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SS Elim
Fri, Jul 31, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Alter Ego

If nothing else, this episode has the comedy gold of a jilted Harry Kim catching his holo-crush in the act* with Tuvok.

*of playing a board game
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SS Elim
Mon, Jul 27, 2020, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Hide and Q

Not a great episode, but worth it for seeing Wesley get skewered.
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SS Elim
Wed, Jul 22, 2020, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Where No One Has Gone Before

Half a dozen episodes in and they are already comparing Wesley to Mozart. Did they really expect people NOT to hate this little shit?
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SS Elim
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Last Outpost

Rough stuff. Hard to believe they really thought the Ferengi would be the big baddies for TNG. Although they did start off with more of their DS9-era characteristics than I remembered--the capitalist culture, the women staying at home and not wearing clothes, etc. (But whatever happened to the laser whips?)
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SS Elim
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

Allamaraine!
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Elizabeth
Wed, Jul 1, 2020, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

It seems that I am coming to this from a different point of view than most: I watched all of TOS a few years ago, but had never seen TNG before a couple of months ago. I started with season 3 because of all the warnings about the first two seasons. I decided to watch this episode — my very first from season 1 — after watching season 4’s “In Theory” (which I did not like) and hearing that Data’s character had originally been played as far more human, a possibility that made questions about his personhood seem more interesting to me.

As someone who watches the show mostly for the hypotheticals/moral dilemmas and not so much for character drama, I expected to hate this episode, but I actually rather liked it. A smiling, biologically vulnerable, and perhaps quietly emotional Data who is so tantalizingly close-but-not-quite-there in human terms is more interesting to me than the Data at the conclusion of “In Theory,” where the writers seem to definitely proclaim that Data is merely a computer we love to anthropomorphize (it is also annoyingly inconsistent with his behavior in other episodes). On top of that, this was my first introduction to Tasha Yar who seems like someone with an interesting background who I would’ve liked to get to know better — with her tough exterior and vulnerable inside she’s far more interesting than either Troi or Crusher. Her seeking out Data reads more genuine and compelling than the random coupling we see in “In Theory” — imagine we’d had a storyline about Tasha’s mixed feelings about having, well, _feelings_ for a robot, and how much more that could have propelled Data’s story too, instead of the rather limp one-off we get in “In Theory.” It seems clear that originally the writers were envisioning a long-term storyline as with Troi/Riker and Crusher/Picard and I think that could have been more fun to watch than either of those two couples.

I’m glad the show ultimately moved away from Geordi’s eyesight being a source of consternation for him though — I always thought it was nice how his eyesight is a non-issue for most of the series, with neither Geordi nor others making much of a big deal about it. Geordi is just Geordi: excellent engineer, endearingly unlucky in love, and all around nice guy. We are aware he is blind, and it’s not hidden from us or without its challenges, but that’s not the most prominent or deepest part of his character.

Riker gets a nice turn to shine here — his ability to keep in control after being infected is both a comment on his strength of character and on how different he is from his colleagues: he seems to be the only member of the crew who’s not really hiding anything and who wears his heart on his sleeve. His relative sobriety is perhaps also a tacit indication about how “out of control” everyone else really is. The contagion is repeatedly compared to a state like drunkenness, and it’s not altogether uncommon for genuine drunkenness to also provide a cover for knowingly engaging in behavior that will later be excused. Picard, Crusher, and Troi may be inebriated, but whatever logical part of them that’s left (and there is some since Crusher, for example, manages to concoct a cure, etc) also knows that they can say or do anything while infected and it won’t “count” against them later.

Most of the other characters (Crusher, Troi, Worf) are surprisingly consistent with their later characterizations given what I’d heard about the unevenness of season 1. The only person who comes off a bit more poorly in this episode is actually Picard, who, whether he’s dislikes children or not, seems too genuinely flustered by Wesley, and without the calm and cool so familiar in later seasons. I’ve never understood the Wesley hate, so his prominent presence in the episode is not a problem for me either.

All the complaints about cringe-inducing dialogue detailed in other comments certainly stand, though. I couldn’t watch Crusher’s horribly on-the-nose comments about Picard being attractive complete with the cliched unzipping of the top of her uniform without some definite squirming. But because I already knew the characters far better by the time I got around to this episode than I think most viewers did when they first viewed it, the episode overall mostly played for me the way it was supposed to: a fun way to watch the crew let their hair down.
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Elise Kehle
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

I think Worf improvising as a shaman is funny enough to bump it up to 2 stars, but not a great ep.
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Areliae
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 1:15am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I really don't like what they did to Seven. You can make a change make sense, but that doesn't make it a good change.

My issue isn't "Seven would never do this," it's "The writers shouldn't have done this." They completely changed the heart and soul of the character OFF SCREEN. This could've been any generic ex borg and they'd barely have to swap some names out. That's unacceptable for a character with so much history. If you want to use Seven, use Seven.

She was unrecognizable, and that's not something I can forgive.
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Aurelius
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I am still wondering what happened to the Remans
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Elise
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

@Jammer, I didn't see Raffi living in a trailer as motivated by hardship, but more of her being relatively paranoid after what she went through and wanting to live as close to off the grid as she could while still being on earth. It'll be interesting to learn more about how she got there.
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Areliae
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

I've only seen episode 1, as I'm saving the rest to watch with family, but I see a trend in these comments that I want to address.

Just because it could happen doesn't mean it should happen.

Yes, it's possible that humanity reverts itself to a nastier time, or becomes less idealistic or whatever. Sure. I just think that it's a stupid direction to take Star Trek.

Q could've destroyed the enterprise in episode 1, yet it still wouldn't have liked that twist.

Star Trek has always had a distinct vision. An optimistic outlook that yes, is challenged, but still defines the whole future it tries to present. Sure, we've known criminals and murderers exist in the ST universe, they're bad people, but they certainly don't define the tone or message of the story being told.

Star Trek has also always been theatrical. It's about quiet moments and big characters. It's about people living in a sci-fi setting, not the setting itself. This understanding ties together TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY. Despite their differences. I feel like they're losing their soul with these recent additions.
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Aurelius
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Didn't someone say in the show that there were two duplicate paintings, and Data gave Picard one of them?
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Aurelius
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I wonder what effect the "Romulan" supernova had on the Remans?
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Elizabeth
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Love this episode, but noticed something in the comments from the posters Mad and Paul Allen. Of course you're so concerned about *slut shaming*, or maybe you get your rocks off on the idea of sexed women unrealistically drooling over men. As a feminist, let me let you in on a secret, there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society, it's a way that men reframe treating us like pieces of meat, sexual objects, by pretending that it is liberating instead of humiliating, and it's a lie that many women convince themselves of to cope with the constant degradation of being viewed sexually by men.
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Eli
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 3:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

This episode illustrates an issue that bothers me about the Jem'Hadar and the Changelings: neither alien seems to require a source of energy. In my view, this creates at least two problems. One, it's extraordinarily implausible that any life form wouldn't require a source of energy for growth, maintenance and reproduction. Two, neither alien has problems to solve that define their existence. This is a dead end creatively, as both aliens seem to sit around doing nothing when not antagonizing the Federation or their other enemies. This issue specifically arises in this episode when Quark complains that the Jem'Hadar are bad customers because they simply stare at the walls, and when the Female Changeling explains to Odo that Changelings spend most of their time simply chilling in the Great Link. If the writers wanted to think outside the box they could have given either species a different source of energy other than food, like sunlight or some other chemical source. Learning about how they solve their day to day problems could have informed their respective cultures.

I should say I enjoy Deep Space Nine and think the Jem'Hadar and the Changelings can be interesting aliens in various episodes. However, I felt the need to point out this deficit (in my view) in their development as characters.
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Eli
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 3:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

For me, this episode is hilarious. The premise is beguiling and the preposterous plot twists are clever and entertaining.
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Eli
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 2:53am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

I enjoyed this episode very much. I thought there were a number of humorous lines and it built nicely to a charming climax.
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Eli
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Tears of the Prophets

I don't understand why Worf wasn't taking care of the symbiont to ensure it survives. Even according to Trill rules, Worf should have felt responsible to take of it until it was safely inside a new host. This way it would have never been uncomfortable between him and Ezri. He would have continued with Dax just as with Jadzia. Instead it came as a shock to him when Ezri arrived at the station. "Worf we need to talk" in "Shadows and Symbols" was totally inappropriate. That's way too casual of a way to treat a grieving widower .
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Elise Kehle
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Rahul called it- I just squealed "Armus!" when we saw the Ba'ul. And did anyone catch the stilt city rising out of the water on Kaminar? Looked almost Kaminoan -rimshot-
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Melissa
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Jammer:

Thanks so much for your extremely thoughtful reviews of BSG. I watched BSG in its original airing, and I've just gone through the series again for the maybe 8th time (?) and always follow up watching an episode with reading your review.

I'm commenting at the very end just to say that after so many re-watchings, this series holds up better than pretty much any of my other favorite SF: TNG, B5, SG1. Maybe the only series I love as much is TOS, but honestly comparing TOS and BSG would be like comparing apples and oranges - they come from such different places and eras.

The finale of BSG may have some flaws, as have been exhaustively argued above, but the more times I re-watch, the less I care about them. The finale ends everything in such a true-to-form way - as you say, it is bittersweet. I am re-watching on Amazon Prime this time, and they have Daybreak split into three parts. I think I cried through most of it, as much for what I knew was coming for the characters as for the fact that I had ended another trip through the series.

Thanks again!
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NowThisIsMoreLikeIt
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

"Now this is more like it." Those were the opening words of Janet Maslin's review of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She, like many others, found Star Trek: The Motion Picture to be an unsatisfying movie.

And Discovery last year (in its first year, which, if one tries to be objective about it, was still much better than TNG season 1) certainly had unsatisfying components: a plot that yanked the viewer around like a rag doll (the viewer is the rag doll here, not the plot), little mini-arc storylines for indiividual members of the crew that did not connect to the bigger picture (what bigger picutre? is a good question), or even to what their own pictures appeared to first look like; and bucketsfull of moments in each episode when the music, the special effects, the editing, the urgency of the actors' voices, were pitched at a tone that oozed the vibe of "Either it's the end of the universe of this moment or it's not." When every moment comes down Broadway sold as if the fate of nations depended on it, no moment is actually really urgent.

Most significant in the dissatisfaction column, for this viewer anyway, is not that Discovery did not "feel like Star Trek" (I still don't know what that means) - but that the show did not feel like it was chronicling the adventures of a group of people working as a team or as a group of souls working toward a common end (Season 1 sure used the word "souls" and "team" a lot, perhaps a product of the writers' crutch, "If you can't show, just tell." Stories were populated by individuals (and a very small group of them, as well), who weren't discovering. They were speechifying, killing, then contradicting themselves by saying killing is wrong - they were being moved as pieces on the writers' chessboard - a board which, if rumor is to believed, was smashed and then hastily glued back together more than once, with the departure of producers and writers (and can anyone tell me what happened to Nicholas Meyer?)

No one is going to mistake Alex Kurtzman the producer for Irving Thalberg; Kurtzman the director for Orson Welles; or Kurtzman the writer for Ben Hecht (and all of the people who think he is the worst kind of hack who then claimed to be SHOCKED that he turned out what these people call "garbage," please get a grip) - just as no one did at the relevant time mistake Gene Roddenberry the producer for Thalberg or Rick Berman for Francis Ford Coppola. These men were mortals too - perhaps sometimes highly competent hacks, but hacks. (Having real sf writers write for TOS was a great thing, but real sf authors - as in authors of published literature - have not graced the writers of a Star Trek room since.... I don't know when).

So, viewed through the lens of sane expectations and a history that actually took place, how did the first episode of Season 2 hold up? Pretty well. The amorphous, can't be proven right, can't be proven wrong refrain of, "This doesn't feel like Star Trek," when drilled down to its basic components, I think, comes to 3 components: Are we watching 1) a group of people all with their specific flaws and strengths 2) working together in pursuit of a shared goal 3) as they are traveling through space?

"Brother" was a winner because the answer is yes to all three.

This episode was the first in which I felt I was watching a group of people whom one would expect to behave and communciate with each other as if they'd actually been in each other's presence for any length of time. Characters talked to each other non-expositorily, finally. When Stamets told Tilly to recite, "I will speak less," and told her about his job offer, and how he missed Hugh, what I saw was not any of these points being fed to us for the sake of estabishing a character, finally (that was the problem with the 2012 Les Miserables movie; each character would essentially get on screen and have his or his own song, consisting of "This is who I am and this is what I do," and would essentlally sing that one note for the rest of the movie). I saw less "dialogue" and quite simply, more interaction, that did not keep announcing itself as such. I saw building upon prior events and characters reflecting on those prior events, without (the screenwriters) having to tell us yet again exactly what those events were and why they were so important. Even the new characters were given things to say that one would expect to be actually said in a workplace undergoing a particuar point in its development (Pike having each member of the crew announce his or her last name. if this was a writers' mea culpa, I'll take it). The new characters, including a certain comic, also seemed to have a sense of humor. The lines reflecting the humor did not feel forced. These lines were said at the tail end of other lines, or in the middle of them, not as their own punchlines because the writers couldn't show humor and humanity as one, at the same time. Nice.

2) There was a sense of actual working to pursue a shared goal. And unlike last year, the goal was articulated clearly to the audience, and did not vanish in favor of a different A-story or wilt on the vine to die (like the planet Pahvo, with respect to which Episode 8 promised a certain centraility in episode 9 - only to have it and its inhabitants ignored in favor of the latest zap arbitray crisis of the moment forced us to make us forget about how contrived the last one was). When the word "Starfleet" was uttered, what we were shown was a recognizably Starfleet crew, with "Starfleet" actually meaning something as opposed to being a writers' pawn that one day stood for peace and another for genocide. There was no narrative fixed Star in season 1 through which events and actions could be evaluated by the viewer; "Brother," in contrast, had a definable, coherent beginning, middle, and end, and if it were a train ride, it felt at the end as if it had reached a destination that was on the same branch as the initial stop (as opposed to making you wonder if the station had at some point been obliterated and replaced by a town without a train).

3) Finally, we saw actual travel through space, from point A, to B, to C, where the viewer could spatially/logistically follow the travel. Discovery felt like it was... discovering, and the show did not play as if the characters were ahead of the plot, behind it, or just plain dumbfounded. The plot played at the same "speed" as the characters' actions. Last season (take episode 8, for example, where L'Rell pretends to kill the Admiral then pledges allegiance to Kol and then is identified as a traitor - a sequence of events which must have actually required a thought process but felt as if it played out in confusingly real time) suffered from a lack of rhythm, lack of pitch, proper dynamics, you name it. Someone attempted to make "Brother" not only to be watched, but to be understood. Thank goodness
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Eli
Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

I want to chime in to say I really liked Jason B's comments from July 2015. He wrote a well argued defense of Ferengi episodes. I also appreciate Ferengi episodes and think they have merits for both their humor and the manner in which they flesh out an alien culture rife with social commentary.
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Eli
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Invasive Procedures

I agree with Daniel B (from July 2017). It's odd that the Verad Dax character is not more conflicted about the potential death of Jadzia. I think the Dax symbiont should have been given more agency in this episode.
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Eli
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

I think "Melora" is beautifully done; it's one of my favorites of the series. The writers merge science fiction, romance and social commentary very well and the result is enchanting. The interactions between Bashir and Melora are engaging, funny and disarming. The delicate presentation of Melora's struggles with her disabilities is sincere and heartfelt. The scenes of Bashir and Melora "flying" are charming and uplifting. I also think the final scene in which the Klingon plays music near the table where Bashir and Melora are seated is both emotionally resonant and humorous.

I read above a number of others disliked the episode and I found that surprising. But, to each his own. I loved the episode.
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Eli
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

"Cardassians" is a fascinating episode. The writers paint a complex conflict worth exploring, and the actors communicate that conflict convincingly. The dialogue, particularly between Garak and Bashir, and Bashir and Sisko (as others have mentioned above), is excellent.

I'm not sure Sisko did the right thing at the end, but I understood his logic. I don't believe there was one right answer here.

While some might have felt that either the family theme or political theme should have taken priority over the other, I think the writers did a marvelous job of balancing both.

Bravo.
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