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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 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 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 S.
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

@Paul: "One of the biggest inconsistencies from TNG to DS9 is the size of Starfleet. In BOBW and Redemption, 40 starships appears to represent a good portion of the fleet. "

+++++

40 ships was probably all of the larger high-powered ships of any firepower had within the multi-day vicinity of Earth

I'm sure they didn't bother ordering minimally armed science vessels, cargo transports, long range shuttlecraft to join the fight against the Borg, and any ships on patrol near Klingon territory, or the Romulan Neutral Zone, or anywhere else in the Federation or beyond that were damaged/under repair or simply couldn't make it back to Earth/Wolf 359 within a day or two at high warp.

I think it's plausible that Starfleet could have had maybe, let's say, 4,000 active duty capital ships spread across the entire Federation at the time of BOBW. So a loss of 40 ships means a loss of 1% of the entire fleet--in just one battle, to just one enemy ship. That would be a pretty viscerally devastating blow, particularly in an otherwise peaceful era of exploration and discovery, even if that percentage is technically low.

Imagine if an enemy attacked the US and killed 1% of our population of 320 million people. To lose 3.2 million people in one attack would be mind-bogglingly devastating.....but whether you consider only 1% to represent a "good portion" depends on your frame.

And then the war with the Dominion facilitated the need for building more ships, including entirely new classes of ships, and enlisting more personnel.
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Brian S.
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

Episode contains not just one of my favorite Star Trek quotes, but one of my favorite quotes in all of TV/film/literature:

Q: "If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, but it's not for the timid."

I've used this line or variations of it in a number of instances. Often as self-motivation.

Whenever I get into a rut where things seem harder than usual, or life feels particularly unfair, I like to use this quote as a reminder that life as an adult isn't always fair. It's not easy. It's not safe. And it's not supposed to be.

Q is being brash in his normally abrasive way, but he isn't just being a jerk. He poetically acknowledges the

Life IS, as Q says, "Wondrous!" And there are many great treasures out there in the world to be found and explored and enjoyed in life. But it is not for the timid. There will be setbacks in life. There will be pitfalls. There will be completely unfair times where you are going along happily minding your own business--and then suddenly, out of nowhere, Q/Life will just throw you into a dangerous encounter you weren't ready for, for absolutely no reason. But that is how the world goes sometimes. And if you can't handle a little bloody nose from time to time and you only want to stay where it's safe, you will never be able to experience or enjoy all the great treasures that can only be experienced if you come out from underneath the covers and expose yourself to the potential for being hurt.

This is peak Trek for me....a great episode with a fun and engaging story, thought-provoking characters, and it culminates with a line that provides an immutable rule of thumb for life itself--struggle and sacrifice are necessary parts of the journey of existence, but the rewards are worth it.
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Brian S.
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

So the entire 4th season of Enterprise series was just a fever dream by Victoria Principal.
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Brian S.
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 5:06am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Marauders

> If only Captain had said "I love it when a plan comes together" it would have been a near perfect homage. <

I was a little disappointed that they weren't able to spring Lt. Barclay from the mental hospital, but the shuttlepod did an awful lot like a GMC van, and I could've sworn I heard Ms. T'Pol said, "I pity the fool who tries to attack this mining colony."

Also thought it was a nice touch when they replaced the usual opening credit song with, "Today, still on their mission from Starfleet, these Terrans survive as explorers of space. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire.....the Enterprise."
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Brian S.
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Tacking into the Wind

@Rom:
"More generally speaking, how the Dominion endured for two thousand years is difficult to believe based on their Alpha Quadrant behavior. They make some very dumb decisions...For example, had they really had the power to hold on to a large Gamma Quadrant empire for so long, they would have known they had to keep their base happy - i.e. the Cardassians. A real-world Dominion, with so much experience, would have kept the Cardassians on their side emotionally and politically - especially the leadership. "

++++

In the Gamma Quadrant, it seems most of the planets they rule simply through fear and might.

Most of the GQ worlds have either an isolated population, or a small federation of systems. The Cardassian Empire seems like the the largest and most powerful independent group they've "conquered" in some time.

Out in the Gamma Quadrant, they don't need to keep anybody happy. If a conquered world tries to rebel, the Founders simply obliterate that world as a lesson to all the others to stay in line.

I suspect none of the other GQ worlds would still have even the military resources the Cardassians have. The Founders would have disarmed their conquered worlds of most of their military weaponry long ago. Any singular world or small alliance that even drummed up enough resources to fight would have been instantly wiped out.

The Founders don't care about keeping the masses happy because they don't have to care. They live far away on an isolated world. The enforcers of their regime are disposable clones they care nothing for. There's no need to play nice with the subjects because they pose no threat. Anybody rises up, smack them back down with vengeance. That was their game plan and it worked well for centuries.

It was less effective on the Cardassians for two reasons:

1) The Cardassians were very still heavily armed and had nearly the entire Alpha Quadrant working against the Dominion at the same time. When Cardassia finally rebelled, all the AQ superpowers were right on the doorstep. If any other GQ world rebelled, with no other outside support--like the combined might of the Federation-Klingons-Romulans AND the wormhole access cut off--they would've just been easily overwhelmed and dispatched without a second thought. There's no reason to keep any other GQ world populace happy.

2) The Cardassians hadn't been subjected to Dominion rule for more than a few years. The only way the Founders could gain their initial foothold in the Alpha Quadrant was to at least pretend it was more of a military alliance than a pure subjugation. In the GQ, there's no need for alliances or agreements, the Dominion just conquers. Once a generation or two of isolated subjugation passes with no hope in sight, the will to fight back wanes.
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Brian S.
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@PeterG

"I took Snoke's word for it that he knew Kylo's every thought...the idea that Snoke would gather only some generality like "Kylo will kill his enemy" and not actually see his *every thought* would mean that Snoke is just an idiot. I automatically negated that as a possibility while watching it but upon reflection..."

++

A lot of the Sith masters we know about are killed by their apprentices.

Sidius kills Plageuis
Vader kills Sidius
Ren kills Snoke

Sith masters aren't idiots.....and yet, none of them foresee the moment of their own betrayal.....even though almost all other past Sith masters are, inevitably, betrayed by their apprentices at some point.

It's not idiocy. Arrogance, overconfidence, willful blindness, perhaps, but not idiocy.

In a way, a Sith apprentice's "true enemy" is always his master. The master is the person holding back the apprentice from his true potential. The master is the person exploiting the apprentice. The apprentice doesn't become the master until he kills his master. And the Sith apprentice doesn't become the Sith master just by letting some neophyte Jedi scout do that work for him in her own flailing self-defense

Personally, I thought it was pretty obvious that Kylo Ren killed him. Snoke set that confrontation up to be Kylo's initiation. A test on Kylo's Dark Side journey. That's why Snoke wanted Kylo to strike Rey down. What Kylo did--in proper Sith fashion--was to take advantage of a rare opportunity when his master's guard was down and strike. In this universe, it's the only explanation that really makes sense.

Though I also agree that the writing and direction were poor if this many people genuinely thought that Rey killed Snoke.
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Brian S.
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

@Omicron: "I think the moral here is that when you have a mob who judges people based on the shallowest of criteria, that's a huge problem
regardless of whether the rumours they spread are true or not.

And the actual "fake news" that the Orville crew planeted in the feed just demonstrate how silly the whole thing is. Should the life of a person depend on whether he has a dog named Chuckles? Now that's one seriously fucked-up society.

(and I'm not saying that we are that much better. That's precisely why the message of this episode is so powerful)"

++++++

I like this comment of yours very much. Just for that, YOU get an Upvote!

However, I also read a rumor on Twitter that you run a human trafficking ring through your pizza parlor.

I suppose I COULD fact-check that rumor, but it's easier for me to just give you a Downvote and wait for you're apology tour.

:)
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Brian S.
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Krill

"If The Orville can balance the scales and execute as well as "Krill" does, it might be a good, fun series. But it may never be a great one."

+++++

And I think that's fine.

Six episodes in, I will repeat my comment ont the pilot episode:

"Watchable and entertaining enough....even if a little groan worthy. The best description of--and hope for--The Orville is not TNG, but rather a serialized Galaxy Quest.

Galaxy Quest wasn't great or earth-shattering, but it was good and watchable (and importantly, re-watchable)."

GQ wasn't "The Godfather" or even "Airplane!" but it was enjoyable, funny, and had some decent dramatic points.

Orville isn't going to be "The Sopranos" or "Seinfeld." I neither need it to be nor expect it to be. But it can be an enjoyable way to spend an hour, with some fairly interesting stories.

Irreverant TV shows can produce really interesting and clever stories. Some of my favorite thought-provoking TV episodes are from comedic shows like Futurama or South Park

Ironically, I think the Orville stories are fine, it's mostly the humor that is poorly written. The Orville can be a gold mine full of workplace humor. Move past the uptight behaviors of past Trek crews and have the Orville crew interact more like real people who are actual co-workers on a transport vessel. And to an extent they do this. Like the crew egging Bortus on to eat everything, which is a funny social interaction that is totally realistic. But 500-year old car rental commercial jokes? If they can clean that part up and figure out how to do better situational/character humor and drop the direct 20th/21st century pop culture references, it can be a really good series. And that's good enough, I think.
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Brian S.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

"Star Trek used to be about imagination, probing human nature, science and fiction, and drama. Now it's about "diversity," elimination of "toxic" masculinity, and promotion of political agenda."

******

Excuse me? Come again? You think NOW it's about *diversity*?!

Seriously, what in the blue hell have you been watching for the last 50 years?

The very first incarnation of Star Trek was all about diversity. Diversity was the central (borderline primary) theme from the start. It's why the Enterprise crew was specifically intentionally shown to be a multi-ethnic, multi-national, even multi-species set of officers. Russian, Scottish, Black, Asian, Female...VULCAN!

The original pilot episode--"The Cage"--had a female first officer because....feminism!

Hell, the character of Spock himself was created specifically to highlight the diversity of the future. This was not an accident, it was intentional and it was a feature of the program which drove its popularity. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

The core of Star Trek is a united egalitarian Federation of diverse peoples, planets, and cultures, and at its center is an Earth where war, hunger, money, and religion are all but gone from humanity.

I truly don't understand people like you, Michael. It's been 50 years. There have been 7 television series, 13 feature-length movies, and countless novels under the Star Trek banner with diversity, social justice, and various progressive political ideals and agendas at their core. If this were still 1968, maybe you could be forgiven for not getting the memo yet. But it's 20-freaking-17.....how is a supposed Star Trek fan, of all people, still offended by the notion of Star Trek captain who has a black-left/white-right face?!


"Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms." - Gene Roddenberry, Social Justice Warrior Admiral
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Brian S.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

"who the f*** cares about canon?"

I've seen this argument pop up a lot throughout this thread, and I honestly do not understand it.

If none of us care about what came before in Trek, then what the **** are any of us doing here on a 20+ year old blog site for fans of old Trek episodes?

As Omicron noted earlier, good writing fits coherently into the whole. A chapter that is noticeably incongruent with the rest of the story is a sign of poor writing that negatively impacts the product.

I mean, if I write the letters of the alphabet as: "A-B-2-D-E-X-4-H-%-J..." it's not the reader who is to blame for being so nitpicky to notice that something is obviously amiss.

If someone wants to write a "Fiddler on the Roof" prequel that tells the story of Tevye's early life and marriage to Golde, it can't include a scene where Tevye has a bad date with a chick he met on JDate.com. It doesn't matter how small a detail it was or how well-written the rest of the story is, putting technology that is noticeably a century out of place for the timeline of the story is going to be jarring to anyone who understands or cares about the story enough to pay money to see a FOTR prequel.

I didn't care much for the JJ Trek movies. But Abrams did make one astute comment in an interview I read to the effect of it's hard to write new stories in the Trek prime universe because you are shackled by 40+ years (or 400+ years) of prior stories. I respect that. I respect the difficulty of that. I understand the desire to break free and do new things.

But that's why you go into the future. A post-Dominion War Federation/AQ was ripe for storytelling that mirrors our time. Detente, new relationships among the superpowers (at times both peaceful and distrustful), battle scars, letting go of old grudges, new villains, perhaps even the potential for small factions of radicals that emerge to threaten the established order and test the bonds of galactic peace and stability. To go with new imagined technologies and exploration. The 25th century has fertile Trek storytelling ground, even with the weight of the past.

ENT, the JJ movies, and now Discovery all decided to shackle themselves even tighter by telling stories we already know the larger outcome to. It can be done and even done well. But re-treading over the same territory just ups the difficulty level. TNG only had 3 seasons, a cartoon, and a couple of movies to deal with, and it flew nearly a century into the future to spread its wings and avoid the shackles
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Brian S.
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

I liked the pilot episode enough. Not blow-me-away great, but watchable and entertaining enough....even if a little groan worthy.

I think the best description of --and hope for--The Orville is not TNG, but rather a serialized Galaxy Quest.

Galaxy Quest wasn't great or earth-shattering, but it was good and watchable (and importantly, re-watchable).

GQ was most definitely a copy/homage/parody of Star Trek. It had some good humor, some bland humor, and also some juvenile groan-worthy humor....but it worked.

Despite being an obvious comedic parody, GQ also had its own feel and managed to be interesting in its own light. In between jokes, it had some heart and some enjoyable drama/non-parody moments. The writing, acting, and story were all done quite well.

That, I think, is the path the Orville needs to follow.

For me, the big question here is: How long can you make a parody copy of a copy work for?

Galaxy Quest was entertaining.....for about 100 minutes. I'm still entertained by the Orville after ~120 minutes. How well is The Orville schtick going to hold up after 7 hours? 13 hours? 20 hours?
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Brian S.
Mon, Mar 2, 2015, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@zzybaloobah: In any case, the bioweapon attack on the Founders isn't "genocide" -- not in the normal sense of the word.
Genocide has strong negative connotations for 2 reasons:
1) It's *mass* murder. Arguably, the Great Link is a single organism. The rules of "mass murder" simply don't apply.
2) It's indiscrimate targeting of all, including non-combatants. But, all Founders are either direct combatants, or members of an entitty that is guilty of massive war crimes, including genocide and the total subjugation of slave races (Vorta, Jem'Hadar). If breeding slave races to fight your battles isn't a massive war crime then I don't know what is.

---------

Interesting points.

It could even be argued that the Founders are the only real combatants since the Jem Hadar and the Vorta are just clones serving the Founders purposes and fighting on their behalf.

Part of the reason the Dominion is so strong and so close to winning the war on multiple occasions is that the Founders don't really care about the lives of anyone. There is no cost to them. If Jem Hadar/Vorta are killed, you just manufacture more of them. They have two slave races of entirely disposable people genetically programmed to fight and die for the Founders. A billion Jem Hadar could be killed and the Founders wouldn't care. Simply ramp up production at the cloning facility and in a few months or years, the loss is nullified.

Without the virus, the war against the Alpha Quadrant was entirely a win-win situation for the Changelings. If the Dominion wins, they win. If the Dominion loses, billions of AQ solids are exterminated. Remember, the Changelings hate ALL solids. Their goal is to control or destroy all of them. So even if the Dominion loses and fails to gain control over the entire AQ, what do the Founders get? Billions of dead Cardassian, Klingon, Breen, Romulan, and Federation peoples. Hardly a loss from their POV. The Founders would just assume kill all Cardassians as rule over them, and they don't really care anything for their disposable slave Jem Hadar or Vorta. All of their "solid" enemies everywhere die brutally while they sit back comfortably out of harm's way.

Attacking the Changelings through this virus seems the only way to get them to have any skin (or liquid) in the game.


Though, I must bring up one other point I just considered and hadn't really seen addressed elsewhere.......Odo was apparently infected with the virus back in S4. The Dominion certainly posed a threat at that junction and there had been a few deadly skirmishes, but the Federation was not technically at war with them yet. The Cardassians hadn't even yet joined the Dominion. It wasn't a peace, and the Cardassians/Romulans had tried to destroy the Founders' homeworld with conventional weapons the prior year (a military strike that Starfleet Command seemed tacitly willing to accept even if not wholly endorsing it or willing to carry the attack out themselves), but it is fairly dark to wage this kind of biological warfare as a first strike against an enemy that the Federation wasn't even technically at war with yet.
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Brian S.
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Tacking into the Wind

RUSOT: You're still a Cardassian, Garak. You're not going to kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman.
GARAK: How little you understand me.

----

It's scenes like this that further my belief that Garak is and always was sympathetic to the Bajoran people and that his sympathy is probably what led to his exile from Cardassia in the first place.

It's not hard to imagine that Garak was given a brutal assignment against the Bajorans while a member of the Obsidian Order, and then refused to carry it out. In the S2 episode "The Wire," Garak tells a trio of lies about the reason for why he was exiled. You can't trust any of them, but all of them have some variation of him sparing a large group of Bajoran civilians.

Garak has never shown revulsion, condescension, or even restrained antipathy towards any Bajorans. He's lived on the station for years with them. He hated Dukat (the prefect of the Bajoran Occupation). For someone so formerly ruthless and cold-hearted, he has regularly shown empathy towards the Bajoran people, and been unusually candid about the distasteful atrocities committed by Cardassians during the Occupation.

Now, in the midst of the Cardassian rebellion, when he's finally getting a chance to fight for/with his people again, he sides with a Bajoran over a Cardassian.

And I think his words here are very telling. He doesn't say that he's defending Kira because he likes/knows/trusts Kira more than Rusot or because the mission requires it (the way Damar does). Rusot makes it racial. A *Bajoran* is inferior to and worth less than a Cardassian, in his eyes. It's a sentiment Rusot has lived by. It's a sentiment Dukat and Damar have lived by (though Damar is starting to open his eyes to a different perspective). But Garak doesn't hesitate or even have to think about it. "How little you understand me." He's already there. Unlike most Cardassians, Garak already sees Bajorans as equals rather than inferiors. I think he's felt that way for a long, long time, and given the common thread in his "lies" about his exile, I think his feelings towards them played a part in it.
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Brian S.
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: When it Rains...

Kira arguably loved Ziyal more than Garak did. Garak may have been somewhat interested in her, but Kira loved her like a surrogate parent or a sister. Combined with her general hatred of Cardassians in general and the number of times Damar and Kira were at each other's throats, I think Kira had far more reason to want to kill Damar...and she was willing to set aside her feelings for the mission.

On top of that, Kira is portrayed as being far more of a loose cannon prone to acting on her feelings of anger and hatred whereas Garak is a very cool customer who generally seems to keep a lid on things, focus on the job at hand, and act with cold calculating precision. Heck, he even fought side-by-side with Dukat in the Klingon attack of DS9. I'm sure Garak was tempted to kill Damar (just as he was tempted to kill Dukat). But if an angry hothead like Kira was able to control herself, Garak certainly would have.
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Brian S.
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

Boy, Worf is having the worst luck....Over the last 4 episodes, he's been on 3 ships that have been destroyed (the Klingon ship, the Runabout, and now the Defiant).

Worf just spends like a week in an escape pod, gets rescued, then captured & tortured, is bailed out at the last moment before his execution, and just as he gets back to the station, the first battle he gets sent out on....right back into an escape pod.

Worf should probably just take an extended shore leave, though at this point he'd probably find a way to get a paddleboat blown up, too.

Still, he's probably enjoyed his time in escape pods more than he did his own honeymoon on Risa
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Brian S.
Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

So, remembering back to the series pilot episode "Emissary" when Sisko explains the concepts of linear time, death, and procreation to the Prophets.....it would seem they already know all about those things.

Personally, I found this plot twist very disappointing. Sisko's decisions and actions with regard to Bajor and the Prophets seemed far more meaningful when they were just those of a human interacting freely. Now that we know his entire existence is just a byproduct of Prophet manipulation, all of his current and past behaviors are viewed as being those of a baby Prophet rather than a human Starfleet officer.

Later in the season, they make a big deal about Sisko building a home on Bajor. And that would be a big deal, if Sisko were a human. But essentially he's not. He's half Prophet. His entire existence was conceived for the purposes of serving the Prophets and defeating the Paghwraiths. The Prophets are his family. Looking back over the series, it makes his acceptance of the Emissary role more of a pre-ordained inevitability than a conscious choice. Sisko's willingness to let go of his son Jake in "The Reckoning" now makes it look less like a leap of faith and more like something he was just supposed to do.


@Phillip: I hadn't thought of it that way before, but you are totally right. Sisko is a Prophet rape baby.
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Brian S.
Mon, Feb 23, 2015, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

Some excerpts From Memory Alpha that I think address some of the criticisms posted here:

-According to Ira Steven Behr, "I felt that we needed to do it. War sucks. War is intolerable. War is painful, and good people die. You win, but you still lose. And we needed to show that as uncompromisingly as possible. War isn't just exploding ships and special effects."


-The writers specifically chose Nog, Ezri, Quark, and Bashir as the central characters for this episode because they had the least fighting experience. Characters like Kira, Worf, and O'Brien were purposely left out of the fighting, as they all had combat experience and knew how to handle themselves in such a situation. The writers, however, were more keen on seeing the reactions of people who didn't know how to handle themselves.

-Director Winrich Kolbe had fought in the Vietnam War, and he allowed his knowledge of combat to influence his direction of the episode; "The images you see are trenches of churned-up dirt. The battleground always looked like there was absolutely nothing there that anyone could ever want. Yet people were blowing each other to smithereens over this land. I wanted AR-558 to be that type of battleground, a totally nondescript piece of real estate that didn't deserve one drop of blood to be shed for it. It shouldn't say anything to the eye or the mind except that we were there because somebody had decided to put a relay station on this rock." Kolbe goes on to say, "We wanted the siege scene in "AR-558" to convey the psychological impact, and not come across like a shoot-em-up. What I remember from Vietnam is sitting in a ditch somewhere and waiting. It's the waiting that drives you nuts. You know they're coming. You can hear them. You can feel them. When you have to wait, your mind plays tricks on you, and you hear things and you see things, like Vargas, who's about to explode. Once the battle starts, your adrenaline kicks in and you have an objective. But when you have to wait, time just slows down to a crawl." Kolbe felt that the battle for AR-558 had a great deal of similarity with the 1968 Battle of Khe Sanh, a battle which was won by the Americans, but the strategic significance of which is still debated to this day.
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Brian S.
Mon, Feb 23, 2015, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

@WCrusher: "This is where ST really started to tank...
The same pro-military, anti-trek issues dogging this ep as did on much of ENT. Nog has been completely brainwashed by military dogma. And everyone is ok with it?"


This episode doesn't strike me as pro or anti-military.

To whatever degree you believe (like Quark) that the Federation never should've gotten involved in this war, the fact is they are in the middle of a war. Wars involve soldiers. And as Star Trek episodes go, this episode comes the closest to capturing both the dark brutal reality of what soldiers are asked to do and the costs they must pay (physically and mentally).

What bothers me the most about Star Trek is the hidden antiseptic way that skirmishes, battles, and even entire wars are fought. Wars are fought safely off-screen by faceless soldiers/victims that are never shown and whom we never care about. When battles are fought by the Enterprise or Defiant or whatever other Starfleet ship is involved almost always win. Entire colonies might be destroyed, entire fleets might be wiped out, but all the people we care about always survive. Even when Spock dies at the end of Wrath of Khan, Kirk risks his career and life to get his best friend back (no such sacrifice is attempted for any of the other trainees killed in that battle though).

Heck, the entire joke about the "Red Shirts" in Star Trek revolves around the idea that somebody has to die to make the plot remotely believable or dangerous, but never anybody we know or care about. Dozens of Red Shirts die forgettably or unheralded in conflicts while the main characters chuckle and make wisecracks

To me, this too conveniently parallels how wars are fought in our present-day world. Battles go on every day, but they are fought on what might as well be a foreign planet by nameless faceless "Red Shirt" soldiers whose stories we will never hear or care about because they don't directly affect us. Oh sure, many of us do empathize and even respect the sacrifices they make in a general human way, but since it's not us or people we have a direct connection to, it's not the same. It's why 1730 people are killed in one light week, yet DS9 fans only get worked up over the death of one Jadzia and the injury to one Nog.

For my money, this is the episode among all others that brings the plight of the Red Shirt (and to a certain extent, our own military) into better perspective. War is not pretty. It isn't always fought by balding Shakespearean actors in a plush command center ordering someone to press a button which fires an energy beam which instantly/painlessly kills a thousand people. Victims (on both sides) are not just plot devices involving nameless characters that nobody directly cares about.

In the TOS episode "Arena," over 500 Federation Colonists are killed by the Gorn, along with several Enterprise Red Shirts....and all anyone can talk about is the cheesy costume worn by the actor portraying the Gorn. 500+ Federation citizens died in the conflict of an episode has become quintessential part of Star Trek lore as mostly a joke. DS9 shows an episode where maybe a dozen officers get killed in conflict in addition to the 107 killed prior to the beginning of the episode, and this is supposed to be the poster child for this series being anti-Trek/anti-Roddenberry. The only difference between the two episodes (aside from the 400 fewer characters killed at AR-558) is that one episode showed the brutality and attempted to make you feel pain for the victims and the survivors, while the other sloughed off the widespread death and destruction as a forgettable afterthought.

If Star Trek's "Utopian" vision is simply defined by ignoring or not caring about the horrors of the world/galaxy, then that's not a universe I wish to ever live in.
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Brian S.
Mon, Feb 23, 2015, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

To be fair to Uhura and Chekov, my wife is 35 years old, has lived here in the Bay Area her entire life....and SHE doesn't know where Alameda is either.

And even if you know where Alameda is, that doesn't mean you necessarily know where the naval base is or how to get there without a car. Which is why they were asking for directions on where it is and how to get there.

The bigger moron in that scene was the clueless lady who "helped" them. Chekov asked where the Naval Base in Alameda was, and her response was to say, "I think it's across the Bay, in Alameda." That's like someone asking me where Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is, and me telling them "I think it's in San Francisco."
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Brian S.
Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

"One of this season's better episodes except for the Bozeman showing up and not knowing anything was wrong. The geniuses on the Enterprise solve the riddle in 17 days so the Bozeman must have been crewed by a bunch of dummies"

--------

This entire episode can be summed up in one paraphrased quote from Futurama's Professor Farnsworth:

"Oh no! Data's stuck in an infinite loop, and Frasier's an idiot!"
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Brian S.
Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

@Paul M:"Here's a guy who didn't know how to read and write just two years ago! Are we to believe that he managed to catch up on all those countless years of education he missed in such a short time frame?"

I never bought the whole didn't know how to read bit. Ferengi culture is backwards in many ways, but for a society that is so obsessive about business and profit, you'd think a teenage Ferengi male would be literate enough to read & write financial statements, a business plan, a standard contract, etc.

I think it would fit much better that Nog couldn't read English, and that--for whatever reason--Starfleet and Keiko's school didn't translate too many things into Ferengi. Or perhaps that Nog can read well enough for being an employee at his job. Rom did say early in Season 1 that they are given work-study positions. I'm surprised that he wouldn't be able to read well enough to read a business contract. But even reading a menu or a Ferengi financial statement is different from reading a novel or writing an essay. He probably isn't totally illiterate, but rather just very far behind compared to where Jake is. For someone as old as Nog (probably 18-20 years old) only being able to read at a 1st grade level is virtually illiterate.

Nog is very qualified in many other ways. He's a hard worker and seemingly a good engineer. The ability to read Moby Dick and the ability to repair a plasma conduit or understand warp drive mechanics are not the same.

Besides, if you already know how to speak a language, and you already know what all the words mean, simply learning how to read written words isn't all that difficult.
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Brian S.
Tue, Feb 17, 2015, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

I didn't totally dislike this episode. As Jammer said, it was amusing and lighthearted enough.


An episode with Holosuite Vic was a cute enough story by itself. I enjoyed some of the singing. I agree it was way too long, but I can accept that an occasional episode with a lighter slower pace works.

But the existence of future recurring Vic episodes makes me wish his light bulb had never been switched on. Julian's Bond holosuite program was done much better, IMO. One full drama/comedy episode with some interesting ideas, then a few minor mentions/glimpses in future episodes for continuity. Vic got more screen time than the departing Terry Farrell, and appeared in almost as many episodes over the final 36 episodes as Garak...including precious minutes of the series finale that bascially forced the writers to rush Sisko's *death* in order to get a full Vic Fontaine song.

Also, some of Vic's dialogue was cringe inducing as it didn't really fit the characters of Odo & Kira at all....

"It's the oldest story in the book. She thinks of you as a friend."

....a friend who she had no real attraction to earlier in the year even while she was on the rebound. Then you went and slept with Changeling Space Hitler in the middle of an active war, and got so wrapped in your *link*ing that you neglected your duties to such a degree that your love interest was arrested, your crew mate was sentenced to execution, and the entire quadrant was nearly overrun by a merciless army bent on galactic domination.

Yep, the oldest story in the book.


"Women have been known to change their minds. You just have to give them a reason....The girl already likes you. That means you're halfway home."

Unfortunately that whole sexual attraction half of the equation is kind of a major hurdle that one dinner and one dance doesn't cure. Especially in light of events of the past year.

I can see Kira and Odo repairing their relationship to the degree that she no longer wants to kill him in cold blood for being a collaborator. I can maybe even see her reconciling with him to the point where she can be friends with him again. But actual physical sexual attraction? To the guy who just slept with Female Changeling Space Hitler while she was leading the Resistance?

Sorry, Vic. There are no Frank Sinatra or James Dean anecdotes that can overcome that.
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