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James G
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

Comments here apply to both parts.

I was really looking forward to this one - the idea of Data's head being discovered in San Francisco was fascinating and intriguing. In practice, the whole story turned out to be, for me, an overlong dog's breakfast of fanciful nonsense. It's comfortably one of the worst-conceived ideas of the whole Trek canon, so why it was singled out to be padded and stretched out to a two-parter is beyond me.

Now - I know you have to suspend your disbelief a bit in science fiction. Especially in time travel stories. But Christ on a Bike, there's so much wrong with this.

This idea that the aliens are invisible because they are living in a fractionally different time - why? You'd just see them as they were a fraction of a second previously. There's no character development for the villainous aliens at all. Why is it even necessary for them to be visiting 19th Century Earth from the 24th Century? Their own time could just as easily be the 22nd Century, or the 26th, or even the 13th!

Star Trek period pieces always bore me I'm afraid but the Mark Twain character makes this one unbearable.

There's a curious feature in this story in that Crusher appears to speak a lines intended for Geordi: "I haven't been able to determine if our phaser energy can generate a stable field". Similarly for some reason early on in the first part, Geordi turns out to be an expert in cellular fossils, and their origin.

I think it's just really sloppy writing.

There's some real, awful technobollocks around this idea of "synchronic displacement".

We're supposed to accept that Data's head is over 500 years old now, for the rest of the canon.

I quite like the idea that Guinan was in 10th Century San Francisco, even though it's a bit of a coincidence. She continues to live for another five centuries or so before she turns up on the Enterprise. I sort of like that. But at what point in this timeline do the Borg attack her planet, and leave the rest of her species wandering like nomads? She already seems to have that existence.

Data tells us that there is "no way to prevent it", on the subject of his severed head. You just can't change destiny. But Guinan refuses to tell Riker what he should do, on the basis that you can change it. The whole 'First Contact' movie is based on the idea that you can. Who's right?

I wondered if Data building some sort of improbable technology from 19th Century bits and pieces was an homage to Spock doing similar with 1930 tech in City On The Edge Of Forever.

Anyway the various plot holes and logical faults are not really the problem here. It's just not engaging or interesting, it's not coherent and all the fanciful flamboyant tripe like the old bugger with the cigar and Picard's acting troupe, and the old Irish landlady are grindingly boring.

For me the worst episode of the 5th series, and - hopefully - of the 6th.
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James G
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

I watched the first of this two-parter a few days ago, and the second part just now. I really didn't like it. But I'll summarise my thoughts about both parts in the comments for the concluding part.
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James G
Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

I'd seen this one once, before, but I'd forgotten how mind-scaldingly brilliant it is. I must have, because until this afternoon I've considered First Contact and Who Watches the Watchers? to be my favourite TNG stories.

This is so affecting. The masterstroke of this one is that Picard comes to accept and embrace his new life. He even has children that he can't imagine being without, and the moment he suggests a nursery to his wife was a real jaw-dropper for me. One can imagine that in a TOS story, Kirk would have fought against his illusion until he found some way out of it, probably by blowing up a computer somewhere.

There are of course some problems with this episode. I'm loath to write about them because despite them, this TNG story was absolutely fantastic telly.

But anyway -

The civilisation on the doomed planet seems quite simple, almost even agrarian. No dramatic cityscapes with pointy towers, no replicators, or transporters, etc.

They do have missile technology, we learn, but only just. How do they build a probe capable of identifying a passing space vessel then beaming a 30-year 3D reality into a starship captain's brain?

Picard must bring knowledge of his life in Starfleet to his new life. There must be a definitive way, via understanding perhaps of technology they don't have, to establish that he is Not Of Their World. Yet over time he seems almost to accept that his former life was a delusion .. or does he? It's never quite clear.

Surely after losing his new life, the old one would almost be as hard to accept, all those years later, as his life as Kamin was, when he wakes up on the doomed planet. One can imagine him raging against it .. no .. NO this is just an old dream! But he adapts very quickly.

It occurred to me that to make a man lose his wife, friends and children, real to him albeit actually an illusion, is actually an abuse. But then again - even in the illusion, they are doomed by their planet's star. Perhaps that's the point. Millions of the planets inhabitants lost their lives and families.

It crossed my mind that a nice touch might have been for someone to retrieve the program from the probe, and extract its data to make a holodeck program from it. But on further consideration - no. The finality and the loss of that society makes the story more emotional.

Anyway. That last scene, with Batai and his family gently explaining to Picard the meaning of the apparent last few decades of his life is really haunting.

Bravo.
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James G
Fri, Sep 18, 2020, 6:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Next Phase

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. But more than any other TNG episode I can think of, it requires a concerted suspension of disbelief. You have to be prepared to overlook a lot of nonsense, but if you do, it's worth it.

I was slightly bothered at first that I was able to see Ro, as a viewer, when she was supposed to be invisible. But I got over that. However - if she and Geordi are out of phase with the universe as we know it, how come it only works one way? Why can she see the rest of the crew, the ship etc etc.

And if Ro and Geordi can't physically interact with the known material world, how is the shuttlecraft able to convey them across to the Romulan vessel? How does it propel their mass? We do actually see her touching objects on the Bridge - her chair and the console - when she first goes there, and there's no sense that she's unable to feel them.

I loved it when the Romulan gets pushed out into space; I was hoping that was going to happen. But I'm not sure how he, Geordi or Ro are able to breathe even when they're on the Enterprise. How are they getting air into their lungs? How does the normal-world oxygen get into their out-of-phase bloodstream?

Observant viewers will have noticed that, to provide the illusion of movement, the stars outside the shuttlecraft window are shown to drift slowly past. But it would have to be moving at many times the speed of light for that to happen.

The Romulans never get their come-uppance in this one, and that's a shame. Not even a snarky word or two from Picard before the Enterprise departs.

It occurred to me that the out-of-phase technology would be a phenomenal tool for espionage.

I didn't really like the way the Romulan ship was shown to be in a state of disaster, with little bonfires on the bridge. And it seems odd that the Enterprise away team turns up without any sort of breathing equipment into an environment like that.

I thought that Geordi might have tried to send a message with his bursts of disruptor fire under Data's nose in Engineering - some sort of code or pattern.

Riker offers to give the Romulans a computer core from "30 or 40 years ago", unless I misheard. Why would the Enterprise be carrying old technology like that? Really odd, I thought.

Anyway - despite all of the above, I was highly entertained.
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James G
Thu, Sep 17, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

After a run of poor episodes, a very good one. I think the most interesting aspect of this one for me is that Picard and Guinan, normally the wisest and most humane of characters, are the most hawkish. Some of Picard's justification for his intention reminds me of comments made by Dubya and Rumsfeld during the laughable "War on Terror"; not a good look. if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.

I noticed that Guinan addresses the captain as "Picard" in this one; she may collect glasses in Ten Forward but there's no-one in the ship that she doesn't converse on equal terms with. I liked that. And the scene when she confronts "Hugh" is phenomenal.

I quite liked the idea behind the "virus" intended to infect the Borg collective consciousness. It's not really plausible, but at least it's ingenious - much better than just the abstract notion of a computer virus. It reminded me of an old sci-fi horror film from the '70s - either Demon Seed or Colossus, I forget which - in which someone tries to stop the despotic computer by making it calculate an insoluble mathematical problem. As I recall the computer insists on having the culprit shot in view of one of its cameras. But I digress.

There are some problems with this episode, of course. Perhaps most conspicuously - would the Borg really care much about one missing drone? Why? It's a society with massive redundancy and resiliency built in, so why would they go looking for Third of Five if he hadn't been found at the crash site?

Picard takes pains to hide from the approaching Borg cube's sensors in the chromosphere of a star, yet he's sending abundant knowledge of their existence back with "Hugh". Not only that, but Geordi is literally standing around when they turn up. Surely the Borg have some way to analyse and draw conclusions from information like that.

Even so - one of the best of the fifth series so far.
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James G
Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Imaginary Friend

The latest in a run of mediocre episodes, I'm afraid. I suppose this is TNG's attempt at mild horror.

This notion of weird conscious entities that enter starships like a little glowing light - there are a few Star Trek stories like this - it's just too fanciful and metaphysical.

Is it reasonable to assume that a normal child could accept his/her imaginary friend becoming real, and visible? I don't think so.

Finally, it's preposterous that the entity creature defends its actions on protecting / defending Clara, a few minutes after it threatened to kill her.

Pretty dull.
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James G
Sat, Sep 12, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

It had been a very long time since I'd seen this episode, and I had no idea that the metamorph was Famke Janssen. I must last have seen this one before I saw Goldeneye in 1996.

Anyway - I didn't much like it. Even though Beverley is on hand to provide the case for the prosecution; even though it's made clear that Kamala is doing what she does willingly, I still find the notion of a woman's life dedicated to be a gift very troubling. And the scene in which she's presented in a veil at the end is stomatch-turning, as is Riker's "another man's gift" comment.

Other problems: Picard is far more drawn to her than he should be, when she is really just an illusion. She's like the "pleasure GELF" from an episode of Red Dwarf, which come to think of it must have been made at roughly the same time. Everyone experiences her differently. She's a bit like a mirror.

Furthermore, the fact that Picard bangs her (yes he does, it's obvious from his non-reply when asked how he could resist her) seems like an abuse of his rank, or his diplomatic status.

Who are the thuggish aliens in 10 Forward? Are they supposed to be crew? Perhaps they're the Holodeck 4 cleaners, in there spending the bonus they got this week.

The Ferengi, despite their reputation as troublemakers, are apparently given free reign to wander round the ship. Ridiculous.

Not an episode I'll ever revisit.
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James G
Fri, Sep 11, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

I didn't like this one. The various Klingon parenting stories irritate me, and combining one with a heavy dose of Lwaxana is guaranteed to grate on me. The awful holodeck scenes that seem to have been conjured up by a 14 year old girl were the rancid, toxic icing on an already inedible cake.

Then again I did like the dancer chick with the body paint on.

The subplot about the metal parasites doesn't kick in until the episode is half done, and it's not convincing enough by a long way to rescue it. How would space-travelling metal parasites possibly evolve, anyway? How do they propel themselves through space and onto passing starships?

However - the gag with Lwaxana turning up naked for her wedding is quite amusing. So is the conflict scene with everyone arguing at once about Alexander's dinner.

Deanna looks really nice with that hairdo in the mud bath.

So: this episode is not without its compensations, but nothing to redeem it, for me.
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James
Thu, Sep 10, 2020, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I'd also predict that TNG is going to age a tiny bit better. By the time the 24th century rolls around phrases like "hell yeah, that's what I'M talking about!" accompanied by high-fives are going to seem as head-scratchingly silly and hilarious as early 20th century visions of a future run by chrome vacuum-tube based monotone talking robots. Not that I think anyone would be the slightest bit interested in watching this in even 20 years time from now.
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James G
Wed, Sep 9, 2020, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

A splendid episode, and one that reminds us how flexible TNG can be. The last one was an implausible but engaging time anomaly story, this one is a tense courtroom drama.

I was especially pleased to see Ray Walston in this one, because the very first TV programme I can remember is My Favourite Martian, and that may have been what kindled a life-long interest in sci-fi. The scene where he and Picard talk as they stroll through the gardens reminds me of Picard visiting his brother in France.

Some really good performances by others as well, here. The guy who plays the dead cadet's father conveys a wonderful sense of dignity, sometimes acting just with his face.

But the dialogue between Picard and Wesley is terrific - no familiarity or affection, just the stern formality of a displeased senior commander addressing a cadet. So tense.

I will say that it's odd that these Starfleet vessels practice their manoeuvres so close - a few metres away from each other? Why? Generally when the Enterprise has a shoot-out with another craft they're at least a few kilometres apart. It's also rather odd that the "starburst" trick of igniting plasma still works over 100 years after it was last attempted (and banned) - I guess the technology of space travel hasn't moved on much in that time.

Nice to see a model of the Apollo Command and Service Module in Wesley's quarters.

It's a shame Locarno couldn't have been reused for Voyager instead of being reincarnated as Tom Paris. I would have enjoyed the continuity. I understand this was considered but I think it's fitting that he was expelled, given that he got someone killed then tried to cover it up. I don't think there's a way for someone with that back story to be a regular on the Voyager crew.

Anyway - I think this one is my favourite of the fifth series so far. Superb.
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James04
Wed, Sep 9, 2020, 4:07am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

I couldn’t watch much of this. WW2 is still too recent, and casts too long a shadow. To make out of a catastrophe of that extent, in which tens of millions died, the setting for a ST story - set on a holodeck of all things - has the effect of trivialising the War. And that leaves a bad taste. Nazism was an all too real tyranny, with real victims - that I think is why the spectacle of the Hirogen cavorting around in German uniforms is troublesome, even offensive; the mixture of science fiction and reality does not work. The Nazi episode in TOS is holodeck-free, but no less embarrassing to watch..

The two episodes made the same mistake as many other holodeck episodes: they destroyed suspension of disbelief. They did this, by adding a layer of fictionality onto the fiction that is the Trekverse; not by adding more science fiction to a universe that was already scientifictional, but by adding a lot of what might be called “costume drama” to the scientifictional Trekverse. Using WW2 as the costume drama, when it was so obvious that those in the costumes were familiar starship personnel or their familiar opponents, was asking for too much suspension of disbelief. ST is not meant to be about dressing up as Nazis, Romans, gangsters or Anglo-Saxons: it is not a costume party. It is supposed to be science fiction.

Episodes with holodeck stories all too easily give the impression that the writers wanted a rest from science fiction, and therefore, since they were writing for a scientifictional series, tried to dress up the episode as something else. Barclay on the holodeck in TNG works, because his holodeck fantasies, however preposterous, are about people he knows from life on the Enterprise D - his holodeck life is organically related to his life as a member of the crew. And his fantasies reveal his personality. These holodeck episodes were not like that. There is no reason for Seven to be a chanteuse in WW2 Paris, or for the Hirogen to be Nazis. To present these characters in those roles, fits very poorly with what has already been told about them.
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James04
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 7:54am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Prey

Janeway’s justification for helping the 8472 was ridiculous. What was needed, was a justification for not letting the Hirogen hunt the 8472. What Janeway gave, was an anecdote in defence of being compassionate to a deadly but wounded enemy. A defence of the moral goodness of being compassionate to a wounded enemy, is a valuable moral lesson; but it is no justification at all for not letting the Hirogen hunt the 8472. She missed - or evaded - the point entirely. Sometimes, compassion to one can endanger many. Sometimes, ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few - or the one’.

Janeway’s attempt to manipulate Seven into being compassionate was very poorly timed, and absurdly transparent. Seven’s “No !” was a welcome douche of common sense and prudence, When Seven opposes her unwisdom, Janeway defends her self-contradiction by (1) raising her voice (a frequent sign that the speaker is losing the argument, and knows it): and (2) resorts to special pleading. When she loses the argument, she switches ground again, and orders Seven to do what she wanted. The exchange was indeed “fascinating”.

That is not a criticism of the episode, but of the imprudence and illogic of a character in-universe. My sympathies were with the wounded Hirogen, and I thought Chakotay was needlessly aggressive to him. The 8472 was a very formidable enemy, as that species is seen to be in other episodes; and Janeway and Chakotay ought to have had the sense to listen to a hunter of 8472 who knew what he was talking about. Sometimes the nasty guy knows better than the good guys what he is talking about. Starfleet personnel can be too self-assured at times. The disaster of Wolf 359 should have cured them of that.

The episode is also a comment on the Prime Directive - if Janeway had bothered with it, the events of the episode would not have happened. The episode is a contradiction of Captain Archer’s behaviour in “Dear Doctor”, when Phlox and he choose to let a species die rather than give them the cure they need. The PD is an effective plot device - as a moral principle it is lousy, because it is treated so inconsistently. No wonder Janeway ignores it.

Seven is never afraid to talk back - for me, this is one of her most appealing qualities. Janeway should have acknowledged that Seven saved the ship from almost certain destruction. The episode is not one of Janeway’s best.

4 stars.
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James G
Mon, Sep 7, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

A time anomaly story with a strong Twilight Zone flavour would normally be right up my street, but I was left feeling a little unsatisfied by this one. I liked it, I was entertained, but actually I enjoyed some of the preceding episodes more.

Time travel / loop stories never withstand close scrutiny, of course. But this one does have a huge flaw in my view. How can the crew possibly "remember" events that haven't happened yet? If they are actually caught in a "time loop" then there should be no way for memories to filter through. And by the same token, if things play out a little differently from one iteration to the next, then it's not a time loop. It's not the same "time".

Similarly - if things are slightly different in each loop, then the same things won't keep happening exactly the same way. Data won't shuffle the cards in precisely the same order. And so on. Chaos theory, and all that.

Also - the idea of an android giving himself a subliminal suggestion is a bit over-elaborate. It makes for a fun plot device but surely some sort of brief message like "evacuate the cargo bay!" would be more practical.

Why do drinks glasses break so easily in the 24th century?

It's odd that a location as vague as "20,000 kilometers off the starboard bow" should be used in Starfleet parlance, especially in three-dimensional space. And when the ship does emerge, no-one seems to notice the obvious - that it's a Federation vessel.

Great to see Frasier turn up at the end. But we're asked to believe that the USS Bozeman has been looping around time for 90 years. Wouldn't their crew's deja vu make every single second of their existence utterly predictable by then? Beverley's able to predict a poker hand after looping round for a matter of days! Surely they'd have figured it out within a year or two at the most.

Anyway it shouldn't be hard for them to return to their old time; Kirk used to travel back in time routinely.

A mildly enjoyable episode. It reminded me of the old Guy Pearce film 'Memento'. I liked it, but it's not one of the best fifth series stories by a long way.
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James G
Sat, Sep 5, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Sad one, eh? When I first saw this one it was clear to me that it was an allegory on homosexuality and acceptance. And I think that that is what was intended, especially with the dialogue about the planet's gender deviants seeking each other out in secrecy; reminiscent of stories of pre-'60s Britain, when homosexuality was illegal.

If this episode had been made in the present day it would probably be interpreted by some as being about attitudes to trans or non-binary people. But it isn't, so let's not go there.

I really loved this one. I found it really quite touching. It's nice to see Riker falling for someone who isn't obviously feminine or "hot". I must admit though that his behaviour, beaming down to the planet with Worf then engaging in physical combat with the locals, is outrageous.

It hadn't occurred to me before I watched this one again but it's clearly the inspiration for the Orville episode in which a female child ends up being dis-gendered to honour her species' tradition.

It's odd that Soren is so curious and ignorant about gender when she asks Riker about it. Firstly because she identifies as female, and secondly because her people seem to have had plenty of contact with other species. She's extremely adept at handling the shuttlecraft controls. Is every other species on her planet androgynous? The insects we hear chirping in the trees, for example?

The woman who plays Soren gives a wonderful performance. Beautifully understated and other-worldly.

Superb episode.
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James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

This episode was 4 stars for me.

It had a solid concept. Good action. And presented a moral dilemma. Could the exception have been slightly better? Sure. But an overall great episode.

The General is going to have a tough time explaining all this to his superiors since Archer took back all the equipment and the X-rays etc. Imagine his superior turning up, seeing the base in disrepair and its personnel in disarray. And the explanation for all this is "aliens".

I did wonder about the explanations they gave since they've now created the impression "The Alliance" has all these sophisticated weaponry/technology.

Couldn't they have transported the device once they confirmed (whilst at the bar table and a scan proved it) that it was indeed in the building. I thought the reason they couldn't initially was because they couldn't narrow down its precise location down from an orbital scan.

Once discovered, I wonder if they could have moved to introduce themselves. Because initially it seemed like the General was open to the idea of aliens.

I enjoyed the episode.
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James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Precious Cargo

The "Tribunal" scene alone was superb. At least 1 star for that, come on!

I thought this was a decent episode. The language barrier thing was great. I thought the actress playing the princess was all right. I just found the security on the ship has been dreadful in various circumstances.
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James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Dead Stop

PHENOMENAL episode. 4 stars, or at least 3.8 stars.

I just realised that it's B'elanna's voice playing the computer. It was very cool to see future technology of the Federation at work. Great space station.

I liked that it was able to repair the ship the way it did. I'd have rather not had the "stealing people" plot though. I found it was a bit confusing on first viewing, though now I understand it was trying to increase computing power using the power of the organic cortex. However, perhaps that would be better served by the Station requesting one person in return, or something to join it similar to the "Think Tank" in Voyager.

I thought that Trip and Reed should have been demoted after such stupidity. They were violating the agreement that they had entered into.

It was very cool to see this "AI" station and how it operated. Rather scary that it was repairing itself at the end. Frightful.

Perhaps a plot line could have been added that this was an ancient Iconian station, and various species were also trying to lay claim to it to possess its technology.
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James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Minefield

Great episode. 3.5 stars at least.

Reed seems to have a death wish though.

Great to see the Romulans. Perhaps I'd have added something about them being concerned about the Earth vessel being able to "detect" their mines also.

The transporter issue people are bringing up here should have been handled by an explanation added into the plot of some type of "magnetic interference" emanating from the mine rendering transporting difficult with the transport capability (limited) of the Enterprise (given it is a new technology for humanity and not that advanced as the TNG era).

I'd also have added Archer/Hoshi trying to talk down the Romulans by asking the Romulan captain what he would do if one of his people were down there, or something.
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James
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Vanishing Point

Episode works because Hoshi is hot and a Linda Park is a great actress.

I liked the story. I think it might have worked better had it not been a dream though. There was an episode in TNG where Geordi and Ro get temporarily cloaked. I'd have preferred something similar for this episode of Enterprise - e.g. if there was a transporter accident owing to the storm AND the aliens trying to use their own technology to get on Enterprise undetected - the result of which was Hoshi going out of phase/technobabble.

Then have the same scenario play out. Except the thing about Hoshi not understanding languages part which didn't make sense. I would keep the part with Hoshi stepping onto the pad and overcoming her fear.

I wish we had more Hoshi episodes. Especially because in the pilot it appeared that Archer specifically requested her for the mission suggesting they were friends.
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James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Catwalk

@Focksbot - I think they mentioned that the space storm was travelling at Warp 6. I was just wondering why they couldn't have the Enterprise take a safer orbit - since they mentioned the ship could survive with certain measures and that Sickbay/the Catwalk were safe. The crew could go down to the planet which had been deemed safe. The storm would pass (at Warp 6). Then the crew could just go back to the ship surely.

But I enjoyed the episode. It made for an interesting scenario. To try to retake the ship where they'd only have a limited time protected by their suits. To destroy the ship. Etc.

Points for Porthos being "Number One" in the Catwalk command centre.
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James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cease Fire

Agreed with Quibbles.

Great episode.
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James
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Crossing

I liked this episode. Yes, there could have been an alternative story about encountering new civilisations. But the story this episode had was pretty decent as a thriller.

The ship looked like an Independence Day style ship that basically did a Bond style scoop up of the Enterprise. I thought it was interesting when some crew members were essentially compromised and they had to have Security confine them.

Hoshi is hot. The scene with the compromised Hoshi trying to trick the Doctor was cool. I found it hilarious that the Doctor had to go to see the patient with a phaser/gun. Reminded me also of Voyager's doctor being the only immune last defence against hostile forces.

Perhaps not destroying the ship via a multi part episode banding together with "good guys" within these lifeforms would have been preferable to destroying their ship and killing them.

Given the circumstances, the Enterprise acted in self defence and was justified in destroying them. They were after all trying to take the ship and the lives of all aboard.
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James G
Wed, Sep 2, 2020, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

A superb episode this one; possibly one of the very best of the fifth series so far. These more personal stories are not really my thing; I'd far rather have a confrontation with Romulans or an alien entity taking over the ship's computer. But this personal story was actually quite compelling.

It's difficult to imagine that Starfleet health & safety protocols are so poor that a heavy item of cargo can flatten someone in a cargo bay. It's also hard to imagine that a civilisation with warp drive, replicator and transporter technology can't fix a broken spine (either Beverley or Russell uses the word "humanoid" to describe Worf. Wouldn't it be amusing if the other "humanoid" species had a similar convention? I'd love to hear Worf describe Riker or Picard as "klingonoid").

Anyway - upon this shaky foundation, a rather engaging story is constructed.

I find Picard's attitude much wiser than Riker's. Riker's speech to Worf in sick bay is a bit overcooked. It's selfishly human-centric. But it has a powerful twist, when he insists that Worf's son should be the one to assist him to die.

Patrick Stewart acts beautifully in this one - check out the uncertainty and caution in his manner before he asks Beverley to consider using the experimental treatment.

I'm not a liberal, or a feminist. But this episode passes the Bechdel Test very handsomely, and that's unusual and welcome. But I find Beverley 's stance and dialogue rather sanctimonious.

A nitpick - Russell describes Klingon anatomy as a good design, but not practical. But evolution doesn't do impractical. It doesn't throw in superfluous ideas on a whim, like rear seat vanity mirrors in a car.

I think there are some actual good old-fashioned CRT monitors in sick bay in one of the scenes when we see Riker in there.

The twist when we see that Worf survives after all reminded me of Spock's inner eyelids preventing him from going blind.

It occurred to me that this would have been a very good way to write out Worf's character, had that been necessary. It would have been dramatic and effective, much more so than seeing him lose his life in some Klingon factional conflict or to a Romulan disruptor. Powerful and unexpected, like Henry Blake's demise in M*A*S*H.

Anyway - really very good.
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James G
Sat, Aug 29, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Power Play

The old bodysnatchers ploy again, eh? Quite popular in original series stories if I remember correctly.

I quite liked it - interesting mystery, quite suspenseful. I do think it would have been better if the alien entities had actually turned out to be from the crew of the Essex, as we'd been led to believe. But I quite like the idea of a penal colony for disembodied cosnciousnesses. A bit like the Phantom Zone, and I suspect that Superman II might have been the inspiration for this episode. The three villains do remind me of Zod and his two sidekicks.

Speaking of which - it makes no sense that an Android could be inhabited and controlled in exactly the same way as Troi and O'Brien, but it does give Brent Spiner an opportunity to indulge his mean side. I think he has a penchant for villainous roles.

The solution to the problem - a containment field - seems a bit easy. It's an anti-climactic conclusion.

That shuttle looks tiny on the surface of the planet. Nice to see Ro again. Very odd that Picard so easily lets O'Brien risk his life in what Geordi says is a 50/50 risk of death.

Not a great one, not bad.
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James G
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

Another very good one, I thought. It makes no sense that MacDuff doesn't make himself an admiral. But other than that I think it's a pretty coherent episode. I must admit that I didn't think the crew reacted "naturally" to suddenly being without memory, but the camera work when they do is nicely unsettling.

Worf's self-appointed spell in command is a lovely touch. Ensign Ro improves any episode she appears in (though why - given she's an ensign, does she appear so prominently in the manifest?)

It's hard to accept that a culture that's apparently so backward, technologically, to the Federation - despite being an extremly warlike race, they have only weak and underdeveloped weaponry - could so easily overcome the crew and its computer systems.

I laughed when the crew manifest came up and the computer wrote the text to the screen like a teletype. A mid '80s home computer could fill a screen with information retrieved from a floppy drive a lot faster than that. That's one of my sci-fi pet hates. Computers of the future always display information one letter at a time.

Kirk would have ended that war. I can't buy that Deanna would beat Data at 3D chess. Or anyone, really.

Good one! I hadn't seen it before and the mystery and suspense held up throughout.
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