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John Harmon
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 2:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

As usual, this show doesn’t hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny.

It tricks you into thinking it’s making sense in the moment, but after it’s over and you start thinking about it, it all falls apart.

First off, they’re just doing the Terminator. Control is Skynet. That’s the best these writers can come up with? A concept done a million times in sci-fi? Hell, The Orville just did “Evil AI wants to kill all sentient life” just a few weeks ago.

They build this up over the entire season like it’s huge and important and different, and it’s just evil AI. I can’t help but feel back in the day this would have just been a cool two-parter, so the show could have variety and other adventures. Stupidly stretching out a weak idea over an entire season is what’s wrong with modern tv writing.

As a positive, I really enjoyed Spock telling Burnham the whole universe doesn’t revolve around her, but then Airiam literally told her the whole universe revolves around her so, yeah. Burnham is definitely the Red Angel. Ugh.

If they had spent time developing Airiam this whole time, I would have really cared that she died. Her death caused me to feel nothing, because I still have no idea who this person is or was. But also they said all her memories were downloaded into discovery so I’m guessing she’s not really dead. Death means nothing in the Kurtzman Star Trek world (magic blood?).

Focusing more on character is always a good thing, but the show still has a long way to go before it can even be considered competently written. I dare say it needs to be a completely different show.
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John Harmon
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Wow. I thought for sure this would get 2 stars at best. I mean it’s just an hour or bad service, information we already know, and it took 8 episodes just to tell us the entire universe is at stake...again. Not to mention the laughably bad drama between young Spock and Burnham is that she just “White Fanged” him, which is so overdone it’s just self parody these days.

I have no idea why people from Section 31 are taking orders from Starfleet when they’re supposed to be above oversight, but then they also act like the can give orders to Pike which also makes no sense. Why is Leland keeping Georgiou around? She’s clearly trying to massively screw him over. She’s Starscreaming him at every turn. There’s no logical reason for him not to get rid of her or kill her.

Saru allowing the fight to happen was bad Star Trek, and having Pike bring it up as bad doesn’t excuse it.

Just too many baffling questions. I just can’t abide this new Star Trek made from writers who used to work on soap operas and CW shows.
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John Harmon
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

Great review as always. Seems about right. There were kernels of interesting stuck inside many layers of nonsense.
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

I knew the reveal of why Burnham and Spock were estranged was going to be disappointing, but wow. They literally went with the first thing they thought of huh? It's just the "yell at your dog to stop following you" trope. Or "break his heart to save him" trope.

It's ridiculously hackneyed soap opera bullshit that's nothing but self parody at this point.

It shouldn't even count as a fight, because it's not. The fact that they're estranged because of that, when Spock knew the whole time she was just trying to protect him, is laughably absurd. It ruined an episode that, up to that point, wasn't completely terrible.

And now they're saying this """"'fight""""" is the reason Spock is so logical? Michael Burnham is literally the reason Spock is who we know him to be? Fantastic. Just...great.
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John Harmon
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 7:18am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

"But I'm not holding my breath for this show to ever prove it has any other ambitions than to be a lightweight romp of sci-fi nostalgia."

Is that bad? I mean, I'm ok with it. It's fun, it's funny, I care about the characters as people. This show has made me laugh, cry, stare in shock, and actually think when it's an episode About Something ™. And it often does have very intriguing sci-fi concepts.

I'll take that any day over something that depresses and confuses me with its awful internally inconsistent writing like Discovery.
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John Harmon
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Wow. I'm shocked at the rating. Especially after reading the review. Certainly didn't come off as the review for a near perfect episode.

I found this one just too boring and far too dumb to enjoy. All the logic gaps you mentioned were too much for me. None of the situation made any sense whatsoever. If the Not Armuses used to be the prey to the Kelpiens, then how did they ever evolve to develop space travel? How did they do it without the Kelpiens finding out or co-opting it?

The ending was just too rushed and awful. Literally zero time is spent reflecting on the decision that was unilaterally made for an entire species, by an outsider, and that nobody on the planet had knowledge of. So what happens now? Do the Kelpiens become bloodthirsty predators again? Yay?

The design of the Not Armuses was cartoonishly stupid too.
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John Harmon
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

I think the show already knows what it wants to be. It’s a mix of comedy and drama. It can have purely lighthearted episodes, or full on serious ones. The focus will always be on the characters first. I think it accomplishes what it sets out to do very well.

This episode was intriguing and kept my attention the entire way through. Everything about it felt different, down to the more natural lighting shining through the ship on the planet. This episode had its share of heartfelt moments, and hilarious moments. Bortus asking for the corner piece of cake had me in stitches. It had great tension, real stakes. Isaac’s betrayal meant something, because the actually got the audience to fall for him the same way Claire did. The fact that Seth McFarlane said this was planned from the very beginning says a lot.

The only part of the episode that didn’t play for me was Ty leaving the ship the way he did. Both my wife and I spoke up at the same time about it not making sense. I didn’t mind the catacombs of skeletons. Yeah sure, you could say it would make more sense for them to completely incinerate all the remains and you could have the Orville crew find out this information in a more dry, clinical way, but they chose the option that had more visual and emotional impact. It was the sobering gut punch the episode needed to thrust us into the rest of the story.

I dunno. When I first watched Scorpion, I never thought it was that great. For Voyager, I can see why it got a high rating. I think with each show, you grade on the curve that show sets, but even then I never found Scorpion very compelling. It made the Borg boring.
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John Harmon
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

“This isn't a show for 8-year-olds.”

No, but it’s written like it’s for 14 year olds.
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John Harmon
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

There's also fewer episodes per season, so they're trying to cram 26 episodes worth of ideas and plot into 13 and it shows.
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John Harmon
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Y'all are so thirsty for anything resembling Trek that this perfectly meh episode is being treated as the second coming.

It was ok. It was paced better than most episodes in this series, and it only had one plot to focus on which automatically makes it easier to digest. But it was just alright. The writers of this show don't know how to build tension at all so I felt nothing the entire way through. But I wasn't bored.

Burnham's answer to trying to get Saru off the Transporter was to threaten to shoot him. She just immediately pulls her gun on him. Good lord she's a psychopath. It's her first answer for any situation. She probably pulls her gun on her boxes of cereal trying to decide which one to eat for breakfast.

All I keep thinking was, if the race of Not Armuses had interstellar space travel capability, why the hell did they bother staying on that planet? If they were keeping this fake balance because they were scared the Kelpians would kill them, literally all they had to do was go away and they'd never see them again. Hell, they're all up in their ships in space anyway. There's no threat to them. That was nonsensical.

I forgot they brought Culber back to life. Ugh. Hey, you remember how when Spock died they brought him back with some weird handwavy nonsense? But like, it was ok because Spock is the most famous character in Star Trek and it took the plot of an entire movie to bring him back that cost Kirk his command, his ship, and his son so it's ok to forgive how they brought Spock back?

Well let's get even more bullshit with bringing back nobody's favorite character Culber! Seriously, does anyone care about him? I thought it was stupid to kill him off, but also he had zero character before. He was a boring emotionless blank slate and now he's back and even less of a character. This should be fun.

Pike makes the very rational and Captain like decision not to play good and force an entire species to change, but Burnham says some words and he just gives in. He has the title of Captain, but his actual role in the show is to just bounce ideas off of Saint Burnham so she can make her decisions.

I'm not sure why they had Ensign Tilly bossing Lt. Commander Airiam around anyway. Once again, rank means nothing on the show. The ancillary bridge crew continue to be nothing more than set decoration. Treating Airiam like she's the ship computer does not equal characterization. Until the bridge crew become real characters, all that visual diversity is just Toledo tokenism, and it's pretty gross that the writers and producers are ok with that. The actors are being wasted.

I like Saru. He's far and away the best character on the show and he should be Captain. I actually liked the twist in Charon about the revelation of his species. I was looking forward to them dealing with that some time in the future as a really great upheaval for his people. But nope they just rush to it 2 episodes later and get through it in a really haphazard way. It was all just in service to the boring Red Angel story. The revolution of Saru's people can't even be its own story.

Still, I'm happy that the show is experimenting with change in its characters, but I'm still waiting to be truly surprised in a great way with this show. It needs a watershed moment like TNG had where you could tell it was different and it kept pulling you back to it. I'll still stick with this in hopes that this Red Angel story ends up being some uplifting message about humanity. But I'm going to go ahead and call it now. The Red Angel is Burnham from the future. I won't be surprised one bit.
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John Harmon
Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

@Quincy that's why people prefer Star Trek not go back to the Mirror Universe though. Previously we've seen MU characters in small doses and it gets old fast. Now we have one of those shallow cartoon villains given her own show.
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John Harmon
Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Regarding the future of Star Trek being a Utopia, don't they specifically call it in that in the shows? At least Earth is specifically mentioned as a Utopia, because it's post scarcity and nobody ever wants for anything and all of Earth is United.
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John Harmon
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

"From there it's not hard for me to imagine that Section 31 at some point became an official arm of Starfleet Intelligence, if that's even what we are seeing here. And that arm could be completely dissolved and disavowed sometime in the next 100+ years, which is plenty of time for someone like Bashir to believably not have heard of them in the 24th century, where they could've been spun up again as an underground rogue operation."

I just don't buy it. I can't believe that in the future of interstellar space travel, our history keeping would become so bad that in about one hundred years, nobody remembers what Section 31 is. If it was ever intended to actually exist as an official part of Starfleet, Bashir would have just reacted by saying "I thought they didn't exist anymore" or something like that. The only way I've ever been able to tolerate the idea of Section 31 is by assuming they were rogue extremists. Confirming them to be officially Starfleet just retroactively taints the entire franchise for me, to say nothing of how boring Kurtzman is making the idea.


"Regarding Kurtzman being an idiot: Why do some automatically assume that any executive is automatically operating in bad faith and knows nothing about what he has been charged with? And that he can't possibly have done his homework? Maybe he did and maybe he didn't, but the assumption of the worst is indicative of a really tough crowd. Let's see where this is going and give it a chance! it a retcon? Probably. But as retcons go, this is on more solid ground than most."

Yeah I'm definitely being hyperbolic by calling Kurtzman an idiot. I probably shouldn't. But he's been one of the people in charge of Star Trek for the last decade and everything he's done with it seems to Jubei with the idea that he just doesn't get or care what Star Trek is.

I've been giving the show a chance since the beginning. I was initially excited for it, but the truly awful writing has just been wearing me down. It's getting harder and harder to keep giving it chances. The writing, on its own merits, just doesn't cut it for me. There's some very basic things these writers consistently get wrong. It's frustrating when your brain is automatically writing better versions of the episodes you're watching.

I'll keep watching if for no other reason than to keep being able to enjoy the reviews on this site and not be behind. I don't know how much hope I have for the show though.
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John Harmon
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

And also Cornwell's monologue at the end condoning Section 31 and saying how necessary they are for a society made me ill. When Sloan said it in DS9, it made sense because he was the bad guy. He was an extremist so of course he'd say something like that.

To have actual Starfleet agree with them ruins it in my opinion. Cornwell said "nation building isn't easy". In a post scarcity society it would be.

Discovery is just gross. It's just American Foreign Policy IIIIN SPAAAAAACE. I think Discovery is the most American Star Trek yet, and it makes me sad.

We're a far cry from the TNG era, where one of the edicts was to not just make Starfleet space police, forcing other cultures to conform to their way. They wanted to avoid making Star Trek look like it was just American foreign policy. Not anymore.
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John Harmon
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

"In DS9 it is stated that Section 31 is pasrt of the original Federation Charta."

That line wasn't saying that the organization was mentioned in the original Starfleet charter. Sloan just meant that that's where they got their name. From Section 31 of the Starfleet charter. That was always my interpretation. He's part of a group of people that interpret Section 31 to the extreme.

And honestly that's interesting. What's not interesting is making them a bunch of "badass super spies". That's boring as hell.

I can't believe that Section 31 would have been super secret and underground during Enterprise, then be the most well known thing ever in Discovery, only to then be so secret that nobody knows about it by the time of DS9. I honestly think Alex Kurtzman is just an idiot who actually doesn't understand what Section 31 is. I mean, look what he did with it in Into Darkness.
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John Harmon
Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

"Is it so hard to imagine a significant change in the organization's profile in the course of a whole century?"

Frankly, yes. I find it too hard to believe that something like Section 31 could be so well known in the 2250's and by the 2370's it's so secretive that nobody is even aware it was ever a thing. It makes it even harder to believe when you consider how much longer people live in this future so there's likely people from the time of Discovery still alive by the time of DS9.

The impression I got from DS9 was that Section 31 was like a rogue band of extremists, who interpret the law in what they consider the best interests of the Federation. Which is why they've always been able to operate with no oversight and be so secretive. I assumed they had operatives working within high in Starfleet command, but that it wasn't the same as Starfleet endorsing them.

To me it completely takes away everything that's interesting about Section 31 when you just make them an official branch of Starfleet that isn't secret in the least and they all just have a bunch of magical do anything technology more advanced than anything else in the show.

Also I have to wonder how Cornwell was able to assert why authority over Leland at all when Section 31 operates with no oversight whatsoever. He didn't have to listen to her.
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John Harmon
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

@navamske whoa that’s a great observation. I hadn’t realized that before.

Yeah they only mention the PU, which is analagous to the UFP, but there doesn’t seem to be a term for Starfleet in The Orville, except “the military” which seems odd
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John Harmon
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 6:33am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

The talking flower was Bruce Willis? It honestly sounded like Jerry Seinfeld to me.
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John Harmon
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 12:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

This was som of the worst writing of the series. Once again there’s too much going on, it’s just a series of events with no emotion or tension or logic.

The dialogue is just awful.

The first scene you had Stamets explain how he was going to find Tilly, and Burnham would just repeat what he said as if she was offering new information. This happened more than once in the opening scene. Holy shit it made my head hurt.
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John Harmon
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 12:51am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

I also really miss Alara. She was by far my favorite character and it still stings that she’s gone. Her replacement just ain’t cutting it
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John Harmon
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

This season is really heavy isn’t it? It’s been good for the most part. I liked this episode. I feel like they keep dropping hints that the Moclans might be at odds with the Union later. Maybe they’ll go to war? Mercer’s comment about “how long can you be allies with people like that?” Seemed ominous.

I’m liking this season, but I wish they’d lean back into the comedy like season one. I’m going back and watching season one with my wife and I’m laughing more at it now than I did the first time. I miss the humor.
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John Harmon
Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

For those saying there’s a lot about season 1 they can’t remember (myself included), there’s a reason for that. It’s the Alex Kurtzman style of writing. Jangle keys in front of your face so you’re too distracted to remember that none of what you’re watching makes any sense. Here’s a great article about it:

https://crudereviews.net/2019/01/23/discovery-in-depth-continuity-and-the-shelby-method/
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John Harmon
Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 12:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

They’re completely incongruous scenarios.
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John Harmon
Mon, Feb 11, 2019, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

I really don’t like this argument that Michael Burnham was completely distraught over her captain being killed and that’s why she killed T’Kuvma.

She had him dead to rights with her phaser. She could have stunned him and beamed him back to their ship. She paused for several seconds, silent and calm, then switched the phaser to kill, then shot the dude right in the chest. She straight up committed murder. Yeah he killed Georgiou. Which means she should have been even more determined to complete her mission to get justice for her death.

If she was so emotionally unstable that she just entirely drops her mission because someone in her away team dies, why was she on that mission? Why is she in Starfleet at all? It was a terrible way to start the series. With competent writing, you could make that scenario work, but the way it’s presented is laughable.
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John Harmon
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

The difference between this and Ethics is that in Ethics, Worf was medically diagnosed as paralyzed with basically no chance of recovery and had permission from the captain about deciding to end his life.

In Discovery, you just had Saru diagnose himself and decide in the span of a few minutes he was going to kill himself, only he tells Burnham and that’s it. The captain isn’t let in, there’s no extensive medical study done on him. It was cartoonish.
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