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John Harmon
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

The big difference between the effects of The Orville and Discovery is that I’m actually impressed with the effects of the Orville, despite Discovery constantly trying to provide the biggest spectacle.

When I watched that hour long battle in the season 2 finale of Discovery, it was actually giving me a headache. Star Wars prequel level space battles aren’t interesting. They’re mind numbing and boring.

The Orville brilliantly combines real physical model shots with CGI and it looks great. When I saw the sequence of the ship going into the planet’s rings and hiding on a chunk of ice, with the Kaylon ship passing overhead, I actually said “wow” out loud. The sequence had a great sense of scale and awe and you knew what was happening and it looked great.
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John Harmon
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I gotta agree. Paying attention does not make this show more enjoyable. You have to pay as little attention as possible to get any kind of surface level enjoyment from it.
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John Harmon
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Are we actually supposed to believe this is an acceptable way to write out the spore drive? Was there any evidence that Starfleet didn't plan on implementing it in more ships? We saw in season one that Discovery wasn't the only ship working on a spore drive. Stamets got it to work.

Considering how technological progress happens in humans, when we discover a technology that irrevocably changes our society, we don't just mothball it if it seems a little dangerous. We work the problem until it's fixed.

It's entirely unbelievable that Starfleet would discard all information on this fantastic technology and never try to develop anything like it ever again even though it cuts travel time around the universe down to zero. Humans just don't work that way and technology progresses, it never regresses.
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John Harmon
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Alan Roi the season is over my dude. You're constantly replying to every negative comment about this show like it's your job.
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John Harmon
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 3:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

These are basically all the thoughts I had while watching the episode. Don’t blame anyone not wanting to read all of this, or just wanting to skim, but I figure it’s best to put everything in one comment rather than spam a bunch.

Well I’ll start with the good. It was cool seeing Starfleet HQ. Future San Francisco looked neat.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way. That’s seriously all the writers could come up? This whole season Alex Kurtzman has been saying that by the end of the season it would explain away all the canon inconsistencies. And their best shot is “everybody kept it a secret”? That made me actually laugh out loud because I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. An entire season, tens of millions of dollars spent just to ultimately say “everyone just pinkie promised to not talk about it”? It’s almost impressive what a middle finger that is to the audience.

So it turned out Michael Burnham was the Red Angel all along after all. Kinda makes that whole couple of episodes about her mom pointless. Also, was anyone expecting anything else? It was obvious from the first episode of the season it would turn out to be Michael Burnham, based on nothing else than the fact that the writers love making her the most important person in the universe. And the show treats that moment like it’s a shocking revelation. We were all ahead of the show there right?

Speaking of, I guess Discovery just happens to have the ability to replicate an Iron Man suit? I didn’t even know they had replicators. But they sure built that super advanced time traveling space suit in no time like it was nothing.

The non stop space battling was nauseating. It was full on Star Wars prequel white noise. I’m sure a bunch of animators were underpaid to create all those space battles that I had to close my eyes during because it was giving me a headache. This type of action is mind numbing and frankly, boring. Throwing more stuff at the screen isn’t exciting. For that matter, overly long scenes of people just punching each other isn’t exciting either. All I can think of is how intense and exciting Wrath Of Khan still is, and it was only two ships battling like they were slow moving submarines and not a single punch was thrown between Kirk and Khan.

And during the battle I noticed the Enterprise deployed a bunch of Star Wars repair droids that looked like Skeletor’s hover bots from the old Masters Of The Universe cartoon. Didn’t know they had those.

Admiral Cornwell’s death was ridiculous. So the only way to close the blast door was manually from the inside. Good thing the Enterprise designers created that room to be as dramatically convenient as possible. Why could they not beam her out of the room exactly? Also, this photon torpedo, that had the destructive capability of turning the Enterprise’s saucer section into a crescent shape was held off...by a blast door...is that what we’re being asked to believe? If the door was open, more of the ship would have blown up. But that one singular tiny door was so capable of holding that blast, Pike didn’t even flinch even though he was only a few feet away from it.

Leland wasn’t actually a bad guy right? Am I wrong there? His body was taken over by Skynet, right? It really bothered me how much the show reveled in the sadism of his death...this guy who was really just a victim.

Noticed they couldn’t resist ending another season without a “this is Starfleet” moment.

Security Chief what’s-her-name saying “yum yum”. I cringed out of my skin and now I’m a skeleton.

Didn’t really like Spock monologuing about how Michael Burnham is so great that she’s the reason he is who he is. I can’t believe how much the writers love making her the center of everything. No wonder she has this hero complex. Can’t really blame her. It would have been a missed opportunity not to have a goodbye between them though, so I can’t fully blame them there.

Seeing the bridge crew in the end, with the shots of the Enterprise in space dock was a neat TMP homage. And I appreciate Ethan Peck giving his all in the character, but boy howdy does the full Spock look not look good on him at all. Sad to say it was another laugh moment for me. I felt sorry for him. I also felt sorry for Rebecca Romijn in this. Her wig looked terrible. She herself was great though. I laughed again when she actually gave her name as “Number One”, but I’m sure that was an intentional joke moment.

The ending is intriguing in theory. Taking Discovery to the future frees up the show from a lot of constraints. However, it’s also emblematic of the writing problems in this show. The writers are literally having the show run away from what they think are its problems. They think taking the show out of prequel territory and eliminating all canon inconsistencies will fix the show, but that wasn’t the problem at all. The core problem is the writing style. Style over substance, weak characterization, lightning fast pacing, and boring overextended mystery box plots. Taking the show far into the future won’t fix this show alone. The writers need to fundamentally change how the show is written and structured for it to have a chance of really being good. Otherwise they’re just going to keep wasting tens of millions of dollars on fancy effects coupled with writing on par with bad fan fiction. We’ll see.
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John Harmon
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I have a question...if this show didn’t have the Star Trek brand attached to it, would anyone care about this? I see people doing mental gymnastics to excuse the sloppy writing and I just can’t imagine this show would have ever made it past season one if it weren’t for the strength of the Star Trek brand alone pulling in subscribers.

This show is objectively a mess, writing wise. I’m honestly floored that this show is written by actual professional Hollywood writers. Maybe it’s because of all the mess this show has had behind the scenes for the past two seasons. Or maybe it’s the Alex Kurtzman influence, who has a particular talent for failing up in his industry. Every script he’s written has been awful and he’s brought down multiple franchises.

It seems like they’re preparing for a major change of scenery for the series, as if that fixes all the problems. I just don’t know if can be fixed if the next season is going to be another season long mystery box story arc with nonsensical plotting. If this season finale is meant to “fix” the canon issues Discovery has with the rest of Star Trek, it just means they wasted an entire season “fixing problems” they made themselves. The show should be called Star Trek: Course Correction, because that’s what this season feels like. If they want to iron out the kinks of the show, they need to get rid of Kurtzman’s influence completely and hire writers who can actually do sci-fi and good character work, as opposed to soap opera melodrama.
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John Harmon
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

I could actually believe this as the real review.
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John Harmon
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@Alan Roi are you a CBS rep or something? You can’t let anyone’s even slightly negative comments about this show go. It’s very odd.
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John Harmon
Mon, Mar 25, 2019, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

I swear if they turn Leland into the first Borg, I’ll be officially done with those show for good. That would be so lazy and cheap that I fully expect them to do it. I remember people joking last season that these hacks would bring in The Borg in season 2, but I never thought it could be true. I guess we wait.
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John Harmon
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 3:53am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

The term “Mary Sue” was actually coined by a woman, Paula Smith, in the 70’s, in regards to Star Trek believe it or not. She was a fan fiction writer fed up with reading fan fics starring what she believed to be perfect characters who everybody loved. She brought up the criticism as a way to help other fan fic writers craft more believable, non self insert characters. This is actually her parody story, titled “A Trekkie’s Tale”, in its entirety, featuring the original Mary Sue:

“Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky," thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. "Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet - only fifteen and a half years old." Captain Kirk came up to her.
"Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?" "Captain! I am not that kind of girl!" "You're right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute while I go get some coffee for us." Mr. Spock came onto the bridge. "What are you doing in the command seat, Lieutenant?" "The Captain told me to." "Flawlessly logical. I admire your mind."

Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott beamed down with Lt. Mary Sue to Rigel XXXVII. They were attacked by green androids and thrown into prison. In a moment of weakness Lt. Mary Sue revealed to Mr. Spock that she too was half Vulcan. Recovering quickly, she sprung the lock with her hairpin and they all got away back to the ship.

But back on board, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Mary Sue found out that the men who had beamed down were seriously stricken by the jumping cold robbies , Mary Sue less so. While the four officers languished in Sick Bay, Lt. Mary Sue ran the ship, and ran it so well she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Vulcan Order of Gallantry and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood.

However the disease finally got to her and she fell fatally ill. In the Sick Bay as she breathed her last, she was surrounded by Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott, all weeping unashamedly at the loss of her beautiful youth and youthful beauty, intelligence, capability and all around niceness. Even to this day her birthday is a national holiday of the Enterprise.”
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

@Alan Roi well it sure is lucky for our heroes that the Red Angel just happened to have magical healing equipment that was never established.
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

"She's dead for 2 minutes. 'Long after' that is not, even by the medical standards of 20 years ago."

Dead is dead yo. Especially when exposed to the toxic atmosphere of an alien planet. Doesn't matter how long you're dead for, there ain't no coming back from that.

Unless of course you have a magic Care Bear Stare healing beam.
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

They sure got lucky that The Red Angel had a magic healing Care Bear Stare beam to shoot at Michael to bring her back to life a considering she showed up long after she died.
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

When Leland was telling Burnham about her parents, I actually thought to myself "the least interesting, dumbest thing they could do here is have her punch him in the face over this".

And sure enough that's what happened. What would have been interesting is for her not to do that. Maybe show some character growth. But nope. Just stupid lowest common denominator pointless "cathartic" violence. Just like we've come to expect from our Star Trek characters.

I don't think Burnham has changed one bit since the pilot. She's still reckless, insubordinate, extremely violent, and wholly unworthy of her station. She's the single most dangerous Starfleet officer in the history of Star Trek.
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

"Time Crystal" just sounds stupid. Regardless if there's any basis to it in real science, it sounds stupid and I fully guarantee you the writers of the show had no idea about the scientific concept. They just thought "Time Crystal" sounded cool. It doesn't. And people kept saying it so casually like we're supposed to know what that means.

This episode also had a quick casual mention of a time travel arms race against the Klingons. What is with this show?!? How can they just so casually mention that and have all the characters act like that's normal talk? Why don't the writers ever act like writers and have these things properly drawn out with the proper amount of attention paid to them?

A time travel arms race against the Klingons? That's mind blowing. And it's treated with the same level of interest as someone saying they're going to the bathroom.

This season they've also done this with the mention of the Control AI. Introduce this huge universe changing concept out of nowhere like we're supposed to know what it is.

And you remember how a couple of episodes ago they made a huge deal about Discovery being fugitives after they picked up Spock? There was a big dumb Captain's speech, and fanfare, and the crew rallying behind him and everything? And this episode it's handwaved away with one line from Admiral Cornwell. Them being fugitives didn't factor into the story one bit.

This is what I mean when I say the writers of this show don't care about continuity or making sense. They know care about manufacturing MOMENTS with BIG FEELINGS to trick the audience into thinking what they're watching is meaningful. The show is designed to move so quickly that you don't have time to think about how little sense everything makes. It doesn't matter to them. All that matters is what happens NOW with the FEELS. Even if it contradicts something set up earlier in the series, season, episode, or sometimes the same damned scene.

A good example of that is having Tilly win that foot race earlier in the season, even though they showed her stop for a few minutes and have a conversation with a ghost and showed everyone else blaze past her. They still had her win, by a lot, and beat the record on the race even though there's no logical way that could have happened. But it didn't matter. What happened a few seconds ago literally doesn't matter to the writers of this show. What happens NOW is all that matters.
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John Harmon
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

Oh I almost forgot the casual mention of a TIME CRYSTAL. Oh, you know that crystals...made of time? Everyone knows about those. Holy shit that’s 80’s Saturday morning cartoon writing.
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John Harmon
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

No points awarded for the extremely obvious Red Angel reveal.

The funeral in the beginning fell flat, because it was for a character they’ve given us zero reason to care about. You can’t just emotionally trick an audience into feeling something.

Pike might be the worst Star Trek Captain for the decisions he makes here. Once again he just goes along with whatever the most recent person around him tells him to.

Burnham is told Leland is partly responsible for the death of her parents, and as usual her response is instantly violence. She does not know how to respond any other way. She strikes a captain multiple times and gets away with it. She is a terrible officer.

We’re told that the reason humans became so technologically advanced is because of time travel. Cool. Star Trek is no longer about humans coming together to build a better, beautiful future. We’re not special anymore. It’s because of visitors from the future.

I noticed they deleted all of Airiam’s files. So I guess she ain’t coming back.

Georgiou telling Tilly to stop talking made me like her more. The cringey sex dialogue was not good though.

Burnham’s “death” scene was really hard to watch, because it felt like she was really suffering. The fact that everybody just sat and watched it makes them all terrible people. Georgiou was actually the most righteous person in that moment.

Well let’s see if there’s anything interesting left in the season. Really hoping it’s not just the tired Skynet plot it seems to be turning into.
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John Harmon
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

“‘Project Daedalus’ refers to something Airiam says to Burnham right before she flies out the airlock, which is that it's "all about you." I'm guessing this mysterious project is going to tie into the deaths of Burnham's parents (shown off-screen here in a flashback), secret dealings from the past that somehow involve Leland's role in all this, and perhaps the nature and identity of the Red Angel. Funny how the writers double down on the plot being all about Burnham in the very episode they made pains to comment on Burnham's role as center of the universe. Are they subverting their own subversiveness?“

No. The writers are just hacks that expect audiences to be dumb enough to forget what was said two scenes ago. All that matters is what happens NOW, regardless of the sense it makes with what was previously established in the series, season, episode, or even the same damned scene.
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John Harmon
Tue, Mar 19, 2019, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

It's so weird to me how so many of the people who defend this show are the same ones who hated on the JJ movies.

Like...it's the same stuff. The same producers and writing style and visual language is present in Discovery as it was in the reboot movies. It's all the same. The JJ movies were badly written and so is Discovery.

It's actually astonishing how bad the writing is on the show. The writers just don't understand narrative storytelling at all, or how to properly build and release tension, or make us care about the characters. The show is written with the nuance of fan fiction and until that changes the show can never be good, let some great.
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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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