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J.B.
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 12:12am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

I'm honestly in shock that they pulled this off. There were so many ways it could have gone wrong. TNG's "In Theory" covers some of the same beats but in much clunkier fashion. It was charming, funny and even made tear up a bit.

I'm pulling for those two. This is definitely the most ambitious material the show has tackled yet and I'm glad they're heading straight into it.
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J.B.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 12:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I agree with others that "The Expanse" would make for a great reviewing project but will admit that TAS is probably more thematically appropriate.

(And I've never seen it so I could watch along with the reviews, haha.)
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J.B.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Great review, Jammer. I guess Discovery's first season joins the very limited list of Trek seasons without any 4-star episodes.
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J.B.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 3:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

As far as finales go, it was pretty disappointing. Just weird that the first half of the episode was largely wasted on superfluous scenes and then, the Klingon war got wrapped up on the word of a character (L'Rell) that absolutely no one in Starfleet should be trusting.

And the appearance of the Enterprise at the end struck me as desperate fan-service (especially the use of the TOS theme in the end credits). It made me laugh instead of the effect I'm sure was desired.

There were a couple of scenes I liked, most notably Ash Tyler and Michael's goodbye, which surprised me because their relationship always struck me as being more plot convenient than something that came naturally out of the characters. But it was really sweet, performed well by both actors. And Tilly got a couple of laughs from me, even if her character seems completely different now from the more socially awkward one that we were introduced to.

So yeah. Disappointing season, overall. A couple of my friends stopped watching it but I stuck to the bitter end. I definitely won't be continuing if they can't pull season 2 together, and fast.
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J.B.
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

My primary frustration at this point is that they've killed off the most interesting character (after making him a two-dimensional baddie). No one else left is particularly compelling, especially Burnham (and the show desperately wants us to adore her).

The show is very pretty, very flashy but it has no soul.
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J.B.
Sun, Jan 7, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

It's fascinating to me how this episode dramatically improved once Tilly embraced her evil side. The first half was an utter, joyless slog.
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J.B.
Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 1:50am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

I think as long as MacFarlane is head writer, the show is always going to have problems. He wrote eight of the twelve episodes this season (and no doubt rewrote the rest). The rest of the show's execution is fine. Special effects decent, music great, most of the cast are game. It's just the sloppy, uninspired writing that brings it down.
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J.B.
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 12:50am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

This was basically two (better) Star Trek episodes merged together, especially Voyager's excellent "Blink of an Eye." I really wish the show could come up with its own ideas, especially since it regularly botches the ones that it steals. It doesn't help that the plot is basically driven by contrivances and especially sloppy behavior by the crew. They basically go out of their way to be noticed by the planet's inhabitants and then, when they should have left well enough alone, they go back down to the surface anyway to try and make Grayson feel better. If I were the admiral, I would have put Mercer in jail. I did appreciate some of the later plot beats (aside from Isaac staying on the planet, again ripped straight out of Voyager when the Doctor did it) but the sledgehammer "we got out of the dark ages by renouncing organized religion" ending was overly simplistic. It's also a little disappointing that for a season finale, this felt just like a regular episode.

(That said, I give credit to the episode for giving me one huge laugh, when Mercer made fun of the admiral without realizing she was still on the line.)
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J.B.
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 1:59am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

That was deeply dull. I'm glad to see LeMarr getting more development but I don't find the actor engaging and it felt like the 2D storyline was really only there to service his character when it could have been a fascinating sci-fi concept on its own. A shame they barely did anything with it (pretty visuals aside). And from the very beginning, every scene with Mercer and Grayson bickering has been an utter black hole of interest. Occasionally with weaker episodes of this show, the jokes have made up for dramatic weaknesses but after three episodes of writers other than MacFarlane, he's back to his old tricks of making every gag seem out of place and forced.

Here's hoping the finale delivers.
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J.B.
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

@Darren

Wikipedia indicates that episode 112 is the one being moved to next season (which makes sense if 113 is more serialized and/or has a cliffhanger).
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J.B.
Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

I'm glad that they went in a different direction than I was expecting. It was feeling like a mash-up of several different TNG episodes for a while there and the show has certainly been guilty of that in the past. Halston Sage felt rusty in her first starring episode but she's really improved. She was compelling throughout here. Also loved seeing two Star Trek veterans as her parents (Robert Picardo as Voyager's Doctor, of course but also Molly Hagen, who played DS9's first Vorta). Finally, John Debney's horror score was perfection. Star Trek: Discovery could take lessons from how The Orville is being scored.
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J.B.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Yeah, The Expanse is excellent.
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J.B.
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

That was a lot of fun. I didn't think it would be because Trek has a long history of these types of episodes being stinkers but they managed to pull off the comedic elements here. The only thing I *really* didn't like was the very end, implying that Grayson had no choice over her decision to cheat on Mercer. That's a cop-out. On the other hand, maybe we can FINALLY move on from this baggage now.
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J.B.
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 6:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

One point I do agree with is that shuttle crash should have killed them all. When it hit the planet with that much force, it reminded me vividly of Voyager's impact in "Timeless."
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J.B.
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 1:06am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

This episode almost put me to sleep, between the snooze-inducing Vulcan plot and the endless expository dialogue. I don't know. I'm just not very invested in this show because I don't care about anyone in it.
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J.B.
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 3:13am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

@Brian

If the show was centered around Stamets and Culber's relationship, missing out on their courtship might be a problem, depending on how its handled. But it's not. It's about Michael's journey and everyone else is along for the ride. I just see their relationship as providing some humanity and color on a ship that so far, has felt pretty sterile and dark.

(In fact, I very much want the show to start focusing on character relationships outside of the sphere of Michael. How do Lorca and Saru get along, for instance? Or Tilly and virtually anyone else?)
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J.B.
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

@John Harmon

Honestly, as a gay man, Brian mostly just made me giggle. OH NOES, THE GAYS ARE RUINING MY STAR TREK. Give me a break, haha. I hope Stamets and the doc get some hot make out scenes just to piss off the homophobes.
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J.B.
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Like others, I also found some of the pacing jarring. I can't decide whether scenes were cut for time or if it was just filmed this way. Just felt like stuff was missing.

Tonally, I still don't like that the show doesn't have a lot of room for humor. Everyone is on edge, arguing with each other and it gets wearying. And a lot of the dialogue remains clunky. But I very much appreciate that they're continuing to humanize the rest of the cast and it feels like an ensemble that is coming together. More scenes that don't revolve around Michael would be appreciated (like the closing scene with the doctor and Stamets).

I really wish they'd go in a different direction for the underscore, though. There were entire scenes that would have been better off with no music in them at all, given the amateurish way they were scored.
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J.B.
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:19am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Krill

Man, the suspension of disbelief was strong in this one. Those two were behaving like such imbeciles that they should have been arrested within five minutes of starting their undercover operation. That said, this was probably the first truly successful episode for me, entertaining, the jokes better applied (for the most part) and suspenseful. And I appreciate that they're willing to go into darker, more ambiguous territories. I actually liked MacFarlane more as a Krill. Maybe because I didn't have to see him try to act as much.

(I did groan when the lady repeated "they will be". We got it the first time, guys.)

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J.B.
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

That was okay, not as focused or as entertaining as last week. I think the biggest problem I have at this point is that the show is so aggressively focused on moving its plot forward that it doesn't really seem to have time for its characters. Everyone is very grim, going about doing their jobs. It doesn't leave a lot of room for learning more about them. I had a similar issue with the last two seasons of Enterprise, although these two shows are very different from each other. I also can't say I was thrilled to have the Klingon scenes back, which retain the same lethargic pacing problems as seen in the pilot.

(That said, killing off the security chief is probably the smartest thing the show can do at this point. The character was aggressively one-note and unpleasant. Almost the entire cast has a serious likability problem so it's good to start culling them down early.)
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J.B.
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Pria

I feel bad for the helmsman, who hasn't had any notable character moments since the pilot. Is this Seth's homage to Enterprise?
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J.B.
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 12:08am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Pria

Again, not terrible but like almost every episode of this show so far, this was a B-level Star Trek story executed with little flair or originality. Of course Charlize Theron (phoning it in) wasn't what she appeared to be. Of course Mercer falls in love with her (in the blink of an eye). Of course they have sex. Of course they rehash the Mercer/Grayson breakup (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET IT GO). And like most Star Trek "romance of the week" episodes, there isn't nearly enough time to set up the relationship here so Mercer's final decision carried little weight.

On the plus side, the action scenes in this were a notable improvement from before, aided by nice visuals and a bombastic John Debney score. And I'll admit to liking the amusing practical joke B-story. When the humor isn't forced into more serious scenes, it can work.

Also, Seth... The sexual harassment jokes aren't funny. Stop it. The early engineering scene with Theron made me cringe throughout. And the Norm Mcdonald blob needs to go.
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J.B.
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 5:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

I was lukewarm on the pilot but I found this gripping. Solid character work, some compelling mysteries and I even laughed a couple of times, which I wasn't expecting. It's really promising and I'm definitely on board for more.
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J.B.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

Really, I think Jammer needs recognition for cranking out these well-written (and fairly lengthy) reviews consistently the day after they air. And balancing two shows too! It's just like the good old days, haha.
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J.B.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:37am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

I guess being filmed before the last two episodes didn't end up mattering much, since this episode was clearly meant to air after them (maybe due to the post-production work needed or accommodating Neeson's schedule). It felt like a really dull, paper-thin Stargate SG-1 episode, albeit with some good performances, especially a creepy Robert Knepper. The episode introduces a lot of concepts, some of them ripe for exploration and then does nothing with them. Is a paint-by-numbers "save the crewman" plot really all the potential this episode was capable of fulfilling? By the time this is accomplished, there's barely enough time for an admittedly striking conclusion (even if the implications for the society are glossed over). I'm still finding the attempts at humor wildly uneven, especially the jokes revolving around dicks and other sexual function. This is a show that desperately wants to be TOS and TNG but hasn't come up with anything other than rehash yet. I hope it finds some originality soon.

(The early scenes exploring the ship clearly used Goldsmith's ST: The Motion Picture score as a temp track. I found this very distracting.)
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