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Brian
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

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

It is, unless you’re referring to the larger arcs which of course take the season to explain. That’s not a JJ Abrams creation, it’s a part of serialized storytelling adapted to streaming television. In a streaming format, you can binge watch an entire season because it’s supported and encouraged by the service. Lost was a typical 24 episode/season show with a self-contained mystery and an ending leading to another mystery with the overarching plot being something like Voyager, i.e. when will the characters get off the island safely?
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brian
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

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

The amount of time they stood around talking while the ship was exploding around them was just cartoonishly laughable.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Loud Morn’s article is the best piece of reading in this section so far. I’ve always suspected the homogeneity of Voyager had an isolationist slant, but this chap really did his homework connecting it to some surprising political trends in the last years.
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BRiAN
Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 4:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

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

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

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




Also ugh... what a dumb and overly violent head drilling scene. which again.... lost its power due to being too rushed and it’s proximity to Sarus death plot.
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BRiAN
Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

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

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

Both overall.... ill take it. It at least felt like a trek episode in good ways and did enough to make it feel fresh. Im still hoping they can hit one out of the park with a concept that both is new in terms of sci fi and also new in terms of how it is filmed. But this is good enough for now.
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Brian S
Mon, Feb 11, 2019, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Redemption, Part I

>Jammer: "I for one would like to know what it is about the Klingon High Council that continues to see a point in following a family name when it obviously can do nothing but lead the Empire to ruin."

++++

The trappings of individual wealth and power are galactic constants.

Duras' supporters wouldn't see it as ruin. They would see a Duras chancellorship (whether by Council vote or by violent coup) as the best means for increasing their own wealth and power enhanced. Like many aristocrats, those aligned with Duras would view their own gains of power as being "for the good of the Empire."

If Duras wins the Civil War, his supporters will enjoy even greater influence and control over those who were defeated. And the more battles Duras wins, the more other houses will see the futility of standing against Duras and will be tempted to switch sides and join the "winning" faction in order to survive and avoid their own ruin.

I don't think the forces that lead to Duras' power within the Empire is a difficult concept to understand. To the contrary, it is something of a natural byproduct of aristocratic rule. Wealth and power and influence are all intertwined. Power inevitably consolidates among a few individuals or groups who place their own wealth/power ahead of the good of the rest of society, and the whole body becomes a corrupt organization that pays just enough lip service to "the good of the Empire" to cover their own larger aims of consolidating wealth and power.

Klingon culture is a blatantly aristocratic caste-based society. Some earlier ancestor of the Duras family likely managed to acquire control over a critical planet, or set of resources, then used that power to obtain additional power. Passed down through the generations, that control led to more power. Duras' family power earned them the loyalty of subjects and legions of warriors, which beget access to superior battleships and weapons technology, which beget exclusive access and control over additional resources, which attracted partnerships with several other Houses who saw that their own wealth and prestige could be enhanced by allying with the House of Duras, which beget more of all of the above.
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Brian
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

"Burnham is a strong, interesting, incredibly intelligent character with strong morals, honest emotions and an enduring love for science that might very well end up as an idol for a lot of young girls and boys."

ROTLMAO. Stargazer....

Spock, Bones did that.
Data, Geordi, and Picard did that.
Dr. EMH, B'Elana and Janeway did that.
Doctor Bashir and O'brien did that. Shoot even *Rom* did that.

SMG's Burnham does not rank in that list. She just doesn't, no matter how awesome and integral to everything they try to write her.

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Brian
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

Dan wrote:
"And you we were also getting masterpieces like "Shades of Gray", "Manhunt", and "The Royale". ST:TNG revisionist history always amuses me."

Dan, the funny thing is that all of those episodes still carried more weight than any single episode of Discovery for me.

"Shades of Gray" had an excuse, funds ran out because they over spent on previous episodes, and they needed to do a clip show that didn't cost anything. That was the result. Discovery has no excuse ($6 million budget per show).

Manhunt is a light-hearted episode, it isn't particularly bad or poorly written, just kind of fluffy. But don't forget that here we learn about Riker and Troi's past. Plus, watching Frakes, Stewart, Barret, and Sirtis on screen is entertaining just about any way you slice it. Riker and Troi had some funny banter, sideways looks, etc. It's not a good script but you have a cast that is fun to watch regardless and they still made it fun.

I like "The Royale". It made no sense at all, but for me it was a fun episode, and if you look in the comments for that episode there are plenty of people who loved it.

So, you can keep on defending discovery on the grounds that "Hey TNG wasn't perfect in season 2 so give Discovery a break" and that's fine. Just realize that when TNG WAS hitting the mark in season 2, it was doing so on a much more advanced level than anything we've seen on STD. AND, even its low points either had a good reason, or were still entertaining regardless. AND, if TNG did make an error it basically was self-contained in one episode and didn't mess up the entire season. Unlike STD, where the mistakes just compound themselves and take up huge amounts of vital story-telling time, coming back to haunt us every single episode.

So, please, defend Discovery on its own merits, and don't forgive its critical mistakes because of a couple stinkers in TNG season 2. You're letting STD off too easy.
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Brian T
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 9:22am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

I was very entertained by the episode; it is one of my favorites so far.

My biggest complaint is that by trying to do too many stories, the writers don't spend enough time on each idea to really flesh it out.

I enjoyed the chaos of the UT going haywire, but by the next act, it was somewhat dismissed. Absolutely loved Saru's expression of "didn't any of you bother to learn a 2nd language?", haha. I think they could have spent an entire episode on the idea of the crew being too dependent on their technology and maybe even developed some of the background crew members a little by highlighting their different cultures via language.

The dying sphere alien was also cool and very representative of classic Trek, but again, not enough time was spent on it. Seemed to be a combination of TNG's "dyson sphere" and "inner light" but without the payoff. I hope there will be a follow-up on the importance of saving its data in future episodes, especially since Pike essentially called it the equivalent of finding the "dead sea scrolls".

Saru is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. He is Discovery's answer to Spock, the alien in among the crew, which is strangely enough since Burnham is pseudo-Vulcan.

Saru's ritual suicide at the end had me wondering about Starfleet's attitude toward that behavior. In the DS9 episode "Sons of Mogh", Sisko was adamant about not letting Worf assist in Kurn's suicide, even though it was an established Klingon tradition. Yet in TNG episode "Ethics", Picard seemed to have no issue in letting Riker assist Worf with his suicide when he was medically crippled. I guess it varies from Captain to Captain and also by situation? But then that brings me to Burnham and the question of whether she would actually assist Saru in the ritual. After pondering it for a while, it made sense that she would find it an acceptable practice since she was raised in Vulcan culture. In the Voyager episode "Death Wish", it was established that Vulcans approve of ritual suicide, which is why the Quinn choose Tuvok as his advocate. Tuvok even acknowledges that "Vulcans who reach a certain infirmity with age practice ritual suicide" and this biological madness of Saru's probably qualifies as such a situation. Makes you wonder why Sarek didn't commit suicide back in TNG's "Unification" where he was clearly suffering immensely from his Bendii syndrome...maybe his human wife convinced him to fight it?

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brian
Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

"No other Trek series has been welcomed this positively by people who review television for a living and certainly know their stuff. Which makes the violent dislike from so-called Trek fans even more unbelievable."

Stargazer, you are so FOS.

Metacritic:
Discovery Season 1: 558 negative, 483 positive
Discovery Season 2: 42 negative, 41 positive

Voyager Season 1: 2 negative, 59 positive
Voyager Season 2: 1 negative, 15 positive

TNG Season 1: 6 negative, 94 positive
TNG Season 2: 3 negative, 25 positive

DS9 Season 1: 1 negative, 70 positive
DS9 Season 2: 1 negative, 18 positive

Star Trek Discovery, no matter what YOU think, is NOT a popular show. For every person that likes it, there are at least 1-2 people who really don’t. You can state your opinion, post your review of the episode. But please stop trying to denigrate the opinions of others, or somehow nullify the reality that many people are unhappy with this show. We need discourse and discussion. There are going to be harsh reviews, and glowing reviews. Telling other people their opinions are “unbelievable” or somehow not valid is just not okay.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

Just remember, at this point in TNG we were getting masterpieces like "Elementary, Dear Data", and "A Matter of Honor".

Guest stars like Daniel Davis' Professor Moriarty.
Air-tight scripts like "A Matter of Honor" with stunning performances by Jon Frakes and the Klingon co-stars.

And Discovery gives us Tig Notaro. And "more Michael Burnham".


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Brian Lear
Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 12:58am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

1 star for me. I felt like this was some of the worst writing in the entire series. Once again too many subplots. Too many random characters inserted. Too many self-aware quips. People don't seem like they're from the future. Prince reference? Jeez. Scenes last 5-10 seconds then shift. Everything is told to the viewer in as wooden a way possible. So many shots through cluttered blue holo screens that look too busy to be real. "Whole episode is about Spock, kind of, except not really." Pacing, direction, and flow is completely off again. Not a single line comes off naturally. It literally feels like lines are being read off cards, and they aren't good lines. And my biggest criticism? Michael Burnham. She still has to be the focal point of everything even in an episode that really has nothing to do with her? What exactly is her role on the ship? I don't even know. Is she first officer? I literally don't even know what she does, what her rank is, or really what her role is on the ship. I think I knew at one time, maybe, but, her character is so muddled, that it's really impossible to tell just what the POINT of Michael Burnham is. Why was that final scene with Saru and Michael Burnham so IN-effective? Many reasons. But for me, the main reason is that it simply reminds me of the fact that the writers MUST write MICHAEL BURNHAM into every scene where anything important happens, ever. It was so distracting that I found myself not even listening to all the probably interesting stuff SAru was saying about his species.

SMG steals every scene she is in. And that's NOT a good thing.

A few, major positives though...
- spore going away?
- Mary Wiseman is one of the best, if not the best actors on the set.
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Brian S.
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 3:57am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S2: Resurrection Ship, Part 2

One thing I wanted to add (and see if anyone wants to discuss/challenge me on, if anyone else is still around these pages here in 2019), is the that I think the decision to kill Admiral Cain is a moral act, even possibly heroic. Being moral and heroic does not always mean taking the clean, goody goody path of a Boy Scout. It means doing what causes the greatest good for the greatest number of people (without significantly harming the innocent minority). It also, in my mind, means promoting justice (and although justice often promotes the same standard just describes it does not always clearly and neatly do that, but it has strong moral value nonetheless in my opinion).

I think too many people get caught up in wanting to be edgy and profound, along with trying hard to show they are not naive, in supporting characters like Cain. I’ve seen something similar among the Babylon 5 fans who want to claim to side with the Shadows and say they have the stronger morality. I also think these people are the ones more vulnerable to the manipulation of the writers (who here didn’t want things to be too black and white so they started having some characters defend Cain while at the same time having no other characters be the voice of reason when this happens and challenge their defense if her.

If anyone wants to challenge my stance that the executing of Cain would have been a morally good act and even heroic to some degree (ie if I were president I would have handed out medals to Adama, Starbuck and Lee if the original plan for killing Cain had succeeded and Starbuck and Lee somehow survived the attenpt (that’s another thing that bugged me was how lazy the writers were in devising Adama’s plan to kill Cain... there was nothing to keep Cara and Lee from getting riddled with Pegasus bullets if they did actually kill Cain as per the original plan, in the middle of her bridge and surrounded by her officers and marines). If anyway wants to disagree and debate me on this or isnjist curious as to my reasoning I will explain it, but otherwise I won’t waste my time if nobody is interested or even reading these comments anymore.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 3:32am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S2: Resurrection Ship, Part 2

I’ll agree with Michael that the writers on this show could definitely be manipulative, a little too manipulative at times. Sometimes, like here, it’s when they are trying to be overly “edgy” and challenging by suggesting to the audience that humanity does not deserve to survive, and in switching our sympathies around to feel sympathetic for “Gina”. The problem is that it’s done in a manipulative way... for those it works on it is not really getting them to think through both sides of the issue; Galactica’s brand of manipulation is consistent in picking one side, often the “ironic” side, to support. You can easily tell when it is going on because suddenly only the characters supporting the unpopular/counter intuitive position will get good lines and good arguments to make; those opposing them will either stop opposing them (as though the side the writers are taking is so superior that a wise person would see their wisdom and just going along with it), or they will get only feeble comebacks while ignoring obvious strong ones they could make. This episode’s scene with Sharon and Adama is a classic example of this. Adama doesn’t think to challenge her when she suggests that if you think about Adama’s earlier speech when he said humanity never asked why it deserved to survive, and then she goes on to say that maybe it doesn’t deserve to survive, and that is the Cylons’ reason for their actions. Adama could so easily take her down a notch from her self righteousness in mentioning the genocidal nuclear strikes as evils far outstripping anything humanity has ever done. Not only that but when evils committed by humanity or even by a country the ultimate responsibility for them usually lies only with the powerful, and perhaps those who went along with clearly immoral orders. Point being in humanity’s history the percentage of people responsible for mass acts of evil is very low. The Cylons on the other hand govern by consensus and each model agreed to the genocidal attacks, and as we see there appears to be no civilians among the Cylons; they are all involved one way or another with the Plan and all see themselves as soldiers. So yeah take that Sharon lol. Of course Adama didn’t think to say that because the writers were in their critical mode regarding humanity. I even have a lot of problems with Adama’s earlier speech in that nobody is obligated to be able to articulate why specifically they (or their species) “deserves” to survive. The only being or beings capable of evaluating that, as in whether or not humanity is at large too evil to deserve survival or if humanity is no longer serving the purpose of its creation and existence is divine beings; God or gods, angels and archangels, that sort of thing.

With that sort of mentality should we go around hunting certain species to extraction because there is no clear reason why they “deserve” survival? If their role in ecology and the food chain can be replaced by others do we have the right to decide they no longer serve a valid purpose and end their species’ existence? Of course not, in my opinion. To be able to even comment on this issue one must have such a great understanding of the universe and metaphysical concepts as to being able to understand the “mystery of existence”; they must be able to accurately answer the age old question of why we were created and what the purpose/meaning of life is. Only someone with that level of wisdom could stand a chance of applying those concepts to mankind as a whole and evaluating whether or not it deserves survival. Suppose we are incarnated into this world and life as a way for or souls to gain wisdom from experiencing mortal life with all its temptations and pain, enabling our souls to grow and mature in a way they would not if we never lived as mortals, and then enabling us to enrich the divine more upon returning to it after death, compared to if we had never lived and gained this wisdom. If that is true (and the Cylons are mostly very religious so this should be just as likely a reason and purpose for the continuation of the human race as any other), then humanity deserves to survive because of the divine purpose being fulfileld through the mortal existences it facilitates. Comitting genocide on mankind would thus be a terrible sin as it would interfere with God’s purpose of enriching all of our souls.

Beyond hypothetical mystic/pseudo religious scenarios, Sharon’s point might sound edgy and meaningful initially but it’s one that is actually nonsense. Simply put if people are living peacefully, just trying to survive, and not really putting good into the world but not committing evil either, they have every right to survive.
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Brian S>
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

So let me see if I have this right...

1) Union policy for First Contact is to respond and reveal themselves to any culture with the mere capacity to send radio transmissions into outer space seeking other life....even if those civilizations lack the ability to travel faster than the speed of light....even if those civilizations lack the ability to even break their own orbit?

Our first radio transmissions were right around the turn of the 20th century. We sent out the first message specifically intended for aliens in 1974, but theoretically, we had the capacity to focus and amplify a signal for such a message decades earlier.

So Union policy is to reach out to Earth c. mid-20th century civilizations? With absolutely no research on their culture, or anything about them, or what impacts the discovery of alien life might have on such a comparatively rudimentary society that possesses little more technological aptitude than mere radio waves?

I'd be shocked if the Union had ANY positive First Contacts with that policy.

++++

2) Orville can't retrieve their kidnapped officers because the Union wants only a diplomatic approach that doesn't involve force because.....something.

If I had to guess--and I have to guess because no explanation is given for why it's okay to send a diplomatic envoy to an extremely primitive society for a First Contact, but its not okay to defend oneself during said diplomatic mission, nor to justifiably retrieve one's diplomats who have been forcibly kidnapped--I would guess that the Union doesn't want to leave a world's first impressions of the Union being a gang of murderous thugs...not even if the new world is one of murderous thugs that acts first.

So it seems the Union has a potentially noble-ish fundamental policy that the Union values a positive first impression with new worlds above even the lives of its own officers--no matter how bad or violent the new society proves to be--except apparently neither Commanders Grayson or Bortus got that crucial memo, as they are willing to violate this non-aggression policy and kill dozens of Regorians, even though their lives are not in imminent danger (they are jailed, but being treated relatively the same as every other inmate).

And so Capt. Mercer, to avoid violating this unexplained policy of not using justified force to retrieve several kidnapped officers because such a display presumably might harm future relations with the Regorians, opts instead to screw with their entire 3,000-year-old religion--a ruse that will inevitably fall apart the moment that this civilization with radio technology and newly discovered knowledge of interstellar alien species learns how to build sub-light interplanetary satellites and/or spaceships--in the hopes that this betrayal and tinkering with a critical fundamental element of their entire society will be met with a more favorable understanding in the future than a simple military extraction involving stunning a few dozen guards with non-lethal force would have (and, oh btw, Grayson and Bortus killed more guards in their failed escape attempt than a trained Orville security force armed with stun phasers would have).

++++

3) And so Mercer and the Orville crew went to all that trouble to plan to deceive the Regorians by creating a star that they, ummm.....they HOPED someone *might* notice?!

I can buy the premise of an astrological-adherent civilization. I can buy the premise that the disappearance of a star led to some crazy astrological religious beliefs.

But the Orville crew spent hours pouring over historical data from the planet, and they had to indirectly deduce that the disappearance of a star from that constellation *might* have been the impetus for that religious belief, but it sure didn't seem like that specific astronomic event thousands of years earlier was something any of the current Regorians were aware of (otherwise, there would have been a lot more data confirming that in the Orville's research).

So the Orville makes one small point of light appear in the night sky--one that should be relatively indistinguishable from the thousands of other points of light in the night sky--and with the naked eye a bunch of people instantly see it (thankfully the internment camp was subjected to neither light pollution nor clouds) and they all have such a detailed memory of the night sky that they instantly know that this one out of thousands of point of light wasn't there before....and that this one isn't simply a meteorite, or a comet, or an aircraft.....and all this so that the Regorians see it AND believe it means something AND then it's a 50/50 shot that the Regorians decide that it's a GOOD thing (instead of an even more bad thing for which the Jelliacs should be completely exterminated)

.....and then, that the Regorians believe it to be such a good sign that they simply decide on an instantaneous whim to reconsider their millennia-old beliefs that people born under the Jelliac sign are maybe not violent beings and that Grayson and Bortus should be released......even after Grayson and Bortus just straight violently massacred over a dozen prison guards

......and then, after all that, hope that the head prison guard who just saw dozens of his friends and co-workers murdered by a pair of violent aliens wouldn't have just completed the execution anyway, good omens from a strange new light in the sky, be damned.

This episode required my logic and disbelief to be suspended so much, they were pronounced clinically dead on sight.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 5:28am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S3: The Eye of Jupiter

I do love this show, but the more I rewatch it the more it seems kinda like melodrama and immature in some ways, with how the characters always have to be kinda over the top with being emotional and overly flawed. See, I wouldn’t mind the sort of thing going on with Kara and Anders and there was balance... there should be some people who are logical, open minded, intelligent, philosophical, and more on the side of good with their intentions. I’m not saying we need Jean Luc Picard type paragons in the show, but some characters who are more in that direction would be nice. After all, as one comment said above they liked the infidelity and chaos/emotionalism in Kara and Anders marriage and the love triangle because that is real and how things work on Earth for some people, but that needs to go both ways. There are also people in real life who are more generally well adjusted, diplomatic, in control of their emotions, and without tendencies to go off the deep end every now and then. I do get that this is to say the least a stressful time in the history of humanity so the “well adjusted” part may have to be compromised to some degree but still I think you get what I am saying. I honestly think it would be interesting to throw in a “Picard-lite” type officer on the Galactica (more like him than the standard Galactica character but obviously not as much of a paragon as the Trek character), as a dramatic foil for the others and to see how they interact and have interesting conversations/debates.

I do really like this show for what it is but again on rewatching I think maybe Moore got too excited about making an “anti-Trek” sort of show with all the overly emotionally driven characters. The only genteel character is Baltar for the most part, but he goes through such a transformation and gets kinda ridiculous by the end. I’d like to see a debonair, genteel/upper class, intellectual/well spoken diplomatic officer on this show as a main character who is not as devious and weird as early Baltar. It would really change the show in a lot of ways. He could still have flaws of course, like maybe behaving that way publically on principle but behind closed doors having some vices like occasional (but not out of control, exaggerated like Tigh’s drinking) addictive drug use, being a little full of himself and suffering from a little bigotry, etc. (yes in some ways I’m describing my self lol).
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Brian
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 4:15am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S2: The Farm

A few rather late comments on this episode...

One major thing I’m surprised isn’t talked about more is how it was clear at the time when this initial “resistance” was forming that Apollo and the others deciding to get the president out and their urgency to “act now” was because of Colenel Tigh’s obvious unfitness for command (at least at this point in the series). Apollo was content to play along until he saw how things were going to hell and the little massacre happened on the coffee ship and that was the last straw. Now that Adama is back I just think it’s odd that we don’t see him at least reconsidering this new path and commenting on the irony of his father awakening right after they escaped.

I’m not saying this is a big plot whole or anything, I get you could say that they would have escaped earlier if possible but they needed the dissent Tigh caused in the fleet and the ranks to get the needed support to make the escape possible. It just always stuck out at me how by this point in the show it seemed like the reason all the officers helped in the escape and why Apollo decided to go ahead and arrange it was because of Tigh’s mismanagement, and no sooner do they leave the Galactica, Adama resumes command. Like they were thinking “we can’t let Tigh take this fleet any closer to Hell than he already has, we have to get the president and Apollo off the Galactica to start a legitimate resistance against him”, and that even seems like the immediate motives of Apollo and even to some degree the president. I remember thinking at the end of the previous episode “alright, now we will see them fighting back against the tyrant [Tigh]” and then all of a sudden the problem is solved, Adama retakes command. I found it narratively jarring and odd that the characters didn’t comment on this or anything. Hand of the writers involved, anyone? Wanting to separate Lee and Roslin and others from the fleet and using the last possible moment when they could blame their leaving and the conspiracy involved to enable that on Tigh. I do get that Apollo did believe enough in the presidency to put a gun to Tigh’s head (although I found that scene a little unbelievable in that he somehow didn’t come to decide it was too wrong to remove the presidenct until they were right there doing it, and he made a futile gesture on top of that as the marines all there were never going to allow what he did to somehow keep the president of getting captured... he can’t hold a gun to Tigh’s head forever and in any case the marines would have turned on him).

Regarding what others have posted above, mostly about them hating Roslin and the poster who hated how the Cylons needed love to conceive a child, they just needed to accept that Battlestar Galactica is a science fiction show with supernatural elements... if they want to be anal about it and say that it is in effect “Science fantasy” because of that fine, but otherwise try to accept the characters and even the lore of the show as existing in the fictional universe that it does, where things may not work the way they do here.

In other words Roslin was being given subtle divine knowledge to guide her path and in turn the path of the fleet and the human race, and this was through her visions, and sometimes a sixth sense type of perception. Yes she was taking a drug that promoted hallucinating, but who is to say that that drug in causing one’s perception to be less anchored in mundane perceivable reality does not also felicitate perceiving this divine knowledge, which likewise is also not tied to mundane everyday reality? We know this is true because of what the “angels” say about God’s plan later on in the series and because how things turn out (Roslin ends up being correct). Roslin is not the only one to get a form of this mystical perception, the Leobin models have their own variety of it. So basically just because you hate relgion or mystical things there is no need to try to bash Roslin as though she is a crazy drug addict making decisions based on tripping, because in this fictional universe we know that God’s hand was behind what she did and the way she was guided to do it with visions and prophecy. How did she know she was not just tripping? The coincidence of prophecy being fulfilled, leaps of faith, along with the possibility that if “God” is going to bother granting someone guidance to put his “plan” into action he is probably going to make sure that she knows the difference between what could be just hallucinations and his divine guidance. So yeah don’t pretend that she exists in our universe where we can’t be sure if such things are possible just to further your bashing of people with mystical/spiritual beliefs and convictions, fictional people at that.

Given all that I think it would be both funny and interesting to here from those who bashed Roslin for that reason as to why they hate her for that, given that we know she knew what she was doing and was right, and likely did fulfill her role of guiding the human race to salvation? Why do ignore that little not so insignificant part of the situation?

Finally on those who were trying to act like Lee and Roslin were hypocritical for acting as though they had legitimacy rather than that they were just acting to further their own power and ambitions... remember that she was given the position of President through a democratic system, in accordance with the Colonial Government’s constitution that gave its elected president the role of appointinting cabinet members and in doing so also determine the order of succession to the presidency if both he and the Vice President should die in office. And note how when the time comes Roslin does allow for a new presidential election.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:11am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

1 star. For me, the worst failure in this season is how much time they devote to the burnham/spock sub-plot, yet they devote virtually no actual SCREEN time to it. The entire story is told through exposition, and in the past tense no less. The entirety of the spock plot has been told to us by either Michael Burnham, Sarek, or Pike, while standing around in a room on the Discovery. Is anyone surprised that this plot thread is whithering on the vine? By the time the payoff comes, everyone will be in kitchen grabbing a drink or checking their email because we know we aren't missing much more than a poorly cobbled together exposition piece.

This episode proves to me that the showrunners and writers are in desperation mode. They don't know what the show is, or what it should be about. Their repertoire of ideas is increasingly narrow, falling back on the tired themes from season 1. Instead of letting us get to know the crew of the Discovery, we are forced through these long, expository fantasies inevitably propelling us from one plot point to the next, one streaming session to the next. As a result the Discovery set feels more cardboard than the TOS enterprise ever did.

Giving the Klingons hair again did nothing to solve the problem of how STD Klingons don't feel like Klingons at all. Their scenes were needlessly complicated, and poorly scripted.

Georgiou is back and felt shoe-horned in. Big surprise.

The camera work continues to be amateur hack job quality.

Someone said STD is "bad art". I will go further and say that it is not even art at all. It's just spectacle.

Also, consider this--the reason episodic Trek worked so well is that's how WE experience our lives. Each day unfolds in a new way, with new challenges, we try our best to solve them, and then at the end of the day we all go to sleep and wake up and try again. The clock really does reset every day. And WE experience each day from our own, present-tense perspective.

Even REAL LIFE isn't this serialized. STD is serialization put on a pedestal and worshipped for its own sake and that will be its undoing. I can say with 100% certainty now--these episodes that are solely concerned with pushing the serialized plot points forward, are BORING and actually drag the show into the ground. I hoped they would learn from season 1 but it appears they have not.

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brian
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

I put off watching this bc Jammer was so cold on it. And as a reviewer he is right. But as a dumb TV show I think this ep was decent!

Its sort of a tricky thing. when I had no expectations for The Orville I was overjoyed at even mediocre episodes. Now that I expect it to be better than DISCO I judge it more harshly.

Ultimately this ep was like a brain damaged Voyager spec script written by someone who only ever watched Star Trek and never read a sci fi book. the plot was dumb as rocks and the high concept made little sense. but there were still some solid moments throughout. ill take it. The show is pleasant enough in a TNG kind of way that its hard to get too upset at this show.

Also props to Kellys actress. She is seriously talented.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

Hey a pretty good one! Such a strange show. I get a real TOS vibe sometimes between the sincerity if the plot and the silliness of Isaacs costume.

Its like a silly sub Voyager spec script. But a pretty good one! Good ending!!
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BRiAN
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

ugh this one was really rough again.....

Its been pointed out already but focusing on any one of these plots would have been fine and could have been star trekky. Instead we are left with a lot of nothing.

I guess they are going for a game of thrones thing. With all of the violence they must be. However Game of Thrones is really just an adaptation of a book to a mini series. It has the benefit of being (mostly) written already. Trying to copy their playbook in an original tv show is just... arrogant. And kind of silly. Also GOT employs thematic tricks to make their episodes coherent and feel like a single ep. This had none of that.

Well my hopes of the show course correcting are mostly dashed. Ill continue to struggle onward with the shiw for some reason even i cant understand
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Brian T
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 9:17am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I Loved this episode and definitely would rank it 4 stars. It always makes me think about my relationship with my father and living life to my fullest.

Random Thoughts:
Jake’s Tragedy vs Picard’s Inner Light:
I always saw this story as a tragedy that focused on the familial/loving relationships we all have (i.e. the parental relationships that define us as people) and the sudden loss of it. This is why it always hit me much harder than “The Inner Light”. Picard doesn’t experience loss from the outset of that episode, he gradually experiences gain and then loss. He gets to live a fully realized life with a family and then he loses it slowly over time, in fact he is well aware that his family on Kataan and the planet will come to an end and yet has time to live his life to its fullest, encourage others to do so, find meaning in everything, etc. The only real tragedy of this episode is that it seems to suggest that Picard, in the real world, has specifically chosen not to have this kind of life due to his commitment to his career in Starfleet and that he may never experience the “inner light” that these relationships gave him. But it is actively Picard’s choice to choose career over a family and he has plenty of time to still find one; in fact, if we are to believe the Star Trek novelizations, Picard will one day marry Beverley Crusher and may have this kind of family sometime. So, although it was neat to see Picard with a family, I was never as emotionally invested by the story, especially as someone who has yet to experience a spouse and kids. Perhaps when I am a 100 year old man who has seen friends and spouses die to old age and prepare to face my own death it will resonate with me more.

On the other hand, Jake was still a yet-to-mature boy of 18, and is at that time in his life was most strongly defined by his relationship with Ben. This relationship is ripped away suddenly and he does not have the experience or support structure to adapt. Anyone who has lost a parent can relate to his pain, as opposed to Picard’s drama in TIL (if you haven’t experienced a full life with a spouse, kids, and grand kids), but more importantly, Jake cannot get past Ben (because he keeps visiting), but also discovers that Ben didn’t simply die, he is trapped in limbo and will likely be there for all eternity. Imagine if you find out your parent was being held in a prison beyond your reach and that long after you died they would be still be suffering (of some sorts) for all time. This fuels Jake’s already obsession-prone behavior to sacrifice everything to reset time…in fact, Jake sacrifices the same familial relationship that Picard earned in TIL, in order to save Ben.

The Time-Reset:
While many people scoff at Jake resetting the timeline immorally to serve his own ends, I say that the risks and rewards are too undefined to claim that it was wrong. Some say that his future was rosy since the Dominion war never occurred in a timeline where Sisko died in season 4 (which also suggests that Sisko really wasn’t all that pivotal to history), but one only has bits-and-pieces of information. True, the worst-case-scenario where the Dominion invade and take over is not realized, but that only means this future is better than that one, it does not suggest that this future is ideal. Think about what is known about this future and see how it compares to the one we know happens at the end of DS9. For this comparison, one has to have watched the series to conclusion:
1. Without Sisko, the Klingons remain an aggressive force in the AQ with their military might to the point that they even assume control over the station and the wormhole. Why doesn’t the Dominion invade in this future? Because maybe they already got what they wanted. Changeling Martok is in a position of power in the Klingon Empire when Sisko dies and probably at some point takes over the Klingon Empire because Sisko/Odo never expose him in Season 5. So, the Dominion never invades because they have already taken over the AQ at this point and nobody even knows it. The Klingon Empire (ruled secretly by the Founders) has essential dominance over the wormhole sector of the AQ (maybe more, perhaps even Cardassia and Bajor at this point) and therefore controls any access to/from the Gamma Quadrant. The Founders never invade because they are never at risk of being conquered so long as they control the wormhole and can slowly continue to destabilize the AQ with their Klingon puppets over the course of the next few decades. Doesn’t sound like great future to me.
2. With the death of the Emissary, the Bajorans lose hope and retreat from the joining the Federation. So we have a future where they are ruled by the Shakaar government and Kai Winn. Compare that to the true future in season 7 where Winn is removed from power and Bajor is on the cusp of joining (which they do eventually do in the Star trek novels). Just look at how much damage Winn causes in Season 4 Accession when Akorem comes out of the wormhole and brings the Bajoran state back to its religiously-conservative caste system that would have ousted Shakaar at the next election and probably put Kai Winn (or her religiously-conservative equivalent) at the head of the State. This future for Bajor with no Emissary to oppose it also sounds not too great.

Also, I agree that one cannot call this a “reset button” episode since the audience knew all along that it was going to be “undone” in some fashion, that the character arc development for Old Jake reached its concussion (and in doing so conveyed the tragedy to the audience), and that Ben retained knowledge of it all (therefore impacting his future father-son relationship which was the whole point of the episode).

Jake-Ben Relationship Progression to End-of-Series:
As pointed out above, the father/son Ben/Jake relationship is one of the best and most endearing in the series and as the show progresses, we see that relationship strained more and more. Mentioned above, the major character conflicts that drive Jake and Ben apart are the Sisko-Prophet episodes where Ben has to choose between his son and his destiny as Emissary/Prophet. As the series progresses, Sisko moves toward accepting his role/destiny as Emissary and Prophet knowing all along that it distances himself from Jake…and the tragedy of it all being that The Visitor showed him how much their relationship meant to them both. But one cannot fight destiny and Ben joins the Prophets in the end, mirroring this scenario in The Visitor. Is the ending of the series tragic since Ben abandons Jake to be with the Prophets just like how he "left" him in The Visitor? Let’s thing about that.

I would argue that Jake matures a great deal since the start of Season 4 and is much better prepared to handle losing Ben by the end of Season 7:

-Season 4 “Paradise Lost/Crossfire”: Jake spends time with his Grandfather as blooming adult and can even stand up to him to the point where he insists that Grandpa take a blood sampling test. Compare this to his prior relationship of always acquiescing and being forced to peel potatoes in the restaurant all day; we see that he has grown-up a little relative to his Grandpa.

-Season 4 “The Muse”: Jake continues to distance himself from his father in pursuit of his own goals. He refuses a father-son trip with Ben in order to focus on a story he is writing and even keeps secret from him the fact that he is meeting with a strange women in an intimate setting (she is massaging his head in her quarters…while eating his creativity?).

-Season 4 “Shattered Mirror”: Jake meets his mirror mother in mirror Jenifer Sisko and then has to watch her die right in front of him. Even though this brings Jake and Ben closer to each other as they both grieve over the re-death of a Jennifer Sisko, he now (sort of) has experience watching a loved parent-like figure die and apparently gets over it emotionally.

-Season 5 “Nor the Battle to the Strong”: Jake experiences the real world, war, and life & death away from his father and takes a hard look inside himself to determine if he is courageous or a coward. Then he exposes that in his writing and shares it with the world. He has become more self-aware, courageous, and takes steps toward his future career in writing.

-Season 5 “The Ascent”: Jake moves out of his father’s quarters and begins to have a fully realized life on his own where he doesn’t even see Ben every day…perhaps only once or twice a week to score a free dinner meal.

-Season 6 “Rapture”: Sisko chooses to have life-threatening visions that may kill him in order to embrace his destiny as Emissary. Although Jake overrides comatose Ben’s wishes in the end, he learns that the Emissary/Prophet destiny means enough to Ben to risk a life with Cassidy and him. This also brings Cassidy back into the picture and strengthens the bond between her and Jake. As both stand by while Sisko faces death, you get the sense that they are already a family unit.

-Season 5 “In The Cards”: Jake realizes his father is depressed due to larger-than-life circumstances beyond his control (i.e. looming threat of Dominion war) and embarks on a quest to correct the situation not by ending the threat of the Dominion way, but rather by focusing on the little things. A token gift of a baseball card changes nothing about the Dominion war scenario but can be seen as a healthy form of dealing with negative feelings by focusing on what makes one happy instead of what makes one sad.

Season 5/6 “Call to Arms” to “Sacrifice of Angels”: Jake risks life-and-limb and goes against Ben’s known orders to abandon the station in order to be an investigate journalist under Dominion rule thereby furthering his future writing career and removing his dependence on his father (although he is dependent on his father’s reputation as Emissary).

Season 6 “The Reckoning”: Sisko sides with the Prophets when both Kira and Jake are possessed by a Prophet and a Paighwraith, respectively. Jake learns and accepts that Ben’s destiny as Emissary and faith in the Prophets means he is willing to sacrifice is own son for a greater good. Jake has therefore accepted a reality where he and Ben are separated for a noble cause.

Season 6 “Valiant”: While along-for-the ride with Nog and a bunch of overzealous Red Squad Cadets, Jake has the courage to go against the grain, stand up to “Captain" Waters and tell everybody that they are foolish for embarking on a suicide mission. A weaker personality would have been swayed by Waters bull crap and even Nog was swayed into obedience (and Nog typically has a stronger personality than Jake).

Season 7/8 “Tears of the Prophets” – “Shadows and Symbols”: Ben Sisko becomes a broken man after failing in his duty as Emissary and allowing Jadzia to die. Jake acts as the support structure this time and holds Ben up: despite already living on his own, he moves back to Earth with Ben to help him recover emotionally or spiritually or whatever. Then he goes as far as to save Ben from the cult-of-the-paighwraith assassin and then accompany him to Tyree. Instead of Jake being dependent on Ben and seeing him as larger-than-life, Jake experiences his father as a “human being”. Jake no longer puts Ben up on a pedestal the way most children see their parents and is now adult enough to be the one who Ben needs to depend on. This can be seen as a reversal of roles rather than the crippling dependence Jake had on Ben at the end of Season 4.

Season 7 “What You Leave Behind” - In the end, Sisko goes off to join the Prophets in the wormhole. While this seems to mirror what happened in The Visitor, there are major differences that completely change the scenario. This time, he is not a prisoner in limbo, alone and with no purpose, but rather accompanied by his own people (his own prophet mother in fact), to serve a higher mission, and with the possibility of return. He also communicates to Cassidy that he is at peace with this fate. Jake, instead of being alone (save for his Grandfather whom he was a child to in Season 4), Jake is now left with new familial bonds. He is become a man is his Grandfather’s eyes and stands on higher footing with him, he has a new mother in the form of Cassidy and she is pregnant, making Jake a future brother to watch over. Lastly, Jake has matured professionally and emotionally to be independent and have a more defined purpose in life with his writing career.

Overall, Jake is in much better circumstance to move on with his life despite Ben being in the Wormhole.

Melanie and Erasing the current Timeline:
I dismiss the idea that Melanie should have acted more aggressively to either stop old Jake from altering the timeline or said something to try to convince him not to. Most likely she comprehended everything he was saying (including the concept that he was going to erase her existence) but simply did not believe it enough to act. If someone, even someone you respected and admired, told you such a fantastic story, would you really act to stop it or would you dismiss it as the rambling dementia of an old man with little probability of being real? Melanie did what most of us would do in that situation, nod her head respectfully, get what she wanted out of the encounter (i.e. writing advice and a copy of his book), and excuse herself from the room.

Finally, when Old Jake tells the story to Melanie in the first place and even gives her the copy of his book, one asks why if he was just going to erase the timeline? Perhaps Old Jake believed there was 0.0001% probability that he was wrong and about to commit suicide for no reason. In that case, he at least wanted someone to know why he was about to die and even benefit from his story. Even if he believed there was a 100% chance of success, I would suggest existence in the moment is meaningful in itself. By telling Melanie his story, even if the timeline gets erased later, at that moment in time and reality, his encounter had meaning to both himself and Melanie. Similarly with the gifting of the book.

That's my long drawn-out random take!









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BRiAN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: New Eden

Far and away the best ep of the whole series so far. I enjoyed the couple of moments of actual science fiction when the used the very dense greater mass fark matter to pull away the radioactive elements. Finnally a decent script! If they can weave the larger arc ariund smaller sci fi stories like this we’ll be in good shape. Hopefully the show is course correcting!
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