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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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Elise Kehle
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 9:23am (UTC -5)
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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Elise Kehle
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
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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