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brian
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

I had to chime back in bc people kindly reminded me- the “upside down” comment was absolutely ludicrous. Dumb even by my lower Discovery standards.
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Brian Lear
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Gil, I love you, and your writing. Please never leave this community!
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BRiAN
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

A solidly directed wpiaode by frakes that unfortunately cant overcome the problems with the plot of the show. As melodrama this might have been an effective show if Ariam had been established at all. Very very odd decisions with the plot and writing.

But anyway in and of itself the writing was better than normal and slow enough to have actual character development. So in some ways the show is still improving. Great burn by Spock to Burnham.
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Brian
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 1:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

And, in the spirit of improving the community, I'm going to give a few shout outs:

- to wolfstar, for a well written explanation of why this episode worked

- to karlzimmerman, for admitting his own over-reaction to the Airiam thing and posting a semi-retraction, in the spirit of honesty.

- to madmanUC, for not liking this episode and not being afraid to write a very succinct and thought provoking post about why that is. A good read. While I thought Michelle Paradise did a great job with this episode, madmanUC did not. That's okay!
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Brian
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 1:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Well, count me as one of those highly impressed with this episode, which is quite rare for me. I'm consistently rating 1 star lower than Jammer and I thought last weeks 4 star rating was very generous. I'm usually one of the outspoken "critics" of the show, and I've been highly critical of just the general way the show is produced and written, but I've always said I give credit where credit is due, and this week I will do that.

Michelle Paradise has written one of the best scripts so far. It was paced well, shot well, and effectively built tension. Scenes played out organically, with time and space for lines to have their intended effect. Some of the dialogue was still a little cringey, but man, compared to most Discovery dialogue, this was pretty solid. I'm extremely glad she is taking control of the show, but she won't be able to do it alone. I'm hoping she and a couple other key writers can pull this show out of the can in season 3, and with this episode, there is now hope.

As the writers and showrunners make improvements, it becomes increasingly obvious how poorly SMG works as the series lead. As someone else pointed out, she works really well as a side character or in ensemble situations. Whenever she is in a lead role, the show suffers. For whatever reason, Michelle Paradise seems to have figured this out. We even get a not-so-subtle "writer talking to the audience" scene where MB and Spock are playing chess and end up fighting. Paradise highlights the writers annoying habit of placing the stakes of the entire universe on Michael Burnhams shoulders, and turns that rookie writing mistake into character depth. It even lets the previous writers save face and say, "But that was our plan all along." Alas, somehow, she still couldn't help herself from having the climax of the show be Michael Burnhams worst trope--face contorted in horror, this time watching out the window as a minor side character dies.

Much has been said about Airiam, so I won't repeat it. Basically, let's withhold judgement until we see if she's really dead or not.

Regarding the overall plot, I've always maintained that DISCO likes to keep it convoluted, and as season 2 drags on, it just gets worse. It kind of felt like bringing the orb thingy back and linking it to the overall plot was a big shoehorn. But at the same time, it also seems like Paradise was doing the right thing and really trying to connect threads in a series that cannot even tie its own shoe-laces. That its ending up basically a Terminator story...well, we'll see what they do with it. This is supposed to be Star Trek. They will need to transcend that story, and really push the audience to challenge their perceptions about the universe.

My impression of this episode was that they got a talented writer in Michelle Paradise, who attempted to tie up some loose threads in this beleaguered franchise, and, on many counts, succeeded. That she managed to deliver a tight, character-centric drama that managed to maintain my attention better than any other DISCO episode since "Magic to make the sanest..." is a testament to her talents, and I'm cautiously optimistic about season 3 knowing she is in the captains chair.

3 stars for me, in a mostly 1-2 star season so far.

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Brian
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Forgot to add @Meister, to answer your question about there being more Holmes episodes you are correct, there is an episode in Season 6, called “Ship in the Bottle” I believe, where we get to revisit Data and Laforge’s Holmes hobby on the holodeck, as well as Moriarty and his desire to exist in the real world. A very good episode, I definitely recommend it (and don’t read up on it more than this before watching in order to not spoil any surprises).
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Brian
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
I think this has to be a two and a half star episode, despite it being in the mediocre (but much better than season one) season two. It evaluated compared to the series so far up to this point it could certainly be a full three star episode but compared to the series as a whole it has too mainly strains of credulity to justify that. Of course as mentioned by others there are some contrivances one must accept in order to sustain the illusion of disbelief... for one thing of course the computer would not be programmed to so blindly obey the command that endowed Moriarty with his superior intellect and awareness. Even though the episode has a somewhat intriguing solution in that in order to have the potential to defeat data Moriarty must posses consciousness, and apparently the ability to use the computer, obviously the holodeck would be programmed (probably in its read only memory aka ROM or the futuristic equivalent) to never allow a holodeck character to employ computer commands, regardless of the wording of a command given to the computer.

That brings us to contrivance number two, being that the computer, even if one accepts that data’s command would cause it to attempt to endow Moriarty with consciousness and sentience, is able to endow Moriarty with sentience at all, let alone so quickly and easily. Much is made of the genius of Dr. Soong in creating Data, an android who possesses sentience. I find it dubious that this remarkable feat, the endowing of an artificial intelligence with consciousness, can be so easily duplicated by a simple command to a star ship’s holodeck. Data’s miraculous positronic matrix, which is said to be respsonible for making his sentience possible, becomes apparently unnessesary after the “discovery” in this episode.

Finally we come to the third issue, that surely there would be a better way of resolving the situation of the doctor’s abduction than having to enter the holodeck and negotiate with Moriarty. One blatant plot hole is that apparently Moriarty was able to give the computer commands using the authority of Laforge’s clearance... so then why can Laforge himself (or higher ranking members of the crew for that matter) not reverse Moriarty’s overrides that keep the program from being shut down? Even if we accept that that is not possible, it seems all the more unlikely that the only way to manually disable the holodeck is to flood it with energy that would be lethal to a human as well as the holographic projectors. Why not simply have an engineering team manually disconnect the power from the holodeck (physically slicing the wires or whatever is used if needed)? Or if we accept that they must confront Moriarty, why not bring a phaser or command the holodeck to make a gun for Data to use to shoot Moriarty with, using his superhuman android speed and accuracy?

Oh well.... these things need not detract *too* much from the episode if one is not in a contrary mood and is willing to take it at its face value. However I do feel it is legitimate to penalize the score by half a star because of them, especially since at least some of the mentioned issues could be mitigated or even eliminated entirely by more clever writing, with more effort devoted to believability. I don’t have all the answers and it may be necessary to modify the main plot some to accomplish this but more effort in that department would be appreciated.

Still this is a very solid early effort, equal to some of the more blandly average episodes in seasons 3-7, which given the very high equality of that era means that this is actually solid praise for this episode. It’s certainly better than your average Voyager episode, were it in that series it probably would have gotten the full three stars (even though I tend to beleive all the shows should be rated according to the same standards I am fine with the occasional small adjustment to indicate an episode is better or worse compared to its more immediate peers). Unlike some I have no problem with the beginning of the episode, I like “character bits” like that. If anything I don’t like (and don’t find quite plausible) the doctor’s overly openly degrading attitude towards Data. She is the only one who treats him like he is more a piece of hardware than a conscious entity. Also Data solves Star Trek aged mysteries every day, so why the strong lack of faith in him? Either way I mostly enjoy rich flavor of the buildup, and the performance of the actor playing a Moriarty is spot on.
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BRIAN
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Jammer just want to say thank you for your great review (as always) and for providing this platform to all of us Star Trek obsessed people.

Also thanks to everyone else posting. Even when this forum gets vitriolic its still nicer and smarter than Reddit :)
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BRiAN
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Ted Danson!! McFarlane gets the best guest stars somehow.


This episode was great! I like a lot of TNG and DS9 episodes just based on their premise, and this was a good premise. The POW friend throwing a spanner into the mix of peace talks at just the wrong moment is a great idea. Like most B level TNG eps, it kind of gets out of the solution with a convenient plot turn, but thats fine by me. I like that it raises these questions and gives me something to think about.

(This is my main issue with Discovery, which has a great crew of actors but the plots don't often bring a political or sci fi idea to the table.)
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brian
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

@trent

great writeup man.

I am still unfortunately willing to turn my brain off and enjoy this new star trek for what it is. But it utterly lacks in the writing department any real ideas of substance. Which is a shame, idk why they cant hire some genuine sci fi authors to come in. I am reading some newer short story science fiction and there is a lot of really new and interesting stuff coming out suddenly.
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Brian S.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

"Captain Tony Almeida"

.
C'est magnifique!
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BRiAN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

My biggest fear- that they would totally ruin spocks character- is so far unfounded. Best Spock actor since Nimoy. Very good!

They are sort of ruining other canon. Not sure why they had to return to Talos IV exactly. Im sure there were other ways they could have cured Spock.

Can someone pls explain why the heck Discovery had to go to Talos iv? Michael and Spock had a Space ship!! They could have simply found Discovery and flown to them.


That opening montage of TOS sort of epitomizes my feelings on all of Discovery. It has a kernal of a good concept for doing a new style of recap, executes it with a lot of technical precision, but due to over editing and loud music makes the actual content nigh-indiscernible.
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Brian S.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

"I was turned off in the beginning of the movie when a they showed a Star Fleet officer destroy a multi-million dollar building and kill countless lives just to save the life of his daughter."

Not to give any undue benefit of the doubt to this movie......but in the original TOS episode "Space Seed" which introduced Khan, the Enterprise and its entire crew were put into dire peril because a Starfleet officer under Kirk's own command, Lt. Marla McGivers, provides critical aid to Khan and his soldiers in taking over the ship and nearly allows Khan to execute Kirk and the entire bridge crew and almost the destruction of the ship itself simply because she had become extremely attracted to him in the several days he was on board the ship.

23rd century humanity is better, but they're not all flawless.
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Brian
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

I know some people are going to like this one, but it fell flat for me. 2 stars.

Every single thing in this episode felt shoe-horned in, starting immediately with the TOS montage. I felt no real connection to the original series in any way. The entire thing feels like a desperate attempt by the showrunners to somehow link Discovery to TOS. For me it is failing, epicly. The link between MB and Spock feels shoe-horned. The link between Spock and Talos feels shoe-horned. The false drama generated from section 31 being on the discovery feels shoe-horned. The drama between MB and Spock feels false. Having talosians standing around in the background of every scene didn't add a single thing to this episode.

We had the check-box fight scene. We had the checkbox footage of Georgiou prancing around in black looking smug.

The plot has become so convoluted, that it now feels like doing math homework keeping up with what's "going on". Dialogue was especially cringe-worthy.
Back to rapid cuts and everyone spits out their lines so fast you don't have time to digest what they just said. I'm so sick and tired of everything being ORANGE or BLUE.

I'm actually just sick and tired of this show. Watching it literally feels like work.
I think the writers and show-runners could all use a visit to Talos themselves. Or, perhaps, go back and watch "The Cage" and take notes on how to generate suspense, drama, and familiarity with characters within 15-20 minutes, and then have time to spare to tell an interesting story about them.

The only saving grace in this episode, was they actually did something interesting with Culber, and I felt like he turned in a good performance. Yes, the fight scene was obligatory and check-boxy. But he did manage to get my heart pounding, which means the actor nailed the scene, regardless of whether I think it should've been there. And props where props are due.

PS: my disappointment with STD may or may not have something to do with the fact that I also watched "Tapestry" earlier today, in order to illustrate a point to my mother about not regretting past decisions :D
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Brian S.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 4:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

I always enjoyed this episode. It's fun, well acted, and I enjoyed how Wesley was able to evade security.

To me, that last segment always the best "Game" in the episode.....Wesley having to think quickly on his feet, to outwit and elude a vastly superior opponent for as long as he could. His escape required athleticism, intelligence, strategy, read & react situations. Moves and countermoves.

There are some gaping plot holes in this episode (what exactly was the purpose of Elana's efforts?), and I understand the critiques of Wesley in general, but I always liked Wil Wheaton, and this was one of my favorite Wesley episodes.

++++++

That said.....there is arguably no greater Wesley Crusher move than to go back to work on the Enterprise during your vacation from Starfleet Academy, somehow manage to hook up with a young smoking hot Ashley Judd, and on basically your one and only date with Ashley freaking Judd, you.....take her to your mom's medical lab to conduct experiments on the potentially harmful side effects of a portable gaming device.

+++++

Also.....lol @ Luke's Scooby Doo parody. That was perfect!
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BRiAN
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

@maq

i agree. Many problems with this show but I found myself enjoying this episode. I cant justify it logically. Either something in my brain broke or the character work is good enough that I enjoy the show inspite of its many flaws. The only episode I truly couldnt stand this season so far was the hyper violent klingon battle episode.
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BRiAN
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

@gerontius

Just speculation but I get the impression Talla was totally Kira before the actress decided to quit the show. So shes just swapped in for now and they haven’t actually written anything for her yet
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brian
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

The first half of this episode was really great and shows off the potential of this show. The pace seemed slower too and it benefited from it.

The second half did the usual doubling down on stupid. And what happens isnt nessacarily dumb but its just shown in the stupidest flashiest action movie way instead of slowing down and little and leaning into the drama more. Any other trek show would have resolved the Kelpian planets dilemna with a coherent speech by the csptain of the ship and presented at least a thought process behind their actions. Here we get some random action dialogue that makes everyone look and feel dumber.
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brian
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

Hey. Pretty darn good! Hope the second part sticks the landing. I suspect the little kid will win Isaac back to the good side by the end.


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Brian
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Enjoyed this one overall. everyone is spot on in that the second half of the episode speeds through too fast and becomes pretty dumb. If the show could maintain the quakity an dtone of first half of this episode there wouk be nothing to complain about.
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Brian
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

“I would suggest watching S1 again and asking yourself, episode by episode, 'is it possible to understand what I just watched with no further explanation?'“

It is, unless you’re referring to the larger arcs which of course take the season to explain. That’s not a JJ Abrams creation, it’s a part of serialized storytelling adapted to streaming television. In a streaming format, you can binge watch an entire season because it’s supported and encouraged by the service. Lost was a typical 24 episode/season show with a self-contained mystery and an ending leading to another mystery with the overarching plot being something like Voyager, i.e. when will the characters get off the island safely?
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brian
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

this was silly. It felt like Star Trek: the Netflix show, which... I guess thats what it’s essentially been from the jump. The crew goes to the upside down and brings Hugh back from the dead with magic.

The amount of time they stood around talking while the ship was exploding around them was just cartoonishly laughable.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Loud Morn’s article is the best piece of reading in this section so far. I’ve always suspected the homogeneity of Voyager had an isolationist slant, but this chap really did his homework connecting it to some surprising political trends in the last years.
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BRiAN
Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

also... I cant help but comment on the irony of someone saying Prince wont be remebered in 100 years despite the fac tthey are watching a TV show sequel to a nearly 60 year old show...

I do happen to agree having two pop culture references in the same ep might be pushing it a little bit. BC the way the dialogue was presented implied all characters would know who Prince is imediately. But then again most people would know a yellow submarine reference so... who knows.

Although I can totally buy that in the future Space Oddity has become basically a children’s nursery rhyme.




Also ugh... what a dumb and overly violent head drilling scene. which again.... lost its power due to being too rushed and it’s proximity to Sarus death plot.
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BRiAN
Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

Hey well this was OK. New Eden was better but this one shows they can do a Star Trek episode when they actually try. MUCH better than last weeks..

Would have been more helpful to jetison the Tilly plot. It was too much in the episode to begin with, and its hard to really feel for a crew member dying when there are two of them placed in mortal danger at the same time in different plots. Also it felt like two seperate episodes happening at once.

Both overall.... ill take it. It at least felt like a trek episode in good ways and did enough to make it feel fresh. Im still hoping they can hit one out of the park with a concept that both is new in terms of sci fi and also new in terms of how it is filmed. But this is good enough for now.
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