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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

"I just want to say that if I were in Geordi's position, and someone like Troi did that "icy b****" routine ordering me to certain death... I would laugh in her face on principle. How you gonna throw me in the brig when we're all a dispersing cloud of ions?"

I'll give it a pass since it's a test with a fake holodeck Geordi, so she doesn't need to be polite/empathetic. But yes, if that were a real situation, I'd hope she'd respond more along the lines of "This is the only option we have, Geordi. I'm sorry, but our lives depend on it, and I'm confident you can do what needs to be done."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

I have a bit of a soft spot for this episode because I'm pretty sure I missed it during its first run and only caught it after the series ended. So as far as I can recall this was my last "new" episode of TNG. Since I had to watch the reruns starting at Encounter at Farpoint, it took quite a while to get back to this point.

That said, this episode just screams Season 7. The cold open (without any sort of establishing shot or Captain's log), strangely empty ship, wallpaper music, actors phoning in their performances, it's as Season 7 as it gets. This is also Voyager-level Brannon Braga with yet more mind screwing, which theoretically allows him to botch intra-episode continuity without repercussions, but which still tends to bite him in the ass since plot threads manage to unravel due to the incoherent story. His complete misunderstanding of science, even in a fictional universe, isn't as egregious as in Genesis or Voyager's Threshold (among others), but telepathic residue? Come on. It's technobabble and psychobabble rolled into one. Psychnobabble? I'd agree though that this is a perfectly OK episode, and it manages to stand out due to where it's located in the series' run.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

@P'kard, yes they beamed her directly to the Observation Lounge after she hung up. Riker set up that with Worf before calling:

LORIN [on viewscreen]: Enterprise, I have warned you about these unauthorised communications.
RIKER: Yes, I know, but I think it's about time we all sat down together and tried to work this out. I have Ambassador Mauric here...
LORIN [on viewscreen]: That is your misfortune. We have nothing to say to either of you.
(transmission ends)
MAURIC: Commander, you're working with the Prytt. Putting on this little show for my benefit does neither of us any good.
RIKER: We'll see. Mister Worf.
(Worf works his panel)
RIKER: I believe there's someone waiting for us in the Observation Lounge.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Sub Rosa

Normally when I rewatch TNG I only skip Shades of Grey, for obvious reasons. I can enjoy the bad episodes for their badness, and even for some of the goodness they contain (I've said something similar in another review as well). This time, I also dozed off through Aquiel and Interface, but I couldn't stomach watching Force of Nature or Homeward since they're so plodding and insipid.

I can still watch Sub Rosa though, I don't even think it's "so bad it's good" but it's at least not boring, and the atmosphere is interesting. That doesn't mean it's not a turd. Troi was beyond useless, and I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Her conversations with Beverly were totally unprofessional and inappropriate, and her alarm bells should've been going off from the get-go.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Jun 23, 2020, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

Four years on and everyone harping on the treaty still assumes the Federation won whatever conflict propagated it. I said before, not developing cloaking technology could very well have been the only way to stop a war they were losing.

I do find it a stretch that something the size of a vacuum cleaner could phase the whole Enterprise flawlessly with just a couple of cables connecting it to some random engineering console. Also, why did nobody suggest separating the saucer section to go into the asteroid in the first place?

I'm bummed we never got to see Commander Riker Day.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 21, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

This is such a fun romp you can just hold your nose at the technobabble nonsense at the end. Yes it would've been nice to see Tasha, Pulaski, and Guinan too, but that would require an episode with a bit more substance and significance.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

I do like this episode, but some of the plot contrivances are a bit beyond the pale. Like the Kes operative giving Picard and Crusher a map and codes to escape the jail, a jail with no security personnel apparently. They just wandered out and nobody was the wiser. Plus, I find it odd that the Kes and the Prytt can be so at odds that they don't have any formal means of communication, while at the same time they have operatives controlling entire cities and infiltrating high security prisons.

I guess the rampant paranoia and subterfuge just validates Picard's concerns from the teaser. Being so divided and hostile, neither society is ready for admission to the Federation. Nevertheless, the questions that arise about a divided planet are ripe for exploration, which they don't bother with here.

Picard and crusher running through the caves with the fire bursts reminded me of the "chompers" scene in Galaxy Quest. Mark beat me to it, but we can't be the only ones to notice the similarities.

The brain implants are the sort of throwaway plot element (device?) that should be making significant waves in society after its discovery. Imagine the possibilities, yet it's never mentioned again. I guess it's super secret Prytt technology that can't be reverse engineered. Yeah let's go with that.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

The music is SO BAD in this episode it actually makes watching it worse. SFDebris even called this out (specifically part 2, but it's all the same) as compared to the brilliant music in Booby Trap. There's no difference in this score between neutral, creepy, action, scary, or emotional scenes, except for a couple of cliché dun-dun-dun moments. Despite that, it's also surprisingly in your face, exactly the kind of thing Rick Berman didn't want. It's just a fail on every level.

Data's "can you describe how you feel when you're angry" stuff feels like season 1 or season 2 Data. He knows better by now. The way he's being manipulated by Lore with the emotion is kind of...gross. Data's vulnerability in this case, along with Soong's homing device, the Borg Queen's temptations, and similar situations with The Doctor in Voyager and his ethical subroutines (or lack thereof) begs the question, why do they always have to turn eeeeeevul?

Admiral Nechayev comes across as deliberately obtuse and intransigent. I'm sure Picard's report of the I Borg situation was extremely thorough, but Nechayev stripped away the nuances of the situation to the level of a Fox News soundbite just to posture and beat down Picard. No thanks.

I did just notice that after the two Borg were beamed onto the bridge as a diversion and were quickly dispatched (Riker: Franklin's dead sir), another security officer comes out of the toilet to the left of the door to the Observation Lounge. Nice. There's some really bad shaky cam moments that are worthy of TOS or the Galaxy Quest show-within-a-show and are quite eye-rolling in their absurdity.

Similarly, why the hell is the whole senior staff, including Picard (!) beaming down for this silly on-foot search? Because the script wants Picard to be there when Lore reveals himself for dramatic effect and nothing else. There's no in-universe rationale for it whatsoever. Crashing the ship isn't an in-universe reason either, so it's still clumsy. At least they did some actual on-location shooting, rather than just going to Planet Soundstage, but the yellow filter they put over everything was oddly distracting.

I do really enjoy the teaser in the holodeck. The rest of the episode, not so much.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

Blast, I knew I forgot something. As to Troi being promoted before Data, Riker said in The Best of Both Worlds "Commander Data, I realise your very nature omits ambition. Nevertheless, I want you to know I seriously considered you first officer." So Data may not want a promotion. He'll take it when and if it comes, but he's not going to seek it out because he has no ego.

I'll concede that this is contradicted in Redemption when Data wonders why he's not being assigned a ship in the blockade fleet. Nonetheless, his experience with Commander Hobson may have shown Data that even if he's ready to be a commander, not everyone else is ready to accept him in that position. So maybe he's just biding his time to limit potential conflicts.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

"This was the 1st TNG episode that showed shift work, well other than the Lower Decks episode when all the ensigns all had to work shifts on the Bridge. Every other episode shows the main characters on the Bridge 24/7, including Crusher. How can she be Chief Medical Officer, always hanging out on the Bridge with the gang, and find time to pull night shift as a Commander?"

Data was in command of the night shift at the start and end of Data's Day (season 4). In season 6, at the beginning of Lessons, Data is also manning the night shift when Picard comes in at 3:00 am ("no need to report, I'm just here to do some work on my own"). A few episodes later in Rightful Heir, Riker relieves Data of the night shift. I think those are the only three previous instances. It makes sense that Data would be the preferred commander for the night shift since he doesn't sleep. Nevertheless, with three 8-hour shifts, it's certainly plausible for someone like Crusher to do two shifts in a day, one in sickbay and the other on the bridge. If the four-shift rotation implemented by Captain Jellico was still in place, then it would be even easier to do two 6-hour shifts. Her "hanging out on the bridge" which I don't recall happening all that often honestly, would be when she's on duty in sickbay, but nothing is going on down there, so no need for her to just sit in her office.

As for Troi's promotion, I think William B (Jul 15, 2015) put it best. There's more to rank than just the pips on their collars. There's other qualifications and assignments and levels of hierarchy behind it. I would imagine that Crusher and now Troi probably only do the night shift duty a couple times a year, or at most once a month. They'd still call in the senior staff if something truly important happened after all. I agree that becoming both a commander AND a bridge officer in one fell swoop is a bit much. I'm not sure what the timeframe of this episode is, but I can't imagine it's more than a week or two. That's not really long enough, and I agree it would've been better had this been a recurring B plot throughout a couple of episodes.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

I agree with most of the criticisms of this episode: the bad acting, hollow characters, waste of Guinan, Worf's disinterest in the situation, Crusher playing investigator, the absurd logistics of every single aspect of Jo'Bril's "plot," the completely unnecessary need for someone else to pilot the shuttle, of the need for ANYONE to pilot the shuttle, Crusher violating medical ethics without repercussions, and her ability to launch the shuttle and lock out the controls, but I have no problem with Crusher's motivations in engaging Reyga and the other scientists in the first place. She was never really interested in the metaphasic shield technology in itself, she just recognized it as the breakthrough it is, and she saw that it wasn't getting proper attention due to...racism against the Ferengi I guess. I suppose Crusher's motivation to attend this conference in the first place could be questioned, but beyond that she just wanted to make sure Reyga got an audience so this breakthrough technology could come to light.

Speaking of the acting, there's one line that always really bugged me. It's Crusher's "I'm sorry I know I shouldn't have done it" when she tells Picard that she performed an autopsy on Reyga. She came off like a 10 year old who was just told by her parents to apologize to the kid she pushed over on the playground, but doesn't really mean it. That's totally the wrong read. It should project the emotional conflict she's feeling over her medical ethics, the disappointment in herself, and the fear for her future. We're told about that struggle in the dialog, and some of the other lines work ok, but it doesn't come through in the delivery of this one.

A few other notes. I don't have a problem with Reyga's lack of sexism, since he's portrayed as rather unorthodox (for a Ferengi) due to his profession and his jovial attitude. I'll grant that this can just as well be the writers still not having a good grasp of the species, and forgetting some of the precedents set forth in Ménage à Troi. Either way I can look past it.

As for sexism, I find the feminist complaints kind of bizarre. How is having female characters grow and develop some sort of leftist woke feminist plot? Troi realizing after Disaster that she needs to up her game is a good thing, hence her taking the commander test in Thine Own Self. She learned a good deal about the workings of Romulan ships in Face of the Enemy, so why shouldn't she use that knowledge in Timescape? Do we call it masculinism when Riker or Geordi or Wesley solve problems others can't figure out or when their characters grow and change? I just don't see why this makes some guys so upset.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

That's an interesting idea re: Pulaski. You're right that it wouldn't really work with the story as told. I can totally see Crusher and Pulaski butting heads over personality and other more trivial matters, but the circumstances would need to be different. Pulaski tends to be rather flippant when it comes to protocol, but not when it comes to her patients. Dr. Russell puts her *patients* at risk ostensibly to further her research, but more likely as a means of self aggrandizement. Pulaski on the other hand puts her *self* at risk for her patients and even seems to be embarrassed by her accomplishments and acclaim, as evidenced in Unnatural Selection. She's a bit of a hothead and even said that she tends to leap before looking, but that's still pretty different than Dr. Russell.

So I think for the story to work with Pulaski, you'd have to get rid of the questionable medical ethics. Maybe replace that with Pulaski mirroring Picard's viewpoint in the same way that Crusher mirrors Riker's. Pulaski would be pro-suicide, but maybe she's the one who brings knowledge of Klingon ceremonies to Riker and realizes that neither of them can help Worf go through with it. Worf's obstinance can still lead to Pulaski suggesting a risky treatment, just not one that's her own pet project. After all, there's plenty of medical procedures that are well established and vetted but still dangerous. The only problem is that half the conflict in the episode has been removed, leaving only the suicide question. Is there enough meat left? I can't think off the top of my head of a way to fold in the USS Denver triage to the story since that was used only for the medical ethics drama.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I can totally see the once-driven young Picard faltering and ending up as a blue-shirt lieutenant (junior grade, *assistant* astrophysics officer no less). I've had classmates and friends who were valedictorians, international sports competitors, the top of the top, and whether due to burnout, a moment of self-realization, injury, illness, or what have you, they ended up abandoning those goals and moving on to something else. Realizing what you've been striving for isn't what you really want, or you can't keep pursuing it, without having a Plan B, can really throw a wrench into what looks like a slam dunk life.

Another way to look at it is that Picard's stabbing wasn't so much a turning point as a one of many inflections. The butterfly effect needs to be in full force, but that incident (or the lack thereof) simply shifted his next decision left or right ever so slightly such that over a couple of decades it led to a completely different path, because subsequent decisions build on the ones previous. It would be interesting to know what sort of life he was leading beyond his career as a blue-shirt, but since he's thrown into it head-first without any memories of it, we don't know if he was getting fulfillment in some other way.

I have to shake my head at everyone who thinks this episode glorifies violence or says that fighting is the answer. That's comically missing the point. Keep in mind Picard lost that fight, and hard. I don't need to belabor the point as previous commenters have also tried to dispel that myth. It's just that *Picard* needed that brush with death not to put his life on track, but to *keep* his life on track, to the satisfaction of his red-shirt self. While he was driven before this, he was also kind of a screw up too. He failed his Starfleet entrance exams the first time, and he did something at the academy that nearly got him expelled. Imagine what changing those outcomes could've done.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

I'm always surprised when this one shows up because it feels like such a season 7 episode, similar in scope and pacing to Eye of the Beholder. I think the reasons is because season 7 has a sort of sterility that's hard to quantify. It kind of parallels the downturn of Mythbusters in its later seasons, even before it became the Adam and Jamie cinematographer wank fest following the dismissal of the build team.

The first season of Mythbusters was also just Adam and Jamie, but they brought in random helpers as needed, and they had interviews with experts. They also documented the difficulties of tracking down the materials and supplies they needed. In the shop, there'd be random people milling about in the background working on other things, and overall there was an active bustling atmosphere about everything. By later seasons, it was much more focused on only the hosts and special guests, and I noticed that the hustle and bustle was gone. It felt less like filming some guys in their workshop, and more like filming two TV stars on a set. They stopped documenting most of their acquisition process too because, frankly, they could call up anyone and get just about anything they wanted by then. Adam even commented once that while driving down the highway with a bunch of pig carcasses in the bed of his truck someone looked over quizzically until they realized "oh, it's the Mythbusters guy."

TNG seems to have gone down a similar path. The early seasons seemed much more active, lived-in, and experimental. There were more people milling about on the Enterprise (especially notable in season 1), they visited planets with more than just three or four high-level government officials, and random characters would get a little bit of screen time, if not some lines. By late season 6 and season 7 though, it all seems much quieter. In a way there's more bottle (or near bottle) shows. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a problem, but it seems like there's nobody around except the people directly part of the story. Yes there's always some extras manning the rear stations on the bridge or lounging in ten-forward, but it still feels strangely empty. It's as if their budget was cut and they couldn't get enough extras to properly populate the sets. On the other hand, after 6+ years, the production crew had built up plenty of sets, props, and construction experience, so they could bang out some nice sets with less resources.

Of course there's exceptions through to the end of each series, but the overall pattern seems to be pretty evident. Aquiel feels very much in this late-stage mold to me.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, May 29, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

I'm fascinated by the disparate and contradictory opinions on the child actors' performances. They're all terrible, they're all great, Little Picard is the best, Little Picard is the worst, etc. Personally I think they all did pretty well, though I find Picard and Ro better than Keiko and Guinan.

Changes in speech inflections and whatnot can be excused by having smaller/younger vocal cords. I bet if you were really de-aged like this, you wouldn't sound like yourself now, or like yourself when you were really that age, because your brain is driving the vocal cords differently. It does sound like Little Guinan was dubbed/ADR'd, which is never a good thing.

I do love Little Picard running his hand through his hair and then at the end Real Picard disappointingly feeling his bald head. Boothby came down hard on him for that back in The First Duty.

I think the B plot with the Ferengi would've worked OK even if it was exactly the same plot, just not with the Ferengi. Maybe rogue Klingons (the whole mining part could be left out since that's not really their thing...ok except for Lursa and B'etor apparently), or some other species.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Like Nibbler from Futurama. His dark matter poop "weighs as much as a thousand suns."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

I love the absurdity of the sloped wooden table. They could've just shortened two of the legs of the last table, but instead they had a carpenter build this bespoke folly for all of five seconds of screen time. That then led to the even more jarring jump to the metal "table" after it.

I think what would've worked better is to start with the same conference table, then shorten it as shown, then change it to a metal table which would look like a typical stainless steel prep table in a commercial kitchen, then after discussion one of them would say "make this a medical exam table" at which point we get something more like what was shown. That's still kind of over-the-top, but at least the progression is more believable.

It is interesting that they fixated on the sloped part, because the tables we saw in the actual alien lab were flat. That doesn't mean they don't tilt or that some of the experiments that were done on the people didn't make them feel like they were inclined in some way, so I can give that a pass. Still, it led to the weird sloped wood table and crazy jump to the tricked out exam table. I'm glad that the actual tables looked quite a bit different than what they came up with on the holodeck, which helps with the realism.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Peter, it's a tragedy that the tech is so uninteresting because this Dyson Sphere should've been the discovery of the century.

Regarding the amount of material needed to build this shell, it all boils down to how thick it is really. The Wikipedia article on Dyson Spheres (specifically a Dyson Shell) notes a calculation by Anders Sandberg that a shell constructed from our solar system's available materials at Earth's orbit would be roughly 8-20cm thick depending on density. That apparently includes the solid cores of the gas giants, but no idea what happens to their gas or liquid components. Assume we can get some more thickness by converting that mass into something else.

Regarding gravity, apparently the gravitational pull on an object inside a hollow sphere is zero. The stronger forces acting close by are canceled out by the weaker forces acting at a distance because there's so much more of it. Any civilization advanced enough to build this thing could put gravity plating on the whole inside face, so that doesn't bother me too much. I also wonder what sort of effect solar winds might have on pushing gasses towards the shell.

The impression I got from the episode was that Geordi and Scotty were only on the Jenolen for at most a few hours. They'd need to be checking in from time to time, taking a break, getting something to eat. If it was longer, then the Enterprise had that much more time to get out of the star's corona.

Regarding opening the hatch, I meant that Geordi and Scotty could just sit off in the distance, "hail" it so it would open, then just keep doing that as many times as necessary to communicate with the Enterprise and give them time to escape. They acted like the one time they tricked the hatch into opening was the one and only time it would work, but there's no basis in that. For all we know they could stay out of range and keep hailing the portal over and over until it was fully opened, kind of like waving a stick in front of an automatic door sensor.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, May 26, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

The science in this one is so bad, which is unfortunate because the Dyson Sphere is such a cool idea, but here it's just another tacked-on tech plot of the week. Let me call out the things that really stood out to me, which others have commented on too.

First, Geordi figured out way too quickly what happened to the Enterprise. If you look back on the scene all the pieces are there, but it's just laid out on a platter. Minor nitpick I guess.

Second, how does the sphere create such a huge gravity well when it's mostly hollow? Yes if it takes up all the matter present in a solar system to build (and then some), that's a lot of mass, but they go into systems with stars big enough to go supernova, quasars, etc., and they don't seem to have any problem with the gravity.

Third, how does anything cling to the inner surface of the sphere? Its center of mass is still at the star. I suppose they can use some tech to explain this, since they do get all of the star's energy to harness.

Fourth, it should've taken years for the Enterprise to get from the portal to anywhere near the sun at those speeds. Even if you assume those tractor beams accelerated the ship at impulse speed (let's say 1/8 impulse, which would be 1/32 light speed), it would still take nearly three hours to travel the 100m radius of the sphere.

Fifth, what idiot designed the portal to fling ships directly towards the sun anyway? Of course, since it would really take so long as to be irrelevant...

Sixth, the Enterprise barely makes it into orbit of the sun, but they're so close they're being hit by flares and other solar ejections. Ok, but by the time they're hailed by Geordi on the Jenolen, they have full engines back, yet they're still within spitting distance of the sun? Why weren't they already back at the portal trying to open it, or did the tractor beams wipe their sensors of their previous trajectory? They should've pulled up to a higher orbit at the very least.

Seventh, Geordi could've opened the portal, hailed the Enterprise, and conversed with them as many times as needed to figure out a solution. Jamming the Jenolen into the hatch was just a contrivance.

Eighth, beaming through the shields. SFDebris put it best.

RIKER: Wait the shields are still up.
SCOTTY: Never mind that!
RIKER: You can't beam through the shields, we did a whole episode about it.
SCOTTY: We'll...we'll tell you the frequency. Yeah! You can beam through the shields if you know the frequency.
RIKER: No the episode was about beaming through our own shields. I mean we know the frequency of the shields of our own damn ship.
SCOTTY: I uh, I only have the shields up in the front and back.
RIKER: Nuh uh, I call no way.
SCOTTY: Uhh I hate this bloody century!

Ninth, nobody ever seems to bring this up, but in the final scene Picard says "Since you lost your ship saving ours, it seemed only fair." Yet Picard was the one who asked Scotty in sickbay why he wasn't on the crew manifest in the first place, because he was just a passenger.

I'll let myself out now, but I still really like this one overall. It's mainly the last 10 minutes where I think it falls off a cliff.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, May 26, 2020, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Set designers are part of the production team, which also includes the director, cinematographer, art director, lighting designer, props department, costumes, makeup, camera operators, grips, etc. The term set designer and production designer are used rather interchangeably, with set designer tending to be used a bit more in theater rather than in TV or film. This particular episode has numerous credits that would apply:

Directed by Peter Lauritson
Cinematography by Marvin Rush - director of photography
Production Design by Richard D. James
Set Decoration by Jim Mees
Art Department
Jason German - props
Andy Neskoromny - assistant art director
Gary Speckman - set designer
Rick Sternbach - senior illustrator
Cari Thomas - scenic artist
Herman Zimmerman - original set designer
Ed Miarecki - props (uncredited)
Michael W. Moore - props (uncredited)
William Peets - chief lighting technician
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, May 25, 2020, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Props to the production team on this one as well as all the other accolades. Ressik looks a lot like Greece's Santorini Island, with the whitewashed adobe buildings climbing up a craggy rock face. The only difference is Ressik overlooks a deep river valley rather than the Mediterranean Sea. It's understandably a bit studio-ish, but it's not overly precious like so often happens in other "rural simplicity" stories.

What I like are some of the subtle cues about the drought as time goes on. When we first arrive, they're planting the tree, they have dark soil/mulch, and there's vines and other plants growing up the buildings and flowers in small planting beds, it's all actually rather lush. Five years in their symbolic tree is larger and thriving, though there's no more flowers around and the other plants look a bit more weedy. Once we get to baby Batai's naming ceremony the vines are dead and the planting beds are empty and barren, with what little decent soil was left presumably salvaged for crops. By the time the administrator comes for his last visit, the symbolic tree is dead. At the last jump, when they go to see the missile launch, they turned up the intensity of the sun a good bit as well, making it a harsher hotter and more blue color. All great touches.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, May 25, 2020, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

I've always liked this two-parter, even recognizing its problems. Twain never really bothered me, but I can see how he can be too much to take. The alien's motivations are also laughable in how undeveloped they are. Regardless, I just love the 19th century stuff.

I was curious about the filming locations and Olvera Street in LA, which is sort of correct. When Data first "lands" in SF, the location is Sanchez Street, which is aligned with Olvera, but is on the south side of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles monument. I find it funny that the "Hotel Brian" is just the rear loading area of another random building across the street. In part 2 they shot on the newly completed New York Street backlot set at Paramount Studios.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, May 25, 2020, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Realm of Fear

I want to give kudos to the production crew for the exploding sample container in engineering. Despite being behind a forcefield, still came across as quite powerful and frightening.

Also, I always laugh at the final scene in the transporter room. When Worf and his security team enter, Barclay says "There are more crew members in the beam. You have to grab them and hold on." Worf then responds immediately with "Understood. Follow me." LOL what? These guys have NO IDEA what's going on, and after Barclay spouts some nonsense about people being in the transporter beam, while being dragged off the floor, Worf is all "oh ok, no problem." That's some crap writing there.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, May 23, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

This really is a pretty long middling run of TNG. None of it is really bad per se, just kind of blah, like what Rick Berman did to the music after season 4.

Anyway, what irritates me most about this episode is Martin (Ron Canada's character). I just can't grasp his logic, because he's written as such an obtuse straw man, much like Gosheven from The Ensigns of Command as Jay mentioned earlier, or to a lesser extent Krola the security minister from First Contact. How can someone be written as so oblivious to the situation at hand? Martin and Gosheven give no consideration to their immediate threats, and they're even told, what good are traditions and such if we're all dead? That never stops them. At least Krola has somewhat more understandable, if still quite black and white, motivations.

The bigger problem I have is that we're never told just what makes Martin so worried about people beaming down or someone going to the Enterprise for a few hours or days. He just spouts "throwing off the balance" and "it goes against our founders' wishes." But what balance is being thrown off by this? Is he worried that extra people will deplete the oxygen in the biosphere, or introduce foreign germs that their society has no immunity against? Sure I can understand there being problems if people leave permanently, or stay permanently, but why is he so opposed to any contact/exchange whatsoever? We never learn that, so he just comes off as a nut.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, May 19, 2020, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

Whew, I read all the comments, and I'm just awe-struck at how polarizing this is. I also think that because there's so many comments, people are just spouting their opinions off the cuff without considering the arguments that came before, leading to everything flaring up again.

Here's the way I see it.

First, the CE wasn't an immediate threat when they finally caught up to it, and in fact it was responding positively to the attempts at communication. The Enterprise's shields are an effective means of protection, and I see no evidence that the CE could "get away" from them. The only reason they haven't caught up with it before is because they only found out how to track it recently (if not in this very episode), and then only when close by. So I find the "shoot to kill" mentality really disturbing. If you want to use the terrorist analogy, this would be killing them while they're walking down the street days later, rather than just, you know, arresting them. This is vigilanteism, which has no place in the 24th century or the 21st century.

Besides that, the one thing I have not seen anyone mention is that while WE know how Lore communicated with the CE, and it is also known in-universe that Lore can/did communicate with the CE, nobody else on the Enterprise knows HOW Lore communicated with it. Maybe he used some special carrier wave or comm frequency. All that anyone in-universe knows is that Lore could communicate with it somehow. It could be as sophisticated as a conversation in English, or as simple as commanding a dog to sit or stay. We the audience know more than the characters do, and nobody seems to have brought that realization into their argument.

Also, this being a universe with mater/antimatter reactors, it could very well be possible to feed the CE many times over with very little effort. And if it's a sapient being, it wouldn't be a bad ally to have, though it actually seems to be pretty easy to destroy. Nonetheless, I've read that an actual warp core breach of a ship like the Enterprise, if it happened while in orbit of an Earth-like planet, would be absolutely devastating to said planet. Like a large portion of it completely gone. Think what happened to Praxis in The Undiscovered Country. That's many orders of magnitude more energy than sucking the life out of the surface of a planet. If it needs to be alive to be satisfying, then that's what replicators are for. Plug them into those antimatter reactors and the CE can have a limitless salad bar of giant redwoods, whale blubber, and phytoplankton.
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