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Daya
Thu, May 13, 2021, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

@Maq
I agree that the Xindi were strange. What I meant is culturally / emotionally further away from humans, not just physically / technologically. In general there seems to be a failure to imagine really alien emotions or cultures; not only in Enterprise, but in all of science fiction. Most of the cultures like Vulcan, Klingon, Ferengi, Romulan are just humans with certain aspects enhanced. In fact most of these cultures can be mapped to various human cultures. The Borg were truly alien, till they introduced the Borg Queen which made them just baddies with better guns. On the other hand, there were many one-episode cultures in TOS / TNG that did show genuinely alien concepts. Return of the Archons, Miri, The Squire of Gothos, Darmok, Metamorphosis, Devil in the Dark, Su'Kal and For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky come to mind.

I was just ruing the fact that Enterprise lost an opportunity by not coming up with such truly alien concepts. If they had done so, Archer's relative incompetence would have been easier to tolerate. And we would have had more engaging stories, more fitting to the wonder that early space travel ought to be filled with.

P.S.: Regarding your comment about DIS -- yes, DIS has zero concept of the possibilities of science fiction. The only counter example in 3 seasons being the episode Su'Kal.
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Daya
Thu, May 13, 2021, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

It doesn't seem that implausible that while preventing technological contamination, Archer and co. forget about cultural contamination. Essentially, they don't take the civilization's development and future history seriously enough. Just like when your teenager says "my life is over", and you don't take them seriously enough. You have gone through that phase, and tend to mentally discount it. Archer realizes too late the harm his fib has done.

= = = =
Also:

* The general says Archer's _unadorned head_ is surgically altered, because he has never seen a person without forehead ridges before. He is not calling the makeup a surgical alteration.

* It is OK that the planet's development does not exactly match Earth history, they are not Earth. This is not time travel.

* Enterprise's transporter's targeting scanners may be nowhere near as good as TOS/TNG, because transporters are a primitive technology. Locating and targeting are two very different things. One has to find something within a few feet, the other has to draw a bounding box the thickness of a single molecule around an object.

* Archer is an imperfect character, and developed that way. It is odd to berate writers for writing an imperfect character on purpose, and blaming Archer's imperfections on the writers' laziness. It is also odd to expect a _prequel_ to follow the "Star Trek ethos". The Star Trek ethos is still being developed, which is the whole point.

* Biosign detection from orbit does not have to work as well as it does in TOS/TNG either. Furthermore, these aliens were quite similar. There was exactly one organ the doctor completely failed to identify. The rest of it was "deformed" or in different numbers, but essentially the same anatomy. The blood chemistry was different, possibly not detectable from that distance. Furthermore, even if biosigns had been detected, being able to target a transporter correctly is entirely different.

* Lots of primitive human societies (tribes) have been happily contaminated both culturally and technologically by visiting humans. We humans do not have this sensitivity. That Archer should have this sensitivity _before_ the Federation even exists, just because all the people on this board saw TOS and TNG first is hilarious. It is exactly this sensitivity that is being shown being developed step by step.

* Being worried about the contamination due to a communicator is not idiotic. The communicator has a power source the likes of which this society will not develop for a few hundred more years. Getting their hands on such a power source will give one side in the war a very large advantage. The computing ability and communication ability would also create such an advantage when reverse engineered. Just destructing it with a small charge would not remove such contamination. Molecular deconstruction might, but a de-molecularizer may not fit within communicator technology of that time (or any time before the year 3000, when communicators finally merges with teleporters).

* Communicators have universal translators, that is how they can communicate with different cultures. They got it right almost throughout the episode. E.g. in the interrogation scene, the communicators are nearby. They got it wrong in the hanging scene where Archer asks them to spare Reed, but the communicators are in a room inside the complex, at a distance from the hanging site, where the UT's ventriloquism should not work. You can view that scene as the two sides didn't actually understand each other (they don't actually converse), but that may be a fluke!

* Archer does seem like a slow learner for the most important post any human has ever held. I would chalk this up to bureaucracy / politics. I am sure Columbus wasn't so worried about cultural contamination either.
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Daya
Wed, May 12, 2021, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Seventh

I think since T'Pol was following the two smugglers blind in a forest on Risa, and possibly due to an earlier firefight from a distance, her setting was on a higher power. She was caught unawares when suddenly faced with the smuggler drawing a weapon at close range, and had no time to change the setting. She fired in self-defense, knowing that the correct form of self defense is to lower the power setting, but there is no time for that. So it was her or him, and she chose herself, a selfish decision that may put a Vulcan in turmoil for a long time.

Also worthy of note is the fact that her PTSD due to a single killing "flunked her out" of the secret service. This makes sense. I am sure training for it, and it actually happening would be very different, and there is no way to predict in advance which a person's psychology will go.

Now, why would they send a Vulcan with PTSD to face the same mission that gave her the PTSD? I think when they repressed her memory, they probably classified the reports as well, meaning two decades later the decision makers had no access to the information that would have prevented this from happening. I think the Vulcans were just being their efficient logical selves - who is the closest Vulcan trained to apprehend? T'Pol, ex-secret-service, is currently only 3 days away.

I liked this episode. These are the kinds of dilemmas that Star Trek is made for. It is odd, though, that Archer chooses to be a "good soldier following orders" here, whereas usually he plays truant gullible God. May be he suddenly grew up a lot after saying sorry a few times in the previous episode. :)
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Daya
Tue, May 11, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

Why have they made Archer so boorish, almost like an impetuous child? This happens not only in this episode, but the entire show (at least till this episode). I think there's a reason.

In times of isolation, humans become culturally insensitive, like Americans became to other cultures in the early 1900s. In times of cultural contact, humans become more and more aware of cultural differences and how to deal with them.

In Archer's time, humanity has become a monoculture, partly through global integration, and partly because of the tribalism induced by the Vulcans, the new "others". This is what has made humans so insensitive to other cultures. The only other culture they know (Vulcans), they hate. They don't know anything else.

The petulance gets enhanced in the militaristic characters Archer, Tucker and Reed. T'Pol/Phlox avert it by being an old Vulcan/Denobulan who has been around the galaxy. Hoshi averts it by being a linguist which probably means she has at least read diverse literature if not visited alien places. Mayweather averts it by being born on a freighter. But Mayweather averts everything ;).

I think these individual character traits make a lot of sense. What ENT got wrong is the aliens. The differences between the human culture and the alien culture should have been more stark. Something that the audience would have felt alien too. Then these voyages would have been filled with more wonder and strangeness.

= = = =

Given that I believe the character traits for these characters are appropriate, I hope that Archer learns a larger lesson in this episode that permanently changes his character. The whole idea is or should be how humanity grows out of its space infancy, starting off behind Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, and almost every other species, and ending up leading the Federation.
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Daya
Sat, May 1, 2021, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Dead Stop

The Enterprise crew are surprised by the replicator but not by the transporter, because, of course, they have a transporter themselves, but not a replicator. One would think, isn't that backwards? Isn't a replicator just the "printer" half of a transporter?

No it isn't! According to quantum physics it is easier to transport quantum information than it is to replicate it. In fact it is impossible to replicate quantum information exactly, but transporting it has already been demonstrated today. So weird as it may seem, I think ENT got it right with the crew being surprised by the replication technology on the repair station.

= = = =

The pure-white station and the passionless computer voice together creating a sinister effect was seen before in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is used well in this episode.

= = = =

I liked that the mystery wasn't completely solved. I imagine the station evolved to its present status. It obviously accepted payments for its own upkeep. When it realized its computer needed repairs, it began demanding crew personnel. When it met with resistance from its customers, it began to hide the fact that there was another secret payment involved. I can imagine a self-evolved AI to be sociopathic like that. It has no real sense of sentient morality. All it is doing is keeping itself alive by trading.
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Daya
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

It is possible the slightly tipsy T'Pol made the story up as an allegory of HERSELF warming up to humans.

After all, in her story, all the three Vulcans do feel their own "humanity" grow. T'Mir helps the miners (where she at least has the fig leaf that she doesn't want Mestral to mess up and give them away), and then helps the kid for no logical reason. Mestral chooses to stay on Earth in an act of supreme love for the planet. Even the cool Vulcan feels enough concern for his regular customer to be fixing her vacuum just before taking off for his home planet!

This can be read as a fictionalized version of T'Pol's story. Though she can't bring herself to admit it, she loves staying with humans. She will act emotionally when no one is looking, and it is freeing to her that in a ship full of emotional beings, no one is going to judge her for allowing her emotions to decide her actions once in a while.

The 1950s spaceship crash is an allusion to how she initially sees her assignment as an accident, how she sees herself as stuck among ancient savages. The fictional romantic ending is the closest T'Pol will get to expressing her love for the Enterprise and her crew.

= = = =

Yes yes, I know someone will read the above and say "What about the handbag?" (A) You are missing the point. And (B) in my version, since there is no great grandmother, the handbag was a whimsical souvenir she bought in Carbon Creek, which mixed with the wine and her emotions triggered the story.

= = = =

It is neither true that "Vulcans are unemotional" nor that "Vulcans cannot lie". Vulcans suppress emotions, even full Vulcans. These emotions may not exactly be the same as human emotions, but Vulcans evolved with a full range of animal emotions, emotions that we will never clearly see. I find it odd that people expect two Vulcan portrayals to be the same. We don't expect that with portrayals of humans, do we?

It is all too ironic that Jolene Blalock is called "wooden" and Shatner is called a "scenery chewing ham". Kirk and T'Pol are two of my favorite characters in ST, and I seem to have no problems understanding the emotions being portrayed by either of the actors. I think people mistake the suppressed emotion of (alternatively the bombastic nature of) a CHARACTER with the ability of an actor. Strange.

= = = =

I am all too glad that on the discussion board of this particular episode, all the ENT lovers have converged! The rest of ENT episodes on Jammer's site read as if the fandom just hates ENT. Glad that's not the case. I love the quiet, small-stakes world of ENT.
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Daya
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

The "I Love Lucy" line comes close to setting up a paradox.
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Daya
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Did the camera movement hurt anyone else's brain? Disco always has odd camera work, but this episode was off-the-charts unviewable for me. I was cringing in agony till they finally found a tripod in the final 8 minutes of the show. Other people have grumbled about camerawork before, but it usually does not affect me. This episode's did. The tight frames with the camera making needless movements throughout was very distracting. I was wondering if any one else had the same experience.
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Daya
Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

I am a TOS fan, and usually find Discovery hard to watch. This episode was the first Discovery episode that seemed to fit within the TOS ethos (by which I mean neither the mythology set up by TOS, nor the supposed positive vision of the future).

Coming closest to the TOS episode "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", I am happy that the similarities are not trivial enough for everyone to notice. TOS had many episodes where no one was the enemy, but there were strange, exciting, sometimes grave consequences. Can two space entities merge into one to unintentionally destructive consequences? ("The Changeling" / TMP) How will children be like without adult supervision ("Miri")? Can we tell a child's behavior apart from that of a malevolant entity? ("The Squire of Gothos") How do we deal with a child unaware of their own power? ("Charlie X").

Su'Kal recalls these awesome TOS episodes without copying any of them. Burnham's moving seamlessly into a holo-character is also straight out of Capt. Kirk's playbook -- quickly understanding the alien entity's world view and speaking to it in language it would understand ("Miri", "The Return of the Archons", "I, Mudd", "Metamorphosis", "The Changeling", TMP ...). I loved that they did this without too much exposition, like they did in TOS, placing trust in the viewer.

= = = =

I loved the idea of a holodeck desperately trying to keep a child alive while failing itself, and loved its attempts at sentient communication through the limitations of the holocharacters. Well imagined, and thoughtfully executed. The dark tone of the holo-novel the child is stuck in seems to convey the dysfunctional relationship of an aging parent and a child who cannot grow up. Clearly, the Kelpian mother would not have started off with such a gruesome world to stick her child in, but no one can imagine what happens when programming which is supposed to last the duration between a distress call and a rescue has to adapt and last for a hundred years. Kudos, Discovery, for making me think. This is Star Trek. (At least for me.)
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Daya
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 11:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: The Sanctuary

Isn't it the universal translator's mistake if pronouns get transmitted wrong? How do we know that Stamets/Culber's natural languages, and Adira's natural language, which are languages from eras 900 years apart, are even similar enough that a meaningful discussion about a specific part of speech can be engaged in? I would assume that the further apart the languages are, the more the universal translator translates by context, and the UT would translate the hundreds of pronouns in hundreds of languages into Adira's preferred pronoun in Adira's language (which we heard as "they").

Also, from Metamorphosis (TOS) we learn that the UT is capable of not only detecting gender identity from neural signals, but making translation decisions based on that gender identity. Of course, Discovery's UT is not the exact same version as Spock's. It is either 900 years more advanced, or 10 years more primitive.
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Daya
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Scavengers

I don't like to complain. But if the main conflict in the episode seems like something that could have been solved in 3 sentences, then it becomes a little hard to suspend disbelief. Couldn't they have just said "Hey, we have two situations developing in parallel. Luckily we have two ships, and two people with the ability to command!"?

= = = =

Also, given the galactic loss of the warp drive, isn't it obvious that Starfleet / Federation's top priority should now be equipping all ships with the spore drive? Then they can just retire the 930 year old log raft.

If this was a science fiction show, the setting would have been a great opportunity. The spore drive has the capability to create a new clash of civilizations. May be there will be a new Prime Directive -- the Federation will not share the spore drive with pre-spore civilizations. But is it protecting civilizations by doing so, or depriving them of progress?

= = = =

If they could transport Book at the end, couldn't they do it at the beginning, from space? Doesn't personal teleportation significantly change how gunfights happen or if they happen at all? Georgiou destroyed the prison camp, which included all the bonded laborers that couldn't be saved in this trip, were sleeping at the time, or chose not to believe in a crazy escape plan. Michael saw this happen. Does it not deserve any comment from her in her hushed tones?
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Daya
Tue, Sep 29, 2020, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

In the final scene, Laura was going to bury her phone the subsequent week. This means that the computer's ability to, and need to "interpolate" would have ended, since the data available in the timeline would have ended. Assuming the computer could "extrapolate" from there, character-Laura would gain more free will to deviate from real-Laura's script. This means Gordon would have a real chance, just one week in the future of where the simulation was.

But would such an extrapolation be as realistic as the interpolation that the computer created here? Or would the character become repetitive due to a lack of new information to mine? Was the so-realistic-you-could-fall-in-love-with-it effect basically because it was a recording? Like falling in love with a character in a book or a movie? Or was it a real person?
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Daya
Mon, May 4, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Why does everyone keep asking how Rasmussen got to know so much about the Enterprise-D and her crew if he was from the past not from the future? He knows nothing. He is clearly hustling. He doesn't use anyone's name before it is uttered by another character in his presence. He refers to the Enterprise as 1701-D, because he reads it off the ship's saucer. He knows nothing about the Prime Directive - Picard educates him about it. He never refers to "Doctor", "Commander", "Counsellor / Picard's Empath", or "the Klingon" by name, because no one utters their name in his presence. He refers to "Data", "Noonien Soong", "Geordi" by name after he learns their name from another character. He has no idea the drilling will backfire. Etc. Yes, this is not the best of episodes, but give the poor writers some credit!

Also, in the ready room scene, towards the end, you can see Rasmussen stop being a hustler for a moment, and become genuinely sad that he can't help this man in his predicament. So even though he has just received debating ammunition about the temporal prime directive, he just says "I can't help you. I'm sorry.", the truth, rather than spinning around what he hears from others and saying it back while projecting authority: which is what he is doing in the rest of the episode.
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Daya
Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

This season was a surprise. The Romulans are portrayed as either religious zealots or plain bigots against synthetic lifeforms, and Picard views them, and anybody who speaks against synths as such. Surprise: the Romulans were right! The synths (some of them) were plotting to end organic life, and possibly had means (or at least what they thought were means) to achieve that.

Jon-Luc Picard is thus stuck in a situation where both parties are right. The Romulans who say given a chance the synths will destroy the galaxy. The synths who say given a chance the Romulans (and possibly the Federation) will destroy the synths.

This series is a return after a long time to the "thoughtful" tradition of Star Trek. In a world that views every suspicion as bigotry to be shamed, STP takes the route of saying 'even though your suspicion may be warranted ... believing that destructive outcomes are inevitable is a lack of imagination'.

In not taking a holier-than-though attitude that a lot of contemporary politics and literature takes; in choosing to not depict a generic good / evil duality, STP goes where some good trek has gone before.
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Daya
Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

The setup was good. If the ending hadn't been so deflating, we would have remembered this as a better episode. For example, maybe they have an exception to the law that says children younger than 4 years of age are not punishable; and Picard argues that the intent of the exception applies to Wesley.

= = = =

* Edo sarcasm towards Picard's pontification was well done.

* They clearly build very modern buildings, so the Edo probably work. Maybe it was Edo Sunday.

* Maybe the Lysians (S05E14) are the Edo God. They both have the same ship, no direct weapons, and do not communicate well.

* If it had been TOS, Kirk would have argued that God is breaking his own laws (killing the Edos? trespassing?) and the God would have blown up in a self-referential logic loop.

* When ST:TNG first aired, I heard about this episode from a friend. My friend made it seem as if all episodes had raunchy planets -- and being a teenager, I was immediately interested. 30 years later, I have finally seen the episode that got me interested in TNG. Humph!
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Daya
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Mirror, Mirror

It is heavily indicated that mirror Spock and true Spock are essentially the same person - albeit in different situations. Then what if this is true of everybody? What if mirror Sulu is exactly our Sulu, but shaped by a different history and in a different situation? This episode plays with the mind-numbing possibility that the difference between a reviled villain and a good Samaritan may just be how they grew up.

= = = =

Nimoy was a masterful actor. Didn't the director of this episode trust his acting capabilities enough to let him be the evil Spock without the crutch of the goatee? Did they think that the inability of Spock's character to "ham up the evil" would have made the differences harder for the audience to spot? Or did they give him the goatee to increase the shock of the moment we realize that Spock in both the universes is essentially the same person? I think it's the third one, and it works.

Given that TOS was produced on a tight budget and schedule, and almost no one was watching, I continue to be surprised how much thought and effort went into each episode. They hold up to deeper scrutiny to this day!
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Daya
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

Ha ha ha ha!

When everyone else is saying "there's just too much technobabble", there comes George Monet who listened to the technobabble carefully only to say how wrong it is.


@George Monet:

There is such a thing as energy. Energy. The quantity that is conserved according to physicists. Think of it this way: all ship systems are using one form of energy or another. After using this energy, what happens to it? It becomes useless from the thermodynamic perspective (entropy increases). The only way for this to not increase the temperature of the ship to unmanageable levels is to radiate it out of the ship. All machines do this, and the Enterprise does as well. This is the energy that the booby trap feeds off. So I don't think using energy instead of particle names is lazy. In fact I think it is appropriate and correct. The shields have never been depicted as being able to stop simple radiated energy. (If they could do this, (a) the Enterprise would be a stealth ship and (b) it would heat up very soon and blow up.) (PS. I know radiation is photons.)

In regards to your second question, I think a good way to think of the booby trap mechanism is that it was generating a warp bubble which continuously warped space in such a way that whatever movement the ship made, it could never leave this bubble. The solution was to do an impulse burn so short that this warp field does not react thus allowing the ship to exit it.
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Daya
Wed, May 8, 2019, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Leif. No one had used welding sparks to signify time travel before.
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Daya
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Since the corporate takeover the Jammer that you see is not the original Jammer. They try to make you believe he is the same Jammer, but the truth is that this new "Prime" Jammer is contractually bound to be "at least 25% different" than the canon Jammer. This is the reason for the shift of 1 star in a 4 star rating system. 25%.
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Daya
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

They could have tied a rope to the lever that closed the blast door and pulled on it staying on the safe side of the door.
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Daya
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

About why Admiral Cornwall didn't transport out: the Enterprise transporter was not created for within-ship transport (i.e. site-to-site transport; ref: Day of the Dove). The Discovery had their shields up.
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Daya
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

"Nits" is a unit of Shannon entropy. Either your use of nits is unwittingly cool, or you are the actual father of information theory.
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Daya
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Booming: Nope! They clearly showed Saru seeing Michael in the present episode.

@Trent: She's an angel. She just hung around.
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Daya
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

There was a controversy last week about where Michael's vision really started. Most of us had missed the fact that it started before a single photon torpedo was fired. Hilariously, whoever edited together the recap at the beginning of this week's episode missed that fact as well, and edited it as if the shots were really fired. Go look at it and see if I'm wrong. :D

= = = =

I listened to the mixing of the Discovery theme song and Alexander Courage's TOS theme song at the end of the episode again. It is expertly done, especially given the fact that these two pieces of music do not fit together musically at all. The TOS music has to be distorted in tempo, cadence and the actual notes themselves to fit with the Discovery music. In fact, before the high-pitched soprano voice starts (a throwback to almost the same voice in the original TOS theme), it is much harder to recognize the TOS theme even exists in this mix. And it ends lamely on a half-hearted attempt at the TOS theme and gives up Discovery completely. ;)
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Daya
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Alan Roi:

I think that was a wonderful exposition (Verne vs Wells). Thanks.

So let us say there is a club of Golden Age (Vernian) sci-fi aficionados. Their club would be all about debate. Debating the philosophical implications of each scenario, the choices made by the characters, etc. Now they are introduced to Wellsian sci-fi. They just do not know how to engage with it, because the story seems impervious to their usual mode of engagement. In fact, they will think there is nothing here to engage with. Maybe this will enrage them and they will turn their sharpened debating skills against those who in their mind are replacing their favorite pass-time with "all this mindless tripe".

But then, what is the correct way of engaging with this new mode of entertainment? There are no philosophical discussions to be had. And there is no way to even try to be objective about emotions, feelings, beauty, aesthetics, etc. So does one describe one's subjective impressions about such things and leave it at that? Doesn't one even attempt reconciliation between various points of view? Is there no constructive debate to be had? Let me know what you think about how a group of individuals can communally engage fruitfully with this form of art.
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