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JMT
Fri, Nov 13, 2015, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

The inconsistent treatment of time travel makes the episode lose any impact with me. Should we revile Guinan as a mass murderer for her actions during Yesterday's Enterprise?
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JMT
Sun, Nov 8, 2015, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

I don't think it's fair to penalize DS9 for daring to be more than just a copy of TNG. It's a different show with a different tone, and it does stand on its own.

That said, I have no problems with this episode thematically, but the acting simply didn't carry the script. I found myself relating to Jake when he was gripped by fear and attempting to run away. I did end up laughing at the Klingon's overacting when being hit by the rocks it looked so ridiculous (Ie. it was bad to the point I felt jolted out of the story). Also, that final shot of Jake smiling was just plain awkward.
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JMT
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Rejoined

Theme of the episode aside, the problem is that Farrel simply doesn't have the chops to play her role. Jadzia's falling in love with Lenara rings every bit as false as her desire to fulfill her blood oath. On the plus side, I think Brook's performance has gotten a lot better.

I'm not a fan of the over the top melodrama writing either. In this episode as well as in "The Visitor" the dialogue was way too saccharine. The concepts are fine, but the writer's ham-handed attempts at emotional manipulation pull me out of the story.
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JMT
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Prophet Motive

Quark represents the exact opposite of Starfleet ideals、and so he makes for an excellent comic foil in which to parody Trek as seen in both in this episode and House of Quark. Shimerman's performance is excellent, and manages to keep these potentially disastrous (these episodes have the potential to be as horrible as a Lwaxana episode) Quark-centric episodes entertaining.
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JMT
Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

The reason this episode works so well is because it avoids giving any specifics as to how everything "got so bad". Since the details are not revealed, the viewer begins to fill in the blanks with the information that they have on hand. In the 90s viewers may have thought back on Giuliani's treatment of the homeless and mentally ill. In the 2000s our thoughts turned to the great recession. And today somebody watching this for the first time will fill in those blanks with their own answer as well.
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JMT
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Abandoned

I'm watching DS9 for the first time. Some of what I may say may be wrong in the long term, but these are my impressions of the show as I watch it.

The Jem'Hadar simply don't bring the same level of tone and terror that the Borg do. The Borg are a nightmare born from something which we cannot comprehend; their concept of life and civilization have absolutely no bearing on our own but we do understand it is fundamentally incompatible with the existence of life as we know it (humans and comparable aliens such as Klingons, Romulansm Cardassians, Jem'Hadar etc.) The comparisons between "I, Borg" and this episode fall flat to me because the stakes appear to be so much lower and the dilemma presented so much more basic.

This episode does illustrate something to me about the themes of TNG vs. DS9. TNG is about how humanity may grow to become something beyond which it is, and often deals with life that defies human understanding (2D aliens, The Q, Crystalline Entity etc). DS9 is about humanity as it is, and every race (except maybe the prophets?) is for all intents and purposes human.
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JMT
Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

@dlpb I'm not so sure that I would not say that there aren't some similarities with the United States military tribunal system. They are not open to the public, they make a presumption of guilt and allow for the use of secret evidence. While I don't imagine it's quite the over-the-top farce such as the cartoonish spectacle we see here, they most certainly do not meet the standards that American civilians believe they are entitled to under their own system of justice.

I can see valid reasons why one might support such military tribunals, as they certainly do serve American security interests. It is also possible that military tribunals are the very kangaroo courts their critics decry them as. The Cardassian court and military tribunals are not the same, but the idea of a court that violates what many (albeit maybe not you) may consider a "fair trial" is a strong parallel.
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JMT
Wed, Oct 21, 2015, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

I think it sort of undermines Sisko and O'Brien that Alexis failed in destroying the Runabout. If Sisko had saved himself, rather than being saved by Dax and Kira, it would done more to establish him as being a worthy successor to Kirk and Picard. As it stands, he's just lucky.

The bigger problem is in the script writing. The episode is written like it's supposed to be illustrating shades of grey, but the nearly universal reaction is disgust. When Sisko reveals the truth behind the colony, he is saying something that should shake the very foundation of their society. Yet, not even one minute of screen time is devoted to a serious discussion of the issues. It reminds me of the episode Cardassians, in which the key decision of the story is made off-screen and without any explanation. I can't help but think this episode could have been improved by cutting some of the fluff and giving at least 7 minutes or so for both sides to air their arguments and giving the colonists some time (whom should not be unanimous in opinion) to struggle with their decision.

It's odd too, since I think the early seasons of DS9 has benefited from good pacing and structure even during its weaker episodes, unlike TNG which seemed to struggle with it so much early on.
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JMT
Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Royale

This was the very first episode of Star Trek I ever saw. I remember I was in a hotel room on a family vacation with my brothers, and while I watched they would explain the characters to me, like Worf was from a race of warriors, and that Data was an android. I didn't find the show particularly interesting, and I had trouble understanding why the space men were in a casino.

Watching this again as an adult, I was struck with how absolutely boring the episode is. Perhaps it is a credit to how well the bland purgatory of the Royale came to life, boring its audience in much the same way it bored the poor astronaut who stumbled into it. As a child I suffered through it attempting to understand the ludicrous, as an adult I suffered through it with smartphone in hand, playing Sudoku.

With the exception of Shades of Grey, this is easily the worst episode of Star Trek for me. It's as bland and boring as my grandmother's pot roast.
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JMT
Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

It's interesting how changes in real modern science contradict the future scientists of the 24th century. In the teaser Crusher mentions that Barkley has 100,000 genes, whereas today it's only thought that humans only have around 20,000 to 25,000 genes.

The main criticism appears to be the implausibility of this episode. However, Science fiction should still be treated and regarded as fiction. How many episodes are resolved with the deus ex machina known as technobabble? The Star Trek setting allows for alien species to interbreed with each other, which is equally as absurd as the premise of this episode. To criticize this episode for its absurd premise misses the point.

All that said, this was pretty boring to watch. It felt like 40 minutes of set up for a 3 minute chase sequence.
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JMT
Wed, Oct 14, 2015, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

One thing that strikes me about Trek is how entire civilizations are represented by a handful of people. Yes, the ambassador was paranoid, but it's hard to imagine a functional society where everybody shares that paranoia.

I've come to think of the portrayal of alien races as simply representing a single facet of the human psyche pushed to an extreme as the most egregious conceit of TNG.
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JMT
Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

One thing I'll say that DS9 has over TNG is the use of child actors. I was also impressed with how pulled into the Garak/Bashir/Dukat dynamic I became. I'm viewing this for the first time so I don't know how everything is going to turn out, but neither Garak nor Dukat really strike me as having anybody but their own interests at heart.

I disagreed with Sisko's choice, and I can certainly see the other side of the issue, but it's disconcerting that the authors felt no need to explain his position. Maybe this is meant to make the Sisko character come off as wise and mysterious, but without the explanation the decision comes off as arbitrary.
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JMT
Sun, Oct 11, 2015, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

When TNG started, I was too young to really appreciate it, but I did find myself watching it very occasionally as I got older. The key word being occasionally, if it was on I would watch it, but I wouldn't tape it or plan my night around watching it. At about the time I was in sixth grade DS9 began, and I thought it would be an enjoyable scifi show to watch just like how I had TNG. Obviously, I was very mistaken.

DS9s story and characters are almost impenetrable to anybody without a substantial background watching TNG and the dedication to tune in week after week. When I was just watching it intermittently, I didn't have a clue what a trill, cardassian or bajoran were. All three of these races, centerpieces of DS9, were just a few episodes in TNG. Don't forget the mystic mumbo jumbo that shows up in the series is beyond perplexing.

Now, I'm watching the series again and I just got through season 1. It's not nearly as painful since I have seen most of, and soon all of, TNG. There's something about the sheer blandness of those bad DS9 episodes which makes me actually kind of prefer season 1 of TNG to DS9. Code of Honor was amazingly entertaining in how horrible it was. DS9s season 1 clunkers, Q-Less or Move Along Home, are just plain boring.

One last thing that bothered me about DS9 is Avery Brooks. His bizarre performance in the pilot was a turnoff. As the season has gone on I feel he got better, and it must be hard being in the shadow of Patrick Stewart, but I still can't accept him as a Starfleet commander.

In any event, my childhood self is in the wrong. From what I've seen, when the show is good it's really good, in part thanks to the intricate scenario work. Duet was the standout episode of the season, and I'd put it up there with Measure of a Man for dialogue heavy Star Trek episodes. Knowing that it's only going to improve, I'm looking forward to seeing more of the series.
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JMT
Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I'm watching this series for the first time on Netflix, so I don't have the insight that many of you have, nor am I able to draw comparisons between TNG and the other spinoffs. I've been reading Jammer's reviews and the comments as I've been viewing the episodes, and I feel that doing so has helped give me more insight into the Star Trek universe while showing very valid alternate interpretations to stories which I would not have found on my own.

The moral this story attempts to put forward bothers me greatly because it simplifies the consequences of our actions rather than acknowledging how complex they actually are. Picard's life decisions are painted as being "correct", and he dismisses his life as a science officer as being not worth living. First of all, if Picard had really grown so adverse to risk, it begs the question of why he choose to be on a starship.

Second of all, I have a difficult time accepting that the risk adverse Picard doesn't have things in his life that Captain Picard doesn't. Perhaps the blue shirt Picard has a loving wife and family. Maybe this Picard isn't so distant from people and has been able to form friendships that the captain couldn't.

Third, Picard seems to be out of character. He always struck me as a compassionate man with an understanding that the world is made of different viewpoints. Just because he moves from being a captain to a science officer, shouldn't lower his opinion of himself. It also just feels like he holds a disdain for the low ranking officers which is out of character.

Also, the episode paints Picard as being cowardly, but I'd think having the courage to stand up to your friend to stop a meaningless fight and taking a chance with a good friend to move from a comfortable friendship to something more does take courage. He did some very risky things, and somebody who would make those difficult decisions sounds to me like someone who would also make decisions that would attempt to advance his career. Even with different decisions, this is the same Picard.

The word Tapestry invokes the images of multiple threads sown together in intricate patterns to produce an entire picture. There is something that strikes me as truly banal about saying if one thread were removed and replaced with another the result is not only different but worse. All of our lives are the product of our decisions, and almost certainly some of our decisions have led to different outcomes than others. However, we don't know how the decisions we make truly effect us and for us or the authors to make the presumptions that "risky" decisions lead to better outcomes strikes me as hollow. The core message, that Picard being stabbed in the heart made him in the man he is today, does illustrate the chaotic nature of how are decisions can lead to outcomes that appear completely unrelated. But it fails in that the outcomes seem to be stratified in a Better/Worse framework rather than a Same/Different one.

Often I read the comments here that TNG presents things in "black and white", and generally I find myself disagreeing. At its best TNG presents a dilemma, ex. "do you kill or communicate with the crystal entity" or the I Borg dilemma, but I feel that as the show matured it became good at not showing one particular opinion as being "correct". While morality is painted in simple terms in Justice or Angel One, Silicon Avatar and Chain of Command give much more latitude to multiple interpretations. This episode feels almost regressive.

While I did not agree with the themes of this episode, I would still say it was an entertaining, thought provoking and competently produced hour of television.
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jmtaylor
Wed, Jun 16, 2010, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

Actually I hadn't thought about that ET, but I must say I totally agree with you. Especially about O'Brian going along. I know if my husband went off on a suicide mission to help another man's wife get into Stovokor, I would not be best pleased!

Good point about all three going on this mission actually.
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jmtaylor
Sun, May 9, 2010, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Call to Arms

Watched this tonight again after a long time. Great ep but couldn't agree more about the 'romantic' side not working. Rom and Leeta's wedding was awful! Worf seemed distinctly underwhelmed at Jadzia accepting his non-offer of marriage. I just thought "Wow, how big-headed are you Dax"? Wait until your asked at least! Great set-up for what is come, can't wait (all over again).
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