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Sun, May 2, 2021, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 16: The Rescue

I’ve been reading and commenting in the ST:TOS section, but popped over here out of curiosity. Some barely structured commentary:

The inexplicable popularity — no, almost zealous adoration — of Mandalorian is probably something we couldn’t fathom happening in earlier era TV shows. One could be a big fan of ST, talk with a few friends or colleagues, yet also remain completely isolated from any “zeitgeist” or fandom-wide perceptions. Fast forward to now, when even casual fans of a show can saturate themselves in online analysis, debate, argumentation, and emotion. And its that last one that “showrunners” (how i loathe the term) are finally catching onto. Case in point, The Mandalorian.

If there’s one thing we know about human nature, its that our emotions and intellect fall completely out of balance when we move to a social or group level. One gets the sense that Mandalorian was designed from the ground up to appeal strictly to emotion, more specifically nostalgia of long-suffering Star Wars fans. Nostalgia itself is powerful even for our personal memories. But group level SHARED nostalgia? Start the money printing presses. After each episode, one could rush to the internet and read:

“OMG did you see X?”
“X isn’t in this part of the galaxy, technically, so I bet its Y. Both create questions.”
“Oh you are so right! I’m sure whatever they do, they will treat it with the respect that we hope for!”
“Oh definitely. If this is about trust, I trust them to handle X or Y’s storyline.”

Meanwhile, at Mando writer’s HQ:

“Storyboards 23-27 are a little bare, don’t you think?”
“Put a shadow in #25 that looks like X. That will wind them up for days.”
“Good idea, done!”

If Mando is a salve for old Star Wars wounds, or reminds people of their favorite moments and people, that’s fantastic. I don’t think anyone has suggested that people shouldn’t enjoy themselves. But here’s what happens - when your emotions are engaged at a very fundamental level, you lose perspective and sense of objectivity. You begin to equate your enjoyment with objective quality. And when others do it with you? Well, the result is the absurdity that is Mandalorian fandom.

“Best SW ever.”
“The magic is back.”
“There needs to be a Mando movie.”
“Baby yoda is a better character than X.”

Really? I mean, REALLY? Do you not see what is on your screen? Do you not hear what you are calling it?

Nowhere is this viral plague on Star Wars fandom more apparent than the Youtube entertainment critic community. You can see the cognitive dissonance of their true souls and fan service struggling in literal real time across reviews:

“This is it, Disney? Threadbare story sprinkled with cheap nostalgia. This won’t last, we hoped for more.”
(two weeks later)
“Although I think it relies too much on nostalgia, there is an expert nuance to the story that is no doubt an homage to old westerns. well done but not perfect.”
(two weeks later)
“Mando strikes the perfect balance between old and new, bridging the classic fan with a new and exciting world. What appears to be simple and emotional is only the tip of a complex iceberg, and we need to let the series build to bigger and better ideas.”

Don’t be too hard on Youtube critics. They must do this because their subscribers would turn on them in a second if they so much as suggested Mandalorian was worthy of criticism. Basically, if “Mando is AHMAZEballs!” is where the fandom is, then “Mando is AHMAZEballs!” is where the critic is. I do have hope for a few critics who seem to have strategically gone silent. They think Mando has serious problems, but are honest enough not to shill the opposite opinion to be popular or make money.

Of special note here must be the gang at RedLetterMedia. One would think that if you make a video mocking Star Wars Rogue One fans for nostalgic bias (“X wing! X wing! I KNOW WHAT THAT IS!), you would guard against it to avoid being called a hypocrite. NOPE! The hyper-critical gang at RLM jumped aboard the Mando money train just like everyone else, and left their critical thinking skills in Plinkett’s basement.

There isn’t much to discuss or argue about Mando’s stories or plotting, because it has the depth similar to that of a 5 year old playing with Star Wars figures. “This bad, this good. New figure! Pew pew! OMG saves day! Time for dinner, mom’s calling.!”

The Mandolorian just isn’t that good.
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Sun, May 2, 2021, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

This comment section is a testament to the wide array of tastes that Star Trek episodes can capture. I often wonder if viewers fall into a natural classification of types, as we often do with episodes. Scattered comments:

Put me in the “awful” column on this one. I see what they were going for here, and it is a slightly interesting premise based on a dubious value system. But the execution is fumbled so badly as to lose so much of the signal in the noise, that it is difficult to even discern a message.

For one, it is painfully obvious that the screenplay was written by a fan or amateur. Several lines of dialogue sound like filler based on character stereotypes, and others just don’t fit at all. (I’m thinking of Kirk’s odd and whiny lament about “my men!” after Spock and Bones disappear). There just isn’t a lot of substance happening for a 50 minute runtime. This may be due in part to the amateur author desiring (or being instructed) to avoid messing with long-term Trek history. A few slow motion scenes and over-lingering on faces suggests that the editing room also saw the slim pickings, and padded accordingly.

As a side note, the writer must have thought the name “Gem” was pretty nifty for some personal reason, because both its creation and usage in the story make no sense at all. Why would Bones require “she” to have a name if she was still the only she in front of them? Until this person wants to communicate their name, use the pronoun, what’s the problem? Near the end, even the Vians refer to the woman as Gem! Why would this advanced species who are literally evaluating this woman as a proxy of her species decide to use a name suggested by McCoy on a lark? No one I know communicates in this way!

These sorts of “judgment on humanity” stories are tricky to pull off well, because the end result is always a writer thinking they can write a judging species that, in turn, can find this wondrous nugget of virtue in humanity, a species that includes the writer. It all can come off like humanistic navel-gazing. I suppose the message here is that the Vians found a remarkably roundabout way of making sure a proxy member of a rescued species possessed a set of desired values, by kidnapping members of another species and killing them until they demonstrated the desired traits in front of the proxy member of the rescued species, so that this proxy member magically learned from observation what she must have been utterly incapable of learning in the abstract. Does that about sum it up?

One more thing, I also found the long close-ups on Gem to be cringe-worthy and distracting. But the culprit here wasn’t so much the actress as it was the invasive score. Any time Gem’s face was in close-up, the music changed to this awful dreamy score that eventually made the closeups comical. I think it would have been far more effective to pair her closeups with either silence or a mysterious score that implied a subliminal threat.
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Sat, May 1, 2021, 6:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: All Our Yesterdays

Good episode in an otherwise forgettable season.
Just one note on a comment made above. Someone thought it was an inconsistency that Kirk had to worry about dying in the past because he wasn’t “prepared”, whereas McCoy and Spock almost decided to give up trying to leave simply for the love of a woman.

I don’t think there’s an inconsistency here, when we remember that all information Spock and McCoy had was provided by Zarabeth. The implication, I thought, was that Zarabeth was so consumed with loneliness that she would have lied to the men and condemned them to die, simply for a short relief from her loneliness.

On further reflection, Zarabeth isn’t a sympathetic character at all. She was willing to take the entire remaining lives of two men, just to relieve her loneliness for a short duration of time.
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Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 4:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

I found this episode a bit tedious and admit I quit a bit after the halfway point. Before I knew any details of the situation when i heard "make me live!" It was clear he was passing his conciousness to Bashir. I've seen this kind of thing before. So as the episode continued it was hard to watch all the red herrings waiting for the characters to catch up with me. Currently rewatching all Trek first seasons and DS9 so far has been second only to TOS for me.
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Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:56am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: The Andorian Incident

As I am rewatching 5 ST series at once (no Kelvan) I check here after every episode and must say this is one of the most articulate and thoughtful comment section I have experienced in 24 years on the internet. Thank you all and thank you Jammer! As far as this particular episode, it is the mpst enjoyable so far of the STE for me. Hostage situation was route yes, however the end I did not see coming, that surprise alone elevates it above my initial perceptions.
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Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Unexpected

So...The alien female knew she was initiating a form of sex and Trip didn't. Bit rapey. It feels like they just wanted the comedy associated with a male pregnancy (is it though) and didn't care what surrounded it.
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Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

My first comment on here. Discovery took 4 or 5 episodes to get me in to it (and I really enjoyed it, apart from Michael) and it's taken 5 in Picard for something to actually happen.

So far, it feels like the writers have just played mass effect 2, storyline pretty much identical. Build a team, go to a nightclub ruled by a powerful woman, negotiate a deal, now to save the galaxy.

It's not terrible, but I think the major problem is some scenes are rushed, or not enough information given, or characters are used to explain things to the audience. All this is because after adverts, intro and flashbacks each episode is about 35 minutes long. 50 mins would allow much more freedom.

I've not really warmer to any of the characters. Picard's voice has lost its gravitas and his stature. Ryan is definitely the best thing to happen so far. Picking up something that someone mentioned above, a series around seven would have worked better, with cameos from Picard, Janeway etc would have made a better series.

Each episode so far 2/4, none have stood out.
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Wed, Aug 21, 2019, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

For me simply the best Star Trek episode ever written! Excellent acting all around. Captivating and riveting dialogue. Not one punch thrown, not one phaser fired, not one explosion. The current people working on Star Trek could learn a lot from this episode. 4/4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Sun, Jun 16, 2019, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I can't and never will consider Discovery as ANY part of classic Star Trek canon. Probably not the Picard show,Or the Section 31 show either.I don't care what CBS or the show-runners say. Discovery is just too aesthetically and tonality different for me to reconcile it with classic Trek. They have just taken wayyyy too many liberties with aesthetics and canon. The ridiculous things for me that will never fit in for instance the R2-D2 like droids on the Enterprise hull or the Red Angel Iron Man suit . They are not era appropriate. For me these and the terrible (IMO) writing and unlikable characters are just insulting, laughable and cringe worthy . But if people like it that's absolutely fine. Everyone is different and has different opinions and tastes. I totally get it I just can't bring myself to watch it.
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Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

I don't understand all the fuss about the end of the episode. Hedford is basically the same as an organ donor today. She finds happiness with Cockrane.
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Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I don't understand anything the producers/showrunners are doing with Discovery.

Making the show a prequel makes little sense to me. They want to set the show in the cage era and insist its prime timeline. But nothing matches up at all. All the previous treks at least tried to make it all seem like the same universe just different eras. Like respecting the visuals and story. If they don't want the show to look like the TOS era because it looks too "primitive" for modern audiences, which I understand they really should've set it post-Voyager/Nemesis. All they would need to do is make some adjustments. Set the show several hundred years in Voyager/nemesis's future They could still have a faction of radical Klingons who are opposed to federation ideals. Instead of Sarek, just have another prominent Vulcan. Plus all the technology would make perfect sense because its in the future. People would expect technological advances. But setting the show pre-TOS era makes me feel like discovery is really not prime timeline but a different timeline having nothing to do with previous trek shows.

Also I don't understand why they have to re-imagine everything in trek now. I've heard there are licensing issues but doesn't CBS own the rights to the Star Trek prime designs? I was under the impression they only had to change the designs/iconography for the movies.
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Sun, Aug 18, 2013, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

It's really funny because I watched this something like 12 years ago and I remembered this as part of the episode where Kira's past enemy kills a bunch of her past associates.

And reading the comments of many here, it suddenly clicked.

Why are Ezri's memories inconsistent with Jadzia's?

Memory is easily distorted.

As much as I hated the previous episode, it's probably noteworthy that this Joran looks an awful lot like her brother, who was recently discovered to be a killer. Ezri probably never actually saw Joran and could easily have mixed the two.

How can the projection of Joran be able to process something that Ezri isn't looking at? He lives inside her memories. It's well known that the mind can see and capture images subconsciously far more comprehensively than the conscious mind can access them. They did studies on fighter pilots and their ability to identify planes when flashed an image in a tiny fraction of a second. I recently saw a documentary on robots that explored this and found that the eye can detect a single frame showing an animal of 100 pictures flashed in a second. This is because the brain processes 'important' images (animals and other perceived threats as well as human faces) with a special processor.

It's not really unrealistic to assume that as Ezri was wandering through and processing with her conscious, Joran was processing information as it passed into her memory.

It kinda fits.

Given the memorable nature of the weapon (the only thing I really remembered after 12 years) and some of the better moments (Worf), I quite enjoyed this one.
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Tue, Jul 30, 2013, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

Gotta say, it's pretty ridiculous that people are complaining about the lack of mixed race relationships in the game because they are spending too much time pairing up aliens from mixed alien races? What type of 'color blindness' thinks Worf-Jadzia doesn't count as a mixed-color relationship between main characters, or T'Pol and whoever that boring actor was that she was banging on screen... or handful of relationships that Jake had in the first few seasons with non-black girls/women don't count because... I just don't get it.

Having said that, I always felt that racism was handled a bit too heavy handed by DS9. In TOS, Kirk and Spock just didn't understand the reasoning behind the Cherons. Kind of like you wouldn't understand racism if someone was talking about different colored cats. But on DS9, it was much more of a roaring behemoth, dealt with by facing it head on in a huge barrage of explosions.

And I definitely noticed it too with Jake and Ben. Strong leanings toward black girls. But maybe they just liked 'home cooking'? We know they did for food and entertainment.

Racism isn't 'handled' properly until it is simply not an issue.

Certainly, I appreciate what Star Trek has done for showing how it is possible to overcome prejudices such as race, color, even financial standing. But it's best moments for overcoming racism have always been the quieter ones.

Bear in mind that DS9 is my favorite Trek and Ben Sisko is absolutely the reason for it. Nothing to do with him being black. He's just a badass who had it rough and still keeps grasping for the rope of morality as the Universe tries to drag him down.

Isn't it funny too that this episode was about trauma, stress, escapism, sentience, life, and friendship between a character living in the 60's and a Ferengi. And somehow, the discussion gets overwhelmed by debate about racism. (?)

PS. as an avid classical guitarist, I resent the suggestion that it might be considered unrealistic for 400 year old music to be considered captivating to humans and non-humans alike. OK, so I play mostly stuff from 150-50 years ago, but good music is good music.
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Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 8:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Afterimage

yeah, you Ezri-bashers are full of crap.

She is good because she is weak. She can't cry worth a damn, but I liked almost everything else she did.

Characters that fail are almost always more interesting than characters that win at everything.

deBoer did a great job of capturing a hint of Terry's persona as if it were a portion of a mix of personalities inside her, jostling around for dominance - a bit like the penultimate scene in Terminator 2. Every once in a while, it does pop through, just a little bit.

As to her competence as a counselor, I think that's reasonable and Sisko is rolling on the fact that he's quite sure she'll roll into it somewhat naturally, albeit with a few bumps here and there.

Counseling isn't exactly a hard science you know. Any time I have been to counseling, the emphasis has always been on letting the client do most of the work and giving them a chance to air out the dirty laundry.

That's probably a fairly believable reason that few counselors stay long on DS9. It's a pretty rough and risky place to hang out if your professional skillset involves getting people to open up and cry a bit.

Given the fact that the Feds are at war with a fairly powerful alliance for most of the last few seasons and DS9 is the most strategic point, that's not a particularly strong set of skills for dealing with a militant invasion.

Might as well change the Counselor's uniform to a clean, bright red shirt.

Naw, her character fits and she did a good job (again, except for the crying - couldn't they have just killed a kitten in front of her or something???).

Oh, and the character in Invasive Procedures was a personality that was quite well suited and well prepared for joining, but had a psychotic streak. Ezri is a personality that is simply not suited for it and was never prepared for joining. I think the difference in the characters matches what was shown on screen.
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Row Jimmy
Sat, May 18, 2013, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

I'm in agreement with the consensus about the series finale. But I'm seeing many comments ragging on the first two seasons which I thought were great. I recently re-watched the series and the first two seasons were actually my favorite. Season 3, with the linear plot line, enthralled me the first time I watched it but I wasn't as impressed watching it a second time. I think this plot line for an entire season contributed to the shows failure. For the casual fan, who didn't watch the show every week, they would have been completely lost tuning in at mid-season. Star Trek was always about exploration and not all out war.

Season 4 went back to the regular format but it was kind of hit or miss. The hurriedly thrown together series finale was a major bummer to an otherwise solid show. It's too bad SyFy channel never picked up the show. I think it would have been far more successful on cable and available during the age of streaming. Due to their poor advertising, I had no idea that this show even existed when it aired on television.
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