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Jonathan Baron
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

My sincere thanks, Jammer, for providing these reviews. I grew to trust them and thus managed to skip most of the worst of the Star Trek spinoff series episodes. Once they appeared on streaming Netflix and I could finally summon the will to watch them. The only Star Trek I'd known was the series I saw on television when I was a teenager in the late '60s.

Although I was not impressed by these latter day takes on an interesting television series I found myself with a lot of unwanted time on my hands. There was no Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, or Jerome Bixby - actual science fiction writers - writing for these.

Perhaps it's a reflection of my age but television or film science fiction could never approach its written form where it has the freedom to fully engage your imagination unlimited by video technology, production budgets, the FCC, focus groups or entertainment executives.

That said, I believe that writers of any era would have appreciated the pure space opera of the Borg, the notion of a lifetime lived in minutes (Inner Light?), the able retelling of Phillip K. Dick's The Imposter (Whispers), along with meditations on life and sentience created by Data and the Doctor.

Plus we had some wonderful actors along the way. Kate Mulgrew with the captivating voice of '40s film star Patricia Neil - if not Neil's sheer seductive beauty - the smoldering power of Avery Brooks and the pitch perfect Dwight Shultz and Colm Meaney, the vivid and dependable Robert Picardo. The franchise also kept a host of able character actors, such as Vaughn Armstrong, employed.

In the end, though, this series, more than even Enterprise, proved that the franchise is spent. Time for something new to serve the need for hope and awe among people who fail to find it in conventional tales and tired spiritual institutions.

Again, Jammer, my heartfelt thanks.
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Jonathan Baron
Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

This reminds me of what happened with Lost in Space. They may have begun with Guy Willians and June Lockhart as leads but the show became all about Jonathan Harris's anti-hero Doctor Smith, making for one very unhappy cast.

Certainly that had to be true here too, with Robert Beltran complaining the loudest.

Firefly this ain't, but Firefly's writers didn't have to come up with seven years of material based on three previous series dating back 45 years.
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Jonathan Baron
Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

Yes this was entertaining and indeed Jeri Ryan saved this series for reasons surpassing her looks and hair color. True, the series should have been renamed The Voyage of Seven during its last 4 years.

The unremitting heterosexuality does make it all seem eternally retro though. No matter where in the galaxy you go, or when, everyone is straight? Characters like Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood seem far more plausible, if a bit....excessive. Every creature he meets makes him randy ;)
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Jonathan Baron
Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

It's interesting how much of a Rorschach test this episode is. Yes, this is a very heavy handed critique of the medical system in the United States where failure to propser means you don't live long. Yet many see it as revealing the evils of the imaginary and wholly fictional terror of socialized medicine. I suppose antisocial medicine would be better.

Simple fact is that some services don't lend themselves well to profit driven businesses. Yet perhaps the most fascinating social phenomenon of our age has been the ability of specific vested interests to convince vast numbers of good and intelligent people to support with great vigor policies that contradict both their self interest and fundamental morals.

Key to this is the illusion a zero sum game. This aspect is beyond the capable scope of a 40 minute episode of minor network television science fiction. Was this "cytoplasm" a genuine drain on resources or just a device to illuminate an appalling value system in a manner as subtle as a Louisville Slugger to the side of the viewer's head?

Fortunately, as noted above, this can be heavy stuff and was mixed with the comic take of tracking down the cat-man con artist to lighten the weight.
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Jonathan Baron
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

Disarming, funny, and touching in unexpected ways. The mixture of Doc's earnest pedestrian self-help book style instruction and Seven's essential autism creates a moving interplay of two flawed, wounded people. What makes it work is that only one of them is truly aware of this. Comic pathos in one of too many Star Trek spin-offs? Surprised the heck out of me. More Preston Sturges than it was syndicated television science fiction.
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Jonathan Baron
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

So now we have a love triangle - or Two Suitors for Seven. The Borg queen's come-on was much more erotic so I guess they had to kill her off. Janeway beats the dominatrix and has to content herself with simply having the obsessive object of her desire be the only woman on the ship to prance around in a cat suit to stare at longingly watching her "regenerate."

Were this Showtime or HBO it could have been overt and far more interesting :)
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Jonathan Baron
Wed, Jun 12, 2013, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

Balanced against my sympathy for the people who created the weapon was the horror that it made eternal all the anguish and fear of all Borg victims. Yet I wonder - did they give species 6339 such ludicrous early Doctor Who outfits so that we'd have less sympathy for them?
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Jonathan Baron
Tue, Jun 11, 2013, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

Ironic that we live in a universe of Omega in that spacefaring, subspace, warp drive and all the fundamental pseudo science that powers ST is in fact impossible. Thus I was thinking that if the worst happened then the series would be reduced to reality.

The erotic tension between Seven and Janeway finally rose above a bat squeak at the conclusion of this episode. Were this series being made now, or by the BBC, it would have been developed. The chemistry in that tension would lead in sexual directions more plausibly between these two than the other featured couples in the series.
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Jonathan Baron
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Raven

I thought Bomar was an oblique reference to Bowmar, the manufacturer of the first handheld calculator. least their tech level was similar.
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