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James G
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

Not a big fan of this one but I do like it. Thematically quite similar to 'The Hunted' which precedes it and quite a lot less silly in some ways. It works on a crude level to explore the old "one man's terrorist" chestnut.

I smiled at the notion of a united Ireland by 2024, about four years from now as I type, as casually mentioned by Data. In the Star Trek universe the republican terrorist campaign ultimately won peace and unification in Ireland apparently. That's not what happened in the real world where it set those causes back at least a generation.

I quite like the way that it's a bit dark. People get killed and ultimately there's no happy ending, despite Riker's optimistic parting shot. Kirk would have solved all of that society's problems in half an hour.
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James G
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Not a big fan of this one. The plot takes a few liberties. How did Danar come to have such expert knowledge of Starfleet technology, even knowing how to power a transporter with a phaser? The hide & seek part of the story is overlong. The whole thing is reminiscent of '60s sci-fi, with stunt doubles engaging in punch-ups (Mission Impossible, Land of the Giants, and (yes) Star Trek).

Danar is just a bit too unconvincingly invincible. He leaves trails of unconscious security personnel in his wake, like an alien Jack Bauer. Despite this he looks more like a geography teacher, though he acts well.

Still - not bad. I was entertained but it's not a classic.
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James G
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 5:43am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Clever one. I like this one a lot. The only criticism that this one provokes really is a very general one - the Enterprise is sometimes claimed to be a science and exploration vessel, but there's an armed conflict with some interstellar foe or other every other episode. I think I'd prefer Federation starships to be represented as military vessels. No kids on board. The writers mostly use them in that sense anyway.
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James G
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Not a fan of this one. The cheesy romantic bits are awkward in any Star Trek story, and even though here they do add something to the drama when Riker is forced to take lethal action, I still find them a bit of a drag.

But is he? Is there no way for anyone present to stop Yuta from coming into contact with her intended victim, short of vaporising her with a phaser? Is there no-one who can overcome her physically even when she's stunned (twice)?
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James G
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

Sort of a so-so episode for me. Nothing much wrong with it but the romantic aspect is a bit hard to take and some of the scenes between Troi and Ral are off-the-scale cheesy. Participation by the Ferengi never improves an episode. It stretches my credulity too far to accept that a species as immature and petty could have mastered science and technology sufficiently to become a warp-capable civilisation.
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James G
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

I liked this one. Not the most memorable, or inspirational. But the technobabble game in this one is strong. Often, I can't suspend disbelief when Star Trek characters are conversing in techno-nonsense. Here, I could.

One thing I thought amusing was that while the ship was on emergency energy, the lights were dimmed in the meeting room where Picard and his chief officers discussed their options. Imagine how energy-efficient artificial lighting must be in the 24th Century. And consider how much power that lighting consumes, as a fraction of the output a starship must be capable of.

In a drama aboard a WW2 submarine it would have made more sense. But even here it works as a sort of metaphorical effect.
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James G
Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Bonding

Average 'Twilight Zone' type episode. The major flaw with this one is that the kid's personality and reactions are a bit Midwich Cuckoo-ish - he's far too calm when he's told his mother has died, and indeed when he believes he's been reunited with her.

Not the young actor's fault, of course.
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James G
Sun, Nov 17, 2019, 5:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I've been watching the whole series through from the very first over this last few months, and reached this one today. Some of them I remember watching thirty years ago, some I hadn't seen before. I had never seen this one. Although they're all enjoyable in their own way, I think this is the first one that doesn't provoke a nagging inner voice complaining about some improbable plot device or oversight. This one just flew past. I was utterly immersed. Brilliant.

A couple of thoughts though - did the writers miss a trick by not having Kevin turn out to be a member of the Q Continuum? he seems to possess similar power, being able to snuff out an entire race on a whim provoked by rage. And he has a similar fascination with, or weakness for, humans. That might have been a nice tie in.

And secondly, a similar complaint that I always have about the 'Q' episodes. Doesn't the Federation have a lot to learn from a being like Kevin, or Q? Q can make vessels travel at many times maximum warp speed. Kevin has similar extraordinary power. But Q is treated like the annoying, embarrassing uncle who turns up at an awkward time. Kevin is just left to live out his (endless) life on a remote shell of a planet.

I don't like to think that these individuals are practitioners of "magic", so shouldn't the Federation be urging them to pass on a few secrets? Or at least ask for some sort of help or alliance; imagine what someone like Kevin or Q could do to a fleet of invading Borg cubes given the right motivation.
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James04
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 8:57am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Death Wish

At last I know what I dislike about Q and his kind: they are totally egocentric. Self-obsessed bores do not make a good episode.

1 star, for a good beginning. The rest of the episode was lousy.
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James04
Mon, Aug 26, 2019, 12:13am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Projections

This was a good holodeck episode, “Ship in a Bottle” good. Not a silly holodeck episode, with Picard and co. dressed up as 18th-century Naval officers, and not twee, and much better than a Janeway holonovel episode. This was also much better in every way than the episodes exploring, about whether Data is human, because the exploration of the Doctor’s status arose entirely naturally from the logic of the events in the story and the series; it was not preachy, as so much of TNG is.

It was good to see Reg Barclay - we always see a great deal of the Bridge officers, and it was a pleasant change to see a lower-ranking character get some of the attention instead. On the whole, Voyager divides its attention between the Bridge officers, and the all-important lower ranks, rather well; better, perhaps, than TNG does.
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james04
Sun, Aug 25, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Squire of Gothos

One of my favourite TOS episodes. Far more alien, even eerie, than many that were more impressive in production values. And far superior to Q in almost every way. Trelane would have made a much better Q than Q. At times the episode had the tone and atmosphere of one of the more disconcerting Twilight Zone episodes. The lion’s share of the credit for that belongs to the excellent William Campbell, whose mercurial Squire was unpredictable, friendly, ingratiating, wheedling, incredulous, hurt, tantrum-throwing, and terrifying by turns.
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James04
Sun, Aug 25, 2019, 3:32am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

A worthy forerunner to a very good film.
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james04
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 4:53am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

It was quite watchable……until the Tin Man’s re-hashed nonsense about the Gadgets of the Week being alive. Sorry, but they are not alive, and neither are is the TM. The TM is a sophisticated machine, nothing more, which gives the illusion of being more because it is the invention of script-writers who are more. Data is as genuinely tiresome as the well-hated Wonderboy was said to be.

The episode stopped being intelligent, and became tiresome. Machines with angst are funny, now and again, because they are ridiculous, but when the angst never lets up they become tedious. Data needs a convenient airlock - or better still, a trash compactor. Unfortunately, that does not happen in TNG. But human beings, unlike St. Rubbish-bin, are expendable.

And having a weird hairstyle like something from Cosmo does not an alien make. Ray Bradbury was able to make even things on Earth seem alien - a gift far too few script-writers in ST shared. TNG is all too often a soap opera in space.

Still, at least the nauseatingly twee Trevis and Flotta were not inflicted on the viewer. Mercifully, neither was the unbearable Q. But an episode does not become a good episode merely because detestable characters do not feature in it.

Two stars.
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James Smith
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 7:12am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Paul - people keep saying that the first two seasons of TNG were awful, as if every episode in those two seasons was. I genuinely don't think that's the case. Yes, there was some rubbish - some of it offensively bad ('Code Of Honor', 'When The Bough Breaks', 'Shades Of Gray'...). But there were stand-out episodes as well - '11001001', 'Heart Of Glory', 'Arsenal Of Freedom', 'The Measure Of A Man', 'Q Who'.

So far, in two seasons STD has produced *one* good episode of Star Trek IMO. 'An Obol For Charon' was a genuinely good Trek story fighting to get out from underneath STD. I'm sort-of amazed at how little praise that episode generates. But then maybe not, because it's emblematic of how far away my impression of STD has been compared with others. Jammer rates this episode three stars for example - I'd give it one for the VFX, half for Anson Mount doing his best with the material, and zero for quite literally everything else about it. Plot points that make no sense, scenes where characters stand around talking for ages when time really would be of the essence, SMG sliding into an abyss of poor acting choices (she really can only do one face even vaguely well, that wide-eyed look of panic)...

And the cop-out ending, desperately trying to claim that canon is now sorted because they just won't talk about the ship or crew ever again in continuity. Well I'm sorry but *fuck* whoever wrote that and thought 'yeah, that will do'. If that's any indication of how poor the writing in this series is going to continue to be then I'm out.
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James Smith
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

So, what did the Star Trek universe get out of the 29 episodes of STD so far? Did anything have any lasting consequence? The USS DiscoBall and spore drive are gone. So are the sphere data. A bunch of people have disappeared and aren't going to be talked about ever again. The Klingon war made it almost to Earth, before stopping and there seemingly being few repercussions or lasting effects from it.

So, with the greatest possible respect to all involved, WHAT WAS IT ALL EVEN FOR?!?!?! And what d'you suppose was the plan to get STD to sync up with canon *before* they wrote this sprawling mess of fairly epic VFX set pieces linked with clunky dialogue? Was there ever a plan to do so? Were they always going to shoot the DiscoBall into the future?

Because if so, if going to the 33rd century was always the plan...*WHY NOT ****ING WELL START THERE?*
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James B
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Distant Voices

@Springy,

I too thought it was Garak's holosuite program. He tells Julian 'Happy Birthday' at the end of the show when Bashir states he's glad he's not 100, which relates to his comment during their parallel discussion at the beginning of the episode about how he feels old he's turning 30, i.e. Garak giving Bashir an appreciation for his youth through the holoprogram is Garak's birthday gift to him.

Furthermore, while Garak played the Lethian and gave Bashir the opportunity to 'accuse' him in the ops centre, Bashir missed this and told him that he's actually the Lethian (when it is in fact vice versa). While both are villains, it is Garak who is the real 'villain', and this ties into Garak's comment about Cardassian detective holosuite programs, whereby everyone's guilty, but the challenge is finding who's the most guilty (or something to that effect). This, plus Garak being Garak with his Garakisms in the closing scene, makes me quite convinced it was all part of Garak's unique birthday gift to Bashir.

Regardless, it's still quite ambiguous, and for this reason I still like it a lot, despite how boring and heavy-handed the metaphors were in the brain-damaged sequences (perhaps purposely put there so we ourselves are tricked and deluded into that thoughtline, as Bashir himself was by Garak's holoprogram).
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Bob James
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 4:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

Such a pathetic episode.
The major crisis is the Holodeck doors won't open...

and if they open the doors by force, it will kill everyone inside the holodeck.
Solution...Wesley Crusher saves the day.

Why would someone write something this awful and think it was a good idea?
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Commander Jameson
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Family

If this episode had been titled 'The Best of Both Worlds (Part III)' – which is effectively what it is – its reputation would arguably be much higher. As it is, it's superb and incredibly moving. And Worf's parents are adorable.
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James04
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 6:49am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

Q is an obnoxious jerk, and a very little of him goes a very long way. For a supposedly omnipotent being, he does very little with his powers. The episode would have been much better without Q, or at least without the silliness that is seemingly inseparable from the character.
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James
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

It's no doubt an exciting episode on a cinematic level, but when you think it through it doesn't make much sense. And one of the things Orville has over Discovery so far is that most things that happen made sense. Here you have a civilization of ultra-powerful yet emotionless robots who are extremely secretive (why?), who hide the bones of their victims underground (why?), who obviously are extremely advanced yet need thinking time to decide whether they want to join the Union, and who decide to invade Earth (why Earth?) despite being able to colonize millions of other uninhabitable planets. The last is probably the most glaring because there is no need for "coexistence".

Perhaps these will be cleared up in Part 2, but so far it's basically Doctor Who level of sci-fi.
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james04
Wed, Jan 23, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

The Rasmussen character has the most punchable face in all ST. Which is saying something. I really like the scene in which Punchbag-face tries being cocky and annoying once too often, only to have Picard shout at him with unmistakeable, but well-controlled, anger. I find it troubling that the bridge crew accept Rasmussen so readily, and tell him so much.

I thought the end wrapped the whole thing up nicely. 2.5 stars.
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james04
Wed, Jan 23, 2019, 4:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

One of the very best episodes in TOS, and in all of ST. 4/4
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james04
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

“Except it had been communicated with in previous episode with Lore. And communicating with a rampaging death sentence is not hip. It's a threat and you wipe out a threat of this magnitude - not try to get to know it while it poses an immediate danger.”

I agree with that. Picard had the right idea, but his timing was off. If an enormous, dangerous, deadly space-entity thas has recently killed thousands is after your ship, trying to negotiate with it is irresponsible. Negotiate with it by all means, but only once it can do no harm. Then is the time for dialogue - but not while it is free and able to kill. Dialogue with an entity that can do no harm because it is no longer a danger allows one the freedom to destroy it, if need be, without requiring that as the only safe course of action.

It might conceivably have been an infant, that had to eat in order to grow. And killing it could have been very unwise, if it had had parents to go all Mummy Bear on its behalf. Those questions could, perhaps, have been answered, had it not been killed.
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james04
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 8:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

Move Along Home is the Sub Rosa or Threshold of DS 9. 1 star - just to be generous.
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james04
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

@Peter G:

Thanks for replying.

“but the flaw in the episode isn't that the Federation stomped on local law. ”

It is however one of the flaws. The Federation has no right to come in and impose their laws on a planet and a people not under their lawful rule, to which they are strangers. They should have complied with the Edo’s laws.

This could have been a good episode, exploring the tension between the two, but it was mishandled, so the exploration, which could have been very creative, was incompletely realised.

As for the responsibility you refer to - in a better version of this episode, it could have been explored. The defence you make for Wesley might not convince the Edo.
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