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JPaul
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

Discovery is basically Next Generation if:
- Picard was killed after Encounter at Farpoint and Thomas Riker became captain.
- Data and Geordi were non speaking roles, with Troi completely absent.
- Worf was promoted to first office after Picard died and the fact that he was the only Klingon in Starfleet was a shoulder shrug.
- Beverly was killed off halfway through season 1.
- Wesley Crusher was an actual crew member and occasionally dropped f-bombs about how much he loves science.
- The alien from the S1 episode "Where No One Has Gone Before" was the ship's chief engineer.
- An emotionless Tasha Yar was the central character of the show and constantly saving the ship instead of Wesley Crusher.
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JPaul
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
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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JPaul
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
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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JPaul
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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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JPaul
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Oh, by the way, the new iPhone X has a better security system than their breathalyzer ripped from Alien Resurrection tech does.
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JPaul
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

This was one of the most bizarre episodes of "Trek" I've ever seen. I still can't understand why Michael is to blame for starting a war with the Klingons. Weirdly, even she blames herself and thinks she deserves to rot in prison for the rest of her life instead of telling everyone she meets that her idiot Captain wouldn't take her advice on how to avoid war. Georgiou even got herself killed in the attempt to capture T'Kumva - maybe instead she should have beamed over a squad of heavily armed security officers, who did she think she was, Kirk?

To continue, we have an immoral Captain of Discovery who makes Section 33 look like a bunch of schoolchildren who is working on a mutant alienesque killing machines and wacky spores that make warp drive redundant in order to kill the Klingons. Oh, and probably Genesis, but with the intent to use it as a weapon (speculation at the moment, but still).

We also get a main character who casually spouts Lewis Carroll while her life is in immediate danger, a crew member who thinks people in the 23rd century know who the Beatles and John Lennon are, and a borderline functional cadet with zero experience who gets sent on an incredibly dangerous and vital away mission.

It's like bizarro Star Trek, the exact opposite of what Roddenberry envisioned. Instead of everyone getting along in a bright future it's a nightmarish place where no one is nice to anyone. Are we sure this isn't the Mirror universe or something?
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JPaul
Wed, Sep 6, 2017, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: General Discussion

The interesting thing about this show is that it's a very different take on Star Trek than Discovery - no Deep Space 9 vs. Babylon 5 clash of the 90s here.

I won't be surprised if it errs on the side of too much comedy while Discovery tries to be too serious. The perfect show is likely going end up being something in between the two.
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JPaul
Tue, Apr 18, 2017, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

So let's get this straight. They're bringing back the character of Harry Mudd for the new series and they cast 51 year old Rainn Wilson in the part.

Roger C. Carmel, the original actor was 35 when he first played Mudd and it's a prequel series so the character should be at least a little bit younger than he was on the original series. Yet they cast an actor who is 16 years older.

Insert Picard face palm image here.
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JPaul
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The thing that's most concerning about TFA as a whole is where this trilogy is going in the future. It really seems that they've painted themselves into a corner somewhat, with Rey being set up as Luke Skywalker 2.0, Luke as Obi Wan/Yoda 2.0, Fin as Han Solo 2.0, BB8 as R2D2 2.0, Kylo Ren as Darth Vader 2.0 and Snoke as Palpatine 2.0. It's fairly clear what's going to happen over the course of this trilogy based on the events of the original trilogy, and it's going to be very difficult for subsequent writers/directors/producers to change direction a third of the way through.

If the next movie features jedi training scenes with Luke and Rey, Fin and the Resistance trying to escape the New Order, and some sort of familial revelation involving Rey it won't be too much of a surprise. At least in the prequels there was some sense of a new story being told, even if the execution was abysmal.
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JPaul
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

@Chrome

They've already said they're not doing an extended edition or director's cut version of TFA. It desperately needs one though, as many have pointed out the movie doesn't take 5 minutes to explain the most basic things that are going on.

Overall, TFA is a poor version of ANH, combined with a few other throwbacks to the original trilogy. In ANH the entire movie is built around the need to destroy the Death Star, from the opening scene to the end, giving it an elegant simplicity and cohesion. In TFA, the destruction of the Starkiller Base is almost a throwaway, the bulk of the plot is built around the location of Luke Skywalker and it's never really explained why that's so important. The dumbest thing is that at the end it's revealed that BB8 only had a portion of the map and it would have been useless to the New Order without the additional piece of map contained in R2-D2.

My theory with the popularity of TFA is that it has a few legitimately funny moments, a few likeable characters (Rey, Fin, BB8, Han Solo) and a decent villain (Kylo Ren). People didn't like the prequels because there were no likeable characters, all the intended humorous moments fell flat, and there wasn't a good visible villain until halfway through Revenge of the Sith.

It's sad, but most people don't care how nonsensical, pointless, or poorly explained a plot is as long as they get to watch characters they like make funny jokes on screen.
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JPaul
Sat, Nov 7, 2015, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

The message Data sends to himself is "3" because if he sent himself "1" it would be too obvious to the viewer. "1" would clearly mean 1st officer (Riker) or even the first suggestion made when Picard asks for suggestions. Either interpretation tells them to decompress the shuttle bay over using the tractor beam. They wanted the meaning of the number to be a mystery to increase interest, so that it's not obvious how the episode ends until it actually ends.
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JPaul
Sat, Nov 7, 2015, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

One option would be to create a series that eschews the traditional capsule episode format for a more serialized version of the show that's only somewhat been seen on DS9 and Enterprise. The modern TV show is much more of a serialized entity, and that's something that hasn't really been explored on Star Trek since the last series ended in 2005.

A show like Game of Thrones is the perfect example, you can't miss an episode if you want to know what's going on. Content creators are no longer burdened by having to assume that their audience won't be able to see every episode in order whenever they want to, and that's not something that's been true of any Star Trek series ever.

Another option would be an anthology series. They probably won't go this direction, but it has a lot of potential, allowing individual writers to explore whatever part of the Star Trek universe they want to explore. Imagine a 3 episode run that shows the story of Khan back before he was exiled from planet Earth. Or a few episodes done on the Human-Romulan war. It's incredibly safe because even if you're not successful with one story arc, maybe people will like the next one better. And you can bring in special guest stars from earlier Trek series whenever you want.
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JPaul
Sat, Jul 4, 2015, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Savage Curtain

This episode could have been better had the writers actually come up with a reason for Evil losing to Good other than Kirk being amazing at hand to hand combat. Evil has a tendency to turn on itself and it seems reasonable to me that at some point, possibly with the right push from the Good group, the Evil group would have self-destructed due to infighting.
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JPaul
Sun, Jun 7, 2015, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the similarities between this episode and the DS9 Season 3 episode "Defiant".

Both episodes have the same basic plot line - Starfleet officer goes rogue with a starship to expose Cardassian secret operations. Said officer seems crazy at first but is eventually vindicated by events, and is punished anyway with no significant change occurring as a result.

"The Defiant" is a much better outing because it operates in the context of a Federation/Cardassian relationship that has already been established in DS9 and doesn't waste time on what Miles and Keiko are eating for breakfast. Also it's much more clear that Tom Riker was right in "Defiant", while "The Wounded" only heavily hints that the Cardassians are engaged in something underhanded.
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JPaul
Tue, Mar 31, 2015, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Requiem for Methuselah

I found this episode interesting because in retrospect it functions very much as a precursor to themes that TNG would explore with Data. The most directly related TNG episode is "The Offspring", but there are also links to "The Measure of a Man" (Kirk showing that Rayna can be human and should be allowed to make her own decisions), as well as "The Most Toys" (an android dealing with being considered property).

Having watched most of TOS now, I can say it's surprising how much material was borrowed from it for later use in the feature films and episodes of TNG.
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JPaul
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Resurrection Ship, Part 1

"Is Cain crazy? No."

She had civilians killed for resisting her orders, killed her XO for disobeying her order to (stupidly) attack a superior force and believes that she can defeat all Cylon occupying forces and retake the 12 colonies (even though they are so radioactive as to be basically uninhabitable for any serious length of time).

Yes, she is very crazy. Read the Wikipedia page on psychopathy and she checks off lots of traits. A few of my favourite: Grandiose sense of self-worth, conning/manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, callous/lack of empathy, failure to accept responsibility for own actions, lack of realistic, long-term goals, impulsivity, fearlessness.
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JPaul
Thu, Oct 17, 2013, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

Weyoun-7 says that Weyoun-6 is defective, but it seems clear to me that Weyoun-7 doesn't know everything Weyoun-6 knows. If Weyoun-7 knew the Founders were dying, he wouldn't agree to have Odo killed, the last remaining healthy founder. I think the Founders realized they made a mistake telling Weyoun-6 the whole truth after it precipitated his defection.
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JPaul
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

I would argue that having the Prophets destroy the Dominion fleet was not Deus Ex Machina. A fundamental part of DEM is that it is completely unexpected.

As viewers, we've seen the Prophets stop ships going through the wormhole on multiple occasions. We've even seen them alter the mind of the Grand Nagus and transport the false Emissary hundreds of years into the future for their own purposes. It's well established that they will interfere if they choose and that Sisko has a unique relationship with them that might be used to influence them to act.
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