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Brian
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

"I don't think he's saying he wants an imitation of past episodes. He wants a variety of new high-concept plots (be they political, philosophical, sciency or mind-bendy), rather than a single familiar plot stretched for a season."

Thank you, Trent.

And I'll clarify exactly what I mean. I actually DO want them to imitate the ways in which prior Trek series used episodes to build characters. Not imitate the individual episodes, but rather, use similar, known effective strategies for these NEW characters.

GIVE Michael Burnham her OWN 'Tapestry' that takes us right into her past and fully explores a formative experience in her life.

My fear, is that the producers of the show won't allow it because it would infringe on the cliff-hangers and action too much. And ultimately, that strategy will cheapen the show and alienate viewers until no one really actually cares what happens to any of the characters.

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ian
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: The Adversary

a good, suspenseful episode, though extremely derivative of the thing. the blood test is almost beat for beat identical even though it makes sense in the context of the story. i half expected sisko to say, "now, when a man bleeds..."
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Brian
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

@Tim C
" I think if this season can deliver some thoughtful content, we can expect people to respond in kind."

Well that really is the question isn't it. And unfortunately, all evidence says we are unlikely to see much "thoughtful content".

Karl Zimmerman above nailed it. He said we are going to get competently done action-adventure, no more no less and he's right.

There will not be an "Elementary, Dear Data" this season. And there likely will never be an 'Inner Light' or 'Tapestry'.

This is Avengers Trek now.

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Ian
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 12:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Shakaar

o'brien, with the help of bashir, was clearly faking his injury to get quark off his back. i was perplexed that there was never a reveal/punchline there. perhaps i'm just used to having my hand held, but it seemed like an extra pointless subplot without some kind of punctuation at the end?
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Brian
Sat, Jan 19, 2019, 6:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

I feel like Michael Burnham. I want to say, “This show sucks, the showrunners are lazy, the writers are amateur college dropouts and the project has tarnished the franchise forever.” But, logic dictates that in order to get people to read and understand my points, I need to temper my emotions...push them deep down, and put on a neutral face for the world, and, at risk of coming off like a bad actor, play it cool. Unfortunately, SMG isn’t as good at that as we all want her to be. There are lots of examples in Trek where a “half-and-half” character work--even 7of9, because Jeri Ryan is given material where there is room for her to explore the role, and she is up to the challenge. It would be nice if we could eventually find out whether SMG is up for the same challenge or not. Unfortunately, the writing team cannot get it together to produce a script that gives her that chance. Either that, or they know she doesn’t have the acting chops to pull it off.

Whichever it is, it has caused one of the major elements of the show--the backstory of Spock and the arrival of his unwanted step-sister, to wither on the vine. While the threads of this story might have become a more integral part of the show had there been scripts to support it and a very strong lead actor to bring them to life, instead they’ve been relegated to occasional vignettes that feel more like out-takes from a series of shorts, than something occuring in the prime universe. Unfortunately this also fits with the modus operandi of modern writing--tease the audience with snippets of depth here and there between loud action sequences. By relying on the viewer’s imagination to fill in the blanks, instead of good writing and performance, they escape from the challenge of bringing to life that kind of material (which isn’t easy to do). It saves time, and money. It’s easier.

We’ve seen flashbacks to help flesh out characters throughout Trek, but it was handled much differently, with the themes receiving a lot of attention and usually a complete episode focused on one character. These episodes occasionally reached brilliance, the one in particular I’m thinking of is Picard in “Tapestry.” You can poke fun at using Q as a plot device to initiate the flashback, but with two real, red blooded actors like Stewart and De Lancie, anything is possible and the details don’t matter--the script and performance transcend the plot devices used.

I found myself watching the clock during S02E01, noting with disappointment that, despite the season opener being a full hour long, there is just not that much time to tell stories in a season that is 14 episodes long, with 35-40 minute episodes. If you wanted to retain faith in the writing team, you might hypothesize that they are constantly being forced to pack each short episode with exciting elements that advance the plot, but to not spend much time on each one. If that was the case, what we see with ST:D may in fact be the result--which would be an extremely sad commentary on the state of the franchise, the business of entertainment, and society as a whole: that there simply isn’t time for another ‘Tapestry’ in the 21st century. Except that what Michael Burnham desperately needs right now, is her own ‘Tapestry’. My prediction is that she’ll never get it.

The distinct lack of any attempt to be genuine is hurting the show. TNG kicked off season 2 with a fairly good episode that ended with an alien child made of energy dying in Troi’s arms. I still remember that episode to this day. The next episode, while not in my top 10, has the Enterprise face to face with a strange alien entity. And of course the 3rd episode of TNG season 2 would spawn one of the series most beloved villains and go down in history as one of the most important in all of Trek--that being, ”Elementary, Dear Data”.

DS9 started season 2 with a very good episode about the character of Li Nalas, who gave a solid performance as a Bajoran from the past struggling to overcome expectations. The episode was also the first in a 3-part series intertwining the DS9 characters with bajoran politics, and was a great foundation for the rest of the season.

Back to Discovery--now the question is, where do we go from here. I’m very afraid for this show. The plot elements, as well as the writing and production style, seem to be fairly baked at this point. Season 2 is in the bag after some significant changes in the writers room, and we are well on our way to production of season 3. The season 2 opener suffers from exactly the same problems it had before. The pacing is still horribly off. The dialogue cringe-worthy. What we got was essentially 60 minutes of rocks hitting stuff with a few flashbacks thrown in. There have been a few half-hearted attempts to turn things around--lighten the tone, more jokes, less grimdark. Bring on a new captain. More fan service. Turn up the production values to 11. But I see no fundamental improvements in the writing, acting, or showrunning. No improvement in the ability to tell moving stories about the characters. I see another carrot dangling in front of audiences faces (the red flashes), which undoubtedly will contribute to a mini cliffhanger at the end of each episode to keep people tuning in--”What ARE those red flashes?” we will all wonder. But our wonder will be tempered with doubt. Does anyone really believe the payoff is going to be worth what we lost along the way?
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Ian
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

"Solo" is the first Star Wars film I did not bother to go and see in the theater. After the disappointment of the Last Jedi I didn't want to see another SW film that might be even worse.

But I watched Solo the other night on Netflix and I thought it was pretty. Certainly a lot better than I had expected. I thought Alden Ehrenreich played a very likeable and amusing young Han Solo. Lando was very well done by Glover. Just for the sake of entertainment, it's not a bad film at all.
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brian
Sun, Jan 6, 2019, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

To be clear, even though I clearly enjoyed it more than Jammer, i do agree it could have used a script docter. But I kind of like the amatuerishness of this show. Too often”good” scripts end up following predictable formulas. I sort of dont mind the amatuerishness of some of this show because it helps keep it unpredictable and also the good natured spirit of the show keeps it pleasant.
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Brian
Sun, Jan 6, 2019, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

“We must salvage the night with The Sexual Event”

“eat, or you will die”

Hard to dislike a show with such self aware silly sci fi dialogue.

Also the pill pushing holodeck hacker puppet character was an amazing costume! Seriously one of the best sci fi creature designs Ive seen!!

yeah the plot was pretty weird but it does at least try and touch on real modern issues, which is more than i can say for most shows. Also I just love the wierdness of a sci fi show plot about a gay alien couple openly making love. Much more progressive on lgbtq issues than Star Trek got actually!

Overall I enjoyed it! I think the show is finding its tone, which is sort of the B team of star trek mixed with some intentionally silly and out there sci fi played overly straight.
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Brian
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Ja'loja

it is definitely a grower episode, I like it better a few days after I watched it then when I was watching it. It’s interesting that they have flawed characters that doesn’t stoop to a Game of Thrones ripoff style the way most shows do now. Its a good style.
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Brian
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Ja'loja

This episode felt really awkward but in kind of an endearing Star Trek season two way. I think it would’ve played better deeper into the season but I can’t really complain. Even with some of the stupid writing the characters still act more professional than in Star Trek discovery or most other shows nowadays frankly. Some of the characters are starting to come in to their own. Looking forward to the season. It’s still a good hearted show so even when its not the best episode it feels pleasant to watch. I think this is a good quality to the show.
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GiantEnemyCrab
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 7:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

@Cetric

A better comparison than Eichmann would be Oskar Grönig who was dubbed "The Accountant of Auschwitz" by the media. He was on trail as recently as 2017 in Germany at the age of 96 years. He publicly regretted being part of the death machine - even though he was "only" an accountant.

In contrast to this DS9 episode, he was sentenced to imprisonment by the German court, though.

I had to think of his case the whole episode through.
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Brian T
Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 7:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

I had no issues with the “magic book with invisible ink from blood”, I thought it was completely consistent with the worm hole aliens and the precedents set forth by DS9 in universe all the way back to the start of the series.

To me, the worm hole aliens are very powerful beings that live within the confines of the worm hole. They have, at least, the ability to grant visions, move objects in the wormhole through time (as in “Accession”), and to alter a person’s mind (as they did with the Nagus Zek in “Prophet Motive”). They are worshipped as Prophets by the Bajorans and sometimes they can even leave the wormhole to possess either a person or be trapped in an object (such as in “Reckoning” when Sisko smashes the tablet that contained a battling Prophet and Paigh’wraith that then possessed Kira and Jake, respectively).

Then you have the Orbs of the Prophets, which are objects that exist outside the wormhole but somehow are a direct link to the Prophets and their abilities. Through the orbs, you can speak to the prophets and if they find you worthy, they can speak back to you or give you access to their abilities (i.e. visions and time travel). To people who are not worthy and that the Prophets choose not to speak to, the Orbs resemble mysterious inanimate objects (i.e. like when the Cardassians stole them and held on to them as treasures or when Kai Winn begs the prophets to speak to her and the Orb just sits there doing nothing). But the point is, the Orbs are a direct link to the prophets and all their abilities from outside the worm hole (i.e. the Orb of Time took the Defiant back in time in “Trials and Tribble-ations” despite being nowhere near the wormhole). Also, apparently, the Orbs can contain a worm hole alien, such as when the Orb of the Emissary contained the Sara-prophet on Tyree.

So basically, this “magic book” called the Kosst Amojan is an Orb of the Paigh’wraiths. It is a direct link to the Paigh’wraiths that are trapped in the Fire Caves, and probably even contains a trapped Paigh’wraith inside it (just like that wooden statue thing that Dukat broke in “Tears of the Prophets”). To the Bajarorans and everybody else that worshipped the Prophets, the Paigh’wraiths did not find them worthy and choose not to speak to them, so the book appears to be an inanimate old book with blank pages. But when Kai Winn murders her loyal servant, she proves herself worthy and the Paigh’wraiths speak to her by making the text visible (similar to giving someone a vision). In fact, Kai Winn may even be more worthy to receive their blessing than Dukat since she actually made a personal sacrifice (by murdering a faithful servant whom she may have cared for as a friend) as opposed to Dukat who sacrificed nothing personally and only turns to the Paigh’wraiths for power to get revenge. Lastly, the blood dripping onto the pages of the book is simply the physical activation of their blessing (similar to how Dukat had to break the doll in-half to release the wraith or Sisko had to physically smash the tablet to free the aliens inside).

So I never really saw the Kosst Amojan as a “fantasy-crap magic book”. To me, it was always the next logical step in advancing the Paigh’wraiths arc. In fact, Winn’s acquisition and access of the Kosst Amojan, aka the Orb of the Paigh’wraiths, at the end of the season in many ways mirrors how Sisko went on a quest to find and access the Orb of the Emissary at the start of the season.
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Florian
Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

I have just started to watch this programme, I know the original Star Trek because my father enjoyed it, I enjoy it as well because even though the concepts of faster than light movement, man living in space, the existence of aliens, mankind leaving the solar system is preposterous, I enjoy that is so theatrical. I was unimpressed with the first several parts of Deep Space 9 so inquired to the best of the programme and this «Far Beyond the Stars» was one such of those.

I just don’t understand why I should care about this, I am neither black nor American, science fiction as a literary genre is not serious art. Although most of this programme fails at making one care, at least there is some entertainment value. This is just foolish, why does anyone care if a subpar black writer went mad because nobody wanted to read entertainment with a character they are unable to identify with?
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GiantEnemyCrab
Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: If Wishes Were Horses

I'm watching DS9 for the first time. I cannot understand how you can give absolute trash like "The Storyteller" 3 stars and then complain about this episode when this one actually had some funny and entertaining bits - but to each their own I guess.

I mean, for example the moment when O'Brien goes back into his daughter's room and you just know Rumpelstilzkin will actually be in there was just hilarious I thought.
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brian
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

uhhhhhhh what. Really enjoyed this episode untill Sisko and his crew committed war crimes. And then everyone just kind of shrugs??? Was waiting for the reveal that the planetary poisening was just a holographic fakeout......... that would have been forgivable. Instead this episode turns into a character assassination of Sisko and everyone else following his orders. Just a terrible ending and a betrayal of thr whole idea of The Federation. I like the shades of grey DS 9 brings to the show but this is just full on villain territory for Sisko.
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Brian
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 11:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Initiations

This is a decent episode, although at times my main issue with it was Chakotay’s excessive pacifism, even for the Federation. This is examplified when he and Carr and leaving the Kazon vessel and being chased/fired at, and Carr offers to give Chakotay the Kazons’ shield frequency so he can fire and penetrate their shields. In a small shuttle they are obviously outclassed by the Kazon capital ship and could use all the advantage they could get, but despite this Chakotay basically scolds Carr for being violent, saying “I don’t know about you but I would like to get out of this without having to kill anyone” or something like that. It becomes clear here that the writers’ theme for the episode was to contrast the outlook of the peaceful Federation with the violent warrior Kazon, but this is ridiculous and runs contrary to what we know about Starfleet to portray them as basically extreme pacifists.

Ok so as something of a naval officer in command of a small ship, or even just as a human in general, when you are being fired on by a superior force, due to unwarranted aggression against you, with little chance of a real escape (as shown by how the Kazon did indeed destroy the shuttle), who in their right mind would object to returning fire while penetrating their shields? Because that would damage the enemy ship significantly and risk killing people? That is a ridiculous sentiment, especially since as we know he could have targeted their engines or even weapons to limit their effectiveness and allow an escape. This also runs contrary to even the high, utpopian morale values of Starfleet in general... in the rest of Startrek characters have always accepted the morality of using force, and possibly killing, when an aggressor leaves them no other choice. What Chakotay is saying here is that it is wrong to use lethal force even in self defense, and the only morally acceptable option under such a situation is fleeing, even if that has little chance of success and will most likely result in the destruction of your ship.

What nonsense... not only as mentioned does this run contrary to established Starfleet procedure and morality but it goes against what we know about Chakotay in general. He was a Marquis after all and they were shown to be less scrupulous about using lethal force than the Federation. In fact it also goes against what he did at the start of the episode, returning fire on Carr after a peaceful solution failed, even though that crippled/later destroyed his ship and could have killed him. So explain to me what is different later, when returning fire even through the shields would have much less of s chance of destroying the enemy ship?

I guess I take such issue with this because pacifism to that level basically makes Starfleet seem lame and ineffective, and is only appropriate for a principled total pacifist like the super powerful alien in that Next Generation episode “The Survivors”. Since it goes against what we know it’s also evidence of either a writer’s contrivance (they just wanted a way to get Chakotay and Carr down to the moon), the writer going all overboard on his theme of peaceful vs violent ideals, or both actually, since they could and should have just had Chakotay use Carr’s aid to penetrate their shields and do significant damage. Maybe disable most of their weapons or their engines to slow them down, but with a last shot have the Kazon barely succeed in bringing down the shuttle. Rather than make Chakotay look like an idiot unworthy of command and get shot down while refusing to fight back, even though he is being attacked by clear bullies and not as a result of some honest misunderstanding.
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Brian
Sun, Dec 23, 2018, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

A really solid character episode for Odo and his “dad” that retreads a s2 ep but does it mostly better.

It is unfortunate that they already gave back Odo his powers. There was a lot of untapped potential there for humanoid Odo which was a really interesting development to me, and it seems strange that this wasnt explored further throughout the run of the season.

Yet another solid ep that nevertheless rehashes a lot of older eps from ds9, which I fear is the trend so far in season 5. I hooe the coming dominion war starts up new ideas soon beforr the show grows too stale.
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brian
Sat, Dec 22, 2018, 11:00am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

BSG is the story of a show that went deeply off the rails after the destruction of The Pegasus. It went from the best pop culture examination of post 9-11 western society to magical gobbledygook so fast it made my head spin. Its a real drag but the nature of serialized shows vs episodic means its really hard or maybe impossible to pull out of a tail spin. Whenever TNG or even DS9 made a real clunker of an episode they gage themselves the benefit of being able to just kind of ignore it going forward. Less so with BSG unfortunately. This final two parter ends with a sub Twilight Zone twist that would have been embarrassing and dated in the 1950s. All surface and no substance. O well. The first two seasons are fantastic. Well always have 33 I guess.
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brian
Fri, Dec 21, 2018, 6:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ascent

As other commentators have wisely pointed out, at this stage in the Odo - Quark relationship Odo really shouldnt be so gleeful about catching Odo. Which makes me think of the interesting idea of an episode where Odo finally catches Quark..... but he is saddened by it, especially after Quark has shown time and again he essentially has a good heart underneath his bluster. Like the cogote fincatchung the road runner, the truth is Odo wouldnt really know what to do if he finally pulled it off.
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Brian Lear
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 2:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

I thought this was a pile of crap. Sorry. I know some people love this stuff but it seemed extremely forced. Like a huge hammer hitting you in the head repeatedly with "now here's the part where the main character becomes evil."
I felt like the writers had so little respect for their audience that they felt the need to walk you through each excruciating step in the "story". Not a hint of subtlety or elegance.
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BRIAN
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 11:32am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

also... why in the world is kids soccer still a thing in star trek future but not baseball?? What kind of future dystopia is this anyway????!!?
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brian
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 9:44am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ascent

on watching the series for the first time in 2018 I am blown away by the quality of it. That said so far this season I am afraid it is starting to tread water a little bit. Tribbles, this one, and Odos flashback were all good but felt like repeats or episodes that are repeats of season 2 episodes. Although I am hopeful the show will pick up again with the Dominion war I know is coming. Also although they were essentially filler they were quite good filler episodes.
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brian
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 9:41am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ascent

Shimmerman is a great actor and is able to imbue Quark with so much personality.Its a wonder he is able to keep him so likeable despite being such a heel. It would have been a much lessor show without his considerable abillities.
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BRiAN
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Samaritan Snare

Watching in 2018 reminded me of The Orville. Its obvious thr Pakladds are meant to be a humorous race in the vein of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. Unfortunately they never find quite the right tone or enough action for them. Still, pretty watchable overall.

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Brian
Mon, Dec 17, 2018, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

I didnt find this episode all that bad until Worfs insane soccor speech. Holy crap what the heck were they thinking??? Totally unneeded scene anyway. Well thankfully we can just ignore that detail going forward......


This episode is a real stinker but would have been harmless except for that awful worf speech.
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