis a few times through each, followed by Farscape, then returning to Trek with DS9, coming to VOY is ... different. I already know the lack of continuity or consequences are infuriating, but I wanted to watch it again because it was my favourite for so long at the beginning. I wasn't sure where to start but saw Quark of all characters in the thumbnail for the Pilot so just had to start there after all!

I'm watching with allowing myself the option to skip bits where I know what happens and have no interest in seeing it again (did the same with a partial second DS9 rewatch too) but so far I've only skipped bits of the Time episode. This episode I did not remember, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I know by the end of the series the Doctor was my favourite character, bur I couldn't remember if he grew on me or how soon I started enjoying his character - right from the off, it turns out :D

Really enjoyed the character work in this, and "That's Starfleet for 'get out'!" made me chuckle. I always thought Neelix was supposed to be annoying - like Bashir at the beginning of DS9 - but obviously he doesn't develop anywhere near as well as Bashir. Always thought he had a good heart though, even if he didn't show it in the best way. I'll be interested to see how I feel about him in time (though his deception in the Pilot was a big mistake - I can only think that Janeway let him stay because he got them onto the planet which was necessary for the rescue. A bit of a stretch though.)

The holoprogramme was cringeworthy, and I was very surprised to see it in action so early on. I'm not sure if this is worse than Bride of Chaotica - actually I think it is, because it takes itself seriously as a place to relax!?! Whereas BoC is obviously just for laughs. I don't recall whether Sandrine's gets any better but I suspect not.

Those were quite disjointed thoughts - in short, aside from the majority of the holodeck scenes this was a very enjoyable episode for me.
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Tue, Nov 26, 2019, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Sound of Her Voice

The twist at the end was a good way for the crew to not have to beat themselves up for not getting there in time. I like the point upthread that maybe a month or so would have been less of a plot hole, and that as she'd been out of the quadrant she was a pre-Dominion mindset. I'm not sure if that latter point even came through in the episode though - it fell a bit flat for me too. It certainly had unrealised potential, which is a bit frustrating, but viewing it as an almost standalone/filler episode it was okay.
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Sun, Nov 17, 2019, 7:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

I'm inclined to think that nobody was killed because even Eddington does not accuse Sisko of causing any deaths.
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Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 6:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

Peter and Chrome, I know the comments have gone round and round on this issue, but I must object. Data's action to fire was NOT about preventing crimes in the long-term future, but about preventing an IMMINENT crime. Fajo told Data to return to his cell or he would kill another crew member. That was an imminent threat (backed up by the fact that he just killed a different one). Submitting under that threat would still be kidnapping, so it's a crime. If Data left, he would be guilty by omission of allowing someone else to die immediately. It's effectively a hostage situation (ie, a current situation), rather than vague threats about the future.

That's why I don't think this was a huge stretch to his ethical programming. It's SOP in a hostage situation that the hostage takers' lives are forfeit if they threaten the hostages and if the hostage takers can be killed without harming the hostages. That's the clearest analogy to Data's situation. He should have had no problem, relatively speaking, in killing Fajo. In fact, he should have even less qualms than a human, who might intellectually understand that it's the proper course of action in a crisis situation but might balk at the emotional side.
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Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 6:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Hunters

Proteus, just because I am not a strong author does not mean I should blindly accept all stories from anyone who is marginally better at it than me. Yes, the Voyager writers are better than I am at making good stories. But so are thousands of others. So why can't I be picky?

I don't have the time or energy to go through all characters, but let's just look at Kim for a moment. And for the record, I'm not a nitpicky, hate everything type of person. I did think the Seven/Kim "romantic" subplot was a pretty good idea. I don't mind that he is the straight man, as it were. But there are still severe problems with his character.

Star Trek has a long-standing tradition of having two technobabble characters. The "royal smart one" (as SFDebris puts it) is in charge of providing exposition on the weird stuff they encounter and coming up with the solution to it (Spock, Data, Dax), while the engineer is in charge of saying what's wrong with the ship and how to fix it (Scotty, LaForge, O'Brien). Torres is obviously the engineer here. But that makes Kim, the other technobabble character, the Royal Smart One. Except Spock is a superintelligent Vulcan, Data is a superintelligent android, and Dax has a dozen lifetimes of experience. Kim is fresh out of college. There's nothing wrong with being fresh out of college, but you put those people in entry-level jobs, not Chief Science Officer. Chekov had a vague bridge job that made sense as entry-level. Wesley just had to punch coordinates into SpaceGoogle Maps, which works as entry-level. Nog's role was also nebulous, so still entry-level. But Kim is given the job of Ops (nebulous, but we know that superintelligent android Data had the job before) and is seen as a Senior Staff, despite being entry-level.

This gives his character a sense of unbelievability. Sure, presumably the real ops officer died in Caretaker and Kim had to fill in, but we never got a sense of his character within that. He never felt like a n00b in his job, even though he really is. Even worse, because he is not believable as a Royal Smart One, he didn't really get that job either. If anything, Janeway (who had a background in science, and thus is believable as Royal Smart One) had that role in the first half of the show. And obviously Seven (with Borg experiences, believable as Royal Smart One) got the job after that.

Which means, well, what's the point of Kim? It's one thing to say he's the straight man, but this isn't a buddy show or a comedy. It's very much a procedural show similar to cop shows or whatever (obviously more variety though). And in procedural shows, each person has a specific role to perform. But now there's three technobabble characters, and Kim's the least believable, least valuable of the bunch. What, exactly, does he do here? He never grabbed the niche of Royal Smart One because he's not believable at it, and he never grabbed the niche of being the kid (at least in the "work" part of the show, he obviously grabbed it in the "character" part of the show) since he was given such a prestigious position. It made his character superfluous. That's why many people think he should have been the one to go during Scorpion. Seven is believable both as the Royal Smart One and as the kid, and you also would still have Kes as the kid as well. It would have made for smoother storytelling overall rather than trying to justify Kim's presence.

Or, in summary, Kim's procedural role (Royal Smart One) is at fundamental odds with his character role (the newbie), which makes him an unrealistic character. I mean, sure, there was Wesley, but they had to shill him up as a Mozart-esque genius just to get us to barely tolerate him. Kim doesn't even have that.

Next, about him being the straight man compared to the weird character traits. Yes, that's fine. You can have a character like that. But the problem is, that's not his only character trait. The other one was being the kid as I alluded to previously. And the problem was the writers were inconsistent with how well they had him grow out of being the kid. Because let's face it, being the kid is MEANT to be a transitory character trait over time. Personally, I think they (and Wang) did do a better job on this than a lot of people think, but it still was inconsistent.

In NCIS, the character of McGee was brought on to the show as a second straight man (other than being nerdy, he was basically competent, serious, decent, and "normal") in the 2nd season. He also acted as the newbie. So y'know, Kim. Except the newbieness was shrinking dramatically by Season 4 and essentially gone by Season 6. As he gained experience, he stopped being a newbie! He became more confident, more self assured, less gullible. Again, Kim did grow a little bit, but there were many times where he would snap back and be just the kid again. He never truly grew.

Also, even if Kim is the straight man, it doesn't mean the straight man can't be interesting. You described him as being the boy scout. But you know who fits that role even better? Jean-Luc Picard. He is essentially the Roddenberry Ideal made flesh. He is the ultimate straight man. And he was a billion times more interesting than Kim ever was. Sure, the odds were stacked in his favor by being captain rather than a utility man, but still... Picard made TNG what it was. Patrick Stewart made Picard who he was. Maybe it's not fair to compare Wang to Stewart, but the reality is that Kim faded into the background while Picard burst into the foreground (and considering when TNG started they were hyping up Riker as the big deal, the ascendance of Picard in TNG was not a foregone conclusion).

And regarding the promotion bit, well, I agree that it SHOULDN'T matter on a ship that has no real opportunities for advancement. The problem is that the show did seem to think it mattered. Tuvok got promoted. Paris got demoted and repromoted. And yet Kim was the perpetual ensign, DESPITE running a critical department. It made no sense.

OK, I know I said I wasn't doing everyone, but Chakotay's reaction was perfect? So, 10 minutes after finding out that his friends and colleagues all died a brutal death, he... inquires as to the availability of Janeway's pants? That's perfect??? No grief at all?
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Mon, Nov 11, 2019, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

The discourse is much enriched.
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