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Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I'll add to concerns expressed above that there's nothing to celebrate in bringing in
Kurtzman. Discovery's writing has been a mess so far (even though i enjoyed the first season a bit more than most here) and bringing in the guy from Into Darkness and The Mummy (2017) isn't going to help. Kurtzman is a guy who works well within the big money prime time network/big studio system despite a thoroughly mediocre output (Star Trek '09 is probably the best thing he's helped write), so I'm not surprised he got elevated, given that Discovery plays so much more like a transparent cash-in on an established franchise rather than a real attempt to recapture the Trek spirit or to make any kind of a genuine commentary. Kurtzman seems like he's talented at navigating rewrite requests and following commands from executives managing millions of dollars of investments, and that's what CBS wants so that's what we're stuck with.
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Baron Samedi
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

I want to note one overlooked quality that I think Season 7 did brilliantly. As the earlier seasons focused more and more on the Hologram Doctor (as well as 7 of 9) at the expense of other characters, we developed increasing sympathy for him and acceptance of him as a rights-holding member of the crew.

Season 7 built on that sentiment, even turning the tables on us at times, quite a bit in "Critical Care," "Author, Author," and "Flesh and Blood." The final moments of "Author, Author" showing at least dozens of Doctors in a mine conjure up another reference to TNG's "Measure of a Man," as we see the slavery Picard and Guinan feared would result from the a denial of Data's rights. If we accept the EMH as deserving of some rights, then what we're seeing is abhorrent injustice, precisely the result we happily saw defeated for androids in "Measure of a Man". "Flesh and Blood" also carries that idea of the EMH as deserving rights to a logical conclusion - if they have rights, then the EMH's betrayal of Voyager is valid and even moral, as the endless suffering of the hologram Hirogen hunting ground victims constitutes a perfectly valid reason for them to fight back and kill living beings in the process.

Of course, the solution to all of this may very well be to deny the EMH any rights whatsoever, but we've developed so much sympathy for him as a character over the past seven years that we don't want to. But it may be the right thing to do. I'm not sure I'd rule the same way as the presiding judge in "Measure of a Man," and I'm not sure I'd rule the way the arbitrator does in "Author, Author". Because, fundamentally, I don't think either Data or the EMG have consciousness, and I like how Voyager Season 7 cleverly suggests that we at least consider that we might have been wrong to care about the Doctor all along. Although, ultimately, I think it comes down on the side of giving some advanced holograms some limited rights, which opens a massive can of worms, but an understandable one that I don't think the show needs to explore any further than it did.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 9:03am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

A routine and forgettable episode, though not terrible. Two stars is about right. The moments that worked were fleeting and surrounded by Voyager cliches. There were some nice details though, such as the friendly alien Naroq (although there had to also be typical hardheaded xenophobic aliens to balance him out I suppose) and the simple fact that it was nice to see Tuvok and Neelix's friendship fleshed out for the first time in a while. This episode contributes to "Homestead" next season carrying more emotional weight than it would have otherwise.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I watched this episode on a whim because it's one of the few I had never seen before. It was such a delight! "The Ensigns of Command" perfectly captures the spirit of TNG. The story is all about diplomacy, contrasting the crew (sans Data) dealing with a hyper-textualist alien culture and ultimately solving the problem through a third-party arbitration clause hidden in a treaty with Data dealing with a hyper-emotional human culture that fails to respond reasonably to the logic he presents.

I enjoyed the interactions between Data and Ard'rian, though I wish she didn't have to develop vaguely romantic feelings towards Data. She seemed too smart and sharp to believably fall so quickly for a machine. Still, it was cute subplot that added depth to the colony and the story.

Overall, I thought this was a great episode, one that encapsulates TNG's strengths as a show - namely, its focus on problem-solving as carried out by a smart and diligent cast of characters trying to live up to Starfleet's ideals. It was a breath of fresh air after the bleakness, rushed pacing, and overplotting of so much of Star Trek Discovery.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Just throwing out how I would rate the episodes this season:

The Vulcan Hello - 8/10
Battle of the Binary Stars - 8/10
Context is for Kings - 6/10
The Butcher's Knife - 4/10
Choose Your Pain - 7/10
Lethe - 5/10
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 9/10
Si Vis Pacem - 1/10
Into the Forest - 7/10
Despite Yourself - 7/10
The Wolf Inside - 7/10
Vaulting Ambition - 9/10
What's Past... - 9/10
The War Without - 3/10
Will You Take My Hand? - 2/10

I feel like I enjoyed the season more than most people here. It was better than the first season of all post-TOS shows, although most of those first seasons had a couple better episodes than any of Discovery's. I'm also pessimistic that the writers will be capable of righting the wrongs inherent in their current approach. Jammer's review of the finale here does a pretty good job capturing how I feel about the series at the moment.

The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so. Pretty much every major storyline collapses upon the slightest examination (the L'Rell/Voq/Tyler scheme, the end of the Klingon war, the Federation going along with Mirror Georgiou's plan). This resulted in the finale, though not insultingly terrible (faint praise I know), not working on any significant level.

On the other hand, the acting is really good (I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here) all-around and the show managed to be tons of goofy fun. I didn't even mind the evil caricature Lorca turned out to be - it was a reasonably satisfying payoff and I don't think the show needed to deliver anything more.

If the writers can focus on delivering a smaller amount of plot in a satisfying manner, then Discovery could end up being a great show. My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace, so these changes won't actually happen.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I'll chime in regarding ranking the captains:

Favorite to least favorite as characters:
1) Kirk
2) Sisko
3) Picard
4) Lorca
5) Janeway
6) Archer

Best to worst as actors,:
1) Janeway/Picard (tie)
3) Lorca
4) Kirk
5) Archer
6) Sisko
(I don't think any of these actors were "bad" - they were all great at least 90% of the time. That said, ENT S1-S2 Archer was performed a bit blandly and Avery Brooks occasionally over-acted noticeably.)

Most effective to least effective as leaders:
1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Archer (mostly for S3-S4)
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Kirk

I agree with some of the comments above regarding Janeway's inconsistency as a captain, as you have to make way too many leaps on your own to explain how often she oscillated between strictly following protocol/the prime directive in some episodes and her jettisoning those traits in others. It's tempting to try to draw some kind of an arc around her behavior, but futile imo, as I'm convinced there's hardly anything holding her character together over the course of the series. That said, Kate Mulgrew did a fantastic job with the character and made a big impact with her strong performances in individual episodes ("Tuvix," "The Thaw," "Scorpion," "Dark Frontier," and the series finale come right to mind).

As to "Vaulting Ambitions," it's my favorite episode of Discovery so far. I haven't truly believed anything we've learned about Lorca so far because something has always seemed "off" about him and his explanations for his behavior and his past, so I don't feel like an interesting character has been excised through the revelation that he's from the MU - I was hoping the show would go this route, as it explains a lot about his character so far. On top of that, Saru, Burnham, Stamets, Lorca and Georgiou all had strong character moments throughout. I'm impressed at the number of bases the episode touched effectively in its short running time.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

Season 7 of Voyager is described pretty well here, in that feels pretty pedestrian. The writers have firmly settled into a formula for the show, preventing both the occasional catastrophic misfires and the occasional classics. There are quite a few fairly good episodes ("Author Author," "Repentance," "Critical Care," "The Void," each installment of both two-parters), tons of mediocre ones, and only a couple outright flops ("Friendship One" and "Unimatrix Zero Part 2", both overrated here at 2.5 stars).

It's a very distinct 7th Season from the two other Trek series that have one. TNG was running out of ideas, churning out episodes of a huge range of quality. DS9 attempted to do a whole lot with a new character and a ten-part finale, to varying degrees of success. Voyager S7 just felt like more Voyager, competent and rarely challenging.

Looking back, the peak of the show was from "Before and After" through "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy," roughly Season 3.75-Season 6.2. The end of Season 3 had a huge upward surge in quality, Season 4 shook up the status quo and took the most risks, Season 5 executed stories within that new status quo the most effectively, and Season 6 started with a random string of strong episodes. That made for a thrilling run of television, and almost all the Voyager episodes I revisit are within it.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

I just finished Enterprise and have how seen every Trek episode made so far! (Assuming you don't count The Orville or the Animated Series.)

Compared to Jammer, I liked Seasons 1 and 2 of Enterprise a lot less, Season 3 about the same, and Season 4 a lot more. Botched finale aside, Season 4 really worked for me - it had so much world-building, developed a few of the characters (and put the others in plot-driven stories that at least didn't bring out their underdevelopment as characters), and had the delightful "In a Mirror Darkly..." two-parter, which I had an absolute blast with (Mirror Universe Porthos being a Rottweiler gave me a big laugh).

If Enterprise had 7 seasons, I could see the first two being looked at as the bad ones, three as the transition where it got good, and four as the beginning of its peak. Unfortunately, the show's cancellation and the terrible "These Are the Voyages" (seriously, nothing happened to these characters in six years?) prevented that from happening, and we're left with a failed show that only got consistently good right before the ending.

That said, I'm glad I watched it. Compared especially to Star Trek Discovery so far, Enterprise episodes have a lot of breathing room and are more pleasant to watch. It's fun and relaxing to watch the shows take their time presenting a new conflict every week. Too often, these conflicts were resolved with silly firefights, and the first two seasons hugely overplayed the crew's inexperience and drew heavily on cliche, but it was OK overall. The Xindi Arc worked; the Temporal Cold War didn't. I enjoyed all the two and three parters in Season 4, as they all provided a lot of insight to the Trek universe.

Enterprise's biggest weakness is in its characters. Jeffrey Combs was always a blast to watch but among the regular cast, Reed, Hoshi and Phlox were all only mildly interesting and the rest just bored me. At least Archer grew as a result of the Xindi Arc, but he was never hugely compelling and is definitely the weakest of the Trek main protagonists.

Looking at the number of episodes I gave a positive rating (a 7 or higher on the 10-scale I use on IMDb, which correlates with a 3/4 star rating here), I gave 5 episodes a positive rating in Season 1, 9 in Season 2, 15 in Season 3, and 15 in Season 4. So that's a lot of improvement!

My picks for the best episodes:
1. Cogenitor
2. Twilight
3. Damage
4. In a Mirror Darkly Part I
5. The Council
6. In a Mirror Darkly Part II
7. Shockwave Part I
8. Carbon Creek
9. Stratagem
10. Vox Sola

Thanks as always, Jammer, for running this site, and I'm glad you're continuing writing reviews for Discovery!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

The loss of the data here had more of an emotional impact on me than the loss of most of these characters (aside from Porthos) would have had.
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Baron Samedi
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Having just rewatched this episode, I continue to be blown away by it. It comes close to justifying the whole first two seasons of Enterprise. For once, it acknowledges the pitfalls of Archer & Co.'s approach to space exploration and meeting other cultures in a way that feels believable and non-contrived, all in the context of a fascinating issue.

The way the Vissians treat the cogenitors seems unequivocally awful and unacceptable; yet, the episode doesn't fall into the pitfall of blind cultural relativism in indicting Trip's decision to enforce his own values onto them while knowing very little about them. Archer's admission that his own bad example had a role in inspiring Trip to act the way he did - setting in motion the events that led to the cogenitor's suicide - is as close as Enterprise gets to acknowledging how the writers had written Archer as excessively foolish and simplistic in his handling of exploration up to this point in the show. And the subplot with Reed and the Vissian female was funny and added some light-hearted texture to the story.

I'd even put it on my all-time Top 10 episodes list which, off the top of my head, would be:
1. In the Pale Moonlight (DS9)
2. Duet (DS9)
3. Scorpion (VOY)
4. The Enterprise Incident (TOS)
5. Mirror, Mirror (TOS)
6. Tapestry (TNG)
7. Cogenitor (ENT)
8. Q Who (TNG)
9. The Thaw (VOY)
10. All Good Things...(TNG)
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

This episode has so much heart. Probably my biggest disagreement with Jammer since "Balance of Terror". Strong 3.5 from me.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

@mathtans I just saw this and will give your blog page a read! I hope you found the journey through the whole series to be worthwhile.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame


That's quite a journey! Congrats!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Jun 18, 2017, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

@matthans thanks as well for all the feedback! It's nice to hear from someone who knows the show so well.

My impression of the battle in "The Heart of the Journey" is that the Commonwealth was fighting the Nietzcheans, who were being controlled by the Abyss, which is basically what you are saying. The show provided so little insight into what was happening that I had to assume that the Magog World Ship being brought back and then never actually appearing on-screen was the result of script rewrites, perhaps motivated by time constraints and the budgetary issues entailed by producing new digital effects footage of the World Ship.

As to "Coda", I didn't read it until after finishing the series on the off-chance that it would spoil some of the story (it didn't), and It's a nice, poetic glimpse into what the story could have been. Seasons 2.5 onwards does have some great moments (season 3's "The Unconquerable Man", showing the alternate timeline with Rhade persevering in the pilot episode, really made an impression on me), but I didn't realize until I read "Coda" how much I missed Robert Hewitt Wolf's grasp of Andromeda's characters and the potential of the overarching story.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Thanks for the positive feedback @Trajan and @Ashton Withers! Glad at least a couple people read what I wrote. I kept searching for Andromesa Season 4 and 5 reviews and found nothing, and since I'm too lazy to start my own website, maybe my comments here can be helpful for anyone interested in how the show ended up.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

I've never fully understood the debate about this episode. It always seemed to me like Picard's attitude was completely reasonable and basically can be described by three possibilities:

A) the entity cannot be communicated with/the attempts to communicate fail, in which case the Enterprise should immediately destroy it because of the immense destruction and loss of life it has caused and will continue to cause

B) the entity can be communicated with and the Enterprise learns that it is cognizant of its actions (and the significance of the loss of life it has caused) and/or that it cannot continue to exist without continuing to cause similar destruction, in which case the Enterprise should immediately destroy it

C) the entity can be communicated with and the Enterprise can figure out a way to get it to stop its destructive rampage and provide some morally-neutral way for it to continue to live, in which case it should not be destroyed. This option assumes that the entity was unaware of the harm it was causing (or, if it was aware, saw no other option). In this case, it is not morally culpable for surviving the only way it knows how to survive.

The mother is at fault, because she destroyed the entity before option C) could be ruled out (and at a time when nobody was in immediate danger), thus potentially destroying an entity that was not necessarily morally culpable and did not necessarily need to be destroyed. Maybe it did - but that hadn't determined that yet and nobody was in immediate danger.

Some of the comments here are portraying the episode as naive/preaching Picard defying common sense to allow the entity to continue killing people, but I think the episode handles that issue quite reasonably. To an extent, maybe there's some dialogue contradicting what I'm writing (it's been years since I've seen the episode) and I'm just filling in some blanks on my own, I don't know really.

Or maybe the episode should have been ABOUT whether an entity like this should be allowed to live, rather than placing the story of the grieving mother on that framework, as that foundation seems to be the main issue for a lot of people.

Personally, I found nothing in this episode objectionable. 3.5 stars for me.
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Baron Samedi
Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 11:33am (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Thanks for explaining. None of that bothers me because I always thought that the “diplomatic ship” thing in a New Hope was just a flimsy last-ditch cover story that nobody thought the Imperials would actually believe - the ship is fleeing from the Imperials and filled with uniformed Rebels who fire at the Stormtroopers, and Vader doesn’t seem to take it seriously when he interrogates Captain Antilles and Leia - but as many times as I’ve seen A New Hope, I haven’t watched it in a while, so I don’t remember all the dialogue from the beginning.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Apr 24, 2017, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

@Caedus or @Connor, could you expand on that a bit? I've seen A New Hope a ton of times and Rogue One only once. I didn't notice anything at the end of Rogue One that was particularly problematic in terms of matching up with the beginning of A New Hope, and I'm genuinely curious as to what about it sticks out to you.

I had assumed that some amount of time (I have no idea how much) passed after the end of Rogue One before the start of A New Hope, during which the Devastator finds the Tantive IV and pursues it, ultimately catching up to it near Tatooine. Maybe the start of A New Hope is right after the end of Rogue One and everyone is close to Tatooine already, or maybe the rebels split up to make following them to Yavin IV more difficult and the Devastator ended up following Tantive IV. I dunno, and I don't really care.

Is the problem with the layout of the ship, continuity errors, character actions that don't make sense, or the series of events we see somehow being implausible or impossible?
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I'm on the same page. Three stars for me. The characters were not well-developed, but the movie had enough strong concepts and ideas to overcome that. The third act was truly exciting, although it would have been much more so if I had become invested in the characters whose lives were in danger. My favorite part was the Rebel blockade runner ramming one Imperial Star Destroyer into another - it was a perfect image of the struggling, outmatched rebellion trying to use the Empire's own size and strength against it.

I saw the movie in theaters with my family on the same day that Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack (a few days before she died). My mother, who grew up with Carrie Fisher as an icon, let out a huge cheer and clapped the moment Leia appeared on screen. I didn't mind Fisher's image appearing so briefly, especially since it was "filmed" while the actress was still alive.

Interestingly, the rest of my family was fooled by the CGI Peter Cushing, whereas I found his appearance incredibly fake and distracting. I wish they had just kept Wayne Pygram, who walked by briefly as Tarkin at the end of Revenge of the Sith. He was a superb villain on Farscape (arguably the highlight of the whole series), so it would have been great to have him as the villain here, as he does resemble Peter Cushing fairly well. I'd certainly prefer that than the awkward CGI character we got instead.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Tagging @Samaritan and @Leah (who I figure are the same person) in case he/she is interested in reading my post.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

I suppose that my quest to finish the entirety of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, a five-season show widely remembered, to the extent that it is remembered at all, as having disintegrated halfway through its second season into a nearly unwatchable, low-budget mess, should have ended with me gaining the wisdom to stop.

But, I have a strange fascination with the detritus of forgotten sci-fi shows and an investment in the “good” early seasons of Andromeda that kept me going. Even so, Season 5 was a tough ride for me. In the time that it took me to get through it, I watched the entirety of Sliders, another show that started promisingly and ultimately fell apart as behind-the-scenes pressure resulted in a shift away from thought-provoking concepts and towards action hour on a television budget. That said, Sliders never betrayed its premise the way that Andromeda did, and it’s maligned fifth season blew Andromeda’s fifth season out of the water. Some shows jump the shark; Andromeda jumped the Sharknado.

Season Five found the crew stranded on a planet called Seefra in a pocket universe. For anyone who doesn’t know already, the season barely got made and exists so that the show can hit 100 episodes and become syndicated, and stranding the crew on a planet functioned to reduce costs by encouraging the reuse of sets and discouraging expensive space battle CGI. It’s remarkable to think that the ending to “The Dissonant Interval” (the Season Four finale) was nearly the ending to the whole series, given that everyone but Dylan dies in it.

The Seefra setting resembles a low-budget Tatooine, full of dirt, sand, annoying characters, and goofy conflicts. Imagine the first half of A New Hope, but instead everyone is boring and bored - it reminded me of Bible videos I was forced to watch at Sunday School as a kid. Indeed, the show this season feels like it’s meant for ten-year-olds - it’s easy to forget the sexual undercurrent in several Tyr-centered episodes from Season One.

Lexa Doig (Rommie) was pregnant during Season Five’s filming and thus only plays a major role in the last few episodes. Her replacement is Doyle, a who serves as eye-candy and is never believable as an android home to Rommie’s artificial intelligence, especially when she performs kung fu in a bright pink costume that seems borrowed from a Power Rangers episode. In fairness, I think that Brandy Ledford gives a pretty earnest performance in the role, and she has a fair amount of charisma and chemistry with Harper and, towards the end, Rommie.

Season Five does have some good ideas, and it isn't terrible episode-by-episode. In fact, the average episode is better than the average episode of Season Four - it’s just that Season Four at least felt like a part of the Andromeda universe, whereas only the final two episodes of Season Five feel like they are even from the same continuity.

The MVP was definitely the Recurring Cave Set, which works its way into nearly every episode, followed by Gordon Michael Woolvett, who I genuinely enjoy as Harper. The Andromeda itself was so overpowered in the past that there was a lot of promise in the concept of it being in disrepair for the first half of this season, and it was satisfying to see our crew members slowly reunite and work towards repairing it and finding a way out of the Seefra system.

Dylan Hunt discovers that he is a god in this season (or at least a Paradine), solidifying all the “Hercules in space” jokes made about Andromeda. As much as I’ve picked on Kevin Sorbo before (and continue to here), I do think that he’s a good guy and I respect that he stands by his personal values (which I don’t share at all) in a way that a lot of celebrities in his position wouldn’t. He’s just gotten rather consumed by his bizarre persecution complex regarding Christianity and has a bit of an ego problem. His performances in Season Five are OK - he can seem bored at times, but at least he can deliver exposition with a sense of urgency often lacking elsewhere in the episodes. The rest of the performances by the main cast are fine and they have good chemistry together, although the guest actors are as much of a mixed bag as ever.

The two primary problems with Season 5, both certainly exacerbated by the low budget, are the setting and the execution.

The setting is what gets all the bad rep when people think of Season 5 Andromeda, and for good reason. Seefra is grimy and dull. At least in the earlier seasons, there was always a possibility that Dylan and our heroes could show up in an interesting location, but that’s gone here. Everyone’s stuck on a crappy planet we don’t care about and where it seems destined that nothing interesting will ever happen. Crucially, we never get to see how the events from Season Four in “The Dissonant Interval: Part Two” really connect to the events of Season Five. Sure, there’s some dialogue explaining how certain characters escaped certain death and got from one place to another, but we never see it, which is a crucial omission in a visual medium that robs the overarching storyline of much of its potential power.

I’m reminded a bit of the storyline from Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica involving a massacre of Sagittarons on New Caprica that was supposed to play a crucial role during Baltar’s trial, but ended up being cut out entirely because we would have never seen the events actually play out. Ronald D. Moore discussed in the commentary how not showing these events when they occurred in the narrative robbed them of their dramatic power. Similarly, the sheer amount of universe-explaining that occurs verbally, through exposition, in Season 5 of Andromeda just doesn’t “stick” or make an impact on the viewer because we never get to see it. I’m sure I could carefully examine the dialogue and understand all the nuances of the Andromeda mythology, but the lack of visual demonstration of crucial plot pieces really kills the whole setting. This is particularly true during an elaborate evacuation storyline in the second half of the season - we see a sun moving closer to and destroying planets, but we see hardly anything on the surface of the planets and only a handful of refugees. Meanwhile, our crew members often joke and screw around (at one point Beka gets a massage) while the fates of millions of people are at stake. It’s just bad storytelling.

All that certainly ties into the problems with execution that immensely reduce the enjoyment of almost every episode. This is has held Andromeda back from the beginning, but especially in Season 5, the pacing and plot development could use a lot of work. The episodes often lack a clear narrative or clear character motivations, resulting in disjointed stories where it’s difficult to understand what the writers are trying to get across on a basic level.

This tendency is best exemplified in “Opposites of Attraction”, where the plot (I’m not making this up) is that the living avatar of the black hole from the pilot episode suddenly appears onboard the Andromeda to romantically pursue Dylan Hunt. How does a black hole have a living avatar? Who knows. Why is the black hole’s avatar an attractive woman infatuated by Dylan Hunt? I dunno. How did she get from wherever the pilot episode took place to the Seefra system? Don’t ask me, or the writers. Moreover, the first thing she does is try to secretly murder Beka Valentine by creating a portal into space right behind her. How does the living embodiment of a black hole do that? I’m stumped. Anyway, the black hole’s motivation for trying to kill Beka is that Beka salvaged the Andromeda in the pilot episode, separating Dylan from her. So, why is the black hole pissed at Beka, but not at Harper, who also helped salvage the Andromeda? I have no idea.

Anyway, Beka narrowly avoids being sucked into space, but after that happens, she doesn’t even bring it up again and has no suspicions when the black hole avatar inexplicably appears on the ship. Think about that for a second: A) You are on a spaceship with only a few other people, all of whom you trust and know very well B) You narrowly avoid being murdered and don’t know who tried to kill you and C) a mysterious individual with suspicious motivations suddenly appears on the ship with no explanation. How hard is it to put 2 and 2 together here and conclude that the mysterious individual who just showed up is the one who tried to kill you? But the characters don’t, and a lot of these episodes are similarly riddled with holes that prevent any investment in the plot. And by the way, “Opposites of Attraction” ends with virtual fight between Dylan and the black hole avatar inside Andromeda’s computer system that looks like a scene from Tron shot on a $15 budget. Apparently, the best way to defeat a black hole’s romantically bitter living avatar is to swing a virtual lance at it and trap it inside of a computer program.

In my opinion, the only satisfying way to interpret the final season of Andromeda is as a David Lynch-like dreamscape of a comatose Dylan Hunt imagining 1) the new Commonwealth prevailing despite its near-destruction from Season Three and its corruption from Season Four and 2) his friends all surviving despite their clear deaths in “The Dissonant Interval” and following him as their leader once again.

This explanation was obviously not intended by the show-runners or screenwriters, but, in my opinion, a dramatic work can speak for itself based on its own content, regardless of what its creators intended.

So, to me, the final season is Andromeda coming full circle to confront the optimistic naivety that characterized Dylan’s vision of a new Commonwealth and his refusal to recognize the problems with the old one from Season One. The events of “The Dissonant Interval” and the deaths of all of Andromeda’s crew members make Dylan, in whatever form he continues to exist (perhaps floating in space a la “Be All My Sins Remembered”), a broken man who imagines his vision of a united New Commonwealth prevailing against the Abyss when, in reality, it crumbled before him. Indeed, you could even stretch this theory a bit further to apply it to Sorbo, as the executive producer, looking back on the wreckage of a once promising series. (Similarly, the final episode of Sliders, which went super-meta, invited, intentionally or not, parallels to behind-the-scenes creative and budgetary issues that gutted the show’s potential to ever live up to its early promise.)

Sorry if it sounds like I’m whining pointlessly. I’m motivated by the lack of even slightly detailed analysis of Season 5 available on the internet (as all the critics who took it seriously jumped ship around Season 3) and, also, by the fact that I do think that Andromeda has salvageable elements.

In fact, I think that the five seasons of Andromeda can be condensed into a very watchable and enjoyable season-and-a-half of content by watching only a particular set of episodes, which I may put together some day. This list would draw from continuity and quality, including a few bad episodes because they are important to the series’ mythology (in particular, “Ouroboros” and the Season Three and Season 4 premieres) and plenty of good ones that don’t.

But that’s for another day. Here is a brief word on each Season 5 episode, ranked from best to worst:

Classic Episodes:

Good Episodes:

1. Through a Glass, Darkly
In a genuine surprise, the Perseid scientist Hohne who fell into the slipstream core in “Oroboros” returns. It’s odd how “Oroboros”, a mess of an episode that marked the transition from pre to post-Wolfe Andromeda, is so central to the mythos of the show, as it serves as the basis for Season 3’s excellent “The Unconquerable Man”, the birth of the “new” Trance, and this episode. I found it a joy to see a Perseid again - despite their silly makeup and costumes, they have a design unique to the series and they hail back to the beginning of the show. It’s an unexpected piece of continuity, and the fact that Hohne is a signatory to the New Commonwealth Charter even gets mentioned. The episode is pretty good, too, featuring time travel and a theme about whether we are stuck in a particular destiny that leads Dylan to question his own perceived invincibility. (9/10)

2. When Goes Around...
The most unique episode of the season, about an Old Commonwealth scientist stuck in a time-loop. Thea Gill is very good in a guest performance as the scientist stuck in a Groundhog Day-like scenario, and the episode wisely tells the story from her perspective rather than from the perspective of the crew. Yes, it only takes about ten minutes for Dylan to bed her, but I actually bought it. It’s enjoyable to see the crew working together to solve a small-scale problem, and the story has a heart to it. (8/10)

3. Pride Before the Fall
Andromeda’s 100th episode, as Kevin Sorbo reminds us before the opening quotation, prompting me to reflect on what I’m doing with my life. We get a blooper reel at the end of the episode too. The episode features some Shakespearean dialogue: “Funny meeting you here” responded to by “It’s so funny, I forgot to laugh!”. Also, a bad guy says: “Give me your ship and everything you have” to which Dylan responds “You must be confusing me with someone who gives a ship!” The villain looks like Gary Busey and the episode actually explains the origin of the Nietzscheans while exploring temporal discrepancies between the Seefra system and the surrounding galaxies. Tyr gets named in the dialogue, too, which is the first time I remember him being mentioned since his last appearance in Season Four. (7/10)

4. The Eschatology of Our Present
Beka meets an old man who believes Beka to be her daughter, which sets off a story that works pretty well dramatically. We learn a lot of background (through exposition, as usual) of the Seefra system in this episode. The action (which includes another bar fight) and dialogue are a bit better than usual. (7/10)

Mediocre Episodes:

5. Quantum Tractate Delirium
In one of the most satisfying plot threads of the season, Rommie, who got destroyed in “The Dissonant Interval”, finally gets rebuilt seventeen episodes later. She emerges with gothic new look that conveniently exposes quite a bit of her figure. This all leads to an enjoyable plot twist and a pretty amusing android fight between Rommie and Doyle. (6/10)

6. The Weight: Part 2
Beka, Trance, and the Andromeda all show up again, but Rommie and Harper remain absent. Beka has some great character moments. We get as much of an explanation as we’ll ever get regarding how the crew got from Arkology to Seefra - Trance transported them somehow, for some reason. (6/10)

7. Decay of the Angel
Doyle learns more about herself, creating some interesting conflicts with Harper regarding the ethics of programming an Android to think that it/she is human. Otherwise it’s just your standard Andromeda episode with perfunctory spark-squib action. (6/10)

8. Attempting Screed
Flavin returns, causing two gangs to war over access to the goods in his ship. Rhade and Harper cleverly profit by playing off of both of the feuding factions. There’s some cool music, for a change. The episode is juvenile but fun enough. (6/10)

9. Saving Light from a Black Sun
Several of our crewmembers travel around a structure inside one of the Seefra system’s suns, which consists entirely of identical corridors that we somehow aren’t supposed to recognized as barely repurposed Andromeda Ascendant sets. The episode has some of the season’s best visual effects, including quite a few that were developed specifically for this episode. I think this episode is supposed to have a lot of significance for Season 5’s story arc, but I honestly just can’t be bothered to iron out all the details. (5/10)

10. One More Day's Light
Someone complains about a lack of resources to provide for refugees who Dylan is transporting to safety; Dylan response by having Rommie and Doyle beat the shit out of him. It’s kind of funny to think about, given Kevin Sorbo’s politics, that his character here is literally beating the shit out of someone for speaking out against bringing in more refugees. The plot concerns a faction that exists entirely in the Recurring Cave Set that refuses to evacuate a doomed planet. Rommie and Doyle make an amusing Star Wars reference (“We are not the droids you’re looking for!”) which, given the presence of Earth in the lore of the series, might actually make sense. As if anyone cares. (5/10)

11. Phear Phactor Phenom
Harper finally returns, Doyle makes her first appearance, and Dylan interacts with a digital version of Rommie. Nano-bots possess extras on Seefra, making them slightly more insufferable than usual. Some good character moments (particularly from Harper) amidst hammy action and murky long-term plot development. (5/10)

12. What Will Be Was Not
The crew stumbles upon Vedran portals that connect the Seefra planets, which the show forgers about later in the season in several moments when they would have been very helpful, looked after by Orlund, one of the more interesting guest characters. The Andromeda gets powered up, too. An okay episode. (5/10)

13. Chaos and the Stillness of It
Some dude gets mad because the Andromeda saved the population of several planets, though in fairness he turns out to have an ulterior agenda. The Abyss shows up for the first time in ages, although I’m not sure why or how, and he/it isn’t nearly as intimidating as in the early seasons. Lots of poorly-staged action and disjointed plot development, but the ensemble gets enough to do that it’s still a passable episode. (5/10)

14. Moonlight Becomes You
Trance has a bizarre pseudo-romance with someone who dresses up as a sun god but turns out to be a moon god…I’m sure there are detailed explanations for everything that happens, but I just don’t care enough to figure it all out. Dylan beats up the dude and oh-so hilariously stammers “Looks like it’s sun-DOWN.” Someone mentions magnetic forces, to which Dylan responds that they do “nothing but repel me!” The episode conveys four stories, only two of which take place in the Recurring Cave Set. (4/10)

15. Past Is Prolix
A forgettable action episode, with some enjoyable moments from Orlund, who returns from “What Will Be Was Not” to sing praises about Dylan. Rhade blows away some villains and actually says “Bye bye bad guys.” (4/10)

16. The Weight: Part 1
Dylan finds himself transported through the Route of Ages and on Seefra One, which has anti-technology laws, water shortages, and residents who promptly initiate a bar fight. Dylan meets Flavin, a fellow Paradine, and reunites with Rhade. A lot of plot threads get set up, none interesting; fortunately, many are forgotten later in the season. (4/10)

17. So Burn the Untamed Lands
Dylan fights Doran from BSG, who plays a remarkably incompetent villain, even by the standards of the show. It’s a run-of-the-mill, forgettable episode. (4/10)

Bad Episodes:

18. The Heart of the Journey: Part 2
I admire the gall that goes into (spoiler) blowing up Earth before the opening credits, which devastates Harper (though he’s in a great mood at the end of the episode, apparently having forgotten about the destruction of his home planet). The finale has a fair number of good character moments and a huge (though not particularly impressive) space battle - the first of any scale that we’ve seen in ages. They Abyss is defeated so unconvincingly that we need expository dialogue to explain what is happening to use. Worst of all, THE MAGOG WORLD SHIP NEVER APPEARS ONSCREEN - what the hell is the point of negating the most satisfying part of “The Dissonant Interval” and bringing back the show’s central threat only to never address it again? All the lapses in logic and continuity errors only reinforce my preferred interpretation (Dylan imagining a happier ending after the events of “The Dissonant Interval”) and the finale only serves as final proof that Season Five has no creative purpose and is better off being skipped entirely. It’s a genuine ending, at least, but it’s so anticlimactic that it’s only a nudge better than an unresolved cliffhanger. (3/10)

19. The Heart of the Journey: Part 1 - Flavin appears in hologram form to warn Dylan that all other Paradine’s have been killed. The crew finally leaves the Seefra system. Traveling through the Route of Ages somehow causes us to see an unnecessary flashback montage that feels like putting the Season 5 footage through a blender. Rhade has an oddly emotional reunion with his wife, given that she has never appeared before in the show. We learn that the Magog World Ship survived the events of “The Dissonant Interval”, unsatisfyingly negating a lot of that episode’s significance. (3/10)

20. Totaled Recall
Dylan falls unconscious after an injury and imagines stuff. None of the episode feels like it matters, because it consists so totally of scenes that are obviously dreams that exist totally at the will of the writers. There is a clever touch: “Opposites of Attraction”, two episodes earlier, gave us a brief glimpse of a picture in Dylan’s quarters of Dylan and his wife, which sets up a reveal during Dylan’s hallucinations in this episode where we see Doyle inserted into the picture instead. Otherwise, given how this episode was directed, I was surprised not to see Neil Breen listed in the credits. (2/10)

Terrible Episodes:

21. The Test
Some entity attempts to solve the murder of a character we don’t care about. We get lots of strangely-edited flashbacks that make the episode border on a clip show. It plays out like Farscape’s “The Ugly Truth”, but only with false drama as the characters are never convincingly in danger. This episode fits with the dream explanation for Season Five that I described above as its moral is that they crew can best put aside their personal differences by uniting in their worship of Dylan. (1/10)

22. The Opposites of Attraction
The black-hole-avatar-has-a-crush-on-Dylan episode that I described above. It’s laughably bizarre and the ultimate example of the Sorbo self-infatuation that so often appears in the scripts, as Dylan gets a sudden television-friendly sex scene (his last in the show) with another woman who swoons at the site of 90s swoop hair. Given the series’ insane obsession with the Dylan-Rhade fight from the pilot episode, I also got a good laugh when the Andromeda turned out to have archive footage in its memory banks of that fight seen that included all the same camera angles and sound effects. (1/10)

There you have it, my full write-up on Andromeda! I spent about three years with this show. In the future, I think that I will now stop doing things for the sake of doing them, but going through this whole series does give me a strange sense of accomplishment.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Nov 3, 2016, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

@Samaritan I just saw this and appreciate that someone read my previous write-ups! I'm still working on Season 5, I think I got 5 episodes in before I got distracted. I promise I'll finish it eventually. Given that your last review was from a year ago, we're probably moving at similar paces.
Set Bookmark
Baron Samedi
Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

@pennywit I agree completely, this was always one of my favorite episodes. Only it and "The First Duty" come to mind as episodes where every element of a Wesley story "clicked" into place nearly perfectly. Wheaton and Ashley Judd had surprisingly good chemistry and the end chase scene is very fun - it shows Wesley being clever enough to pull off a few nifty tricks but also being captured at the end, which I makes it all believable and exciting.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 11:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

This was hilarious. Not "good" in a strict sense but so ridiculous that I'd recommend it. I feel like it went through a cycle where it was amusing when it came out, then became dated and "bad-bad", and now is "good-bad" due to the campiness and ludicrous dialogue. The acting throughout was hysterical by the whole cast - including the regulars and the guest actors. I love the earnestness of TOS, as well as each episode's attempt to tell a unique story. The fact that the episode is trying to be lighthearted and funny makes puts this in a separate class from something like "Spock's Brain", which I always felt like I was laughing at rather than with.
Set Bookmark
Baron Samedi
Sun, Aug 7, 2016, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

I've been rewatching a lot of TOS lately (instead of painful S5 Andromeda), I actually find this episode a lot better than I remembered. Khan is incredibly well-written to show how his effectiveness as a ruthless leader - I loved the quick cuts showing him picking up on Kirk's strategy of letting Spock ask him tough questions and looking for weakness during the dinner scene, as well as Khan's tactic of offering to spare Kirk (and then Spock) from suffocation for the loyalty of a bridge crew member. I get the complaints about Lt. McGivers, given the context of TOS often portraying female characters poorly, but in this particular story I actually found the seduction sequences very interesting. McGivers hadn't been exposed to the type of power exhibited by Khan in the tame, progressive Federation, and I don't think an individual case of a storyline like that needs to be inflated to a broad regressive statement about gender relations. Khan could tell that her claims of mere intellectual curiosity were a facade (a lie she was telling even herself) and dug under her skin, and she had no experience dealing with what Khan represented. Also, the final conversation where Spock discusses wanting to revisit the planet where they leave Khan and his crew is some bone-chilling foreshadowing unintended at the time. Spock's optimism that Khan's group wouldn't immediately die out (versus how we find out things actually went in TWOK and the bitterness against Kirk the planet's conditions fostered) is a great example of how the Federation has moved past the ideology of Khan to such an extent that they genuinely don't understand him or the danger he poses - which is why the Enterprise crew naively allowed Khan to access to the ship's database in the first place.

The fistfight at the end is still very silly - we see full images of the faces of the stunt doubles, causing me to laugh nearly as much as the lizard fight made me in "Arena" (another episode I liked more on repeat, for reasons that were less intended), but the episode is compelling enough that I honestly don't mind Kirk turning the tide with a flimsy piece of plastic.

This episode and The Wrath of Khan are good examples of how clunky execution (the fistfight in "Space Seed") and gaping plot holes (Khan recognizing Chekov in TWOK) really don't matter when the characters and story are compelling, whereas I find myself dwelling on those elements in "Into Darkness", which wasted a great cast on a horrible script and unimaginative directing.
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