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James G
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 10:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

A Prime Directive story! I like 'em.

And I really enjoyed this one. I hadn't seen it before. I have to wonder though if the writer even understands the notional purpose of the Prime Directive? I mean - what level of interference in a planet's society could be more harmful than all of its sentient life being wiped out in a catastrophic ecological disaster? Natural causes or not, that's really going to put a crimp on the normal development of their culture and society.

And there lies my problem with this episode. Picard is so obviously in the wrong, and Nikolay so clearly right. But the script never forces Picard to face up to this.

There's a wider point regarding the Prime Directive in any case - there's nothing stopping the Ferengi, or the Romulans, or even the Q from interfering in underdeveloped cultures, so there's a question mark over how effective it is anyway.

There's a really powerful moment when the crew on the bridge witnesses the apparent death of life on the planet, before it transpires that some of it has been saved. Yet it seems so callous just to watch this without lifting a finger, then leave.

The other big problem is the convenience of the Holodeck malfunction. A more imaginative solution was required, I think.

And when the young man leaves the Holodeck - it seems so hypocritical that Deanna tries to calm him, and emphasise that he is among friends, when they were going to let him choke to death on the surface of his planet, mere hours earlier. Why not just kill him with a phaser? End of problem. What's the difference?

And speaking of hypocrisy, Beverley asks Data "how do we even know they'll be able to survive?" when they arrive at a choice of new home planet. Why do you even care?

Despite all of this, I really enjoyed this one. The dynamic between Worf and his brother is excellent, and I don't normally like Worf episodes.

I didn't know Penny Johnson Jerald, of 24 and Orville fame, had ever been in the Star Trek franchise, but I recognised her straight away.

I note that some other commenters have happened upon the same solution that probably occurred to at least 90% of viewers - just make the Holodeck guests unconscious and put them in stasis for a bit. Much less hassle.

Really very good. Probably not quite up there with Who Watches the Watchers? but not far off.
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James G
Mon, Nov 30, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

Superb episode. An intriguing sci-fi concept; that of 'phasing' through solid material. A moral ambiguity over Riker's actions and character that actually brings him into conflict with Picard. Some devious secrecy at Starfleet. And a bit of tension with the Romulans.

Interesting to see a black Romulan. It makes sense, lots of planets could have regions with different climates in which the local humanoids develop different skin colour and characteristics. See also: Tuvok. You could even argue that Worf is a black Klingon, but I think the prosthetics are laid on a bit thick to describe any Klingon as "white" or "black".

I suppose it raises the question though of why we don't see more of them, but anyway. Not important.

It's fantastic to see the Enterprise pot-holing in the asteroid, I loved that. And the confrontation with Picard, in which the Captain fully exerts his authority on his first officer, even concluding their conversation with a curt "Dismissed!" is terrific. The first few minutes set us up quite nicely for this, with Riker comfortable enough to poke fun at Picard at "Captain Picard Day".

I can't really buy the cloaking device just getting plugged into the ship's systems with a bit of fibre-optic cable then taking the whole structure of the ship out of phase, but you have to overlook some of the detail to go along for the ride. I don't get how thrusters interact with the universe you're out of phase with, either.

Also - I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out. Riker comes out of the brig (surely being confined to quarters would have done), Picard gives him a few kind words and I assume that's the last we'll hear of it. But I guess he conducts himself properly throughout the events of the episode, even if he didn't as a younger officer.

I could also have done without the Riker injury scene, in which he says to Beverley "I knew what I was supposed to do and I didn't do it". Obviously intended to be allegorical but far too obvious. And thoroughly disposable.

There should have been some astringent dialogue with the Romulan captain after the Enterprise decloaks.

Still. Really one of the best TNG episodes ever, probably in my top 10.
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James G
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

As is so often the case, there's really a lot wrong with this one. But as is less often the case, it handsomely rewards the necessary suspension of disbelief.

Firstly: the comedy is strong here. Worf's comment in his log that "several competitors were maimed". Data's offer to investigate his first "coupling" with Deanna. Worf's comment about the "acceptable risk" when Deanna points out to him that her mother would in effect become his stepmother. His reaction to Deana kissing his neck.

What's wrong with it? Well the different universes are too similar. In many or most of them, the Enterprise won't exist at all, neither will Worf. And it's really his consciousness that's shifting between these alternative realities, not his constituent atoms. Otherwise his constituent atoms might find themselves in an empty region of space, and he'd die quite quickly.

Anyway as I said there's no point obsessing the flaws. Best just to play along and if you do, it's quite a fascinating and compelling idea.

I don't really see Worf and Deanna as a couple, though.

Interesting to see that Wesley has put a bit of weight on in the other universe. I was amused to see Data getting the information he did from the Tricorder. It has a few flashing lights and a tiny screen. A Samsung phone looks considerably more sophisticated.

The icing on the cake is the spectacle of the various Enterprises appearing in the same Universe. And the crazed Riker from the universe in which the galaxy has been overrun by Borg. Genius. The CGI looks surprisingly poor when his ship is destroyed, though.

But - why would all of these Enterprises turn up? Did they all just happen to be in exactly the same region of space in their respective realities, or what? It makes no sense to me.

Still - very, very good. Best one so far in the seventh series, I think.
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James G
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

One postscript to that - I was reminded of the Series 3 episode 'The Survivors', in which a being with god-like powers recreates a replica of his dead wife.
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James G
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

Interesting one. I liked it.

I was amused that the phaser repair of the planet's molten core is available to be performed "almost immediately" when Pran Tainer gives the nod. No debate in the planet's parliament, no consultation with local officials, no planning, no initiative to raise public awareness of what's going to happen, no risk analysis, just ZZZAPPP - a massive energy beam ploughing kilometres deep into the surface of the planet on the authority of a geologist.

I also don't quite buy that a single inventor could create an android like Juliana - so sophisticated that every bodily function is replicated exactly; so perfect that she believes she's human herself. Maybe a huge 24th Century corporation or a team of scientists and technologists.

I was amused that Beverley examines Juliana then declares "she should be awake". She's a physician, not a cyberneticist. How would she know? Sloppy writing. Geordi should have had that line.

And the interactive hologram doesn't quite work for me - it's almost an analogue of Juliana; intelligent enough to interact with Data and respond like Soong. Too clever. But I loved the "don't rob her of that, son" moment.

Hadn't seen that one before. It's a good one despite its flaws.
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James G
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

A poor one, this. If the subplot about Spot is a clever allegory of the main theme, it went over my head.

Just so much of it is superfluous .. the encounter with the Ferengi, the cat, Geordi's competitiveness with the engineer on the Intrepid.

It occurred to me while watching this evening, though not the first time I saw it in the '90s, that it's an analogy on the use of fossil fuels. But this idea that Warp travel, understood for three centuries (really?), is gradually destroying the very fabric of the Universe undermines the whole premise of the entire Star Trek franchise. It is the basis of space travel at the necessary speeds to make the whole idea work.

Also - in a galaxy as huge as ours, some of those civilisations would have had Warp Drive for thousands, or hundreds of thousands of years. Some of them might have overcome this problem long before Cochrane's first flight.

Finally, here's a thought - next time Q turns up, instead of doing the impatient rolling-of-eyes thing, just ask him very nicely to fix it.

A clunker, this one.
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James G
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 10:03am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

Well - I liked this one. A bit. It reminded me of a TOS episode, with the Enterprise visiting a dysfunctional planet with two hostile factions, except of course that Kirk would have restored diplomatic relations there in about half an hour.

Really quite an effective portrait of a paranoid society, I thought. Obviously inspired by cold-war era Earth, although why the planet has to be named after its two opposing societies I don't know. Imagine if we lived in a world called AmericaSovietUnion, or EastWest.

Anyway .. there are some problems with this episode. Imagine two high-profile prisoners being kept under maximum security at some prison in the US, or China, or anywhere. All they have to do to escape completely is get the code, or the key to their cell door. I don't think so.

And the gas explosions in the tunnel - what a cheap bit of script fluff.

The telepathic implants are a nice idea. Will the federation exploit this technology for some useful purpose? Or is it just a throwaway plot device that will get forgotten about?

There's a bit of sonic screwdrivery when Beverley defeats a forcefield with a tricorder. I enjoyed the idea of the electronic map on the hand-held device. In the early '90s when this episode was shown that would have seemed as futuristic as phasers, now it's called Google Maps.

Why can't the Enterprise find Picard and Beverley on the planet's surface using sensors? Perhaps I missed something. Usually there'd be some ridiculous technobollocks excuse. And normally Riker would have sorted out an Away Team in about 3 minutes so I'm not sure why that wasn't considered.

I could have done without the sentimental cheese between Picard and Beverley at the end.

Didn't like it much. Didn't dislike it much.
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James G
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 1:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Dark Page

Oh no, I thought. Not another Lwaxana episode. But this one is nothing like the usual ham-fisted comedy frivolity.

I must admit though after the first 25 minutes or so, I was expecting to come here and dismiss it. I just didn't feel that the question of Lwaxana's well-being was really that suspenseful or interesting.

However, at least it's something a bit different from having to save the Enterprise from malignant invisible space creatures. It revisits the subconscious / dream theme that's been explored a few times in recent earlier episodes, but with a different twist.

I didn't quite buy the "telepathic bridge" idea, involving someone from an entirely different species.

But as this wonderful episode unfolded, reaching a touching, emotional climax - I realised that 'Dark Page' is one of the finest stories in the entire franchise. Majel Barrett acts out of her skin in this one.

I was reminded of the episode of M*A*S*H in which Hawkeye loses his mental health after seeing something he can't process. The very last one, actually. He can only recover from it by facing up to it.

Bravo. Loved it.

By the way to address Elmo's question above : Deanna does have an American accent. Granted Marina Sirtis is British and she might not be doing it 100% properly but she does her best, and it sounds nothing like her native English accent.
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James G
Thu, Nov 19, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Phantasms

I liked this one, quite a bit. It does require a greater-than-usual suspension of disbelief, but it rewards it.

The Enterprise's holodecks seem sometimes just to be an excuse for TNG to present 20th Century period pieces, but at least the Freud scenes were short. I didn't quite get the scenes with the young lady in engineering fawning over Geordi and they seem to have nothing to do with the plot, unless I'm overlooking some subtle allegory. I also don't get why Geordi wouldn't encourage it, she's delightful.

It's a bit of a stretch to think that an Android might work something out in his subconscious that he's not able to recognise consciously. It also seems to me that this episode has uncovered something of a serious flaw in Data's operation. He's susceptible to "waking dreams" that can induce him to stab other members of the crew with a lethal weapon. Just bizarre. At the very least, the episode should have resolved that problem. Even as a response to a very serious situation, it's hardly appropriate to carve up the ship's counsellor in an elevator.

Brave of Deanna to hand Data a cake knife at the end.

A lovely comedy touch in this one. "Tell him he's a pretty cat". A scene which exploits the contrast in Worf and Data's characters nicely. Totally illogical for an Android to ask a Klingon to express that to a cat. But funny.

At the conclusion, Picard says that he'd never "sacrifice" the safety of the ship, by rushing to the Admiral's dinner. I think the script must have said "compromise" and he got his line wrong. Either that or poor writing. Perhaps I should be a script editor.

And finally - yet another quasi-magic space creature. The universe seems to be teeming with them. At least they didn't inhabit someone's body and start talking to the crew. Nonetheless - am I missing something or do they just get killed at the end, there? Where's the usual Star Trek respect for life in all its forms? I'd have expected a bit of hand-wringing at the very least.

Anyway - a bit bonkers but original, amusing, intriguing and fun. Good one.
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James G
Sun, Nov 15, 2020, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Gambit

I watched both parts over two nights; comments here apply to both.

I thought it was poor. The plot didn't really grab me. There was far too much whimsy and nonsense throughout. I just don't buy the idea of Riker and (especially) Picard as ultra-confident swashbuckling undercover space agents. I don't buy Beverley threatening people with a phaser on an away mission.

I get that Riker will take it personally when Picard appears to have been killed but he becomes far too emotional, and there's some highly overcooked scenery-chewing in that scene with Deanna at the beginning.

And when you consider what could go wrong when Picard and Riker beam to the Enterprise posing as pirates, it's laughable that it all works out perfectly, with Beverley even going along with it by announcing that Riker is dead.

I was pleased to see Data drop his usual unassuming manner in a command role, and the scene where he reprimands Worf is terrific.

This whole notion of a mind power resonator, apparently carved out of stone by ancient Vulcans - why is it so precious, really? What did they know that modern-day Vulcans don't? If the Vulcan ancients can make one, why can't modern Vulcan technology manage it? The whole idea of a stone-carved object that can turn Klingon, human, Vulcan or any convenient humanoid hostile thoughts into a weapon is nonsense anyway.

No. Not really good enough, especially for a two-parter.
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James G
Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 8:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Interface

Interesting one this. A bit different. I quite enjoyed it.

It's not clear to me how the probe works, exactly. We see Geordi, in his virtual reality experience, touching objects, supporting himself by holding beams and so on. Not clear how all this is accomplished in reality by a probe with no limbs, opposable thumbs etc. But that's not very important.

I like the tension between Geordi and Picard. I'm not sure I like Data aiding and abetting Geordi in disobeying their captain. I can't see how his algorithms would justify that.

For a long time, this episode didn't quite seem to get off the ground, for me. I glanced at the Netflix progress bar and realised that I'd watched 27 minutes, yet I felt as though the story was just getting started. But I suppose it shows that, at least, it wasn't dragging.

I quite liked the twist. Well - at least I liked that the entity Geordi was talking to wasn't his mother. I'm sort of tired of the mysterious supernatural alien nonsense.

But I would have been disappointed if he'd ended up saving his mother's ship. I really winced when Geordi came up with his massively convenient technobollocks sonic screwdriver: "I'm going to .. initiate an inverse warp cascade. The subspace distortion from the cascade should reverse the warp funnel. Your ship will end up right where it started!"

And I'm glad that didn't happen. I'm also glad, without wanting to be mean, that Picard didn't deliver the news that his mum's ship and crew had been found safe, at the end of the episode. Not every story should have a convenient happy ending.

Not bad.
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James G
Mon, Nov 9, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Liaisons

I really liked this one a lot. I found the different personalities and interactions - of the two ambassadors on the Enterprise, and (especially) of the stranded woman who also turns out to be an ambassador, really intriguing. Didn't see the plot twist coming at all.

Some really funny moments as well - Worf losing his temper in the card game and the ambassador's subsequent reaction, Data's comments to him about the personality traits they have in common. The other ambassador's obsession with dessert.

I recognised the breast gropee woman from Thief of Hearts immediately, though I don't think I've seen her in anything else. But then again I've watched that Thief of Hearts scene a few dozen times. I should have been an actor. I'd have insisted on a few dozen rehearsals, just to make sure I got it right.

Er.. anyway I must admit I groaned when there turned out to be, as usual, a handy M class planet when the shuttlecraft experienced its disaster. There aren't actually that many of them (Earth-like planets) in real life. But since it turned out to be contrived I can forgive it.

Noticed that Deanna is starting to look a bit middle-aged by the seventh series.

Anyway - thoroughly entertaining. Reminiscent of the original series, especially in the twist at the end. Very good.
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James G
Sun, Nov 8, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Descent, Part II

I watched both parts last night; comments here apply to the whole thing.

I really enjoyed it for the first 20 minutes or so, as a pretty dramatic TNG story from the classic mould seemed to be unfolding. But then it starts to sag, quite badly.

TNG episodes have a certain rhythm, it seems to me. This story would make a very good single episode with a few fixes to the script but it's overstretched. I watched it on my PC in a browser and found myself checking the news and weather on a second screen, from time to time.

Still - there's a lot to like. Data going creepily emotional, and a bit sinister in front of Deanna. Very nicely done. Brent Spiner is superb in these villainous, creepy roles; in that respect it's unfortunate that he's best known for playing an emotionless, mild-mannered android.

But Beverley assuming the mantle of Starship captain? No. It's just nonsense to give her that much responsibility. There must be someone sufficiently senior with adequate tactical / command experience to do a better job, especially considering she decides to plunge the Enterprise into serious danger.

But I really liked the solar flare weapon, and the way it ties in with that earlier story about the Ferengi physicist's "metaphasic shield" discovery.

Also - there's far too much sonic screwdrivery in this episode; convenient technobollocks nonsense. The field that stops the sensors working properly. The "phased cadient pulse" that supposedly causes Data to reboot (pretty non-invasively, it must be said - he doesn't even notice), summoned up by sliding a bit of Borg wearable tech up against a force field. Like the trick with Geordi's visor that turns it a sort of unconsciousness bomb in "Starship Mine". Far too easy.

The allegory of the drug pusher and his captive addict that we see briefly between Data and Lore is really well done - very dark. I also noted the colours of the flag in the hall where Lore lords it over his captives like a Bond villain. Intended to evoke the Third Reich, I think. A nice little touch.

I must say, Hugh's complaints over what Picard and friends have done to the Borg seem a little rich when you consider the many crimes of his own friends, but I was pleased to see that old "Hugh" story revisited. And this is really a criticism of that one as well as this one but it's far fetched to think that the entire Borg species, with all their fault tolerance and redundant duplicated systems could be overcome by a single corrupt drone.

Anyway - overall I feel that this was an opportunity lost. There was a lot of potential in this, but it wasn't realised. It reminded me of the TNG cinema films, and for me that's not really a good thing on the whole.
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Sat, Nov 7, 2020, 4:59am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

I have to say, I think this might be the best episode of all of Discovery so far?
I also think maybe the writers are gonna stop leaning on Burnham so much. I don't know if anyone picked up on it, but that talk Hugh and Burnham had when he was saying how she's now the one who needs help, he was blatantly saying that she's the center of everything, even when she needs help. I think the writers have acknowledged the complaints maybe?

I also like Adira, I'm glad she'll be sticking around.

The hint about something being wrong with Discovery's computer? I don't think that's controls AI. Is it? Am I wrong here?

I'm not gonna lie. I cried like a baby near the end. 4STARS.
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James G
Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Timescape

This one didn't work for me. The idea of these bizarrely coherent frozen pockets in space-time, and body-snatching creatures from a different time continuum. And handy sub-space armband isolators. Just too implausible, even in a genre which admittedly relies on the implausible.

I was quite interested by the "runabout", which - although it looks externally much like a shuttlecraft - seems unusually roomy. But that's pretty much the only thing that piqued my interest in this one.

The spectacle of two ships apparently frozen in time could have been the basis of an interesting mystery, but here - it wasn't. The story underpinning it was just too dumb.
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James G
Wed, Nov 4, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Second Chances

Despite the spectacle of aliens playing 20th century jazz in the 24th century, I love this one. I remember watching it many years ago, and was very much looking forward to seeing it again.

It's just such a thought-provoking, fascinating scenario - being confronted by someone with an equal claim to being you, as you. How would you react? How would you relate to yourself?

In this case, I think it would be absolutely intolerable for Lt Riker especially. Psychologically I suspect it would be impossible not to think of your replica as a copy, not the real thing. And in this case, Commander Riker has not only stolen his girlfriend and had his career and life, he's managed to split up with her. And of course the commander's very existence has guaranteed that no-one even knows that he existed, while he manfully survived 8 years of solitary existence on some distant planet.

What would make it doubly intolerable would be having your copy bark orders at you. Someone who knows every memory and thought you had for the first twenty-odd years of your life. But quite irrespective of the seniority disparity, simply knowing that there's another version of you somewhere, privy to your thoughts, inclinations, memories and so on would be extremely invasive.

The whole idea is so fascinating that I found this one really quite compelling.

The Bizarre Quasi Love Triangle with Deanna introduces a nice tension and gives us a ncie insight into Riker's past.

There are a few things wrong with this episode for sure. Lt Riker never really seems to get enough credit for surviving eight years on his own, and I have to wonder where he gets his hair cut and styled. I would think he'd look a bit more haggard.

Remembering how Scotty managed to save himself in a pattern buffer (or whatever) for 75 years in 'Relics', this episode offers the intriguing prospect that people could be backed up! So if you get killed on an away mission, no worries - just break out the backup copy.

That moment when Lt Riker is in grave danger is quite clever. The first time I saw this I probably expected him to be killed, for a convenient and neatly tied-up ending. So there's a nice bit of suspense there.

Really superb. Loved it.
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James G
Mon, Nov 2, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Rightful Heir

Well - if Klingon political matters are preposterous, Klingon religious affairs are, it turns out, doubly so. Personally I find it laughable to imagine that a civilisation that had mastered warp-drive, interstellar navigation and the rest might still believe in primitive nonsense like an afterlife and a supernatural messiah, so I was never going to be a fan of this one.

I was splitting my sides laughing when Kahless appears in front of Worf. Imagine a TNG episode in which Riker has shore leave on Earth, and he manages to conjure up Jesus' second coming. And the fight between Kahless and one of the other Klingons! Someone hands his opponent a knife. Here - see if you can kill Jesus!

I've got to say though, Worf looks great with crimped hair. And I didn't see the twist coming. I assumed, like most viewers I'm sure, that Kahless was some sort of con-man. I did quite like the clone idea, although it raises some interesting ethical questions. Kahless seems to take it quite well, though.

But that conclusion. The entire Klingon species will be asked to accept as their emperor someone who was made in a laboratory last week.

I can't deny that I was entertained, albeit partly because the whole thing is unintentionally hilarious. But what an absolute load of nonsense.

Here's a thought - if the Klingons are so interested in their messiah, why don't they travel to the past and go and look for him? Very doable in the Star Trek universe. Similarly, if time travel is possible in the 24th Century, will teams of historians sneak back a couple of thousand years to have a closer look at Jesus? I think the temptation, from a historical perspective, will be very strong. And if there are Christians left in the 24th Century (I sincerely hope not), I think they'll be disappointed.
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James G
Sun, Nov 1, 2020, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

Really very weak, this one. I just didn't buy the ship's-doctor-as-homicide-investigator plot at all. And I just didn't particularly care whether she solved her mystery or not.

And the implausible aspects - among others, scientists risking their lives to prove a hypothesis, including Beverley - just made it even worse.

The punch up in the shuttlecraft was a pretty predictable way to solve that particular problem, but I did enjoy the spectacle of the phaser punching a hole in the evil alien's upper body.
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James Smith
Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth

Well, that was a curate's egg.

The good first. It was clearly a Frakes show, tight direction with no unnecessary ShakyCam™ or wild spinning. VFX team on point as always. Grudge the cat is cute. Some of the actors (Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman and a few of the bridge bunnies) didn't suck.

But good *Lord* do they need to hire new writers for this show, because the batch they have right now are just not good. Continuity is still out to lunch (synthehol exists on the USS Discoball, so why was it a mystery to Scotty in "Relics"?). The plot walks into itself with an audible thud, twists handled with the subtle touch of a gold brick thrown at your face. Then stuff gets wrapped up all neat 'n' tidy with a pretty bow on it in five seconds because they realised that they were at the end of the episode runtime and needed to get to the credits. And yet the only reason there was a plot to be wrapped up is that dumb people did something dumb for a dumb reason - the Earth attack on a ship coming from Titan to try and get help. Now, I'm sorry but I just don't buy that an Earth not too far removed from the days of the Federation...they mentioned in the episode that it had been 100 years since the United Earth seceded - so the Federation lasted ~928 years all told (2161 to ~3089) and in less than a hundred years after that Earth people turned into genocidal maniacs?

Bull. ****.

It's not just the writing of course, though that continues to be the biggest problem. The guest cast didn't cover themselves in glory (either Phumzile Sitole was horribly miscast, or she's just not good enough to rise above the material when the writing quality nosedives). The music department got in the way at times and they can bloody well quit using the Courage fanfare, that should be reserved for much better work than this. And now SMG is playing Burnham in a lot of scenes with this weird kind of zen look. Well, it's either zen or she's completely off her face. I guess it's to try and show how it's been a year away from the crew for her and she's changed. I'm not sure it's much of an improvement on the wide-eyed panic that she spent most of S2 in.

tl;dr - this show *sucks*.
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James G
Mon, Oct 26, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

Psychological thriller eh? I hadn't seen this one before and I didn't see it coming. It's genuinely unsettling and really quite clever; the tension and intrigue and mystery builds superbly. I was reminded of The Prisoner, and some of the later UFO episodes.

That's a real 'wow' moment when Riker fires the phaser on himself and we see that the reality we thought we recognised was just another layer of the illusion. Hitchcock would have been proud.

A few niggles though - the ending is a bit anti-climactic and perfunctory. The emergency transport is a bit too easy. Frakes acts out of his skin here, but should we really see Riker acting as well as he does, in the play? Frakes is an actor, Riker isn't.

And on a Starship with a number of serviceable holodecks, why would you have a set constructed and dismantled by a stage crew?

Anyway - not really the sort of thing I watch TNG for but nonetheless superb for that. Bravo.
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James G
Sun, Oct 25, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

Just discovered from reading comments above that the Cardassian woman was Linda Thorson! Tara King herself, my favourite Avengers girl.

Also I recognised the Romulan commander as Maurice Roëves, an actor from my own neck of the woods (the NE of England). I've just found out that he died this year, sorry to see that. I don't think he gives the most natural performance here.
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James G
Sun, Oct 25, 2020, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

I give credit to the writer for the ideas in this one, but I'm afraid I couldn't really buy them. In fact, I disliked the whole premise. I like my sci-fi to be imaginative, but presuming to rewrite the history of the cosmos so that the very existence of life on Earth is redefined is too much. And including one of the most historic moments in the history of the Galaxy into any one episode is overdoing it.

And besides - we do not owe our form as upright primates with two arms and two legs to the DNA present in the primordial soup. We are descended from creatures that existed since then that look nothing like humans. Google "ancestor of all placental mammals" to see what I mean. We became like we are because of adaptations that arose as a reaction to our environment, it wasn't programmed in from the beginning. Ants, fish, snails and lizards are also descended from the same, first living cells.

Furthermore I think this episode contains the most monumental technobollocks ever witnessed in the whole Star Trek franchise, when Beverley introduces a bit of dead lichen to her Tricorder, then a now-complete four billion year old computer program rewrites the Tricorder firmware to turn it into a hologram projector. It's absolute, barking nonsense.

It's a shame that Picard has to be the (potential) foremost archeologist of his time, or whatever Galen implies. Can't we be satisfied with him being a brilliant Starship captain? No need to overcook his character.

A few mitigating factors on the plus side - the dialogue between the Klingon and Data when they do the arm-wrestling in particular is quite funny.

But nope, it's frustrating because there's a clever idea in there, but it's badly done. it just needed to be scaled down a bit and made more realistic.
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James G
Sat, Oct 24, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

I found this one quite slow and dull, until the last 20 minutes or so, and then I was won over. The tension builds quite powerfully toward the conclusion, with the storm approaching over the planet's surface - and I was as affected by the tension over the potential consequences to Picard's relationship, as to the lives of the colonists and the perimeter teams.

And the ending is beautifully acted, and poignant. That it's the end of their relationship doesn't need to be spoken.

I enjoyed the reference to The Inner Light. I thought we were going to make do with just the flute and a brief mention of where it came from, so I was pleased that Picard explained it in detail.

Picard states that there are no regulations about relationships with other officers, but surely there would be a rule against having a relationship with someone in your line of command. Even in an investment firm, where no-one is likely to send anyone else into lethal danger, it's impossible to have a partner in the same reporting chain. It's impossible for anyone whose boss is further up the food chain to get a salary increase or promotion without it causing resentment among their colleagues.

I don't really get how someone as talented and committed a pianist as Daren obviously is would have time for Starfleet and stellar cartography.

The foldout piano is quite cute, but I don't think a proper pianist would put up with a touch keyboard for long. It's about a bit more than just hitting the right notes. I do believe you can actually buy those, now.

Good one.
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James G
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 6:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Starship Mine

Well - I guess it probably was inspired by Die Hard, but it reminded me more of Under Siege. However where Seagal was an electrifying, imposing presence in that sort of role, Patrick Stewart isn't. The fight scenes were just boring.

I liked the basic idea though. The deadly beam passing slowly through the ship. Nice idea. But having it stop at the very last moment was something of a hackneyed old cliche.

I enjoyed the Data small talk gag. Another one to showcase Spiner's comic talents. I didn't really buy Geordie's visor being turned into a magic unconsciousness bomb. Ridiculous.

A pretty forgettable one, I'm afraid.
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Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Far From Home

@Eric Jensen

Timeless was an amazing episode but I meant the opening of this episode Vs the crash in Timeless. I'm rewatching the season 2 finale and going to watch season 3 episodes 1&2 again.
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