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Matt B
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I have to agree with Jammer, this is a 4 star episode. I lot of others have covered the great points, but I’ll just share mine:

- the acting is superb - especially John Anderson. His confession at the end was mind blowing and heart breaking and shocking all at the same time. And how Gates McFadden plays Beverly’s reaction - just amazing.
- the writing & script are on point. It was a slow burn, with only a little clues dropped through out. While there was some action (and the simultaneous phaser and torpedo fire was awesome) it was mostly just talking. But it was so engrossing.

Reading some of the comments here make me sad that people think that immortal & all-powerful = infallible. They are not. While Kevin has immense power, he lacks both will, perfect vision, and perfect decision making. I am sure he did what he thought was best at the time, but he couldn’t predict the future and how life forms would react. And he obviously has emotions, which can override logic. We all know people who are good people but do bad things when they are angry. I think his plot line makes perfect sense.

In the end, one of my top 3 episodes.
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Matthew Martin
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

best scenes of the episode were the ones that featured Picard and Seven, sitting next to each other, playing verbal chess. The single best scene this week came at the end, where the two ex-Borg share a moment of solidarity, both acknowledging that, after all these years, they both know a little part of them is still gone. Picard leaves Seven with a hopeful word, in true Picard fashion, telling her that they keep getting that little part of their humanity back, a piece at a time, every day.

Seven then beams back to the planet and murders the villain of the week.

Picard's still searching for his little missing piece of humanity; Seven seems to be chipping away at what's left of hers. That's great, great, great, stuff and I wish the whole show was that good. After episode one, I was left with the impression that this would be a return to Star Trek being a show that loved pondering ideas, debating morality, and resolving conflicts. Halfway through the first season and that feeling has yet to reappear except in little, fleeting, glimpses like we had with Seven/Picard.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Full Disclosure: I still really like Picard and am looking forward to seeing where this storyline goes.

That being said, I have an issue with something three episodes in...

Jean Luc Picard, as depicted in this version of the future, is sort of the last bastion of Gene Roddenberry's dream of an optimistic, peace-seeking future where everyone works together, where poverty is eradicated, and earth is a paradise of positivity. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine flirted with abandoning that dream but never went all the way; in fact it made a point to say Earth is still a paradise and that "it's easy to be a saint in paradise" but it's hard to live out in the interstellar frontier.

Now Picard is showing us a future where earth is bitter, xenophobic, and isolationist. Where people like Raffi live in the near-25th century equivalent of a single-wide, smoking the near-25th equivalent of mary jane, and resent Picard for living in his chateau in France. Meanwhile he's just trying to right the wrongs caused by someone else and can't get an inch of help from either the Federation or Starfleet because they've completely lost Gene's way and have become what the showrunners think Britain has become with Brexit and all that.

To be clear, I have no problem with Star Trek using the politics of the day as a storytelling motivator. In fact, I would encourage it.

Science-fiction is, by nature, allegorical. It's purpose is to teach us about what we are, what we're becoming, what we could be without making it obvious that we're being preached-to. Not all sci-fi is the same: Some is overt and cynical, creating environments that simply take the problems of today and turn them up to 11, beating us over the head with our own present sins.

Gene Roddenberry dreamed of a sci-fi show that dared to hope for the best.

He created Star Trek as a way to say "look how great things could be if we only just stopped fighting with each other." Yes there were still issues that needed addressing: In the days of the Original Series there was Vietnam, race relations, economic inequality; but how he dealt with those issues was two fold. On the one hand he made a point to remind us over and over in the show that earth had moved beyond those. At the same time he featured OTHER, ALIEN, BAD GUY species that still had those problems, allowing Kirk, Spock, and later Picard, etc, to lovingly (sometimes sternly) lecture on how stupid it is to be racist (Let This Be Your Last Battlefield), or to send people to death fighting a pointless war (A Taste of Armageddon), or to assume the worst in someone simply out of habit (Day of the Dove).

The key is that earth/humanity (a united humanity, mind you) moved past those things and the drama came from other alien species that hadn't.

Picard (and Discovery) has either forgotten that, or has decided it's maybe too much work, or requires too much of a writing-commitment, or is just too subtle for the dumbed-down audience they hope to attract, to tell those stories.

And that makes me sad.

I said after last week's episode that I was okay with Starfleet being a bunch of isolationist jerks, provided, in the end, they admit their fault and revert back to how they should be (how Gene envisioned them to be). We're not talking about changing the color of the uniforms here; we're talking about something that is foundational to Star Trek itself. Without an optimistic, peaceful earth, it's not Star Trek at all.

Picard's third episode takes the old hero back to the stars. What comes next we'll find out in the weeks that follow. He's searching for a synthetic...I hope he finds the the optimism and hope for the future that everyone around him lost over the years.
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

"what happens if Sir Patrick Stewart dies? He's getting pretty old. It looks to me like he's really deteriorating"

Really deteriorating is not really an appropriate suggestion to make considering, like you say, he's 79. He's not going to be action Picard from the 90's now, of course not.
He's in fantastic condition compared to the average 79 year old!
Actors die irrespective of age and chances are Stewart will be fine, but there are no certainties for any of us and you cross that bridge, if, god forbid, you have too. The show would go on regardless!
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

It's great to see Brent Spiner back to help launch the series, and even if it's true that he will not appear again in the series in Season 1 at least, it's a lovely couple of scenes and I for one think they did a fantastic job of de-aging Spiner as best they could without going to far to make it look too jarring.

The Romulan attack scenes were the least interesting to me to be honest, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Hopefully the show goes from strength to strength going forward.
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Matt
Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 5:10am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Up until this episode, I was relieved that the lack of shields in this series prevented us from hearing that overused ‘shields at’ (some number that decreases with each shot) ‘percent!’ that made every attack on Enterprise seem the same.

But now they started giving updates as ‘hull plating at (some) percent!’... sigh.
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Matt
Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 2:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Breach

I disagree with Jammer’s choice for the quote to use for this episode. I would’ve gone with:

‘My speleothems!’...’Fortunately I have some other samples in my case’
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Matt
Thu, Oct 24, 2019, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

Janeway mentioned 'section 31' when she and The Doctor were trying to get to environmental controls. Wonder if that was deliberate- had they appeared in DS9 by this point?
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Matthew
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

Two things that make me laugh/eye roll in this episode:

1. Picard and Troi practicing the speech in the beginning. I’m *pretty* sure that insecticide aliens from far beyond the moon don’t write their language in the Roman alphabet, so what’s up with the goofy pronunciation drilling? Picard’s script should just be written out phonetically. But then, oh shoot, there goes the dramatic reason that Picard needs to de-stress in the holodeck.

2. Crusher imitating the dames on the holodeck with the powder compact, acting like she’s never put makeup on before. Meanwhile her own cheekbones are contoured til the spacecows come home.
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Matt
Fri, Oct 4, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: The Haunting of Deck Twelve

I found it odd partway through when Neelix was telling a story of when Neelix was telling Tuvox a story.
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Matt
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes

At least Seven got some good lines this episode.

I liked:

“Fun will now commence” (though I’m not sure if it’s the first time that was used)

and

“Resume your disorder”
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Matt
Mon, Sep 16, 2019, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bliss

Am I the only one that had a problem with Naomi on the mission? Why on earth would her parent, or any responsible starship captain allow a child on a mission like that? Especially with how often the Voyager shuttle missions go awry!
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Matt
Sat, Aug 31, 2019, 2:26am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

But there are only 52 Sundays in the calendar. They would not be enough to keep the crewman well fed for a year. Sorry, Tuvok, Neelix wins.
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Matt Boehland
Sat, Aug 31, 2019, 12:54am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

Yet another time there’s an unauthorized shuttle launch that they can’t stop or are too late to prevent.

That should be #2 on their list of things that need fixing or additional precautions/procedures for (after the holodeck and its myriad of problems)
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Matte Blk
Fri, Jul 12, 2019, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

May the Force be witchoo, young Skywakka.
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Matthew Siegel
Sat, Jun 15, 2019, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Muse

I weirdly liked this a lot, even though on its face it doesn't seem that interesting... the way it gradually became about the creative process as a whole was just engaging. Perhaps because I did not expect that to be the theme of the episode, but it's a unique and interesting theme that works here.
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Matt
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I wish I could feel like they reverted everything back to canon, but it seems like there are still so many loose ends. The spore drive may be classified as far as Starfleet goes, but Discovery presented the mycelial network as basically the fundamental, foundational structure of the universe, with properties beyond just space travel.

Even if they classified all knowledge of the network (which would mean an incredible loss to science, at least as far as the Federation is concerned) surely others will discover it. Someone would've figured out e=mc2 even if Einstein had never been born.

Plus:

Harry Mudd knows about the mycelial network and the spore drive.

I think the Klingons also know about the mycelial network and the spore drive.

The whole Mirror Universe knows about the mycelial network and the spore drive. The Terran Empire owes its reign of terror to using the network as a power source. Yet when we return to the MU it's never mentioned.

Don't Starfleet and Spock know about the MU, thanks to the misadventures of Lorca? But when the Enterprise visits the MU a few years from now, everyone treats it as a new thing. And Spock knew the mycelial network can offer a way in and out of the MU. In "Mirror, Mirror" is he playing dumb the whole time?
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Matt B
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Samaritan Snare

Definitely a weird episode. To follow up on the other Matt’s comment: why did they have to use all the technobabble for a heard replacement? It’s like they wanted to be futuristic but there is no need for that. Just makes those scenes painful.

And the way they Paklids surrender seems weird. A better ending is having Geordi overwealm their power, taking down the shields, and just being beamed off.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Let me see if I have this right...

So, a few weeks ago Disco comes into contact with a giant space sphere thing, which has been gathering intel on galactic life for a long freaking time. Disco brings that bad boy on board and downloads the history of the world part one into their computers.

Later, Disco sends a shuttle into a crazy timey-wimey space anomaly. While there, a probe from the future latches onto the shuttle. The probe hacks Ariam.

Ariam goes to Section 31's HQ (Disco is there on the orders of Admiral Whatshername) and begins downloading the space sphere's info into the HQ computer (a special AI called "Control").

The conclusion that everyone reached as a result is that: Control sent a probe from the future to get that info, so that it can evolve and destroy all sentient life in the galaxy.

Now I assume the fact that this opens a queen-mother of a temporal paradox is just going to be ignored, as happens with 99% of time travel stories in fiction, but is that basically what we were told this episode? Right? Control came back from the future to take over robolady so she could give control in the past the tools needed to become wicked smaht in the future and destroy everything?

I'd prefer something simpler, like saving the whales or rescuing Data's severed head from Mark Twain, but whatever.
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Matt G
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Compared to other ST series this may not be one of the stand out episodes, but by STD's run so far this is surely one of the best.

What we have is strong world-building, an interesting dilemma (what to do when one species is warp capable and the other isn't?) and a fantastic performance by Doug Jones who is allowed to show how conflicted he as about both Starfleet duty and the persecution of his people. Perhaps it didn't dig deep enough into these issues for my liking, but even scratching the surface is a welcome change for STD.

The ending may be very deus ex machina and Captain Pike makes some questionable decisions, but this is the first time when I thought that the increased budget ACTUALLY contributed to the story (Kaminar and the obelisks looked authentic and the Ba'ul were genuinely creepy).

By any other measure this would be a 3 star episode, but the way STD has managed to shift from the God awful season opener and 'Spock murdering people', surely this deserves a 4.
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Matt
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

@Charles J

"The amygdala plays an important role in processing memories, emotions and decision-making. A larger amygdala also correlates with the ability to form more complex social networks and a greater capacity for emotional intelligence. "

You could also conclude from that correlation that a greater capacity for emotional intelligence leads to a larger amygdala. This is how we run into problems and gets us into making assertions that giving robots amygdalas will give them emotions. The fact is we don't even know the basics about what the brain is for, but we assume we do and skip over the question, leaving us all the more ignorant. It is like a replay of the saga with the church and geocentrism, with unfounded assumptions dominating and any challenges to them not even entertained.
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Matt
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

@Booming

"Apart from plain logic. The brain is were it all starts. But to make it clearer. When somebodies Amygdala isn't functioning right, these people have a hard time for example emphasizing with other people. Such a person is called a psychopath. Of course, not all people with damaged Amygdalae are psychopath.
And you mentioned the EEG. Plus the Amygdala is one of the oldest parts of the brain. So you can test a lot of stuff with animals. "

It needs to be asked whether how it is known that the amygdala 'not functioning right' leads to someone not empathizing, and whether there are any other possibilities. Just observing the concurrence of the two phenomena is not enough to establish a cause-and-effect relationship. It does not seem to me that medical science, as a scientific discipline, takes this into account nearly as much as it should, perhaps as a consequence of the increasing division between science and the metaphysics it was founded upon. Maybe that is not science's responsibility at all, but I would at least expect researchers to take an interest in it if their goal is to uncover the truth about the world - and I am far from certain that is the case.
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Matt
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:40am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

@Booming: Sorry, I probably should have been clearer in asking for studies showing causation rather than mere correlation. I'm interested in how that would be established.
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Matt
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 3:25am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

Is the brain really responsible for the emotional experience? That seems to be the main assumption everyone makes when talking about AI. We know we can hook someone up to an electroencephalogram and see parts of the brain light up when a particular emotion is experienced, but that doesn't mean the brain produces it. Nor does it mean that reproducing the occurrence in an inert configuration of matter will reproduce the experience. To assume that it would is to totally ignore the role of the subjective perceiver of an emotion and how the two interact in producing our emotional experiences.
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Matt
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Samaritan Snare

The surgical technobabble is stilted and painful.
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