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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
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
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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Elise
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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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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 K
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 8:00am (UTC -5)
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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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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