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Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: New Ground

I give this episode a low-to-mid 9 daddy issues out of 10.

Future outcome: Little Worf will grow up to write an excellent, Pulitzer-acclaimed novel about his terrible father and their difficult relationship, read and cherished by millions across the galaxy.
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Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Damn, Riker. Are you so thirsty to sleep every woman on board the Starship Enterprise that you’re willing to literally infect yourself with a *potentially* deadly parasite, just so you can get up in Crusher’s guts?

Kudos on the commitment level, 10/10.

And how you like them apples, Picard?
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Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

I feel bad for whoever had to scrub all that Worf jizz out of the Holodeck.
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Wed, Dec 5, 2018, 9:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Sub Rosa

I dunno... I think this ep gets picked on a little too much. Is it great? No - but there are far worse. I’d rate it above quite a few in the horrible first season. See “The Naked Now”
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Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Parallax

Comments above berate Voyager for "pushing a silly Native Indian and his religion upon us", which is "hypocritical because Trek would never do this with Christianity". This, apparently, is "typical liberal double standards."

No. It's sticking up for underdogs. A TV series made in a predominantly Christian country in which nutty Christians wiped out Native Indians in the name of nutty values, doesn't need a blatantly "Christian character". But an Indian? That's kind of cool. And touching. And aside from the 2 or 3 episodes where Chakotay's Native Americanness is directly addressed - awful episodes which reduce him to a trope - he's an excellent and original character. When written well, and at his best, he's sexy, dignified, clever, brave, and with interesting cadence. He just also happens to be Native American. And the banality and matter-of-factness of his Indian roots is inclusiveness done well.

90s Trek was ahead of the curve in trying to portray a bevy of peoples and cultures. It didn't do this to pander to demographics or to chase dollars and markets, as is common now (see the recent Star Wars movies). It didn't cast blacks, latinas, lesbians and Indians to coax target audiences. There was an authenticity and well-intentionedness that differs from some of the more cynical characterizations of today.
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Corey R
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

Re: Linda - They did explain it. The radiation killed the animals (which is why they were farming) - they only lived because of the spores. Although it begs the question how a plant can tell the difference between a sentient being or an animal (else wouldn't there not be enough spores if the animals could trigger the plant too?), but what-ever.
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Wed, May 17, 2017, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Looks like JJ Abrams' Star Trek, the TV series. Lots of war, flashy lights, CGI and cartoony "epic" dialogue.
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Wed, Aug 24, 2016, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

"In the Federation/Kirk's defense, he's shown trying to reason with Krall for several minutes in the film before resorting to violence. But Krall's methods are clearly the more violent of the two. And yes, sometimes you need to act violent to stop violent people. That's just self-defense."

The villain's still a giant "they hate us cos of our freedoms" strawman.
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Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

"Native Americans underwent something close to genocide a century-and-a-half ago"

A bit off topic: we hear often of the slaughter of the North American Indians, but the wiping out of indigenous South American Indians was shocking as well. I was reading Charles Darwin's accounts of the period, when General Juan de Rosas initiated policies to purge the continent. It's sick stuff, systematic and on a massive scale.

"CHakotay was somehow expected to represent an entire ethnic demographic, and it just didn't work, and Beltran's cardboard performance can only be partially at fault."

I would say they didn't even try to make it work. Voyager just didn't really use its crew and their personalities well. A better series would have had the Federation and Marquis at odds, learning to work together, and then have Chakotay and Janeway have an extended romantic relationship. Instead they went the episodic, reset-button route.
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Mon, Aug 22, 2016, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

"In fact, you need look no further than Corey's post for evidence of how acute the race issue is. Idris Elba is the first non-pasty-white Trek movie villain to come along since... well... Ricardo Montalban, and look how offended Corey got..."

It's offensive because of the message, not the villain's race. This is a film about multiracial, democratic, unity, co-operating loving people who destroy strawmen terrorists by using massive amounts of violence (when we do it, it's okay, kids!), made for a global audience who are indoctrinated day in, day out, to kowtow to multiracial, democratic, unity, co-operating loving (co-operation for the rich, of course; the unity of workers/labur is crushed everywhere) nations who do nothing but crush human beings (usually brown/black ones, but now increasingly first world white ones) in the name of democracy, peace, unity and other nice sounding Western values.

Everyone who watches this film takes away from it the same thing they take from watching an hour of CNN: Federation/UN/USA killed some people today, but its okay because they embodied bad values.

Good Trek and good SF challenges all this junk.
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Sun, Aug 21, 2016, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

Tolerance, co-operation, unity and brotherhood, all engedered via an irrational, black terrorist madman!

What junk this film is.

It's like watching a "multiethnic" and so "superior" West and the UN gang up on brown people because "lol, they so crazy".
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Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 3:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

"Now, I'm not one of those guys who support Israel come hell or high water. They've done their fair share of bad stuff, but comparing them with fictional oppressors who torture people to death in front of their seven-year-old children is going too far."

Except numerous human right's groups, and UN watchdogs, have documented Israel literally torturing Palestinian children and even putting them in cages.
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Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II


"For example, I'm from Canada, our Liberal party would be considered still as conservative in the US sphere."

But of course. Under capitalism, all dissent is absorbed and subsumed and made to serve the system.

In all major nations, what passes as "liberalism" and "left wing parties" are merely right wing, pro capitalist, pro corporate parties. There's no meaningful "left wing" on the planet. The left can influence pop culture, academia and the arts, but outside of these spheres it has been crushed by those with money and power.

"Take micheal in the BSG reviews. He found the growing mysticism and faith in that show to be a disheartening turn, due to his past experiences with religion, yet I reveled in it, being a (somewhat lapsed) Christian. I disagreed, but I could see where he was coming from. Religion has messed up people, it's not the answer for everyone, much as I'd like to think so. Neither one of us was wrong nor right it just depended on which experience was more individually identifiable."

BSG and DS9 handle religion superficially and hokily. It's all nonsense. In the real world, it's usually the atheist artists - Bergman, Antonioni, Pasolini, Kubrick et al - who handle religion well, and actually sympathise properly with the human drive or need for spirituality, because they simultaneously understand the spiritual and so political possiblities of religion, whilst also recognising them as man-made psychoses and delusions.

A religion person gives you warmongering, violent, emotionally blackmailing art like DS9 and The Passion of Christ. An atheist gives you the sublime: "Cries and Whispers", "The Gospel According to St Mathew" or "Red Desert", for example.

"we categorize and name those ideas, giving us a handy, easy label to put people in."

Categorizations are vital and essential if we hope to understand the word. It seems those who complain about being put into boxes don't like what the descriptions attached to their boxes imply. Science hinges on taxonomy.

"So it was simplified. Liberal. Conservative. Left. Right. Us. Them."

Imagine a king telling his little feudal subject in the 1700s that there's no "us and them". Let's just learn to get along! Boxes? There are no stiinkin boxes! Why do you sow divisions and seek to disunite the kingdom!

"if we as a species figured out a way to quit shitting on the life-time experiences of those we didn't agree with"

It's the 21st century people! Hug a bankster!


I prefer Upton Sinclair: "'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his job, salary and place in society depends on his ignorance."
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Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

We all love Elliot, Ken!

Happy 2016 Elliot! I remember you from 2013!
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Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

"We've never seen such a threat to the Federation. Maybe *that's* why people claim this isn't Trek -- it's hard to have "Trek optimism" when your existence is threatened."

That's not why people laugh at DS9.

The problem with DS9 is that the threat is a giant strawman argument. The threat makes no sense and the response to the threat doesn't make sense.

The series is like the Iraq War with spaceships and where WMD's are real and just shut up, don't think and send in the airforce because EXISTENTIAL THREAT and AMERICA!! HOO RAH!! PROTECT THE REALM !
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Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

"I only hope we won't have to suffer another 100 million murdered n order to reach your "real communist" or "worldwide socialist" dreamworld."

Propaganda and superficial analysis. Maoist China, for example, had better mortality rates than the feudalism it replaced, and the deaths that took place are no different to the deaths which took place in any country over the course of any revolution or social transformation. Why? Because the old order always tries to cling onto power.

Look at the French Revolution. When the Revolution began, all the monarchs and capitalist nations banded together to crush it. Hundreds of thousands died. Today all the tenets of the French Revolution we cling dearly to. The deaths - the deaths caused by resistance - don't negate those values.

Not to mention that the supposed "communist" nations, like Stalinist Russia and Maoist China, were state capitalist, and achieved none of the chief aims of communism (abolish money, abolish private property, abolish banks, the market etc). They didn't even try. Indeed, Mao explicitly said his aim was to achieve, not communism, but a capitalism on par with western capitalism.

And if you use the metrics used to denounce "communism" and apply them to "capitalism", you get far worse numbers. British capitalism killed almost 2 billion in its 200 year reign in India alone.
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Corey R
Wed, Feb 3, 2016, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

I just wanted to say I agree with Jammer's 4 star rating for this episode. It's original story, the acting was good, it's engaging, has a fantastic opening scene, and has good production values.

I loved the recording where Picard is near shouting, "All hands abandon ship!". His timing is not too good for the crew, with having only a few seconds before he ship explodes anyways.

This is also one of the few times we get to see Beverly's quarters. Nearly all of the regular casts' quarters are shown multiple times, except perhaps La Forge's.

I also like that most of the story is from Beverly's point of view. For the sake of the story, it could have been anyone I suppose, but she usually doesn't get many lines when it's an ensemble episode. Thus making it from her point of view is a change of pace.
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Corey R
Wed, Feb 3, 2016, 11:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

By the way, I have other posts on this site as Corey, but there have been a few posts from a different Corey, so am posting as Corey R from now on.

Just wanted to mention about the Chess Scene with Data and Troi. It's possible that Data just learned the rules, read a few articles on it, and that's it. He may not have a time-tested chess program in his software - after all, if he did that, then HE wouldn't be playing, but a program some else wrote. If so, then being able to calculate large number of possibilities is NOT an insurmountable edge against a human. The reason is modern chess software is not strong against humans because it can see many positions. Instead it's strong because modern chess program use a heavily researched/tested algorithm to accurately assess positions. Thus, a chess PC program is tough because it sees many positions AND assesses the positions accurately.

Take away the position assessment algorithm, or give it less inaccurate one, and humans absolutely could (and did, before this algorithm was perfected) defeat computers.
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Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Carpenter Street

I hate Daniels. The last thing Enterprise needs is temporal cold wars and time leaping Federation space police.

This episode had some good direction, some nice music, some atypically dark atmosphere. Unfortunately, it's all in the service of a lazy script. With episodes like this, Enterprise seems to be chasing ratings and attempting to be hip. It's cringe-worthy to watch.
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Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

Contrary to what "capitalist" says, the Sunni/Shia conflict has always spawned, not from religious doctrinal disputes, but issues of power, politics, resources and land. Religious mumbo jumbo comes after.

Chelsea, it's a reach to read this episode as a comment on Israel's colonisation of Palestine. The Palestinian terrorists, again, blow themselves and others up not for religious issues, but for territorial issues.

What this episode is really doing is presenting the common post-9/11 view of terrorists: nutty religious fundamentalists who are mad at others for vague, nutty religious reasons. In the real world, though, most major studies show that terrorists primarily act, not for religious reasons, but for issues of political/national autonomy.
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Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Catwalk

Like Voyager's NIGHT, this episode spoils a great premise with a needless "action plot". The episode's core idea was good enough to sustain a full episode. Why mar it with a hijacking?
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Fri, Jan 9, 2015, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Fortunate Son

Can we not use "Somali Pirates" as an example. We dump our waste on their shores, destroy their government, put in place dictators, ruin their economy, ecosystems and fishing industries....of course they're going to hijack boats that pass by.
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Sat, Dec 6, 2014, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

"But let me make one thing clear here: Palestine's issue is not the same as this. The fact is, Palestine bombs Israel because the Koran and Hadith teach..."

Palestine bombs Israel because Israel is illegally occupying land, was illegally formed in violation of the UN Security Council in 1948, and refuses to return to UN242 borders, as mandated by the World Court, UN and virtually every country on the planet. Everything else is irrelevent.

As for this episode, its very daring, but mis-steps by not delving into why independence is not being granted, and why it should. The episode ultimately comes down on the side of the State, of the status quo, and is so less radical than it seems at first glance.

Also, I didn't see anyone talk about the teleportation device in the film. Seems to me, the device is a metaphor for suicide bombing. ie - the device slowly saps the lives of the rebel faction, but allows them to infiltrate everywhere. It's a kind of tactically useful death sentence.
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Fri, Dec 5, 2014, 9:32am (UTC -5)
Re: Interstellar

Peter Watts, SF author, and author of one of the best first contact novels, on 'Interstellar':

"In a market owned by genre, where every second movie is crammed to the gills with spaceships and aliens (or, at the very least, plucky young protagonists dishing out Truth to Power), Interstellar aspires to inspire. It explicitly sets out to follow in the footsteps of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It wants to make you think, and wonder.

It succeeds, too. It makes me wonder how it could fall so far short of a movie made half a century ago.

This is not to say that Interstellar is a bad movie. It actually has significantly more on the ball than your average 21rst-century genre flick (although granted, that’s a much lower bar to clear than the one Kubrick presented). The dust-bowl vistas of a dying Earth evoke the sort of grim desolation we used to get from John Brunner’s environmental dytopias, and — most of the time, anyway — Interstellar shows a respect for science comparable to that evident in Gravity and 2001.

Admittedly, my delight at seeing space presented as silent has more to do with the way decades of Hollywood crap have hammered down my own expectations than it does with any groundbreaking peaks of verisimilitude; it’s not as though every school kid doesn’t know there’s no sound in a vacuum. On the other hand, the equations Interstellar‘s FX team used to render the lensing effects around Gargantua, the movie’s black hole — equations derived by theoretical physicist-and-science-consultant Kip Thorne — have provided the basis for at least one astrophysics paper here in the real world, an accomplishment that would make Arthur C. Clarke jealous. The hole was carefully parameterized to let our protags do what the plot required without being spaghettified or cooked by radiation. The physics of space travel and Gargantua’s relativistic extremes are, I’m willing to believe, plausibly worked out. So much of the science seems so much better than we have any right to expect from a big-budget blockbuster aimed at the popcorn set.

Why, then, does the same movie that gets the physics of event horizons right also ask us to believe that icebergs float unsupported in the clouds of alien worlds? How can the same movie that shows such a nuanced grasp of the gravity around black holes serve up such a face-palming portrayal of gravity around planets? And even if we accept the premise of ocean swells the size of the Himalayas (Thorne himself serves up some numbers that I’m not going to dispute), wouldn’t such colossal formations be blindingly obvious from orbit? Wouldn’t our heroes have seen them by just looking out the window on the way down? How dumb do you have to be to let yourself get snuck up on by a mountain range?

Almost as dumb, perhaps, as you’d be to believe that “love” is some kind of mysterious cosmic force transcending time and space, even though you hold a doctorate in biology.

You’re probably already aware of the wails and sighs that arose from that particular gaffe. Personally, I didn’t find it as egregious as I expected — at least Amelia Brand’s inane proclamation was immediately rebutted by Cooper’s itemization of the mundane social-bonding functions for which “love” is a convenient shorthand. It was far from a perfect exchange, but at least the woo did not go unchallenged. What most bothered me about that line — beyond the fact that anyone with any scientific background could deliver it with a straight face — was the fact that it had to be delivered by Anne Hathaway. If we’re going to get all mystic about the Transcendent Power of Lurve, could we a least invert the cliché a bit by using a male as the delivery platform?

The world that contains Interstellar is far more competent than the story it holds. It was built by astrophysicists and engineers, and it is a thing of wonder. The good ship Endurance, for example, oozes verisimilitude right down to the spin rate. Oddly, though, the same movie also shows us a civilization over a century into the future — a whole species luxuriating in the spacious comfort of a myriad O’Neil cylinders orbiting Saturn — in which the medical technology stuck up Murphy Cooper’s nose hasn’t changed its appearance since 2012. Compare that to 2001, which anticipated flatscreen tech so effectively that it got cited in Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung half a century later. (Compare it also to Peter Hyam’s inferior sequel 2010, in which Discovery‘s flatscreens somehow devolved back into cathode-ray-tubes during its decade parked over Io.)

Why such simultaneous success and failure of technical extrapolation in the same movie? I can only assume that the Nolans sought out expert help to design their spaceships, but figured their own vision would suffice for the medtech. Unfortunately, their vision isn’t all it could be.

This is the heart of the problem. Interstellar soars when outsourced; only when the Nolans do something on their own does it suck. The result is a movie in which the natural science of the cosmos is rendered with glorious mind-boggling precision, while the people blundering about within it are morons.

In Interstellar, NASA happens to be set up just down the road from the only qualified test pilot on the continent— a guy who’s friends with the Mission Director, for Chrissakes— yet nobody thinks to just knock on his door and ask for a hand. No, they just sit there through years of R&D until cryptic Talfamadorians herd Cooper into their clutches by scribbling messages in the dirt. Once the mission finally achieves liftoff, Endurance‘s crew can’t seem to take a dump without explaining to each other what they’re doing and why. (Seriously, dude? You’re a bleeding-edge astronaut on a last-ditch Humanity-saving mission through a wormhole, and you didn’t even know what a wormhole looked like until someone explained it to you while you were both staring at the damn thing through your windshield?)

You could argue that the Nolans don’t regard their characters as morons so much as they regard us that way; some of this might just be especially clunky infodumping delivered for our benefit. If so, they apparently think we’re just as dumb about emotional resonance and literary allusion as we are about the technical specs on black holes. Michael Caine has to hammer home the same damn rage against the dying of the light stanza on three separate occasions, just in case it might slip under our radar.

And yet, Interstellar came so close in some ways. The sheer milk-out-the-nose absurdity of a project to lift billions of people off-planet turns out to be, after all, just a grand lie to motivate short-sighted human brain stems— until Murphy Cooper figures out how to do it for real after all. Amelia Brand’s heartbroken, irrational description of love as some kind of transcendent Cosmic Force, invoked in a desperate bid to reunite with her lost lover and instantly shot down by Cooper’s cooler intellect— until Cooper encounters the truth of those idiot beliefs in the heart of a black hole. Time and again, Interstellar edges toward the Cold Equations, only to chicken out when the chips are down.

But the thing that most bugs me about this movie — the thing that comes closest to offending me, although I can’t summon anywhere near that much intensity — was something I knew going in, because it’s right there in the tag line on every advance promo, every Coming-Soon poster:

'The end of the Earth will not be the end of us.'


'Mankind was born on earth. It was never meant to die here.'


'We were not meant to save the Earth. We were meant to leave it.'

Which all comes down to..

'Let’s trash the place, then skip out and stick everyone else with the bill.'

This is where I finally connect with my inner antiabortionist. Because I, too, think you should pay for your sins. I think that if you break it, you damn well own it; and if your own short-sighted stupidity has killed off your life-support system, it’s only right and proper that that you suffer, that you sink into the quagmire along with the other nine million species your appetites have condemned to extinction. There should be consequences.

And yet, even in the face of Interstellar‘s objectionable political stance — baldly stated, unquestioned, and unapologetic— I can only bristle, not find fault. Because this is perhaps the one time the Nolan sibs got their characters right. Crapping all over the living room rug and leaving our roommates to deal with the mess? That’s exactly what we’d do, if we could get away with it."
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Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: Interstellar

Dom, 2001's ending is brilliant! I love how Kubrick's composition of the astronaut (David Bowman) reaching out his hand mimic's Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, if only Michelangelo painted it from another angle. That space, that gap between Bowman's outstretched hand and monolith/God/Knowledge/Truth, is the key. It's man's desire to bridge that gap, and his inability to ever do so - he is always an infant - which propells humanity in all endeavours. A profound, complex film. Kubrick was a great intellect and artist.
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