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James White
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

You guys are just too timid to just say fuck you to Kurtzman. Try it; it's easy.
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James White
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Also, anyone who hasn't seen Black Mirror has missed the best anthology sci fi in decades. Especially the first couple of seasons.
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James White
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Tom - with all due respect, comparing Firefly to the Expanse is ridiculous. Just watch it.
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James White
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Quincy - you still have no clue what you're talking about. Stick to film/tv show discussion.

For the rest, I agree this is not the forum to discuss complex, philosophical ideas.
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James White
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Quincy, just stop. Honestly, you're making a fool of yourself
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James White
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Andy's Friend

Thank you for posting something intelligent on the subject of AI and consciousness. I still enjoy reading Chalmers, Dennett, Searle, Churchland, and others. The issue of strong and weak AI, and the hard vs easy problems relating to the same, have been around for a number of decades now. It's nice to see someone paying attention. It's also the sort of knowledge you need to differentiate older Trek, which ponders some of these questions albeit through sometimes incoherent or silly circumstances, and stuff like DSC and Picard which lack any essential desire to confront such subjects (on their own terms) or to recognize the inherent difficulties in even asking the right question (in the first place).

One statement you made was interesting. You said:

"I hope Piletsky's remarks on the necessity of the unconscious for consciousness isn't lost on readers."

Isn't it the evolutionarily driven attributes, like desires and imagination, that at least partly dwell in the unconscious region that give rise to the synchronous cycle you mentioned? The point was that you need this synchronicity to make possible qualia, the internal instances of subjectively experienced consciousness.

The consequence being that if you remove unconsciousness, as you mentioned, you remove that which provokes the mind's cycle toward experiential, subjective consciousness. Yet, at least one of your philosopher sources cited indicates that an adequate substitute for the desires, imaginative drivers, and so forth could be included in the development of a synthetic intelligence, even without an unconscious realm existing. Perhaps as a substrate mechanism or a feedback loop that facilitates the overall intelligence's development.

The point is that a synthetic mind with the qualia Chalmers refers to, in distinguishing strong from weak AI, may not depend on a subconscious state. Maybe it ultimately will, since much of this is still speculative science, but we can't know this at this point. Moreover, and this is the larger point, maybe none of the speculation is warranted, either way, since it still remains unclear whether the conscious, subjective experience itself can be reduced to something that code X within hardware Y can achieve.

In short, this may still be a "hard" philosophical problem, as Data's ambiguous "expression" upon Lal's death exemplifies.
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James White
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Last thing - Jurati is 10x better in Devs. Another show that laughs at Kurtzman.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Take care everyone. Last time I'll post for awhile.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Tim - you really don't understand how the criminal justice system works.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Let's be honest. Nothing in recent Trek is even remotely within the ballpark of the best from BSG, The Expanse, and Black Mirror. There was a time Trek was dominant in sci fi. Some of the best TOS, TNG and DS9 episodes are high watermarks for television, writ large. More than that, they inspired us to wonder, and dream, and move future sci fi writers to create grand new symphonies themselves.

Black Mirror has some extraordinary episodes. The worldbuilding in The Expanse is probably the best we've ever seen in science fiction television. Certainly in the top 2 or 3. BSG is a monumental accomplishment. Ronald Moore is a hundred times the talent of Kurtzman. Hell, the new Lost in Space runs laps around this bland, stupid, nostalgia-reliant deck.

Are there a few shows and a few moments that are genuinely solid in DSC and PIC? Yes, no denying that. Is there anything that really moves any of us in the way Trek used to. No damn way. Maybe these shows will get better. But, honestly, who cares. They just don't matter much anymore.

When you "flatten" Trek, even when you succeed financially it doesn't matter. You miss the whole point of the extraordinary voyage that Roddenberry set in motion all those years ago.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I agree with Booming's assessment of Jurati's culpability. You must have an enquiry to make a threshold determination of mental capacity. You don't just assume it, one way or the other. A psychologist assesses whether, under the circumstances, you acted of your own volition. That you knew what you were doing. Related to this, you ask whether Jurati understood right from wrong at the time she took Maddox's life.

Given what we know, the most likely conclusion is she was aware and was acting of her own volition. It's possible that someone could conclude she was so overwhelmed by the Admonition that she was basically carrying out orders to kill. That she had no real control. I just don't think the facts, as we see them, support this. Similarly, we must ask whether her concept of right and wrong was compromised by the Admonition, such that she honestly did not know that killing Maddox was wrong under the law. This, by the way, is different from whether she believed the act itself was morally justified. I think she was aware that killing Maddox was illegal. Her comments to Picard later are pretty revealing of her state of mind.

So, she's probably guilty under the law. However, the presence of the Admonition and her belief that Maddox is some agent of death could reduce the charge from murder to manslaughter or something similar. Moreover, on sentencing several of these factors could be used to significantly "mitigate" a prison term.

However, her belief that killing Maddox served a greater good would probably be viewed as vigilante justice and not accepted. It might also contravene or muddy the mitigation arguments.

2 years in a mid-level prison sounds about right.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Nick - with respect, you really are missing what everyone is saying. The "fan service" you mention isn't a plus. It's one of the problems. You may disagree with the opinions re the show's quality. But you're cherry picking what you're reading in these threads if you honestly don't know, by now, what people feel are the real problems with this show, with Kurtzman, and so forth. There are dozens and dozens of well written posts. Again, you can disagree with them. What you can't do is mischaracterize them or pretend they don't exist.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Rahul

I'm in a similar camp. Couple of at least noteworthy episodes. None crack the top 40 or 50 of Trek for me.
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James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I'm just curious, is there a single episode from the two seasons of DSC or the recent season of PIC that anyone would put in their top 25 or top 30 list of all-time Trek episodes?
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James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

He was very good, Marvin. That short, little scene between he and Picard is one of the best of the whole season.
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James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I didn't realize there was so much Keiko infatuation here. :)

Breaking Bad reference is pure awesome. So too is Harris Yulin. My 137th complaint for this show is, therefore, a lack of solid guest stars. Riker and Troi don't count.
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James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Robert - like the seventh circle around here. Blub.
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James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Here is how I would "cut" the season for a special edition release:

-- Part 1: Take most of episode 1 up to the point that Picard and Dahj are attacked. Instead of Dahj dying, Picard has a portable, spacial trajector that he fashioned w/ Geordi's help and his residual knowledge from his time as Locutus. Picard and Dahj disappear through the gate.

-- Part 2: Basically, the Nepenthe episode. Edit the episode so Soji is called Dahj. Make a few other adjustments. Add a sequence where Picard collapses b/c of his condition at the end.

-- Part 3: Data visits Picard in his mind, after he's collapsed. Tells Picard how to find the synth planet. They go there with Riker and Troi's help. They meet Soong. Picard's mind is uploaded to the quantum blah-blah-blah server and he speaks poignantly with Data. Life, death, existence, meaning, women. Whatever. They both agree to continue "the adventure," whatever the hell that means. Fade to black.

-- Epilogue: Kurtzman is tied to a chair and is forced to watch Keiko scenes on an endless loop with his eyelids stapled open.

The End
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James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Good catch Trent. Again, for the record, fuck Kurtzman
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James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Mertov - couple of short replies:

-- My belief that Picard is "less interesting" should be explained further. I know Picard is ruminating about his life, his shortcomings, and even the horrors of past events like the Borg assimilation. I guess the problem is the lack of follow up. The anemic amount of connective tissue between these little tragedy sessions and the first season plot itself. Even Picard's "journey" feels like a succession of isolated experiences that do not roll up convincingly for me. In serialized television with only 10 episodes, this really takes me out of the show. TNG Picard was predictably reserved, overly formal, a stickler for protocol. Until, he wasn't. We learned (more) about him in the context of specific circumstances with specific, plot-driven implications. It was more interesting because it was more tightly woven and relevant.

-- I used the interview of Picard to highlight how Stewart played Picard as TNG Picard in the beginning. It's more than whether Picard is still morally-centered. We all agree he still is. It's that he is still strong-minded, capable of controlling a situation, imposing his will really. He reminds you of TNG Picard, even without the ship and command. His interaction with the admiral does the same thing. A better showrunner perhaps could have finessed this so that Picard "out of his element" fit with TNG Picard we see in the beginning. I just think the shift was too abrupt. Too much - Stewart chewing some scenes and getting pulled about (passively) in others. Some of this is admittedly stylistic. But some of it, I feel, is Stewart's acting style. Peter G. makes some good points re why this may be the case b/c of Stewart's own acting background.

-- In terms of "volatility," I concede that a better (or more complete) description could have been given. And going back and looking at Picard's performance after season 1 is over may yield some insights / consistencies that I missed. Of course, that would mean giving Kurtzman another data point to make season 2 w/ the same sort of dreck. :)

Overall, I appreciate your comments, you insights, and your balanced approach. Made me think about ST:P Picard a bit more.
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James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Gerontius - if you think I'm "completely mistaken" then you believe that virtually every other poster on this board is at least partially mistaken. Only YOU seem to be correct in all instances. That's just silly. I'm happy to acknowledge places where I may overstep or miss certain aspects that others bring up. I enjoy the comments from Mertov and Peter G. because they examine things from a different point of view. And I'm confident enough and flexible enough to acknowledge it. Why? Because I know that I'm right in certain instances.

You, on the other hand, seem oddly rigid and incapable of even conceding where you are wrong. And there are several such exchanges throughout the last few threads where you were. Maybe you should take a lesson from "new Picard," put on an eyepatch, and celebrate your own, obvious fallibility in an quirky manner. Stop being such a curmudgeon.
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James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:26am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

I completely agree there, Chrome. I'm finding it difficult to separate Stewart's performance in ST:P from the overall quality of the show. So that's probably part of the issue for me.

BTW - did you ever see Patrick Stewart in the 1975 mini-series of North & South? That was interesting to say the least.
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James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

@Chrome - he played and built one of the most iconic characters ever. Over 7 seasons. I agree that Stewart's acting has range. But his prior incarnation was an exceptional feat. Hell, there are leadership courses that use TNG Picard as an example. That wasn't "wooden" acting at all. That was brilliant acting that created the impression of a highly constrained, naval officer who, beneath the surface, had a roiling soup of emotions and beliefs and needs.

Whether Stewart himself feels "more at home" with this version of Picard is irrelevant. What we as viewers see is all that counts. So I stand by my opinion.

That all said, Stewart was wonderful when he quoted Shakespeare. I can't deny that.
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James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

There is a difference between (1) variation in character, (2) quality of performance and (3) character believability (given in-world facts and assumptions).

I believe the consensus here is that Stewart is deliberately playing a different version of this character. As others have said, it has a different flavor or feel. In some cases, it feels completely upside down. Okay, fine. Stewart warned us Picard would be different.

But that doesn't end the analysis. As critics, we can also look at how well Stewart executed on his task. On how well the showrunners wrote the new character(ization). Here I think there is ample evidence that, even considering the deliberate, upfront alterations to Picard, that Stewart's acting is missing something. That Picard isn't simply different but a paler, less vital, less interesting version, even of a differemt Picard. Sometimes even a prop. Or, at least, the showrunners have successfully given Stewart BOTH DIFFERENT AND LACKLUSTER. You can have both.

And that leads to the final element: believability. Even if you establish a new variation on the character, you still have to EARN IT in world. You can't just wave the magic, change-a-beloved-character wand and say, here you go audience. Is this man, as portrayed in this world, believable given what we already know of the man and the world he inhabits? In a few cases, yes. He's deeply impacted by his failures with Romulus and with Starfleet. Romulus's destruction, and the consequent impact to an interstellar race, may be ludicrous on absolute terms, but it's a part of the inane Abrams/Kurtzman universe we're watching. So you have to live with it. And that means living with a Picard that failed to timely help the Romulans.

So that means Picard holed up for years, turning inward, and apparently isolating himself from even his closest friends and colleagues. That is somewhat believable. Picard lost his brother and nephew, and his first inclination was to abruptly isolate. So I can buy that. And he becomes gruff and angry in his solitude. Also believable to a degree.

But then he is interviewed in the first episode, and WE SEE the original Picard, taking a strong, morally-centered stance against the media's glib and inaccurate account of Romulus, Starfleet and the synth decision. This is the Picard we remember. If Stewart wanted to play a more effusive, quirky Picard that embeds aspects of his own persona here, he shouldn't have given his best performance at the very beginning being the man we remember. Even Picard's run-in with the admiral is still strikingly old Picard. Give me a ship, give me a crew, let me go out there and be the man I know how to be!

When this fails, he turns to his estranged friend, Raffi. He asks for her help and begrudgingly she agrees. Picard has visions of Data. Picard meets with Jurati to discuss Data and synth tech. A nice kind of detective yarn interlaced with intrigue. And eventually Picard meets Rios, and he, Raffi, Rios and Jurati start their adventure. A decent start. But again one in which Picard still felt like TNG Picard grappling with a different world.

It's about this point that Picard displays less believable traits, even considering the in-world backdrop. He goes full on, over-the-top camp in the Ragtime episode. This really felt like Stewart hamming it up. And it was a dopey, inane scheme. Picard wouldn't do this. This is precisely why the scene with Seven at the end is so jarring. We go from this surreal and bad sequence BACK TO Picard. Like Stewart is vacillating between two different people.

This sort of volatility continues in future episodes. In addition, Picard becomes less active in a number of important sequences. He's sidelined watching the other characters move the plot forward. He becomes a bit of a whipping post as well. He seems more gullible as well. He's less in control of just about everything. Part of it might be the effects of his illness. But Stewart doesn't really play this angle, does he? The illness point is dropped until Episode 9, and we know it's brought up as an emotive tool for the Finale and not to justify any prior degradation in the actions of the character.

Stewart feels somewhat like Picard again in the Riker/Troi sequence. But that reinforces the odd vacillation by Stewart. Here he's with his old TNG crew, so why not be TNG Picard for a bit? At least closer.

Overall, I think we all agree this is a different Picard. But the performance feels erratic, adapting to scenes and character interactions in different ways. Like an odd amalgamation of different Picards. And, given what we know of Picard, it feels less believable he would become the sort of Picard we see from time to time: passive, campy at times, gullible even.
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James White
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

In summary, this show isn't very good and this Picard iteration is a downer. Also, Kurtzman still sucks.
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