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Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
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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Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

So all those times of our playing Yaphit's sexual harassment of Finn for laughs was buildup so that we could play Finn having sex with him while drugged for laughs?

Frak this show. My line is crossed. I'm done now.

If the comments thread needs to be full of "is it really rape?" then your show is doing it wrong.
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Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


Why does representation matter in television, you're asking? Imagine if every movie released in theaters starred lesbian Muslims with autism. Maybe there's a straight White guy in a bit part, but the deep characterization, the heroics, and the narrative substance always go to a particular category of person, and one unlike you. Hey, you have nothing against lesbians, or Muslims, or people with disabilities. Some of these stories are great, others not so much. But people who look like you, or have your cultural background, or your life experience? Sidekicks at best, maybe a villain sometimes, and when they do appear Hollywood gets your culture embarrassingly wrong.

You have no role models in film and no portrayals of people like yourself, or what portrayals do exist make you out as untrustworthy or dangerous. What does this do to your self-esteem? Your estimation of your life chances? And how does this affect others' perception of you when they meet you?

In our real world, neurodivergent people have poor representation in film, and you did not even know who or what they are. Have you observed that people tend to respond with with less trust to the unknown or unfamiliar? Can you argue that it does not matter if people are treated with less respect because differential representation in mass media renders them unknown, or familiar only in particular roles?

Martin Luther King famously asked Nichelle Nichols to stay on the original series when she was thinking of leaving, because she should not underestimate the importance of millions of Black girls seeing a Black woman in a professional role on television for the first time. Representation matters, and it matters on Star Trek more than most places, because supposedly we are seeing a future in which persons of any creed, nation, or ethnicity have equal opportunity to serve and to achieve.
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Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

The conversation over diversity and representation is an interesting one. I'm thrilled to have Black, Pakistani, non-straight, and neurodivergent characters on a show with a pretty small main cast. I can't side with criticism that discounts the significance of this diversity, but I can agree that the human crew feels very culturally American, and portraying both humanity and other species as not culturally homogeneous could benefit the show.

I think we're making different critiques, but both are legitimate. I'm pointing out that Discovery values rapid movement of plot points over exploring depth in the themes it raises, and you're raising that the plot points in question don't even make consistent internal sense.
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Tue, Nov 7, 2017, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

It's a shame Discovery can't develop its stories as well as its space battles, since we have a logical sci-fi premise. The Discovery begins losing against Klingon cloaking technology, so an away team has been sent to a planet with naturally occurring subspace "sonar" that could reveal cloaked ships if amplified. The planet's ecosystem turns out to be an interlinked intelligent life form itself, which built the organic technology in order to contact other worlds. A crew member begins valuing the inherent peacefulness of this planet above his mission, and conflict ensues. Meanwhile, L'Rell attempts to defect by posing as the captured admiral's interrogator and escaping with her, but instead is caught, resulting in her capture and the admiral's death.

The trouble is that the episode races through each beat more as a narrative shorthand than as a developed story in its own right. Trek fans recognize the trope of a crew member on a paradise planet inhaling the flowers (I truly hoped that Saru would start craving some mint julep tea) and so the writers (or editors?) believe we can rush the implications as a foregone conclusion. We don't get to know these Pahvans, and the episode doesn't seem to care if we do. Similarly, the trope of coming to understand your enemy is one that the show supposes that Trek can take for granted, so that they don't really bother to show us L'Rell and the admiral doing it.

The episode was short and evidently had scenes cut that might have addressed these issues. Does CBS not understand that it is streaming this show? Not all added length is good length, but it's not by accident that most popular serialized television has slowly crept toward longer episodes, not shorter ones.

Still, it's not only a problem in this episode. The writers seem willing to raise Trek tropes as a kind of narrative shorthand in service to plot points rather than as meaningful explorations. The tardigrade served as the Trek story in fast forward of coming to know a seemingly hostile creature as peaceful. Internal Vulcan politics? One of the strong points of Enterprise appears in Discovery merely as a contrived way to put Sarek in jeopardy. "You already know this jazz," the writers seem to wink, "so we're playing this tune in double-time so we can get from A to B." It's like we're getting skins of Trek stories without their substance.
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Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Tonight, relive the excitement of "Cause and Effect," except the reason the ship keeps exploding is Harry Mudd takes over Discovery by riding inside a space whale, and to escape the loop Michael must learn to express her feelings to the attractive new security chief.

I kid, mostly. It's not in fact as dumb as that sounds, and "Magic..." carves out its own identify while it reuses the time loop trope. Moreover, this episodes gives us perhaps the first time we see our crew working as a unit. It's a shame we're missing some links on how we got there, since I'm unclear if Stamets mobilized the entire bridge crew in a single run through their limited time, or if they stole Mudd's device and created a loop of their own to achieve a level of teamwork this crew hasn't shown before.

It's also a shame that Tyler is a cypher, since he's inherently more of a plot point than a character. Stamets points out that he seems remarkably well adjusted after seven months of torture, and I must wonder if the writers thought they were inserting another line of clever foreshadowing, when the audience already knows he can't be what he seems. Without having any information on what's really inside his head, we can't have appreciation for any romance that might be bubbling. What does Michael like about him, for that matter? It feels forced.

I like Michael, and I'm glad that our show's lead is a Black woman with a complex history and emotional layers. I just wish the writers didn't keep having her deliver exposition on her own interior state in postcard philosophy form. We're shown and don't need to be told, and because the show remains so much from her point of view, we're suffering in our baseline understanding of the interior worlds of the other characters.

This surfaces in Stamets' tactics and motivations this episode. Why not just call Lorca at the beginning of the loop and insist they not pick up the space whale? Because the episode wanted to initiate a romance between Michael and Tyler, and so it funneled Stamets into seeing expediting their romance as necessary in order to get through to anyone.

Nevertheless, Anthony Rapp makes Stamets such fun to watch that I forgive the episode many of its flaws. Last time, he nearly saved the episode, and with his greater centrality to this outing's story, this time he succeeded. I do feel as if I watched an episode of Star Trek, just not an incredibly good one.
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Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

"What if people try to corroborate all this information?"

Here's the tweet where MacFarlane claims he wrote the episode a year and a half ago, so roughly six months before "Nosedive" aired in October 2016. So the claim at least comes from MacFarlane himself and not from insertions designed to alter the cycle of downvotes in this feed.
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Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

Usually the Orville riffs from Trek, but last night it cribbed from Black Mirror, specifically the much-lauded season three premiere "Nosedive." Black Mirror gave us incisive and insightful social criticism. The Orville episode... exists, I suppose. I guess that Fox assumes that most of its audience aren't the same people who tune into the contemporary British Twilight Zone?

Everyone should watch that episode of Black Mirror. It's classic TV. The Orville only barely claims an identity of its own by touching on issues of direct democracy and fake news that aren't the focus of the inspirational material. It's not offensive or exasperating on the order of some earlier episodes, but I can't recommend it either.
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Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

At "logic extremists," I had to pause until my partner and I could stop laughing. The writers probably avoided "Vulcan supremacists" because that would map oddly onto real-world politics. We've been watching Enterprise for the first time and have enjoyed how the Vulcans also had internal politics and a long way to go before they become the people we know a century later, but can we explore such a plotline adequately on Discovery? I'm not sure, considering the way every episode needs to play like an action blockbuster.

After the premiere, I hoped we could forget about the poor service done to Sarek, not to mention the silliness of mind-melds across light years thanks to a shared katra. The guy playing Sarek can't begin to live up to Mark Lenard, and no one should have to. Why did the writers indulge the fanfic urge to retcon Spock's family instead of giving us new characters? And why must Sarek's mind feel like the inside of the Matrix? Did humans have this kind of understanding of katras and mind melds ten years before TOS, when they seemed pretty baffled by it even in STIII?

Speaking of continuity, I've watched TAS, and despite a few good stories I see why Roddenberry removed it from canon. TNG strongly established the holodeck as revolutionary in the 24th century, and it's in a long list of tech that's a nuisance to include on the show.

Also frustrating is the complete lack of consequences for Saru's order to free the tardigrade. In episodic television, we would ding an episode for failing to include obvious character dynamics. With the serialized approach, we withhold judgement for future episodes, but the idea seems to be that we'll forget details like that and just hold on for the ride. If we can't manage continuity with the larger Trekverse, can we at least have it episode by episode? Why does Burnham have her heart-to-heart with Ash, whom she's just met, instead of Tilly? Or even Saru, with whom she made amends in the last episode? Her expounding on her own internal conflicts feels forced to begin with, doubly so to a stranger.

Ash's line about "being human" is on the nose, since we're almost certainly going to discover he isn't. It seems almost silly to suppose he's anything other than an infiltrator, since we know his story aboard L'rell's ship doesn't scan. If he's Voq, it's entirely implausible he could act this naturally human, so we clearly have some Cylon-level reprogramming at work.

Stamets nearly saved the episode. He's riding spore cloud nine after his breakthrough and just a blast to watch. We also get the answer to how no one in Starfleet has noticed that Lorca is unhinged--someone has, and the machinations of plot get her killed in a trap so obvious it's unclear why they devoted so much screen time to it. Lorca's on a personal mission, and he's aiming for a team with higher loyalties to him than to Starfleet. If only we had the sense that Starfleet is any more ethical than he is, that might be concerning.
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Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Those who wish for escapist sci-fi clearly watch Trek for far different reasons from me. I love Trek because of its confrontation of injustice through allegory and its ability to provoke new perspectives on real-world problems. Usually we've seen that accomplished through the people who live Starfleet's highest ideals. If we do that by watching one of the Federation's worst criminals instead, that's also an interesting story.

If anything, I worry that our current storyline is too escapist, in that a war against an equal superpower isn't high on most people's real-world concerns right now. Is this really the most courageous story that Discovery could be telling?

Also, little detail...

"Klingons ambushed the blockade that was protecting the colony."

Why are so many people responding as if the Federation had left an important outpost undefended? There was a blockade. The Klingons blew it up, along with the patrol ships the distress call also mentions. It's war, and there are multiple strategic points to defend, of which the less-prepared Federation just lost one. Discovery is Starfleet's ace in the hole to snatch victory from an opponent who is famously martially superior.
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Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Krill

Well stuff my shoulderpads and call me a Romulan: the Orville has thwarted my plans to stop watching. After weeks of exasperation left me willing to sit down one last time, we have the first episode that succeeds in blending comedy and sincerity. My partner and I laughed throughout, which was a first, and the hour even managed an effective final pivot to question the ability of a military expedition to "come in peace."

The screwball tone stayed consistent enough that the fundamental nonsense of the plot--two men sent into deep cover who utterly lacked the skillset for the task--fit the episode's universe. Primary cast on Trek get sent on such missions all the time when Starfleet would sensibly send someone with relevant expertise (a xenoanthropologist, let's say). Here, we're seeing that trope deconstructed.

"Krill" also delivers a plot that feels like it could come from Trek but which, for once, does not feel like a rehash of a specific episode: obtain a copy of an enemy's holy book so that we can understand them well enough to make peace. Does it make sense that the Krill would screw in light bulbs that would kill them when you flip the dial high enough? No, but the stakes of the story rise in ways that feel authentic, so we roll with the sci-fi silliness amidst an overall tone of comedy.

Also, shows should not get cookies just for not featuring prominent sexism or racism, but this is the first episode where none of the jokes rubbed me wrong. Starting from the premiere telling us that a young woman has made lieutenant because minorities receive special treatment, the Orville's track record on the underlying messages of its humor has not been stellar. No sexual harassment jokes this week! What a relief.
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Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Discovery's shaping up as worth watching, with flaws. We're delivering ethical conflicts to our characters, and because of the long-form format of contemporary television, we aren't resolving them within the hour. Instead, Burnham is party to something she already knows is wrong: the non-consensual harnessing of an uninvolved and possibly intelligent being for wartime convenience. Our crew will face consequences for this choice, but not immediately.

Burnham, Tilly, Stamets, Lorca, and Sura all continue to receive fleshing out as characters. Lorca uses the voices of the mining colony to manipulate, but that's because they drive him as well. Burnham's manipulation of Sura to confirm her hypothesis defined both characters and their relationship nicely. Tilly feels like something rare, a TV character on the autism spectrum who gets to feel like a complete human being and not a savant or a trope. Some may find Stamets unlikable, but we see clearly how this comes from his being deeply unhappy and conflicted about where he is.

The superscience is silly, obviously, but it looks undeniably cool. The unusual shape of Discovery now has an in-universe excuse, and the Discovery now counts as the single most striking ship I can recall for its faster-than-light tech's appearance onscreen. The action sequence at the end also managed far more excitement than Voyager or Enterprise's standard fare, even with the "shields down to X percent" trope in play.

Landry's death counts as the biggest flaw in the writing: as with Burnham's mutiny and subsequent murder of T'Kuvma, the script forces characters into rash actions that the circumstances don't appear to warrant and which we as audience don't have adequate cause to believe the character would take. The voices from the mining colony might prompt her to action, but what happened to "your science plus my tactics"? Don't tactical officers have, you know, tactical training of some kind? The writing to that point had depicted Landry as ruthless, but not as an overwhelming dunderhead.

The writing of the Uruk-Hai also remains weak, but not as overwhelmingly one-note and boring as in the premiere. The line about cannibalism just induced a groan: oh look, we need reminding that these are the savage villains. If Discovery used the Klingon appearance that had been in use since 1979, it would be more bearable, but watching a bunch of monsters growl expressionlessly at each other gets old quickly. Like watching wookies in the Star Wars Christmas Special.

I'm not sure why this isn't set after Nemesis: we could have a destroyed Romulus leading to a Romulan refugee crisis, thus leaving the Federation and Klingons as the only remaining major powers and removing the military reasons for their always-shaky alliance. You could tell this story in the late 24th century, no problem. It doesn't matter too much, it's just a shame that the franchise is looking backward instead of forward.

It may not be perfect, but it passes the Trek test.
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Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Pria

How relentlessly pedestrian. Even if the plot weren't a rehash, its execution left me disengaged.

Should we like these characters or derive humor from their being contemptible, like in Seinfeld or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? At this point, the clash between drama and humor isn't just a question of tone, but of what emotions, if any, bond the viewers to the characters.

The amputated leg evidently made some people here laugh, whereas for me it simply happened. I've been laughing more at Discovery, which for all its darkness does intersperse a few moments of humor. Burnham's, "Shit, that worked!" at attracting the creature's aggression got a chuckle out of me because I was invested in the reality of the characters. The sudden alarm at a plan working all too well was (slightly) funny. Here, the characters respond with one-liners to everything, so all of it just induces eye-rolls.

Oh look, more normalization of sexual harassment in the workplace. It must be Thursday.

I'm not trying to be down on the Orville; really, I'm not. I enjoyed the previous episode more than this one, perhaps because it allowed for mentally deleting the arbitrarily inserted humor. Jammer's right that the humor's more integrated this time around, but if neither the humor nor the drama work for me, the show is simply boring.
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Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 12:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

This second pilot feels like a new show, and entirely for the better. TOS also had two pilots, but the first one did not air and instead was cannibalized for flashbacks in a later episode. Maybe Discovery should have made that same decision.

We meet a protagonist guilty of a mutiny that helped start a war, and frankly I see no reason we required the first two episodes. From this 48 minutes, I have a stronger grasp of every character we've met than anyone in the two-episode premiere, Burnham included. Michael Burnham has a commitment to Starfleet and Vulcan principles in her heart, but she has an overwhelming curiosity and an arrogance in her own judgements that override her obedience to rules designed to protect the Federation she desires to uphold. Even if she would deny Lorca's vision of morality if asked, she follows it in practice. Thus we have someone who genuinely wants to do penance but cannot resist investigating what lies within the ship or accepting Lorca's offer.

Star Trek should tell us stories that force us to consider ethical or social problems, but it doesn't need to do so from the moral high ground of a Captain Picard. Star Trek often featured captains or admirals who occupied a morally much more questionable territory, usually as antagonists. Now we are on board the ship of such a captain, who has clearly recruited people like Chief Landry who are more likely than the average Starfleet officer to support his way of doing things.
Lest the show feel too dark, Saru and Tilly provide those rays of unmarred Starfleet principles.

Also, Tilly comes across as someone on the autism spectrum. Our main characters include a Black woman as the star, a South Asian woman, a gay man, and (if I understand Tilly correctly) a woman with a disability. Inclusivity: this is the Trek I have always known.

As Jammer mentions, the premier does not show Michael's mutiny as responsible for the war, but I don't think the writers now intend that she's a scapegoat. Instead, I think their premise was to have Michael be more or less guilty of what everyone blames her for, just the concept got mangled in execution. Michael's rage-kill of T'Kuvma did help plunge the Federation into war, but no one seems to care about that. Georgiou was the icon of Federation principles who then had the idea to plant bombs in corpses, and no one seems to care about that either. Saru's silly dialogue about being bred for one purpose fortunately also doesn't matter anymore. T'Kuvma is dead and had no depth anyway.

Unless the show subsequently forces me to do otherwise, I'm going to pretend the first two episodes didn't happen. They're not entirely consistent with episode three, their characterization comes across muddled, and they deliver almost no exposition we can't infer from "Context is for Kings." I wonder if the writers penned this episode first, and then the network demanded a premier with space battles. Whatever the reason, I'm chalking them up to the long tradition of Trek series having weak first aired episodes, with DS9 as the only exception.

If we stay at the quality level set by this episode, then CBS will have earned my money, hands down.
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Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

I've begun mentally deleting the Orville's unfunny humor as I watch. You could edit the jokes out of the episode and have it run just the same, which on the one hand drives home how shoehorned the crass humor feels, but on the other hand leaves us with otherwise perfectly serviceable Trek. Not excellent, but I can't deny that the show has improved since its premiere.

Comparing an hour of television to a fairly pedestrian episode of 90s Trek oddly feels like praise, since after all, there were reasons we kept watching even run-of-the-mill Star Trek. Despite our not knowing the worldship's people better than any standard-issue dictatorial theocracy from Voyager, the show's final unveiling of the night sky manages some of the awe that we hope for in sci-fi. It earns its Emerson quote--which it promptly spoils with boring attempted humor about the captain's ignorance. To enjoy the show, I just have to ignore that.

Ignoring some of the failed humor can be difficult. Yafit uses the doctor's professional obligation to attend to him if he reports illness in order to sexually harass her--again. This. Is. Not. Funny. It is also not OK, and its acceptability on the Orville fundamentally undermines any notion that we're in a more evolved future. I hope that responses do not again feature some guys 'splainin to me how it's really fine.

It's a shame we have so much forced and failed humor, because when the Orville embeds its humor in the situations it confronts, rather than inserting immature humor on top, it can earn some laughs. Chicago has a group called Improv Star Trek, and they're pretty phenomenal onstage. Their podcast, while inherently hit or miss as an improv show, is also worth catching. Funny Trek can work. The Orville just might get there.
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Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

I'm surprised that Jammer didn't comment on the moral implications of planting bombs in corpses after a battle had ended. The only reason that anyone on the Shenzhou is alive is that the Klingons did not slaughter the incapacitated and helpless, and now our protagonists strike at them through their funerary rites. No interstellar equivalent of the Geneva Conventions exists this early in Trek history, but it seems like a violation of the kind of principles the Federation would uphold.

I like stories that challenge Federation ideals; "In the Pale Moonlight" is an all-time favorite. But the episode didn't present any kind of moral quandary or consequences. It just represented the move as a clever tactic which the crew and the audience appear intended to cheer. Does this mean we cheer this sort of tactic in real life also?

Jammer also describes T'Kuvma dying in the passive voice--he "is also killed." More specifically, Burnham shoots him with phaser set to kill after her C.O. is already dead. She holds a firearm, he does not. Burnham then focuses on recovering Georgiou's body rather than bringing back T'Kuvma when she was the one to argue how he must be captured, because his martyrdom would plunge the Federation into neverending war. Should we understand her as failing all of her Vulcan logic and murdering him in rage? Did she intend to create a martyr and a war? What does either option say about her?

Jammer's spot-on regarding the visuals and most other strengths and flaws of the premiere, so I'm introducing two points I haven't seen emphasized above. Also, personally, I am referring to these new Klingons as the Uruk-Hai, since they are approximately as monstrous in both appearance and in complexity thus far.
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Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

The episode trumps itself up to deal with issues in the Trekkian tradition, but it emphatically does not. For anyone who works with issues of sex changes at birth, gender identity, circumcision, or other questions fumbled by the episode, it varies between poorly handled and outright offensive. The episode clearly wants to follow in the tradition of TNG's "The Outcast," but its politics are ten steps backwards from a 25-year-old hour of television.

Let's begin with a throwaway scene separate from the episode's primary issues. Yafit the blob-alien has faked illness three times in order to hit on the ship's doctor. When she confronts him on it, he insists she go out with him, and on her refusal, he protrudes a phallic shape and tells her there's more where that came from. She shoos him out of her office.

Overt sexual harassment on a Union starship is evidently no big deal. "Hey, it's just comedy!" you might protest. First, it's not very good comedy. Second, MacFarlane is claiming to create aspirational science fiction, a future where humanity has progressed beyond what we are today. Today, we have protections against workplace harassment. If our brighter future is one where we're expected to laugh it off, count me out.

This principle applies to the way the episode (and so far the series in general) handles all of its issues. The Orville's failure to move beyond sex as a physical binary shows that the writers are not attuned to dialogues in 2017, or even the 1990s, to say nothing of presenting a more enlightened future than the present day. Since Moclan males can lay eggs, what it means to "be female" becomes even more absurd--evidently it means to look and sound like what we expect from a woman.

Is the show making a point about infant circumcision? Not really, considering the practice is used as an example of something the Union is fine with.

Is it engaging in meaningful dialogue about infant sex "correction" operations for intersex children? Hardly, since the writers clearly did no research and treat the operations as if they can be performed with no risk to the child or long-term health consequences for them as adults, as if making a baby "male" or "female" is a straightforward endeavor.

The only point the show can claim to be making is that being a woman is not a disability. The episode preens as if this is some kind of progressive point, but it is not. TNG in the 80s would not have stooped to presenting such a theme as a message; it took the point in principle for granted (even though it took some time for us to have a woman captain in practice). The Orville revels in its nostalgia, but it is not acceptable for its politics to represent a regression from decades past.

MacFarlane's brand of crass comedy isn't just a tonal mismatch with sincere sci-fi. His particular choices fundamentally undermine any attempts to aspirational science fiction the show might have.
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Andrea B
Mon, May 1, 2017, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

I also find this episode objectionable. A person was being treated as a sex slave. S/he was being denied the basics of proper treatment for a person. THAT should have been the focus of the episode. How to handle a First Contact situation when you realize the society is doing something immoral (slavery, child abuse, subjugation of one portion of society, using poor people as medical parts to save the rich, whatever).

Then, how to proceed? Ignore it? Step in? This dilemma would have made a good story and again pointed to the need for the Prime Directive. Trip handles it his way (forging ahead in a way that can have negative consequences), but then as others become aware, they have to decide what to do as well.

And 100% Captain Archer should have granted asylum when asked--heck, Picard tried to FORCE asylum on a human adopted by another alien species at one point.

It was not Trip's fault that the cogenitor dies--it was Archer's and the Vissians'. Trip's interference was a bad idea, and it's fine to show that, but Archer, T'Pol, and Plox ignoring the issue was equally bad (which was not addressed as it should have been).

Look at Picard dealing with the aliens who kept the neighboring planet addicted to a drug...he followed the Prime Directive and was frustrated by having to do so when what was happening was clearly wrong and exploitative...then he found a way to use the Prime Directive to actually do something to end the exploitation...not the easy way, but still the issue of how to address a corrupt/immoral society without improper interference was dealt with. Someone was passionately advocating for the oppressed without being shut down, and yet the tricky issues of how to address the problem while not interfering was also addressed. Much more depth and insight than this shallow, one-sided episode.

Even with this episode as presented, I could like it and give it a good rating IF Captain Archer told Trip he shouldn't have interfered but also struggled with how to address the Vissians' oppression of the cogenitors. If he said "you shouldn't have interfered but I don't know what action would have been right in this situation." That I might have respected...a "no easy answers" episode that left us with questions to ponder.

The way this was wrapped up was just dumb and shallow and one-sided. We are left with "all interference is wrong" and no nuance or wrestling with the moral issues presented.

Big missed opportunity. 2 stars.
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Sun, Jul 5, 2015, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Balance of Terror

I have to agree with everyone else here. I just watched this episode for about the 10 time and still love it. It's epic Trek, along the lines of The Wrath of Khan and worthy of 4 stars. The sets are cheesy but who cares, the plot and acting are great. The is definitely among the top 5 of my favorite Trek episodes period.
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Mon, Nov 3, 2014, 5:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

I really, really, really HATE this episode, i found it insulting. It basically says that if you are disabled, you are not a person, you are a disable, and it's your disability that defines you, not your own personality, and that trying to cure that disability would be a bad thing, because you are "denying who you are". do I have to explain why this is bullshit? and the fact that this was written by a disabled writer makes me cringe even more. and then there's the little fact that the writer is "cheating": Melora isn't really disabled, she comes from a planet with a lower gravity (and can somebody please explain me how such planet would retain an atmosphere? but that's another story..) so in that context the whole "denying who you are" thing makes sense, buuuut the fact is that this episode wants to be a clear allegory for disability, so the writer wants to "cheat" us into thinking that makes sense in the context, while in the larger context (the one of the allegory) it really doesn't, because (and i feel bad for having to spell this out) a person is NOT defined by his/her ilnesses, try to exchange disability with AIDS and you'll get what i mean. and don't try to bullshit me: disability IS an illness. it's not homosexuality, which is something that somebody IS and it is part of his/her personality, and partly (key word being partly) defines who he/she is, disability is an illness, that in some cases can be cured even now (not to talk about the 24th century..), and i challenge you to find ANY wheelchair bound person who would turn away a cure for his/her disability because "that's what i am". and here's another problem with the writing of this episode, it's the 24th century, disability is gone, if you break your spine a quick travel to the infrmary and you'r good as new, but hey, we have to hammer on an half assed message about... something.. so let's make up a bullshit reason about her turning down the cure. i hate this episode
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Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

DutchTrecker, I believe you don't know what "sentient life" means. I would like you to define it to include humans but exclude animals. My dictionary defines it "the ability for subjective feelings or perceptions" - in cave man terms: If it hit it, does it feel pain? That definition includes all animal life as sentient life.

But even aside from that, this episode raised a question about ethics. Is it okay for Riker to (essentially) kill three sentient beings to save two other ones? You say it is and you even list off the steps of importance of different forms of life. But you do this from a human perspective and you don't try to elevate your mind above that. Data is not human and thus doesn't have your mindset - to him it would not be okay to "slaughter them without thought" for humans. How would you approach this issue if it was Exocombs discussing to kill humans in order to save other Exocombs?

I don't try to persuade you to think Data was right. But please think about this issue from more angles, than just the narrow anthropocentric view that is natural to us. Trek is also about transcending certain of our "natural" points of view (consider: Money, Relationships, Conflicts etc).
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Thu, Oct 10, 2013, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Um....probably somewhere around Stardate 4345.23?

I choose to be straight again this morning with my husband in the shower. What's it to you.
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Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

I agree with 'sybok'. This is a good episode. I am always brought to tears by Avery's performance. It does alot to make me (a white person) have some small understanding of what it may be like to be black person.

What I don't like is how the "gay agenda folks" try to hijack things. Civil rights for African Americans is not the same thing as gay rights today. You can choose to be gay. It's a lifestyle choice. You don't choose your race. You can't change races. You can change sexual preference, or choose to have no sexual orientation at all. You cannot decide to be a Native American, or a Gorn. Gorns can be gay though I suppose.

Apples and oranges folks.
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Sat, May 31, 2008, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

People are being held back by magnetic fields. They think they are running but are actually not moving in the holosuite.
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Sun, Apr 27, 2008, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

No he couldn't, Anthony2816, because Odo couldn't take his solid form while being inside the barrier
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