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Thu, Oct 24, 2019, 6:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part II


"Or, to take another example, Garak in "The Die is Cast" discovers that he no longer has the stomach to be a ruthless Cardassian interrogator, suggesting that liberal values will spread by association-no cultural imperialism needed."

Influencing another culture to take on your mores IS cultural imperialism
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The River Temarc
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

The problem with this episode is not that it presents a moral dilemma. Done well, moral dilemmas make great fodder for Star Trek. The issue is the execution.

First, the crew never really pinpointed the heart of the matter: whether the Crystalline Entity was sentient, and thus could be not only communicated with but reasoned with, or whether it really was (1) sentient but evil, or (2) a sperm whale instinctually feeding on cuttlefish.

If you're in the former territory, Picard has a justifiable stance. If you're in the latter territory, killing the Crystalline Entity is justified. Planets with intelligent life aren't cuttlefish. And park rangers kill bears that have mauled humans. (To be clear, Picard explicitly stated that "it may be necessary to kill" the Crystalline Entity, so clearly he's contemplated the latter territory.)

Second, Marr's character came off as a mustache-twirler from the get-go with her threats to disassemble Data. Moral dilemmas work well when each side can make a credible case (see "Ethics" for a good example), even if one viewpoint ultimately prevails (e.g., "Drumhead"). That's the opposite of mustache-twirling.

If we wanted someone to truly critique Picard, either Marr or another character needed to delve into the heart of the matter above. (Troi would have been the obvious choice; in "I, Borg," she observed that there were no civilians among the Borg. And Guinan did the same thing.) The inexplicable choice to focus the first third of the episode on boring scenes set in caves left no time to cut to the chase.

Third, you can't ignore the fact that "Silicon Avatar" is a sequel to "Datalore," and that ultimately is what undercuts Picard's position here; "Datalore" strongly suggests that the entity knows what it's doing.

So in sum: potentially interesting dilemmas spoiled by poor execution and a one-sided antagonist. "Silicon Avatar" is no hidden gem.
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The River Temarc
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

"I rather suspect that if you or your family had had dealings with a rampaging killer, you wouldn't be here defending this thing."

I actually was prompted to re-watch "Silicon Avatar" this evening after re-watching PATRIOT GAMES and vaguely remembering that the actress who played Mary Pat Foley was in a TNG episode.

FWIW, in PATRIOT GAMES, the Deputy Director of CIA, a guy named Marty, tells Jack Ryan -- whose family had been attacked by an IRA splinter group -- that "you are a victim of terrorism, and that does not make for the best analysis." The movie never followed up on this point (it wouldn't be Jack Ryan if he doesn't work at CIA!) but Marty had a point.

We do not, in Western judicial systems, let victims determine punishments -- yes, we take them into account, admit victim impact statements into the record at sentencing, and so on. But we ultimately recognize that victims do not always offer an objective prescription for the appropriate course of action going forward.

I mean, in real life, should victims of IRA terrorism have been able to scuttle the Good Friday Accords?
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The River Temarc
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 12:43am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

In a bit of retroactive continuity, it's clear that Sirella had some sympathies for T'Kuvma from Discovery Season 1. Sirella subscribes to an idealized version of Klingon history and worries that aliens are adulterating Klingon bloodlines. This sounds exactly like someone who would get seduced by T'Kuvma's ideology.

And despite 100 years' worth of changes to Klingon society between the two series, I doubt T'Kuvma's ideology has completely disappeared. (We know that there are still Molor worshippers in Kronos, for instance.)

All of this makes Sirella a lot less likeable than she already was.

All in all, I think this episode suffered from way too may cliches: the angry mother-in-law; calling off the wedding at the last moment; the caricatured Klingon bachelor party. It had its moments, and I enjoyed Jadzia's scene with Sisko and her Polynesian-themed party. And yes, I do think Worf and Dax had some chemistry; but the execution was still poor.
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Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Funnily enough, if you subscribed to the pay version when the site went fee-based a few years ago (on this very day of the year, in fact), the Control issue doesn't show up. I knew I was still paying those annual subscription fees for a reason!
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Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Equinox, Part I

“When we abandon our principles we stop being human”

What absolute nonsense.

The only thing that makes me human is my genes, the fact that I am of the genus Homo and the species sapiens sapiens, morality has no bearing on humanity. I don’t think that having principles are wrong, but ultimately they are the opinions of men, preferences no different than preferring chicken to steak or red to blue, your moral preferences can be 100% right for you and wrong for someone else, they can also change with the hands on a clock, and while you can obviously prefer your own preferences over the preferences of someone else I don’t think that there is a basis for saying that your moral preferences are objectively superior to any others or that they should be an authority that others abide.

The only way that the notion of “morally superior” is possible is if your moral’s are not the creation of men, but a pronouncement by an authority higher than man. However Starfleet isn’t claiming that the prime directive and their ethics are divinely inspired, they’re ideas that were created and chosen by men, they’re opinions and are no more right (or wrong) than any other opinion.

What the crew of the Equinox did was completely right and moral under their system of morality, and that is all that matters.
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Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:15am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

Discovery is not perfect (undrstatement of the century...), but it has been getting better. I am starting to actually looking forward to the next episode. How long has ut been since last time you could say that?
For me, since the early Voyager, circa 95-96. I’ll take it, for now.
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Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 12:06am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

I thought the Doctor here was pushed beyond redemption. Time and time again, he defies orders and common logic. Janeway was far too lenient after he helped the renegade holograms as he clearly didn’t learn his lesson. He should have paid severe consequence for substituting his judgement for the Captain’s. He put all of them in great peril, simply because of his superiority complex. He never has been a team player, and this episode shows just how dangerous that attitude could be with such a sophisticated program.
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Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 5:10am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Spirit Folk


This is an interesting idea.. I'll take it and develop it a little further - so what you are suggesting is we are holograms in a predfined (precreated) matrix, developing the program on the fly? Maybe based on our subconscious dreams and wishes? However, the question would be, if we are holograms, then these dreams and wishes would have been programmed as well, wouldn't they? Or are we assuming some kind of emerging qualities, based on a complex matrix left to develop alone?
Then again, do we have some sort of safety features? Should we find the right word (like "Computer, arch!") could we then exit the program? Where would we end up then? Fascinating thoughts, and not as distopic as the Matrix world :-)
Thanks for allowing me to dream away for a while!
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Mon, Aug 6, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

Just rewatching all ST episodes, and in this on it struck me, around time index 22:40, that O'Brien is literally saying "OK, computer" when initiating a dialogue. This was probably just another way of addressing the computer at the time of writing the episode, but given the "OK, Google" phrase it just rang very peculiar in my ears.
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Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 7:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

The Vians said two things that establish they are choosing to save another race over their own:

"We have but one need left in life."
"Of all the planets of Minara , we have the power to transport only one to safety."
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Tue, Mar 13, 2018, 5:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

I watched DS9 when it first run, starting 25 years ago almost to the end in 1999. I think back then I missed a good chunk of last season.
The entire show was a blur in a my memory, as during its run I got Married, got my degrees, had two sons, 3 postdocs and finally a permanent job.

It was not my favorite then, and I have just started re-watching the entire series for the first time. Things may have changed since then and we'll see how I like it now.

I only know that watching Duet I lost it...

And the seething rage that "In the hands of the Prophets" caused in me, a scientist in the age of the Dumb, did not happen 25 years ago.

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Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

New here, so some intro.
I am a late-ish follower of Trek Lore. I am old enough to have been around TOS, but I was in a different country, so never really watched it. My exposure to Trek started with TNG, which remains my standard bearer. Could not get that enthused by DS9 (too dark and brooding). Voyager was ...meh. Enterprise? It had potential at the beginning, but then it got too much "9-11 all the time" so I ended up watching for T'Pol, mostly :). So, what to make of this Discovery thing?

I concur with the main problem: what does this show want to be? I am not overly worried about canon, but I want the show to be TREK, optimistic and forward looking. Is it enjoyable? Yes, the last few episodes were fun, more so that the first half of the season. Let's hope to see some continuity of development. TNG first season did not know what it wanted to be, and it was bad. Let's see if things improve here.
Regarding CBS all access: I use my iPad app, on my home wireless network and with one exception in the first season (I think it was episode three, but I am not sure) streaming has been flawless. But as soon as Discovery closes the season, my subscription will cease.
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Fireworks in March
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:34am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

The show's writing is pathetic. The scene with Mirror Voq talking about the rebellion was something out of a Saturday morning cartoon show aimed at entertaining little boys. How completely undramatic. Tell, not show, huh? Just like the entire war with the Klingons thus far, actually. Tell, not show. And we've hardly gotten to know these characters and suddenly we're in a Mirror Universe listening to monologues about how much of a struggle it is to live like a barbarian? I mean, Michael, you just mutinied for no reason. You actually have a few shades in common with the Empire! Klingons respect those who fire first... HA!

I've seen a lot of commentary about "give the show a chance, it's only Season 1." Consider this for a moment-- this is the golden age of TV where there has been PLENTY of well-written content over the past 10-odd years to inspire the direction of this plot. Also, Star Trek has been around for FIFTY years. By now, you'd think a capable writing team could be assembled to knock it out of the park from Day 1, not by Season 4. The PR quotes about Fuller wanting a more complex/allegorical story--and the fact that we collectively received THIS show--says it all. Society accepts watered-down, lowest-common-denominator entertainment with no meat on the bone. How sad, that THAT is the new standard for a franchise that is supposed to ask questions and seek deeper meaning out of the human condition.
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Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 1:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go


To be fair, right wing extremism is far more prevalent than the far left variety.
The Anti Defamation league, for example, reports that "Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists."
It is true that extremism dwells and thrives on both sides, but your reiteration of this point without any caveats, without acknowledging the statistical reality implies a certain equivalence which is, in fact, a distorted view of reality.
I understand you are a person of conservative persuasion and are (naturally) eager to rebuff any perceived slights against your political philosophies, but the truth is that right wing ideologies are considerably more entrenched and therefore infinitely more likely to attract violent
radicals than any leftist strain of thought.
I see that you are somewhat prickly, so please believe me when I say I mean you no offense!
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Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 1:47am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go


Oh yeah, I had completely forgotten about the Vulcan terrorists! I think you're right about them and the Klingons.
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Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go


You know, I'm not american myself and while I'm not intimately familiar with political extremism in the USA , I can safely say that the Klingons' speeches in Discovery could have been pulled right out of the mouth of any european neo-fascist (well, to be fair the Klingons seem to be less violent). To me, as an eastern european, these new Klingons seem to be specifically modeled after modern right wingers and neo-fascists. I personally find it to be blatantly obvious! Why beat around the bush?
As for conservatives liking Star Trek, in my country at least (romania) some conservatives might beat their children for watching a show that features gay people kissing.
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Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 10:57am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

Great episode! The Klingons really stepped up their game in this one. They felt quite realistic and, as a matter of fact, I think they've never been quite as believable as they are in this show! They actually look like aliens for a change! (Personally I wouldn't mind if they redesigned all the aliens to look less like humans and more like beings that evolved on a different planet) And they kinda seem like stand-ins for right-wing americans (and really, right -wingers everywhere). They have the whole religious fundamentalism thing going on (along with the anti-liberal, anti-multiculturalism fixation), even though they're actually largely subservient to a select number of corporate overlords (the Great Houses) who are keen on exploiting their beliefs for personal gain, whilst also privately mocking them (ex: Kol calls T'kuvma's followers "torch bearing idiots). I wish they interacted with the humans more, though. It would be nice to see more of the cultural divide reflected in the dialogue!
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Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

A show like Star Trek should have diversity for no other reason than to show that what today we consider to be "normal" is just convention. Really, an advanced post-scarcity society like Star Trek's Earth would probably be sort of anarcho-communist paradise. Heteronormativity, monogamy, marriage and traditional gender roles would probably be seen as backward archaic notions.
Personally,I think Star Trek is not left leaning enough!
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Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 7:19am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Balance of Terror

Interesting that Spock is so quick to slander the romulans. His suggestion that they might be "savages" because (apparently) his ancestor were like that a very long time ago makes about as much sense as trying to make predictions about the behavior of modern day italians on the basis of ancient roman history.

I also didn't buy the manufactured tension between Spock and that silly crewman. In a universe with so many aliens outwardly identical to humans why would the notion of vulcan- looking aliens be so shocking?

Well, at least we got to see a duel between two "brilliant" starship commanders trying to outmanoeuvre each other with dazzling tactics such as: "playing dead", "hiding behind asteroids", "shooting at random and actually hitting something in space"etc.
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Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 4:41am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Faces

Nice episode overall, but this reiteration of the rather bigoted notion that people born of different cultures are somehow bound to be torn between two (usually) antagonistic halves is not (to me) that enlightened an idea. This seems to suggest that "mixed" people are more or less shoddily built half-people with no real claim to a personal identity, because apparently race determines who a person truly is more than his/her upbringing ever could. Is this some sort of lingering effect of the long -standing societal fears of the purported "dangerous" results of miscegenation?
In any case, the idea that human Torres was somehow predetermined to be more timid and passive than klingon Torres is a bit annoying. I know that Star Trek likes to uphold the "hopeful" (here an euphemism for deluded) idea that humans might one day become noble, peaceful, tolerant and compassionate beings on a species-wide level, but the reality is that if we were to look for innate human moral attributes (which may in fact be nonsense even at an aggregate level) history would suggest that duplicity, hatred, fear, greed and explosive violence are far more realistic choices. None of these, by the way, are conducive to timidity.
Sure, there are some compassionate and cooperative tendencies ( necessary for any social beings, even the warrior race variety) but these are limited by tribalism and the fear of 'The Other".
As for the episode, it is easy to see that any human unfortunate enough to find herself/himself in Torres' situation would unhesitantly spring into action and quickly seize any opportunity to regain freedom. There are times when doubt and prudence are not very wise. I don't think anyone would disagree!
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Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

I wonder if anyone noticed or would agree that the scene with Sarek departing from Vulcan has an obvious Star Wars look and feel? Something like Episode II or so.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

"However, that again does not explain the blame everybody keeps placing on her. She was attacked, that is, the Klingon was hostile first. Not much she, or anyone else in that situation, could do to prevent it. "

1.^I agree that by and large, Burnham isn't responsible for the war. But that doesn't necessarily stop people from looking for a scapegoat.

2. It is possible that without the death of the Torchbearer, the 24 Klingon houses would not have rallied around T'Kuvma.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 9:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

>The first mention of Spock is of his mother reading him Alice in Wonderland with a sister we (and apparently he) never knew he had?

Please tell us where Spock said he never had a sister.

>Tilly is the best theoretical physicist in star fleet?

Why is this so unbelievable to you? Because she's a woman? A redhead?

>Quantum fungus and biology=physics instantaneous space travel 10 years before Kirk's 5-year mission? Forget astrometrics. Seven should have grown some special shrooms in hydroponics. Poof! Back home in no time.

Assuming that the experiment works. Which we've no proof it will. Remember the "soliton wave" episode of TNG?

>If Burnham was raised Vulcan, why is she not even remotely embracing logic? Her moods and rationale change as quickly as the temperature in the Vulcan desert.

Because she's a human with post-traumatic stress syndrome of a terrible incident in her youth. It's the same reason why in BATMAN, a sophisticated, business-savvy scion of high society dresses up as a bat by night, rather than mingling at the country club.
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The River Temarc, in Winter
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

With the exception of the Klingon makeover, pretty much every objection I've seen as to why DSC contradicts "continuity" is bunk. To take a few examples:

>Why give Spock a new step-sister? This really stretches credibility unless we're assuming the show is a hard reboot.

Hardly. We've seen plenty of examples where Vulcans don't talk about their family as much as humans. Kirk didn't know that Sarek (who was apparently already famous as a Vulcan diplomat) and Amanda were Spock's parents. This despite the fact that Kirk attended Spock's *wedding* only a few episodes before. Kirk didn't know about Sybok, either.

And not every conversation between Kirk and Spock takes place onscreen. We don't know what Michael Burnham's fate will be, but I suspect history will ultimately remember her for something bigger than being The Mutineer.

>Why do we have an android serving on the starship of the 2250's, when the whole Data story arc from TNG pretty much precludes this possibility?

We've had androids in the Trek universe since, what, the third episode of TOS with Richard Korby? And an entire planet full of them in "Mudd's Women"? The point isn't that Data was the first android that Starfleet ever encountered. It was that he was the first *sentient* android (and frankly, in light of Mudd's Women, even that is stretching it), thanks to the positronic brain. If you want to blame a Trek series for breaching continuity, blame TNG, not DSC.

>Why have mind-melds that operate over thousands of years and ships that can traverse the entire federation in a couple of hours?

This wasn't a mind meld. It was an imagined conversation, perhaps guided by an echo of Sarek's katra. That's consistent with the whole idea of a katra. And remember the Intrepid, the Vulcan ship in TOS? Spock sensed its destruction light-years away. Spock sensed V'ger light-years away, too. Again: if you've got a problem with that, blame TOS, not DSC.

>Why do the ships in Discovery look completely different than anything we would expect from the 2250's?

They don't. We haven't seen ships from the 2250s. You're extrapolating from what a Hollywood designer in the mid-1960s *thought* ships jwould look like in Kirk's era.

>What about the design of the bridge? Are you seriously claiming that the bridge of the NCC-1701 (or something in the same style) cannot be updated to modern sensibilities?

With cardboard walls and analog buttons? Seriously? Those became dated when the iPhone keyboard came out, at best -- and likely a lot earlier. I have no desire to see a 1960s aesthetic on a modern show, or even a 1990s aesthetic.
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