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Wed, May 12, 2021, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rightful Heir

Life imitates art - the Russians/Klingons are back!

In my write-ups for the TOS episodes "The Enterprise Incident" and "Balance of Terror", I explained how for Star Trek writers over the decades, the Romulans have stood in for China, the Vulcans for Japan, and Klingons are Russia.

[For students of history who love DS9, the Dominion was the Turks ("orientals"), and the worm hole is the Hellespont.]

With "Rightful Heir," we have a TNG episode that almost 30 years ago predicted the Klingons/Russians would try to use cloning to bring back an ancient warrior.

To boldly go, indeed.
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Tue, May 11, 2021, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Scorpion, Part I

>I shudder to think of the reputation Voyager left behind in the Delta Quadrant. I would expect it so bad that most of quietly created an anti-Federation alliance.

Watch the Voyager episode “Living Witness”, it shows a future Delta Quadrant species who think voyager was a warship.

@15:30 Janeway orders the ship towards the defeated Borg ships at only warp 2, why so slow? I look past this issue in early TOS because the show was still finding it's footing but this is Voyager.

Chakotay points out that they would be helping the Borg assimilate another species just so Voyager can get home which he finds morally wrong. I thought that was a really good point. Is this Janeway's equivalent of Sisko poisoning a planet or deceptively dragging the Romulans in to the Dominion war?

Seven says she was assimilated 18 years ago. I thought the Federation hadn't met the Borg that long ago?

Over all score: 8/10.
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Tue, May 11, 2021, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

>I can completely understand why those who love classic Trek are saying DSC, PIC aren't Trek anymore. And I agree with them -- these idiotic writers don't appreciate the ethos of classic Trek that gave hope and earned the love and support of generations of fans. Now they are more interested in turning Trek into something like Marvel action hero movies and pushing a hyper-progressive, left-leaning agenda.

I agree that Discovery and Picard mostly don't feel like classic trek, but wasn't trek always left-leaning? Even in TOS the crew were diverse and there were moral messages about racism, sexism, and war. I mean it was always preachy.
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Mon, May 10, 2021, 7:11am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

I think you'll have to explain that one! Obvs the viewer is meant to root for Riker but in what way was Ral a sex pest??
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Fri, May 7, 2021, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Descent, Part II

The actor who played Lore did a great job. They should have used him in more TNG episodes.
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Thu, May 6, 2021, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

This episode can be summed up by Picard's expression and reaction towards the little girl asking for a hug.
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

>If Kes is 9 years old when the show opens how does she have a daughter that is in her 20s?

May be the daughter aged fast because she's half Ocampan?

>But then shouldn't every future version of the characters be well aware of what's happening to Kes since she's told them in the past (from their point of view)?

That's a really good point and is true of other time travel episodes such as "All Good Things".
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 1:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

I think his performance enhanced his credibility - not just to the viewer but to the crew in show, too. It was a tense situation and he was also making a huge personal sacrifice in order to prevent war. Even if it worked and he prevented war, he must have realised he would probably never see his friends or family again. That would make anyone a bit on edge.

Jarok/Setal wasn't meant to be the Romulan version of Gandhi: he was a military hero (important as well as self-important!) who clearly believed in his empire and himself - but thought a war would be horrific. He was more of a von Stauffenberg type, trying to prevent his own side edging towards disaster.
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Thu, Apr 29, 2021, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

@Tidd, how I imagine "Bread and Circuses" if it had been a TNG episode,

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Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Dragon's Teeth

In the last scene, Seven tells Janeway that Seven regrets having opened Gedrin’s stasis pods. Janeway: “You thought you were acting out of compassion. But it still was wrong.”

This one exchange shows how sloppily written this episode was. Janeway apparently needed Seven to remind Janeway about something she already knew (the opening of the pod) in order to get mad at her. Janeway had precisely zero obligation to wake up the rest of the Vaadwaur. At one point she says, “We’ve got a civilization to rebuild.” Zero reflection on her part how the “threat” she laughably warned Seven about would have never materialized had she not revived the Turei (with Starfleet technology). It’s as If the people who wrote the show were determined to cram whatever they could from the story break in 45 minutes, without once trying to determine whether a seam had burst.
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Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 6:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

@Tidd, just FYI, Constantine did not make Christianity a state religion.

Also, Rome did indeed have proconsuls. During the Empire, they were basically governors. But before that, during the Republic, they were appointed by the Senate, and were often ex-Consuls.

@Peter G., Bones was just flat out wrong when he said,

MCCOY: Because, my dear Mister Spock, it is illogical. Rome had no sun worshipers. Why should they parallel Rome in every way except one?

In fact, the transexual emperor Antoninus brought sun worship to Rome in a big way in 220 A.D. And the emperor Aurelian made sun worship an official roman religion about 50 years later.

But worship of the son - Christianity - didn't become a state religion until 50 years after Constantine died.

Finally as to English, I'd wager that by the 1960's there were way more people in countries that were once the Roman Empire, who spoke English, than who spoke Italian. Even by the time of Constantine, only a small fraction of Roman citizens spoke Latin.

Which makes sense given how much of his life Constantine spent in Britain. Remember, he became emperor while he was ruling Britain.

Constantine was not Italian. He was half Greek, half Balkan. He didn't even really like Rome, and built a capital city for himself in Turkey, closer to home. Really, all the major emperors for the last few hundred years of the Roman Empire, were non-Italians. If the Roman Empire had never fallen, as "Bread and Circuses" explores, what makes us think that they would have stuck with a Latin-derivative language?
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Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

In act 2 a jumja stick vendor refuses to serve O'Brien because of the current controversy involving Keiko. Watching this in 2021 makes me think of Christian cake shop owners refusing to serve gay couples for gay weddings. I wonder what the federation stance on that is?
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Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Please ignore the troll and discuss the Star Trek episode.
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Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 8:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

It is an interesting point, though, how reasonable that attitude is given the pyramid structure of Starfleet. Yes, the alt-Picard is in an entry level role in his 60s, which is an extreme case, but on every starship we see very few top roles.

Let's say for the sake of argument that everyone with the title Lt Commander or higher is senior. On the whole Enterprise-D that would be less than 1% of the crew!

Everyone else is middle management or entry level. That is one hell of a bottom-heavy career ladder. What actually happens to all those frustrated Lieutenants who never get promoted further? Yes, some of them can maybe become Lt Commander on a lesser Starship - but that just means another frustrated Lt not promoted on that lesser ship.

I know there is no actual money involved but Bernie Sanders-style 1% arguments still come to mind!
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Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Some good discussion of Picard. I suppose one point you can make is that if you sign up to Starfleet - to spending decades on various Starfleet vessels - you are prioritising work massively. Your only social contact most of the time will be with work colleagues, you go where the captain or admirals decide, and you are at much greater risk of death than most people on Earth. So if your career then still goes nowhere, it says a lot more than if you decide to be a part time bartender while raising a family or whatever.

So maybe it's not that he looks down on anyone who doesn't make bridge officer. But he does think making those kind of sacrifices only to end up a Lt Jr grade in ones 60s is a pretty poor return on investment? Imagine living in a remote mountain range for decades in order to be a great writer and never finishing writing a single book.
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Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Do people remember 1999? There have been very few years that had more incredible movies. The Matrix won 4 oscars. American Beauty won 5 oscars. The Sixth Sense blew everyone’s mind. Fight Club is still considered by some to be the best movie ever. Kubrik’s last movie came out (Eyes Wide Shut), and Being John Malkovich kind of changed what it meant to even be a movie. The Green Mile was the crowd pleaser of that year, American Pie changed teen movies forever. And what about Office Space - can a movie get any better?! Innovations like Austin Powers, Magnolia, and The Blair Witch Project are still talked about today. And The Talented Mr. Ripley still kind of freaks me out when I think about it.

I saw almost all those in the theater that year. I also saw The Phantom Menace in the theater that year. And I have to say, it was kind of a let down.

There was so much goodwill around The Phantom Menace. Put aside that it had been 16 years since a Star Wars movie had come out, and put aside that the previous year’s Star Trek movie was something of a dud (Insurrection). It was simply true that so many people wanted TPM to be awesome. I remember Weird Al put out a parody of American Pie - The Saga Begins - and at the time, I couldn’t believe I enjoyed his song more than the movie.

At first people put all the blame on Jar Jar. Someone came out with the Phantom Edit, hoping to show that the movie wasn’t that bad if you took out Binks. And sure, that did improve things. But the fact is, the ingredients that made Star Wars great, just weren’t there.

Ingredient 1, Harrison Ford. Look, say what you will, but Han Solo was so fucking cool. And while we want to give Lucas his due, a huge part of the credit goes to Harrison Ford. The man played Indiana Jones. The man carried Blade Runner. Remember Air Force One? A lot of people don’t realize that he was in Apocalypse Now, one of the greatest movies ever made. The guy is up there with George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise as one of the most bankable actors ever. Who did the The Phantom Menace have that rose to that level?

Ingredient 2, Yoda. See, what really anchored the second Star Wars movie was Luke’s training with Yoda. With all due respect to Alec Guinness (and I mean it, he was a great actor), Yoda is the soul of Star Wars. And The Phantom Menace barely teased him. It was like bad burlesque when you can just go home and watch the tapes.

Ingredient 3, Princess Leia. Did anyone even like Amidala? Natalie Portman is just not very lovable. Did you know that Padme’s decoy was played by Keira Knightley? How much better would the prequels have been had Keira Knightley been the actual Padme!

Ingredient 4, Joseph Campbell. Lucas relied on his Hero’s Journey for the first trilogy. But TPM played like a bad rip-off of Ben Hur.

Ingredient 5, Darth Vader. Great heroes need great villains, but far from a booming James Earl Jones voice, Darth Maul barely said a word. And then he died. Like wtf? In the original trilogy, Luke grew alongside Vader - both characters developed in parallel, till the point where they could work together at the end to kill the Emperor. But here? Here Darth Maul just dies. Like wtf?

1999 was an epic year. Star Wars may have made the most money that year. But that was despite the quality, not because of it. And everyone back then knew it. Here is what the New York Times said at the time,

"the reception of ''The Phantom Menace'' has not been helped by spoilsport tie-ins that make it (according to an item in The Hollywood Reporter) ''the first film that will make money even if nobody buys a ticket to see it.'' Nobody, not even camp followers ready to turn this souped-up ''Star Wars'' into the second coming of the Grateful Dead, wants to be sick and tired of a film before it hits the screen.”


"While the human stars here are reduced to playing action figures, they are upstaged by amazing backdrops and hordes of crazily lifelike space beings as the Lewis Carroll in Mr. Lucas is given free rein. The ''Star Wars'' franchise was funnier and scrappier when it was new."

But, as @Peter G. says, no one was disgusted. So much else was epic that year, that frankly the fact that the new Star Wars was kinda meh, was just not that big a deal. The Matrix was blowing everyone’s minds. DS9 was in its six-episode finale arc, which was epic. And Star Wars looked great, which meant Lucas could spend more effort next episode to work on the characters.

Or so we thought.
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Fri, Apr 23, 2021, 12:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

For those complaining about Alixus’s (Gail Strickland’s) voice, this might help to explain it. (I picked up on this because I know someone who has the same condition.)


“In 2009 Strickland's acting career in films and television ended when she was diagnosed with a voice disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia.”

From Wikipedia:

“Spasmodic dysphonia, also known as laryngeal dystonia, is a disorder in which the muscles that generate a person's voice go into periods of spasm. This results in breaks or interruptions in the voice, often every few sentences, which can make a person difficult to understand. The person's voice may also sound strained or they may be nearly unable to speak. Onset is often gradual and the condition is lifelong.”

While this episode was filmed 15 years prior to that diagnosis, it isn’t surprising that her voice may have already started to show early signs of the disease.

I, too, find that quality in her voice mildly annoying, but I also (unlike many previous commenters) think that it actually works for the character. It’s disarmingly soft, emotional, and compassionate, which delays the realization that she’s actually the scheming villain in the story and makes her status as the powerful cult-leader even more powerful once you do realize it, because you (the viewer) fall victim to misjudging her at first just as the colonists did.

I’m actually with The River Temarc above in that I think this episode, while far from perfectly executed, is actually quite poignant and makes some heavy points to consider about each of our susceptibility to cult thinking. I’d give it a 6/10, not bad for an early-season episode before the series really found its voice.
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Thu, Apr 22, 2021, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

>I get that by DS9 (and even TNG) the Star Trek message had been rehashed and turned into a melodramatic reflection of current human issues and the way we treat each other,

What about TOS episodes such as "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" or "A Private Little War"? Surely they were about current issues and how we treat each other?
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Thu, Apr 22, 2021, 5:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Brothers

If you want to be really harsh, I don't think one of the 7s and the "Lock" were perfectly synchronised:

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Wed, Apr 21, 2021, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

>which would in turn raise complicated questions of whether that means God is there too and what kind of dealings with each of several million different sentient species in the Milky Way alone...

I doubt there's that many sentient species in the Milky Way, the Federation only has 150 planets and Borg have only encountered about 10,000 species (if we are to go by species 8472 being new in Voyager "Scorpion".

>Or perhaps a bully kid with a magnifying glass tormenting all the ants (us).

When I was 10 I use to burn the ink on newspapers using a magnifying glass. One warm summer's day I decided to take the magnifying glass to the garden and burn some ants. It seems so cruel to me now at the age of 36.

If aliens came to earth they could be so far ahead of us technologically that they view us as ants.

Alien 1: Look at the 3rd planet in this system, it's got humans crawling all over it.
Alien 2: Humans? That's disgusting, lets fire down some cosmic rays and give them all cancer!

Lets hope aliens mature as they grow up (assuming they do grow up) and not let their kids near us.
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Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Agreed - as I said, I think it's a very weak point without further explanation. The scripts seem clear about it, though, for better or worse. The argument that is also made that parents would feel obliged to compete and where would it end seems much stronger.
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Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 6:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

"It's the 24th century and in TNG 3x12 “The High Ground” @24:40 Data mentions the Irish unification of 2024 as an example of terrorism being successful. So I guess Ireland is one country by then."

LOL! I guess there is still a little more time...
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Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 6:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"There is nothing in any Trek episode that seriously suggests that genetic enhancement actually makes people ambitious"

Space Seed:
KIRK: This Khan is not what I expected of a twentieth century man.
SPOCK: I note he's making considerable use of our technical library.
KIRK: Common courtesy, Mister Spock. He'll spend the rest of his days in our time. It's only decent to help him catch up. Would you estimate him to be a product of selective breeding?
SPOCK: There is that possibility, Captain. His age would be correct. In 1993, a group of these young supermen did seize power simultaneously in over forty nations.
KIRK: Well, they were hardly supermen. They were aggressive, arrogant. They began to battle among themselves.
SPOCK: Because the scientists overlooked one fact. Superior ability breeds superior ambition.
KIRK: Interesting, if true. They created a group of Alexanders, Napoleons.

Dr Bashir, I Presume:
RICHARD: I'm going to prison.
RICHARD: Two years. It's a minimum security penal colony in New Zealand.
BASHIR: You can't do this.
BENNETT: It was your father's suggestion, Doctor. He pleads guilty to illegal genetic engineering and in exchange you stay in the service.
BASHIR: Well, I want no part of it. I'm not going to just stand by while my father
RICHARD: Jules. Julian. Listen to me. This is my decision. I'm the one who took you to Adigeon Prime. I'm the one who should take responsibility for it.
AMSHA: Let him do this, Julian.
BASHIR: Two years? Isn't that a bit harsh?
BENNETT: I don't think so. Two hundred years ago we tried to improve the species through DNA resequencing, and what did we get for our trouble? The Eugenics Wars. For every Julian Bashir that can be created, there's a Khan Singh waiting in the wings. A superhuman whose ambition and thirst for power have been enhanced along with his intellect.
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Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

>He's Irish for sure, but there isn't anything to tell us what Ireland actually means in the 23rd century.

It's the 24th century and in TNG 3x12 “The High Ground” @24:40 Data mentions the Irish unification of 2024 as an example of terrorism being successful. So I guess Ireland is one country by then.

Looking through my notes, I only gave this episode a 3/10.
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Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"Just keep in mind that around 2% are Psychopath/Sociopath and 15% have psychopathic tendencies. Now combine that with mega intelligence and you have khan."

That seems believable but it obviously contradicts Spock in Space Seed and the Admiral in this episode, who both say that the genetic engineering itself caused Khan's level of super ambition.
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