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James Smith
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 7:12am (UTC -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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 -5)
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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James
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 4:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Lonely Among Us

A planet named Parliament ? Sorry, but I just can’t take that seriously. And why is an android posing as a fictional detective ?

2 stars. mostly because the aliens were interesting enough to prevent the silliness completely ruining the episode.
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James
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 3:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

STM this is essentally a Shyamalan fan-fic crossover with TNG. It reminds me of the craziness that is “Lady in the Water”, and also of Australian aboriginal folk tales.
This really was not that bad, IMHO. 2 or 2.5 stars, I think. It was vastly better than certain holodeck episodes.

My only substantive gripe with it is, that, yet again, Data brings the ship into danger, and yet again, gets off with no consequences. No human would be allowed to do that. I always did prefer Geordi. Data is annoying.
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James Tiberius
Fri, Oct 5, 2018, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part II

Strangely it's a rather accurate episode, as this is how modern neoliberal governments see the "unemployment problem". Give people jobs no matter how useless or meaningless, and everything will be okay. Never mind that the whole purpose of jobs in the first place is to get things done that need to be done - my pride is hurt too much by having to rely on "handouts" so I'm going to riot so I can get the privilege of being an elevator operator or some other totally pointless job, because I need it to validate my own self-worth in the eyes of my more "productive" fellow human beings.

The ghetto is a big problem, but if Bashir had proper 24th century training in psychiatric medicine you'd think he would be treating most of these people for their psychological distress due to extreme lack of self-esteem and ego-dominated thinking.
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James
Mon, Sep 3, 2018, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I understood Sisko's phrase "I CAN live with it" as one that introduces serious doubts about whether it was actually the right thing to do. If he was really sure he was morally in the right, he wouldn't have been going over it in his mind as he does throughout the episode. But as humans do, he is prone to try and justify it to himself, completely in private, almost as a style of confession. This is part of the reason this is one of the best DS9 episodes. If it had just been a straightforward story without the recollection aspect it wouldn't have held that same status.
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James
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Emergence

This is definitely one of the episodes that is better high. I love it when Trek makes weird, almost psychedelic scenes as in Masks and that one where they're watching the operating table materialise.

I also like that this is, in a sense, the Enterprise's very own Family Tree episode.
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James
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 3:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part II

@Peter G

"TNG allowed for no such imperfection in the Federation ethos, as even the TNG Klingons, while cool and all, are never taken seriously as having a legitimate point of view that can stand on its own two feet."

That is what disappointed me most about Discovery, since in the pilot you got a sense that the Klingons might actually have a point. They were shown as an alien culture with alien values but you could see where they were coming from in their thinking. It was a promising set-up which incomprehensibly devolved into Klingons=bad, Federation=good. If they had focused on the diplomatic side of things, trying to reconcile Federation and Klingon values and how to maintain peace between two very different cultures, then things might have turned out differently. But that was obviously far beyond the writers' capabilities and would have required serious consideration of a "globalism versus cultural freedom" debate, while the show's producers were clearly more interested in mindless entertainment.
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James
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part II

@Yanks

"What I always hated was just how easy (in the 24th century) it would be to make everyone happy."

I think that's somewhat of an internal inconsistency within Trek, in that characters talk about how post-scarcity and how great it is, and how evolved they are from the bad old days of yesteryear, and yet nothing has really changed from today. People still get unhappy, sad, and depressed no matter how high their "quality of life" is, and the human condition is the same.

In a way, it's one of Trek's stronger points (if I believed it was intentional) since it's exactly what we're doing today, and will be doing as long as believe "progress" is the answer to all our problems. If it were possible to create perfect happiness by arranging the world to our liking, by the 24th century they would surely have done it already.
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James04
Mon, Jul 23, 2018, 4:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

The Dal’rok is plausible enough, if one remembers the Id Monster from “Forbidden Planet”. What takes rather more swallowing is the appearance of the Dal’rok - it resembles a cross between the Michelin Man and a scrambled egg. Its appearance was about as unthreatening as could well be imagined.

2 stars, I think. The B plot with Jake, Nog and Varis was much better handled. The inclusion of Odo was a nice touch.
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James
Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

Man, this is one to watch baked. You can see the Picard-Crusher relationship so clearly. Amazing stuff, 3/4 indeed.
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James04
Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Supplemental log: 4 stars out of 4. The choice of Picard for that mission rather than Data seems wrong, but not sufficient to cost the two-parter anything. Two-parters always seem to be strong episodes.
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James04
Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Commander Riker acted very unprofessionally in getting into a stand-up row with Captain Jellico. That set a bad example, and showed a lack of self-discipline, and a want of respect for the Captain. Objecting to an order that seems inhumane or imprudent or otherwise uncalled-for becomes wrong, once the Captain has made it clear that the objection has been dismissed and that his decision stands. What is the point of a chain of command, if the Captain’s final decision is, after all, not final ? Someone has to have the final word: a starship is not a democracy. If obedience to an order that is not illegitimate is made to depend on the approval of those commanded, obedience to authority is at an end; what is the point of joining Starfleet, if one’s obedience to orders is to be contingent on whether one agrees with them ? Riker goes a long way to trashing Captain Picard’s glowing testimonial to him, and that is very sad. (I suspect the inclusion of the testimonial was meant to show that Riker’s objections would be justified; if that is what the writers intended, they managed to undermine the point they were hoping to make.) Riker’s behaviour when the Captain visited his quarters seemed very off-hand; a Captain deserves respect because of his rank, whether one likes him or not. A First Officer should know that.

If Riker had simply been doing his duty of questioning questionable orders, he would not have been so emotionally involved in objecting as he did. The Captain acted properly in relieving him. And showed admirable self-restraint when Riker criticised him - and very unfair criticisms they were too. OTOH, the Captain and Geordi got on very well.

Captain Jellico clearly had the ability to shrug off losses of personnel without being emotionally crippled by them. That may seem callous of him, but I like it, a lot. I liked his direct, no-nonsense, no frills approach. It is a refreshing change from TNG’s reigning assumption that bad stuff can always be reversed. As some previous episodes in series 6 have shown, this is not always possible. Sometimes, bad or idiotic things with grievous results cannot be changed or put right. That kind of realism is welcome. We are a world away from an early episode like “Justice”, which had to betray its own logic to end as it did. (Maybe the Tar Baby Kills Tasha Yar episode was an attempt to retrieve the illogic of “Justice”.) Picard survived his ordeal - but only through credible means that did not pressing the Reset button or the use of other implausibilities.

The Captain’s decision is tough on Picard, but losses of personnel cannot be ruled out if Starfleet plays that kind of double game. The Federation should have delayed signing a peace treaty until it had established that the Cardassians were not up to something. The duplicity shown by the Federation is a spectacular own goal. OTOH, the Cardassians have no right to complain of Federation spying when their own behaviour includes using torture. If the Federation’s behaviour is a lot less whiter than white, that of the Cardassians is a very dingy grey.

Starfleet should not have sent Captain Picard to Centris III. Sending Data, an android incapable of succumbing to torture, would seem to be a better choice. Especially as his powers of assimilating and co-ordinating info far exceed that of a human or human-like being. Data withstood even assimilation by the Borg; it is scarcely credible that the perverted ingenuity of the Cardassians could have been more successful against him.
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James04
Sun, Jun 24, 2018, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Suddenly Human

I thought this was very funny, and it increased my respect for Captain Picard. First Troi quizzes him, then she leaves him in the lurch so he can act as the boy’s substitute father: that was harsh. I don’t think a Starship captain should have to shoulder that kind of responsibility, when he has an entire crew to look after; especially when the crew is a thousand strong. Worf should have been been Jono’s substitute father, rather than Picard, as others have already said.

2.5 stars.
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James
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 5:54am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

Elliott - While I admire the effort you put into your review, I thought it would be helpful to point out that people who read reviews generally aren't interested in lengthy descriptions of the events of the episode. If you haven't seen the episode then it's spoiler, and if you have then you already know what happened.
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