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James G
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Unification

Wonderful to see Spock in a TNG, but ..

The first episode is slow and laborious. There's some very nice dialogue between Sarek and Picard, showcasing the talents of two brilliant actors. But the plot doesn't seem that interesting, and by the time the second part concludes, I had myself concluded that it's a dreadful story. It actually feels a bit like fan-fic. Boatloads of mawkish sentimentality, really awful cliches and stupid jokes - Riker being the hard man in the bar, the preposterous piano player, Worf's passion for Klingon opera.

The evil alien Queen who tells her captives the whole plan, like a Bond villain.

And the whole premise of the story is the shallowest cliche of all - an alien invasion fleet. They should have had them turn up in flying saucers.

Some good scenes again between Picard and Spock. Nimoy plays the older, more thoughtful, philosophical Spock really nicely. But again it really feels self-indulgent.

Without all the sentimental dialogue, gravitas and nostalgia you've got a really unimaginative and thin story here that you'd struggle to stretch to one episode, let alone two.

It's surprising to me that Romulans and Vulcans are supposed to have diverged "centuries" earlier - Romulans are as physically different from Vulcans as Neanderthals are from Homo Sapiens. That sort of evolutionary divergence takes many scores of thousands of years, not a few centuries.

The breaking of the ciphers to access the Romulan systems is far too easy, but then again this was made in the early '90s, and even modern TV dramas are similarly naive. Chloe from '24' is a perfect case in point.

What a shame that Spock and Sarek were provided with such an inferior vehicle for their return to the Star Trek universe.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

@bencanuck ok fair enough I guess I didn't pay attention to the time period.

That said it is hard to imagine how Moore's critique was less valid in season 3 versus 6. All the things he attributed to a misguided and slapdash approach to writing (the story's lack of consistency, poor continuity, total squandering and rejection of its central premise, disrespect for its characters, etc...) were true in Season 3 as surely as Season 6. If the back office wasn't in disarray in earlier seasons it sure didn't impact the quality appreciably.

I will concede, mind you, that I am not as familiar with Voyager as I am with TNG or DS9 although I have watched every episode of the series at one time or another, either at the time of original airing or in syndication.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:36am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

"I'm beginning to wonder if season 3 was actually rather subtle on character development and some of us missed it at the time. I seem to have missed some of the interesting cues."

Given what we learned from that Ronald Moore interview concerning the state of Voyager's writing department and showrunners at this time, I would say anything is possible but I really really doubt it. It is safe to say that Voyager's writers were as lost and adrift as surely as the good ship herself.
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James
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

At least TOS' giant hand in space served a purpose: it was an exploration of Arthur C Clarke's idea that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Apollo's power in the episode came only from his race's technology, and they were worshiped by ancient Greeks for it, with Kirk's crew still in awe of what he could do. The whole idea was for it to appear scientifically impossible, for it to appear as magic.

In the first episode of Lower Decks, we have a disease turning people into bile-spewing zombies, and a giant spider which attacks a crew member. For what purpose? Presumably to acquaint us with the crew. That doesn't make it a good use of the sci-fi premise. There's no reason it couldn't have been done in the Stargate or Firefly or Battlestar universe, or any other fictional universe.
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James White
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@IGotBannedForLess

I'm extremely successful, and I find Jammer's reviews both intelligent and fair-minded. Most of the people that comment here are extremely intelligent. And most do not resort to petulant name-calling. Since you called out Jammer, why don't you tell us specifically what works you've published or were adapted to TV/film. Provide your name and give us some means to verify it independent of you.
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James White
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 7:59am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Haven't been here for awhile. New show, corp shills, us vs. them bullshit. Kurtzman is still terrible. Nothing has changed. Except Jammer finally took a stand. The man with some of the best Trek commentary ever has said "I'll pass" to this dreck.
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James
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 5:57am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Funny how things have changed. "You have no social skills" and "you have no sense of humor" and "get a life" have all been used to attack Trek fans in decades past.

Which makes you think.. maybe things haven't changed much at all?
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John
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 4:43am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Maybe the reason some posters have suspicions of the new posters who have suddenly appeared with high praise for the episode, is from comments like "it appeals to a wide audience". That is how executives and corporations think. And what's with all the personal attacks? I can't think of a single reason to be so defensive about the first episode of a show you have no investment in.
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James
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Nolan
"Also, here we again have new Star Trek showing how diverse it can be and yet again making the female black woman protagonist a purposely annoying screw up who mocks people with aspirations, and only got where she is through nepotism and not because she's smart, determined or driven, which frankly is not really a great role model for anybody. New Trek is 0 for 3 here. "

I want to comment here. After 26 minutes it would be unfair to assume we know who Mariner is, but so far she seems both smart, determined and driven, but also cynical and mocking - most likely because her mother is captain (which leads to the question why she chose that ship, although it's a possibility she was assigned there).

If that is where they are going with the character, there's room for exploration there. Whether they will go there, or whether they are even interested in exploring characters rather than just using them as a comedic vehicle, is yet to be seen. I don't know if I have the patience to find out, but maybe it shouldn't be ruled out so soon.

What I think I can say after 26 minutes is that this isn't a show that's worth my time to watch just for the laughs. The comedy isn't my cup of tea, and frankly it's pretty awful. If there isn't any typical Trek content or themes to go with it, then I don't see myself sticking with it.
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James
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I won't pass judgement just yet, it's too early, but a few impressions...

-It looks very nice. I like the design aesthetic much more than the other recent series.
-I hope the characters develop more distinct personalities. Yes, on paper, there's the rebellious one, the underling ensign who looks up to his superiors, the tech nerd who's more interested in science than romance. But they all talk the same way, and when a character's supposed to be say nervous or afraid, they don't talk like they are. I would say it's the actors fault, but somehow I think it's intentional and I don't think the creators care.
-I feel like I watched a highlights reel. There's no buildup to anything, just bam bam bam one thing after another. This applies to the theme music as well.
-Yes, everyone talks too fast, excess is the rule, and nothing is subtle. Again, intentional.

I think people generally want this kind of show. It's Rick and Morty Trek. It's not what I particularly want, but I have to accept that expecting Trek to go back to the TNG era is like expecting classical music to become the best selling music genre again. No big deal. If I don't continue watching, at least I'll save a bunch of time to spend on other things.
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Juan R
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

This episode came out of nowhere, which is why it mostly works. Liked how Dr. Crusher ditches her no nonesense professional image and basically acts like a smitten teenage girl. It was cool to see her as a sexual and passionate woman. Deep down everyone needs someone to spark that fire inside of us.

The Riker angle felt contrived and kind of silly but Jonathan Frakes does a great job of acting, which saves the episode. That host thing is not the point of this. Instead, we must question what is true love and how much are we willing to adjust to keep and save those feelings? The answer: to a certain point. We are just being human. Nothing more.

Overall good episode. Gates McFadden ( I thought she was sexy) finally has something more interesting to do than run a tricorder over someone. She was a lot better off without Wesley.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

My six year old was once building a sand castle at the beach and was busy explaining to me all the details like this is the garage and this is the living room etc... then I pointed to the stick she planted at the top and asked her if that was the flagpole. Her response was a bemused "no daddy that's just a stick..." like I was delusional or something haha.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Okay I defer to those with more knowledge on the topic but it just seemed to me that we were not intended to think that Timothy literally believed he was an android. It was a fantasy taken a bit far as a coping mechanism but not an actual delusion - which I presumed was a prerequisite for a psychotic break.

I mean even as an adult I am capable of having a strong emotional reaction to something unreal (like a scary movie) without literally believing a monster is going to get me. And a child's imagination is so much more malleable.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Booming it's hard to believe that any therapist would describe what's depicted on screen as "psychosis". Troi's approach didn't strike me as outrageous FWIW but I am no therapist (although like you, I have had to read probably 1,000+ psych reports over the years)
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John
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 3:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I would be more impressed by this episode (which I haven't seen for years) if it did depict a psychotic break, with Troi encouraging Timothy to explore it. That was a theme being explored in the psychiatric literature of the 1990s, with the re-characterization of psychosis as a harmful state to be suppressed with medication, towards viewing it as a spiritual emergency which when explored in a supportive environment confers vast benefits upon a successful resolution.

It may not turn out to be a valid approach based on how it's depicted in the episode, but this is science fiction and based on the current science it's a perfectly valid topic to explore as a possibility. Handheld medical devices emitting magical blue healing rays are far more unlikely.

But then, I'm probably in the minority in thinking the decline of Trek is very much linked to its unwillingness to question current paradigms of thinking.
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John
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Boomer - Many highly qualified therapists will get their clients to explore traumas, and some will tell you it's the only way to resolve them.
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 5:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I also just can't stand the combination of that name and hairdo. It's just this cloying Lassie-ish Leave it to Beaver vibe. Wesley had alot of that too. You just wanna punch this kid.
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 5:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Count me among the supporters of this episode. I thought the relationship between Timothy and Data was totally plausible and still do. As a kid I thought Data was amazing and might have imitated him too if I could have. More than any other character, Data was the one I would have wanted to be like at Timothy's age. It's more than just him not having emotions and being this invulnerable being - there is just this serene calm that makes you just know that everything is going to be alright. This is the guy you want in your corner as a kid more than Riker, more than Worf or for that matter Thor or Ironman or whatever superhero. There really is something special to Spiner's performance.

That said one thing that really rubs me the wrong way with this is the way the senior staff are hemming and hawing over Timothy constantly. I can't quite put my finger on it but something about those scenes of Troi and the others worrying so much about this little kid's emotional upset is really grating and pretentious.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 4, 2020, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Sixth Season Recap

Mal thanks so much for posting that interview. Moore says and confirms all the things I have felt about Voyager from the start. It is interesting to hear that the back office was so dysfunctional. Truthfully, as a Trek watcher, I never really had any idea about that sort of thing. I didn't know anything about the producers or writers. Heck I had not even heard of guys like Moore or Menosky until I started reading Jammer a few years back!

I really laughed at Moore's comments that they could never recast Spock or Kirk. I guess this was made before the the J.J. Abrams atrocities and of course Discovery etc...
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James T. Shatner
Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Sorry, what was the reason for not watching TOS through? I missed that.
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James G
Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

A good one this, not particularly memorable or dramatic - the alien villains aren't really threatening enough for that - but based on a decently solid plot.

It works quite well as an allegory on gaming addiction, or addiction in general. Of course it does have a few problems.

Firstly - does the idea of playing a game that literally gives you a hit in the brain's pleasure centre really not trouble anyone with the thought that it might be dangerously addictive? Riker would have left it on Risa. He must be sharp enough to know that it's asking for trouble, even without the mind control aspect and the evil plan.

I liked the scene at the beginning with Riker the giggly alien woman who turns out to be a villain.

It bothers me slightly that the crew who are under its control sometimes seem completely coherent - like Riker, Geordi et al when they're hunting down Wesley. Surely slightly crazed, drugged behaviour would be more appropriate? It just doesn't feel right that Riker and Picard have an apparently completely sober control of their senses while they're acting out a plot against their own interests.

The Morse code flasher that immediately restores victims of the game to full, conscious normality - come on, that's too easy. Lazy writing. Also, I don't mind Wesley and the specialist babe being super-sharp engineers and technologists, but we're asked to believe that they're pretty good at neuroscience, as well. It's a bit of a stretch too far.

Still - I liked it. Better than average for the fifth series, so far.
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majerus
Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 2:01am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Susie Rose
Hoping your plans work with Lower Decks. I was excited for it too until I heard it's not available outside U.S.A. I don't know where you are and if that's an issue. I'll have to wait until it's available on this side of the Atlantic. Regarding the new shows, try Picard first because you and your spouse could answer any questions your twins may have about past characters. Borg and Romulans show up, as well as Data, Hugh, and Seven (not in a testosterone-y way either). Watch TNG's Measure of a Man and last TNG film Nemesis for a refresher. DIS is related to the TOS era and the Klingons, I didn't like it much personally. I'll even go as far as to say that the first season is dismal. Picard's first season is heaps better. When all is said and done however, DS9 is the one with the best shot at turning them into certified Trek fans. Good luck.
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John
Sun, Aug 2, 2020, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Isn't the Hugo awards about science fiction?
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James G
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Disaster

A pretty dumb episode, this one. But enjoyable. It's a chance to watch a '70s style disaster movie in the Star Trek universe. Fun, but built on a pretty shaky premise, ie that the Enterprise could so easily be very comprehensively disabled. It doesn't really fit with my notion of the powerful, advanced Starfleet flagship we see in other episodes. And "bulkheads"? Really? I thought forcefields were used for that sort of thing. Seems a bit low tech.

Good to see Ro again. I like her spirit. For an ensign, she's certainly highly uninhibited when speaking to senior officers, and I see that she has her non-dress-code earrings on as well. There's a certain darkness though, isn't there, given her past, in that her plan - ultimately overruled by Troi - could have cost the lives of a number of her comrades?

We're reminded in this episode that the Enterprise, despite being involved in potentially lethal military confrontations every other week, is home to a sizeable population of children. It makes no sense.

Fun to see Data's head detached. What a shame he doesn't have a couple of spares, like Kryten in Red Dwarf.

Interesting that Troi is addressed as "Sir"; I'm pretty sure Janeway (for example) always gets "ma'am".

Why is the ceiling in the turbolift so high? Given that there's a hatch there that gives access to a ladder running up and down the shaft. What's the point in making it harder to use?

Geordi and Beverley's plan to repressurise the cargo deck seems reckless; what if the repressurising function isn't working because of the damage to the ship? I think this whole idea was recycled from Airport '77.

And of course - Keiko giving birth. It's the little touch that almost transforms the whole episode into a parody of disaster movies rather than an homage.

I don't understand why someone we don't recognise should be in charge of the bridge at the beginning of the episode, and I don't get how everything seems pretty much back to normal at the end of the episode. Would have been better if we'd seen another starship arriving to tow the Enterprise to a Starbase.

Despite all that - fun.
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James04
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 7:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

This episode has a claim to being the worst Trek episode ever, and lacks almost all the absurdity that makes garbage like “Sub Rosa” tolerable. “Spock’s Brain” is more fun, and “Threshold” is not composed entirely of salamander- people; it has some good ideas. “Encounter at Farpoint” is a chore to get through. It is truly dire, as bad as the abysmal “Emissary”.

At least the holodeck did not grate in this episode as much as usual; perhaps because it had the charm of novelty. OTOH, the odious Q make a too-early appearance; the character is out of place in ST, whicb is supposedly a *science* fiction series - he (and his kind) belong far more in Star Wars. For some reason, Q is much less tiresome and insufferable in Voyager than in TNG - but a very little of the character goes a very long way.

No stars for this overlong and tedious mess.
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