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Gary
Mon, May 13, 2019, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

An ongoing complaint, applying particularly to Discovery, but to some extent to at least the last three ST series:

As others have noted, the writers just feel they Must Top Everything that came before. The most egregious example, courtesy of the mycelial network: all humans could be wiped out? No, all life in the galaxy? No, all life in this universe, and All Other Universes.

In this episode (and, to a lesser extent, to the Short Trek predecessor): Queen Po can recrystalize dilithium, way back before TOS. OK... a bit much, but OK. But now... they need lots of energy. No, not "lots"... Supernova Lots. So she can make one, with a bit of hand-waving and a few hours using pre-TOS tech. That is an absurd level of power - more, I think, then we've seen harnesssed in any future Trek. Of course, like the spore drive, it'll never come up again, and that's the basis for my beef: please, writers, stop introducing super-powers that then need to be forgotten.

On the same topic of upping everything: unless I misheard, were we not told that any one of the section 31 ships could give the Enterprise a stiff fight? But of course there are many, to make the situation just that much more hopeless. (We're surrounded! Umm, in 2D, at least!) And tying oh-so-cleverly into my complaint that super-weapons are constantly introduced but discarded: since it's now established that ramming is a viable tactic (we're always told these battles are taking place at thousands of kilometres, but are plainly shown they are often with a few hundred metres): an AI with drone ships, or magically-transformed crews, can quite happily ram a few into the Enterprise, letting the rest dismantle Discovery at leisure. This battle is for all the marbles, after all.
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Gary V.
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

@David

So am I an Uncle Tom or am I not black? Make up your mind.

Anyway. I'm black. I see it every day, but if it makes you feel better to think that a black person who might not have approved opinions on certain subjects, think of me any way you feel.

I'm not trying to "bend over backwards" for racism, whatever that means. I just refuse to make my life revolve around what white people think of me at the expense of my own enjoyment of a work that has nothing to do with what white people think of me. Day in, day out I have to fight against some notion that I'm a victim and the world is out to get me. Day in day out I have to see other black people fall into that trap and using that as an excuse not to do what they can.

This is what I don't understand. We're constantly told in life that we aren't responsible for what other people think about us; that we should live in spite of it, except when it comes to people not liking us because of our skin color. For that, we must put our lives on hold, whether or not it has any real effect on what we can't do.

News flash, actual racists don't give a crap what I think about their opinions. So if it's not hindering me and what I can accomplish why the heck should I fret about some loser's opinion about something I can't change?

It's called Stoicism, David. Look it up.
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Gary
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Daedalus

Unlike most here, I thought Archer's decision to carry on with the rescue attempt was reasonable. It wasn't about punishing (or not) Erickson, it was about trying to save the innocent Quinn.

Think of it this way - the same set-up, but instead of a transporter accident, Quinn is trapped in some minefield. Enterprise is there, now the lie is revealed... everyone is rightly angry at Erickson, but there's no way they would just turn around and leave that innocent person languishing without trying several ways - and, yes, risking lives (Archer's, of course) - to try to get him out. Risking all to save one or a few is pretty standard Star Trek fare.

Archer said it simply: you don't leave someone behind. Consistent with his character, and consistent with the ethics seen in some ST episodes (others take other positions, which is fine too). And in real-world terms, consistent with every hostage-rescue mission, every wilderness rescue, every time a fire-fighter goes into a burning building to try to save someone. That's Starfleet's evolving job, and though the proto-redshirt should have known the true story (which might have saved him), in the end he, and everyone, were facing the risks they signed up for.
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Gary
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 3:52am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Storm Front, Part II

First, a question in case anyone is still reading this: Whatever happened to the captured, cloaking Suliban cell-ship that was used to save Archer and Reed from hanging in S2 or S3? It survived that episode... shouldn't it still be around, and super-useful?


Some fun to be had here (stukas with beam weapons! Aliens in Nazi uniforms!). An end (hopefully?) to the TCW. But a few extra criticisms to add:

Everything is set in the USA, yet again, of course. Yes it's the main audience's home, but do the producers really think their audience is so ... so provincial they'd have no interest in action sequences elsewhere? The obvious location would be Germany, since surely Vosk would be doing "research" and time-conduit construction there, not near the front lines (why would he move his facilities to North America, since obviously he started in Europe)? Or would it have been so terrible to set this in, say, a Britain in the midst of German invasion? Everyone would still speak English, of a sort.

Do we really need more of the "Main Villain's ally decides they can't work with them anymore, so goes alone to the Main Villain's lair to tell them it's over" cliche? When the German commander had Vosk in the German HQ, he snarled and let him leave. When he was ready to say "you're done, I'm taking over" he took 2 unprepared guards with him to Vosk's alien-held compound. Yeah, sure.

What exactly did Archer need Silik for, in bringing down the shield? Archer had the base layout, the location of the Magic Terminal... Silik did precisely one thing that a MACO couldn't have done: slithered through a vent to open one door. A tiny 22nd-century explosive would have done this just fine.

And speaking of SIlik: so now he (and other Suliban?) are full-on Changelings, able to imitate specific people, including their voice (and not showing up as anything peculiar in the transporter, which makes absolutely no sense). So since the Enterprise crew still have their memories it seems (and their WW 2-era outfits), yet again it's bizarre that anyone is surprised at the existence of advanced shapeshifters like Odo & company. So now we have canon-breaking early introduction of full-imitation shapeshifting, cloaking technology all over the place, thanks a lot.


Finally, as a Star Trek fan since TOS, I've finally decided the shows would all have been much better without three "easy-out" technologies that constantly needed to be explained away, or (too often) forgotten. I'm not referring to the many single-use techs, annoying though those were... but to long-standing established techs that were unfortunate temptations to lazy writers, and constant irritants because clever use (sometimes demonstrated in lone episodes but then forgotten) could solve many problems.

To whit: transporters (by far the worst offender), fairly easy time travel (ooh, slingshot around the sun... so very risky, yet it works every time), and Borg nanoprobes (mainly in Voyager, but also in the newer fast-assimilation upgrade of Borgs generally).

Really, one of the things I've found most refreshing about Enterprise is the (until recently) avoidance of the transporter except in extremis. It made sense with an immature tech... but I'd rather have seen a universe entirely without that magical device, and the glaring, unexplored possibilities it introduced.
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Gary
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

Great, now I hate David.

I'm kidding, riffing on his "hate speech" and "incitement". I don't respect the drivel he dribbled, but no, I don't hate him. I'll add: thank God I live somewhere that allows speech that mocks religion, though preserving that right (or in sadder cases, restoring it) is something we all should be vigilant about, wherever we live.

As to the episode, just one more little nit to pick, regarding the writing (of course). It really would be nice if the writers would aim for consistency in their cardboard characters within one episode. To whit:

Lead fanatic: You humans, so obsessed with numbers.

Was that really a put-down someone would make when their entire schism was based around a number? Seems improbable. I could give the benefit of the doubt* and assume this was an intentional absurdity... but then it was carrying absurdity too far, since the casus belli was already pitched to be ridiculous in viewers' eyes.

(*: but I don't)
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Gary
Mon, Jan 14, 2019, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Crossing

I feel there was character development in this one... of Phlox. He's become my favorite character, and so much of that is his great demeanour. Cheery, not easily distressed... but also very cautious and sensible. His approach to possessed-Hoshi was great, and I wish other characters would show half his common sense. That she managed to effectively attack him at all seemed improbable in the circumstances, but he was still ready for that. Which just suits this long-lived, experienced character who has seen a great deal, and apparently comes from a nigh-unflappable race. Just great.

And, speaking of character moments... when the entity left T'pol, that was two brilliant seconds, fantastically done. I have to give Jolene Blalock far more credit than I did when Enterprise first aired, and I gave up after the pilot. It's still not "Trek like I'm used to", but I'm learning to enjoy it for what it is (which is less ambitious, admittedly).
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Gary V.
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Dogs of War

Funny how they associate socialism with virtue...
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Gary V.
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

As an actual black person (Don't call me a person of color. It's annoying) part of me rolled my eyes a bit at Sisko's concerns about the hologram. His attitude is the same type of attitude that makes people want to sweep through fiction and other people's creative work to make sure it is up to social code. It's the same thing killing comedy today. And they do this not because it's right or meaningful, but because of a type of social ennui. I didn't mind it so much from him in this because not only did he initially keep it to himself, but Kasidy provided a very fine counterpoint; but during his speech I was like, dude, take a chill pill. It's a just glorified video game. What do you want? A racism simulator? Why stop there? Why not have band members kick the gong backstage or have hologram patrons randomly pinch the butts of female players? If the program took place a few years earlier, you could throw in polio, just for the heck of it.

I might be a minority on this compared to other black people, but I don't think I'd need an advisory label reminding me of every injustice done in a period related narrative if that's not what the story calls for. You'd never do the real stories justice, anyway.
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Gary V.
Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

On the topic of interracial romance, I always thought that the one that made the most sense was Kira/Sisko, and for a few reasons that may not be obvious.

1. Kira obviously has a thing for influential/powerful men in the Bajoran hierarchy. Who is higher than the Emissary?
2.You don't see it much, but Kira seemed to have an almost maternal relationship with Jake. Just look at the scene in "The Visitor" when she's comforting him after his father's "death." There aren't a whole lot of opportunities to see it, but that's just a testament to how much of an impression it makes when you do.
3. Sisko and Kira really challenged each other early on, which made believable the loyalty and the mutual respect they developed later. They're also a good team.
4. Sisko was the only main character that would eventually take the Bajoran religion as seriously as she did.

Any one of those things could have been developed further to contribute to a very natural romance plot between the two. The only real strike against it is the most important male character hooking up with the most important female character is a bit trite.
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Gary V.
Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

This has got to be one of the realest episodes of DS9. Nog's psychological response to trauma is 100 percent accurate. It's the same realization I had when a close family member got a serious illness. All those youthful illusions of invulnerability go out the door, and paralyzing fear sets in. Vic's advice was about the only good advice anyone with an ounce of wisdom could give.

This is up there with "The Visitor," Necessary Evil," and a few others as my personal favorites.
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Gary V.
Sun, Jan 6, 2019, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

"There isn't really that much nuance to the Cardassian/Bajoran situation. It's wrong to paint all Cardassians with one brush, but the planet is guilty as sin..."

But there is though. There are countless episodes where even the most vile aspects of the occupation are scrutinized from all angles without questioning the fact that what the Cardassians did was wrong. At one point Kira's closest Cardassian friend, a dissident, one she sees as a father, was found to have helped take out Kiessa Monastery in his youth. Kira's own mother played house with Dukat to aid her family, and Kira was a straight up terrorist who is more than implied to have blown up civilians. And lets not forget her momentary lapse in principles while serving under Dukat and the Dominion, using the same logic, I'm sure, many collaborators used during the occupation.

You see, having nuance is not the same things as showing approval. It's not about pondering the morality of taking over a planet or hating people because of their skin color. It's about being honest. Being honest about how life works and how people are.

In this episode there really wasn't any nuance. There were racist characters and there were magically enlightened characters. Of course the racists go around accusing the non-racists to be commies because as we all know, there were no racist progressives/leftists. Cops (of course, racists) killed a black man with impunity, and the main character was just the model long-suffering black man with no personality flaws apart from daring to dream too big. Don't forget the racist boss who doesn't support Bennie, not because his job may actually be at stake, but because he's a coward who uses his job as a smokescreen to hide his own bigotry.

Now I can forgive this episode for these things because it's largely on an island (there isn't much time to develop the story like you can the Bajor/Cardassia thing) but on its own merits, it paints the past as one would expect, which is not a huge deal because this episode serves more as a allegory about Sisko's role as Emissary than a study of 1950 America.

"Little Green Men" was explicitly a comedy though. . ."

It is, but Odo wasn't written as a goofball. You can have historical comedy and still not rely on cliches about the era.

("In the Cards" was quite an episode. I liked it very much. It's been so long since I've seen it, it was like watching it for the first time)
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Gary V.
Sat, Jan 5, 2019, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

I appreciate what this episode tried to accomplish, and for the most part, I do think it hit more than a few of those emotional beats. But there are three things that keep this from being a "The Vistitor" level story for me.

1. This might be because I'm black, but I'm starting to notice how caricatured the life of people [black or otherwise] become in stories set before the mid 60's. Every black character is always a sympathetic guy tormented in a racist hellscape. I find it funny that a show that consistently deals with the nuance of race relations in turbulent times(see the Bajorans vs Cardassians), would have a cartoonish depiction of real 20th century life. The same goes with "Little Green Men." I get the sense writers were writing not from research, but how they thought life might have been like in those days. Heck, In some ways, I'm surprised Colm Meaney didn't play a baton twirling cop in this one. But then again, I'm sure he would have refused to.

My parents were born in the tail end of the pre-civil rights days and even they can find more to talk about those times than how terrible it was( and in many ways it was terrible). My mom is actually nostalgic for those times. Not because she misses the racism, but because there was more to life than what white people thought of her. She was raised in the south, believe it or not.

I say all this not to downplay the racism of those times. I've gotten plenty of stories from my parents on that. I say this out of a desire to see more than the suffering black man trope in historical pieces involving black people. I find it hard to believe that my ancestors would have survived if they were just poor colored folk spending all their days agonizing over how unfair life was. They had to have done other things.

But maybe that's more a criticism of taste than execution. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2. I hate to say this, but Avery Brooks style kind of dings this episode a bit. If I'm honest, I've always thought Sisko was occasionally overacted to the point that there is a bit of contrast between him and other characters, especially Quark and O'Brien(who are probably the most subtle performances on the show). But this is a franchise whose first main was played by Shatner, of all people. This story, however, was supposed to have a more naturalistic tone, and for the most part Bennie is just that. . .up until the payoff.

Let's just say it makes sense why this scene is immortalized in meme. While I don't doubt Brooks' sincerity (I felt bad for old Bennie) or acting ability, when he started convulsing, it took me out of it. I was like, "Dang, you took that beatdown better than you took this news." I've been through way more trying times than having a story rejected by mean white people, but I don't remember ever spazzing out in someone's lap because of them.

Part of me finds it hard to believe that at least one person on set wasn't thinking "Man, dial it back a bit. Jeez" during filming.

3. My biggest complaint is the premise, which is just not probable for one simple reason. The type of work Bennie and the others were doing wasn't done by staff writers. Most stories in good sci-fi/fantasy magazines were bought from freelancers: the relationship of the writers and publishers carried largely through correspondence. Some magazines did have writers on staff, but it seems that was done to serve some editorial function(fictionalizing real accounts, rewrites, or in the case of Ghost Stories magazine, ghostwriting[pardon the pun] "true confessions"). To put it another way, staff writers were paid to be invisible while freelance writers were, well, freelance. They didn't go to the office, and they were responsible for their own success.

A man in Bennie's position would essentially be ghostwriting for the editor through a series of pseudonyms. None of what he'd write would even attributed to him. Since DS9 meant so much to him, he would rather submit it as a freelancer, which means it would have been rejected separately from his staff work.

Then there's the whole issue of how long it took for stories to get published. Months. The answer is months. Let's say, his work was initially accepted. Bennie would know the fate of his story well in advance of publication. And really? Would someone fire a guy just because he hated his story? How the heck did Bennie get hired there in the first place if the owner is that touchy on race? With all that melodrama I'm surprised Douglas didn't mention Bennie's girlfriend running off with Baseball-Worf, and the KKK burning his apartment building to the ground.

Also, with so many submissions, why would the magazine live or die based off of one man's decision to write a black space captain?

Now, I understand a scene of him seizing on the floor because of a dismissive rejection letter wouldn't be ample rationalization for such behavior, so there is that, but the amount of warping reality to make this guy's life a living hell is almost as sadistic as an O'Brien episode.

I liked this episode for the street preacher scenes, it's almost transcendent allusions to Sisko's role as Emissary(so it has more to say than just "racism is bad mmkay"), and the very different characters the actors play (BTW, why is Siddig's character allowed to take the picture? Did they forget he's not white?) I also sympathize hard for poor old Bennie. But this episode suffers from more than a bit of contrivance (see point 3) and a lot of melodrama (see point 1 and 2).

My rating is somewhere between 3 and 3.5
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Gary V.
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

@Iceman

It's funny you bring up "In the Cards." That's the next episode of my DS9 binge at the time of this post. I was already looking forward to watching it before. Doubly so now.

Pure economic theory in sci-fi/fantasy is one of the most fascinating aspects of worldbuilding. Shame sometimes it gets ignored or tied up with personal politics in its conception. If done correctly, economics could provide a lot of natural motivation, conflict, detail, and cultural information. Just look what it does for Dune.

I guess that's why I dislike Ferengi episodes so much. You have here the foundations for an interesting species, the only one that's positioned to deal with commerce in a serious way, but they are there just to provide a weird amalgamation of slapstick and satire, serving only as strawmen.
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Gary V.
Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

"This is a great point to bring up: we might well ask this of Picard when he suggests that people seek their own perfection rather than material goals. What does he mean by..."

My evidence is in the way people behave now. In the past, people either stuck with their trade or died. Today, motivation, procrastination, wavering commitment, are all big sticking points in self improvement programs, and we are more wealthy now than we have ever been. If general wealth (and the federation has relative infinite wealth) can be detrimental to focus at the present, why should that magical change in the future?

"...goal, or virtue we can have or develop that puts us above the animals?"

I agree we have and can develop beyond the traits of animals, but I don't think this is always a good thing. Building an empire based on an ideal is something only we humans can do. That doesn't mean we should. In addition to that, animal part of our brain is often what keeps us grounded, keeps us from flying off the handle, believe it or not. Empathy is a kind of instinct, after all.

"The entire 'efficiency' of capitalism is literally competing to own a share of the market..."

Maybe that's part of capitalism, but the other part is fairness. Trading something of value for another thing of value is miles better than theft and more sustainable than just giving things away all the time. Competing over market share is as simple as allowing people to choose between you and a competitor because no one is entitled to anyone else's personal value. The only way to eliminate this is to eliminate agency of the engaged parties. Without this tyranny, most rational people try to create greater value and/or less cost. This is the nature of what you call competition.

"Here's where I think the heart of the matter lies. Negotiation is by definition self-interested..."

What's wrong with self-interest? The power of self-interest is two fold: It's far more reliable than your mood when it comes to innovation, but even more importantly, you can't truly be selfless without it. If Self-interest was bred out of people, doing "selfless" acts would have no weight. And I get the point that no scarcity exists in ST. That's kind of my issue with it. I can't believe people who never experience scarcity will be able to appreciate a kind act the way we do. Why? How often do you give clean water to people in your neighborhood as an act of kindness? I doubt you do because I imagine if you did, people would look at you like you were crazy. If everything you can possibly give away is worthless, then what worth is giving anything away?

"Altruism isn't, and never has been, defined as *transferring* value..."

I'm afraid my point was lost here but before I address it, I must disagree about your definition of altruism. Altruism is very much transfer of value. When you give something away, you are transferring something to someone else at no cost to them, just like when you steal, you're transferring something to yourself at no cost to you. Sure, altruism is also in intent, but the main point of altruism is that the altruistic person provides value to other persons without consideration of his own expense. Otherwise, it'd just be charity. And there is where my point was lost. Everything has value, even concepts. We value altruism because it's scarce. ST is filled with altruism not because it naturally evolves from the premise but because we in the present value the trait and put those traits in our fantasies. But how valuable could such a trait be in that environment if the average person cannot appreciate its importance? Can we honestly appreciate water in the way a Bedouin can? You're right, helping people at no cost to you is "good," but how "good" could it be for a person who will probably go their entire life without ever encountering a person truly in need? Viewing altruism as a transaction is the only way you can appreciate why its so important.

"This is a hotly debated point and I agree that this topic is of huge importance. Will luxury and infinite supply cause humanity to devolve into lazy pigs..."

I believe that hardship gives us character, and people who need for nothing will have no need to develop character. I focused on altruism here, but I think it's true for most things. Having unlimited access to everything can and has (historically) created psychological deficits that will eventually become human nature as long as that environment endures. Interpersonal conflict, however, can lead us to self-reflection, the threat of pain can teach us compassion, limitations lead to innovation, and scarcity adds value to charity and hard work. We mustn't confuse wealth with the potential for virtue. But that's just my opinion on the subject.
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Gary
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

The cloaking "paint" was just ridiculous - clearly the greatest technological marvel of any Trek yet - a device that provides a temporary but enduring cloak, with no energy cost, to whatever you zap? Future away missions should be a snap then - just give everyone and their equipment a shot of inviso-ray. Heck, it's better than the Jem Hadar cloaks - these ones don't dissipate when you want to attack. Might as well "spray" your warships right before battle too (sigh).

It was funny, yes, and it would have been funnier to have an almost-fully invisible Trip waltz in and save our heroes, maybe just half a leg left visible. But when will Trek writers stop introducing crazy powerful tech without regard for future plots? (Never, obviously... stupid question). And continuity with TOS? Yes, I know B&B are hostile to continuity. Sigh, again.
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Gary V.
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

@Peter G.,

I've watched all of TNG, some of TOS, and all of DS9. I'm rewatching DS9 at the moment.

Anyway, I get the premise, and even enjoy it for worldbuilding's sake, but I just don't buy the philosophy. I don't see the realism in a world where people's work ethic is based off of fickle and often irrational personal desires, rather than rational, environmentally driven behavior. And I certainly don't believe such a world would create good people, if we could manage it.

Firstly, I think characterizing owning capital as competing for resources and trying to put others out of business is unfair. Markets are the rational answer to scarcity, and the ability to negotiate for resources is a virtue that's one step below pure altruism in a system where scarcity is unavoidable. Greed, theft, and violence need not be features of a market.

From a pure economic standpoint, giving something away that isn't scarce is not altruistic because there is no meaningful transfer of value. Infinite supply renders the value of the object to 0. And this is a big reason why I don't buy the premise. The people we see in Star Trek would not exist in a post scarce world because they wouldn't be capable of transcending themselves in such an environment. Everything we value would be valueless: food, water. Suffering would become an academic curiosity and not something most people experience at one time or another. Most people in regular life would know what sacrifice is only in theory. Artist, entertainers, writers, certain service providers, and skilled-laborers will be elevated to god-like status because their work will be the only thing that is truly scarce.

People that are not any of these things will be alien, hedonistic, and completely helpless outside of their false habitat. If they do pursue a profession, they'd probably only do so for a little while before moving on to the next, resulting in the best professionals being imported from outside the post-scarce culture or needing to be indoctrinated from an early age to shield them from these characteristics. This will inevitably create stratification in society. In one culture, you have skilled people hardened by real life experience, and in the other you'd have useless people with no real value(Not even an economic one). If this is sustained, the former will diverge from the latter and will rightfully see themselves as superior.

And this isn't because of faulty human nature. These will be emergent traits derived from conservation of energy and diversification.

I just don't believe a world where everything is free and no real work needs to be done will create good people or an environment in which I wish to live. The only reason it works in Star Trek is because we project scarcity derived modern virtues into these alien environments, virtues that will be bred out quite quickly.
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Gary
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Seventh

Two small points to add to the above:

Archer asks why T'Pol is the one chosen to track down the fugitive, and she replies it's a matter of honour. Archer: "How very Vulcan". Umm... no? How absolutely un-Vulcan, in fact. The logical thing to do is use your assets without concern about such trivialities. At least, that's how pre-Enterprise Vulcans would have viewed it. Maybe Vulcans are hedging their bets and keeping the doors to Stovokor open?

And Mayweather: aside from stealing the actor's opportunity for a scene (suddenly he has the fugitive at gunpoint, couldn't we have seen three seconds of Travis action leading to that point?), the bit aboard the little freighter was the perfect time to call back to Travis' past. "Captain, there's something... odd about this hold. I've crawled all over old T-37s, and..." or something about knowing a little about smuggler's tricks - every Boomer surely knows one or two things about hiding things from inspection. His notice of the console oddity was nice, but not character-specific.

Though I agree, they're probably just minimizing the actor's front-and-centre time.
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Gary
Fri, Dec 28, 2018, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

I'm reading these comments about the future and all I can say is people's prospect for the future is both naive and undesirable. Star Trek is a fun fantasy, but it's utopianism leaves nuch to be desired.

People need reward, incentives, and self-improvement. Dismissing these foundations of captialism as mere human greed is just ignorance.

Joe Sisko owns capital. Just because his restaurant doesn't have cash flow doesn't change that. His work, his real-estate, and his time have real value because they are scarce in a way no replicator can remedy. Just because he can't liquidate it doesn't mean he's no capitalist.

Access to scarce resources motivate rational people, and that's the basis for modern society; but even idealized people motivated by altruism won't be reliable in a utopian system because of burnout, changes in work environment, and shifting personal interests.

I say all this to say, maybe one day people will not require incentives to act, but that change would be detrimental to life as we know it because nothing motivates a person more than the threat of starvation.
A world where professionalism is driven the whims of a spoiled population and not necessity guarantees a society of dilettantes and hobbyists at the most optimistic outlook and chronically bored troublemakers and lay abouts at the most pessimistic outlook.

Wanting to do something out of the goodness of your heart and passion doesn't change the fact that good intentions grow dull, and passions fade. And judging that Starfleet endlessly seeks novelty in space, that aspect of humanity has not been evolved.
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Gary
Mon, Dec 3, 2018, 11:27am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Sleeping Dogs

Many have already mentioned the absurd lack of urgency - it's clear the characters know they "really" have 44 minutes, just like the audience. One little thing: explosion shock-waves to push the ship up was a ridiculous notion, guaranteed to destroy the ship - c.f. depth charges.

What struck me, not yet mentioned, is that Archer's tack with the stupid-belligerent Captain at the end was almost precisely wrong. Klingon: "surrender or die." Archer: "You are facing overwhelming odds. Attack us and experience an honourable death, going straight to Stovokor, and forget about having to report your shameful rescue to the Empire." Yeah, luckily this klingon feared death.

Overall, though, I'm surprised at finding how much I'm enjoying Enterprise. The benefit of rock-bottom expectations I suppose!
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Gary
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Silent Enemy

I'd be far more generous on the B-plot... it wasn't about Reed's food preference.

Look at that father; listen to how Reed has grown up not expressing preferences. Why? More than one possibility, but for one, that can happen when any stated preference is crushed, or even used as a point of attack. The disapproval of him following his own desire in entering starfleet couldn't have been plainer. This is someone with serious father issues, someone pursuing a career all about protecting ones' self (and blowing things up), and that informs our understanding of the character. I think it was great, and while not necessarily subtle, at least it didn't come right out and have Hoshi talk to the camera and explain it to us.
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Gary
Sun, Nov 25, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Breaking the Ice

JJ Not Abrams,

I think you're right, but note your "Vulcans never lie" thing is very obsolete - they have done so repeatedly in this series and Voyager... yes, with justifications, but such that nobody in their right mind would trust a Vulcan purely on this myth.

"We don't lie... unless it's important for security, or espionage, or... for all you know, other reasons". In other words, they lie, TNG statements to the contrary having been killed like so much other continuity by B&B.

Fifteen years after the series, and five years after NoPoet made his spoiling comment, but I still would ask people not to drop spoilers without some sort of forewarning... I'm watching Enterprise for the first time, and appreciate Jammer's reviews for being scrupulously spoiler-free. Most of the comments have always been, too. Even just a hint that you're going into future episodes would help innocents like myself skip or stop reading!
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Gary
Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Natural Law

Transporting off the shuttle to avoid the crash - good idea, though how they managed to be standing so straight during transport made no sense. But, but, but:

What do they grab for emergency supplies? A medkit? No. A standard, pre-packed survival kit that surely all shuttles have? No. A beacon? No...

an empty box. Very convenient - exactly the right size and shape - for picking up loose tech debris as it turned out, but surely the most useless possible item they could have grabbed.

Those com badges are surprisingly flimsy, too, as well as being easily snatched as always.
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Gary
Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

Cynical comment, then soft-hearted one:

1. I guess there's room now for a promotion to lieutenant... Ensign Kim, step right up!

2. I was surprised how much Carey's death bothered me - and still does. Thinking of the context... the Voyager crew have just gained the ability to talk back and forth with their loved ones back on Earth. Carey is one of very few crewmembers that is a parent - he has a wife and kids, who have finally spoken with him (assuming he was early enough in the lottery) after years apart. 7 years! And now killed stupidly, uselessly (and as others have pointed out, implausibly considering he was essentially shot in sickbay).

Rather than Janeway's last line, what I would have liked (and been wrecked by): Janeway in Astrometrics, as the connection is made and Carey's family looks expectantly from the screen... just the look of recognition on the wife's face, it could have killed.
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Gary
Sun, Oct 14, 2018, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

I won't comment on the ethical issues, but on a couple of practical ones:

Some rinky-dink private ship attacks Voyager, knocks out power to several decks and the transporters? Yeah, sure. No backup power supply for the cells? Sure. That would make a lot more sense than a separate power system for the bloody holodeck.

And then... cells with only forcefields blocking the door. Here's a reasonable solution: have a physical, barred door, reinforced with a forcefield.

Or here's a much more effective one: have no door. That's what transporters are for. In the case of catastrophe, either (1) live with the fact the prisoners are going down with the ship or (2) use sealed escape pods as your cells, with no internal controls.

And even with all the cells opened, three armed guards at the end of that corridor should have had no trouble whatsoever stopping the escape of fewer than a dozen prisoners. I did have to laugh when Janeway lauded Tuvok's security credentials, since we all knew an escape was inevitable.
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Gary
Tue, Sep 11, 2018, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Good Shepherd

Tal Celes - she finds the equations and processes in astrometrics to be scary monsters, and they couldn't find _any_ other position for her? She jokes about "waitress", but I have a suggestion: medic. Doctor's assistant. Nurse, whatever This is a position very clearly needed, and Tom Paris is mediocre at it, doesn't want to do it, and has one of the most important day jobs on the ship, one that often is critical at the very moment when sickbay gets busiest.

I don't mean to say there's no skill in being a medic, or a nurse, but it requires less of the type of work Tal Celes particularly abhorred, and it is a position routinely backed up by a more capable professional (the most capable, according to the Doctor)... It's almost perfect for her.
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