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Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Inside Man

I actually quite liked this one. Compared to the general boredom the Voyager crew often inspires at this point, it still feels like a breath of fresh air to get to see the Alpha Quadrant and Project Pathfinder and all the people involved. Reg was great fun as both his real self and his exaggerated hologram version, and Troi was used in a pretty enjoyable way as well (and actually used her empathic abilities in a meaningful way, which was great). From amongst all the "Voyager is going to get home! except not really" episodes, I'd say that "Inside Man" is up there with "Bliss" in terms of actually being enjoyable.
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Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fury

Having finally watched this episode, in some ways it was worse than I could have imagined. Voyager has plenty of jaw-droppingly poor episodes, but as far as insulting the audience goes, this may be the worst. This isn't the usual one-off, easily forgotten pile of lazy writing, poor execution, and half-baked ideas that make up many of the worst Voyager episodes - it's the final episode of a main character from the first half of the show up until this point. To think they waste it on Kes skulking around, having no legitimate interactions with her former crewmates until the very end, and attempting to send all her formerly beloved friends to a horrific death for a completely shallow (and even retcon-based) reason is just...shockingly frustrating.

How sad is it that the closest we get to a real character moment is that final scene with Neelix sadly looking at aged Kes, trying to show her affection while downplaying how much her appearance upsets him? It's hardly even there as a scene, and yet its so much deeper than anything else we get here. As so many others have said, all we're allowed is a huge wasted opportunity coupled with character assassination. I preferred Threshold over this. At least I could laugh at that one. This was just the destruction of a character as pure ratings ploy.

One thing I haven't noticed anyone mention - the attempt at giving Chakotay a crowning moment of glory. He orders "Reverse thrusters, full power!" to which Kim replies "that'll tear the hull apart." In what the writers clearly wanted to be Chakotay's Captain Sulu moment, he yells "then tear it apart!" Alas, despite clearly aping that incredible, character defining moment from STVI, the direction and Beltrand's delivery just can't hold a candle to Takei in that film (the knowledge that no damage on Voyager has consequence making the whole thing feel hollow doesn't help).

Overall, I've really been enjoying Voyager these past two seasons, but this episode almost makes me want to rethink my positive feelings for the show as a whole (and just "Live Fast and Prosper, feels strangly like the terrible episodes of seasons 1-3 of the show). I'm glad the next outing is supposedly much better. Too bad there was never another outing for Kes. In some ways, the lasting insult here feels a bit like what happened to Kurn in DS9 - a horrible end to a beloved character that should have been reversed, but never was. But at least the episode in which Kurn's fate was sealed was itself a compelling episode. This, alas, was simply not.
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Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Live Fast and Prosper

This honestly felt like a season 2 Voyager episode - pretty good premise with some good scenes and aspects, but overall just doesn't come together in a compelling way. Weird pacing, scene progression feels off, and in the end nothing of consequence happens. Almost felt a little bit like that horrible Ferengi episode Voyager did, although not quite as terrible.

Although I will agree with a lot of people and say that Faux-Tuvok was pretty hilarious and endearing. Loved seeing him meet his idol and not quite measure up.
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Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 2:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

The writers have set the show up to send our main cast into the future--presumably the same point in the timeline as the upcoming Picard show.

That's the reason for the extended dramatic goodbyes. These characters will not get another chance. If the writers build that dramatic structure so explicitly, and then back off from it and have our characters return to their status quo, I will be shocked. You don't extend a season for an episode of farewells without cause. It's clear the writers have wanted to wash their hands of the scenario that began the show, and what better way to do it than to launch into a completely different era?

Here's the other speculation I'm surprised no one has mentioned: could the artificial supernova that our crew is about to generate just before an untrained pilot opens a time portal become the death of Romulus? Explicit mention of the effects of Georgiou's rejected plan seems like it could be load-bearing dialogue.

I do buy the crew staying with the Discovery--not out of loyalty solely to Michael, but to their mission and their ship. If you could time travel a century and a half into the future, would you? I think I might.

I love Po and her ice cream. I'm glad Ash is staying behind. I liked watching Owosekun speak to her family. I suspect Hugh will come with us after all, while Spock of course will need to go.

Okay mom and dad, thanks for flying here from Vulcan out of the blue, but if you telepathically sensed I was in great danger, could you have brought the fleet? Literally any ships? At all? Dad? Doggone it.

I love the Enterprise, and Number One remains one of my most beloved characters in all of Trek. *She's* the one who should get the spinoff!
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Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

@Alan Roi
"Drea: Georgiou's bizarre attempt to reunify Stamets and Culber through jealousy will probably raise more hackles among fans than the scene was worth. What are this woman's motives, anyway?

Alan: To get to enjoy herself and have a good time without having to worry about being stabbed in the back for the first time in her life? "

Taking over Section 31 and using it to turn the Federation into a Terran Empire with herself as its leader has been my own interpretation of her motives. "I'm just going to enjoy screwing around in this loser universe" is a fun alternative, but her choices imply a master plan to me--and she doesn't go small.

My best guess for the Stamets/Culber intervention is that she recognizes Stamets as an asset, and one that will be more valuable with the stability of his partner. I don't think she does much without an agenda on at least some level.
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Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

It could have been worse.

The Red Angel could have been Michael. My partner and I groaned when the show told us it was, since we'd agreed that literally anyone other than Michael could be a satisfying story. So Michael's mom? Weird, and not without those who guessed it, but also not as predictable as the "twists" from season 1.

Georgiou's bizarre attempt to reunify Stamets and Culber through jealousy will probably raise more hackles among fans than the scene was worth. What are this woman's motives, anyway?

Holding up Tilly as neurodivergent representation is less cool when it's a laugh beat on the show for other characters to tell her to shut up.

The episode mostly had us sighing and laughing instead of whatever emotions we were meant to feel. An intelligence officer has things he isn't telling you, Saru? Really? And then he does tell Michael the truth because she tells him he really has to? No he doesn't. Is he killed by that machine toward the end or merely blinded, and either way, why?

In what should cease being a surprise by now, some of the effective scenes came from the personal interactions with Spock. He's able to reach out to his sister in a way that's a big step for them both--all while maintaining that unique snark so recognizable from his TOS incarnation.

The funeral also felt appropriate: even if we the audience hadn't gotten to develop a connection to Airiam as we should have, at least we see the crew reacting appropriately.

There's no reason the show can't pull all these threads together and have a strong conclusion, but this episode felt just plain silly. Two stars. (Yes, two. If you want to see 1.5 and below, see season 1.)
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Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

@Daya: "I must ask you, though, why you think "Making decisions on emotion and using whatever logical explanation it takes to justify those actions is exactly what we've seen Vulcans do since TOS". If your comment includes TOS, can you give me examples from TOS where Spock or another Vulcan indulged in such flexible logic?"

The answer is worth an essay! The earliest instance that comes to mind is Spock's response to the Romulans in "Balance of Terror." Spock believes that attack is the only option toward those of his species who do not follow Surak--and he represents this prejudice as simple logic. McCoy becomes the one to speak for Federation principles. (If you disagree and think Spock is indeed simply logical here, then you see the script as much less layered than I do.)

But we see this behavior essentially nonstop and with less ambiguity in how Spock and his father interact in "Journey to Babel." Here we first watch Vulcans putting the patterns on full display that they will repeat for the rest of the franchise. They cloak their personal approvals and disapprovals behind walls of logic and engage in near-constant passive aggressive sniping and baiting, with all of the emotions involved constantly denied. They will maintain this pretense up to and including life or death decisions.

Whether we're talking about the ego of the Vulcan captain who challenges Sisko to baseball or nearly every moment a Vulcan walks onscreen on Enterprise, we see a people who must deny the emotion in their decisions and behaviors in order to maintain status in their society. That refusal to acknowledge a fundamental component of their motives leads to a lot of toxic behaviors.

Of course, logic isn't *only* a pretense for Vulcans. Their devotion to meditation, reflection, and self-discipline allows many Vulcans to invoke logic to the benefit of themselves and those around them in ways that most people couldn't.

What happens if you're raised in the Vulcan culture of emotional denial but haven't had the lifelong training to rely on Vulcan logic as a consistent asset? Enter Michael Burnham.
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Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

@Daya: Yes, Burnham acted on emotion regarding Airiam and could not put the Vulcan logic she believes she holds to into practice. We're making the exact same point! Mind you, making decisions on emotion and using whatever logical explanation it takes to justify those actions is exactly what we've seen Vulcans do since TOS, but Burnham's not even doing that anymore by the time she's disobeying orders in her frantic attempt to avoid sacrificing Airiam.

The first season writers gave us a character with apparently inconsistent beliefs and behaviors, but I'm not sure they put thought into the discrepancy. The second season writers are taking that inconsistency and putting it in a much more self-aware way into the heart of her character development.
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Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

*This* was Discovery's first great episode--Jammer jumped that gun by one week.

From start to finish, the episode ratchets the tension high and rivets attention to both the characters and the action.

To my continued surprise, this take on Spock is fresh and interesting. He's not the person we know ten years later, and his relationship with his sibling feels strikingly real. The writers also aren't keeping him capsuled with Pike and Burnham either: we see his nuance in his kindness toward Stamets. Ethan Peck is acting circles around anything Quinto ever did.

And Airiam? Yes, it's regrettable that the series didn't introduce us to her better previously, but if we judge only this episodes on its own merits, she's at least as compelling as any single-episode character in Trek. The notion of sustaining an injury for which technology's partial compensation means choosing on a daily basis what memories to keep is a compelling sci-fi premise. Like many such premises on Discovery, it deserved more time than one episode could give it, but I did indeed care about this character by the time she left the airlock.

We don't need a long arc of Burnham having grown close to Airiam to believe she would be desperate not to execute a shipmate. That she cannot bring herself to do it speaks volumes about Burnham's capacity to hold to Vulcan logic in practice as well as theory.

The season arc has now also become clear: Section 31's AI becomes sentient and sends back a monster from the future to guarantee its own creation, and the Federation deploys Project Daedalus (clearly relating to the winged "Red Angel") to stop it. Yes, it's the concept from Terminator, and yes, that's fine--especially since it will probably come with a twist we don't see yet.

Starfleet's intelligence division has become careless of Federation principles and oversight, and everything we've witnessed so far this season comes as a direct or indirect consequence of this overreach. It's easy to see how Section 31 will become what we know them as in DS9.

It's hard to believe how far this show has come. The woman who wrote this episode has been tapped to become showrunner for the next season. Whoever made that call chose well.
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Forgot to add - if I was ranking this one, it would probably be my first 4/4 for the series.
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Possibly the best episode of Discovery to date (something I've said many times this season, haha). Felt "perfect" in a way even other generally great episodes haven't - nothing felt out of place, nothing detracted from the impact of the episode, and the pace was perfect. It added to, expanded, and deepened existing canon in a meaningful way. We also had three separate major character moments that all worked wonderfully - Pike/Vina, Spock/Burnham, and Culber/Stamets/Tyler. The reveal of the rift between Spock and Burnham wasn't earth-shattering or needlessly epic, but rather simply a deep emotional wound that Michael felt forced to give Spock back when their relationship was first truly developing. It helps explain his turning away from emotion for Vulcan logic, adding to the other points we already understood. Just great stuff. I won't even mention how amazing The Cage recap at the beginning was.
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Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

We have two almost entirely disconnected stories, one effective, the other pedestrian.

To my shock, the Spock reveal is the effective story. A young, distressed, and incapacitated Spock was not what I expected, and it's one of the only ways the show could make the thoroughly explored character and his family interesting. Sarek is in top Vulcan form: acting on his feelings of anger and disappointment toward is child and making up logical excuses. As is often the case, involuntary hospitalization for a child is sending them to a place of further danger and trauma, not of healing.

Mirror Georgiou feeling welcome on the screen comes as an even greater surprise. She's not acting to help Michael or Spock; she wants charge of Section 31. And we can imagine what a person like her would do with it. Take its morals so far from Starfleet's that it becomes a secret splinter organization, maybe?

Right, then the other plot where Ash and Pike compare penises, grunt at each other, and ultimately walk away with mutual respect. Strictly paint by numbers. Their logical leaps of a time war outline some intentions of the writers without making much sense for what the characters would reasonably guess. Airiam gets possessed by Squiddy from The Matrix before it blows, and we the audience won't be able to tell any difference in behavior because we have no idea who Airiam is. But maybe that will change with the plot that must follow?
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Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

I simultaneously enjoyed the episode and have no idea how to reconcile the crew's decision with the Prime Directive.

Although a captain may make a judgement call to have tea with a pre-warp civilization already in contact with spacefaring people, non-interference still applies. Non-consensually altering the body of every person in a species seems like the furthest from non-interference that Pike could get. There's no imminent demand that Pike take such action, either: the genocidal threat comes as a result, not as a reason. If the Kelpians collectively requested this intervention, then the Prime Directive would force Pike to decline, but without their request or even consent, the decision seems ethically inexcusable.

Quibble: Kelpian "evolution" appears to be simply a part of their life cycle, like our puberty, but the history made it appear as if the "evolved" Kelpians were a subspecies, living in different settlements on the planet.

If we somehow insert adequate reason for the Discovery to intervene as it did, then we have an outing that works reasonably well. Character beats for Saru and Michael deepen who these people are. The beats with Hugh felt appropriate, though Stamets felt written as almost implausibly insensitive to Hugh's discomfiture with his resurrection. The story of liberating the Kelpians gets the job done, despite the rushed conclusion common across a great deal of Trek. And hey, that sphere from a few episodes ago serves a plot purpose here.

The Red Angel is something we haven't quite seen before, which makes it interesting. It's far superior to Federation tech, but not godlike, and it evidently acts benevolently. We also now know it's a technology, not an entity. Could it be someone we know in that suit? Or different someones over time? Ash's responses seem illogical, both in general and that Ash would so quickly become an adherent to Section 31's perspectives.

The complete lack of reasoning surrounding the arrogance of altering an entire species' bodies on the sayso of a Federation crew prevents my regarding the episode as a 3/4, but so many aspects work that it's a strong 2.5.
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Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

It's difficult to express how much it means for a gay couple to have the arc we just saw for Stamets and Culber. The first kiss between two men on Star Trek being followed immediately by one of their deaths let us down profoundly. If you're not queer, you might not realize the harm of the endless repetition of "bury your gays" in movies and TV, or how exceptional it is to have an Orpheus story with anything other than a straight man.

My partner and I had no spoilers and were invested in every step. We begin with the stakes of rescuing Tilly, and that mission conflicting with Tilly's need to rescue the JahSepp despite her fury at her abduction. In Trek, we've often had "monsters" turn out to be creatures defending themselves against us. This time, a human is the "monster," and a species that has only just learned to communicate with us faces the decision of what kind of people to become.

Reclaiming Hugh turned into quite the roller coaster. We the audience know how stories work and realize we're either getting him back permanently or giving Stamets a final closure and goodbye. The episode plays with the stakes at just the right pace that we remained in suspense over which one it would be. We verbally exclaimed, "oh noooooo!" when Culber's hand couldn't manifest into our world. In order to bring him back, we would need to sacrifice something, namely our newfound ability to communicate with the JahSepp--and even then it wasn't a sure bet.

Tilly's compassion to aid strangers even when those strangers have harmed her ultimately brings forth those strangers' capacity to do the same. Both she and Stamets combine love with scientific knowhow to bring about a reunification past death. If this isn't Star Trek, I don't know what is.

Notes & Quibbles:

The explanation for Culber's return could've used more tech-leaning technobabble. Stamets transferred Culber's brain patterns into the mycelial network, which feels awkwardly new-agey to call his "energy." It's no more science fantasy than most of Trek, but the language used leaves it feeling less grounded.

Section 31 looks like a fairly overt black ops outfit. We have to assume that they're actually quite secret, and just the small bubble of characters we see happen to know about them.

It's not clear why May couldn't ask the JahSepp to lay off the Discovery for five minutes. My best guess is that she couldn't actually communicate with them while manifested as May. Leaving Tilly alone had been pre-arranged, and the others never left the ship and so were safe. We ought not have to guess at this significant plot point, though.

To my surprise, Ash and Mirror Georgiou are interesting to have around. I particularly enjoy Pike's interactions with Ash.

The Spock plot continues to develop at an appropriate pace. Personally I'm glad the season is holding off on having him onscreen.
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Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

Definitely enjoyed it!

This felt like a season 1 episode done right. Season 1's breakneck pacing might have worked had its constant and predictable revelations not wound up as eye-rollers. Let's contrast that style with even the silliest of this week's plots, the Booger Monster sucked from Tilly. We the audience should guess early that it's an alien entity for exactly the reasons that Burnham supplies, in classic Sherlock style. The writers clearly know we know and don't treat us like we're dumb. However, it's entirely reasonable that Tilly, under duress of believing she is losing her mind, does not put those pieces together. So instead of a clunker of a twist played for audience shock, we watch a character fall apart under something whose nature we're in a better position to guess at than she is.

And hey, the Klingons think like Klingons! Which is to say, chest-beating honor in public, and cowardly treachery behind the scenes. Someone above wanted the transfer of chancellorship via contract defended by any long-term Trek fan. To anyone who remembers the Duras, or for that matter Gowron, can anyone remember the Council working in any other way than whatever will serve the machinations of power? This held my attention. I wanted to stab myself with a bat'leth with every Klingon scene last season, which would've taken a long time since mine is foam. Not so here.

It was a bad idea to begin with to make the lead of the new show the sister of a beloved character from the old, but season 2 is rolling with it, and it feels reasonably engaging. The "Logic Extremists" come up again, and it's a shame that the Vulcan supremacists have such a silly name, because they make a measure of sense at this point in Trek history. The worst folk of Archer's era are still alive, and they would hold a minority view that has no sway through electoral means. So, terrorism. Being targeted for violence hasn't exactly helped what would already have been tense family dynamics in Michael's household.

Hope the season keeps a good mixture of slower episodes and more plot-driven ones like this.
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Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: New Eden

Solid 3.5 stars.

Now we're watching Star Trek!

We have a 23rd-century enlightened crew interacting with descendants of 21st-century humans who have become enlightened in their own and different way. We have classic sci-fi themes of the relationship between religion and science, but make no mistake: this is no rehash of the same old Trek. Old Trek almost never touched actual Earth religions, and it would not have depicted them in this fashion.

The humans of New Eden came from a world torn apart by war. And what do they do? They fuse their different religions and cultural differences and create a little society apparently unmarked by significant violence for two centuries. They do not possess the technological utopia of the Federation, but their Eden is perhaps the first apparent idyllic planet in Trek that turns out to be exactly what it appears.

Then we have Burnham, with her Vulcan upbringing, declaring that their religions are simply false. Pike has greater respect both for difference and for the Prime Directive, and we see their philosophical differences play out in their choices.

Meanwhile, both Stamets and Tilly encounter the inexplicable. Culber seems still to exist somehow, whereas Tilly has made contact with an alien life form that takes the shape of a dead childhood friend. "Your brain is so much fun," this entity says; she behaves quite differently from the ghostly Culber and is surely no hallucination.

The red flashes and the angel who comes with them have so far behaved in only a benevolent fashion, but not one that has clear motives as we would understand them. We're not facing a monster of the week, or an arbitrary universe-ending threat. We seeking out new life. We are watching Star Trek.
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Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within


Previous Trek made a point of asking moral questions. Discovery rarely explores the themes it raises, and at times it depicts actions which informed viewers understand as morally problematic even in our era, to say nothing of what fits in Star Trek, but with no indication that the writers even thought the ethical issues through. The first major example would be Georgiou's planting a bomb in a corpse to attack during funeral rites after losing a battle. It's handled as a plot point with no moral implications whatsoever, and Georgiou is depicted as the torchbearer for Federation ideals throughout the series.

Tardigrade torture, on the other hand, is depicted as something that clearly horrifies Burnham, but the Trekkian tropes invoked here serve more as a narrative shorthand than as a moral issue in its own right. Witness the utter lack of any conversation whatsoever between Lorca and Saru over the loss of the creature.

Sarek initiating a mind meld without consent is another example. Spock does this in Star Trek VI, when the stakes are exceptionally high and time extremely short, and it's still a problematic scene. But Discovery blows past this sort of thing constantly without a thought. It's possible to raise instances in other Trek of issues that ought to be major moral questions being breezed past, but the history of the franchise takes its pride in exploring the nuance and consequence of moral and political decisions.

Discovery barely scratches at that. It seems content to stage action hours with Trek tropes layered on top, and depending on what you're looking for, that may satisfy. Jammer gives it more of a pass than I do, whereas others regard the show as utterly unsalvageable. It has quite the uphill climb after its first season.
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Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

How disappointing. I'd hoped perhaps that MU Lorca might have noble motives within his own universe, but no, it turns out that the Empire just isn't quite racist enough for him. All the moral ambiguity established in the first 9 episodes was just a moustache-twirling villain not fully able to hide his eeeeeevil.

DS9 could get away with one comic-book Mirror Universe romp per season of 26 episodes--and even those wore thin. Discovery just blew 4 of its first 15 episodes on the Mirror Universe, and for what? Some gorgeous pyrotechnics and a marked decrease in what little depth the show had. I remember Jammer's reviews of Andromeda's ridiculous excesses. Well, now on Discovery we risk "all life in all universes!"

To prevent this, an assault team must lower the shields so that one ship can make a well-placed shot to make the whole thing go boom, and we are now officially watching bad Star Wars.

My partner and I kept pausing the show just so we could sigh. I see someone above express excitement that "the robot faced girl" got some lines, which for me drives home just how little we know the characters on this show.

I've found the show problematic throughout, but it also kept giving me cause to hope it could grow. This Mirror Universe arc dashed most of that.
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The Dreamer
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

Interesting dialogue, like I stated in my comment on Homestead, Voyager was hamstrung by the studio. They green lit a show that *demanded* continuity and then insisted on a more or less stand alone format. Trek fatigue was in full effect as well and it showed. Perhaps the show would have been better if it was not designated the flagship show for a network not enjoying the freedom as first run syndication like TNG and ds9.

As it is almost every series I like has been screwed by the network so I enjoy what I see the best I can. (The Pretender, Firefly, Farscape, Dark Matter to name a few) And also no longer fall in love with a show.

It’s good to see the former cast mates enjoy their moments at the cons and convention. I respect what those artists have to go through but would not want that burden.
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The Dreamer
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Homestead

Touching episode
Correct a throwaway line about a wormhole or a sub space corridor would have been nice but alas . . .perhaps it was left on the cutting room floor.

Given what I know now about the behind the scenes challenges and ALL that executive meddling, it’s amazing that the show maintained any continuity at all.

The modern advent of streaming which has enabled binge watching has allowed for catching the subtleties often missed on a single viewing. I have a greater appreciation for the series. And I already like all the trek series’ any how. But even 17 years after the final episode, I still find scenes that I have missed or forgotten and e be certain episodes.

Nuff said
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Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

With the Lorca reveal, the most nuanced characterization on the show is now out the window. Instead of someone so determined to defend the Federation that he has lost sight of its ideals, we have a villain from the cartoonish Mirror Universe.

What are we getting from any of this? We're not getting much meaningful characterization. We're not getting a story with any clear themes or direction. We're not getting insight into our current real-world ethical or political dilemmas. The show could still grow into something worthwhile, but by slicing away Lorca, they've just kicked in one of their best supports to do so.

Clearly the writers or directors believe that by making a show more gruesome they make it more adult. They're wrong. We don't benefit from seeing Voq's surgery over and over, or from watching Lorca suffer in the torture chamber. Whom does this entertain?

Stamets is doing a disproportionate amount of work to make the show enjoyable. I'm not yet sold on the writers' declaration that killing Culber does not amount to yet another "bury your gays" moment, but his scenes with Stamets in this episode worked. Will Stamets find that mirror Culber is some kind of decent human being and bring him back? It's among the plots that keep me watching.
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Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

It's extremely edifying to witness the evolution of our own culture, right here on this message board, over just the past 10 years. The earliest comments here, dating back to 2007 (though I believe there's only one from that far back), focus their criticisms of "The Price" on the cheesiness of the Troi/Ral romance, the annoying musical score, and the lack of chemistry between the characters. As the years roll on, some reviewers begin to comment that Ral feels like a stalker or even guilty of sexual harassment, especially for the way he first comes on to Troi. By 2017, he is being tarred and feathered as a "creep". The episode itself was made in 1989, a time I'm too young to remember clearly - though presumably there was nothing objectionable about his behavior in those days at all. Today, of course, you simply couldn't make a story like this, with a male character like Ral (you probably could do it with a female character, scoring men like this). Your entire show would be decried as misogynistic, and might even get bullied off the air.

A literary detail of interest to me is the fact that Ral possibly even explains his initial heavy-handed approach to Troi when he remarks to her (and I'm paraphrasing here), "You didn't mind when I used my empathic abilities on you." To me, this is saying that Troi was immediately attracted to him the first time she saw him, and he sensed that. This softens the sting of his behavior, because he knew for a fact she was going to enjoy it and respond to it. It's not clear this is what he means by that quote, but even if he had been more explicit, today's viewers don't have the attention span to wait for this defense - much less accept it. That first scene in Troi's office is all most would need to shut off the TV, pick up their smartphones, and start writing angry Facebook posts.

I can't help but feel a certain sadness at this. Don't get me wrong, the romance in "The Price" IS cheesy and overdone. But in a larger sense, watching it makes me mourn the loss in fiction of the suave, debonair ladies' man who confidently and assertively courts the women that catch his eye. I don't mind seeing these advances occasionally rebuffed, or watching one of these characters try it on the kind of woman who (unlike Troi) wouldn't like it and would proceed to give him a piece of her mind over it. And I'm downright intrigued to see the female version trying her luck with a meek male target.

But these days, that's all we get, isn't it? In 2017, "women's empowerment" means that male characters like Devonani Ral are sexist, not smooth, and including one in your story (along with a female character who would do anything other than put her knee in the amorous fellow's reproductive organs in response) makes YOU sexist. This may make modern feminists happy, but it's easy to miss a certain variety in fiction as a result, walled off at least for a time by the stony ramparts of political correctness.
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The Dreamer
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Captive Pursuit

I enjoyed it, but my recommendation for any show is not to get too emotionally invested to the point where you cannot enjoy the ride
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Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

If each episode must be an action blockbuster, at least we get a good one! Jammer nailed it on most points here.

I've felt uncomfortable with the portrayal of Tyler as a male with PTSD from sexual assault for the simple reason that we the audience know that his story is false, because we know that L'Rell was not in the place he describes for most of the time in question and suspect he is in fact a Klingon sleeper agent. There may be ways of resolving this contradiction that do right by the themes raised, but treating this trauma primarily as an expedient plot point, or ultimately showing the scene between him and Burnham to be based on something unreal, does the issue a disservice. We'll have to wait and see.

I would also very much like to see the bridge crew given character depth. We have a very thin cast on this show, so there's no reason we can't devote more time to *all* of our characters in lieu of all the stuff blowing up.

But at least the stuff blowing up had stakes and felt entertaining. I'm cancelling my CBS All Access until the show comes back, and I don't like how much it costs, but Discovery has managed to keep me on board.
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Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

So all those times of our playing Yaphit's sexual harassment of Finn for laughs was buildup so that we could play Finn having sex with him while drugged for laughs?

Frak this show. My line is crossed. I'm done now.

If the comments thread needs to be full of "is it really rape?" then your show is doing it wrong.
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