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Dom
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Peter, you're not alone in cringing at the milking of this franchise. As with Star Wars, I get especially worried when I see them announcing so many projects. Rather than flood the market with new stuff, why not take one TV show or movie and do it really well? These franchises aren't going to become pop culture phenomena with lifelong fans if they just pump out low-quality products on an assembly line.
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RandomThoughts
Tue, Jun 19, 2018, 4:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Hello Everyone!

I probably liked this one more than I should have. When I saw it originally, I'm fairly certain I was just starting to really like TNG again. I'd stopped watching it for a bit after season one (heresy I know), but had seen an earlier season three episode that brought me back. Perhaps this one touched me because of the Guest Star Joey Aresco, who played "Hutch" on "Baa Baa Black Sheep", the somewhat real/fictional depiction of the United States Marine 214th squadron during World War II (the show later renamed Black Sheep Squadron, because it sounded like a kids show... go figure the parents couldn't figure it out after the dogfights...).

But I digress.

It really sounded like something weird and boring Starfleet would actually do. We'd heard many times about one Starship or another heading out to do some diplomatic work, and usually only in the Captain's logs... (while heading to a conference about the problems on Melba 2, and if they should be called "Toast", we encountered an Anomaly...).

Here is an actual weird, boring problem the crew has to solve or make better. Yes, it was started with something being stolen, but in the entirety of the known Galaxy... it's actually somewhat mundane. It is something they do all the time, and it just got a little hotter than they were used to. A few baddies stealing something? Really? Mundane...

For years when watching TOS, I'd yearned to see some "normal" stories. Something on K-7, or something that was just on their normal patrol and involved the "regular", day to day operations. Everything always seemed to be ship or Galaxy shattering... if they didn't get it just right, all was lost. In my re-birth of watching TNG, this was mundane, and perfect. Perhaps that is why I liked it so much. If they didn't get the result they wanted, no-one would care! The folks can duke it out until their sun goes nova! And we'll say we tried and then head out to taste some new variations on toast...

As always, your mileage may vary... but Two Thumbs up for Me...

RT
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RandomThoughts
Tue, Jun 19, 2018, 2:53am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

Hello Everyone!

Boy, after all of these years, I still ponder this one...

My random thoughts...

Doctor (his name, not The Doctor), is simply a fantastic program that has gone so far above and beyond its original programming it is essentially another person on the ship. But I say essentially. It is still a program. Just because it is aware that it can leave the holodeck (Moriarity as well), does not mean it is alive. It must have a soul, that inner spark that leaves upon death and heads out to a higher realm.

When his (I say that only because his image is male) programming came upon the improbable circumstance of both crew members having the unlikely perfect 50.0 percent chance of living, Doctor said he chose the one that he liked the best. But I think it was his programming saying this one is a bridge officer, and this one is not. And... done. Whether Doc knew it or not, that was his game-changer. He doesn't know all of the things that go on with the programming, just that he follows it. If there had been even the slightest indication (.001 or so, for arguments sake), he would have saved Jetal, if she was the .001+.

I love Doctor in Voyager, and in this episode. Always have and always will. But when it comes down to it, he is still a program, and can be edited, deleted or enhanced (as shown here). 7 talks about individuality, but at her base, she is still human, and has been brought back into the fold over time. She has computer parts in her, but the thinking is she is still human at her core. And still has her soul.

At the end of time, when there is no more power for Doctor, he will simply blink out of existence. No Valhalla, no Heaven... just nothingness and done.

End of program...

Regards... RT
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Dom
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

This is Kurtzman of Star Trek Into Darkness and Transformers fame. I'm not expecting much of an improvement over Season 1. Best case scenario is he's a placeholder until they find a competent showrunner.

Still, I do have to wonder how much Berg and Harberts were responsible for the problems in Season 1. It obviously wasn't the rosy situation the writers portrayed on After Trek.
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Dom
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Or, it could just be that the writers room was apparently such a mess that the show runners got fired.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/star-trek-discovery-has-suddenly-changed-showrunners-a-1826848946
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Dom
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I agree with @Astronut7 in the sense that it's helpful to get writers who have experience outside the writing room. At the very least, hire writers who have read something about history, sociology, or tech. I think the show could use people who have had a dose or two of reality. Discovery as it stands seems like the product of people who have never stepped out of a writers room and only know how to create heightened character drama. There's no sense of verisimilitudeness when it comes to the military campaigns, world-building, or technology in the show.
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Dom
Sun, May 20, 2018, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“In Europe Star Wars is viewed not much different than the Marvel movies. Fun pop corn movies which you immediately forget after leaving the cinema.”

I’m just calling out nonsense where I see it. Heck the fact that we’re talking about these movies years after their release I think is pretty clear that many people aren’t just watching these movies and forgetting about them. I’d also posit that many, many, many more people are talking and thinking about Star Wars than are talking and thinking about Citizen Kane nowadays. Citizen Kane is certainly well regarding amongst scholars of cinema, but does it really resonate with most people in 2018? (Persoanlly I think the movie is overrated and has a very simplistic take on society). Like it or not, what Star Wars (at its best) does is capture some of the social commentary of the best human stories and tells them through an action/adventure story accessible to the masses.
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RandomThoughts
Sun, May 20, 2018, 3:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

Hello Chrome

So, out of many, many awful ST:TNG episodes, those particular broadcasters stood upon their bridge and declared "This... shall not... be BroadCast...!"... just because of someone in a devil suit (that wasn't even Ardra)? I'll bet they feel really silly now... (heh).

Wow, and I thought Michiana was a weird place to grow up in.

Regards... RT
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Dom
Thu, May 17, 2018, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming, nonsense. My girlfriend just went to the Netherlands for a week and saw several people wearing Star Wars shirts. If you don't like Star Wars, fine, but don't pretend Europeans as a whole are more sophisticated and that your take on the films represents the entire continent.
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Dom
Wed, May 16, 2018, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I really don't get this elitist attitude that something either has to be the Sistine Chapel or it isn't "real art" and therefore worthless. Art comes in all shapes and sizes. Some art is better than others. Star Wars isn't Beethoven's 5th or the Sistine Chapel, nor is it trying to be. It's Star Wars. Star Wars is trying to be Star Wars.
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Dom
Wed, May 16, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I don't know where in Europe Booming lives, but Star Wars is very popular, especially in Germany. It isn't as popular in China, India, and developing countries, which didn't grow up with the originals.

"But I doubt that people in a hundred years will talk about the intricate story of Star Wars and how it changed the world."

It's already 40 years after the first movie and we're STILL talking about how Star Wars changed the world. Like it or not, Star Wars is probably the most influential movie in modern history. It changed the way films are made and practically made the special effects industry. To say that nobody will talk about it seems like a willful denial of the facts.

"That is what I meant with gifted white kids go on an adventure.
Star Wars is a coming of age story. good vs evil and good wins of course. Space wizards with swords who also fly around having WWII like dogfights."

If that's all you see when you watch Star Wars then you just haven't watch carefully. That's like saying Romeo and Juliette is just a story about two horny white teenagers who end up being so stupid that they kill themselves. Or summarizing Hamlet as privileged white kid who is indecisive and wants revenge on his father's killer. Or Citizen Kane as a story about a rich white guy. You can summarize any movie or work of art by the race/class/gender of its protagonist and simplify the story, but still miss so much of what makes it work.
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Dom
Wed, May 16, 2018, 8:44am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

One of the aspects of modern pop culture discourse I can't stand is the tendency to judge a work of art based on the race/class/gender of the artist. This unfortunately happens on both sides of the political aisle. If a piece of art speaks to you, great. If not, that's also fine. But judging art solely on the artist's demographic characteristics seems reductive and pointless. "Great art" can be about people of any race/gender/sexuality/creed/class. If an artist's work doesn't speak directly to your race/gender/sexuality/creed/class, that doesn't mean it's bad, it's just different.
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Dom
Tue, May 15, 2018, 10:22am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming, Lucas did not grow up rich. He was middle class. And I thought the world realized years ago that people can like both Star Wars and Star Trek for different reasons. Just because Star Wars has action scenes doesn't mean it's Transformers. Let's be honest, it's not like most of the Trek movies are any good. Aside from First Contact, the TNG movies are rubbish, as are all the nu-Trek films and Star Trek V.
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Dom
Mon, May 14, 2018, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Tempeh, I actually think Star Wars works much better when Force powers are set up in advance and don't come as a surprise. If they come completely out of nowhere, then it sometimes seems Force powers are whatever the writer needs them to be rather than an intrinsic part of the story. It's harder to maintain suspension of disbelief if I start thinking anything can happen and there are no rules to this Galaxy. Similar to how in a good mystery novel the author provides clues about the answers to the mystery in advance and only connects the dots at the end. You don't want to spoil a surprise for readers, but you also don't want it to seem as if the author is making up the rules as you go along (something I think happens a lot in Harry Potter). Now the hinting can be subtle (for example, I liked how the Force projections for Kylo and Rey did hint at that possibility for Luke at the end), but they should be there.
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Dom
Mon, May 14, 2018, 8:16am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming, I agree with Peter here. If you don't think Star Wars has anything to say, you're not looking closely. It's messages are more about morality, the nature of good and evil, choice and free will, etc. Lots of articles online discussing this stuff so I won't spell it out here.
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Dom
Sat, May 12, 2018, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@David Ryan, yeah that seems to be the general tone of a lot of positive reviews. A lot of reviewers nowadays like plot twists and subversion. I can't tell you the number of reviewers who have taken absolute delight in quoting Kylo's "kill the past" line, as if that were the core message of the film (spoiler: villains aren't the ones who provide the core message of a film). It's definitely a problem with a lot of reviewers, rewarding "differences" over "substance." One need only look at overly convoluted shows like Westworld that keep people guessing but don't have much in the way of a story.
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Dom
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Peter G., in that video clip and others Lucas directly compares the US the Empire and the Rebels/Ewoks the Vietcong. You're right too in how the analogy works in the film. Another part of the commentary is that the US had a technologically advanced army but couldn't defeat "primitive" Vietnamese guerillas. I.e., the power of fighting FOR something good as opposed to the Imperials, who are just obeying orders as part of a large military machine.
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Dom
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming. Yep. He has explicitly said just that. Check out this clip from a recent interview:

https://t.co/PnvDY4ylEZ

Of course, Lucas was inspired by many things and a lot of the dogfighting was inspired directly by WW2 movies.
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Dom
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Tornado, thanks for the compliment. I wholeheartedly agree with your point as well. There's a trend in modern pop culture commentary that seems to treat franchises as extremely malleable, with reviewers insisting that the franchise should be whatever they happen to want. So moral ambiguity is in, therefore Star Wars should have moral ambiguity. Campiness is out, therefore Star Wars should be less campy. This has led to a lot of franchises becoming more generic, like Star Trek Discovery feeling more like a generic SyFy show that Trek. But you're right, franchises do need a core identity. That doesn't mean they can't evolve over time, but a franchise should also know what it's good at and do it. Star Wars is a modern myth and myths are about epic heroes and broad moral messages, not about subverting expectations. I think commentary or deconstruction of a franchise can be really effective, but not as part of the franchise. Galaxy Quest for example does a great job poking fun at some of the conventions of Trek, but I'd never want GQ to be an official Trek movie. Last Jedi to me feels a lot like an interesting deconstruction of Star Wars that doesn't quite do enough to continue the mythos of Star Wars.
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Dom
Tue, May 8, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

"their visit to Canto Bight has a socio-political angle that has real-world allegorical value (as opposed to simply providing plot mechanics like the political backdrop of the prequels did)."

The story of a Galactic Republic electing an authoritarian leader, engaging in pointless wars, and succumbing to corruption all feel like very relevant real-world allegory nowadays. Lucas has said the Original Trilogy was in part a reaction against the Vietnam War.

By contrast, while I appreciated that Last Jedi tried to have some political commentary, it felt half-baked. Yes, there's income inequality, but the film never really convincingly makes the case that that's a fundamental problem. The idea that, as Rose claims, only weapons dealers could afford to go to Space Vegas is laughable. The top 1% on Earth includes tech gurus, investment bankers, entertainment moguls (like Lucas), and others who have nothing to do with arms dealing.

The whole approach to political commentary in TLJ a classic case of telling, not showing. Rose tells the audience that there's economic inequality and that we should be upset about it, but the film doesn't make the audience FEEL it. When she goes on a rampage in Canto Bight, I don't find myself cheering for her; I find myself aghast at the destruction and deaths of innocent bystanders. Think about it: would we cheer if somebody drove a car through a casino in Las Vegas? And what about the little slave kids? If Rose really cared about them, why didn't she bother to free them?

I'm not unsympathetic to the film's political angle, but the execution was sloppy at best.
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Intrinsic Random Event
Mon, Apr 30, 2018, 3:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Wasn't much into this episode, though it did make me think that Starfleet would have had to alter their academy requirements for all sorts of different beings, and we seldom get an insight into that.
But overall it was worth the sit-through to see the Klingon chef!!
Kinda like the Swedish chef... but far less Swedish...
I really would like to see a Klingon Iron-Chef competition, that would be brutal.
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Dom
Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Given DS9's semi-serialized structure, I just never found myself caring if Sisko's reaction to racial politics lined up perfectly with what happened in a previous season. It's a small character moment and seemed plausible given his personality and background. Sisko had expressed awareness of race and historical racism before, including in Past Tense 1 & 2. It's also pretty clear the show was evolving over time and is never 100% consistent. Given the nature of the show, I don't need it to be. The moment didn't undo character work from before.

Also, baseball seems like a pretty different case. As Peter said, baseball can transcend time a bit easier, whereas the Vegas scene was very firmly rooted in one time. I take the point about the prophets showing him a game from the 20s, but I feel comfortable overlooking that - it was the pilot, the writers hadn't fully figured out the character yet, and I suspect if it had aired later the uniforms would have been changed.

All that said, I do like Jason's retcon in that Benny actually had an effect on Ben's own understand of racism. As I said above, I like Far Beyond the Stars, but it always seemed like just a very unsubtle racism allegory forced into a Trek show. I like finding fan theories that better connect it to the core DS9 experience.
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Dom
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Chrome, I saw Sisko's reaction as more akin to an African American today taking issue with mainstream America's glorification of the Founding Fathers and not wanting to go visit Monticello or a Colonial times reenactment came like Jamestown. Sure, it happened a long time ago, but for some people the romanticizing of the past is an issue. Then again, different people are different - I'm sure there are many African Americans who do visit those places and take the history for what it is, good or bad.

I do have to agree with @Peter on Michael. I think the writers WANTED to have that type of culture clash, but just failed. Like in the premiere the idea of shooting on the Klingons first was supposed to show the different approaches of Starfleet and Vulcans, but I just didn't buy it, or at least Michael's version of it. I don't believe actually firing on - as opposed to shooting across the bow of - a Klingon ship would lead to diplomatic relations as opposed to a war. I don't believe for a second your average Vulcan would assault his/her captain and launch a mutiny.
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Dom
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Chrome, I'm sorry my analysis doesn't meet your high standards, lol

I didn't say the DSC characters were just tokens (other posters might have), but rather that their diversity feels superficial at this point. As I said above, it's for the most part diversity in gender, race, and sexual orientation rather than diversity in worldview and cultures. There's still time for the show to improve, but even in Season 1 DS9 was airing episodes in which Kira's beliefs clearly went against Federation values.

Yes, I mentioned one example of Sisko invoking his African American heritage. There are others on the show, from the African artwork he keeps in his office to FBtS. However, as much as I like FBtS, it is pretty uncontroversial and frankly a bit pedantic as far as stories exploring racism. Even in the 90s, I suspect most people watching Trek would have condemned systemic racism, sympathized with Benny, and been shocked by the extent of police brutality. It's a great hour of television, but it doesn't tell me anything I didn't know about racism or diversity even when I first saw it in the 1990s. It's a very comfortable critique of racism in our "distant" past. (then again, with the rise of Trump, maybe a significant number of Americans think that's how things should be)

I referenced “Badda Bing, Badda Bang" for a reason. Even though it's not a focus of the episode, Sisko's reaction to the racial politics of late 50s/early 60s Vegas is more challenging for modern audiences. The critique isn't just "cops beating up innocent black people is bad" (a la FBtS). Rather, it pushes people to question if we can ever separate our understanding of the past - and pop culture made in the past - without thinking about race. The casino holodeck program itself didn't appear to have any overt racial/racist elements. To many (white) viewers probably seemed like a fairly standard and innocent - if glorified - depiction of Vegas. Sisko's reminder of the racial dynamics is much more uncomfortable because many viewers had watched and enjoyed movies from that era like Oceans 11 without thinking about how they (sometimes deliberately) ignore race. Sisko's beliefs and heritage made him see the situation in a completely different light. I'm sure the episode could have done more with that idea, but I actually think it's all the more effective as a short intrusion into an otherwise lighthearted episode.
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Dom
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I don't think anybody really cares which Trek show had more diversity per se. Rather, the initial point was about how diversity is manifested in the show. @Wolfstar's initial point still stands in that DS9's diversity never felt tokenistic or ancillary; each crew member felt like an integral part of the show. The diversity wasn't just there to please certain fans either and check off boxes. The writers made sure to explore that diversity and what it meant for the characters. For example, the writers could easily have made Sisko a "color-blind" black man, somebody who avoided any mention of his race or ethnicity (as were most black characters at the time). Instead, the show deliberately chose to explore Sisko's African American heritage, what it meant to him, and why it even made him uncomfortable with certain aspects of American history (like the 1950s casino holodeck program).

That's what I think the original post was about. Discovery has diversity, but it feels skin deep at this point. It'd be great if the show eventually managed to really explore what those differences meant to people. Diversity could be a theme of the show instead of just a box to check off.
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