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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

@Sleeper Agent

With respect, I think you're missing out on the big picture of this one. There's two huge unintuitive, or anti-heroic, conflicts in the episode. The first is that saving the sweet intelligent woman does not save the day. The second is that peace is not the correct path towards freedom. Kirk is left with making two horrible decisions that he clearly doesn't wish to make and his struggle with that conflict is what makes the episode good. It takes the idea that "if only we could've prevented these bad things in the past things would've been better" and flips it on its head. The ending is also bittersweet, as Kirk leaves the planet feeling disgusted despite doing the most logical thing he could.
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Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

It's nice that Garrett was in a beauty magazine and all, but Lien herself was a beautiful woman in her own right. It sounds like the problems with Kess go beyond the aesthetic.
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 11:09am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

@Fenn

I’m with you on not being overly nitpicky on historical accuracy, especially in this case when it’s kind of out-of-universe issue. Even so, historically California was a free state before the Civil War and there were always a small handful of well-read free blacks who had money and political clout to do things other blacks could not. Given Guinan’s attire and the circle she’s rubbing elbows with, we can only assume she was posing as an ultra-elite black. I would just keep in mind this was an extremely rare exception back then and we can see Clemens’ intellectual relationship with a black woman as more about the historical fact that Clemens was an influential abolitionist of the time.
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Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Looking over Auberjonois's bio, it was surprising to see that I first saw him perform through MASH and "The Little Mermaid" before he was cast here as Odo. DS9 really gives Auberjonois plenty of time to show us his true ability in playing many parts. I mean, he's a shapeshifter; he can literally be anything and somehow he pulled off that complicated role beautifully. Many thanks to him for all these years of entertainment!
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Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

Brilliant episode that really plays out the Trek ethos. There’s a nice scene right in the beginning where McCoy ignores the red alert signal emphasizing that danger shouldn’t always be met with panic and fear. I really like the idea that both sides wanted to get to know each other, but the two peoples were so different that First Contact came down to a series of bluffs and upping the ante. One doesn’t need to think too hard to allegorize this story to many conflicts and wars in human history.

Lt. Baley had a great arc going from being a green officer we might associate with the military of our time, while Kirk and company sharply contrasted that by being the military (or non-military) of the future. This reminds me much of TNG’s “Darmok” with Riker being the naively aggressive officer and Picard navigating real cross-cultural alien understanding. I think I’ll go 4 stars.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Booming, that's fine. Incidentally, I don't think the women's role comparisons to DS9 and VOY are really that insightful because it's kind of like saying "The Cosby Show was no where near as progressive as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which showed black people in even more successful and respectable jobs." First maybe we should ask if DS9 could've even gotten on the air if TNG wasn't as successful with its progressive views.

@OMICRON

Auto-correct. I post on mobile sometimes and it makes my already clumsy spelling worse. :*(
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I get it, though I don’t agree that depicting a working single doctor/scientist mom was typical before the late 80s when this show debuted. It’s fine that you think Crusher’s bland, but *the show* does presents her as intelligent and capable in more ways than just motherhood.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 6:44am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I never said Crusher was motherly but okay, she literally is a mother. I think separating “strong” characters from “mothers” is a bad distinction to make in the first place.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 4:07am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

“They could have replaced Tasha with another woman”

Yeah, I agree this could have been interesting. But I think it was more a matter of Dorn being exceptionally talented in the security role than anything nefarious.

“Pulaski ‘never quite worked’ whatever that means”

Diana Muldaur didn’t want to sign for a third season and the showrunners/fans liked McFadden better. According to Muldaur, putting an anti-tech character on a show that was considerably pro-technology made her character unlikable. There’s a Memory Alpha on the subject, but whether it was the writing or the acting the character wasn’t a good fit for the show.

“I have a hard time remembering anything about Beverly.”

That’s really a shame. I’ve been reading the reviews on treknobabble as of late and both of the reviewers really like the character. They highlight many of Crusher’s best moments and I think that’s made me realize how important she is to the show and to the fans.
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Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"Whoopie Goldberg was only on the show because she really wanted to. They didn't plan that."

I don't think that point matters in terms of gender being given a fair shot on the show. We already know there were good female roles like Tasha amd Pulaskia that the showrunners DID plan for that didn't work out, so obviously they were receptive to strong female roles.

Whatever percentage of episodes Guinan is in, she's still given really good material and treated as an important character who *everyone* listens to. And the reverence women's wisdom doesn't stop with Guinan. Even though the execution of Troi is sometimes very bad, it's still notable that Picard listens to her and treats her advice seriously in almost every situation.

And I'm with Omni on the Crusher girl talk being given too much attention over important contributions. Has anyone watched TNG recently and honestly looked at how many times Crusher has saved the ship? I think it's more subtle than say Data, but there's quite a few mystery episodes like "Clues", "The Most Toys" and "Suspicions" where Crusher is the first or only one to assess the problem correctly.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 6:27am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

I wonder what GR’s reasoning for having kids on Enterprise was in the first place. Was it some sort of hippy ideal that Roddenberry held that by the 24th century humans would have evolved beyond violence to the point that even a military-use vessel would be safe for children? Or perhaps he was just interested in getting a younger demographic interested in Star Trek?
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Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Jason, I was writing in the context of initial casting which, considering TOS, was fairly progressive. There’s a huge shift from women’s roles in Trek from TOS to TNG. Of course, now that we have Voyager and Discovery it’s easy to take that for granted.

Yet I agree that there was a lack of follow through with the main female characters and even Gene’s original TOS/TNG casting choices weren’t preserved which is a darn shame. Nevertheless, there’s enough good strong guest star women characters and the writing is considerate enough that I think it works.

As for Pulaski, she’s memorable because she’s annoying. I’ll counter your thought experiment with another: how many season 2 comments on this site are complaints about Pulaski? Heck, not too long ago a woman here made an alt to specifically complain about her episodes and especially her treatment of Data. To be blunt, the actress wasn’t very good in TOS and didn’t get along with the TNG cast. I do think she got better and had a good arc - often I even defend her against complaints. But in the end, Crusher had good chemistry with the show and was a team player.
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Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Thing is, like OTDP alluded, the CMO is part of the big 3 of The Original Series. In Star Trek, especially the ship shows, the doctor does just about everything. So it’s notable that they’d put in a woman in that position. Maybe they could’ve done more with Troi and replaced Tasha, but characters like Guinan and Ro Laren make the show feel pretty well-rounded.
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Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 6:39am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Beverly Crusher is not just a “caregiver”. She’s a science officer and solves many of the show’s problems-of-the-week. Severely underrated character, in my opinion.
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Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Sorry Carmen, again I agreed with the substance of your original comment and I think it’s very good. It’s the hyperbolic things like “admirals wearing mini-skirts and climbing through Jeffrey’s tubes” which I take issue with.

Like Peter G. has mentioned, there’s a larger discussion out there about whether such outfits are really harmful or not. It’s an interesting topic, and I don’t claim to have all the answers, so I ask.
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Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

@Carmen

I’ll give you Troi, as she was obviously used as eye candy. But even then, I don’t know, Troi’s supposed to be dressing as an alien - as in this is NOT the way humans behave in TNG. So Troi is hardly an exemplar for standard females. But Tasha, Crusher and all the others named characters wore pants IIRC.
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Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:59am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I’m confused, who was a “Yeoman Betty” in season one of TNG? Carmen, I agree that this episode was a pretty refreshing gender reversal for its time and I enjoy some aspects of it for that reason. I’d like to think things have changed in gender politics in the modern workplace — but maybe not so much?
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Tue, Nov 26, 2019, 11:06am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Warhead

If anything, I’d read the stars more like:

**** = A Excellent
*** = B Above Average
** = C Average
* = D Below Average
no stars = F

And then you can +/- as needed. I think AV Club uses this letter system.
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Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Think Tank

Proteus’s description (that morals and honesty are sometimes more important that intellect) would’ve been a really good way for Seven to decide that perfection at all costs isn’t everything. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t bear out that way. Instead Janeway decides to beat the conmen by conning them - the only way to beat an immoral group of smart people is with an immoral solution - i.e. a cheat.

Thus, the ending leaves us to believe that if Janeway’s tactics didn’t pay off, that Seven would’ve joined the Think Tank without reservation. I’m not sure that’s how the writers really wanted it to go, but I think Peter’s right in that the showrunners left that part of the story up in the air in the exchange for letting Jason Alexander chew the scenery. But yeah, this could’ve been really good if it was less a Jason Alexander episode, and more a Seven of Nine episode.
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Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Think Tank

The problem with brushing the Think Tank off as slightly-above-average conmen is that it trivializes any motivation Seven could have for joining them. It’s one thing if these are truly geniuses manipulating and helping people with their smarts. Seven loves to learn and acquire knowledge from advanced beings, so the motivation for her wanting to join a true Think Tank makes sense. If the intelligent aspect of the group is just another con, then Seven only is has the obvious choice to “beat the bad guys” and suddenly the episode has no conflict.
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Sat, Nov 23, 2019, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

@Peter

Actually, I agree with you that Mary Kay Adams is great and all the performances across the board are superb. Shimerman does some excellent pantomime and ad lib, while Dorn and Farrel have great chemistry. I think the acting makes up for some of the weaker sitcom-y writing that could’ve been scrapped, but that’s really me splitting hairs on giving this a high 3 over a 4 like I’d give “House of Quark”.
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Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 3:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

Top Hat wrote:

"My master point here, to go back to "The Child," is that I do dislike it when someone's complaint of "these events palpably change this character and they don't" are answered with a chorus of 'BUT SYNDICATION!'"

I don't think anyone's making the case that a life-altering event shouldn't impact a character, logically. Surely, we can all agree it should and would, even if it happens offstage. I think the discussion is more along the lines of "would that have made the show better while it aired?" and with syndication the answer is a murky one. Just speaking from personal experience, I don't think I caught many of TNG's ongoing story threads that it did have until years later on rewatch. But I know some folks here (William B has some really great insights about Riker and Data's story arcs that I miss) are really good at arranging together the material of TNG despite the show's admittedly fragmented nature.
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Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 2:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

I think you missed the point I was making with Seinfeld and I'm sorry for that. My argument is that syndication prohibited excessively long story threads in TNG, but in fact the more episodic nature contributed to TNG's success because of its fragmented airing schedule. So, like with my Seinfeld example, a criticism against TNG lacking continuity is actually a criticism about what helped make it a hit series.

'The characters are as static as they are on TNG because that's the way the producers liked it (and a certain amount of baggage from TOS)"

This is wrong. It's documented in many TNG behind-the-scenes books (ex: The Unauthorized Behind-The-Scenes Story of The Next Generation) that the producers and writers would've loved to do more continuity and eventually got their chance in DS9. Thus, it wasn't until TNG earned its success with syndication that the showrunners could do what they really wanted.
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Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 12:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

"However, the TNG characters do feel a little static, and there's a built-in implausibility that none of these characters would move on to other career opportunities. It's easy to understand why marker [sic] forces determined this and still find a bit of a weakness in the show."

Right, but that's like post-hoc criticizing the Seinfeld characters for spending nine years talking about nothing and never moving on with their lives. While the show was airing and a longtime after, this was an award-winning formula for a television series. I think the issue with the criticism we're discussing is that it fails to see the forest from the trees.
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Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

I actually think the O'Brien plot is okay in the sense that it explores how the familial intimacy that's been forced on these people can lead to some unexpected consequences. Though like Elliott, I find it a little ham-fisted and sitcomesque that Keiko of all people would total ignore the whole romantic situation and actually unintentionally push them together.

The silly B plot unfortunately stifles development from an A plot that's generally good, but could've been great. For starters, why is Worf interested in Grilka? Is it love at first sight and that's that? In the Cyrano story, Cyrano actually had developed feelings towards the object of affection and we knew he was acting out his love through another. It's hard to see why Worf would go to such lengths for Quark, and all for this woman he's never talked to. We could, like Elliott mentions, chalk all this up to Klingon pride and Worf wanting to be with Klingons, but then some more development *on that angle* would've improved the story.
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