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Michael
Tue, Jun 4, 2019, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

@Rahul
"Also, the ship reaches warp 9.65 even with force fields holding its hull integrity after the Borg cut out a section of the saucer. Technically, I don't think this should be possible but we can suspend disbelief."

Why not? From what I understand, warp doesn't propel the ship any faster it just changes the space around it. So it's really no different from impulse in terms of whatever forces would be acting on it. And since there is no friction in space a hull breach shouldn't make any difference unless it affects the integrity of the structure connecting the engines.
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Michael
Sat, May 18, 2019, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Necessary Evil

William B,

I just wanted to let you know that your 2450 word comment was such a profound character analysis that I copied it into word so I can find it again later. If you have a blog I'd love to read it. Bravo.
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Another Michael
Mon, Apr 29, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

While I really like the Orville and think it has made some great strides of late, this episode is maybe the least interesting of the season to me. Everything is so predictable. I knew the resistance base would be invaded thirty seconds after they got there because that is what always happens in these stories. Same thing with sending a solution back into the past with the time mcguffin. While other current sci fi series with very similar plots fail to achieve even this level of competence (this time travel plot is much less confused and arbitrary than STD) it still doesn’t work for me. I could almost get behind the fate of the union being decided by a relationship, but not Ed and Kellys. The writers have gone there too often, there just isn’t much of anything left to explore in their relationship. Also, the relationship that we know actually makes the difference is Finn and Isaac, so making the shows’ leads the focus here seems strange.

While I endorse them trying to tie their big sci fi arcs to actual relatable character pieces, and while I recognize that a lot of these story elements and action bits will be enjoyed and applauded by by others, particularly those who haven’t yet seen other sequences which seem to inspire them, to me this is an unfortunate misfire. I appreciated the last episode more than most, although it was flawed, largely because it still had some ideas (regret, how people change, how people can be poorly matched, how timing can ruin things, etc.) Nothing incredibly deep, but still authentic and real. This last episode, however, was just boilerplate apocalypse procedural. Not good, not bad, not really anything, just a collection of scenes from other shows and movies repurposed and glued together.

Season 2 was pretty great overall. Many things I really enjoyed. Looking forward to season 3.
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Michael H.
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 10:19pm (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’m sorry but this question is - in the vernacular of others here - dumb, dumb, dumb. Would anyone care about TNG if Star Trek wasn’t attached to it? How about Enterprise? I don’t think we can construct a hypothetical show without the brand these shows based on because...wait for it...these shows are based on brands and written that way.

In line with your thinking, I offer a piece of wisdom to anyone who doesn’t like this show: don’t consider it Star Trek and let it go. I made that decision with Enterprise long ago and am perfectly content.
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Another Michael
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

After rewatching this again, I agree with Jammer that it is one of the best of the series. It’s a clever use of the sci fi theme to talk about a lot of very real and relatable issues, it makes good use of it’s characters, and is both emotionally compelling and just the right amount of funny. It’s great stuff, and I greatly appreaciate that they didn’t feel the need to throw in unnecessary action. That kind of restraint is wonderful to see. The Orville definitely grew into it’s own this season, but this one really stands out to me as being incredibly brave, thoughtful and surprisingly naunced. 5/5
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Another Michael
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

I loved this episode almost from start to finish. It’s about a compelling moral issue, has great peformances, and explores the politics of the union in an interesting way. I could have done without the skirmishing... but hey, it’s crowdpleasing, it’s meaningful within the context of the narrative, especially for Bortas, and it’s pretty short, so it gets a pass. I admit the Dolly Parton thing also kind of threw me at first, but it’s both fun and adorable, and I love the Orville for it’s eagerness.

Overall, this episode and the last have proven the concept of the Orville as show in my mind. Season two has been a dramatic improvement in basically every way. The Orville is now a smart, thoughtful show that engages with substantive issues both large and small, while painting the picture of a better world. At it’s best, it manages to be funny, compelling, exciting and often very touching. It is, as Seth described it, aspirational. I love it.

5/5
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Another Michael
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

@Daya & Alan Roi

To both, while I realize this is the wrong place to be making this argument, I’ll just say that simpler is usually better in storytelling, especially in science fiction which tends to gravitate to grandiose thinking. “Saving all sentient life in thr galaxy” is much less interesting than a simple act of throwing someone out of a “burning building” because it’s something we could actually do.
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Another Michael
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Everyone has broken this one down rather well, but I just want to highlight one point.

Re: Pike. To paraphrase above, this not a fantasy element, it’s maybe the most ridiculous, arbitrary and obvious plot device ever concieved. What’s more, it is exactly the kind of thing people (rightly imo) despise about the SW prequels, this lowest possible effort “storytelling” method that seems to anyways rely on drilling down into every piece of previously established lore and making it worse in the process. Yes, Anson Mount gave a great performance, but put that aside. Before, Pike was someone who was injured saving others in a tragic accident. Now, he is someone who traded a “time crystal” for being locked into a horrific injury at some time in the future, in order to save “all sentient life in the galaxy”. Ask yourself which of these is more relatable.
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Michael
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Mertov,
"Save all life in the galaxy including my own or save myself from a debilitating accident" - it's not much of a choice, is it? Even MU Lorca wouldn't choose differently.
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Michael
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

All the Pike praise is a bit over the top for me. He's a good character, but best captain? How? He doesn't command nearly enough, he comes across as rather dim and lacking in initiative in conversations he has with his crew, we still don't know what he's like as a person away from his role as captain, and he's lacking in ideals. The last one is his weakest trait as a character and in particular a captain - what does he stand for? I can't say I have the faintest idea, whereas with all the previous captains I would be able to tell you. Like many of the other characters he's failed to make a distinct impression upon me about who he actually is. I can't really figure out why, but Discovery's attempt to make its characters more real has only done the opposite for me.
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Michael
Tue, Mar 26, 2019, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If it’s really “batshit bonkers crazy”, meaning senseless and random, then that’s about as boring as anything gets, because there’s no point in engaging with it, there’s literally nothing there to engage with.

It’s easy to mistake randomness for cleverness. It’s very common in art. This isn’t exactly that, it’s more like what you get when you take 500 sci fi cliches and mash them together. Nothing particularly clever, or good, but always lots of things going on. It has all the meaning of randomness though. It’s a hodgepodge of themes and ideas barely connected and hardly explored, changing at random.
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Michael
Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Armageddon Game

A new version of "Armageddon Game" below.

Not many recent comments so I may be a little late to the game. I am a long time TNG fan who could never bring myself to embrace DS9. I have now decided to force myself to get through the first couple of "growing pain" seasons as the characters, actors and writers try and find their groove (just as TNG had to in the early days). My frustration with the early episodes of DS9 isn't the sub par acting and 2 dimensional characters, that can be forgiven and I have faith that DS9 will come into it's own. My frustration is with the main character of any trek series and that is the Science, I would have expected that in this regard DS9 would be taking the reigns from TNG and learn from their mistakes and build on their successes. On the contrary, DS9 seems to be starting from scratch and putting little thought into plausible technical explanations, instead using lazy writing to create any contrived situation they want no matter how ridiculous.

"Armageddon Game" is a perfect example of this laziness. With just a little thought the writers and director have an excellent episode on their hands. The character building between O'Brien and Bashir is well done and most of the action elements of the plot can work with just slight revisions.

So let's fix this episode!

First, as has been pointed out by most of the commenters on the site, the premise around the difficulty of destroying this biological weapon does not ring true as well as the virility and toxicity of the biological agent does not make sense. What's frustrating is the writers have a perfect analogy in our present soceity to build the story especially a story called "The Armageddon Game". The 2 sides have been maintaining a Cold War style peace due to the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction. Each side has the Harvesters and the planet's population have lived under the constant threat of extinction for decades. Now Scientists from one side or both have reached out to the Federation in a hope of finding a cure or vaccine that would eliminate the biological threat. This is where the writers would invent a reason why Dr. Bashir would have been chosen to assist, maybe he has studied and done research in vaccine creation and has researched this planet's biological weapon. An interesting element to this 24th century HazMat lab is an emergency button (big and red behind a break glass style cover), it is explained to Bashir and O'Brien that in the case of a terrorist or enemy attack as a last defensive measure, the button will build up a radiation pulse that will eliminate everything in the lab, Harvesters and people alike. Also, because they are dealing with one of the worst biological weapons ever developed Bashir and Obrien are in full HazMat suits.

Ta Da! Dr. Bashir is successful (with the help of Chief O'Brien) and just like the episode they are celebrating the creation of a vaccine/treatment that will render the Harvesters obsolete. Everyone lives happily ever after except...

Rogue elements of the governments have come together on both sides to protect the status quo, in fear that without the pending threat of the Harvesters, the two sides will be doomed to a long and bloody war. The action can proceed as it did in the episode (but it will make more sense since in the episode they attacked before the last Harvesters were completely destroyed, in this version they only care about destroying the vaccine and the scientists who created it). In the fight that ensues, O'Brien's HazMat suit is torn (Oh NO) and only seeing one way out of this O'Biren quickly enters some transporter codes and hides the records of where they transported to (as is always easy to do in Star Trek and he is O'Brien the King of transporter tech) and he yells to Bashir to hit the emergency button. Bashir grabs his iPad with the research and hits the Fail Safe and the 2 transport to the planet as a pulse wipes out all living matter in the lab.

Bashir and O'Brien get to the planet, and Bashir take off their HatMat suits. The episode can continue for the Bashir and O'Brien as was written with a couple of changes. When O'Brien starts to get sick, Bashir gets an intense look and grabs O'Brien suit and finds the tear. O'Brien "I'm infected?" Bashir "We both are. We have to get this cure to the T'Lain". Another good scene that would exist is as O'Brien is slipping deeper into the sickness and Bashir is trying to fix the com. link, we see Bashir shiver and realize that both our hero's are on borrowed time (Da Da Daaaa). It has been mentioned multiple times that the biological agent isn't that scary because people don't get sick right away. This is actually what makes an effective biological agent (watch Outbreak), if an agent acts to quickly it is easily isolated and its spread controlled. Now, a slow activating agent gets spread quickly through a community and is much harder to control. The problem with this episode is the writers didn't seem to have made the agent contagious at all (or at least not airborne), I have remedied that and the agent is still slow to activate but spreads like wildfire.

Back on DS9, things can continue as they were, it's unfortunate that there has been so little character development between the main cast that there is little emotion or story to draw out of them. The best that could be done is from Dax (hopefully DS9 will invest the time to create some greater bonds between these characters). A great opportunity is missed and what should have been a homerun of a scene (assuming Avery Brooks could pull it off). When Sisco tells Keiko her husband has died is the opportunity to Sisco to delve into his own experience losing his wife and it wouldn't have been a bad idea to end the scene with Molly coming in and showing Keiko's realization that she has to tell her daughter she has lost her father.

The government officials story to Sisco is different now, the lab was attacked by terrorists, the cure was lost and in act of heroism Dr. Bashir sacrificed the scientists in order to keep the weapon out of terrorist hands. The video is still doctored but just the portion showing them transporting off the lab. This will allow us to get rid of the stupid "he doesn't drink coffee in the afternoon" and "I looked at the spectoanalyis". What would be better in my mind is someone like Dax recognizing that O'Brien is inputting something right before the Fail Safe is triggered. Personally, I would like Dax to take the video to the HoloSuite (TNG style) and recreate the scene, from this detective work Dax would conclude that they may have transported to the planet and that someone had doctored the video. Sisco and Dax head off to confront the T'Lani.

Okay, maybe there are more than slight revisions. Back on the planet, Bashir and O'Brien are now very sick, they have had their deep conversations about marriage, love and loss. Bashir has fixed the com. link and has called the T'Lani. The T'Lani and the Kellerens burst in with guns drawn, remove the long drawn out scene where they explain things and painfully draw out their execution. As soon as they burst in, Bashir and O'Brien are beamed up to the Run About even as laser blasts are filling the room.

The stand off at the end is also changed for the better because Sisco has an Ace up his sleeve. The T'Lani and Kelleren hit squad from the planet have beamed up to their own ship and are now demanding Bashir, O'Brien and the research be handed over. Sisco to the ambassadors "How are you feeling? I have two very sick men over here, it seems that they have been infected and from what I know about the Harvesters, you may want to rest a bit." Ambassadors "Send us the research or we will destroy your ship"
Sisco "It's over, the cure has been sent to your scientists, the Harvesters are no more. It will be up to your people whether or not you are the last victims of that terrible weapon. I suggest you give them a call."

Now Bashir, O'Brien as well as Sisco and Dax can be treated at DS9 rather easily as Bashir has the cure. Last but not least, let's get rid of the end coffee line which I half expected the Seinfeld end credit and music to start playing. Instead, I suggest ending on the O'Brien and Bashir relationship, so much was done during the episode that it would be nice to have some building of their character arcs. Bashir "How you feeling Chief?" O'Brien "Much better Doc, thanks to you." Bashir "I'll leave you two alone." O'Brien "Oh doc, I have something for you, it's not much but I thought.. well open it when you get back to your room." Bashir, opens a piece of paper (or the Star Trek equivalent of paper), smiles, contemplates, looks at his monitor and types. A woman comes on screen. Bashir "Hi.... (whatever the Ballerina's name was" fade to credits. A nice way to end that elevates the Bashir/O'Brien friendship and also shows Bashir maturing and thinking about the possibility of long term romantic relationship.

Well, as I said earlier, I'm not sure if anyone is still reading these comments and who would ever get this far down the comment chain but if you do and you took the time to read my version, would love to hear your thoughts, edits and reviews.
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Michael
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Captive Pursuit

Dave,

The problem with arguing that moral systems can't be rationally compared or evaluated is that it boils down to 'might makes right' even faster than the moral universalism you deride. As the British general and uber-colonialist Charles Napier put it:

"This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."
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Michael
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Just to follow up on the hypothetical example of 'Andy's Friend':

"if Mary tells Paul, in Peter’s absence, ‘Your friend told me that you like wasps…’,"

Problem is, in the equivalent scenario Geordi doesn't tell Leah the source of his information. He lies in the real world, and when his lie is discovered he gets defensive and the script refuses to have him apologize.
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Michael
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Well, it’s very much past prologue, like everyone said, plus one twist and some “humorous stalling” that would have resulted in a brand new Krill war. And like everyone said, the writing is again too dumb to meet it’s own expectations. That said, it is brave enough to try to be about members of a rational, enlightening utopian society trying to make moral decisions in a complex universe, aka the morally aspirational bit, and for that I love it. 3/5
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Michael
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

I have come to really like the Orville, and I can see why some people (13-35 males mostly) get really excited about watching them shoot each other with color coded space bullets for half an hour, as well as engaging with “real sci-fi issues” like a bunch of “robots” that want to destroy the earth.

But this isn’t what I watch the show for, although I know others will disagree. I know it made for a “fun action scene”, and introduced our new recurring enemy, but I am already bored to tears by the Kaylons, the Krill turnabout was absurd, and nearly everything Ed and Kelly did was flat out stupid from their perspective. The show can be fun, sweet, and almost half clever sometimes when it’s focusing on it’s little stories, but this is just not the the kind of story that the characters, the universe, or the presentation thereof has the gravitas to meaningfully contend with. Isaac is a cute one-liner dispenser, but as a character he’s shallow and inconsistent. Having him be “at odds with his culture” doesn’t mean much if he’s not supposed to have emotions, but I guess he does, now, sort of, sometimes. Whatever. I do like the show, but the writing, worldbuilding and characterization leave much to be desired.

2.5 stars
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Michael
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Sure, but considering the writers have been using biblical and mythological references in the episode titles and throughout the show, I'd say it's a pretty big hint.
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Michael
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Guys. Have you thought about why Michael is called Michael?

As in the archANGEL Michael?

Knowing the writers of this show, it's not a huge leap of logic to make a guess at who the red angel is.

Then again, it could be also Gabriel Lorca.
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Michael
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

@Dave in MN

"I don't believe in a "soul". It's another concept with no evidence to support it. "

No, I wasn't referring to a soul. But while you are typing your next post, think about whether you believe it is typing itself, or an invisible puppeteer "you" is typing it.
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Michael
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

"I think a MUCH more valid question is why anyone would assume the mostly empty chaotic universe would need an invisible puppeteer in the first place?"

Funnily enough, most people who ask this continue to hold the near-universal belief that their own body needs an invisible puppeteer. If they need no evidence for their beliefs why do they expect it of others?
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Michael
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:16am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Also, having never really watched any Seth McFarlane shows, I'm beginning to get a sense that doing what has been done before successfully by others is just what he does. Not a criticism because there's obviously an audience for that, just an indication that sooner or later my interest in this show is likely to wane.
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Michael
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:08am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

As a sci-fi story, this was very weak. There was no middle-ground anywhere, no philosophical questions were raised. It came across as dogma rather than a convincing exploration or debate about an issue. No doubt some interesting discussion was to be had about some of the themes raised, but none of it was brought up during the episode.
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Michael
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 4:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: New Eden

I noticed the pacing problem too. To be fair to Frakes, if he's handed a script which is twice the length of a typical TNG script and has to cram it all into 45 minutes, what is he supposed to do? The slower, quiet moments required of this kind of theme simply can't be accommodated. I don't know how a typical Discovery script compares with a TNG one, but it sure as hell feels a LOT longer. Whether that's just the industry standard nowadays or it's an order coming from higher up to attend to viewers' short attention spans, I wouldn't know.
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Michael
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 6:25am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

What massive changes? It was pretty similar to what I'd come to expect from Season 1. The biggest change was that Kurtzman injected a hefty dose of the new Trek movies into the stylistic feel of it - which I think is what most of us expected.

All in all, I don't think there's any way the episode could have turned out that would have made me less surprised at what I watched.
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Michael
Fri, Jan 4, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

To be fair, I have been counseled to by GP doctors I've seen so maybe they don't need psych degrees. Claire didn't seem like a particularly good counselor either which is about on par from what I've seen from the MD world. Although what she did with them is probably far better still than the help from most psychologists, although they do try their best and their hearts are in the right place.
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