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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Peter G. Just a question: how do you distinguish totalitarian societies from garden-variety autocracy?
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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"Are you seriously claiming that present China is not totalitarian? Come on now..."

It does seem to have some totalitarian elements, especially with the social credit system. But it doesn't seem anything like a true totalitarian country a la North Korea.

As someone who was basically banished to the styx during Mao's purges I don't really get a totalitarian ideologue vibe from Xi Jinping. He seems to be more interested in restoring Chinese greatness and avenging past humiliations rather than creating a communist totalitarian utopia.

At least from the short time I spent in Beijing it seemed to me to be a pretty cosmopolitan society with people doing their own thing. But that's Beijing to be fair and I wasn't there long.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rightful Heir

I wouldn't call the Dominion totalitarian. We see in various episodes that Dominion vassals like the Karima are more or less free to go about their business. That does not suggest a totalitarian structure.

Frankly, I am not sure they map well onto any particular regime in history but I confess I don't know much about the Ottoman Turks.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"So basically, the BLM/PC-culture thing is just a convenient excuse to further divide the population. "

I truly hope you are correct.

I personally don't fear robber barons the way I fear true believers. And the true believers who really are free of hypocrisy - they are the worst of all.
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Wed, May 12, 2021, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

A shame they deep sixed Ronald D. Moore by being so glaringly icy with him in the writers room. He left because he knew he was not welcome, even by his old writing partner. Maybe they felt insulted or threatened after the 1st two episodes he did at the beginning of Season 6. He could have whipped this season 7 episode into shape fast.

When you need six writers to pull a story together that is a huge problem, and a sign of interference from the suits. They do it in Hollywood movies all the time. I personally think Robert Beltran is a D*!# and really has some out there obnoxious views, including today, but i do not blame him for having expected more from the writers on this one, and overall. It was UPN for Godsakes.

Leave Klingon Stories to the experts and swallow your pride when you know it is time to bring them in.
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James G
Wed, May 12, 2021, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

Very stylish film. Superbly choreographed, dramatic action scenes. Very clever, very theatrical macabre touches. Powerful special effects. Genuinely superb acting, especially on Patrick Stewart's part. The Shinzon character is powerful and nicely sinister. There's some really clever dialogue, especially between Picard and Shinzon.

But this is a film that never amounts to the sum of its parts. I first watched it in the company of a bottle of Scotch about 17 years ago. I started to zone out, and I've always wondered if that was because of the alcohol or the film. I was entirely sober tonight, and it definitely the film. It really tested my attention span. The action scenes are over-long, over-indulgent and unnecessary and they robbed the film of some of its focus. i don't think the plot was that interesting or coherent.

I didn't like the scene with the buggy. Why everyone was so excited about it I have no idea, it looked much like a 20th century motor vehicle, which is of course exactly what it was. The dive off the cliff into the shuttlecraft really represents the whole film quite nicely - it's all spectacle and style and little substance.

I guess B4 was a nice idea. Great shame to kill off Data at the end, though. He made it through seven TV series and four films. Couldn't they have let him live another ten minutes?

Picard performs his own one man special forces mission again, he does this a few times in the TNG canon and it always comes across as dumb.

Well - finally that's the end of the TNG odyssey I started in 2018. Took me a long time to get round to the last film, but job done now. Bit of a shame that it bows out like that, really.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 12, 2021, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@Booming trust me they are bitter drunks.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 12, 2021, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"Oh well, still much better than ST Picard where all LGBT people are bitter drunks or psychos."

Now now let's be fair. Everyone in the new shows is a bitter drunk or psycho not just LGBT. Or a used up has-been - can't forget about those.
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John Carter
Sun, May 9, 2021, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

I think you’re all nuts. This was a delightful episode in an excellent series. When I look at the “trek” we're being offered 25 years later, it makes me appreciate DS9 even more. Even the worst episodes in the series are light years beyond anything that’s been produced since ENT ended in 2005. “Let He Who is Without Sin” is a wonderful piece of nostalgia. How I miss that world of the mid 90s...
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Sun, May 9, 2021, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Plato's Stepchildren

Well, the acceptable term for a dwarf is a "little" person so Kirk's comment at the end didn't bother me. Alexander was small in stature and since the Trek universe celebrates what makes us infinitely diverse, "little" would not have been thought of as a disparaging term in Kirk's mind. Alexander seems to understand this and is smiling.
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James White
Fri, May 7, 2021, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Stop watching ST and get out for awhile. Jesus
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Thu, May 6, 2021, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Savage Curtain

I love how Uhura doesn't even know why she should be offended. It's that much of a non-issue. I always remembered this small scene from when I saw it in childhood, and it was a part of shaping my beliefs and hopes going forward -- that we could have a future like that.

I never remembered the rest of the episode because I had no real context for Surak, Kayless, or Colonel Green. Now, after doing an entire TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, and feature films rewatch, I'm going through TOS. I was delighted to see these founding historical figures brought to life and it's cool the other series ran with them.

I wish they did more with Kayless, but if Kirk perceived him as just a thug, I can live with that. He really hates Klingons.

Speaking of which, did the shows ever have a racial slur for Klingons? They had two for Cardassians -- Cardies and Spoonheads. The Andorians called us Pink Skins (which, okay, the cast in question was not entirely White, but I get what the intent was: to show that Blueness was considered normal and correct to Andorians).

Which brings me to Bones calling Spock a ton of seemingly anti-Vulcan racial slurs. I understand it's all meant with underlying affection, but they did make a point of Bones being a man from the South. I think that's notable. I'd love to see the series bible on McCoy.

But the Uhura comment to Lincoln always stuck with me. In times like these, it's especially refreshing. There's no need to bend yourself into a pretzel trying to get the terminology right to not offend, when offense isn't an issue.
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James White
Tue, May 4, 2021, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

You need his review to tell you this movie was dogshit?
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Joseph B
Tue, May 4, 2021, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I was hoping for Jammers review of this movie to finally drop today (May 4th 2021).

Oh, well: The day’s still not quite over. (Fingers Crossed!) 🤞

In the meantime, “May the Fourth be With You”!!
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Tue, May 4, 2021, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: MAND S1: Chapter 5: The Gunslinger

Reviews for Chapters 5 through 8 now posted.
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

While I agree with most of Jammer's review, there is one aspect with which I disagree. The title of the episode can also refer to the wrongs committed by Dukat.

In the second to last paragraph of Jammer's review, he states "It's also interesting to note the judgment that's passed along by the episode's title, 'Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night.' It seems to side with Kira's view of the matter."

Indeed, there are fates worse than death or hopelessness from which one can never return (what I would interpret "Night" to mean in the context of this episode). Subjugation under Dukat is one such fate. During the Bajoran occupation, Dukat manipulated his victims by attaching the good feelings of helping their families with Dukat himself. As such, every day the victim remains with Dukat, their family receives more resources to survive.

That twisted sense to take advantage of a victim's love for their family and using it to delude the victim into being grateful to Dukat is a form of brainwashing. To make this entire situation even more disgusting, Dukat did this many times. The conversation between Kira Nerys and the legate in the conference room scene (when the legate recited what Dukat would say before he said it because he had said the exact same words so many times before) made this very clear. Given what is known of Dukat's personality, he may have subjugated multiple women concurrently as he had Kira Meru. Dukat engaged in manipulating victims into either deluding themselves into being with him or at least playing along. Either way, forcing victims into such a situation for the rest of their lives is a fate worse than death or hopelessness from which one can never return.

On a side note, watching this episode and Dukat's behavior reminded me of the Borg. The Borg's victims are trapped in their own bodies, watching events unfold without the ability to participate or influence those events. In a sense, so were Dukat's victims. However, in this case, Meru was given a choice. She was separated from he family already. She could refuse Dukat and be forced onto the Bajoran side of the station, as Kira Nerys was, and still never see her family again (or something even worse) or she could agree to sell her life for the increased chance of her family's survival. Either way, Kira Meru may have seen her life as forfeit. As such, she chose the least bad option. While the borg don't give their victims a choice, Kira Meru effectively chose to give her life away.

To say that Kira Meru was weak and chose an easy life is an oversimplification of the situation. Decisions are not made in a vacuum. Maybe Kira Meru did it for an easy life, maybe she did it to try and save her family, or perhaps some combination of the two reasons. The episode did not make this portion clear, but it does matter because motivations matter. Decisions are not usually made based on one issue, but the totality of the situation.

Let me be clear, I'm not saying one way or the other what Kira Meru should have done. I agree with what Sisko said in the coda to the episode, that however anyone may have felt, it was Kira Meru's decision to make. No one should ever be in that kind of a situation where they must choose between such options. The fact that Dukat forced so many women to make such a choice is the point. It is the wrong darker than death or hopelessness from which one can never return.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Sun, May 2, 2021, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Blood Oath

Some blood on the blades would have been nice. Down the road there was blood during the "let's prove we are not shapeshifters by slicing our palms" scenes ...

The very last scene -- silence and an exchange of knowing looks, well-done. Perhaps Jadzia could have gone to Morn for advice...
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 16: The Rescue

I’ve been reading and commenting in the ST:TOS section, but popped over here out of curiosity. Some barely structured commentary:

The inexplicable popularity — no, almost zealous adoration — of Mandalorian is probably something we couldn’t fathom happening in earlier era TV shows. One could be a big fan of ST, talk with a few friends or colleagues, yet also remain completely isolated from any “zeitgeist” or fandom-wide perceptions. Fast forward to now, when even casual fans of a show can saturate themselves in online analysis, debate, argumentation, and emotion. And its that last one that “showrunners” (how i loathe the term) are finally catching onto. Case in point, The Mandalorian.

If there’s one thing we know about human nature, its that our emotions and intellect fall completely out of balance when we move to a social or group level. One gets the sense that Mandalorian was designed from the ground up to appeal strictly to emotion, more specifically nostalgia of long-suffering Star Wars fans. Nostalgia itself is powerful even for our personal memories. But group level SHARED nostalgia? Start the money printing presses. After each episode, one could rush to the internet and read:

“OMG did you see X?”
“X isn’t in this part of the galaxy, technically, so I bet its Y. Both create questions.”
“Oh you are so right! I’m sure whatever they do, they will treat it with the respect that we hope for!”
“Oh definitely. If this is about trust, I trust them to handle X or Y’s storyline.”

Meanwhile, at Mando writer’s HQ:

“Storyboards 23-27 are a little bare, don’t you think?”
“Put a shadow in #25 that looks like X. That will wind them up for days.”
“Good idea, done!”

If Mando is a salve for old Star Wars wounds, or reminds people of their favorite moments and people, that’s fantastic. I don’t think anyone has suggested that people shouldn’t enjoy themselves. But here’s what happens - when your emotions are engaged at a very fundamental level, you lose perspective and sense of objectivity. You begin to equate your enjoyment with objective quality. And when others do it with you? Well, the result is the absurdity that is Mandalorian fandom.

“Best SW ever.”
“The magic is back.”
“There needs to be a Mando movie.”
“Baby yoda is a better character than X.”

Really? I mean, REALLY? Do you not see what is on your screen? Do you not hear what you are calling it?

Nowhere is this viral plague on Star Wars fandom more apparent than the Youtube entertainment critic community. You can see the cognitive dissonance of their true souls and fan service struggling in literal real time across reviews:

“This is it, Disney? Threadbare story sprinkled with cheap nostalgia. This won’t last, we hoped for more.”
(two weeks later)
“Although I think it relies too much on nostalgia, there is an expert nuance to the story that is no doubt an homage to old westerns. well done but not perfect.”
(two weeks later)
“Mando strikes the perfect balance between old and new, bridging the classic fan with a new and exciting world. What appears to be simple and emotional is only the tip of a complex iceberg, and we need to let the series build to bigger and better ideas.”

Don’t be too hard on Youtube critics. They must do this because their subscribers would turn on them in a second if they so much as suggested Mandalorian was worthy of criticism. Basically, if “Mando is AHMAZEballs!” is where the fandom is, then “Mando is AHMAZEballs!” is where the critic is. I do have hope for a few critics who seem to have strategically gone silent. They think Mando has serious problems, but are honest enough not to shill the opposite opinion to be popular or make money.

Of special note here must be the gang at RedLetterMedia. One would think that if you make a video mocking Star Wars Rogue One fans for nostalgic bias (“X wing! X wing! I KNOW WHAT THAT IS!), you would guard against it to avoid being called a hypocrite. NOPE! The hyper-critical gang at RLM jumped aboard the Mando money train just like everyone else, and left their critical thinking skills in Plinkett’s basement.

There isn’t much to discuss or argue about Mando’s stories or plotting, because it has the depth similar to that of a 5 year old playing with Star Wars figures. “This bad, this good. New figure! Pew pew! OMG saves day! Time for dinner, mom’s calling.!”

The Mandolorian just isn’t that good.
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

This comment section is a testament to the wide array of tastes that Star Trek episodes can capture. I often wonder if viewers fall into a natural classification of types, as we often do with episodes. Scattered comments:

Put me in the “awful” column on this one. I see what they were going for here, and it is a slightly interesting premise based on a dubious value system. But the execution is fumbled so badly as to lose so much of the signal in the noise, that it is difficult to even discern a message.

For one, it is painfully obvious that the screenplay was written by a fan or amateur. Several lines of dialogue sound like filler based on character stereotypes, and others just don’t fit at all. (I’m thinking of Kirk’s odd and whiny lament about “my men!” after Spock and Bones disappear). There just isn’t a lot of substance happening for a 50 minute runtime. This may be due in part to the amateur author desiring (or being instructed) to avoid messing with long-term Trek history. A few slow motion scenes and over-lingering on faces suggests that the editing room also saw the slim pickings, and padded accordingly.

As a side note, the writer must have thought the name “Gem” was pretty nifty for some personal reason, because both its creation and usage in the story make no sense at all. Why would Bones require “she” to have a name if she was still the only she in front of them? Until this person wants to communicate their name, use the pronoun, what’s the problem? Near the end, even the Vians refer to the woman as Gem! Why would this advanced species who are literally evaluating this woman as a proxy of her species decide to use a name suggested by McCoy on a lark? No one I know communicates in this way!

These sorts of “judgment on humanity” stories are tricky to pull off well, because the end result is always a writer thinking they can write a judging species that, in turn, can find this wondrous nugget of virtue in humanity, a species that includes the writer. It all can come off like humanistic navel-gazing. I suppose the message here is that the Vians found a remarkably roundabout way of making sure a proxy member of a rescued species possessed a set of desired values, by kidnapping members of another species and killing them until they demonstrated the desired traits in front of the proxy member of the rescued species, so that this proxy member magically learned from observation what she must have been utterly incapable of learning in the abstract. Does that about sum it up?

One more thing, I also found the long close-ups on Gem to be cringe-worthy and distracting. But the culprit here wasn’t so much the actress as it was the invasive score. Any time Gem’s face was in close-up, the music changed to this awful dreamy score that eventually made the closeups comical. I think it would have been far more effective to pair her closeups with either silence or a mysterious score that implied a subliminal threat.
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 5:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

Just to clarify some misinformation in Jammers's original post/review:
The voice of The Companion was NOT supplied by Majel Barret. According to the episode's director Ralph Senensky, actress Lisabeth Hush was brought in by him to replace the vo that had originally been recorded without his overseeing by another actress (listed as Elizabeth Rogers) because it was too monotoned and robotic. Apparently it wasn't necessarily unusual that the voice would've been recorded without his input, but when he saw/heard the results at a first screening he was adamant that it wasn't right. He had worked previously with Ms Hush on an episode of The FBI and remembered her voice in particular and chose her to come in and re-record all the Companion dialogue.
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Sat, May 1, 2021, 6:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: All Our Yesterdays

Good episode in an otherwise forgettable season.
Just one note on a comment made above. Someone thought it was an inconsistency that Kirk had to worry about dying in the past because he wasn’t “prepared”, whereas McCoy and Spock almost decided to give up trying to leave simply for the love of a woman.

I don’t think there’s an inconsistency here, when we remember that all information Spock and McCoy had was provided by Zarabeth. The implication, I thought, was that Zarabeth was so consumed with loneliness that she would have lied to the men and condemned them to die, simply for a short relief from her loneliness.

On further reflection, Zarabeth isn’t a sympathetic character at all. She was willing to take the entire remaining lives of two men, just to relieve her loneliness for a short duration of time.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

@Tid Netflix has been known to carry cut versions of tv shows. I remember when I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer there were scenes I could remember from some episodes that weren't there and sure enough I was not crazy, they had been cut.
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joseph lindsey
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 6:30am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Elaan of Troyius

I am here for one reason. I loved this episode....and the reason I loved this episode is the performance by France Nuyen. I thought she was riveting.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 29, 2021, 7:35am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

"Janeway brings up the danger of reactivating the cube when meeting with Riley, and says that she is highly skeptical of her plan but she (politely) says that will give the matter some more thought. When she and Chakotay are alone she brings up the same objection you did:

JANEWAY: Not only would it mean imposing a choice on thousands of people who had no voice in the decision, but it would also be taking a terrible risk. Helping to create a new collective. Who knows what the repercussions might be?"

This ethical dilemma should have been the focus of the episode, not a side issue addressed in one line.

Moreover, I don't like the idea of the ex drones controlling Chakotay as in mind control; the episode should have tied this in to the loss of individuality theme and made it clear that being joined with them even for a short time essentially "assimilated" Chakotay causing his motives to align with theirs.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

@Booming true. But that also assumes her 41 year old eggs are still viable. And rich or not, egg extraction is painful and time consuming so just going to the well over and over until you find a good one is pretty grueling.
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