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Eastwest101
Tue, May 21, 2019, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

I loved The Orville and it's whacky indulgent and slightly unbalanced workplace comedy feel right from the start, and it looks like Jammer and some other people are coming around.

Some of the comments re comparisons with MASH are surprisingly illuminating, although I"m not a MASH fan or expert myself.

It's Seth's "love letter" to the Trek universe but still quite surprising how much heart shines through, the juxtaposition of Dolly Parton music over a routine hand to hand combat scene was inspired.

Thank God for Seth showing us that Sci Fi can be "fun" - something that only a few Trek episodes and Red Dwarf and maybe some Dr Who have pulled off,
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Chess
Thu, May 16, 2019, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

“Nobody talk about nothing no how while I’m gone! Especially not about how hysterical I’m acting!” /stomps from room, does nails/

Hehehe.

Many heartfelt thanks to Trent for typing up the Asimov/Roddenberry letter.
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Charles
Wed, May 15, 2019, 7:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

Siri and Alexa are alive too. They say hello and goodbye, they let me know what songs I should listen too before I even ask, and they’re just so darn polite. I can’t stand it when people are rude to Siri!
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Miles
Mon, May 13, 2019, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

You guys should really read Harlan Ellison's original script for the episode. Worth all the praise it gets.
In my opinion, Harlan Ellison is the best science fiction author in terms of being an author. Whatever your thoughts on the man, his prose is dynamic, his dialogue smacks you in the jaw, his brain ticks like no one elses, and he wraps it all up in a well crafted story every time.
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Chess
Sun, May 12, 2019, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

This thread seems as good a place as any to thank Jammer, which I’ve been wanting to do for months. Except for about 20 TNG episodes in my youth, all the Trek I’ve seen has been in the past 18 months, with Jammer’s reviews nearby for company. I’ve finished TNG and almost done with TOS and deciding now whether to watch movies or DS9 and Voyager.

Jammer, your reviews are very readable for someone relatively new to Trek. Most of what I’ve found elsewhere seems powered by superfan-lingo, which is fine, but not necessarily hospitable to outsiders and newbies. Here is different. Thank you for your reviews. (Also your general posts and rants, which I also thoroughly enjoy.)
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Chess
Sun, May 12, 2019, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: And the Children Shall Lead

I find this episode much more interesting when I consider the Gorgon as child-lore turned real, in the spirit of Jasper Fforde ‘s Nursery Crime series or Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Der Kindestod.” Not nearly as effective as either of those, but still exploring the question “what if that game/story/boogeyman the kids have turned out to be real?”
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Demosthenes
Wed, May 8, 2019, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ Dave in MN:

No, I don't think the counterargument of "Mad Idolatry" is worth much of anything, really. That's not a mark against it, by the way. It's not trying to make an argument. It's trying to tell a story of the genesis of a false religion, and the effects it had on a developing civilization. Now that, it did reasonably well.

As a science-fiction concept, I found the idea pleasing. Clarke's Law may have been written to apply to magic, but the corollary to religion is obvious. "Devil's Due" in TNG also touched on this issue from a different angle -- that religious miracles could merely be the result of misunderstood technology, here applied accidentally. I do have to take points away, though, because I can't believe that a fully-developed religion could develop from the paucity of material Kelly gave them to work with. Several dozen miracles were attributed to Jesus over the course of a three-year ministry; healing one kid one time ain't gonna do that.

Where I think we will differ is the ending. Yes, the planet grew out of its Kelly-worship. Both you and I will agree that it should have -- because though Adrianne Palicki may look divine, Kelly Grayson isn't actually divine. It is good when people stop worshipping false gods. But it does not thereby follow that all gods are false, and Seth MacFarlane asserting it at the end of an episode doesn't make it so.

While we're playing "what if" games, here's one: what if Kelly's arrival jerked the planet's natives out of adherence to a more or less true faith? Taken from that angle, this story could as easily be the tragedy of a civilization that doesn't even realize it's fallen, and the loss of billions of souls, all due to the ill-timed arrival of a well-meaning Union officer.

As for your latest post, it's a cute bit of rhetoric, but even "wrong" things can be wrong to different degrees. A kid faced with the math problem "72 + 29 = ?" has reached a wrong answer if he gets 91. But he is far closer than a kid who turns in an answer of 2088. And both of them have understood the question better than a kid who says -634. I can look at religions with which I disagree, and say which ones I think are more and less right. An atheist, on the other hand, is committed to the belief that every religion gets the most important question on the paper 100% perfectly wrong. That's a bigger gap than you think.
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Demosthenes
Wed, May 8, 2019, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ Booming:

Peter G. has already said many of the things I would have said in response to your "no religion holds up to scrutiny" comment. I will add that I believe "holds up" is the wrong language -- it would be better to say that the theological claims of religions do not *answer* to scientific scrutiny. They can't; as Peter already said, they deal with claims that lie outside the ability of science to test. The problems of a scientist trying to falsify the claim that God exists are roughly analogous to the problems that Scarlett O'Hara would face if she tried to discover whether there was such a person as Margaret Mitchell.

As for your question about whether the value of apologetics written by Christian writers is diminished because they lived in a predominantly Christian age, I have two answers. The first is to say simply, "No." The proper standard to measure the worth of a philosophical work is simply whether, and to what extent, it makes its case. The circumstances of the author do not enter into it. Lucilio Vanini had a harder time than Denis Diderot, and a much harder time than Bertrand Russell or Richard Dawkins. That may make Vanini a braver man, but it does not necessarily make his work mean more.

Second, your argument could only go through if its implied premise -- that Christian writers living in Christian lands and times would not have to worry about religious persecution -- is true. But the lives of half my list prove that premise false. Boethius was imprisoned and executed for something he did because of his religious convictions. More met the same fate for something his religious convictions would not allow him to do. Luther famously "lost his job" because his beliefs angered Pope Leo X; Anselm almost lost his because his beliefs angered King William II. Abelard was excommunicated, imprisoned multiple times, and forced to burn his own work. None of their suffering is evidence for the truth of Christianity. But if you hold to your own argument, you should think their work more valuable, rather than less.
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Demosthenes
Tue, May 7, 2019, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ Dave in MN:

Oh, I don't mind a little snark, honestly. I could just as easily indulge in it myself by asking you which Bertrand Russell you were asking me if I had read...since Russell changed his views on a great many issues over the course of his public career, you will often find late Russell endorsing a position at which early Russell would have turned up his nose.

I will separate my reply into two major sections.

1) First off, you are mischaracterizing me. Nowhere did I "dismiss 20th century developments in philosophical thought." I didn't discuss them, or even mention them -- so how could I dismiss them? They were not germane to my point.

What bleakness said was that Christianity "cannot itself stand up to scrutiny," which implies that anyone who is a Christian either hasn't taken the time to scrutinize it, or else is incapable (for whatever reason) of doing so. So I gave a list (a "laundry list," if you like) of world-class intellectual heavyweights of the last 2000 years who are manifestly intelligent and rational men, who have thoroughly examined Christianity, and who have believed in it. My point, in other words, is that bleakness's dismissal of Christianity was hasty and unfair.

If you take my words in that light, you might see that my "Book Club endorsements" are not meant to *prove Christianity true*. Rather, these books, and at least a dozen others I could name, are the ones that flat-out *prove bleakness wrong.* Reading them may, or may not, convince someone to become a Christian. Many theists of other religions have read them without converting; many atheists have read them and have remained non-believers. But what you cannot honestly do after reading these books, if you are reading with an open mind, is to say that there is no intellectual case to be made for Christianity.

Nor am I blind to the fact that there are cases to be made for other religions, and a case to be made for atheism. There are many important atheist intellectuals. I know this, because I've read many of them -- which is why I would never say that atheism is not an intellectually serious position. I don't agree with Nietzsche or Wittgenstein or Schopenhauer, but it would be foolish for me to say that they were not very bright men, or that they had no arguments worth considering. (By the way, you do know that William James defended religious belief on pragmatic grounds, right?)

2) I have read some of Russell, yes -- as well as most of the other fellows you mentioned -- since I spent a fair few years in graduate school for a philosophy degree. And it is simply not true that Russell "eviscerates" Christianity. (I'm assuming that you are referring to "Why I am Not a Christian," either by itself or in conjunction with other writings.) I am glad that you enjoy Russell's work, because he is a man of considerable intellectual substance on many issues. However, this piece is a poor example of his work. Since I don't have time for a full laundry list, my two biggest objections:

a) He seriously mischaracterizes Christ and His teachings on several points, and even doubts whether there was such a man as Jesus of Nazareth -- not a generally-held position among historians regardless of their religious beliefs.

b) He flat-out lies about the historical Church. It's hard to say anything nicer than that. His position, after all, is that organized religion in every form has had absolutely no positive effects on the world, and has served merely as an obstacle to progress. Such a position isn't serious enough to be worth arguing against.

Even a number of the fair points he does make -- for example, that Christ is not the first to put forward certain moral teachings -- are not knock-down objections, but rather simple statements of fact that can also be used to support theistic arguments. If the natural-law doctrine of morality is true, then at least some of the moral law must be discoverable by reason. Thus, a Christian should not be surprised to find at least some virtuous moral teachings being propounded by enlightened people of some other faith, or of no faith at all. That is the view held by C.S. Lewis, who was Russell's contemporary, and had access to the same "scientific and logical knowledge base" as did Russell.
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Demosthenes
Tue, May 7, 2019, 12:32am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

bleakness says about religion:

"...and the fact is that religion IS simple. (comparatively, I listen to religious vs atheist debates all the time, each one being near two hours, and the religious debater has less substance to their argument than WWTW)"

I can't help but notice that though bleakness claims to listen to these lengthy debates "all the time," no details of the engagements are provided. I would rather like to know: what are the topics of debate, who are the persons debating, what are the rules of engagement, and where I can find these debates so I could listen and judge for myself if I so chose.

Because frankly, bleakness, I'm not willing to accept your unsupported and vague characterizations at face-value. As far as I'm concerned, they lack...substance. For all I know, you might be the sort of person who listens to five minutes of Alex Jones and thinks "Well, that about wraps it up for conservatism"* -- yet has never read, or even heard of, Edmund Burke or Russell Kirk or Thomas Sowell.

(* With apologies to Oolon Colluphid.)

Also, this is from bleakness:

"Uh maybe Christianity itself is so wholeheartedl;y simple, built around things such as fear and guilt and has somehow created a huge following yet cannot itself stand up to scrutiny, is the VERY POINT."

In one sense, Christianity is indeed extremely simple. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength -- and love your neighbor as yourself. Easy to understand in the abstract, anyway, though perhaps not so easy to apply.

But "cannot stand up to scrutiny"? Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, Luther, Thomas More, Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz, Wesley, C.S. Lewis...Christianity seems to have stood up to THEIR scrutiny just fine. And I don't think bleakness has written anything to compare to the Summa, or City of God, or the Consolation, or Mere Christianity. Anyone who agrees with bleakness might at least test their own convictions by tackling one or two of those great books, rather than listening to podcasts.
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Chess
Sun, May 5, 2019, 9:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

I’m seized with a desire to make a felt infinity egg and slap it on. Who’s with me?
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Spockless
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 2:19am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@GG what makes you waver are the things that I love. Instead of just merely being a paragon of near perfect virtue, there is a little Ed in all of us. He will more easily make tough moral calls and have a tough time worried about manners, names and whether they will "screw this up." What middle aged man still has that 10th grader inside of them wanting to break out? His sense of "aw golly" humor is so refreshing after watching hundreds of hours of star Trek reruns . Also people are so eager for it to do it's own thing.. it is.. And usually the people that say that are the ones that don't mind that every other property, even superhero films, banks on nostalgia. What makes Orville so great isn't a need to be original, but to retell stories from twenty years ago with a slightly fresh take.. because there is nothing wrong with those kinds of stories, and no one ELSe is telling them, and what makes it SO great are the subtle differences and nuances.. the fact that you think you know what episode you are getting, and you may be right, but the small details are what surprise you.
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Charles D
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

I would argue the real event that saves the galaxy is the last minute alliance with the Krill. And that was Kelly's idea. Still seems strange Kelly didn't try to warn anyone about the Kaylon or get transferred to the Orville.
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Spockless
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@Gerontius I meant to write that's what the show HAS..

I must have gotten my pasting of my own posts wrong.. i probably was pasting something about Discovery.. uhg
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Spockless
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@Robert H "And the biggest caveat: in the previous episode (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow), knowing that Past Kelly could contaminate the timeline with knowledge from the present, they should have locked her up in a room and not say anything, apart from explaining she came to the future. And don't let her interact with Ed and Present Kelly. That is just common sense, even if there is no prime time directive. (But then there would not have been this and the previous episodes I guess.)"

Uh the episode made it clear that they were not sure which time travel theory was going on .. and after some time they agreed that her presence would not affect the timeline. That they were wrong about that doesn't change the fact that they considered it for a time
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Spockless
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

I take comfort in the show redoing old stories and giving them a new fresh bit of paint.. I like having a beer and being already generally familiar with the trops... that way sometimes the best surprises are the more subtle ones rather than any big ones. And the last time a long loved franchise tried to blatantly "subvert our expectations" we wound up getting a film that was tone-deaf about what the franchise was about. The fact that this episode felt like a lot of alternate timeline episodes of 90's Trek.. mixed in the with DS9 mirror universe episodes.. was something I really liked. I'm having too much fun with Seth's take on Trek I'm in no hurry for the Orville to be radically different just because people are never satisfied.
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Spockless
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@Galadriel.. what the show lacks are likeable characters, fresh humor that pokes fun at the conventions of Trek but still has affection, steady, simple camera work, awesome production design.. and most of all.. a soul
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James Smith
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Paul - people keep saying that the first two seasons of TNG were awful, as if every episode in those two seasons was. I genuinely don't think that's the case. Yes, there was some rubbish - some of it offensively bad ('Code Of Honor', 'When The Bough Breaks', 'Shades Of Gray'...). But there were stand-out episodes as well - '11001001', 'Heart Of Glory', 'Arsenal Of Freedom', 'The Measure Of A Man', 'Q Who'.

So far, in two seasons STD has produced *one* good episode of Star Trek IMO. 'An Obol For Charon' was a genuinely good Trek story fighting to get out from underneath STD. I'm sort-of amazed at how little praise that episode generates. But then maybe not, because it's emblematic of how far away my impression of STD has been compared with others. Jammer rates this episode three stars for example - I'd give it one for the VFX, half for Anson Mount doing his best with the material, and zero for quite literally everything else about it. Plot points that make no sense, scenes where characters stand around talking for ages when time really would be of the essence, SMG sliding into an abyss of poor acting choices (she really can only do one face even vaguely well, that wide-eyed look of panic)...

And the cop-out ending, desperately trying to claim that canon is now sorted because they just won't talk about the ship or crew ever again in continuity. Well I'm sorry but *fuck* whoever wrote that and thought 'yeah, that will do'. If that's any indication of how poor the writing in this series is going to continue to be then I'm out.
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Spockless
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

I think repeating stories is genius.. feels like a "new rerun".. we have watched these episodes over and over, but now they are redoing them with 20 years of hindsight, to make changes that make them more interesting.
that is what is secretly brilliant. It's more surprising when the DO go off script. I often find that modern shows and films that are in established franchises often try too hard top be different, but what ends up happenign is that tstiories don't work, they seem more hackneyed, more contrived and more convoluted. Discovery is just one example.. Last Jedi is another. Seth knows that hsi series has to lay the groundwork.. that he has to build off something. and he can employ the lessons he an d his staff learned form years of TNG and the years that passed between then and now. His commentary track on "Cause and Effect" predicted his vision for the Orville without mentioning it by name
People say the latest episode is just another take on Second Chances.. and it IS, but it also focuses on the Ed - Kelly relationship and its importance to the story, and it also focuses on the flaws and shortcomings of both characters within the framework that Second Chances already laid out
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James Smith
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

So, what did the Star Trek universe get out of the 29 episodes of STD so far? Did anything have any lasting consequence? The USS DiscoBall and spore drive are gone. So are the sphere data. A bunch of people have disappeared and aren't going to be talked about ever again. The Klingon war made it almost to Earth, before stopping and there seemingly being few repercussions or lasting effects from it.

So, with the greatest possible respect to all involved, WHAT WAS IT ALL EVEN FOR?!?!?! And what d'you suppose was the plan to get STD to sync up with canon *before* they wrote this sprawling mess of fairly epic VFX set pieces linked with clunky dialogue? Was there ever a plan to do so? Were they always going to shoot the DiscoBall into the future?

Because if so, if going to the 33rd century was always the plan...*WHY NOT ****ING WELL START THERE?*
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Spockless
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

More than anything, this show is about relationships.. and the main relationship was always Ed and Kelly. I think true fans of the show will like this episode because the those two characters were forced to re-evaluate a lot because of the science fiction gimmick used here. I think this was a near point exploration of what the point of the series is!
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James B
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Distant Voices

@Springy,

I too thought it was Garak's holosuite program. He tells Julian 'Happy Birthday' at the end of the show when Bashir states he's glad he's not 100, which relates to his comment during their parallel discussion at the beginning of the episode about how he feels old he's turning 30, i.e. Garak giving Bashir an appreciation for his youth through the holoprogram is Garak's birthday gift to him.

Furthermore, while Garak played the Lethian and gave Bashir the opportunity to 'accuse' him in the ops centre, Bashir missed this and told him that he's actually the Lethian (when it is in fact vice versa). While both are villains, it is Garak who is the real 'villain', and this ties into Garak's comment about Cardassian detective holosuite programs, whereby everyone's guilty, but the challenge is finding who's the most guilty (or something to that effect). This, plus Garak being Garak with his Garakisms in the closing scene, makes me quite convinced it was all part of Garak's unique birthday gift to Bashir.

Regardless, it's still quite ambiguous, and for this reason I still like it a lot, despite how boring and heavy-handed the metaphors were in the brain-damaged sequences (perhaps purposely put there so we ourselves are tricked and deluded into that thoughtline, as Bashir himself was by Garak's holoprogram).
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Perico De Los Palotes
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 6:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Babel

What strikes me is that the stubborn cargo captain said something like neither him or his crew were affected by the virus, but Odo just saves him, so his crew died in the explosion and no one batted an eye for that!!! Also, why didn't they transport the dudes off the ship?
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Bob James
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

Such a pathetic episode.
The major crisis is the Holodeck doors won't open...

and if they open the doors by force, it will kill everyone inside the holodeck.
Solution...Wesley Crusher saves the day.

Why would someone write something this awful and think it was a good idea?
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Cesar Gonzalez
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

Yet again, someone takes a shuttle without the permission of the bridge. Then, yet again, when they try to pull it back, technobabble ensues , and tada!!!, the bridge is unable to pull it back. You think by now they would have set up some better security.

Also, Worf and his team of security SUCK. They are always allowing this to happen. I mean, Worf got literally outgunned (out phasered) by a ferengi a few episodes ago, I guess I shouldn't expect much from him.


In what world is Crusher qualified to command a strarship?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?
It has been mentioned before that there are about 2 thousand crew members on the ship on any given time. Are we really supposed to believe that just because 4 teams beamed down there are now not enough people that we need a skeleton crew?
Why would Riker not stay behind? He is more than qualified to run the ship?
But Crusher? The doctor?? Really?
So.bad.

The only saving grace, as usual, was Brent Spiner.
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