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Brandon Adams
Mon, Jun 21, 2021, 9:10pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: The Ascent

This comment thread is filled with soulless Vulcans. These two characters rolling down the side of the mountain with Armin Shimerman howling "FASCIST!!!" at the top of his lungs was the peak of the whole series. Fight me.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Sun, May 2, 2021, 9:03pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: Blood Oath

Some blood on the blades would have been nice. Down the road there was blood during the "let's prove we are not shapeshifters by slicing our palms" scenes ...

The very last scene -- silence and an exchange of knowing looks, well-done. Perhaps Jadzia could have gone to Morn for advice...
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Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 11:45am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: Vortex

Realng good episode
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Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:48am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

@Jason R

Did you give Seven 4 stars for being attractive? I agree she is beautiful, but acting, she wasn't very good 25 years ago but now she has improved and she is getting better lines on Picard.
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Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 6:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

"they made some mistakes in this century"

The lockdowns of 2020/2021
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Brandon Adams
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

Anyone else notice those three little maintenance bots having gold, blue, and red eye colors? I had to grin.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 9:42am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S3: The Cloud Minders

Thanks to Trent for the quotes in his post, making this so much easier.

Re-watch this episode and you will realize it is an allegory for Covid in the time of 2020 Politics:

PLASUS: Do you really expect me to believe that that mask can ...

VANNA: It's hard to believe something which is neither seen nor felt can do so much harm.

PLASUS: Preposterous.

VANNA: But soon ... We'll die.

KIRK: Die from something that can't be seen? You astound me, Vanna.

Sigh. It's all about the masks.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 2:47am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Call to Arms

Sisko could have booby trapped the station with Covid. Cardassians are well known to be vulnerable to viruses (TNG "Ensign Ro")

Disabling all of the DS9 Keurig Raktajino machines was very cold blooded.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 1:05am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S3: That Which Survives

Anyone notice that what happened to Losira and the
Kalandans seems eerily like Covid, especially how
the disease was spread to their entire interstellar
society via the trade routes ... yikes.

Add a star for Lee Meriwether please.

Like a door opening and closing ... can we get to 2021
and get past Covid asap?
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 12:28am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S1: Arena

If Sisko had mentioned Garth, we all would have known who
he was talking about. The Gorn however is a classic and
can be haunting (just ask Sheldon Cooper).

I am sure the Star Fleet Academy Case Study that Sisko
read as a Cadet was entitled "Captain Kirk and the Gorn:
Cestas III and the importance of morals in the face of
outrage" (did the Metron mineral planet have a name?)

Does anyone have the rookie card for the Gorn who played
First Base for the Pike City Pioneers?
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JJ not Abrams 8-)
Wed, Dec 9, 2020, 11:52pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

It is 2020 and we all could use The Doctor's help.

Probably just as well that the Photonic Cannon hasn't
been invented yet.
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Jef Willemsen
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

Impressive, expensive CGI heavy debut, but as stated before... the scripting needs work. Trek dialogue has always been stylized, it might as well be Shakespeare. But Burnham's lines don't sound natural and that really distracts from the story. Plus, of course we already know Burnham is going to solve the Burn...
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Its pretty entertaining to me seeing people call this episode an indictment of "socialist" healthcare; as if patients in Canada and the UK are deemed "worthy" for treatment by a "social credit score" or something.

This is very obviously a critique of the US private healthcare system. "TC" is a stand-in for wealth, and social class. The "red" section is the lower class, the poor, the working class. The "blue" section is the upper class; the professionals, the administrators, the wealthy.

The "allocator" is the market. The wealthy, those with "TC" that's high enough, are afforded the chance to get the best healthcare they can get, to the detriment of everyone else. The poor, those with a "TC" that's too low, get the worst standard of care, that's barely serviceable.

This has been how healthcare has worked for most of human history. This is not a new phenomenon. The rich have gotten good treatment, the poor have gotten, well, poor treatment. The private healthcare system in the US just formalizes this arrangement.

I'm not sure how healthcare worked in Communist countries; I'm not even sure that they're relevant, or comparable to countries like Canada or the UK. This is an American television show, they are talking about the American healthcare system.

It's funny, this reminds me a lot of the "Colbert Report" effect; people of whatever political persuasion just believe that the show is agreeing with them, despite what the performer is actually trying to convey. I believe something similar is happening here.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Mon, Sep 14, 2020, 2:57am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S4: Demons

everyone seems to think Tpol somehow secretly got pregnant and stashed the baby in the solar system.

Hasn't anyone noticed that she has been halfway across the galaxy in the expanse for quite a while?
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Brandon Adams
Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 11:59pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S1: General Discussion

While I, too, am turned off by the sophomoric and socially useless appearance of this show, I kind of have to ask, where else is Trek supposed to go?

Science fiction is played out. All the popular tropes are done to death, and it was Star Trek that pioneered many of them, or brought them to the mainstream.

Special effects are played out. Nothing looks amazing anymore, or elicits gasps of "how did they do that?"

Allegory is longer-lasting because there's always social shortcoming to address. But that carries the risk of being too heavy-handed. Plus, you need something in-between the topical episodes to leaven everything and, well, see the discussion above on tropes and special effects. Also, allegory is something that can really only be supported by one series. You can't do it with five.

Character shows are good, but again, you need something to leaven, and again, tropes and special effects.

That leaves self-reference as the last place for the show to go, and as you said, that's rapidly reaching burnout, too.

I dunno. We're reaching an apex of cultural creative boredom. Like that deserted way station in the Q Continuum. In every genre, all things have been done. Trek is suffering just like everything else.
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Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 1:25pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Of course you're free to continue or not continue any debate. I do find some of what you're saying interesting though, and I wonder if anyone else feels similarly. Like, did many people somehow 'prefer' Dahj to Soji? Is there some reason beyond simple personal preference? Maybe it's hard for Soji to recover from all of those early scenes of basically doing nothing. Maybe some people prefer this show's "superhero" version of being an android to its existential crisis version. And of course, back with Dahj the plot was still semi-believable. Well, maybe.

Nice! Indeed I did forget about the nuns and their teachings, which would explain why my own grocery shopping trips lately have been stressful rather than enjoyable - definitely no other explanation exists!

I also forgot about the nice hippie robot that got brutally stabbed in the eye. Prior to that though, she seemed like a nice girl. Better than the hippie-girls in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, even if some of them ended up with similar fates.
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Thu, Apr 9, 2020, 7:49pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Dexter, Booming, Glom on female characters

Actually, I'm not sure if it's fair to call the writers misogynistic, whether intentional or otherwise. Like, you guys mentioned Raffi being a druggy, but she's clearly trying to do the right thing most of the time and doesn't actually want to hurt anybody. Is this so far off from Elnor being a mindless dummy who murders people, or Rios' terrible "backstory"?

In fact there are some reasonable equivalences. I think Picard and Soji are both reasonable as leads. Both have flaws, but both ultimately do what's right despite some questionable writing choices. Early in the show, we have Picard's housekeepers, who are both decent people but it's the female who is portrayed as the more active agent for good. Riker and Troi are portrayed roughly equivalently as good people, in my estimation. Someone mentioned that Riker gets to get out of the house while Troi doesn't - is that so different from Jurati getting a chance at redemption (well, sort of) while Maddox just shows up and dies?

The worst comparison male vs female for me comes from Narek vs Narissa. Even there it seems like they tried to introduce some depth to Narissa and their relationship once or twice, but failed miserably. Another poor one for me would be Seven vs Hugh. Seven has more screentime of course, and she's handled pretty terribly to me. Meanwhile Hugh isn't onscreen too much, but while he is, he breathes some of the only warmth in the series outside of Riker's pizza oven.

As for tertiary characters (like the female admiral), yeah the women don't do so well. The admiral is a jerk, Oh is a jerk, while the male doctor who visits Picard seems like a decent chap. Oh but wait there's that stupid Romulan ex-senator, he's a jerk and an idiot.
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Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

In reading the Wikipedia article about First Contact, I noted the following: "Whoopi Goldberg was not asked to return as Guinan." My thinking is that Guinan's presence on the Enterprise-E would have caused a problem with the time-travel aspect of the story, because she already existed in 2063. (Although it’s worth noting that when the Enterprise followed the Borg sphere into the temporal vortex, they didn’t know in what era they were going to end up.) Could the writers/producers have been thinking about this potential problem when they declined to cast Goldberg in the film, or is that giving them too much credit?
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Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

It seemed to me a little self-centered of Picard to constantly say that Data gave his life to save his. Data gave his life to save Picard *and* the lives of everyone on the Enterprise.
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Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 3:55pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I agree that the "super-race" we got was "super-stupid". However, I'm not sure how much would be gained by making them interesting. It depends on what you wanted the show to be about.

If you wanted it to be about scifi, then absolutely the AI should have been a revelation and something for both the audience and the characters to learn from. However, this would essentially make Picard's relationship with Soji irrelevant. In this scenario, Picard and Soji and Oh and everyone would end up on an even playing field where they were all wrong via misinformation. Picard's belief that Soji can be a good person is no longer what mattered - instead the real issue is that everyone needs to learn not to make assumptions based on stories/myths. Just a different, still Trekkian take.

If you wanted the show to be about Picard and Soji as characters, then the actual AI are not very relevant. They're just plot devices to enforce (ludicrous) physical stakes which dovetail with the emotional and ideological ones. Soji needs to learn to overcome her fear due to her trauma and betrayals, learn to trust again, and, you know, not commit genocide (the ludicrous part). Picard needs to learn how to actually help her to see this by providing an example of trust and selflessness, rather than simply telling her what she must and mustn't do. I still think that's a reasonable Trekkian take which could have worked well if the stakes weren't so bonkers
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Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 4:42pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

This isn't really Picard-related, but has anyone watched any of the Youtube channel Movies with Mikey? He's now done two episodes exploring the making of Star Trek. His videos are always great and refreshingly positive, and these two (entirely about the original series and its movies) may help put some things in perspective. Mainly, the idea that classic Star Trek as we know it was largely made in a ridiculously haphazard fashion where no one really knew what they were doing, and it was in many ways a genuine miracle that it managed to succeed at all, to the point where we can complain about writers here on Picard today.
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Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Dexter comparing Picard to the Admonition
I don't hate this show nearly as much as some folks do, but I got a good laugh out of this.

@Marvin, Tim C
I think that in theory, the "point" of the entire journey for Picard (the character) was supposed to be some blending of the following three ideas:
1. Letting go of past failures and focusing on doing the right thing right now
2. Learning how to be a good father/grandfather figure for Soji
3. Being able to say goodbye to Data

(1) was muddled, but one could try to say that Picard arguing with the Romulan senator on the Wild West planet was the 'wrong' way to try to resolve the past, and helping Soji was the 'right' way. He even has the declaration that helping her is only partly about Data, and is more about his own rebirth as an active agent in the galaxy again.

(2) was I think the closest to being handled well, but is almost entirely relegated to the last 4 episodes. Maybe there is a worthwhile comparison to his relationship with Elnor buried in the muck somewhere here.

(3) was, as we've said, almost entirely relegated to epi1 and epi10. There's some aspect of this that colors (2) and his relationship with Soji, which maybe I haven't given enough credit to. The show does frame characters (including Picard) telling Soji about Data as "helping" her, I guess.

For the show as a whole, we also had (again, in theory):
4. Soji's journey of self-discovery and re-learning trust, compassion, etc
5. Jurati making a terrible mistake and trying to make amends
6. The crew bonding together
7. Saving the universe from a bunch of robot tentacle monsters without committing genocide

Unfortunately, items 5-7 were, hm, handled questionably at best.
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Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

If this is Picard's story in relation to Data, then indeed it is only portrayed in the first and last episodes. If it is Picard's story as a whole, then there is something more there. A fair amount of it is pretty bad, but I still think there's some okay-ish stuff dealing with Picard learning how to connect with Soji, and in the end, realizing the "lesson" that a parent shouldn't tell, a parent should show / lead by example. This, at least, would be something relatively new-ish for Picard, who was always uncomfortable with children and used to giving commands.

Okay-ish. Not amazing. And not related to sending off Data. But not a complete tire-fire either. Just not enough to overshadow the actual tire-fires throughout the show.

Also, if you want a genuine answer to your last paragraph, Dexter's buddies at RedLetterMedia made it pretty clear, if it wasn't clear already. The show is trying to maximize viewership. The goal is to have just the right amount of TNG stuff that is familiar to 'everybody', but very little else from actual TNG. So, what do random people (like Jay at RLM) know about TNG?
1. Picard
2. Data
3. The Borg

Okay, focus on Picard+Borg was a movie, don't do that. Focus on Data+Borg, well wait, Spiner doesn't want to be too involved as Data. Focus on Picard+Data without actually focusing on Data, and throw in Borg haphazardly? Profit. But how to focus on Picard+Data without actually using Data very much? Well, first off, exaggerate Picard+Data, add emotional weight to it. Just do it - it'll be easy! Data sacrificed himeself! In any case, this allows Picard to be emotionally affected by Data even when Spiner is not onscreen. Next, involve Data's daughter instead. Not actually Lal, too few people know who that is for it to be worthwhile. Just invent a new daughter, build an emotional storyline around her and Picard, and make sure the actress is great.

I just want to say quickly, it's not necessarily the worst thing ever to have such a shallow mindset when creating a show. You need to guarantee a greenlight from the studio, which is to say, you need to guarantee money. Sometimes restrictions can lead to great artistic choices. The key is being thoughtful/clever enough to make something genuine and meaningful out of it all in the end. And I think a lot of us agree, they didn't manage to pull that off very well.
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Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Glom (pitchlet)
I definitely laughed at the ending, nice! I'm not sure how serious you were about the rest, but I do think there was a conscious effort to make the new show about the new crew. I guess your "extra adventures" could fit that bill.

I've gone on record claiming the show managed a pretty good 2nd Act for Soji (and to some extent Picard himself) in Epi's 6-7. I'm now trying to imagine, what if her 3rd Act could somehow be tied to "letting go of Data" more explicitly?

A satisfactory version would probably require extensive rewriting, but maybe even something as simple as, her positronic matrix is required to enter Data's weird netherworld. Maybe it has to be an android "made from Data". It's revealed that they tried this with B4, and something went wrong and B4 "died". Sutra wasn't willing to risk it, because she's an asshole. Soji also isn't willing to risk it at the start - still the displaced teen, can't view Data as an actual father worth this sort of risk. But after Picard has risked all for her people, she's willing to risk herself to reach out to find Picard's consciousness and Data in his weird netherworld. There could also be some sense in which Data, after seeing that his progeny can carry on his legacy, feels ready to pass on. Would tie into his quest for humanity, I think.

I don't know, probably lots of holes in all of this and would require cutting some earlier schlock, but maybe it could have been nice.
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Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Thank you Jammer for your excellent reviews, as always! I think I disagree that the 'point' was to send off Data, or at least, if that was the point, I think the writers didn't manage to focus on this theme very well. Still, it's an interesting take, and maybe I'd feel differently if I had seen Nemesis.
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