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Sabatoi Elim
Mon, Nov 5, 2018, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I'm late discovering your reviews and I've been binging on them--and getting little sleep because of it, thanks! I agree with most of your reviews and when I don't agree I find your point of view entirely reasonable and cause me to re-consider certain angles. Delicious brain candy!

As for The Force Awakens, I feel like it was a huge missed opportunity. I mean, if you're going to get rid of the EU why not really break out with something unexpected that goes in an entirely different direction than we've seen before--and at the same time, make sure that our beloved heroes Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie are all together again?

Instead we have this entertaining but highly derivative, coincidental, and ludicrously contrived episode to kickstart a sequel trilogy.

Why not make a REAL sequel trilogy? As in, have it take place only a year after the events of Return of the Jedi. Say that the destruction of the original Death Star had an unintended side effect--everyone within the blast radius at the time contracted a rapid-aging disease. The heroes of the rebellion are all aging and dying, leaving the fragile new peace at risk.

Surely a competent screenwriter could use this premise to kick start one last terrific adventure with our main heroes searching the galaxy for new talent before dying heroically at the end of the first episode, letting the new characters take over?

Besides being a wasted opportunity to get our main heroes all together again before they died, my main problem with this sequel trilogy is that it comes across more like television than film--the episodes are serial and can't stand alone on their own, unlike the original trilogy, or even the prequels. J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson both have television mentalities that don't do a huge cinematic experience like Star Wars many favors.
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Elise
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Dogs of War

On the topic of Garak's cliched "stilted" shouting of "for freedom!", I actually think it works perfectly, precisely because Garak is the least idealistic one on the team. If Damar had done it, it would be stilted, whereas if Kira had done it, we'd wonder how passionate she could be about Cardassian liberation. But Garak is dedicated to Cardassia in a more somber way. He's deliberately using a hokey line to rally the people, and it works the way he wanted it to.
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Unbelievable
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Lava and Rockets

I've been watching every episode of Andromeda in order (for the first time), and there have been highs and lows, but nothing as bad as this putrid turd of an episode.

If this becomes the new norm I expect I will shortly be an ex-Andromeda watcher.
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Elise
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S2: The Captain's Hand

If they wanted to increase the birth rate, they could restructure the fleet around giving extra resources to couples who conceive and reducing workload for expectant mothers and trans fathers. Instead, they choose to endanger vulnerable people for the crime of being in a bad situation.

Unless the plan is to load the newborn into a cannon and launch it immediately as ordnance, they will need a system to care for children. Rather than set one up, of course, they repeat the cycle of societies depending on the compulsory, unpaid labor of women.

I've loved Star Wars since I was 8 years old. I've been a Trekkie for 16 years. When I got to college way back when, I was shocked to see how the sci-fi club was uniformly white supremacist and sexist. As I continue to rematch my favorite shows, it's less of a mystery. Sure, it's common for someone like Card, Heinlein or Berman to shill for their bigotry, or better yet, create a world without the people they hate, but that's not all that happens. Sometimes, even the best, most enlightened artists like Ron Moore have blind spots, and these can result in stories that end up supporting the Far Right. I am glad he wasn't personally involved in this one though.

I will say that Jammer himself does a pretty good job of giving me hope for my beloved nerd community. These bloody comments do not.
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Elise
Sun, Jul 1, 2018, 12:31am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Gotta say, the episode had merit, but the continuity damage of making Klingon hell and associated deities real and accessible is significant enough that I would not give this above a 2.5, at best.
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Elise
Thu, May 24, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Really, Dr. Lazarus? rape fantasies?

It is with regard to Tasha that I want to speak up for this episode because for the first act she is suddenly competent, rather than being a helpless bridge bunny, and that was long overdue. Still too little, too late.
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Elise
Thu, May 24, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Too Short a Season

Honestly, I like this a lot.

The acting doesn't bother me, I like the camp factor of the old age effect- it reminds me of an over the top D/D npc.

Sure it's primitive, but it's still an Iran-contra allegory, and we needed that. I like how they were able to update the theme in the light of Reagan-administration atrocities.

Let's also point out that this is one of very few times where Tasha is allowed to be competent and effective rather than being used as a captive. that alone makes me want to watch it. By my count she has the following moments of efficacy: downing some mooks here, getting the drop on the Ferengi in Outpost, and stunning the aliens in Symbiosis with the followup conversation with Riker about how to address their shocking grasp powers. Compare this to being held captive in racist bullshit scenario Code of Honor, being depicted as unstable and provoking Q, being held prisoner by Q, failing to act against Korris in Heart of Glory... I relish the small moments when she can be showcased as successful and competent, rather than just being a pretty helpless face with informed abilities.
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Eliot
Sat, May 19, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I think this episode has a few things that I've personally noticed but no one had mentioned.

I was rather unsettled about how I felt about Armus. I should have felt utter disgust and hatred but instead I felt pity for it. The reason why I didn't hate it, is because it is more human than it liked to think of itself. It did not act cruelly and viciously just for pure enjoyment but because of it is hurt and angry, these are emotions that humans feel which might cause them to act cruelly towards someone else.

Secondly, those who said that Troi is saying psychobabble nonsense, clearly have no idea about psychology. I was skeptical of Troi at the beginning of season 1 but then I realized the importance of her role in the team. The team of the spaceship Enterprise undergo through many situations which are stressful and tricky. Troi is there as a mediator, she can understand how her team mates feel and respond to certain difficult incidents as well as reading the enemies' intentions, and that is why she is very important. Moreover she had said herself that she is a training psychologist and she has shown her expertise when she dealt with Armus.

The death of LT Yar was anticlimactic but it makes sense, when you're on duty and fully knowing you're going to undertake dangerous missions, the possibility of dying during action is very real. My only complaint about this episode is the holograph Lt Yar making her speech is rather convenient.

I also love the interaction at the end between Captain Picard and Commander Data. CMD Data is so far my favourite character and I just love the theme about him an android who is trying to understand what's like to be human.
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Elizabeth
Sun, May 13, 2018, 3:07am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

I agree with the decision to return Rugal to his biological father. He needs to spend time with his bio father before he can make a fair decision about who he prefers. In a few years, he will be old enough to leave the bio father again if he chooses.
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Eli
Wed, May 2, 2018, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Rejoined

I agree with those who praised the episode. It was a dazzling love story. The acting was sincere and the writing was convincing. The writers skillfully employ the science fiction genre to enhance the overarching social taboo theme. It's a story with broad application. Well done.
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Eli
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 2:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Sound of Her Voice

I liked the episode very much. Subtle and sweet.
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Elise Kehle
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 9:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

Just a quick line to say that I really like SMG's acting. some of it is just that Trek is more comfortable with the touchy-feely stuff now, so she has more to work with than previous roles have offered, but she's still the accomplished actor playing the most humanized Trek lead to date. My favorite thing about her scene with Tyler though, was her clarification that regardless of his responsibility for Voq's crimes, the first and biggest crime was breaking her trust.

Ash's belief that I MUST DO THIS MYSELF, shared by so many Trek characters, most irritatingly Janeway, finally caught up to him here. His performance of self-sufficiency and independence, Kirkishness kept him from getting help, and contributed to the murder of Dr. Culber. THAT is what makes his crimes possible, and THAT is the part that could have been avoided if he had been less proud. I see this as similar to, but more successful than what was done with Poe Dameron in Last Jedi.
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Neliz
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Mertov

I haven’t seen TOS and I mainly know the mirror universe from DS9, the last episode of which (something about the grand Angus) i didn’t even watch because I had grown so tired of the use of the MU. I was highly sceptical of DISCO going down the MU path, but so far I’m enjoying it a lot and actually think it’s a credit to the series.

The way I see this playing out is that episode 3 of chapter 2 will be in the MU in its entirety, and the USS Discovery will make it back to Prime in episode 4, so there are 2 episodes left to finish the Klingon war arc in the Prime universe. Unless the last episode is 90 minutes or so, in which case discovery might make it back to Prime in episode 5.
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Neliz
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

I really enjoyed this episode. Not normally commmentint but I feel some positivity is needed on this board.

I’m in with DISCO and really enjoying the show. This episode lived up to expectations, as it does a good job at juggling storylines from before the break and storylines from since the MU.
Whatever earlier expectations seemed to come true (Georgiou being the empress), I myself did not see it coming when Voq was revealed as the rebellion leader.
I particularly enjoyed Michael in her speech to Lorca expressing Starfleet thought. She convinced me there in her ideals, despite her execution sometimes. I like how the show shows this ambivalence in ideal and practice.

Looking forward to next week.

On the Jammer scale I rate this episode 3.5 stars
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Elise K
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 8:00am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Gotta say, I wasn't impressed. Solid movie- enough continuity nods and character scenes and finally some A-wings, my favorite of favorites) to keep me happy. I especially liked the flashback scenes to Luke and B/Ren, and the idea that Rey can be special without having important parents, whether or not it is true.

That said...

I feel like I was getting toyed with for a lot of this movie and retroactively for Force Awakens, with so many characters being set up to be important and then getting unceremoniously bumped off. I will need to ponder whether this is effective use of Anyone Can Die or whether they went overboard. I found Luke to be ridiculously tantalizing to both Rey and the audience- maybe that's the only way to handle the return of a character we've been wanting to see cut loose for 45 years- let us have our cake without eating it?

Showing the gambling town and its regime of cruelty was a powerful touch, making us think there are actually stakes to this. Too often, Star Wars defines evil as an informed attribute of powerful people, rather than showing the actions that constitute evil on a broad scale. The problem is, after 9 movies, we don't see the good guys making things any different for the common people, ever, so showing it here is either a cynical appeal, or great meta commentary showing people enjoying Luke's adventures but not experiencing any improvement in their lot under imperialist capitalism.
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Eli
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 3:14am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

Anyone have an idea why the lady was disguised as a cat?
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Eli
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 3:07am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Spirit Folk

I loved this episode! The bartender is a great character and his chemistry with Janeway is delightful. I loved the slow reveal of the spaceship to the Irish characters. It was a clash of cultures, of time periods and of individual personalities; yet, in the end, they found a way to peacefully coexist. Very charming!
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Eli
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 2:52am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Innocence

I'm with the supporters of this episode. This is a well written story that successfully develops Tuvok's character and presents a conflict with two legitimate sides. I would like to see more Star Trek episodes in which both the humans and the aliens have understandable and complex points of view. I can think of too many episode where the aliens are presented as villains and not given sufficient complexity. Also, I like Tuvok as a character a great deal. Perhaps, he should have been the focus of more stories. It's nice to see him the focus here.
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Where is Neelix?
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Did the Klingon Orcs go back to Middle Earth yet?

Or did Captain Picard convince his friend Magneto to use his Gandalf power against them?

Hmmm
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Welihall
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi,

Thanks for telling me how flawed my knowledge of Star Trek is, and for telling us what other people's motives "really" are when they complain about ratings systems.
With respect, and I doubt you intend to act this way, your comments (explaining why Jammer gave STID three stars, as if someone could not figure it out for himself or herself) sounds pompous and ministerial.

One of the reasons I do not post much on this site is because certain posters rather zestily are eager to show how superior their knowledge is to that of others'. It is intimidating, the idea of posting a thought only to be struck down by someone who claims to know better. I like discussions on this site where, if factual errors are ,as by someone, the error serves as a basis for a richer discussion, as opposed to an opportunity to try to destroy someone's credibility.

I have no idea how much you do or do not know about Trek

An earlier point I made was that humanity becoming enlightened in Star Trek has always been something more talked about than developed dramatically over time. I think I should be more clear (my apologies) in what I mean by "enlightened."

In the 2300s, Picard tells Lily that humans do not succumb to revenge, as by that time we have an "evolved sensibility." (Lily actually called bullshit, but that is tangential).
Not succumbing to revenge, not engaging in petty arguments, not responding with diplomacy or thinking over fists first-these I think we can agree are things reviewers and commenters talk about when they talk abou "enlightenment."

Your most recent response to what I wrote suggested that Enterprise was led by an at least semi-enlightened Jonathan Archer. To be sure, the characters act more civilized on ENT than on DIS. However, and this is the point I have been trying to make all along, that doesn't mean they acted as superior, enlightened beings. They kidnapped people (Stratagem). They ruthlessly deserted peopl in need to get to Atari Prime. Although I guess you are the ultimate arbiter of whether this is true, I actually watched the Xindi arc carefully. It was riveting TV. What I noticed though once the Xindi were defeated, Terran xenophobia reared its head immediately (see "Home," where Phlox was too afraid to go out with his shipmates). The question is, by the time of Enterprise, did prejudiced attitudes that had been cast aside by the Tim eof 200 years later, still exist?

Yes. I think a more probing question is: were they the exception and not the rule? I would like to think that even today, most folks are good at heart and it takes an ugly turn of events (such as 9/11) to bring out the most unenlightened aspects of ourselves. By Archer's time, we still reacted to traumatic events by attacking people different from us (my point, which I guess is a tangent now, about the Vulcans and Andoriams, is that although bigotry may present itself in subtler forms at later times, such behavior is universal - even, as the Trek writers tell is - across different species).

What we have been chewing over is whether Discovery shows humanity as not being as civilized as other pieces of Trek canon over the years have told us, ipse dixit, it is, or should be, and all I am saying is, it is unfair to attack the show on this basis of characters acting badder than they are "supposed" to when they have done so in EVERY Trek incarnation. "I was used to hating Klingons" Kirk said in Trek Vi )a human sentiment. How exactly was this sentiment eradicated by the time of TNG?)

There is a differnce between what Leonard Maizlish, whispering into Roddenberry's ear, says and what we are shown on the screen. The Trek powers that be can talk all they want about how conflict is gone by the 23rd century, but if we see it on the screen (as we did again and again in TOS, in movies 1-6), we see it. It is there; it is part of the canon. The writers' telling us that what we see is not the actual reality is the equivalent of interpreting a law by looking to what legislators "meant" (as evidenced in the legislative history record) as opposed to what the law actI ally says on its face (which is what a judge must look at first and foremost).

Also, and I do no write this to excuse lazy screenwriting, but not EVERY character we see on TNG is "unenlightened." Stamets, the Doctor, and Michael's roommate don't seem to act savagely. It is up for debate as to whether the events and behaviors we are witnessing on DIS are typical of humans at the time, or are atypical, either because the Lorcas of the world have exploited the opportunity of a war to push their agenda; or because the universe is a mirror universe, or for other pieces of stOrytelling yet to be told.

Finally as Jammer cautioned in his review of STID, Who Watches the Watchers, and others, trying to draw, from the actions of a mere handful of characters, what an entire society thinks, feels, or stands for, is a pointless exercise. We may be dealing with, on the Discovery, a ship that was made a warship by virtue of self-selection on the part of a few. This tells us little about what The billions of other people on Earth are like at the time-savage, perfect or otherwise, and I hope the show does give us more information going forward that allows us to get a clearer picture of where humanity at large (not humanity as represented solely by Lorca and Landry) is at

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Welihall
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Worth reading:

www.jammersreviews.com/info/ratings.php
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WeliHall
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

I have been reading the latest round of comments , to find that Jammer is being attacked for not having sufficiently "explained" what his rating system is based on. I don't understand what the people who have a problem with the system are animated by. Maybe they do not like the scores given, but that fact is not grounds to attack the system as arbitrary

Please keep reviewing, Jammer, without taking to heart these calls to define what but definition can't be defined
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Eli
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 3:04am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Natural Law

By the way, though in essence the story is simple, I liked the complexity in the moral ambiguity of the central conflict as well. This is a well rounded, well developed episode.
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Eli
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 2:47am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Natural Law

A simple, beautiful episode. The story is straightforward, clear, succinct and plainly poetic. It's also filled with the best Star Trek ideals. Well done.
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Elise Kehle
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

First of all, I REALLY like what I've seen of the aesthetic- a pretty good blending of TOS inspired chic with modern sensibilities. It'll be interesting to see if it develops as much as TNG-DS9 era evolved. The effects are a bit too Abramsesque for my taste, but they are well handled. Lots of new ship designs, few of which have any obvious parallel in the TOS era, which is troubling, but there are two elements that give me hope here. 1. T'Kuvma's flagship looks to be an early basis for the D-7 battlecruiser. 2. the USS Europa seems to be a Miranda class, which is a) awesome and b) finally shows what they looked like pre refit. A bonus point for the Zhenzhou looking like some cool designs from the Ship of the Line calendars, showing that this Trek has at least a modicum of respect for what came before, unlike Abrams nutrek.
Nice question to ask- what happens if the story of Kahless is not used to justify the status quo but to change it? Really makes the Klingons seem more dynamic. T'Kuvama and Voq have an interesting relationship, and I'm quite interested in seeing what happens next with them. I do hope they go back to smaller teeth prosthetics though, it's a shame to see such key characters speaking through muzzles with no great necessity for it.
As for the look of the Klingons, let's just say that the folks at CBS have done what some Star Wars nerds like me have longed for- visualize the Yuuzhan Vong. Unfortunately, this has no place in Star Trek, but I'll just headcanon it as a side effect of the Augment virus. I'm similarly disappointed by the look of the other Klingon ships, showing as they do no continuity I can see with either Enterprise or TOS era Klingon cruisers. (The absence of true Birds of Prey IS in keeping with established canon, although those smaller ships looked similar in wing, if not in primary hull).
Right away, it seems that they're trying to do DS9 again from the getgo, and I mean that in the best way possible. Streaming is also the way to implement this. Devoting the first two episodes to prologue, leaving the majority of billed main characters unseen is a gamble that no Trek series has been able to attempt before, and I think it really pays off in getting us to root for Michael Burnham, and to reintroduce us to Starfleet. This is not going to be another series where the protagonist is always right. It looks, however, to be a series where we can always get inside the protagonist's head, and this works to make ex-Cmdr Burnham the best developed female character the franchise has ever seen. She's more believable than Janeway, more sympathetic than Seven, and more dynamic in two episodes than Tasha, Crusher, Troi, Uhura, and Kes were in a combined 17 seasons. The only female characters to go through comparable development were Torres, Kira and Dax, and Torres and Dax both went through their changes as accessories to male-driven storylines. Michael Burnham (why the masculine name? Could Burnham be trans?) is already tied with Kira Nerys as a developed, believable woman with her own background, ideas, and personality. Her backstory of being a traumatized human orphan raised in a repressed Vulcan society, then latching onto her human coworkers and being loyal to them to a fault is a perfect setup, and it's honestly the sort of thing they said they were going to do with Tasha then forgot about. Burnham is Tasha done right, Kira done deeper, and there is a key ingredient- she's gotten to where she is, going a long way in what little we've seen of two episodes, largely through the mentoring, sisterly, almost maternal friendship of Captain Phillippa. Their relationship is a brilliant opening to the story.
The fact that Burnham was raised by Sarek is... interesting. Why would Sarek, who has been shown to be so outwardly disdainful of humans, not only volunteer to raise one, but show more tenderness with her than he ever did his own sons? (Not that that's saying much).
This brings us to the best part of the pilot episodes. Burnham's eagerness to explore the asteroid field, and Phillippa's indulgence of her curiosity. The effects here are stellar, and the best way to use modern technology to expand the Star Trek franchise. Seeing Burnham jetpack around the (then unknown) alien satellite, and her commentary (coupled with an earlier scene's establishing her as a anthropologist) go a long way to reminding us that Star Trek has always tried to be about humans' great capacity for, well, discovery. And as Burnham says, it is sublime.
Question of the week- will T'Kuvma's death ritual of placing Klingon corpses in coffins and using them as hull plating be rejected, leading to the Klingons' treating corpses as "empty shells" in the TNG era?
Overall I have to give these episodes a 3 out of 4 but that's heavily weighted. Great introduction to Burnham and Starfleet, not so great episodes overall, but they do what they need to do.
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