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Graham Pilato
Tue, May 5, 2020, 1:48am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

This episode was certainly the first one that made me wonder if I could perhaps enjoy this show. I'd been hanging on through the first two based on friends' recommendations and my love of Star Trek and good sci-fi. But even in this one, still loaded with stupidity, I many times doubted if I could make it to the next episode.

When Bortas watched the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer classic, I was thrilled. But in the several minutes of the episode before that, I barely see how this was anything more than just another episode of Family Guy in Space. Certainly the Orville crew denying Bortas something that is the custom of his entire world was immediately stupid. I was reeling from that, for sure. But then he turned. And it was inspired.

This show COULD be about something and interesting.

But then the rest of the episode still dwelled in a place of stupidity and our crewmembers resembling inexplicably employed fools on a fancy ship. The tribunal scenes were certainly silly. But then we DID see something interesting. Yay, female hero!

And it ended sort of reasonably. Good, that. Yeah, that too.

But at the end I could really sense what had bothered me so much so far with The Orville. It wasn't just the tonal mess of the show, it was the annoyance of just watching something where I am asked to care about characters that all, all!, all act as though they have about fifty to sixty IQ points less than they look like. These people are just dumb. I thiiiink that's the point? It's some kind of Galaxy Quest-like Trek-lite with a winking eye at all the fun references, allusions and moments. But the world, characters, and events are insipid and silly.

I really want to like this show. It's occasionally funny. And it's sometimes sexy. But it's never that smart.

It's always about idiots walking around in a fantasy of Seth McFarlane's where things happen that don't make sense up until the point where he wants us to believe they do so we can care about what's going on. I can only take this show seriously as a Family Guy in Space show, a show where random things happen randomly and familar tropes and moments are referential and tangentially interesting or funny -- on occasion. You can see I've never been a huge fan of Family Guy too. But I promised friends I'd really give The Orville a chance.

Fortunately, the next episode is pretty good. (Less idiotic actions, yay!)
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Graham Pilato
Mon, Feb 1, 2010, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Plan

Loved a lot of little moments in this. It really isn't essential viewing for anyone except us diehards, though. Still, it had some very interesting things to say about Cavil's journey as a leader here, which, as always, is interesting sci-fi discussion -- his scenes throughout the series were usually wonderful, with only a couple exceptions, despite the fact that an actor is talking to himself (no one). Never an easy thing to do as an actor... soliloquies can be played to an audience, but talking to someone that's just *not there*.
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Graham Pilato
Tue, Nov 6, 2007, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

Well, this is the best season of TNG, hands down. I'll agree with anyone who mentions how wonderful the 4th and 6th seasons were too, but this one is just stuffed with awesome episodes and so, so much growth in the Star Trek universe. I think anyone who doesn't give the episodes Sins of the Father, The Defector, The Most Toys, Sarek, Yesterday's Enterprise, and Booby Trap full marks is missing out on the fact that this where TV Trek grew up in the 80s. The main characters and their cultures are deepened forever and the worth of the show to fans and the culture as a whole alike was massively greatened.
Oh, and I love Who Watches the Watchers. It's a little simplistic, but boy is it a beautiful illustration of the prime directive's necessity and the fascinating philosophy behind it. It's the best prime directive story, in my mind in all of Trek, still.
And no one needs to expound further on The Best of Both Worlds. It seems a little slow to me, actually, in terms of reconciling it with the pace of today, but it's still one of the world's greatest season cliffhanger/resolution two-parters... made even greater by the quality of the 4th season to come that builds on its momentum (especially Family).
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Graham Pilato
Tue, Nov 6, 2007, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Scar

I totally agree with viewjet. This is the best standalone of the season. What a great fighter pilot episode. Kara can take this kind of twisty stuff, I think. Lee's previous artificial darkening in Black Market never worked, while Kara is (as always) totally intriguing and believable here... at least as I see it. Her promise to Anders, all of the uncertainties she has about leadership here, the conflict between Kat and her -- it's all built up so well before this and pays off so well too. I say. The only stuff I don't like so much is Lee's automatic return to sex-bunny yet again after the Many Loves of Lee Adama episode just last week. Even though it's believable and their drinking scene is so good, the actual sex scene and the edit with Anders in it too... that was really awkward. I didn't like it, even if that was the point. Titillation should happen there. A little. But it was just damn messy.
But this was still a beautiful episode, at least as good as its first season predecessor in format, Act of Contrition.
9/10, yo.
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Graham Pilato
Wed, Oct 31, 2007, 1:08am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Flight of the Phoenix

Right on, Jammer. This is everything I would say about this very disappointing yet very pretty episode. It would have been better off, perhaps even, as two episodes -- one for each plot, to better develop them and give the characters some time to deal with the revelations therein. I mean, let's keep building the love a bit more clearly for Sharon the Cylon before raping her next week, right? Rather than simply making her look cool for a few minutes, let's look at what it means to have the Cylon save the fleet... as well as lead us to the Tomb of Athena.

I like how you point out a major difference between BSG and Star Trek here in terms of how they manage plot time and character development time allowances. This episode has just the same problem as episodes such as DS9's "Shadowplay". And I think I could forgive DS9 for this sort of thing a lot more, too, because that kind of plot juggling is standard there. But then there's a recent episode of Heroes... (which is such crap this second year of it... I wonder what you think of it as series, Jammer? Have you seen it?) where this problem is exasperating and overwhelmingly widespread from episode to episode, with very little happening and every plot stretched so thin across a whole season while so many threads are only very gradually expanded. And it begins to make one hate the characters because one can never see them do very much at all, let alone develop and have them relate some internal insight or connect to others around them.
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Graham Pilato
Mon, Oct 29, 2007, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Progress

(continued) I think the "progress" of rebuilding after the occupation, growing from militant Bajoran people to more patient, more reasonable listeners and activists, made for a fantastic overarching theme -- at the same time as the Starfleet presence on the station had to grow and "progress" in its new relationship with Bajor and, now the endless potentials of a wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant. I see, perhaps because it was simply well-made, themes tied in to titles of DS9's series episodes in the same way that J. M. Straczynski titled his on Babylon 5, a show I am curious (though I suspect he is a hater) about Jammer, your opinions on.

The title episode of DS9's first season (so say I) was Progress, and there was such a lot of well connected themes, plots and arcs already underway here, whether the show's writers knew it or not, that this pattern would continue on through series end... even if, much to its success and its failure at times, DS9 was unlike its competitor and estranged cousin series Babylon 5, as it was never planned from beginning to end all novel-like as was Babylon 5.

DS9 was much funnier, more reliably well acted, and looked much prettier (at least for a time -- Babylon 5's fx got astonishingly good by its second half). There have already been millions arguments made on Babylon 5's behalf, but it was in fact, too glued to its own singular vision and one overworked visionary's writing to survive its five years without turning to some horrible, horrible, schmaltzy soap-opera-y stuff.

DS9 never stooped so low. And its uncertain beginning here, with some totally missable ill advised episodes, like "The Passenger" and "If Wishes Were Horses", made way, with the brilliance of an almost new sci-fi notion of a religion based on gods that are right there to be perceived in the Prophets, powerful creatures as real as they are really different, wonderfully alien aliens -- a rarity in 90s Trek unfortunately -- set the stage for a particularly smart and even deeper second season that will continue to discuss some deep issues to do with frontier living and a society that needs to adapt to the diversity of the universe around it or die on its own.
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Graham Pilato
Mon, Oct 29, 2007, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

I agree with Joe Ford, Jammer, about the Ferengi episodes... not all, but several, I think are much more underrated than they should be. There is (or... was... it's nearly 15 years on now from this season...) a big fan following for those characters, but the greatness of the DS9 Ferengi world-building and world-deepening comes from the first season, and that was the main reason I fell for DS9 in its first year back in 1993. It was a much bigger and better developed world, a hundred times deeper than anything that was established in Star Trek up to this point, with the possible exception of the Klingons on TNG. Four DS9 Ferengi episodes in particular, I think, are just horribly underrated: The Nagus, Rules of Acquisition, Family Business, and Body Parts. A great Ferengi episode per season in the first four years of the show. Each of these episodes deepens things tremendously and, while maybe not a huge collection of big laughs, they're utterly true to the established characters and well played out. I cared more about Rom and Quark through the first five years of the show than just about any other character besides Odo and Kira.

It's the aliens who get well developed in sci-fi.

That was a key difference, of course, in DS9, that so many non-Federation, weird and unscrupulous people were about, with totally different cultures of their own that persisted for longer than one or two episodes of sterile, clinical investigation on the bland Enterprise or Voyager.

Of course, In the Hands of the Prophets then pulled all the political tension together so nicely, that a brilliant second season would succeed this hesitant, uncertain first. I think
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