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Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 7:36am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Overall a fairly original scifi premise. The Orville does infinitely better when it executes new concepts instead of ripping off startrek episodes, the exception being Mad Idolatry which was well done.

My only problem is that during their escape, Kelly and Bortus killed several of the guards and destroyed property. Even if the original reason for their captivity no longer applied, surely they should be held on murder charges.
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Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Next Phase

"Still, when Geordi tells Data that Data lacks imagination, when Geordi is going around pushing random parts of the table again and again, I want to throttle the guy. How about writing "GEORDI" in big letters on the console with his finger? How about punching out prime number patterns on the console? Geordi has a chance to communicate and he mostly doesn't do anything that looks like a careful, intelligent pattern."

YES! In general I liked this episode, but that scene was almost unbearable to watch. Especially when Geordi is like, "Data, stop being so rational!" Um, Geordi, maybe you should start being rational and try to get his attention in a way that isn't easily interpreted as sensor malfunction...
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Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Imaginary Friend

This episode almost felt like it was trying to be "The Twilight Zone" and falling compleely flat. The little girl playing Clara did draw me in though, so with that and Data's bunny rabbit comment, 1.5 stars seems fair.
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Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

When I first started watching this episode I was surprised by how well Lwaxana and Alexander worked together, though confused by why on earth an episode would focus on that pairing. Then they arrived at the holodeck Land of Oz...

I stand by my fondness for Lwaxana, though, despite the fact that many of her plotlines (including in this episode) are horrendous. Her mannerisms remind me of women I know in real life, believe it or not, and I just love the way Picard and Deanna act when she's around. (Those are among the few occasions I find Deanna tolerable.)
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Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

I honestly think it's pretty clear why Data chose "3" as the message instead of a word, but in order to understand it, you have to think like Data.

First, and most importantly, he needed to pick a message that he could readily subconsciously insert into his day before the collision. This is why a number like "3" was preferable to a word like "Riker" - he needed something that could apply in multiple situations (e.g. the card game, the sensor readings, etc.) and that would be noticeable to others beside himself (i.e. him dealing threes at the game as opposed to him wondering why he keeps thinking about Riker, lol) in order to establish a clear motif and ensure that the message wouldn't be passed off as coincidence.

Second, Data realized that in order for the message to be effective, it would preferably *not* be understood until the final, critical moment. Why? Because the message would only work to prevent a collision if the events immediately leading up to the collision remained more-or-less the same. Suppose, for instance, that the message had been "Riker" and that the crew had realized this. How might that have affected Riker's decision-making, and therefore the order of events? Perhaps he would have second-guessed himself and provided he wrong solution in this loop. In short, when Data was programming the message, knowing that he could single-handedly avoid the collision in the next loop using Riker's suggestion *so long as the scenario played out essentially the same,* he realized the clue need only be something that he would understand, and even then only at the critical moment. In fact, it was preferable that it remain a complete mystery to everyone else until he explained himself after the fact.

Fortunately for the crew, Data could think this fast even when he was about to be destroyed in a horrible explosion. :p
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Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Power Play

I love any time Brent Spiner gets to play angry on the show, and like others, I'm impressed by how clearly differentiated his acting in this episode is from his characterization of Lore. I was also really impressed by Sirtis here. This episode really goes to show how much better Troi could have been if she had had been written as a consistently competent officer with more leadership skills and less of a tendency toward stating the obvious.

As SkepticalMI said above, I find possessed-O'Brien's characterization to be a little off compared to the other two. This was more than made up for by Keiko, though, who was remarkably strong in an incredibly trying situation and showed her commitment to the best interests of both her child and her ship.
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Sat, Aug 15, 2015, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Daniel Davis: "So all he has to do is just find his way back to New Jersey and get back in the timeship and he's back in business. And chances are, at some point he'll have access to a replicator and so be able to remake all things the Enterprise crew indignantly took back from him."

Actually, unless I blinked and missed it, I don't think they *did* take the objects back (other than the phaser). After Rassmusen and Data exit the pod, Data does say to Picard, "I believe you will find all of the missing items in the vessel, sir." However, no one is shown entering the vessel. It is possible that someone (perhaps Worf) went inside and emerged offscreen, but when the camera cuts back to the whole group as the pod disappears, the objects are nowhere in sight. I don't see anywhere an entire tray full of stolen items could have been stashed, especially in a century without pockets. :p

So if I'm correct, Rassmusen did successfully steal the technology (albeit deactivated technology). He just has to get back to New Jersey to retrieve it.
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Sat, Aug 15, 2015, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

I tend to agree with Pat - my problem with this episode was definitely not Wesley. I actually rather enjoyed Wesley in this one - his conversation with Data at the beginning of the episode was amusing, and his interactions with Robin were entertaining and often adorable.

What frustrates me most about this episode is that for once, a Wesley-saves-the-day plotline *could* have played out in a plausible way, based on the premise that if some addictive, brain-washing device/substance/activity were spreading on-board the Enterprise, it would be more noticeable and alarming to an outsider arriving suddenly than to those who had gradually grown accustomed. Furthermore, I felt that the "solution" to the brain-washing was actually well-handled; Wesley knew enough to analyze the problem and to repair Data, and Data handled the saving-the-day from there.

For me the problem was in the details of the addictive, brain-washing device/activity - "the game." Like some other commenters, I really don't understand how Picard was convinced to play, unless Riker, Troi, and Beverly pinned him down (in which case I wish we could have actually seen that scene...). Also, as Jay points out, "being one of the first few [to play] is understandable, but when, say, 50 people are walking around stoned, wouldn't person 51 be suspicious, to say nothing of Person 51?"

In short, if Etana had used a less moronic method of mind-control so that I could reasonably buy the whole crew falling for it, I would totally buy Wesley coming in as an outsider, recognizing a problem, repairing Data, and thus indirectly (!) saving the day.
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Sat, Aug 15, 2015, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Disaster

Apparently I'm in the minority (or maybe even alone) in finding the Picard story absolutely insufferable, but then again I prefer my Trek without children. I would have much rather have seen Picard and Beverly trapped together. (That also would have spared us from the rather pointless Beverly/Geordi storyline...)

Troi is easily my least favorite character in TNG, but I actually really enjoyed seeing her in this scenario. More to the point, I enjoyed how Ro and O'Brien reacted to her. Overall, this surprised me by being my favorite plotline of the episode.

So I guess my ideal modification of this episode's storylines would have been:

-Troi/Ro/O'Brien on the bridge (as is)
-Picard and Beverly in the turbolift
-Data and Riker saving the ship (expanded)

While I enjoyed Worf's dialogue, I agree with others that the time spent with him and Keiko in Ten Forward limited the other, meatier plots.
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Sat, Aug 15, 2015, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

Data: "Your son's most intense memories revolve around a young woman named Jenina."
Dr. Marr: "A girlfriend? I never knew about that. Of course, the last person he would tell would be his mother. What was she like?"
Data: "He enjoyed her kindness, her gentleness, her physical attributes..."

I have to admit, I was a little worried that Data - being Data - was going to keep talking and give the kid's mom waaaaay too much information...
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Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

I guess I'm odd in that I'm actually fond of Lwaxana and find her infinitely more interesting and entertaining than her daughter. Put another way, if I must sit through an episode focused on a Troi, I'd rather watch Lwaxana - or Deanna reacting to Lwaxana - than just Deanna.
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Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 5:55am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

"The crew's small, intimate memorial scene is so muted that it comes across as emotionally vacant. This provides one of those rare occasions where I will argue that less is not more. Less here is actually less."

This. The intended purpose of having Data die at the end of Nemesis - aside from harkening back to Spock's sacrifice and attempting to end the film with dramatic punch - was to complete Data's character's arc by showing how human he had become (enough to give his life for his friends). However, it completely fell short.

First of all: Data's sacrifice was essentially negated by the convenient plot device of B-4 and Data transferring his essence into his "brother." Knowing that he was leaving this part of himself behind in relative safety, it was *logical* for Data to let his android body be killed by the blast in order to save Picard, whose human existence and knowledge would otherwise have been obliterated. If the scene was really meant to emphasize Data's humanity over his logic, his sacrifice should have been made less logical. Perhaps this would have been a good time to activate the emotion chip and have Data clearly override his programming due to his feelings toward Picard and the rest of the crew.

Second, if Data's death is meant to show how human he had become, we as viewers should have seen the Enterprise crew reacting as they would to a human death, e.g. as they would if it had been Picard who died. In fact, because Data is an android, the need to emphasize his friends' emotional responses to his death is almost *more* important than if a human character had died. Otherwise, you get the feeling that when it came down to it, his life as a machine was valued less than that of a flesh and blood man (Picard), and that his sacrifice was - again - simply logical. To me, the muted memorial scene on the bridge felt like a communal, resigned, "Damn, I'm going to miss him, makes sense."
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Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Legacy

With regard to others' comments about Data possibly believing he and Tasha were closer than they actually were -

In another episode, Data describes the basis of his friendship with Geordi as follows: "I never knew what a friend was until I met Geordi. He spoke to me as though I were human. He treated me no differently from anyone else..."

This is, at least in my opinion, largely why Data considered Geordi his "best friend." Obviously there were other factors - they spent a lot of time together, and they shared a lot of interests, for example - but the biggest difference between Data's friendship with Geordi and, say, his friendship with Picard or Riker, is that Geordi *consistently* treats Data like a human being unless circumstances specifically call for focus to be placed on Data's mechanical properties. (Even then, Geordi often expresses some level of discomfort, such as in "A Fistful of Datas" when the panel on Data's head is open: "I must admit, Data, I never get used to seeing you like this.")

When Data had his sexual encounter with Tasha in "The Naked Now," she essentially treated him just as she would a human male (aside from inquiring about the extent of his functionality, but that's obviously a logistical concern in that moment). I think that's why Data later placed so much value on the encounter between them. When she asked him for "gentleness, and joy, and love," and in their subsequent encounter off-screen, she made feel completely accepted as fundamentally human-like, and she allowed him to participate in a particularly intimate human experience.
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Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: A Fistful of Datas

I actually have a theory on where the idea for a western full of Datas came from, based on one of Wil Wheaton's memories from the show:

"I was a huge Night Court nerd when I was a kid, and from time to time I would ask Brent to do this character; hearing him say "Mi llamo es 'Bob'" in his Data makeup was as hilarious to me as it was surreal.
I remember at one point around (I think) season three, Brent started making me laugh when we were shooting on the bridge, and then pretending he had nothing to do with it when I got in trouble … his go-to bit was to just look across at me and say, very quietly, "Bob," in that character's voice. It killed me every single time."


I'm guessing Wil wasn't the only one amused by Data doing a heavy accent and that this episode was conceived as a way of working it into TNG.
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