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Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Great review, Jammer. I like that quote you use from Roger Ebert, about plots versus stories. I always thought that Nemesis, for example, had a decent plot but it was severely lacking in the story department. Conversely, TMP had a good story but its plot was a banausic series of events before the ending.

I also agree with you that the decision to make this story revitalize Nemesis instead of retconning it out of existence is a huge coup. Another company like Disney would likely spin-off a show from already popular TNG properties such as "The Best of Both Worlds" or "First Contact" or even just do a straight story from "All Good Things" and bring Q back. It was a daring decision to choose a quiet and thoughtful episode like "The Measure of a Man" and spin that into an arc while fixing an unpopular part of the franchise's legacy. Whether you think the writers were successful with this risk, you have to admit the writers have stones to make a gamble like that.
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Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Rahul

Good points. The old shows like TNG (and especially TOS, for me) also have the advantage of being vintage Star Trek so even at their worst we can probably find something we like about them.

I will say on DISC and PIC's behalf that although the shows are serialized, it's not really that hard to jump into a solo episode and just enjoy that. I've rewatched "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" without any refresher courses in the series and I'm sure I could watch "If Memory Serves" or "An Obol for Charon" and feel right at home with them.
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Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I find it difficult comparing a 10 episode show with a 20+ episode show in terms of quality. I think if I paired TNG's first season down to the ten best episodes, I'd rate it ahead of PIC. As it is, there's so many mediocre TNG episodes in season one, they really weigh down the good ones. TNG is also the only Star Trek that wasn't backed by a network (or another Trek show), so it's a minor miracle it turned out so well.
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Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Tim wrote:

"I'd totally re-up my All Access subscription to watch a production about Janeway's court martial upon their return to the Alpha Quadrant."

I don't know why, but this got me laughing. There must indeed be an interesting story for Janeway going from dangerously pragmatic castaway to Admiral.
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Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"Would Picard really have wanted this?"

It's a fair question. I think one arc of this series wants us to understand that synthetics really aren't that different from "us". Part of Picard's quest helps him to accept that the nature of synthetic and organic life is comparable. Thus, some taboos he might have had towards the procedure would naturally melt away as he learns about how human Data and Soji are. I think the story is a tad sloppy and missing details as presented, but the overall drive of the arc is good.

If you're comparing this to "The Schizoid Man", let's examine the dialogue there:

PICARD: Graves, every man has his time. Every man, without exception. But you've cheated. You have extended your life at the expense of another. Graves, give Data back. Give him back.
DATA: Data is dead.
PICARD: No. He must not be lost. He's not simply an android. He's a life form, entirely unique.
DATA: Data is not human! He is
PICARD: He is different, yes. But that does not make him expendable, or any less significant. No being is so important that he can usurp the rights of another. Now set him free!

Picard's making two points here. One is that there's a natural conclusion for someone and they should die when that conclusion comes. Picard is still concerned about that in this episode and makes sure his time will come. The other point Picard is making is that Ira Graves is stealing Data's life, essentially thinking of Data as a lesser lifeform who Graves can usurp at will. That's a different case than the golem, whose only apparent purpose is to be a vessel for an organic lifeform.
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Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I listed a few reasons above. Of course, your mileage may vary. I never got into The Doctor that much drom Voyager, especially not in season one, but I can appreciate why people might like him. Please try to understand that because of differing tastes, some of us will gravitate to one character or race over another.
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Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

One can always make analogies between Trek's alien species and an existing part of humanity. I see that as more of a feature than a bug. I know some people who as greedy as Ferengis but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy Ferengi stories.
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Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Eamon

The differences are there, it's just more subtle. I like how Soji falls in love but doesn't really get it. I like how she's very curious and can solve mysteries faster than a human being. I like how she has the same desires for family and friendship that humans have, but she doesn't have them as a given. Unlike humans, androids are vulnerable and really need people who accept them. There's a lot of rich content there that can be explored in future seasons.
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Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Drea

Thanks for that. I didn't know Briones was actually singing Blue Skies. It doesn't really matter for the story's sake that it's her, it's just kind of a nice Easter Egg.

"In fact, a slow, bureocratic, procedure-heavy lift of the ban could be a good arch for next season."

Yeah, that sounds fun...
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Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@msw188

"Count me in as an Isa lover. Felt super natural even with some questionable writing at times. And sure the intensity of the scene helped, but holy hell her panicking sequence when Soji starts checking the dates on her possessions had me riveted."

Same here. For whatever faults I see in the finale, Isa Briones was a really nice casting choice as she brought some necessary youthful energy to the android role. After PIC's conclusion, I actually followed Briones on Twitter just to see if I can catch her in another upcoming show.
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Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"Can someone explain the point of a tear jerking death scene that is reversed by the Magic Reset Button 15 minutes later?"

Is it magic? It's not the first time mind transfer from man to android has been done, as TNG already did it in "The Schizoid Man". It was also fairly heavily foreshadowed it would happen to *someone* in the previous episode. As for the resurrection aspect of it, I can think of a number of Star Trek episodes where something similar happens. The Best of Both Worlds wants us to think Picard is completely Borg and about to be killed by Riker only for Picard to get de-assimilated by the end of story. "Time's Arrow" teases us by making us think Data will die only for his death to not really affect the character.

Granted, it's offsetting to think about how a beloved character is no longer biological now but an android (albeit one who is nearly indistinguishable as biological). I guess you could read that as a "cheat", but it also feels earned in the sense that Picard would have died *for certain* and perhaps alone if he hadn't mustered up his strength to go on this last mission. It's a sort of trial by fire where Picard has to embrace androids by learning about them and how to protect their race. The final product of this quest for the knowledge of synths is that he's rewarded by being accepted as a synth himself. Sure, it's a little rough around the edges as presented by the show's speeding to the conclusion, but it's not inherently a bad Sci-Fi concept.
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Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Trent wrote:

"this is a doomsday cult. And one that brazenly attacked Picard and Daj on Federation soil, and killed millions of fellow Romulans. You'd expect them to be hell bent on firing torpedoes at that Synth Homestead. And you'd expect them to become more entrenched and violent the more their prophecies and worldviews are challenged."

My understanding is once the prophecy Narrek described at the beginning of the episode was stopped, i.e. the portal was closed so no "demons" would come, the Zhat Vash's purpose in stopping the prophecy was already fulfilled. Now, I guess you might say they could've purged the planet to make doubly sure the prophecy will never come true, but that fleet of Starships and the treaty were probably enough to deter a hopeless fanatical attack on the planet.

@Daniel

I liked your description of Data's scenes, and I think it did resonate for a lot of people here. I guess I would've preferred they connected the dots for that particular climax along the way. I mean, "Time's Arrow" aside, we didn't really know Data was suffering from a lack of mortality. We didn't even know Data was conscious somehow through B4's memory. So, all-in-all I appreciate the attempt to close Data's arc from the mess that was Nemesis, but the arc needed some more meat on it.

As for other complaints about the Romulan situation not be explained well enough, it's just as well for me that they save that for another season. At least they didn't try to keep us sucked in with a silhouette of Shinzon plotting his evil revenge in season two. The low-key ending leaving some open questions was a good way to go out, for me.
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Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Daniel wrote:

"Also, Captain Riker, fuck yeah!"

It's amazing that Frakes could steal the show with a single scene.

Trent wrote:

"And why would the Zhat Vash leave? They are a fundamentalist sect that hates synths and killed 900 million Romulans and countless Federation people so they could find this planet...and yet at the final hurdle they chicken out?"

It's pretty typical for the Romulans to disengage once they have a real fight or get exposed. Pretty much every TNG episode with them ends like that. They just prefer working behind the scenes with intrigue. It might have something to do with Romulans having Cold War roots. Compare them to Russia, who likes to mess with US all the time (and vice versa) but doesn't want to get into an arms war with it.
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Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

@Booming

I’m actually familiar with that material and Shatner’s account doesn’t conflict with Solow’s version of events. Mind you, Solow was trying to sell Number One and this pilot to NBC, so he really doesn’t gain anything from doctoring the narrative like you’re suggesting. I tend to trust him precisely because his account makes it sound like he failed.

Gene Roddenberry himself I take with grain of salt because he obviously has a stake in what happened. He’s always butted heads with studios for not-so-wholesome things like sleeping with cast members.
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Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:59am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

The space battle itself was luckily a red herring and this ended in the most TNG-like way possible with the sharing of ideas. I was worried a battle would eliminate time for explaining things, but thankfully they took the smart route and well...actually explained things.

It’s curious this ends with Data’s life being terminated and, while interesting conceptually, I think there could have been more weight given to that story thread.

Finally, Seven and Raffi were rather intimately holding hands in that last scene, were they not? It looks like they’re trying to explore same gender relationships through Seven (and Raffi) after all.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Booming wrote:
"But we cannot look into the now certainly rotting brains of the tv bosses from back then so it is all just speculation."

Funnily enough, Herbert Solow, the Executive Producer of TOS who helped Roddenberry pitch the pilot with Number One is still alive. He wrote a huge book about TOS and it's his account that the studio would've accepted a female first officer if Roddenberry had been willing to let another actress do it. Not saying you have to believe him, of course, it's just an interesting controversy I stumbled upon while reading your original comment.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Booming, we'll have to agree to disagree that housework or running a family isn't important. I think we had this same discussion about Beverly Crusher being a single mom. At any rate, whether it's the female or the male or whichever combination, someone has to keep a house and a family going so it can function well and it's not an easy task. If that sounds like demeaning work to you, so be it. Nevertheless, Donna Reed is the star of that show and we hear from her character and her authority about how to lead life in a positive way.

"For most men having a women in command in some military hierarchy or any hierarchy was almost unthinkable in the early 60s. It was not only unthinkable in the military it was effectively impossible. That is why a female first officer on a ship is pushing boundaries, a lot I might say. Until 1978 women weren't even allowed to serve on navy ships. Only in 1990 was a woman finally commissioned to command a us navy ship."

I see that, but we're not talking about Majel Barrett actually serving in the military, are we? We're talking about a role that very loosely resembles a military rank in a fantasy universe. Again, even if it was unheard of in the military, why would tv producers automatically go that direction? They're portraying the future with an understanding that things will be different than the present. Why would tv producers care where females are in this fictional hierarchy? Kirk's got a female cohort with him every other episode anyway, it would've worked better if he actually had a female first officer or lieutenant. So, whoever's fault, I think the show itself is a bit screwy in that respect.

What's interesting is that in the last episode of TOS, "Turnabout Intruder", the topic of a man stealing a woman's professional career is the main topic of the episode. It might be a self-conscious jab the show is making and its limitations. Anyhow, something to look forward to.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

I meant "there are". Wow, I really stepped into that one.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

@James, Mertov

I agree there definitely big writing issues with the show and that hurts the actors who are for the most part very good. I haven't seen North & South yet, but with all this lockdown time, I'll check it out. :-)
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Donna Reed is more progressive than you think. She came earlier than Star Trek and showed how women could be both in charge at home and assert themselves in careers outside the home. That may sound humble to us in 2020s, but she was strong role model of her time when women when were transition from to the workplace. There's an article about the character's positive impact here: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6558&context=etd

"certainly far less daring than the role of a female first officer"

Perhaps, but you're confusing military ranks with actor status. Why would tv executives be eager to enforce military stereotypes on a Sci-Fi fantasy show? Are you saying they feared army reprisals for inaccuracy or something?
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

I'm glad you liked it, James. I like it too. I think he has many awkward moments with the Trek material, especially in the early seasons, but he definitely got better over time.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

If anything, Stewart's acting is better. He's less wooden and his line deliveries sound more natural. It reminds me of how Stewart's acting suddenly jumped 200% in quality whenever he could deliver Shakespeare on the show. Maybe playing the variation of the character as he is now is a better fit for him than the original character in TNG.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Booming wrote:

"I'm always a little hesitant to believe these stories. In other instances they could force Roddenberry to do things but they couldn't force him to cast another female lead?"

We know for a fact that Majel Barrett specifically wasn't liked by the studio. Majel Barrett was a name made up and she also died her hair so the studio wouldn't notice her getting cast. We also know Roddenberry had strong feelings for Barrett, they got married.

The problem with the sexism explanation to me is that there were other shows, even earlier shows, like The Donna Reed show where a female was firmly in charge. So it doesn't stand to reason that NBC wouldn't be open to having Shatner co-star with a female. It just doesn't add up. We may not have all the facts, but it seems like something else was going on.
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Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Flashback

Like Elliott, I like how TUC seemed to organically fit into the plotline so we didn't feel like the whole episode was an excuse to clip show TUC for the extra views. Unfortunately, what doesn't work is the refilming of the TUC scenes which resulted in weaker lighting, SFX, and audio quality. There must have been some sort of licensing dispute that wouldn't allow movie footage into a Voyager episode, but wow, the transition from film to television was not a good one.

Still, I really like Tuvok's story and I liked the lesson that Sulu imparted on him. Sulu himself sort of went through an arc of rigidity and finally came around, so I think it's great that Tuvok would experience that same arc. Also nice were the discussions involving what could be done in the 23rd century versus the 24th and the reasoning behind it. That type of discussion does a lot to add to the scale of the Star Trek universe.
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Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Booming wrote:
“Thanks CBS (and probably shitty focus groups who likely said: "I'd rather burn in hell than taking order from some woman!’”

You mean NBC. CBS didn’t buy Star Trek until after ENT ended. Also, gender wasn’t the reason NBC didn’t like Majel Barrett. She was a relatively unknown actress and NBC didn’t think that could carry the show. Roddenberry was dating Barrett at the time and refused the idea of casting a stronger lead woman. It’s in the production history for this episode if you’re curious.
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