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brian
Sat, May 11, 2019, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: The Reckoning

oh my gaawwwddd. this is terrible schlock. I dont understand how this show went from Pale Moonlight to then two of the worst episodes in the franchise. I hope this is not a sign of the quality of season 7. zero stars ugh.
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BRIAN
Sat, May 11, 2019, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

This one was kind of silly and shows how important the ghost of Gene Roddenberry was. People now like to criticize Roddenberrys no conflict edict, but it at least made Star Trek unique and interesting. This sort of tired rom com sitcom episode wouldnt have been the center of an episode in his heydey. Not much science fiction to be found here and not a lot thats interesting to me tbh.
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Brian Lear
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

^^^
well put but it still sounds like apologizing for a very poorly conceived scene.
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Brian Lear
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 12:50am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Oh I've read the stars explanation page long ago. But then, if they don't mean anything, why do you have a star rating system? Are we meant to skip 1 or 2 star episodes? Because that doesn't seem right. I always recommend people watch all of a good series, even the bad episodes.

The star system seems especially irrelevant with the new serialized format of Discovery, and that's probably all I was picking up on.

Like, are there people out there choosing which discovery episodes to watch based on how many stars Jammer doles out? :)
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Brian Lear
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Jammer, you're awesome and I really appreciate your balanced take on things. But I feel like you rate Discovery according to a completely different set of criteria. You were extremely tough on Enterprise. And Voyager. You do call out Discovery's mistakes but I don't see that ever translating into your ratings. A show that consistently displays deep logical flaws and over reliance on spectacle regularly pulls 3 star ratings and up?

If these episodes had come from any prior Star Trek series, I feel like you'd be giving them 1.5-2.5 stars max. Yet somehow, Discovery gets a huge pass and I believe the justification is that you review each show on its own merits, and there is a "4 stars for TNG" and a "4 stars for Discovery" and those may be completely different criteria. That's fine, I get that. I just feel like you were much tougher on previous Trek series than this one. You seem to call out all the mistakes, bad writing, and poor execution in your reviews, but it never seems to affect the star rating.

For example, you say this:
"Looking back at the season arc from beginning to end, you see the shortcuts the writers often took and the plot holes apparent in doing so, and few of those are mitigated with what happens in the finale. Discovery's plotting has never been iron-clad, and there's always been a tendency for the series' writers to leave big narrative gaps and expect us to fill in the ellipses with our imaginations. This creates a sense of sloppiness more than anything else, as if the writers couldn't be bothered to put in the time to create narrative clarity and credibility."

.....and.....3 stars.

So, sloppy writing, writers couldn't be bothered, plot holes left gaping open, over-reliance on spectacle, gets 3 stars.

What the hell would they have to do to get down to a 1? or a zero? Intentionally insult the audience perhaps?

:)
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Brian S
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

@Richard: "I find it hard to believe that people would voluntary walk into a disintegration chamber.... I would imagine that self-preservation is a pretty strong instinct throughout the galaxy."

++++

The episode addresses this point.

Mea--the hostess--says she has no greater wish to die than Kirk or anybody else, but that to her it's preferable to the alternative.

In war, there isn't just death.....there is pain, and suffering, and mutilation, and torture.

Take, for example, the conflict in Syria. It isn't just the deaths from the bombs being dropped on people. Thousands more beyond just the dead are injured, crippled, left bleeding in the streets. Their wounds can become infected, limbs lost. Among the survivors, homes and schools are destroyed. Basic services disrupted, water systems damaged and non-functional. Supply lines are cut, there are food shortages and hunger. Disease runs rampant with no functional medical facilities to treat it. Soldiers/Rebels tend to be fairly barbaric in personal combat, often taking prisoners, torturing enemies, raping civilians.

War is not sanitary. War creates secondary and exponential unintended suffering far beyond deaths from the primary attack.

And even in killing, not all deaths are brought about the same. Most combat deaths are not instantaneous and painless like a disintegration chamber. People spend minutes or hours bleeding out from bullet wounds or shrapnel. Choking to death on nerve agents. Drowning in the ocean after a sub or battleship is sunk. Having their flesh burned off their bones by bombs. Spending several days agonizingly bleeding to death in your home next to your family under 500 pounds of rubble.

As Spock says, there is a certain logic to a war ravaged civilization wanting to do away with all of those secondary harms. None of the Eminians *want* to die, but given the choice between a horrifically painful death where your face and limbs are blown off and you bleed out in some muddy ditch or a clean instant painless death where you merely step into a "disintegration chamber"......one can see the appeal.
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Brian
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 3:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Issue: unsolvable plot problem

Answer: "let's build a time suit"

Cast members then proceed to hastily construct the single most advanced piece of technology ever developed in the history of humanity, in an hour.

Do the writers seriously believe they can get away with this? Apparently the answer is no, because POOF, it's all gone and classified. How convenient. Voyager crew managed to get transwarp working briefly, but only with some help from Borg technology, and it wasn't without problems and couldn't be relied upon. Star trek is FULL of crazy examples of humans using technology, but NEVER have I ever LAUGHED OUT LOUD at my television as i did the moment I saw the discovery crew racing to put together a....F***ing TIME SUIT! And of course it folds and unfolds like a transformer, because, ya know, it just has to, because the kids won't think its cool unless it has SUPER obviously fake animations. The show doesn't even seem REMOTELY real, AT ALL. There IS tech in Star Trek that is plausible enough to enjoy the show as if it was real, such as warp drive, holodecks, replicators, etc. But a time suit built in an hour? No.

Discovery writers:

"hmmmm, people love marvel movies....comic books...super heroes flying around in suits.....AND people seem to love star trek, time travel.....think...think....what should we do......aha.....F***ing TIME SUIT."

Genius!!
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Brian Lear
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I sure would love to see the defenders respond to Galadriels points line by line, since he so coherently put them together for us.
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Brian
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

‘"The Enterprise and Disco have been established as capable of taking a pounding."

Go and watch the season 1 pilot again, and look how fragile Fed ships are compared to this season 2 climax.’

Maybe the Enterprise or the Discovery are tougher? It’s post-Klingon War, so comparing this episode’s armaments to other random ships in the pilot seems illogical.
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brian
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

well. that was bad. but not as bad as i feared. and not as bad as season 1.


heres hoping they do something interesting with the soft reboot!
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Brian Lear
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 1:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Oh, and is anybody else sick of the fact that only female characters can solve problems on Discovery?
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Brian Lear
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 12:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Oh, and I will also say that the entire idea underlying the Control/sphere data plot makes no sense. Sorry it just doesn't. The sphere is an ancient lifeform that observed and recorded data about the universe for many years. I don't feel that the show ever really convinced me that the data in that sphere could reasonably be expected to allow an advanced AI to obtain consciousness, or, why that consciousness would be evil and seek destruction, as opposed to simply being a reflection of what it observed of sentient life in the universe for its entire history--a complicated mixture of evil, good, and everything in between. I would expect the sphere data to result in a consciousness that was both REALLY evil and REALLY compassionate and good at the same time--just like any living being. Wouldn't have been amazing if that character was created from the sphere data, and, you know, actually made into a likable character? Maybe a sort of "Q" for star trek: discovery.

But no, nothing that cool could ever happen on discovery. The sphere data would be shoe-horned into the rest of the season and used to build a paper-thin, non-interesting villain who was necessary for the plot to advance from point A to B. What could have been an awesome exploration of humanity was squandered.
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Brian Lear
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 12:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

The finale does what its supposed to do, re-establishes the canon timeline, and it does so with typical fanfare, and typical Discovery junk-level writing--Cornwell closes the blast door from the inside and, instead of escaping under the closing door, "heroically" sacrifices herself off the show. It was a laugh out loud moment in my living room. We get extended filler sequences such as the video-retrospective of the entire season with Burnham in the superhero suit. Burnham's travel through time was, artistically interesting but it really dragged on. After a few seconds my only thought was "filler".

With each passing moment we see more and more that the Michael Burnham show, excuse me, Discovery, is miles wide but only inches deep.

The "7 signals" plot was not the uber-interesting mystery it was made out to be. It was actually just all about Michael Burnham flying around in a trick super-hero time suit saving the galaxy. Yawn. I knew that would be the case since the first episode of the season. I believe many of us were hoping the red signals would lead to some kind of fascinating exploration of space, perhaps a new ultra-powerful race. Instead, the show remained locked in the tiniest of possible universes, basically the Discovery and Michael Burnham, and those that help her move the plot forward. The entire season was an incestuous circle that never really went anywhere.

Then the writers said screw it let's start over. Ironically, using the exact thing they were trying to avoid with the serialized arc format--the much reviled reset-button. And of course, given us all ample reason to tune in for season 3.

Now that they've gifted themselves a blank slate, we'll see if they just continue the Michael Burnham show in the future, or actually give us a Star Trek show worth re-watching.

I can say that for me, personally, I hated the Michael Burnham show so much, that when she slipped into the future with the Discovery, my first thought was that I hope we never see them again and I'd rather just keep watching Pike and Spock on the Enterprise. Then I caught myself and remembered, no, prequels are bad. Let's stay in the future. But...but...I just don't know how much more Michael Burnham I can take.
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Brian Lear
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Basically if you are holding out hope that the writers are holding a royal flush, you're about to be bitterly disappointed. They've got a pair of jacks, maybe. They've been bluffing you for a while now, and you missed it because you were too busy trying to wrap your head around the plot minutiae. If you'd stopped for a minute, taken a step back, you would've recognized the signs all along. The chances of this writing "team" (and I use that word loosely) suddenly turning out something great, are pathetically small. However the chances of them throwing out a gigantic TWIST that makes you WONDER what is going to HAPPEN next SEASON, are 100%.
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brian
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

wow what a waste of an episode and my time. the jokes about how long the ending of return of the king is applies here much more. self important and dumb. trying to make us care about characters they never wrote properly in the first place.. serves me right for watching this stupid boring contrived show written by soap opera hacks who wouldnt know real science fiction even if harlan ellisone slapped them in the face.
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Brian Lear
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Re-watched, and it seemed even more contrived than first viewing. I almost think Jammer was right about them extending to 14 episodes in order to force people to renew All-access. Can anyone else confirm, is it true that you have to renew all access just to watch the finale? That seems awfully shady...
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Brian Lear
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 1:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I guess what I'm trying to say is...even if the writers follow through and bring Discovery into the future (permanently), I have absolutely zero confidence that they will do anything interesting with that, either.
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Brian Lear
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 1:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Thanks Trent, for the perfect explanation of why season 2 just didn't add up to anything.

One thing I'll add, is that Discovery has created such distrust between itself and the audience, with all the constant plot twists, cliffhangers, and WTF moments, that now when the show wishes to "be serious" and "trust us, something big is going to happen" I just don't trust that they are going to tell me a story worth paying attention to.

It's like the boy who cried wolf. The stakes are always so high, and there are so many about-faces and big twists, that we just can't trust the writers to do their job anymore. Perfect example is this episode:

They REALLY need to jump discovery into the future and start from scratch with this show. And the fact that they MIGHT be doing that gives me a glimmer of hope for the future of this show.

But at the same time, that glimmer of hope is stained by a fear that the writers are going to chicken out at the last minute and write something incredibly stupid.

That's how poorly they've done their jobs so far.
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Brian
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

@Perry

Well at least The Orville beat out a Gotham rerun. That’s good news, right? ...right? :(
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Brian S.
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 12:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Galileo Seven

The most logical, robotic, non-human of them all....Scotty.

The other officers are bickering about emotions and command and humanity......Mr. Scott just quietly tells them, "We need to lose X amount of weight." No whining about how it needs to be done, or what that might entail as far as leaving personnel behind, just cold logical facts.

All the others are crying for a "decent burial," even though it would take time, and resources, and put people in jeopardy......Mr. Scott has no time for your emotional death rituals. He sees no logic in leaving his floorboard for even an instant, just get the job done, burial or no.

And it is his cool under pressure professional logical approach that even gives them a chance. Bravo, Mr. Scott, you'd make an excellent Vulcan.
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Brian
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

That scene with Pike confronting his future was... absolutely chilling.
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Brian Lear
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@wolfstar
"Both the JJ films and Discovery seem to view Star Trek simply as "space adventure", when in fact Trek can be any genre under the sun (we've had great episodes that were courtroom drama, morality play, screwball comedy, psychological horror, study of religion, murder mystery, comedy of manners, naval thriller, study of loss etc.) It's that understanding of Star Trek not as a genre but as a conceptual category that's missing (not just in Discovery, but in the Abrams films and to a large extent in Enterprise too) - you can take any genre of narrative and do it in the Trek universe."

@Alan Roi
"And if you have not seen most of what you describe in your list (not to mention more) then IMO, you are choosing to blind yourself by the belief that all you are seeing in front of you is "space adventure" and nothing more."

No, Alan. What we are saying, is that it just isn't there, or its been attempted and failed. There has not been any courtroom/investigation/legal story. There have been attempts to peer into Klingon life/politics but its been mishandled. There have been a couple field trip episodes but they weren't that great. An attempt at analyzing one of the alien crew members homeworlds, but brought down by SMG being in the camera too much. You get the point, a lot of things have been ATTEMPTED by Discovery, but they usually don't come together, in any significant way. Your comment that Discovery should never fall into "TNG-mode" is...confusing. What exactly is "TNG-mode"? Whatever it is, it sounds good to me.

Look, I admit that I really don't like this show, and when I think an episode sucked, I let it fly. Maybe what you would call hyperbole. BUT, I give credit where credit is due. My favorite episode of season 1 was "Magic to make the sanest men go mad." It was just an awesome, novel interpretation of a time travel episode and I thought it was really, really good. Likewise, in season 2, my favorite episode so far has been "Project Daedalus". The writing in that one was really superb and was very effective.

The problem is that, due to whatever the production model with Discovery is (always different writers, directors), they seem to only come up with great episodes randomly, and rarely. And my explanation for that, is the show is chained to these pre-determined serialized arcs that, for me, just aren't very compelling. Most of the episodes end up being duds, full of material that I, and frankly quite a few posters here, just don't enjoy.

When Wolfstar asked you to come up with something you felt Discovery needed to improve on, you said: "spoonfeeding the audience" and the show not being gutsy enough to just be what it is, without the fan-fiction, fan service, nostalgia stuff.
I agree with those, fully. The problem I see, is that the entire show is infected with that stuff systemically. Ret-conning michael burnham into the TOS universe is exactly what you said is wrong with Discovery. And the show will not let it go, and is showing no signs of stopping. On that count, I'd expect you to be pretty mad and frustrated with the show, in general. Therefore I'm a little surprised to see you on here calling hyperbole when anyone vents their feelings of frustration. Don't you have those feelings too? It's okay to have them around here.
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BRIAN
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@Karl Zimmerman

excellent post!
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BRIAN
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:03am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

also, thanks for the great review Jammer, as always!
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Brian
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

solid ep that maybe needed a little bit more plot to chew on. Ironically would have been a better TNG ep because on TNG the future people legitimately act different from contemporary people. Orville they already act like 20th century everyday people so the contrast is lost quite a bit. But a solid foundation for a story, gave a few good things to think about, and Mollow is becoming one of the MVPs of the show (along with Kelly, Bortis, The Doctor, the kids, and Isaac)
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