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Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 2:35pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth


“She didn't sabotage Discovery per se, she inhibited the inspectors from beaming back out” — “They didn't assume she was buying time, she told them that”.

Adira sabotaged to inspectors’ per­so­nal trans­por­ters by ab­using the ship’s de­flec­tor. Mi­nu­tes later, the rai­ders attack, the in­spec­tors want to beam out but can’t. More­over, if the sa­bo­tage be re­moved, Dis­cove­ry’s shields would go down, making her help­less against the attack. The most ob­vious inter­pre­ta­tion is that Adira must be in league with the raiders. Yet Stamets
jumps to the con­clu­sion “Maybe, she was buying herself some time” (30:30). Then they talk to her about the spore drive, which is so high­ly clas­si­fied that Star­fleet had kept it secret for 930 years.

“Suru states they "need to have a conversation" because HE thinks there needs to be a decision made between the two”

I think that is correct, but the ques­tion arises why Saru wants the dis­cus­sion in the first place. He was First Of­fi­cer during S2 and has fil­led the rôle of Act­ing Cap­tain se­ve­ral times, and par­ti­cular­ly since the time jump. No one else has a claim to the Cen­tral Seat. The en­tire scene is only there to con­vin­ce us that Burn­ham is no longer over­ambi­ti­ous but a modest, suppor­tive team player.

But here is the thing: When Saru asks Burn­ham “for a con­ver­sa­tion” (7:30), I had ab­so­lu­te­ly no idea what he was going for. Burn­ham’s serene-smiling answer “Oh, no no no no no, there is no need” made real­ly no sense to me because I tru­ly con­si­de­red the is­sue on who is cap­tain clear by that point. Nᴏᴛ ꜱᴏ Bᴜʀɴʜᴀᴍ, who (cor­rect­ly, as it tur­ned out) as­su­med Saru would of­fer her cap­tain­cy. That she con­si­der­ed that a real pos­si­bi­li­ty either speaks vo­lu­mes about her am­bi­tion or rank-fixa­­tion, or is just bad writing.
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Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 9:06am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth

So, DIS S03 starts both intriguing and flawed. I am tempted to write “It has happen­ed be­fore and it will hap­pen again”.

The story idea of a post-apocalyptic future with tech­no­lo­gy be­com­ing part­ly un­avail­able and po­li­ti­cal struc­tures crumb­ling into a Bal­kanic mess is both bril­liant and trite, de­pend­ing on the ʜᴏᴡ (take ‘Mad Max’ on the bril­liant side, and ‘Andro­meda’ for a more asi­nine ap­proach). By now, we are pret­ty much in a Star­Warsy ter­ri­tory (ori­gi­nal tri­lo­gy), with a bunch of planets that make their own rules. This could be inter­esting.

We also have a Mystery™ that our heroes must solve, which was cer­tain­ly in­nov­ati­ve in 2000 but is less so now. No one, how­ever, brought up the ob­vious idea to ask Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po (who is both the queen and the twin sister of a pla­net that seems to been com­posed most­ly of di­lithi­um). Either the wri­ters for­got about her, or she will show up a a sur­prise trump card that will sur­prise no one. i am shocked, however, how bad the mys­te­ry was hand­led: When Burn­ham was con­front­ed with the dis­as­ter, she was cu­ri­ous to learn de­tails and asked about it (‘The Hope is You, 19:17), while Saru was curi­ous­ly un­in­qui­si­ti­ve about the lack of di­lithi­um and did not even ask what “The Burn” was (‘Far from Home’, 36:24). That’s ob­vious­ly be­cause while he did not know about it, he knew that the au­di­ence al­ready knows and would be bored by a second ex­pla­na­tion. Good writers could have given two com­ple­men­tary ex­pla­na­tions that make sense in the story and pro­vide dif­fe­rent parts of the puzzle to the au­di­ence. In­stead, we get an­other piece of ex­pla­na­tion at b­egin­ning of ‘People on Earth’ that in­forms that all *active* warp cores ex­plod­ed — since the warp core gets rare­ly shut down in a star­ship, this means pro­bab­ly the over­whelm­ing ma­jo­ri­ty of the fleet. In that light, when Saru (21:45) ex­plains “We were not at warp”, this should make no sense to Ndoye, but she buys it nevertheless.

This small example shows that the writing still sucks. Instead of the cha­rac­ters acting ac­cord­ing to the level of in­for­ma­tion they are estab­li­shed to have, they are re­le­ga­ted to plot pawns. Another ex­ampl­e is Adira. I know she is a like­able cha­rac­ter be­cause it was an­nounced so before on the me­dia. But where do Tilly and Sta­mets get this in­for­ma­tion? That tween or teen menace (¿?¿) had sa­bo­taged the ship im­me­di­ate­ly before an at­tack, but no one con­nects that. Rather, they go for a com­ple­te­ly un­expec­ted route and as­sume she is a nerd girl buy­ing some time, and brief her on the spore drive to open her up, which turns out the right move. Be­cause the script wants it so.

Rather, the script fo­cu­ses on Emo­ti­onal Mo­ments™, most of which range be­tween hol­low and un­natu­ral. Again, the worst of­fen­der is Burn­ham; she stayed pret­ty clear of this in “The Hope is You”, but as soon as she sees a Dis­co­very crew mem­ber, she falls back to her old ways. This soured the some­what awe­some end scene in “Far from Home” (sure, your friends are in peril, and you waste time by tel­ling them how you like them), and it be­comes per­vading in her dia­logues with Tilly and especi­al­ly Saru in ‘People of Earth’. Se­rious­ly, she al­lows Saru to be­come cap­tain? By what au­tho­ri­ty? She pro­motes herself to Num­ber One (stating her po­ten­tial future dis­obe­di­ence right in the process)? And every­one sobs in joy?

There is still a decent story that could be told de­cent­ly. But my hopes are dwindling. This show will be re­mem­bered as “a high-budget pres­tige show that went intel­lec­tu­al­ly out­clas­sed by a goofy 20-min car­toon show”. And I am StarTrek fan enough that I hope I am wrong.
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Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 3:01pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: No Small Parts

@Trent: No, the exocomp thing is just a disposable C plotline.

The „mass slaughter“ refers pro­bab­ly to the loss of the U.S.S. Solvang, a Cali­for­nia-class ship that gets blown up with all hands by a com­bi­na­tion of Pakled pirates and her cap­tain’s spec­ta­cu­lar stupidity (which is played for laughs just seconds before the Pak­leds show up). That in­ci­dent takes place just at the be­gin­ning of the 1ˢᵗ act, yet the Cer­ritos ar­rives later in that place and has to deal with the Pakleds; at the end, the Cerritos crew manages to destroy the really big and impressive Pakled vessel (again, with all hands on board).

TNG probably would have spent some time with the crew of of the Enter­prise show­ing shock and com­pas­sion about that mas­sive loss of life; in the more hectic and hyper­tachic (is that a word?) LD format, there is no time for such som­ber mo­me­nts. It did feel so­me­how jarring, but I don’t consider it a big pro­blem. At the end, we also get a short me­mo­rial ce­re­mo­ny for a lost crew­mem­ber, so the epis­ode has not for­got­ten that life is valuable.
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Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 2:46pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: No Small Parts

So then, this is the finale “No Small Parts”. I found it great. Great enough to be a very good TNG episode, which is more than I thought possible for the 27 minute animated format.

The episode is thrilling, epic and violent — we start with a mass casualty and end with the loss of a main cha­rac­ter. There are high stakes, and this does not always mix well with the co­me­dy. So, LD suf­fers from the same pro­blem as the first season of The Orville, and while both shows have ma­nag­ed to find a better ba­lan­ce over their first seasons, it’s still a fly in the oint­ment spoil­ing a small part of the othe­rwise ex­cel­lent sea­son finale.

There is a TOS reference (“those old scientists” — LOL!), Mariner’s family secret is blown by a stu­pid Boimler, we see Star­fleet’s most in­com­pe­tent cap­tain hav­ing her ship blown apart by a group of me­nac­ing rogue Pakleds, Badgey is back (and still as evil as Clippy ever was), and the never-seen-be­fore U.S.S. Titan com­man­d­ed by Wil­liam Freaking Riker (who is of course friends with Mari­ner, be­cau­se how could it be else­how) saves the day whi­le being scored with the TNG the­me song. That alone would have made a good episode.

The subplot with the sentient exocomp did not work at all for me, another fly that un­for­tu­nate­ly wastes a lot of screen­time. Came out of no­thing, did no­thing, went into no­thing — why should I care? And frank­ly, there are bet­ter TNG epis­odes that “The Qual­ity of Life” to follow on.

Yet what makes the episode great instead of good was the cha­rac­ter de­ve­lop­ment, be­cau­se every­one ex­cept Tendi gets a boost. Ma­ri­ner and her mo­­ther come to terms and ap­pre­ci­ate each other’s strengths. Boimler gets what he al­ways has wish­ed, though he should re­mem­ber the say­ing “Whom the gods want to de­stroy, to him they grant his wishes”, I feel there is so­me­thing ap­­proach­ing to haunt him in sea­son 2. This is also a cru­cial epis­ode for Ru­ther­ford, al­though I am not sure I like the direction.

Looking back, i see that much of the sea­son was care­fully craf­ted to lead into the fi­na­le. Ma­ri­ners re­la­tion to Free­man, which was frus­tra­ting­ly me­an­der­ing for the most part of the sea­son, now en­ters a new phase; on the other side, the two had been at near­ly that point be­fo­re (“Moist Ves­sel”), and then re­ver­ted back to Un­heal­thy Nor­­mal. Yet the last two epis­odes co­oper­at­ed nicely to bring them to a bet­ter un­der­stan­ding of each other. It felt na­tu­ral and earned.

I particularly appreciate that after all the bloody action se­quen­ces, the epis­ode de­vo­tes more than 5 mi­nu­tes of its pre­cious screen time to re­flec­tion and dis­cus­sion and con­se­quen­ces (sort of BoBW and Fa­mi­ly in one, al­though not nearly at that le­vel). The cha­rac­ter pie­ces there were par­ticu­lar­ly effective.

I am not at all a NuTrek fan — I found the first two movies really bad, and the third just en­ter­tain­ing. I am an out­spo­ken critic of DIS, al­though I plan to watch again next week, if only out of cu­ri­o­si­ty what they are go­ing to f…up this time. PIC I did like in parts, but there is still a lot to cri­ti­ci­ze. With LD, I just hope the next sea­son ar­ri­ves soon, an will be lon­ger. I have faith in the heart regarding this pro­duc­tion team.
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Thu, Oct 1, 2020, 6:38pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: Crisis Point

#9 (“Crisis Point”) really hits the high notes. Its has the obligatory Easter Eggs and fan com­men­tary (“It's a movie. You can beam what­ever you want” is my fa­vourite), it has a lot of fun, car­toony over-the-top action, cha­rac­ter ana­lysis and even cha­rac­ter de­velop­ment. And most sur­pri­sing­ly, it achie­ves all this in­side the holo­deck (which doesn’t mal­func­tion this time). The epis­ode was out­stan­ding, and I don’t think a 25-min ani­mated show can do much better.

This was highly refreshing after 8 episodes that oscillated between “some­what amus­ing” and “some­what of­fen­sive”. #9 would have made a good fi­na­le, es­pe­cial­ly with all the auto­graphs (did you notice the i dot on ‘Boim­ler’? Well chosen). On the other hand, it also could have come ear­lier, to give all the holo­deck-ana­lysis time to dif­fu­se into the real life.

With only one episode left, I wonder about the timing. The first 8 epis­odes did not show much pro­gres­sion for Ma­ri­ner and her se­ve­re cha­rac­ter pro­blems, and none at all for Boim­ler. Now, pen­ulti­mate the the season, we get a deep ana­lysis for/of/by Ma­ri­ner, which gives rea­son to hope that she will find some heal­ing in the fi­na­le. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, this lea­ves no space to do any­thing with Boim­ler, who more and more seems even more trou­bled a per­so­na­li­ty than she (and he does not even rea­lize it). I see no hope for him, at least in this season.
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Fri, Sep 11, 2020, 8:25am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: Terminal Provocations


i do agree that the first season of TNG does an excellent job to inspire a sen­ti­ment of awe and won­der about the things that po­pu­late the cosmos, and it also suc­ceeds to give an im­pres­sion of what the 24ᵗʰ century looks like. Vi­su­al­ly, the season com­bines the sound­stage aes­the­tics of TOS with im­pres­sive pan­ora­mic views. That is some­thing that only a first season can do, and there is success.

But when we come to individual episodes, most don’t work at all. I have, un­like most re­view­ers, quite a high opi­ni­on about both the pre­mi­ere and the fi­na­le, but there isn’t much in be­tween. Sure, “11001001” is great be­cause it uses inter­esting aliens to tell an inter­esting story. “Con­spira­cy” sticks to the mind be­cause it is so un­ex­pected. Ho­nour­able men­tion goes to “Heart of Glory” and “Home Soil”, but that’s it; the rest of the sea­son falls flat for me, being either pedes­trian or deep base­ment level (“Angel One”, “Code of Ho­nour”, “Jus­tice”). So I’m speak­ing that ¾ of the season is un­remark­able or worse.

The main culprits are simplistic stories and weak cha­rac­ters. Troi is a pain to watch, Riker is social and gets the girls, Worf mostly lacks humour, Geordi is nice, Beverly is sweet and Wesley sucks. Yar was set up to be inter­esting but, alas, left the show. Picard behaves aristo­crati­cally, a lea­der dis­tanced from his sub­ordi­na­tes, and opens up only when alone in the Holo­deck. This leaves us with Data as the only cha­rac­ter of inter­est in that really large en­semble.

When it comes to the stories, than pretty much of it boils down to two types: Either, the human crew teaches some aliens or non-crew-humans (and the audi­ence) a les­son; or the crew (and the audi­ence) learns a les­son from some super-evol­ved aliens. That’s not a bad con­cept in principle, but the les­sons are often one-note and trite, and the story bends around the mo­ra­le it wants to tell; more­over, that con­cept can­not make an entire sea­son go. Several epis­odes try to do better, but fail in execu­tion (“Data­lore”, “Hide and Q”).

Lower Decks, on the other side, has some good cha­rac­ters; they are mostly de­fined by one or two traits, but I think that is a typical pro­blem for ani­ma­ted shows. There are some signs of cha­rac­ter growth, in par­ti­cu­lar for Mari­ner, who for the first time eschews her dickish­ness in #6 and even dis­cus­ses this ama­zing change with Boim­ler. The jokes are very often sim­plis­tic (like they were in early Orville epis­odes), and there is a lot of fan pan­dering, but then, I am a fan.

I think there is no chance that LD could ever come close to the great TV in later seasons of TNG (3–7). This is very much Star Trek light, but (for me) quite suc­cess­ful on this term. In con­trast, I find the dark and hyper­emo­ti­o­nal StarTrek shown in DIS ab­hor­rent, de­spite some good epis­odes in S2. With PIC, I still with­hold judge­ment, for there was so much light and so much shadow in its S1.
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Thu, Sep 10, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: Terminal Provocations

Six episodes in, I still find this show surprisingly palatable. It actually feels like Easter, with all the eggs lying around. Most recent exam­ple is “[the Holo­deck] is not just for hang­ing with Sher­lock Hol­mes and Robin Hood and Sig­mund Freud and Cyrano de Bergerac and Ein­stein and da Vinci and Ste­phen Haw­king and So­cra­tes”; it took me some time to solve the last re­fe­ren­ce, be­cause I had me­mo­ry-wiped my­self after watching “Darkling”.

I was not too enthusiastic about #1 (“Se­cond Con­tact”), but the worst of­fen­der was clearly #5 (Cupid’s Errant Arrow)— I get Mariner is some­what dri­ven to para­noia by her many ad­ven­tu­res (how old is she real­ly?), and she is heli­co­pter­ing around Boim­ler’s head to pro­tect him, but if anyone ever says “Yeah, I mean he is a dork, but he’s my dork” about me, I should ne­ver want to see that per­son again.

Today (#6, “Terminal Provocations”) was inoffensive rea­son­ably enter­tain­ing, though. This makes it the fourth en­joy­able epis­ode out of six, which is definitely better than TNG season 1 (something I’ll never ever going to say about DIS). I get that “Lower Decks” is ba­si­cal­ly a back­port of “The Orville” into the Star­Trek uni­ver­se, minus the body part jokes plus a lot more of ir­re­spon­si­ble and reck­less be­ha­vi­our by ever­yone plus half an isoton of fan­ser­­vi­ce per epis­ode. This sort of works for me.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: Envoys

I liked the second episode a lot more than the first, which seemed a little mean-spi­rit­ed to me. But in “Envoys”, the cha­rac­ters are much more like­able; but in the sec­ond, really no one be­haved dickish (except Boimler at the end, which was probably Mariners plan all along). I saw the twist com­ing and really liked it — in this single scene, Mariner has shown more lo­yal­ty and com­pas­sion (at the cost of look­ing not cool) than an­other lead of 3ʳᵈ ge­ne­ra­tion Trek in two seasons. She grows on me.

The fan service was adorable and genuinely funny (I par­ticu­lar­ly smiled at the Ven­dian in the An­do­ri­an bar). I laughed at most jokes, because they were either in-jokes for fans (err, my weak­ness) or arose from the charac­ters. For­tu­nate­ly, most of the slap­stick ele­ments in epis­ode one are gone.

However, thy hyperactivity remains; I watched the video at 75% speed and still con­­si­der­ed some of the dia­lo­gues too fast, while only a few had be­come un­natu­ral­ly slow. I won­der what they snort in the pro­duc­tion team, or maybe I am a Pakled by heart?
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Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@ Dave in MN

On my laptop, I have just a regular English key­board, but I have pre­defi­ned spe­cial key­stroke se­quen­ces for extra cha­rac­ters like ac­cen­ted Latin cha­rac­ters, non-Latin alphabets and various other sym­bols that I need regu­lar­ly. This is done via the X11 Com­pose mecha­nism (which, AFAIK, is dif­fi­cult to emu­late outside of Linux).

BTW: I am not young but ‘Gerontius’ is still a little bit exaggerated.
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Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@Dave in MN “are those Greek letters or symbols”

In the Golden Wood, we use keyboards with as many keys as there are leaves on a Mallorn trees, and we sing Σαπφώ's immortal songs while typing. Serious, I don’t know what you mean by “letters or sym­bols”; I just used the same letters that would be employed for writing any Greek text, an­cient or mo­dern. But the very same letters would also be used for any formula like sin(α), where they func­tion as symbols.

@Quincy “They flew into the event horizon of a fucking black hole”

Sure, light could not escape from there, but to those having faster-than-light flight ca­pa­bi­li­ties, that might be just a minor in­con­venien­ce. This did not cost me must sus­pen­sion of dis­belief.

I found it funny, though, how both Discovery and Orville casually used a black hole in their latest season, and basically ren­de­red it the same (re­alis­tic light paths but no Dop­pler). Three years earlier, this would have been a real mo­­ment oft crown­ing awe­some­ness, but now every­one just yawns. Did the In­ter­stel­lar team release their ren­der­ing soft­ware to the public?
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Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 1:39pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken


Funny how our cross-posted comments (I hadn’t read yours before typing mine) ad­dress pretty much the same issues, though ap­pa­rent­ly we dif­fer with re­spect to the prison es­cape se­quen­ce (I come from a coun­try where con­cen­tra­tion camps are not con­sider­ed a re­spect­able work­place).
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Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 1:33pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@SlackerInc “I have steadfastly resisted single-timeline time travel; […] those kinds of stories […] are basically BS.”

I agree that this kind of story is hard to tell convincingly, al­though Trek has shown that they can be often used as a ve­hic­le for ef­fi­ci­ent drama (“The City on the Edge of For­ever”, STVIII “First Con­tact”, “Yester­day’s Enter­prise”) and also comedy (STIV “The Voyage Home”, “Troubles and Tribble-ations”, “Rela­tivity”). Fail­ure, how­ever, is more common (“Little Green Men”, “To­mor­row is Yester­day”, “Time’s Arrow”, “Paste Tense”, “Fu­ture’s End”), al­though some of these suc­ceed­ed at least in parts.

The most astonishing time-travel episode ever was in Babylon 5 (“Babylon Squared”, “War Without End”). The time-tra­vel­ling story made a lot of sense and a­void­ed internal con­tra­dic­tions, and more­over it was a crucial tur­ning point in the story arc.

@GG “can't decide if it's a show with serious sci-fi stories or an homage/comedy”

This argument is often heard, but frankly I don’t under­stand it, as there is no need for pid­geon-holing every­thing into a fixed number of mu­tu­al­ly ex­clu­sive of cat­ego­ries. Did any­one com­plain that GoT does not know whether it want to be a heroic fan­tasy tale, a po­li­ti­cal in­tri­gue drama or a soft-porn flick?


I keep surprised that so many people like the Birth­day Cake epi­sode. For me, it was easily the worst of the sea­son, and per­haps of the show: A relent­less race for the idiot ball being as widely dis­tri­but­ed as possible:

(α) The aliens prove megastupid by imprisoning members of highly ad­vanc­ed races (“Sure, they have an FTL drive, but that does not im­ply their wea­pons are any bet­ter than sling­shots, right?”)

(β) However, the Orville crew works on the same level by not pointing out the obvious: „Yes, their birth­day jubi­lee falls into your month of BS this year, but this is ne­ces­sari­ly true for every­one born on a planet with a dif­fe­rent ro­ta­tion peri­od of yours, in some years. Nor does it im­­ply any­­thing about their actual dates of birth, which are deca­­des past, and even if it did, it would be point­less ’cause our con­stel­la­tions are different.”

(γ) Yet this is all dwarfed by the gigastupidity of Union Govern­­ment. Halsey should have said “Ed, tell them we want our officers back. If they refuse, drill them a nice 5-km-crater in some desert, and then increase pressure steadily; re­mem­ber, you’re the cat and they are all mouse. How­­ever, be diplo­ma­tic and offer them we’ll never make any con­tact again un­less they desire otherwise”.

(δ) Hard to believe, this is still topped by the script than em­ploys a ‘so­lu­tion’ that wouldn’t have fooled even the ancient astro­no­mers on Earth because of par­allax. Yet these aliens are con­vin­ced wit­hin half a second and change their entire single-hatted society immediately.

This gets ½ a point for the intended mes­sage and ½ a point for Kelly and Bortus going serious on the con­cen­tra­tion camp guards, which at least show that some­one has some sense left.
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Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 1:32pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Last week, I complained that the show fails to sur­prise and stays on trod­den paths to much. I also pre­dic­ted that the time­line issue would never come up again as the sea­son finale is like­ly to in­vol­ve Kay­lons. My Mir­ror should have told me bet­ter, and I hap­pily con­fess I was wrong by a 50%.

Alternate time-line stories have a tendency to suck, be­cau­se we have no rea­son to in­vest in cha­rac­ters that are pret­ty much guar­an­teed to get erased by the end of the story. Worst of­fen­der is “Storm Front”, fol­low­ed close­ly by “The Visi­tor” (yes, I know, I am most­ly alone with that judge­ment). Rare­ly, this can be over­come by mak­ing the Alter­nate ver­sions com­pel­ling enough (“In a Mir­ror, Dark­ly”) and more com­mon­ly by bring­ing in Prime cha­rac­ters that have to solve some­thing im­por­tant for the Prime Uni­verse. Yet the lat­ter ap­proach car­ries the risk of treat­ing the Alter­nate na­ti­ves as plot tools (“Car­pen­ter Street”, “Time­less”, “End­game”) and this is bad unless it be­comes an is­sue in-epis­ode (“The City on the Edge of Forever”).

The Modus Operandi of The Orville is pastiche plus heart. So we re­live the look-and-feel of DS9’s shab­by mir­ror uni­ver­se, get a sha­dow of Star Wars and loads of “Yester­day’s Enter­prise” (a really good ex­am­ple of Alter­nate Time­line plot). On the se­cond point, every­one is tho­rough­ly like­able (Ed flirts by the same goo-goo eyed tech­nique as in the Prime Time­line), cha­rac­ters haven’t changed much and the Alara cameo was a nice touch.

Yet there is something to this episode which dis­tingui­shes it from every­thing I have seen on Trek (if I am wrong, please pro­vide ex­am­ple): Every­one here ac­tive­ly and con­scious­ly works to­wards their own ob­lit­era­tion to create a bet­ter world which they are not a part of, and their heroic struggle will never be­come known to those who bene­fit from their sacri­fice. This de­gree of self­less­ness may be con­sid­er­ed old-fa­shion­ed, but I found it re­fresh­ing. This also re­moves the issue of using co­habi­tants of the time­line as pawns, be­cau­se (al­most) every­one is in on the plan, and ful­ly em­braces it.

And, speaking of heart: I cheered when Alara ap­peared in the sha­dow of her base. Not be­cause she was im­por­tant to the plot (she wasn’t), but be­cau­se it in­di­cat­es that the Orville team is not a Bunch of Bick­er­ing Bas­tards in real life that mob­bed her away, but it rather al­lows me to main­tain my hope that the team is a good-natured as the cha­rac­ters they play.

Of course, the plot does not make too much sense: The capa­bili­ties of the Kay­lons fol­low plot re­quire­ments (really, not the worst jerks but the worst shots in the gala­xy). Viewers ask­ing after “Iden­tity” why the Kay­lons are not inter­linked will not enjoy the re­ve­la­tion that they are. Bortus makes an ex­cel­lent major­domo. The visuals of scar­red Earth look great but should be much more fiery and dusty, or the atmo­sphere should have gone com­ple­te­ly. The so­lu­tion em­ploy­ed was sim­plis­tic, and Claire’s va­nish­ing into thin air looked cheesy. The Big Ele­phant, how­ever, is Kelly who ap­parent­ly warned no­body about the Kaylons though the was wil­ling to draw other ad­van­tages from her pre­vious know­ledge of thing to come.

I’d probably pan The Other Show™ merci­less­ly for these plot­holes. But strange­ly, they don’t affect me as badly in this show. Maybe I am a hypo­crite, but more likely there is some­thing to The Orville that The Other Show™ simply lacks, and that I value very much.
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Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@ Alan Roi “We all know enough about Hitler to know that there's not enough to know about Georgiou to know, but we do know so far she isn't literally Hitler. its not even close.”

We have seen her destroying half a planet (“The Wolf Inside”, 46:20), feasting on a Kelpien (“Vaulting Ambition”, 12:50), executing her advisors (ibid., 18:10), bragging of turning Qo’noS into a blackened mass of dust (“The War Without, the War Within”, 31:42) and of blowing the Talosians and their stupid singing plants off the face of their planet (“If Memory Serves”, 51:37). Maybe I missed some.

While two genocides, a war crime and a few murders perhaps don’t yet fully qualify for the Hitler level, I am pretty sure that she has not told everything about her activities as a Mirror Universe Empress. Most likely, not even 1%.
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Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 2:40pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Sorry Booming and Artymiss, your excessve feature requests are unfeasible. I just piped the HTML file through a pipe that counts the number of posting head lines and reformats it properly. Your desired weighting by posting length would require much more extensive work.

wget -O - | grep -i | cut -d\" -f6 | cut -d' ' -f5- | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | sed -e 's/^ *//' -e 's/\([^ ]*\) \(.*\)/\2 (\1)/' -e 's/$/, /' | xargs | sed 's/, *$/./'
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Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 1:31pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Mertov: “Wow, almost 200 comments in little less than three days since the finale aired? I bet about a 100 were by about 6-7 commenters”

At present, it is 206 comments by 71 authors, the most prolific of which are Alan Roi (23), Booming (17), Artymiss (11), Tim C (7), Boura (7), Chrome (6), axiom (6), Trent (5), Quincy (5), OmicronThetaDeltaPhi (5), Daya (5), wolfstar (4), Kinematic (4), Galadriel (4), Cody B (4), Brian Lear (4). The top 7 commenters amount to 80 posts.
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Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Alan Roi: Actually, the source was — some of the com­men­ters (who seem in­siders) drop­ped omi­nous hints (which, to be fair, I might have mis­under­stood or ex­ag­ger­ated in meaning, or they might be bogus at all). They also an­noun­ced an ar­tic­le on the pro­duc­tion history of S2 for next Fri­day, which will hope­fully solve the question. In any case, we will see.

Your very special talent never ceases to amaze me, and I mar­vel at the mul­tip­le ex­amp­les that you give. Yet, you are right — as I told be­fore, I have al­ways been a Spock fan, and I found the level of contra­dic­tions some people can han­dle (and, in­deed, con­sider nor­mal) far too much for my own ganglia.

In any case, I am happy you could put your unique talent to pro­fes­sio­nal use as ghost­writer. I did so too, becoming scientist.
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Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 8:18am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I once read a col­lec­tion of humo­rous short stories from the olden days when no­bili­ty still aboun­ded and the noble­men’s chil­dren would get in-house edu­ca­tion by a private tutor. The exams were a chal­lenge for the teacher, because a young Prince could never be wrong, and the tutor’s job was to justi­fy every answer given by the ex­ami­nee. This would play out like the following:

“How long did the Thirty Year War last?” — “Seven Years.” — “In those days, no figh­ting oc­cur­red during the nights, nor on sun­days and holi­days. More­over, there were cease­fires and nego­tia­tion breaks. Taken to­gether, all of those re­duced the war­ring time to seven years, as cor­rect­ly stated by the Prince.”

I think we are come to that point, and Alan Roi would make a per­fect tutor (get me right, this was con­sider­ed a great career then). Some head-canon in­deed is needed all across Star Trek, and per­haps in SF gen­er­al­ly; TOS was quite an of­fen­der here, and since I have seen it as a teen, I have also de­vel­oped some skill to fill gaps in a story (“wasn’t men­tion­ed be­cause known to every­one in-story”), dis­card ob­vious­ly botched state­ments by the cha­rac­ters (“lay­men’s talk”), invent work­arounds for bla­tant errors (“inside joke”) or come up with ex­cuses for mis­sing con­sequen­ces of mis­deeds (“was never re­por­ted to ad­mi­rals”). This makes epis­odes like “The Galileo Seven” or “Plato’s Step­chil­dren” watch­able, be­cause they con­tain good sub­stance which can still be enjoyed despite ob­vious flaws.

However, there are limits. I found no way of mind-bending that could inject any de­gree of sense into “The Al­ter­na­tive Fac­tor” (no doubt Alan Roi can, and I am the same time awed and en­vious and ap­pal­led). How­ever, I never ex­pec­ted there would ever be some­one who spends a hun­dred mega­dollars for pro­duc­ing a 13-epis­ode remake of “The Al­ter­na­ti­ve Fac­tor” or “Thresh­old”. Nor did I ex­pect half of the world ap­plauds to such an enter­prise and praises the mul­tiple lens­flares, the di­verse cast, the emo­tio­nal jour­ney of the prot­ago­nists, the auda­cious cine­ma­to­gra­phy and the kewl SFX. It has hap­pen­ed be­cause we live in a crazy world. And yes, I know a few people who still de­fend “Lost”, because even if it ended no­where, it was a great ride, they say (“sunk cost fal­lacy” in my opinion)

Having done some research on the web, I found indi­ca­tions that in­deed the main story­line of the sea­son was changed in mid-pro­duc­tion, mean­ing that the Seven Sig­nals had dif­fer­ent pro­per­ties and mean­ing for the cha­rac­ters in the early epis­odes; the mys­tery solved in the end was there­fore dif­ferent from the mys­tery posed in the be­gin­ning. Cha­rac­ters paid lip-ser­vice to what they had said be­fore, but acted ac­cor­ding to the changed sce­na­rio, re­sult­ing in huge in­con­sis­ten­cies. No doubts, the next days or weeks will bring new leaks and in­sight and revelation.

Think of a murder mys­tery story where a girl is found drowned in a bath­tub in chapter one. At the end of the novel, the in­ves­ti­ga­tor sol­ves the case by stating that the victim, a 50 yo pro­fes­sio­nal wrest­ler, was suf­fe­ring from prostate cancer and hanged himself, plan­ting hints that im­pli­cated his former as­soci­a­te. Would any­one be satis­fied with that?

Now, my head-canon: Dis­cov­ery season 2 is an off­shoot of the wea­pon de­vised by Data and Picard in “I, Borg”: No mat­ter how you look at it, no sense can be made of it, it rather drives you crazy when you think about it. Some time-travel­ling AI from the 24ᵗʰ cen­tury used it to infect Kurtz­man's brain in an at­tempt to eradi­cate huma­ni­ty by re­duc­ing our intel­lec­tual level to that of half-rot­ten in­dus­try-made custard.

I will say no more, at least for now.
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Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 2:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Discovery is frustrating to me, and I think I now know why: Be­cause it forces a speci­fic per­spec­tive on the viewer. Jammer once said “This show wants me to feel somet­hing”, and hardly any­one can deny the truth of this and its flip side: that the show does not want me to think. Yet this is only half of the pro­blem, be­cause the show also wants to guide my feel­ings to­wards speci­fic people (who are usually con­nec­ted to Burn­ham). Take the red­shirt­ing of Airiam as an ex­amp­le: That “robot girl” served mostly as bridge furni­ture, and I don’t re­mem­ber a single line of her in the whole of S1 (her name was spoken on screen exacly five times). In S2, she did speak a few words, in­clud­ing a semi-private con­ver­sa­tion with Tilly. In her death epi­sode, how­ever, a lot of dia­logue and screen­ time was given to just to force viewers to care fo her in­evit­able death. That’s guided emo­tion, which some may call mani­pula­tion, and I find it distasteful.

Cut to the current episode and the fist­fight in the ro­tat­ing tunnel. Three people fight vi­ci­ous­­ly: A Con­trol­led™ section 31 agent, an exiled Empress with a taste for Kelpien threat ganglia, and a se­curi­ty of­fi­cer. Whom shall we feel with? The script de­ci­des: It’s the Empress (un­doub­ted­ly, be­cause of her con­nec­tion to Burn­ham), and there­fore Nhan is basi­cal­ly dis­car­ded of after that scene (we don’t even know whether she sur­vived). The two people that mys­teri­ous­ly appear out of nothing and then li­teral­ly go to no­where at 37:08 don’t matter, either. The au­dien­ce must fol­low the lead pro­vided by Burn­ham and her clan.

Compare that to TOS: For me, it was always the Show with Spock™. Kirk was often cool, but he seemed the se­con­dary cha­rac­ter to me. No doubt other viewers pre­fer­red Kirk, or maybe McCoy, or even Chekhov. The show sup­por­ted mul­tiple points of identi­fica­tion, and that’s why it became popular. Si­mi­lar­ly, I found Kira the pri­mary cha­rac­ter of identi­fica­tion in DS9, pro­bab­ly a mino­rity choice. But all these shows left the choice of per­sonal focus, emo­tio­nal in­vest­ment and per­spec­tive to the viewer. Dis­cov­ery has a more authori­tarian approach, and thus I could never get warm with it. I don’t like being kept on the leash.

Moreover, the script is written in a way that ac­tive­ly dis­coura­ges viewers from thin­king about it. Take Tyler: Last time we saw him, he beamed from Dis­cove­ry to Enter­prise to­gether with Pike (“Part 1”, 45:30) asking him to get away. Now we know that he con­tac­ted the on-call Klingon Caval­lery Ser­vice, pro­bab­ly by shut­tle, en­abling L’Rell to save the day with a Klingon ice­breaker of sorts. How­ever, there are major pro­blems: (α) he could not have left, because the enemy ar­ma­da showed up im­me­di­ate­ly after his talk to Pike (β) the time is in­suf­fici­ent, as there can be no more than an hour of time be­tween him leaving the stage an re­tur­ning with the Klingon Flag­ship Ice­breaker and (γ) he cannot reveal himself to any Klingon with­out under­mining Chan­cel­lor L’Rell.

Now, concerning (α) I can pro­bab­ly con­vince my­self that there was a little more time than shown on the screen, and con­cer­ning (β) that ships moving with the speed of the plot are not un­heard of in Star Trek. But what about (γ)? In “Valley of Shadows”, 9:42, L’Rell says ex­plicit­ly “If it were dis­cover­ed that […] you were still alive, the Klin­gon Empire would be vul­ner­able to sedi­tion” because she had per­sonal­ly called him a traitor and pre­sented a fake head to the Council (“Point of Light”, 44:31). Yet standing next to her on her flag­ship (which he him­self has re­ques­ted to go to war) is OK? This show spends mil­lions on CGI, but can­not af­ford writers worthy the name.

I also noted that a similar di­lemma is planted for the Empress. Last time we hear from her (53:57) she is in Dis­cov­ery’s En­gineer­ing, and the whole ship will jump to the 31ˢᵗ century exact­ly one minute of show time later (the time be­tween is spent with melo­drama­tic crap). Yet rumour says she will appear in a Sec­tion 31 spinoff show set in the 23ʳᵈ century. Ques­tion: How many Empresses do they have?

I will not go to Siranna’s quick training as a fighter pilot in a quick­ly united Ba’ul and Kelpien fleet. Nor to Spock’s beaming aboard Enter­prise during the battle while shields are up. Nor to the use­less time jump after Control has been dis­abled (with a lot of crew that might have pre­fer­red to re­main in the 23ʳᵈ cen­tu­ry even if a time jump is deemed neces­sary to eli­mi­nate the threat for­ever). Nor to the tor­pe­do-proof glass wind­ow. Nor to Spock and Burn­ham dis­cus­sing sibling mat­ters while people died by the dozens every minute. You see where this all leads to. Alan Roi’s claim that “Dis­cov­ery de­mands more from the viewers than any other ST show” has haunted me for a week. May­be the de­mand is to hin­der my brain throw­ing ex­cep­tions when­ever the writers plunder. Can any­one come up with a Braga-era WTFery like this?

Challenge to Alan Roi: Spock seems to be sur­prised by the loca­tion of the 7ᵗʰ signal in the Beta Qua­drant. How is that pos­sible as he him­self has drawn the Seven Signals in their cor­rect loca­tions months be­fore (“New Eden”, 1:48)? And who told him, BTW? It can’t have been Burn­ham sen., be­cause she knew no­thing of the Seven, nor Michael, as she cannot time-travel after arrival (“Part 1”, 25:25). But then, how could she plant the Seventh Signal any­way, and how could she pro­mise to do it before leav­ing? Also, we have seen the 3D galactic map with all the signals couple of times early in the season; yet by what kind of time-bending she­nani­gans could all of this vanish, so that no cha­rac­ter in the show re­mem­bers it, but all have to wait for the sig­nals to mani­fest them­selves after they had all been recor­ded by Fe­dera­tion sen­sors before the actual start of the sea­son (“Brothers”, 12:11)? Which de­mand did I not meet to miss the cen­tral element of the whole season?

I am a Trekkie, and that is quite an ad­dic­tion. So I shall pro­bab­ly watch future sea­sons be­cause every junkie knows cut drug is better than no drug. But I shall not invest any emo­tio­nal or intel­lec­tual re­sources into it, unless the show con­vinces me not with baits (that have no nu­tri­tio­nal value) and pro­mises (that are never kept) but with actual de­liv­ery. Yet, reading to Kurtzman inter­view linked to above (that, cor­rectly, calls the finale “shocking”) I feel very pessimistic.

I want my Star Trek “cerebral” because I am an ana­lytic person. There is no cere­brum in this show. Rather, I think of an­other ana­tomi­cal re­gion that, by chance, is con­tained in the word “analytic”.
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Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 5:13pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

I liked it. There are weaknesses, but this episode does a lot of things right when it comes to time-travel (like, ack­now­led­ging the ab­surdi­ty of it), it has great humor (“I was a real bitch” — “Been there” is more funny, honest and heart­felt than lite­rally everything in two seasons of some other con­tem­po­ra­ry SF show, because it flows from the cha­rac­ters as estab­lished), and it feels so warm, humane and friendly that I start melting away. It was a pleasant surprise that everyone gave Kelly² a warm welcome and no cha­rac­ter showed any sign of jealousy or avoided her out of an this-is-awk­ward-feeling.

Really, the episode is about character growth, which mirrors the entire show: With the ex­cep­tion of Claire and (arguably) Kelly, every­one was pretty much in­fan­tile in 1x01, and this has mostly changed (only Talla is still pretty much a blank slate, owing pro­bab­ly to the circum­stan­ces). Even Mercer has grown from his boy-feigning-ad­ult­ness-at­titu­de in 1x01, though most charmingly it re­ap­pears when­­ever he tries to flirt.

I cannot stress enough how much I loved the bar scene at the be­gin­ning. The Orville is a place where I would like to work because every­one comes well along with every­one else. Compare that to The Other Show™: The only time I can re­mem­ber people laughing in a bar there was in the episode when one of the laughing people got killed later — a cha­rac­ter that had spoken less than a dozen lines in 20+ epis­odes before. That’s what I call cynicism.

‘The Orville’ cannot be accused of being cynic, but it has previously often shown a ten­den­cy toward pre­dict­abi­li­ty and sim­plism. The cur­rent epis­ode amply de­mon­strates this weak­ness. Pretty much every­thing up to the failed bed scene comes as ex­pec­ted. Plea­­sant sur­pri­ses: Ed’s honesty to Kelly¹, when he sought her per­mis­sion to pursue Kelly². I didn’t expect that from the guy who took a shuttle to spy on his ex-wife. Also, Kelly¹ handled that scene admirably.

I really hoped they would not push the reset button and send Kelly² back. Would she really like to forget the days on Orville? I under­stand she had a satis­fying social life back then, but living at a later time in­vol­­ves in­creas­ed op­portu­ni­ties, and I feel she should have changed her name to Shelley and live on with a career of her own. Yet this was the sim­ple choice (for the writers, not the cha­rac­ters) and there­fore the ex­pec­ted one. Chance missed.

The end leaves questions open. It seems the time loop is not con­sis­tent — in the beginning, Ed was surprised when Kelly¹ told him she was pissed about his call, and that does not fit to what we see in the last seconds of the episode. So the scene did play differently, and Kelly² will live a life different from that of Kelly¹. This might be a Red Herring, or a setup for a second part that may finally surprise me.

Yet I do not expect we see Kelly² again, and the reason is Kaylon. For 3 episodes after the epic battle, we haven’t heard anything of them, and Isaac has been given hardly any line since. Now he is back, and so are they, and if this means anything, then we are going to end the sea­son with a Kaylon cliff­hanger (which would also be a good star­ting point for a pos­sible 3ʳᵈ season), and I don’t see how the Kelly¹·² issue could be brought into such a story­line.

Just in case Mr. McFarlane reads this board: Please, surprise me.
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Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:15am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

As expected, the critizism here generally falls into the spectrum be­tween “dis­appoin­ted”, “vitrioic” and “nuclear”. I didn’t like every­thing, and emphati­cally dis­like a lot, but there is also some­thing rea­son­able to praise.

@Karl Zimmermann “Spock telling Michael how damn special he was to him during the scene where he was stranded in the shuttle­craft was laying it on a bit thick” I agree with that, but that is Dis­cove­ry’s trade mark despite not making any sence, even for humans and less so for Vulcans. Tear-soaked fare­well scenes abound every­where, and while action se­quences are always super­fast (and con­fu­sing, more on that below), the cha­rac­ters easily find time to give longish private and emo­tio­nal speeches that drag for­ever, drenched in saucy scores that want to evoke some human con­nec­tion between the cha­rac­ters and the au­di­ence, but fails.

@Rahul “The spore drive has been destroyed along with Control and no­body is to speak of this whole thing again un­less they want to be charged with treason. I think Spock even estab­lished some kind of tem­poral di­rec­tive” If he really estab­lished such a thing, he would become the worst of­fen­der to his own rule later. Such a “Don’t meddle with Time” rule actually makes a lot of sense, but I don’t see how it extends to the spore drive, which as we have learned in “Saints of Im­per­fec­tion”) is harm­less to use, and is not in any way connected to the Control fiasco. It’s also ir­res­pon­sible from the security angle: What if the Romulans come up with some­thing similar, or even the Jem’Hadar?

@Rahul “Cornwell sacrificing herself to contain the torpedo blast was weird” Actually, non­sensi­cal (the blast door even had a glass window (or trans­parent alu­mi­num?) yet con contain an ex­plo­sion that ripped out an ⅛ slice of the saucer. More­over, logi­cally Pike should have stayed behind, because (α) Cornwell can order him (β) he has only a wheel­chair to lose and (γ) the time crystal should have pro­tected him (to avoid being called a liar).

@mosley “the hilarious plot oversight that they actually didnt need to go to the future any­more because control was de­stroy­ed” yeah, this was weird, especially since Saru knew it and could have aborted the Time Jump, or at least delayed, since even if some Con­trol was still some­where, there was no im­mediate threat to the ships. BTW, it seems odd that Dis­cov­ery was pretty much full manned when Jumping. Are there so many people willing to give up their present lives for an uncertain future?

@Baron Samedi “I feel like the Discovery writers would have made the head Xindi scientist Archer's long-lost alien step­father” I fear Saint Michael Fucking Burnham (© MadManMUC) is going to meet a descen­dant of her unborn twin sister some­where in the future.

@Brian Lear “don't feel that the show ever really convinced me that the data in that sphere could rea­son­ably be expected to allow an ad­vanced AI to obtain con­scious­ness” I can imagine that this sphere thing was a quite dif­ferent life form, one that operates more like an AI and can thus better serve as a model for an AI wanting to evolve than the com­plete­ly messed-up Humans (or Vulcans). Of couse, the ques­tion why Control wants to be­come “sentient” (whatever that means, I have never under­stood that term in any ST show) and why it would turn de­struc­tive still remains open. Perhaps, Control read the script and decided to play along.

@Brian Lear “is anybody else sick of the fact that only female characters can solve problems” No, I am not. I have grown up with an over­dose of TV that shows pro­blem-sol­ving males and damsels-in-dis­tress that I still need anti­dot (BTW, I am male). Besides, Pike and (less so) Saru have also proven capable.

@John Harmon “It really bothered me how much the show reveled in the sadism of [Leland’s] death” We see that scene from the point of view of an Evil Mirror Uni­verse Empress, who had pre­vious­ly said (‘Such Sweet Sorrow 1’, 09:00) “On the other hand, I look for­ward to hunting Leland down to the ends of the galaxy so I can watch every piece of tech­no­logy exit his skin bit by bit”. In that scene, Burnham cri­tisized her sadism, so it is strange and untrekky that she got her wish fullfilled.

@wolfstar “The only reason Burnham knows where to send the signals from... is because she did it in the first place. How does original Burnham in any time­line learn why she needs to send the signals from those points?” That onto­logic para­dox is in­herent to time travel stories. I can imagine a physi­cal mecha­nism that would pro­duce such an effect, although it needs two two co­ordi­na­tes: One in which the action takes place, and a second one in which the loop reates it­self; in the be­gi­nning, the loops are in­con­sis­tent and will play dif­ferent­ly in every itera­tion, but over (second) time, a con­sis­tent loop is reached that obeyes cau­sali­ty in the first time. By some sta­tis­tical argument, we see only the final con­ver­ged result. There are weak ana­logies for such a mecha­nism in Quantum Mechanics.

@wolfstar “Burnham has never worn this suit before. How does she fly it through space?” There was a manual attached to it, in the form of logs from Burnham sen. (“Perpe­tual In­fini­ty”, ≈15:00). Probably the suit has some pro­pul­sion, even if only navi­ga­tio­nal thrusters, other­wise Burnham sen. would not have been able to land anywhere.

@Chrome “And of course 1 million points for Control not being the Borg” Didn’t you notice the word “Beta Quadrant” at the end (the location of the 7ᵗʰ signal)? I already get Borg vibes for season 3, and I don’t like the idea. I pretty much dis­liked every­thing Borgy in VOY after the “Scorpion” two-parter (does not ex­tend to the cha­rac­ter 7of9, because I con­sider­ed her well-written), for the rea­son that I prefer my Borgs com­pe­tent and mena­cing and with fangs.

@Booming “The very same engineer probably thought: Ok, emer­gen­cy lever on the wrong side. The only thing this blast door now needs is a window” — “Georgiou highlights the problem that shows or movies who make every­thing dark often have: You start to like the bad guys/gals because they are the only ones who have fun” ☺☺☺

Some own thought will come in a separate post. Yet I have to comment on the visuals, which are both terrific and terrible at the same time. They look astounding, reak of a lot of money spent, and would make great wallpapers, but they contribute only to the coolness factor, not to the narrative. John Harmon called it “Star Wars prequel white noise”, and that is as fitting as can be.

So we have fighters now (never been seen before in the ST universe). No one ex­plains how they oper­ate, what they can do and how they come there. It not even shown whether they are manned or not (some dia­logue seems to indi­cate they are, but there is not one shot how they look like insde). The design is un­fami­liar to the viewer, and they fight an equal­ly novel foe. How am I sup­posed t see who is who? Or should I not care and just marvel at the ex­plo­sions? I fear it is the latter, and that makes me sick (“style over sub­stance”). Compare this to the epic battle se­quence in Orville’s Kaylon two-parter, which managed to look great and tell the story by it­self, for it was mostly clear what happens and what moti­va­tion the ships have to do what they do.

Alan Roi famously said in another thread that Disco is more de­mand­ing to its viewers than any other Star Trek show. Maybe he is right, and I can’t pick up visual, verbal and acous­tic clues at high enough speed. Not an English speaker, I am chal­leng­ed enough parsing the muff­led, highly con­tracted and oc­casio­nally un­gram­ma­ti­cal speech drenched in too much score. Very often, I have to rewind a scene, some­times several times, to re­parse a highly in­form­al Eng­lish sen­tence against the back­ground noise without mis­sing some in­con­spic­u­ous but im­por­tant back­ground vi­sual. For example, in a madly fast-cut se­quence some­one says “The bayonet joint on this oxy­gen sensor’s wide open” which took me three re­runs to rea­lize “sensor’s” is not a pos­se­sive case.

Or, take the open­ing se­quence that moves (with a weird shaky-cam effect) from Saru asking some­thing from Owosekun, to Owosekun ans­wer­ing (she sits next to him on the Bridge of Dis­co­ve­ry) to Pike. At that moment, my brain threw an ex­cep­tion, and only after stop­ping the player and in­spect­ing the back­ground props I came to the con­clusion that Pike is where he should be, i.e., on Enter­prise. Maxi­mum con­fu­sion for con­fu­sions sake seems the di­rec­tio­nal mantra. Feeding the audi­ence with con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion and forcing them to re­evalu­ate their inter­pre­ta­tion of what hap­pened a few se­conds be­fore may be de­mand­ing. But it is not what Trek­kies like me want most and what was famously called “cerebral” more than 50 ears ago.

The “cerebral” remark leads to plot issues, which I will treat in an­other post.
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Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 9:02am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Count me among those who don’t understand Burnham’s Vision. But those who claim they do maybe can answer two questions: How many tor­pe­does did Enter­prise really fire at Dis­cov­ery? And why did Burn­ham stop Pike from firing an­other (first? second? third?) round of tor­pe­does (I don’t see any danger in firing them)?

BTW, in this scene we see a young blonde woman in red (who also has a line of dia­­logue at 17:50). She somehow looks like Yeo­man Colt, but the ‘The Cage’ she wore blue. Funny no one com­ment­ed on that.

@Alan Roi: I agree that Discovery somehow challenges the viewers. But it is not the kind of chal­lenge that I remember fondly from old Star Trek episodes, where viewers would be in­vit­ed to re­flect on the mean­ing of a plot, or at the de­cision of a com­mand­ing officer, or on an ethi­cal di­lem­ma. The chal­lenge is to under­stand the plot, be­cause it moves so fast. Con­trari­ly, any re­flec­tion on what hap­pen­ed and why ends in another enigma. I don’t know why there are seven signals in the first episode, al­though by the pen­ul­ti­mate epis­ode, only five have ap­peared. And I don’t under­stand why we need five episodes to de­le­te a file. IT se­cu­ri­ty must be ter­rible in the 23ᵗʰ century, they can­not even shred a hard disk (or erase it by dynamite); instead, they have to fly the ship into the future, with the entire bridge crew, a queen and an ex-emperess on board.

There might be a 10% chance that every­thing will make sense after the sea­son end. I called DIS a sort of fast food before — fast, tasty, shiny but neither nu­tri­tious nor fil­ling. Jammer nailed it with the verdict “This show wants me to feel some­thing”. But it does not want me to think about some­thing. Com­pare that to master­pieces like ‘Amok’, ‘Balance of Terror’, ‘All Our Yester­days’, ‘The Tholian Web’, ‘Chain of Com­mand’, ‘Yester­day’s Enter­prise’, ‘The In­ner Light’, ‘Duet’, ‘In the Pale Moon­light’, ‘Trials And Tribble-ations’, ‘Home­front’, ENT’s Vulcan tri­logy and many more. In all these epis­odes, pro­blems were well stated and solved, and far more inter­esting things happen than just a failed file delete, Most tellingly, they are still sources for many in­spir­ed dis­cus­­sions. Do you really feel the same will be true of any DIS epis­ode? I doubt it.

BTW, I considered ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ an ador­able piece of intel­ligent pop art. The premise ‘Pretty teen girls fight against monsters’ might sound wacky, but the show man­aged to do everything quite right, from great actors via nuanced scripts and well-de­vel­oped cha­rac­ters to an almost perfect execution.
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Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 9:12am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@ Daya

No, there was no such discussion. In particular, no one asked the ques­tion whether cap­tur­ing the Angel might harm her. I felt strange about that lack of ethics, too, but then this is Star Trek for the ge­ne­ra­tion that has been so­cial­ized with shows like “24” since their cradle, so per­haps small wonder no one cares.

However, the entire Angel trap plot was nonsensical.

α) It relies on the supposed motivation of the Angel not to let Burn­ham die. The Angel, how­ever, knows about the out­come of the set­ting if it does not inter­vene. Therefore, the trap should have been con­struct­ed in a way that guar­an­tees Michael’s death if the Angel re­mains ab­sent. Why should the Angel save her if she will get re­viv­ed even­tual­ly? You can’t bluff an entity from the future.

β) Even if the Angel were Burnham, there is no need for her to save Prime Burn­ham if the Angel is Burnham from another time line.

γ) As it turn out, the Angel is not Micheal, and has seen Michael die in many time lines before. So why, then, did the trap work? I can think only of one rea­son: Gabrielle read it in the script.
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Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 5:10am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@ Daya:

In “The Red Angel”, approx. 0:13:00

Saru: As the Angel travels through time, she opens a micro-wormhole along with the possibility that a future A.I. will follow her.

Leland: We can't let that happen again.

Burnham: Agreed. Which is why we have to stop her from traveling back and forth. We have to capture her. Me.

Pike: So, how do you propose we trap her?
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:50am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

A little bit of “The Wounded” plus almost all of “Past Prologue” — this episode was a huge letdown from previous week.

On the plus side, I loved the medal ceremony at the beginning, Yaphit has very much become a person to me, and that’s a long way from the comical relief cha­rac­ter he was intro­duced as. It’s a strength of The Orville to show how initial per­cep­tions can be wrong, playing with our xeno­phobia that would not allow us to take a green slime ball as a serious character.

The rest of the episode was, however, pretty meh. Malloy channeled Kira from “Past Pro­logue” almost exactly, and I feared this would hap­pen from the mo­ment on when Oren pressed him so hard; by the time he shot Keyali in the Shuttle Bay, all sus­pen­se was already gone. The custom clear­ance scene was pain­ful to watch; I note that Keyali still has not be­come much of a cha­rac­ter, she just fills the Alara plot slot with­out being Alara.

Isaac has only one line of text in this episode, I guess they save his arc to the next epis­ode(s), which is fine for me. The signing of the Con­tract was so fast that it came out of nothing, and open questions remain: How did the Krill ac­cept the solution, with no proofs avail­able? Was the girl delivered to a Krill inter­roga­tion? What is the actual content of the Contract?

Makes two stars for me: Soso execution of a soso plot.
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