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Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

@Peter G.

I don’t know if it’s unbiased to judge audience reception just on people’s initial feelings from your buddies for the first film. After all, it was first new Star Wars we had on screen in over 15 years so naturally everyone was elated and were probably still expecting good things to come. It was similar to how a lot of people felt when Star Trek: Generations arrived - because the film’s appearance represented more than its content alone.
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Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Die Is Cast

@Elliott

Yeah, I think they were trying to go with a more TOS feel with that line from the admiral to Sisko about court martial or promotion. On the one hand, Sisko pulled off an amazing gambit going into the GQ and saving Odo without even a cloak. That’s a gutsy move I can see Starfleet getting behind that when it suits them. The problem, besides Sisko disobeying orders. is that Sisko is unnecessarily getting himself involved in a conflict the Federation was trying to be neutral in. Besides saving Odo (a person Starfleet has never shown fondness for) is there really any reason the Federation needs to get involved here? Sorry if my memory isn’t clear but I believe Sisko enters the scene guns blazing too. It looks cool, but it’s kind of hard to buy that Sisko would automatically side against the Dominion and with the OO/TS (the people who are holding Odo captive to begin with).
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Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

@Peter G.

“Truthfully I think most people actually enjoyed the prequels when they came out”

I may be revealing my age a bit here, but let me go ahead and point out this was absolutely not the case. Everything negative being said about the new Star Wars movies on the internet now is practically history repeating itself - just replace Abrams’ name with Lucas. The one big difference between the two trilogies in terms of audience reactions is there’s more *critical acclaim* for the new Star Wars movies (see Jammer’s reviews, for example).

Personally, like Jason R. said, I think the world-building is great, but the execution of it ranges from cliché to groan-inducing.
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Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Improbable Cause

I agree with Peter G. here. What’s great is the Garak/Odo odd couple material he mentioned stays relevant throughout the two-parter. I’ll admit it’s striking this all starts on a very small scale (attempted murder in a tailor’s shop), but the buildup from prior episodes about the involved parties does believably foreshadow the resulting galactic intrigue.

I might be saying differently if not for “Defiant”, but that episode already tips off the audience that the OO is planning something big with a ship fleet. We also had an idea from “The Wire” that Garak is tied to the OO, so perhaps it was inevitable that material would come together. Finally, since the Founders are involved, it’s fitting Odo should be a part of this too. That the story works reasonably well (and in some cases extremely well) on both an interpersonal and galactic level is to its merit.
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Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Thanks Yanks, that about sums up my feelings on the subject. :-)
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Tue, Oct 16, 2018, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

@Elliott

Okay, I see your point. It’s true that we’re missing a framing device for this episode that motivates the protagonist (Sisko). For example, it could’ve been his 20th wedding anniversary or Sisko could’ve had a dream showing us how he failed Jennifer at some time in the past and has remaining guilt. One of the great things about “Mirror, Mirror” is theat the episode was framed in diplomatic negotiations where Kirk could’ve used force on a technologically weak race.

Sorry I messed up the details but I still think Smiley’s plan was a bit sketchy. Like, there could have been a reason Smiley thought Sisko would help him freely after he heard their plan. Actually, Smiley not even knowing about P-Sisko’s relationship to Jennifer just makes his plan come off weaker.
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Tue, Oct 16, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

@Elliott

“Sisko, feckless blob of pseudo-Starfleet garbage that he is, insists that he can't let her die “again,” and so agrees to help Smiley. I won't go on another enormous Sisko rant here. I don't need to. But THIS is the moment; from THIS point forward, Sisko has absolutely no moral authority to fall back on, not when he berates Eddington, not when he chastises Dukat, not when he makes his deleted confession—at this point, Benjamin Sisko has proven himself to be a man who will do whatever he wants whenever he the fuck he feels like it, regulations, ethics, and basic human decency be damned. It's over. He's not a hero; he's a Starfleet officer in title only. I'm done.”

What about this scene is so egregious to you? That Sisko’s not following the PD because he has some sentimental ties to his dead wife? I mean it’s not exactly a logical decision for Sisko but I guess it works on an emotional level. That said, it’s still a wonky plotline because we need to believe that Smiley somehow knows how to get to the PU and further *knows* that Sisko has the same wife AND that Sisko’s judgment will be clouded enough to help...which is, well, messy to say the least.
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Mon, Oct 15, 2018, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

Yeah, this is one of the Voyager episodes this lives up to its premise. There’s notable friction on the ship for an understandable ethical dilemma. It’s interesting to have an episode that puts Janeway at a crossroads as to whether she wants to run a Federation ship or just a regular ship that wants to get home. And it’s notable that Tuvok is willing to side with the Marquis when it’s logical. Mulgrew, Russ and Dawson have some great performances as well.

Gath doesn’t do much for me and frankly his accent makes him hard to understand. But I suppose that’s a minor point in what should be the standard for Voyager shows.
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Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@Peter G.

“It wouldn't even be accurate to say that the Christian God is incorporeal (to use a Trek term), because Jesus is depicted specifically as being corporeal, and so I think I agree with Skeptical that conceptual the dichotomy you're suggesting doesn't really work.”

Ah, but the key difference with Jesus pre-ascension and the Prophets is that people challenged Jesus’ claim to divinity during his life. This led to real and compelling discussions between Jesus and skeptics that make up much of the New Testament. It’s been brought up several times here, but neither the Prophets or the Bajorans are put to task about their faith despite contradictions that exist within the show. It’s to the show’s detriment these discussions never happened, and Prophets are just used as a sort of supernatural backdrop that frames the writers moral beliefs for the show.
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Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

A red angel? Is Discovery starting to crib from the weaker religious symbolism of DS9?
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Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@Skeptical

“I'm confused as to why you and Chrome seem to think elements of the Prophets correlate to Pagan religions.”

At that point in the conversation “Pagan” had become shorthand for primitive peoples who believed Gods were directly responsible for what we now are natural and explainable phenomenon. That’s similar to the Bajorans in the sense that they know the physical location of their gods and can start a conversation with them if they want. Even non-believers like the Ferengi can talk to the Prophets. They’re not metaphysical, they’re physical beings.

“If one assumes the Gospel is metaphorical, you CANNOT call yourself a Christian without completely twisting the meaning of words.”

Theologists do in fact interpret the bible in different ways. The Catholic priest at my school with a degree theology said he believes the Old Testament was written symbolically instead of literally in many ways. For example, the number 40 comes up often in the bible (I.e. Moses spent 40 days in the desert) but modern interpretations are that 40 is not meant to be literal. Instead, 40 was used metaphorically to represent a significantly long period of time. At least, that’s the way I was taught. If you were taught differently, please don’t take this offensively, it just means different Christian scholars have different interpretations.
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Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 11:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Visionary

@Elliott

“The Empire has chosen not to risk their own ships going through the wormhole, “pulling the strings from behind” in Sisko's words. This doesn't quite work for me. Think of TNG's “Tin Man,” when the Romulans risked an entire vessel and its crew just to beat the Federation to the powerful entity. The Romulans may be devious, but they aren't cowardly.”

I see what you mean here, although TNG did characterize the Romulans as operating on counter-maneuvers as described in “The Neutral Zone” they have also been in the thick of the action in many occasions. “Tin Man” is one example but there’s also “Contagion” and “The Chase” which show that the RE will exert overt force to not be bested strategically by the Federation.

One good thing about their cowardice shown here, however, is that it further sets up the plot of “Improbable Cause” by showing friction between what the Tal Shiar wants (military dominance in GQ) and what the Romulan Guard want (the Federation to do the dirty work for them in the GQ while they reap the rewards). It might be kind of silly that the more covert group of the two appears interested in brute force tactics but perhaps we can brush that aside and assume the Romulan senate would never agree to the Tal Shiar/Obsidian Order plan.
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Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@Peter G.

"Why can't it be about a people who worship powerful beings? Must the issue always devolve into calling it miracles or a cheap substitution for God?"

It's DS9's writers who insist on making parallels to Abrahamic religions. If they treated Bajorans like the Edo who just worshiped a sufficiently advanced alien for understandable reasons then that would be the end of it. But there are intentional parallels to Earth religions precisely because DS9's writers wish to make commentary on contemporary religion. The issue here is that those comparisons ring hollow because they break down into apples and oranges when subject to any critical analysis as Elliott has demonstrated.
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Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@Peter G.

“There's a good reason DS9 has the prophets be explicitly real: because it takes off the table any possible discussion of the Bajoran religion being "nonsense". And that's a good thing to take off the table. In any reasonable discussion about whether religious people can find common cause with non-religious, the matter will always devolve when someone brings up "But their religion is dumb and makes no sense! Why should I respect them??" Here it's not dumb because it's based on facts, so that type of critique is off the table, leaving us to ponder how the people of faith can learn to work together with Starfleet. And that's as Trek as it gets.”

I can understand why you’d come to that conclusion, but the issue a religious believer would have with making miracles real and undeniable is that you’re robbed then of the chance to discover the metaphysical aspects of a God through hard-earned meditation and piety. I went to Catholic primary school and I can attest that much of what is studied is transient spiritual awakenings that made people like Saul of Taurus change his whole life to become comiitted to religion.

To give an example, let’s say someone discovered a scientific reason for how Jesus was able to come back to life and leave his tomb after appearing to be dead three days. On the one hand agnostics and atheists might be happy because suddenly they can debunk any spiritual relationship to the phenomenon. Christians, on the other hand, would be disappointed because one of the defining transcient miracles of their savior is no longer a religious miracle all. That’s why you can’t have your cake and eat it too like the writers of DS9 seem to think. If the Prophets’ abilities can all be explained and understood by nontheists to the point where faith is irrelevant, then the whole structure of the Bajoran religion as a faith-based contemplative understanding of the metaphysical, as the show often suggests, collapses.

It’s a difficult subject and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers as why a metaphysical relationship to God can work in a modern society where an ancient pagan one cannot. I do know that takes a certain leap of faith in believing in a force beyond what your senses perceive.
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Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@Peter G.

“Most of DS9 was hung up on "do you believe in them", which frankly is weak sauce and if anything showed Starfleet as being slow on the uptake.”

This is usually what irks in the Prophets’ portrayal on this show. The Prophets clearly exist and have a plan for Bajor. There’s no faith involved in that conclusion. When you have a series of calculated intelligent real world phenomenon such as the Prophets interactions with Bajor, secular reasoning alone concludes that the Prophets are worthy of study and understanding. That Starfleet doesn’t have a team of scientists trying to communicate with the Prophets is just an odd conceit of the show; in this particular instance Starfleet isn’t interested in new life.

“Now, it would be another matter to say that one of these beings (like Q, or Kevin Uxbridge) is THE God. But to call them 'a god'? I don't see why not; it makes little difference either way and is functionally accurate enough.”

Contrary to the Prophets, TNG takes steps to show Q isn’t a God. Q can be made mortal, for example. More importantly though, Q explains to Picard on several occasions that he’s trying to prepare humanity for a time when humanity will be beyond Q in power. This means all the powerful actions Q takes will *some day* be explainable human science. Q’s role is apparently a mission to temper humanity to use its potential wisely (as he claims the Q do).
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Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@William B

Yeah, fair enough that a smart covert group like the OO would want to take a surgical strike at the wormhole. It’s just that the fleet that was building in the Orias system loses its purpose if the wormhole is destroyed.

@Elliott

“Modern religion (which is what the Bajoran faith is depicted to be) is founded upon the idea of exploring the numinous through unknowable mystery, not assigning arbitrary divinity to particular phenomena.”

I enjoyed spmeone going in-depth on this subject. It’s puzzling to decide if DS9’s writers understand how religion or faith works. It often feels like they’re subtly poking fun at Bajorans for worshipping a scientifically explanable alien species (like the Edo from TNG’s “Justice”). And yeah, a scientifically explanlable lifeform is pretty much at odds with a metaphysical deity religion revolves around.
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Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@William B

Surely the fleet from “The Die is Cast” could’ve destroyed the wormhole if it that was theiR endgame. Thus I think the correct reading of the scene is that OO/TS wanted a foothold in the GQ after they decimated the Founders. The one wild card is we don’t know how much of this GQ invasion scheme was coaxed by Changling infilitrators if at all.
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Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

@William B & Elliott

Also, as of “Defiant” the OO was already working with the Romulans to amass a fleet to invade the Founder’s homeworld. That plan suddenly makes no sense if they destroy their own path to reach the Gamma Quadrant.
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Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

I think it's worth bringing up the topic of Starfleet entrance. TNG emphasizes that it's very difficult to get in and that incredibly smart people (Picard) have to take the entrance exam multiple times. So is this the episode where the entrance gets retconned as Peter G. suggests, or is there another explanation? Maybe there's some Affirmative Action at play here and Starfleet was willing to give Nog diversity points even if he couldn't score as high on the test. I mean it makes a bit of sense that somebody from a completely alien culture that maintains different values than Starfleet should get some sort of handicap in their entrance consideration.

Also, just an aside, I think it was TNG's "Future Imperfect" that first showed Ferengi in Starfleet, so it's kind of fun that they ran with the idea here.
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Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fury

@Luke

And if we liked this one, who deserves all the credit?
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Mon, Oct 8, 2018, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part II

@Elliott

I don’t think the writers really meant to placate liberals by advocating a “be more compassionate” stance. The more likely explanation, to me at least, is that the writers wanted to make some sort of commentary about the homeless situation (the clearest analogy is state welfare) but after all the ‘hand-wringing” as you put it, they didn’t really have a good idea how to make things better either.

I’ll give the episode credit for at least showing that the private sector, through Zuckerberg here, would need to reach out to the would-be workers too in addition to the FEA. But obviously there’s a huge difference between Mark Z giving some limited media attention versus actually training them to work in companies like his.
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Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

The funny thing is the episode should work better if you don’t believe in evolution because nothing shown here is how evolution works.
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Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 8:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Wow, obviously it looks great but I don’t know where they’re going with this Red Angel stuff. Not that heavenly creatures are new to Trek.

Michelle Yeoh’s return is a welcome one.

@Mertov

Where did you get that Georgiou is part of S31? The trailer I saw just showed her holding some silver Starfleet badge and the Discovery crew welcoming her.
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Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

@Peter G.

“Maybe the Federation system is simpler in complexity but it strikes me as unlikely that we could just guess, as outsiders, what it is.”

Well yeah, the writers don’t even know what it is, which facilitates the WMG.
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Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

@Andre R-D

Good insights about currency and why things get silly in Star Trek sometimes. There must be some sort of reserve currency the Federation holds to issue to its officers and families when needed (here, a station that uses latinum transactions). You’d have to imagine that the Federation has bonds it can issue to other countries to show good faith because trying to barter goods and services at a 1:1 trade ratio is extremely primitive.
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