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Alex.Cucina
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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Alexandra
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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Alexandra
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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Alexia
Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I like it. Before I get bogged down in complaints, I’ll start with that. The overarching plot - a twisted version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, with Q as a snarky and slightly sadistic Clarence - is a delight. Too bad the script used to maneuver our hero through his paces are so transparently manipulative.
This is an episode where, just behind the screen, I can the writers jerking every characters’ strings.

Jean-Luc as a womanizer in his youth? I have a hard time buying it. Wasn’t he a driven, ambitious cadet with a serious personality? But, okay: it wa along ago, and I’ll grant the possibility.

But: the plot point that Jean-Luc never went to bed with the smitten Marta when he was a reckless young womanizer, but then did go to bed with her when he was his “older and wiser” self (on the eve of their permanent separation, no less) seems out of place. The Wise Old Picard is shown taking a risk with Marta’s friendship, flying in the face of the rest of his characterization.

There’s also a distinct ick factor in their coupling. Picard feels himself to be 55 years old. He sees 55 year old Picard in the mirror. He’s been in a young man’s body for less than a day - and he’s using the opportunity to bed an unsuspecting 21-year-old - one that he hasn’t seen in 30 years. It’s grotesque, and not what Captain Picard would do. But the writers yank the strings, and their puppets dance.

To serve the further needs of the plot, the character of Marta is terribly underwritten. Because the writers needed a manufactured fight between Jean-Luc and Corey, Marta is kept out of every discussion about the Nausicans. She sits silent at every table, seeming having no opinion on whether Corey should play them, whether the friends should attempt revenge, and even whether she minds being raped, as the Nausican eventually suggests (her passivity in that scene leads Corey and Picard to come to blows, finalizing their schism). Her lack of opinions comes across as simply bizarre - and calls further attention to the machinations of the writers behind the scenes.

On first viewing, these clunky elements were bothersome but tolerable. On rewatching, they are nearly ruinous.

But no matter the episode’s flaws, it will always be a classic in my book. I will never get enough of Lieutenant Picard in a blue uniform, raging to Q that he’d rather die than live a less-than-remarkable life.
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Alex99a
Wed, Jul 17, 2019, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

You guys should light up every now and then... this two-parter was just fun. Granted it made no sense in a lot of places, but come on... Klingons fighting nazis! Seven Of Nine and her holy holographic hand grenade! How often do you get stuff like that?
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alex99a
Mon, May 27, 2019, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Charlie X

When Kirk and Charlie were on the turbolift on the way to the bridge, did they stop off at Kirk's quarters so he could change his shirt?
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Alex Hill
Thu, May 2, 2019, 6:28am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

One thing that really bothers me (here and in a good number of other Trek episodes): what kind of data storage do they have in the 24th century that when you download data from them the original data disappears? That’s not how disks work! Even 1990s RAID arrays would have protected the data if a copy on one physical disk was corrupted somehow just by being accessed.
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Alex
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Anomaly

I think people need to remember two things about the torture scene:
1) These aren't 24th century evolved humans, these are humans a scant 100 years after their civilization nearly wiped itself out. Archer probably heard first-hand stories from people who lived in the pre-First Contact days. They still eat meat, they don't have any protocols whatsoever for First Contact or diplomacy or anything. Archer is way closer to viewers watching this in 2003 than he was to Picard in 2364.
2) Malcolm seems horrified by the torture. Everyone seems nervous around Archer for the whole episode, even Trip. You aren't supposed to think his actions are righteous. Archer isn't the hero of the episode.
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Alex Boyd
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 11:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Obsession

A good episode that somehow did not make it on to either the Best of Kirk collection that's out there or the Captain's Log collection.
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Alex Boyd
Mon, Feb 11, 2019, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

Even if Kirk and Spock play second-fiddle to some new characters, chasing after them and generally watching what's going on, I think this episode manages some suspense, originality and fun. It's a wonky, entertaining ride. I mean, c'mon, Seven (Seven?) can speak cat and his cat is actually a very attractive woman (alien?) and some people don't find that at all fun? I revisited this one to prepare a bit for reading Assignment: Eternity.
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James Alexander
Mon, Jun 11, 2018, 6:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

this was the first episode of Orville I ever got a glimpse of.
was randomly scrolling through channels and I stumbled across this thing with a vaguely Bajoran-looking girl getting into trouble, and a robot's eyes turning red as it turns evil and tries to kill her.

thought what I saw was passable albeit nothing truly stunning, and it was good for killing time while it was on.
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Alex Williams
Tue, May 8, 2018, 1:22am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

@ Ross Carlton

I agree with all of your points. But an Fminor does not contain an A, it has an Aflat. The difference between an Fminor and a diminished D is, in fact, a whole tone ~ from Cnatural to Dnatural; from the 5th of the Fminor to the root of the Ddiminished.
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Miss Alexandra
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

I do not always agree with you, Jammer, but I endorse every single word you wrote about this episode. I have been a huge fan of Discovery, Isaacs was a big part of that, and turning a wonderfully complex character into an eeeeevil cartoon absolutely enraged me. Of all the things they could have done with Lorca, they made the worst possible choice. I agree the action sequences were great (they finally made use of having a martial arts star to work with!). The other thread of this episode, contrasting how the crew behaves under Lorca's effective but repressive rule with an atmosphere that is so very Starfleet, and completing Saru's journey to self confidence, was masterful, but the price was too high. My excitement for the next episode dropped about 50% from where it's been.
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James Alexander
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

this is a hard one for me to watch.
the episode sets up a really uncomfortably atmosphere from the get go, and tells you in virtually every way that something is wrong.

I clicked on it by accident one evening when I was looking for an episode to chill out with and had to turn it off again because I was on edge as soon as Miles and Keiko had that really weird dinner.
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Alex
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Marauders

How did clingons managed to harass colonists for five seasons if the whole show had run for incomplete two seasons?
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James Alexander
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Gooz, I would say that Bashir came off that creepy because Melora wasn't written strongly enough.
she got turned into this really vulnerable, almost helpless, character, just sitting around and waiting for the good doctor to make it all better.

if she'd been written with more strength and could actually look after herself, Bashir might not come across as a complete creep any more.
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James Alexander
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

to be honest I don't see the point of this episode.
it could have been used to introduce a new character but Melora wouldn't appear again until the Star Trek Titan novels, could have been an opportunity to talk about disabilities and overcoming challenges but didn't really go for that angle, and overall it was very very boring.

the only scene that really stuck out to me was when Melora got rid of her equipment and was floating around in her quarters, but that got used for a really sappy scene with Doctor Bashir. seriously, I thought that should have been really cool but it just wasn't.
and Bashir didn't come out of this looking too good either. the writers made him fall in love with his patient in the space of an hour, which didn't give it the sense of emotional impact, that it could have had if they built up the romance as a subplot through the season.
not to mention that Melora came off as way too vulnerable, which in turn made Bashir seem like he was preying on her.

as for the gear that Melora was dragging around , surely we would have advanced past that by the 2370s. nearly four hundred years into the future and we're giving people leg braces and really heavy wheelchairs.
come on, think of more advanced stuff, even in the minor details. surely she'd have an anti-gravity floating wheelchair like Professor Xavier seeing as this is the 24th century. hell, Bashir could invent something for her as a way to show off.
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Alex
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

THE GOOD
Seamlessly establishing a new cast and setting is never an easy thing to accomplish in ninety minutes of television but EAF largely manages to achieve it – all the characters are present and correct and their personalities are for the most part as they would remain for the rest of the series. There are a few rough edges here and there (perhaps most notably Picard who comes across as much more stern and abrasive than his character would become in later episodes). But the core group are there, and performances are mostly sound (but more on that later).

Particularly engaging are the exchanges between Q and Picard. There’s an instant chemistry between John De Lancie and Patrick Stewart, one which would be maintained throughout the series’ run. Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of Q as a character but it’s impossible to deny that the relationship he and Picard share is both interesting and entertaining, particularly given that John De Lancie nails the character right from the off and plays Q with such relish it’s hard not to like. It’s only a shame that his interactions with the other members of the crew are largely restricted to cheap jibes and mockery.

The mystery of Farpoint is kind of interesting, if a little lightweight. But this episode is more about introducing the new crew than providing a thrilling plot. For its part it ticks the necessary boxes and I liked the idea of a city that is actually a shape-shifting alien being that is being held against its will.

The Doctor McCoy cameo is nicely done and well played by DeForest Kelly. It would’ve been very easy to take this scene down the ‘this is all very different to my day’ route but placing Bones alongside Data and having him compare him to Spock is a nice way of bridging the two series.

The effects are pretty impressive (for the time) and there are some nice shots of the ship and Farpoint station, particularly in the blu-ray version.

THE BAD
Firstly, it’s quite evident that they struggled to fill the ninety minute run time with the material they had. There’s so much filler here – Picard ordering Riker to perform a manual recoupling of the ship (for no obvious reason), followed by a long scene where we see the saucer section slowly re-dock with its other half, being the most egregious example. There’s also plenty of pointless dialogue – at one point Picard pulls Q up on his promise that their trial would be fair and even has data read the court transcript back to him, only for Q to brand it “completely irrelevant”. If it’s irrelevant then why not say so in the first place? And more to the point why do we waste time dwelling on it?

The editing is also painfully clunky – shots hang for far longer than they should and pretty much every scene feels bloated and drawn out. You can’t help but feel that the original planned run time of sixty minutes would’ve been more appropriate for the material and allowed for better pacing.

Secondly, some of the performances on display leave a bit to be desired. Denise Crosby’s constant overacting (particularly in evidence when she gives her “you should get down on your knees!” speech) is jarring, whilst Marina Sirtis is just plain tedious as Troi delivering her empathetic cries of “Pain! Pain!” and “Terrible loneliness!”. This isn’t a slight against either actress as they’re both better actors than this, as they would go on to prove, but you get the impression that with tighter direction they could’ve given a better account of themselves. As it is their time on screen often grates and, in the case of Troi, made me constantly want to skip to the next scene.

I could also have done without Wesley in this episode. It seemed a little odd that Riker appeared to already know him but not Beverley – presumably if he’d have met Wes before then he’d have met his mother? His scenes don’t add anything and just add to the already overly-long run time. He could easily have been introduced in a later episode.

As for the plot itself, it’s perfectly fine, but given that it’s supposed to be the ultimate test by which humanity can prove it has moved on from its savage ways and become a sophisticated space-faring race, it all seems rather simple and inconsequential. I figured out what was going on after the first scene with Riker and Zorn, and it stretches credibility somewhat that it takes Picard and his crew so long to do the same - Q even alludes to the simplistic nature of the puzzle at the conclusion of the episode. Now it’d be churlish to expect an intricate thriller of Crichton-esque proportions as a first episode, but the whole thing comes across as perfunctory rather than particularly smart.

RATING: ★★
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Alex
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Terrible episode. Nonsensical idea poorly executed. That anyone could even entertain the idea that the existence of a holiday planet could bring down the Federation is laughable. As is pointed out in the review - going on a holiday is a simple indulgence that I'm sure most species in the Star Trek universe enjoy. That's before you even get to the garish visuals, terrible acting and awful script (Worf's soccer story being a particularly bad example).

Have to agree that this is worth zero stars.
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James Alexander
Wed, Dec 13, 2017, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

this was my favorite episode of the series when I was little. I thought it was so fascinating watching an entire civilisation develop.
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James Alexander
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 4:41am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

BORING!
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James Alexander
Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

@Ubik
I absolutely adore Doctor Who and will get nerdy about it, but the previous show-runner has a record of using the Time War as an excuse to screw around with the lore. which is probably necessary when you have a 54 year old show about a time-travelling alien.

earth was supposed to be wiped out in the 2900s as shown by The Ark in Space? no problem. you can show a rebuilt earth in the 200th century, and then destroy it again in the year 5 billion, you just blame the Time War for the obvious inconsistency.
I can see why the fan-base doesn't care that much about making sense of the lore, when anything and everything can happen which contradicts the established lore so long as the writers have a handy excuse.
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James Alexander
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

I know I commented earlier but its a 7/10 for me if I have to use a scale.
it was a very pretty episode, and I finally started to give a damn about more characters, as well as not being annoyed with Burnham in the slightest.
rather I was too caught up in the drama to have a chance to get annoyed with anyone really.

the thing is I can't get over all the stuff we've put up with up to this point, I kept rewinding because I somehow didn't understand the Cornwell situation (which was admittedly my fault), and I still don't like Saru in the slightest.
I'll give it a seven, even though I'm getting really fussy with my complaints, but if the writers can improve on this level of quality I will go to an 8 or even a 9. and for another thing, please can we kill Saru?
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Alexandrea
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 4:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

If each episode must be an action blockbuster, at least we get a good one! Jammer nailed it on most points here.

I've felt uncomfortable with the portrayal of Tyler as a male with PTSD from sexual assault for the simple reason that we the audience know that his story is false, because we know that L'Rell was not in the place he describes for most of the time in question and suspect he is in fact a Klingon sleeper agent. There may be ways of resolving this contradiction that do right by the themes raised, but treating this trauma primarily as an expedient plot point, or ultimately showing the scene between him and Burnham to be based on something unreal, does the issue a disservice. We'll have to wait and see.

I would also very much like to see the bridge crew given character depth. We have a very thin cast on this show, so there's no reason we can't devote more time to *all* of our characters in lieu of all the stuff blowing up.

But at least the stuff blowing up had stakes and felt entertaining. I'm cancelling my CBS All Access until the show comes back, and I don't like how much it costs, but Discovery has managed to keep me on board.
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James Alexander
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 10:08am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

I found myself cringing when Stamets took that last jump.
Discovery finally got an emotional reaction out of me other than laughter!

I'm not kidding, this episode is the most emotionally invested I've been all through and I think I've started to care about Stamets.
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