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Dom
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Came across a good review of Season 3. I particularly like this discussion of why Disco is only questionably "Star Trek" :

https://culturalconversation.co.uk/2021/01/09/star-trek-discovery-that-hope-was-you-season-3-review/

One question that I have been grappling with across this third season is a tried and tested one: is Discovery really and truly Star Trek?

Now, on a factual basis, the answer is of course yes. Discovery is just as much Star Trek as any of the other shows mentioned above. It is canon. It is set in the Prime timeline (despite some hilarious nerds trying to prove otherwise in places online) and it certainly aspires to the core principles of Gene Roddenberry’s series. It is progressive. It is human. It believes in aspiration and equality. It believes in representation. All of these factors are evident, particularly in Season 3 which front-loads POC, LGBTQ and non-binary characters as clearly defined heroes. Discovery considers itself a true heir to the legacy of TOS, perhaps even more so than any Star Trek series since TNG. It carries that belief with passion.

There are two reasons that, for me, Discovery does not, however, feel like Star Trek.

Firstly, it is the only Star Trek show to date which has almost a meta-awareness of the universe it lives in. One might argue Lower Decks has this but the rules are different with that series, one expressly designed as an animated parody of Star Trek’s core tropes. Discovery considers itself a straight-up ‘legacy’ show in the vein of the well-known series of yore, and the carrier of the flame even more than Picard (a project baked in nostalgia designed more as a personal vehicle for Patrick Stewart). Yet Discovery’s characters regularly exist in awe of their surroundings, buoyant with a sense of their own adventure, and almost cult-like about their existence as a crew. Consider how they canonise Michael Burnham, for one thing (more on this later) and how vehemently they resist being parted once they arrive in the 32nd century. They might declare “we are Starfleet” but they don’t often act like it. They act like characters who know they’re in a Star Trek show.

Secondly, the show frequently seems to avoid anything close to the layered interpretation or measured storytelling we saw in previous eras. The standard defence of this is to suggest Discovery cannot be measured in these terms because television has changed, and audiences digest media at lightning, breakneck speed, but it’s a lazy excuse. TV drama has never been stronger, all told, with the cable glory days of The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad et al… priming audiences for television which can balance serialisation and nuanced, detailed narrative and character development over fifty minutes. It can be done with science-fiction or fantasy. Just look at Watchmen, a nine-episode masterpiece of storytelling. Game of Thrones, at its height, Westworld when firing on all cylinders. These are just a few examples of shows Discovery, even at its best, isn’t even in the same league with. The writing covers a lack of depth with forced emotion and sentimentality from characters who rarely earn the connection us, as an audience, are meant to invest.
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Dom
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

I haven't watched Disco since Season 1, and it sounds like I'm not missing much. I've got Mandalorian to satisfy my space opera craving and The Expanse to scratch my futuristic sci-fi itch.

I want to second those urging Jammer to review The Expanse. Jammer missed out on B5 while it was airing, and so that classic show will probably never be reviewed on this site (90s Jammer probably would have loved it). But it's not too late to get in on The Expanse. I don't want to pretend it's the greatest show ever, but it's smart, serialized sci-fi, some of the best since BSG. Definitely worth your time.
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Dom
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

@Christopher, "How can this show get distracted so easily, what exactly are the showrunners trying to accomplishing?"

That's why I decided to stop watching after Season 1 of Disco and Picard. These new Trek shows just don't seem to know what they want to be about. Was Season 1 of Disco supposed to be about the war with the Klingons? Or the Mirror Universe? Or the ethics of war? And was Picard supposed to be about learning to accept people who are different? AI? Growing old?

A lot of people have compared Star Wars and Star Trek's current shows. The Mandalorian isn't perfect, but one thing it has going for it is that it's confident about what it wants to be. It's not always the most ambitious or challenging storytelling, but it's got a goal and moves toward it with gusto.
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Dom
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

@Paul M., I agree. It seems like Jammer is reviewing Discovery out of a sense of obligation to the Star Trek franchise, but his heart doesn't seem to be really in it. I think he'd enjoy The Expanse and have interesting things to say about it.
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GunnyFreedom
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 12:53am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath

As a veteran, lapses of discipline as extreme as O’Brian exhibited in this episode are destructive to morale and effectiveness. Whether Bashir was right or wrong is immaterial. O’Brian should have been court martialed and sent to the brig.

This one episode converted me from an O’Brian fan to an O’Brian hater. I will have to try and overcome this in future episodes as the nature of a 90’s TV show will just hit the reset button on the Chief like it never happened.

But had this been real life I’d have seen O’Brian drummed out of Starfleet sent to a Federation penal colony for his behavior in this episode.
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Dom
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 10: The Passenger

@Paul, that's a good way to put it. Mandalorian isn't really pushing the boundaries in storytelling or doing anything subversive, except perhaps in daring to be simple. Episode 2 of Season 1 was one of the best examples of lean, pared down storytelling I can think of on TV. And no matter what the show does, no matter how silly or sentimental, it's almost always confident. I get the sense that the creators are having fun playing in the Star Wars sandbox.
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Intrinsic Random Event
Wed, Oct 7, 2020, 3:10am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: Razor

Been thoroughly enjoying BSG during my lockdown rewatch, had forgotten how great and how unique this show really was... truly one of the best.
However, I have to say, I think Razor is pretty ordinary. I'm not seeing the same criticisms in the other comments (haven't quite read them all), but after the amazing writing and plot twists that ended season 3, most of this movie feels like an unnecessary rehash, albeit with some fantastic special effects.
It's hard to put a finger on it, but the dialogue doesn't have the same flair that is normally present in a BSG episode, and neither does the story, though I do like the idea of somehow including old-school cylons... as a fan of the original show, I got a kick out of that.
Shaw was not a character that I could relate to in any way, the performance seemed too understated and deadpan. I wasn't getting a real sense of brooding anger or frustration beneath the exterior. In spite of how he looked like she could have been younger than Billy from season 1, I could look past that given Lee Adama can be a Battlestar commander, or Ensign Ro could be an admiral. But part of the problem was that I just didn't buy any attempt she made to be intimidating, or trade barbs with Starbuck.
So in summary, I thought it all looked great, loved the old cylons, but the rest fell flat for me, didn't really add anything of consequence to the main storyline. But I can see how this would have been very welcome during a long break between seasons.
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Nancy Doman
Tue, Oct 6, 2020, 4:24am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

How can anyone doubt Worf's counting Bashir among his closest friends, considering Bashir's efforts to keep Worf going during their time in the Dominion prison?
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Dom
Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Flipsider, what really made Galaxy Quest special was that it managed to poke fun at Star Trek tropes, and yet never felt like it was making fun of Star Trek or the fans. I never liked Big Bang Theory in large part because it seemed to center around showing how weird the nerds are.
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Dom
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@CaptainMercer, I'd go even beyond your comment to note that many of us who are critical of new Trek do like other modern shows. The Expanse is a great sci-fi show on TV now. Heck, there are plenty of kids shows that I respect, like She-Ra, even if I know they're not made for me. I know what good writing is. I know what good Star Trek is. I know what good modern TV is. Disco and Picard just aren't. And as Trek fans that's fine to admit.
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Dom
Mon, Jul 27, 2020, 5:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@wanderer2575, I literally laughed out loud at that comment!

As for the Discovery vs Picard debate... I've only seen the first seasons of Discovery and Picard. I remember the writing on Disco being a mess. I felt like the writers had no idea what they wanted to do or say. the lot just swung around wildly. By contrast, I think Picard actually had some coherence as a story with character arcs, even if I didn't love it. Put "Picard" in another franchise, remove the baggage of having the titular character Picard, and you've got a decently watchable if uninspired sci-fi TV show.
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Dom
Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 8:08am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I never thought I'd say this, but I've gained an appreciation for Berman & Braga. I don't agree with all of their creative decisions with 90s and 2000s Trek, but at least they had a vision for Star Trek as something more than a cash cow.
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Dom
Mon, Jul 20, 2020, 6:38am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Tomalak, It seems to me Lower Decks is using that style of humor because that's what's succeeded elsewhere, particularly with Rick and Morty. To me, one of the biggest warning signs is that Star Trek is trying to imitate other TV shows rather than doing its own thing or do something uniquely Trek. With Discovery and Picard, Trek followed shows like Expanse and BSG in going dark and violent instead of optimistic and peaceful.
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Dom
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

"I am greatly amused to see the usual suspects here eagerly consuming anything with the label "Star Trek" slapped on it, no matter how bad it is. I will not be reading the comments section here when it airs, it's just too damn miserable to see Trek fans settle for mediocrity."

Fixed it.
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Dom
Sat, Jul 18, 2020, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Startrekwatcher, I'd recommend The Expanse. It's a show that takes the science of "sci-fi" very seriously. The first few episodes are a bit slow, but there's great world-building and compelling character arcs.
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Dom
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Anthony Aguilar, people aren't criticizing Lower Decks because we're biased. We're criticizing the trailer, which looks awful. Look, it's possible that the show will be much better than the trailer. If that's the case, hopefully I'll hear about it on social media and will give it a watch.

But life is short. I'm no longer willing to be biased and give a TV show the benefit of the doubt just because it has the name "Star Trek" on it. There are too many other TV shows, books, and movies that deserve my time and attention.

Star Trek isn't a cult where we're all supposed to follow the leader. It's a franchise for storytelling. If we don't like the stories it's telling, it's OK to walk away.
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Dom
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Rahul, with all due respect, but isn't "But this is Star Trek, after all so I'll stick with it" part of the problem? If CBS is putting out bad content yet people subscribe because it has "Star Trek" in the name, then what incentive does the company have to hire better writers and fulfill Star Trek's potential.
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Dom
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

and for the record I actually enjoy Rick & Morty's bizarre humor. It's hilarious. But it's also not Star Trek. R&M isn't asking questions about the nature of humanity. It's not trying to to be socially relevant or challenging.
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Dom
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 9:37am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Jason R., that's the problem I've been calling out for years. There are some folks in these forums who claim that Star Trek is anything with the label "Star Trek" slapped on it. But for that "Star Trek" label to be meaningful, it has to actually mean something. Right now, what does Star Trek mean? Aside from people drawn to anything Trek solely for the label, how much overlap is there between people who liked TNG's Lower Decks and people who liked the trailer this show?

This line in Jammer's review captures my very ambiguous feelings about Star Trek during these past few years:

"But the overall arc of the Trek universe is appearing more and more mercenary and expansive, and less relevant and thoughtful."

CBS might succeed in the short term by getting subscribers to its streaming service. But how many people will still care about this franchise in 2030?
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Dom
Mon, Jul 13, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

The Lower Decks trailer makes Into Darkness look like a masterpiece. I'm just done with Trek.
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RandomThoughts
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 12:02am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: Sine Qua Non

@Luke @Nolan

Yeah, after watching him on "Firefly" and "Supernatural", I'm pretty certain that this is his default voice, or at least close to it...

Regards... RT
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RandomThoughts
Fri, May 29, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

@Robin

Hello and congratulations on finally seeing them all. :D

Regards...RT
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RandomThoughts
Fri, May 29, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

@Weasel

Nice comments and welcome to the party. :)

Regards... RT
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Dom
Sat, May 23, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Eamon, I agree, and what's so odd is that the writers seem to know what would make a good story, but didn't deliver it. If you listened to the writers talk about the show before it aired, they were raising some of the same questions you do. But, as you pointed out, the actual show has nothing to do with those questions or themes. It really makes me wonder... are the writers just so bad that they don't understand the implications of their story? Or was there a bunch of studio meddling that water down whatever messages were intended?
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Dom
Wed, May 20, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Glom, I haven't seen the RLM review, but that list is spot on.

@Eamon, I do think there's a bit of a disconnect between Jammer's star rating and the text of the review. Jammer always recommends focusing on the text, which is a bit more nuanced. Also, for serialized shows, it would probably be helpful to have some sort of rating for the season. There are individual episodes of Picard that I thought were fine or even good, but taken as a whole, knowing the end, I can't really recommend the show.
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