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Jason R.
Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Wolfstar LOL!! Horta versus Vorta....

"And people here proclaiming once again that “it’s just not Star Trek” (such a tired trope) before they have seen a single episode tells me more about the bias of that “fan” then it does about the show. Ugh. The definition of toxic fandom. Give it a chance before summarily writing it off."

Since Trek is no longer broadcast over the air for free but must be paid for via subscription service (CBS All Access in the USA or Bell Crave in Canada...) by "give it a chance" you really mean "give over a minimum of $15" (or whatever the minimum subscription costs).

Also, while I agree the "this is not Trek!" argument has become pointless when evaluating the quality of this or that existing show that one has already committed to watching, I do think when evaluating a new series that one hasn't decided to watch yet, it is highly pertinent.

Consider that literally the only reason most of us would consider watching this show is that it carries the Star Trek brand. Absent that brand, it's just another Comedy Central slapstick adult cartoon that most of us would never think to watch (not because those shows are even necessarily bad, just because we don't have the interest or the time)

So when the Rolex company releases a special series of watches for $26.99 each on sale at Walmart and Target is the Rolex collector wrong to say "it's not a Rolex!" or must he "give it a chance" and buy one?
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Jason R.
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

As a business decision, I find CBS's strategy here dubious. Don't get me wrong - I understand the idea behind expanding the Trek brand, creating different products for different tastes etc... I see the logic but I also think this will fail.

I think retail branding has something to teach us. Many high end brands like say Armani or Coach develop a certain cache, a certain following. But it's niche, it's exclusive, and ultimately there is a ceiling to how much money you can make selling to a narrow high end niche.

The frustration there is that the brand has huge name recognition with many beyond your niche but they can't afford it. It's too exclusive. So you expand the niche. You make it less exclusive. A different flavour for every taste and price point.

But this expansion is the death knell of a niche brand. Suddenly an Armani suit isn't a big deal anymore because everyone has one and your longtime niche buyers, the ones who made your brand, see you as selling out. They move on to greener pastures. Meanwhile the mainstream mob is fickle, you are beleaguered by competition and as the influencers in the niche abandon you, so too do the main streamers until your brand is devalued and your sales plummet.

This pattern applies to Trek as much as to a designer suit. CBS purchased a brand, Trek, which was a niche product popular with a niche of people, albeit one with enough pop culture name recognition that it was known somewhat beyond the niche. Now CBS is going to make a Trek for every taste. But if everyone is watching Trek, then it loses its identity and the original niche abandons it because it is no longer *their* identity. And the mainstream follows just a little bit later. The brand is truly hollowed out.

Setting aside any consideration about art or what is true Trek or whatever, just as a business strategy, this is a terrible path CBS is on and a terrible waste of the investment they made when they acquired the Trek brand. Just my two cents
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 9:08am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

"Voyager’s final season was, overall, far better than TNG’s seventh. Similar number of great episodes, but way fewer shockingly boring phoned in episodes like “Masks.”"

Haha say anything else you like about Masks but "phoned in"? From where? Someone's acid trip maybe?

I always give shows credit for ambition and guts even when they fall flat on their faces. Masks is a failure but an ambitious one.

It's a bit like Threshold. It may have a well deserved zero star rating but I'd rather watch it than the equally rated Shades of Grey any day of the week.
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Jason R.
Sun, Jul 12, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Scorpion, Part I

I might add Silly it's anti Trek. How many times has the series dealt with the idea that one should never prejudge a species or a situation by a few stray encounters - Arena, Devil in the Dark, Encounter at Farpoint... it is practically the central thesis of the Trek ethos not to make snap judgments and to preserve life, even at the cost of the ship's own destruction. It goes beyond even the Prime Directive!

And then there's Janeway who picks up a few garbled messages via a 6 year old telepath and suddenly it's Hee Ha let's help the Borg blow them up / assimilate them. How convenient it gets you home in the process Janeway. How convenient.

I'd accuse the writers of betraying these values by arbitrarily making 8472 every bit the genocidal maniacs Kes made them out to be, except that Chacotay figures out what's up almost immediately. He's 100% right. And yet..... there is no consequence to any of this. They just move on. It's like Sisko poisoning a planet all over again, except multiplied by about 1,000.

Poor Arcturis. That guy wasn't nearly angry enough. He should have arrested Janeway, slipstreamed to earth and testified at Janeway's court martial. Then gotten her assimilated.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Siege

@Rom I think in the context of DS9 it is utterly disingenuous because there is just no chance, none, that the senior staff won't go. So it isn't even about forcing conformity or bullying as it certainly would be in real life. It is just narrative flimflammery really.

Funny enough though I recall in Babylon 5 there is this kind of scene where the commanding officers are announcing something shockingly illegal (I won't spoil it in case some want to check out the series) and actually several crewpeople actually do walk out. But in that scene it is the main cast who have already decided to proceed and it's the extras and occasional cast members who have to make the call on whether to go along with it. So there is no phoniness to it because we really don't know for sure which way it will go.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

@Booming the creation of the hologram and its behaviour was clearly *unintentional*. Rewatch Booby Trap. Not up for debate.

I don't understand why people can't process this fact. Have to keep pointing it out every couple years.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

@Booming we also know what they know: that Geordie never did anything with the hologram and that its creation was just a fluke / comedy of errors from Boobie Trap.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Favor the Bold

"@DLPB, Damar is only 3 inches taller than Kira. It is more of a fair fight than one would imagine."

If they were both human it would be pretty ridiculous for Kira to beat down Damar like that no matter how tall she is. But since we have no clue how an average Bajoran female versus Cardassian male would stack up it's basically up in the air.

Incidentally, given that Vulcans were supposed to have 8 times the strength of humans, T'Pal should have been a beast and easily smacked around Archer or any of the other humans which I was laughing about when Archer threatened to put her on her ass or something. That would have gone as well as Sisko's wrestling match even if Vulcan females are 1/2 as strong as the males.

But now I'm getting off track. The really crazy thing is watching Sisko beating up Jem'Hadar genetically engineered super soldiers. Like Uncle Ben beating up Captain America in a fist fight.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

@Jack It's specious to claim that absent a "higher power" we are in some kind of moral anarchy- no doubt some religious people love that argument but gimme a break. So if Archer decided to nuke the planet and exterminate the population for kicks unless I subscribed to this higher power I'd be powerless to criticize him?
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

" Doesn't the "wisdom" of the Prime Directive rely on the notion that we humans know exactly the circumstances which decide whether we interfere with another species or not?"

No that is literally the opposite of the Prime Directive.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Oh the sanctimonious arrogance.

To be fair, one of the eternal failures of Trek has been its inability to engage with the idea of actual "aliens" as in beings from other worlds. We get Klingons and Bajorans with their crinkly foreheads but otherwise human biology and culture and we end up with allegories instead of aliens. Maybe I expect too much from Trek.

That weakness is on full display in this episode so I can't be too hard on PicardisWesleysFather and others who seriously think that slamming aliens from another world with human morality/law is a fantastic idea.

In 2020 I find myself loving these episodes and appreciating the wisdom of the Prime Directive more than ever.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

"The job of drama isn't to photoshop the way real people behave , and when we express disapproval of the actions of a fictional character we shot not slip into seeing that as indicating a failure on the part of the writer/ director/actor."

This presumes that the medium itself, through its imagery, its writing, its musical cues, its editing... is value neutral and totally objective. This is certainly wrong.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

Fantastic review Elliot. But I am with others in thinking the Borg Queen's temptation of Data was botched. There was one episode in all of Trek that seriously attempted to address the allure of collective consciousness (rather than portray it as unmitigated horror) and that was Voyager's Unity.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

"BLM protestors are wearing masks."

Reaaaaly. So mass gatherings of thousands of people are a-ok as long as people wear masks?

You should have a word with the Provincial and Federal governments here in Canada cause they don't concur. Indeed until recently our own health authorities were discouraging mask use claiming they are not useful.

In Ontario any gatherings are still capped at 10. How about baseball games? Maybe they should open Yankee stadium as long as people are given masks at the door?

And a week before the mass protests there was a huge uproar against people lounging in a park in Toronto. There was no mention of lack of mask use as being the big issue - it was all about the gathering period full stop.

How a pandemic can radically change in a week ayy?
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

And I forgot to add there are plenty of anti corporatists on the right side as well. It might skew a little left but that's pretty well irrelevant to the "cancel culture" debate and becomes nothing but obfuscation in this context.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott your focus on economics as the central axis of the conservative versus liberal paradigms in the USA is obsolete and not really relevant anymore. The fact is both sides are generally corporatist excepting a few outliers like the Sanders faction.

At a minimum it is irrelevent to this debate. Reminds me of the scifi author Orson Scott Card who claimed to be the real Democrat despite his opposition to gay rights and other highly conservative viewpoints. His playbook was dated as is yours.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

"3. My impression is that many self-described liberals and leftists "support" cancel culture in various forms, whether it be deplatforming or whatever. I don't have a good sense on what the percentages are here."

In Canada it is pretty well mainstream, or if it isn't almost nobody speaks out against it. At this point I couldn't care less what label you choose for it. It is what it is.

Suffice it to say, defeating these people is literally the only political objective I care about anymore. They're to me what Trump is to that NYT commenter who said she'd vote for Joe Biden if he raped her.

I oppose any cause they support on principle.

Elliott may call this petulant (and he's not wrong) but I don't waste time finding common ground with people who think I don't have the right to speak my mind.

I will make one additional point. Elliott claims that the recent protests are "affecting policy". I challenge strenuously that assertion. Moreover, I put it to him that there's very little evidence that BLM is even interested in "policy" in the sense of actual reform of the police. The vast majority of the political messaging I have seen appears to focus on "systemic racism" in the most general terms and I'm sorry, "defund the police" is a slogan not a policy.

So even if you agree that I'm petulant it doesn't change the fact that there's little evidence that this movement has any real plan for serious reform. Intelligent people like Elliott can ascribe to them whatever rational policies he thinks they ought to support, but people like Elliott aren't behind the wheel or if they are they are grappling with about 100 others for control and they are going to lose that struggle.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

By the way Peter addressing the point you made about DS9 requiring more focus than TNG that's a result of not just the serialized structure but also the interdependent nature of the big cast, which is both a blessing and a curse.

For what it's worth my own viewing habits mirror yours. I can watch a TNG episode like Disaster or Sins of the Father or Peak Performance three times a week and never get tired of them. DS9 does require more work to enjoy.

Voyager is more in the TNG mold and is easily accessible except for the minor snag that it kind of sucks so there is that :)
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Valinor since Elliott made the claim we were discussing and then seemed to suggest that I was using an incorrect definition, I asked him to provide the correct one.

But I agree this is played out. Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in.

Frankly I was hoping I'd get more pushback on my Voyager rankings from Elliott since he's such an apologist for that series.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott you are the one who asserted that "the left" believed in x and not y.

I will leave it to you to define "left" in the context of your own positive assertions and respond if warranted.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott you need to read carefully what I am writing because my point is exceedingly narrow.

You made a series of "the left doesn't care about x, it cares about y" assertions. You didn't bother to define "the left" so I presumed you were using a fairly colloquial understanding of the word.

I made the very narrow point that clearly a very significant number of people who are most certainly "left" do care about the things you described, such as corporate logos, racist films etc... and that the media is replete with such examples.

I am not interested in debating the merits of such beliefs in of themselves. I am simply pointing out that while BLM, for example, certainly cares about police violence, they *also* clearly, unequivocally, care about a host of issues including ones similar to what you dismissed as not being the concern of "the left". The same is true of many similar groups.

That you may personally not consider something like a corporate logo to be as important as police reform, for example, may be true but is also irrelevant.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott I am not going to go down the No True Scotsman rabbithole with you.

It is abundantly clear to anyone who reads the news, follows social media, or has stepped foot on a university campus, that there are legions of left leaning individuals who certainly care about corporate logos appropriating native images, tv shows with racist messages and other similar things.

But as I said I have no interest in pointing out examples to you so you can declare them not the true "left" or dismiss them as all being disingenuous opportunists or fake news or whatever.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

"There are bushels of straw men on this thread."

Respectfully Elliott, there is mountainous evidence that the left cares about all these and similar things quite deeply and aggressively.

You are certainly entitled to an opinion, but not to your own facts. You are unequivocally wrong.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

The irony is the "police" dog isn't even really a cop despite his uniform. As prior critics have pointed out, Ryder's outfit is private, not public. So the dog isn't so much police as private security. Which I guess makes the Paw Patrol mercenaries like Blackwater?
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

"Paw Patrol wasn't actually cancelled. The world is not *that* crazy... yet."

That was the one thing I wanted cancelled :(
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