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JPaul
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Plinkett review of Last Jedi finally dropped today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f83D18xL7VE

There are some really good points in it, not the least of which is the comparison of the structure of The Last Jedi to that of the 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Vacation. I get the sense Rian Johnson tried really hard to turn Star Wars into a comedy, something supported by the existence of some dumb comedic outtakes.

The most damning thing is an old clip of Rian Johnson talking about how he wants to make movies where 50% of the audience loves it and 50% hate it. I guess mission accomplished?
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JP
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

@Josh Because nobody cares about this movie enough to watch it.
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JPG
Sat, Jun 16, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

You young people! Nobody mentions the Cardassian commander is played by Linda Thorson of The Avengers tv series.
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JP
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

@borusa I could not disagree more--Saul Rubinek's performance as Kivas Fajo is magnificent. For example, when Fajo tries to curry Data's sympathy by attributing his behavior to a "desperate youth, wasted, wasted on the streets of Zimballia" a tear actually wells up and rolls down his cheek. Then, in a flash, Fajo drops the pretense, seeing that Data is unmoved by the story. It's simply one of the best portrayals of a high-functioning sociopath that I've seen on Star Trek, or anywhere else.
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JP
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 5:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT "Where did you get this impression from? what Burnham initially describes as 'an artifact' was actually a ship covered in coffins." I got this impression by paying attention to the show, and it seems I'm being punished for it now. The artifact is actually the Beacon of Kahless, not the Sarcophagus ship. The beacon is entirely separate from the Sarcophagus ship that decloaks.

Given the available information, both the crew and the audience should be thinking, why is there a centuries-old Klingon artifact in this area of space? Since it emits a scattering field that blocks sensor readings, how long has it been there unnoticed? Could it be that the Discovery is actually in Klingon space and might be perceived as the aggressors?

"As mentioned in the episode there's a nearby Starbase and Andorian Colony."

For a sense of scale, the distance of the border between Romulan and Federation space is 1 light year. At Discovery's location, the nearest Federation starbase is 3 light years away. The nearest Andorian colony is 6 light years away. That leaves plenty of room for a misunderstanding about where the Klingon-Federation borders lie, in the absence of a treaty delineating those borders, and with the Federation's borders actively expanding.

Both the crew and the audience are clued into the possibility that the Discovery could be provoking the Klingons by violating Klingon space, albeit unknowingly. Would the Klingons not be justified in disabling a foreign communications relay in their space? This is why I said Burnham recommended an "unprovoked attack", not comparable to the attack recommended by Spock in "Balance of Terror" (where the Romulans crossed the neutral zone to destroy 3 manned Federation outposts) to which you responded:

"Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war. When Burnham went to investigate she was attacked without cause."

All the available information suggests that the Beacon was there long before the Federation relay, which means the Federation's claim to this area of space may have been in error. By boarding the Beacon, Burnham was giving the Klingons cause to defend themselves. There was no justification for Discovery to fire first.
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JP
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT Whatever limited interactions there might have been over the last hundred years, there clearly aren't active diplomatic relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Without a treaty that defines a border, who is to say where the Federation border exists to the Klingons, or where the Klingon border exists to the Federation? What establishes the Federation's claim to this uninhabited area of space? A sole communications relay? The Klingons clearly felt that their artifact gave them the claim--and according to Burnham, the Klingon artifact is "centuries old." This suggests that the Federation may have inadvertently encroached upon Klingon space. The fact that the Federation's borders are expanding makes this an even more likely possibility.

You just said that the Klingons "lay in wait in order to start a war" but now you claim that no one suggested that. Like the writers of Discovery, you seem to have trouble maintaining continuity from one idea to the next.
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JP
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 10:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT "Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war."

Damaging a minor, unmanned sensor relay on the outskirts of Federation space does not mean the Klingons are looking to start a war. And since no one has seen a Klingon in a hundred years, why would you assume the Klingons even recognized this area as Federation space? This situation is no way comparable to the Romulans' crossing the neutral zone--which defines the border between Romulan and Federation space--and destroying 3 outposts full of Starfleet personnel.
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JP
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Adonis
"Rewatched “Balance of Terror” last night and was reminded that Spock surprises Kirk by recommending they attack the Romulans first. A nice bookend with “The Vulcan Hello.” "

Wrong. In "Balance of Terror" the Romulans crossed the neutral zone, and destroyed three Federation outposts before Spock recommended an attack. It is in no way comparable to the unprovoked attack recommended by Burnham in "The Vulcan Hello." This kind of half-hearted attention to detail is exactly what is wrong with Discovery.
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JP
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

You know what the Klingons would've said to L'Rell for holding Qo'noS hostage? "DO IT. PRESS THE BUTTON. DESTROY US. We've already conquered 75% of the Federation. Our soliders are already occupying countless worlds. Destroying Qo'noS will only spur our soldiers to complete the task at hand--the complete domination of the Alpha Quadrant. Destroying us only ensures that the entire quadrant REMAINS KLINGON."

Of course, these aren't anything like the Klingons we knew, in behavior or appearance. Just as this show isn't anything like the Star Trek we knew. What a steaming, farcical abomination.
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JP
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 9:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

An absurd ending to an absurd show. Suddenly, Burnham starts grasping at Federation ideals when the Federation is about to be wiped out, but launches the perfect plan to foil the Klingons' imminent victory--just have a woman take control of the Klingon Empire! What a bulletproof plan! See, it's bad if the Federation threatens to destroy the Klingon homeworld, but if a Klingon woman does it to seize power, it's totally justified! Good thing you could trust L'Rell to go along with a plan that helps save the Federation, and foil the Klingons' imminent victory! All you had to do is hold the Klingon Empire hostage with the threat of genocide--way to "Remain Klingon!" Burnham then proves herself the moral superior of Sarek, the Federation admirals, and every other moral degenerate in the Federation. Her life sentence in prison for mutiny and starting the war is pardoned, and her rank of commander is restored. But the Mary Sue ending won't be complete until Burnham becomes the captain, so stay tuned for Season 2! Oh, and the Enterprise shows up, 'member the Enterprise!? Member it???
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JPaul
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I don't blame Jammer for waiting until TLJ is released on disc/streaming/vod. It's a lot easier to review a movie when you can pause, replay, or just watch the movie multiple times.
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JP
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 1:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

The idea of letting a Klingon Manchurian candidate roam the ship free after undergoing an unknown treatment by his Klingon handler/programmer was ABSURD. The crew had no way of knowing that Ash was going to snap in the first place, so there's absolutely no telling when he might snap again. And who's to say that Ash wouldn't be sending secret communiques to the Klingons or otherwise subverting Discovery's mission? What an outrageous risk Saru took by letting Ash run free--and for what benefit?

Stamets' reaction to the murderer of his partner was subdued to the point of absurdity. Stamets should be demanding that Ash be confined to quarters or the brig, but instead, he's somehow satisfied knowing that Ash feels just terrible about what he did! But that absurdity was eclipsed in the mess hall, when Tilly decided that the murderous Klingon spy looked lonely sitting by himself. Ash is not just some misfit who needs a friend: HE'S A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED KLINGON SPY. The Federation is now overrun by Klingons, billions of lives hang in the balance, and they're letting a KLINGON SPY RUN FREE ON THE SHIP AND COZYING UP TO HIM AT DINNER!!!

DOESN'T ANYONE NOTICE THIS?? I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!
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JP
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

I just wanted to point out the idiocy of the name of the battle here--"Battle at the Binary Stars." There's nothing distinguishing about binary stars--half of the star systems in the known universe are binary star systems. Might as well have called it "Battle Between the Carbon-Based Lifeforms."
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JP
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 11:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

What continues to irk me is that the mirror universe arc began so promisingly by placing Discovery at the scene of a battle near Organia ("Despite Yourself"). This is also why I brought up "Errand of Mercy" in an earlier post. In that episode, when a giant battle was about to play out between the Klingon and the Federation fleets at Organia, the Organians put a complete stop to it. Why didn't they stop the battle this time? Perhaps the Organians will play a deux ex machina role later on in the show, but what's taking them so long? With each successive episode, I get the sense that the Discovery arriving at Organia was just arbitrary. Either that, or someone on the writing staff had a great idea about how to salvage the show with the Organians, but was ruled out in committee.

I continue to ask myself what the point of the mirror universe was. There was nothing Burnham learned in the Mirror Universe about how to forge peace with the Klingons, and instead, she's just traded one crazy MU warmonger for an even crazier MU warmonger. And now they're all thrust into a situation where there's no choice but to fight. Based on the promo for the next episode, the Emperor is presumably going to help them win the war against the Klingons--and she's certainly not going to be helping forge peace with the Klingons. This means the Discovery will either triumph militarily or lose militarily against the Klingons. If they triumph, not only would it be wildly unrealistic and non-canon, it would also be a justification of the ruthlessness, violence and the xenophobia of the mirror universe--and Star Trek is utterly dead if that happens. If they lose, they'll need to use time travel or a jump to another mirror universe to escape the situation. So what's the point of the show putting us here, 9 months in the future? It's a no-win scenario.
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JP
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 9:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

With the introduction of the USS Defiant, I felt confident that the USS Discovery would not be returning to its own universe, but to the REAL prime universe--the Trek universe we know. Suddenly, the crew of the Discovery would be faced with a radically different universe where there is no war with the Klingons, and where the Klingons look just like humans. Ash/Voq would no longer be a freak experiment in Klingon espionage, but instead, would match the new standard of Klingon appearance. Whereas Sarek in the Terran Empire universe saw Burnham as a "boundless well of human compassion", in the REAL prime universe, Sarek would see her as an illogical, unhinged barbarian, itching for war with the Klingons. The crew, which had grown comfortable with the idea of waging a defensive war against the Klingons, would now find themselves discomforted in a situation where war is neither imminent nor necessary, perceiving a Klingon threat where there is none.

This would be reminiscent of the theme in the TOS episode "Errand of Mercy." To Kirk, the Organians were primitive, helpless innocents, peaceful to a fault, lacking the will to even defend themselves when faced with an occupying Klingon force. Kirk perceives the Klingon threat as imminent and self-evident, unable to comprehend the Organians' insistence that there is no danger. For a time, we share Kirk's disgust for the Organians, and cheer on his efforts to commit acts of terrorism and violence on their behalf. After all, Kirk's preemptive violence would avert far greater violence under Klingon occupation. As we soon discover, the Organians were correct--they were never in danger, and Kirk's efforts were completely unnecessary. The Organians were, in fact, far more advanced than human beings, and exemplified a standard of morality, idealism and non-violence that put Federation ideals to shame. With this revelation, Kirk realizes that the "Organians are as far above us on the evolutionary scale as we are above the amoeba."

I saw this mirror universe arc as an opportunity to to explain why Federation ideals as we knew them are completely absent from the Discovery "prime" universe. Only when faced with the abject barbarism of the Terran Empire universe does the crew of the Discovery feel civilized, and do their ideals and methods feel righteous. But in the REAL prime universe, the Discovery crew would realize their own barbarism, and how their stated ideals are paper-thin and farcical. I still hold out hope that the series will move in this direction, but with each episode, the possibility seems increasingly remote.
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JP
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

Well, Discovery has officially lost the plot. Mindless action. Mindless slaughter of characters. And now mindlessly abusing the mechanics of time travel and the mirror universe to bring us back to the Klingon War. Oh no! How are we going to win the war now, with Burnham being a "boundless well of human compassion"? Guess war-obsessed mirror Lorca was right all along--too bad he's dead now! Luckily, we've replaced that filthy white male with the most ruthless, murderous woman in the mirror universe. She'll show us how winning wars is done!
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JPaul
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Palpatine's plan is very simple at first - cause a trade dispute to make current Chancellor Valorum look bad and force him to resign, thus opening up the position of Chancellor for himself.

But things go wrong for Palpatine when the Jedi interfere and threaten to resolve the trade dispute, thus making Valorum actually look good (Valorum is the one who asked the Jedi to intervene). Even worse, the Trade Federation (who just want more profits) start to get cold feet once the Jedi are involved. Palpatine sends his apprentice Darth Maul to take care of the Jedi and prevent Padme from ever reaching the senate to make a request for intervention, but he fails.

Once Padme reaches the senate and makes her plea, Palpatine is forced to use his influence to stonewall the process. He then expertly manipulates Padme into turning on Valorum, a man who did what he could to help Naboo, by insinuating that he is weak and needs to be replaced. Padme reluctantly agrees with Palpatine's plan due to the time sensitive nature of her request. She is only leader of one planet but it's enough of a justification to pull in the support of many other worlds who sympathize with Naboo's plight in calling for an election, one that Palpatine winds up winning.

Ultimately Padme winds up solving her own problem with the help of the Jedi, Gungans, and and 8 year old Anakin Skywalker (sigh), but the damage is done. The outcome of TPM seems like a victory for the good guys because the Trade Federation's blockade is defeated, but it's really the beginning of Palpatine's domination over the Senate, the Republic, and eventually the Empire.

I get that not everyone is going to appreciate this aspect of TPM given its many other flaws, but unlike TFA and TLJ it's a movie with a nice plot to build future stories on top of, Palpatine's slow, steady manipulation of key players and events until he controls everything.

Now contrast this with TFA where the bad guys simply flip a switch on a planet sized murder base instantly putting themselves in the same position that it took Palpatine three movies and another 20 years of slow burn to reach. It's lazy writing just to reboot the franchise to the same point it was at circa ANH because rehashing the original Star Wars in a new movie is what would make Disney the most money after they spent $4B buying it from Lucas and needed to recover their investment as fast as possible.
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JPaul
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

And this is my huge problem with what most people like in movies. As long as the characters are interesting and well acted and there are a few legitimately funny moments the plot doesn't matter. People like TFA and TLJ more than the prequels because they like the characters of Rey, Finn, and Poe more than Anakin, Obi Wan, and Padme.

For me, plot is more important. A story about corruption in the government allowing Palpatine the opening he needs to manipulate the Trade Federation into starting a civil war that he leverages into becoming the Chancellor and eventually Emperor is compelling. It's a whole lot better than a story about a terrorist group that sprung out of thin air and apparently has the resources to build weapons a thousand times more powerful than anything the New Republic has. One of these plots seems authentic and very real world relevant while the other feels pulled from a poorly written comic book.
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JPaul
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Phantom Menace is not a great movie, but I'm beginning to believe it has been a bit unjustly maligned for a few reasons.

1) The special effects look horrible by today's standards but were worthy of Oscar nomination at the time. They haven't aged well but people thought they were great at the time because they were ground breaking. And the space effects still look fine.

2) Some object to the political talk that begins the process of explaining how the Republic started to transform into the Empire. I suspect these are people who just want wall to wall action and are the the same ones so happy with TFA and TLJ, movies that don't spend a single minute to explain the political situation.

3) Many Star Wars fans just start frothing at the mouth when you mention Jar Jar Binks and consider Phantom Menace unwatchable just because he's in it. He's a a bad character that doesn't fulfill his purpose (comedy relief), but if you can ignore him somewhat the rest of the movie isn't as bad.

4) Midi-chlorians. Some fans hate that Lucas took away the mystery of the force and made it into a scientific thing. Yeah, it wasn't a good decision, but it's literally one brief mention used to establish that Anakin is the most powerful force user ever found. Just pretend Qui-Gon actually said something more vague like "he has the most powerful concentration of the force I've ever sensed" and you'll be fine.

As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather watch Phantom Menace again than either TFA or TLJ. TFA and TLJ completely ruined Han, Luke and Leia and have horrible derivative plots that seem to be leading nowhere interesting. TPM at least has a few decent moments like the Pod Race, lightsaber duels with Darth Maul, and Palpatine slowly enacting his plan for galactic domination.
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JPaul
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I thought this was the worst Star Wars movie I've ever seen and that's really saying something given that I always assumed Attack of the Clones was unbeatable in this regard. A few of the things I thought were ridiculous:

- A piece of technology that somehow tracks ships though hyperspace, a plot device used just to create a terrible version of the excellent BSG episode "33". I mean, why not just jump twice or more in quick succession to prevent the First Order from using the device? Or even split your entire force in a bunch of different directions and see if the device can track everything while agreeing to meet back at a specific location if not followed? Is it a device that grants the First Order omniscience or something?

- Sublight speed chases in a world of FTL. If the Resistance really couldn't jump without being followed, why does the First Order not make a short jump ahead with some of their force and cut off the Resistance ships? Or attack with faster small ships like Tie Fighters?

- Gravity bombs in outer space.

- People using the force to communicate or even project images of themselves over intergalactic distances (zero cannon for any of this even when the Jedi Order spent thousands of years investigating what was possible with the force and apparently didn't figure it out).

- The First Order somehow knows that Finn and Rose are going to a very specific planet for the express purpose of hiring someone to help them disable a hyperspace tracking system, and decides to plant a double agent right in front of their noses instead of just having them detained there or killed. All for dramatic purpose, so Finn could have his pointless dramatic showdown with Phasma and then escape.

- An ultimate master of the dark side vastly more powerful than Kylo or Rey being killed by a lightsaber sitting next to him being turned slightly and ignited via the force.

- Leia surviving minutes in a vacuum and using the force to pull herself to safety. If Leia is so great with the force, why did she need Luke, why didn't she learn the ways of the force herself and use them to fight for the Resistance?

- The Deus Ex Machina of a light speed ship used as a super weapon battering ram that destroyed virtually an entire First Order fleet... after just letting a bunch of light speed capable ships be destroyed when they ran out of fuel. Why weren't those abandoned, then set automatically or with droids to light speed ram the First Order fleet earlier?

- The idea that a planet with a big shielded cave can somehow withstand the weapons of the First Order, a group that built a planet sized weapon fuelled by a sun that could simultaneously destroy multiple planets at interstellar distances. For that matter, why not just send an empty ship to lightspeed ram the cave because apparently that works.

- The whole Poe mutiny plot that was a severely watered down version of BSG's "Blood on the Scales" and sees him not even being given a slap on the wrist. But he learns his lesson, no more trying to perform heroic deeds for him. Han Solo is rolling in his grave.

- Luke Skywalker being responsible for the creation of Kylo Ren, then shrugging his shoulders and deciding he didn't care what he'd unleashed on the galaxy and running off to nowhere hoping to die in seclusion but leaving a map of how to get there for some reason.

- Force ghost Yoda calling lighting down from the sky and acting like crazy Yoda in ESB does before revealing he is the jedi master to Luke (shoutout to redlettermedia for pointing this out in their review).

In addition, the movie is mostly pieced together from bits of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Rey's belief she can turn Kylo and the throne room scene is ripped from ROTJ, just executed less meaningfully. The Finn/Rose plot is a rehash of ESB, just more pointless and without the quality C3PO/Han/Leia comedy and romance. The Luke/Rey scenes are a poorly done version of ESB's Luke/Yoda scenes. Horribly derivative, bad attempts at humour at moments that are supposed to be dramatic, illogical plot devices, ignoring the cannon of what has come before, this movie has it all. Absolutely terrible. I won't be paying to see another Star Wars movie that's for sure.
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JPaul
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

I enjoyed this episode, but it did feel a bit like a missed opportunity. There is a tiny amount of discussion about the society itself but no information about how it became the way it is, something that was frequently a hallmark of classic TOS episodes.

For example, it would have been interesting if this society was once similar to ours, but decided to shift to a more direct democracy in order to combat the corruption of elected leaders. It might have led to a debate about the merits and pitfalls of both systems but maybe I'm expecting a bit too much given that this show isn't actually TNG or even TOS.
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JPaul
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 10:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

They already established that they have holographic technology, so it makes sense that they would have a holodeck as well.

Let's face it, technology is made through a slow, steady, iterative process - it doesn't just magically appear in a perfect form one day. The TNG holodeck is *perfect* and there had to be earlier inferior versions that preceded it in order for it to exist. Riker was impressed by the holodeck in TNG S1 because he can't tell the difference between it and reality, the same way we would be impressed today if in Rogue One the computer generated Leia and Tarkin were completely indistinguishable from the ones in A New Hope.
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JPaul
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

There was a hint at the end that something is not right with Stamets after the jump so I expect it to be the focus of at least one episode. I think he'll go insane or wind up being coopted by some outside force due to the jump experience.

After 5 episodes I am no longer sure why they called this "Discovery" when "Horror" would be a much more appropriate title. Zach Snyder gets a lot of flak for turning the DC hero universe into a dark murderverse, but what he's done is nothing compared to what's going on here. I can't imagine what Roddenberry would think if he were alive to see what his creation has been turned into.
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JPaul
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

"@JPaul Why is knowing the Beatles here any different than us knowing the works of Shakespeare or Bach or who Cleopatra or Julius Caesar are?

If anything, with advanced tech (we already see this), historical figures/literature/etc. are amazingly preserved for continuing consumption."

@WTBA
Expecting someone raised on Vulcan to understand a reference to an Earth rock band that had it's peak of popularity nearly 300 years in the past is pretty ridiculous, but maybe that was the point? In any case, it just seemed like one of The Orville's constant stream of 20th/21st century references inserted for no reason, probably the biggest thing I don't like about that show.
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JP
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 1:19am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Oh, and it should have been Michael (that name!) saying she was raised on Vulcan and she had a step-brother named Tuvok.
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