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Fri, Sep 17, 2021, 4:16pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

Viewing this episode on my current rewatch of the series, I kept thinking that the main Aldean woman looked so familiar. Then it clicked:

It's Sue Ellen Mischke, the bra-less wonder! Heiress of the Oh! Henry candy bar fortune!
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 6:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S2: The Spy Humongous

I'm about Pakled'd out. Each time "we" go there I wish we hadn't more. IMO they could have stopped at the end of last season with them.

I did enjoy the pace.

The Boimler plot was OK with the Redshirts. Nice to see him come to his senses at the end, help Tendi and return to his friends.

Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford going around picking up the bridge crew's trash was funny at times. Anything with Tendi is a plus for me.

Captain Janeway from the Enterprise on the planet was kind of blah... I did like how she out-spied the spy.

I enjoyed it and will watch it again tonight. The Armus bit was pretty funny at the end. They tuned down the easter eggs big time this week.

A notch down from last week.

2.5 stars.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 1:16pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S2: The Spy Humongous

Not a bad episode, but not quite as amazing as last week. As per usual with Lower Decks, I simply don't find the jokes to be all that funny, but the character work is pretty great.

This was the first true Boimler episode, insofar as it treated Boimler not as a punching bag for Mariner, but as his own character with independent agency. His experience with the "red shirts" told us something important about him - he might be eager to impress, but even he has his limits, and he's much more concerned with doing the right thing and helping his friends when push comes to shove. I'm not entirely sure if this is supposed to show his character growth across the show, or to reveal who he has been all along, but either way it works quite well here.

The B plot of the episode was basically about Tendi, allowing Rutherford and Mariner to needle her a bit about her perpetually chipper demeanor. Again, this was a step forward, as like Boimler she ultimately is shown to not just be a cartoon character.

The Pakled stuff was basically C-plot fare to keep the bridge crew busy. It was...fine. Jokes didn't land with me, but I was entertained. I think the issue I have with the Lower Decks humor is it tends to be fairly predictable, while gut-busting humor tends to be more absurdist things that come out of nowhere.
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 5:31am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2
I feel like somebody just performed a jedi mind trick on me?!
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 4:05am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

New interview with Akiva Goldsman:

Q: Can you give an update on the Picard production? You’re done with season two and then moving on to season three?

A: Season three starts the day after season two wraps.

Q: So did you have all of season two written by late in 2020?

A: No.

Q: You were still writing season two this year?

A: Yes

Q: You did once say your biggest lesson learned from season one was crafting the season as a whole to make sure stuff pays off.

A: Yes. I can’t answer whether or not we learned it because I haven’t seen the rough cuts yet of the last two episodes [of season two].

Q: But there were efforts made.

A: Oh, yes, for sure.

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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 1:19am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

I want to add that Picard had a problem with captain picard day because he doesn't like (to be around) children. There are several scenes where he accepts praise for deeds/things he finds praiseworthy like playing the flute or his archeological collection.

Furthermore, Picard is unwilling to influence possibly huge parts of a culture, not because of false modesty/humility but because of the fact that he has a very limited understanding of the culture and certainly cannot predict how they will react to him literally playing god. For example because of the Sodom and Gomorrah story homosexuals are thrown off buildings 2600 years later. Probably not what the early Jews intended when they came up with that story. Who knows what would happen with the interpretations of "The Picard"

I'm reading a fantastic book right now called "the Afghanistan Papers" (which should be mandatory reading for the next 100 years in the USA, maybe everywhere where people dream of invasions) and it shows how easy it is to screw up when your understanding of a culture is limited.
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 1:18am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Jammer said:

"We wouldn't have a convenient Bajoran crew member (where did he come from, and where has he been for the last four years?)"

We suddenly had Bajoran crew members three times, that were seen once and never again.

Learning Curve, here, and Good Shepherd".
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 1:06am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

Jack said:

"The midnight snacker ate an animal leg Neelix was saving for some ensign's birthday, but with Voyager's compliment, someone on Voyager is likely having a birthday every three or four it really that special?"

On that...unless Neelix replicated an animal leg only to store it in the fridge, which seems odd, it really is an animal leg. When did the crew go hunting?
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The Chronek
Wed, Sep 15, 2021, 9:14pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

Great observations on this episode, whether you thought this was a classic or not.

I know Jammer mentioned it already, but I'll reiterate: if you can, look up Maureen Ryan's BSG writeups in the Chicago Tribune from early 2009. She had a very dedicated, smart following of commenters, and Richard Hatch himself made comments on her entries during the mutiny episodes. Those comments certainly showed that Hatch disagreed with the direction they took Zarek in the mutiny episodes. I didn't, and still don't, agree with Hatch, but I was interested to see his point of view and what he brought to the discussion.

I think the mutiny episodes were perfect. Humanity thought they would get to Earth, only for it to be a nuclear wasteland. The leaders had failed, and they knew it. And those who followed those leaders? Well, why continue to follow them if their efforts were for nothing?

Gaeta's transformation from loyal, idealistic officer who believes in the system to mutineer was perfect, as was Alessandro Juliani's performance. What has his loyalty got him? What has his belief got him? A burned-out planet, a lost leg, a near-execution by several folks who turned out to be Cylons. And yet, for all that, just enough belief, just enough goodness remains in him to order the weapons hold just as Adama and company retake CIC. It's a perfect response to Zarek's split-second decision to murder Laird in part one, showing how quick, incremental decisions can affect the outcome.

I don't mind Zarek being shown to be a ruthless jerk. He'd been previously portrayed as someone who would use violence to advance his own ends. Sure, he talked the talk of being a "man of the people," but he would often use violent means and excuse himself.

I don't think the episodes are necessarily character assassination on anyone. I think, especially the episodes from Sometimes a Great Notion through Blood on the Scales, are a fantastic exploration of what happens when leadership fails so completely. Roslin checked out, and why not? She thought her efforts were for nothing. Adama checked out partially, and largely for the same reasons as Roslin.

Four stars from me.
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Wed, Sep 15, 2021, 2:46am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

@Eventual Zen
The more I think about it the more likely that seems. But only at the more basic levels. On university level we probably would still need human professor because if a robot could do that better then why even have students anymore? At that point humans would probably live WALL E-style.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 7:47pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

Does anyone else think that education would be mostly done by robots, holograms, and other AI by the 24th century? We already have educational websites & Apps, and a lot of videos, surely biological teachers would be mostly redundant by then?
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 5:58pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

@William B
>TNG's "The Measure of a Man" and "Q Who" are (IMO deservedly) ranked so high...

I have to disagree with you about that I think "Death Wish" is the best Voyager has to offer, definitely a 10/10 episode for it's philosophical value. Season 2 also had "Tuvix" another fine episode, 8/10.

I think the first two seasons of Voyager easily match TNG even if we're just considering the best episodes.

I find it ironic that two of the very worst episodes of Voyager, "Twisted", and "Threshold" are in the same season as the best.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 2:47pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Conspiracy

I don't know if this episode was written with world history in mind. But it is one those guilty pleasure episodes in 2021.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 2:00pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

"Sorry, but "entities" is not a scientific term for a being you're not familiar with."
It could be.

The problem here is that Winn comes in and within 5 sentences accuses Keiko of blasphemy. She could have just asked if Keiko was willing to call them prophets but she never did. Later she asks Keiko, as a "gracious" compromise offer, if she would just not talk about the wormhole at all and when Keiko states that she will continue to teach scientific facts about the wormhole, Winn declares her unwilling to compromise. That is the point because in essence giving into the demands of Winn means giving her free reign to demand anything she sees fit. It was this reasoning that religious hardliners used to force creationism into classrooms in the USA. Because not teaching something like religious people demand is automatically an insult. They already have religious schools and temples but that is not enough. What they deem right has to be taught everywhere to everyone.

But I guess this discussion has started to circle.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 12:39pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

Keiko is not coming up with names, she is using scientific terminology. That is not imperialistic.

Again, nobody is forced to go to this school. And what about the rights of non-Bajoran kids to not listen to religious sermons during astronomy class?

I agree with William that Kirk would probably the biggest iconoclast. Considering that at the time Roddenberry was still running things and his view on religion.

"Of course Peter is correct that the big joke is that Winn ends up being 100% vindicated by the end of the series because the wormhole aliens are literally "Prophets" in a Celestial Temple and all of Winn's hocus pocus is factually correct!"
I disagree with that. Nobody ever denied that the wormhole aliens are probably omnipotent and can see the future. Everybody knew that from the start. Keiko mentions that they created the only stable wormhole in the galaxy, for example.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 11:25am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

Ok so you mean secularism the philosophy, not secularism the political practice. I wasn't sure about that. Secularism can mean both and I understood it as the political practice.

Western hemisphere was my mistake I meant what is called "West" since the 1950.
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Jason R.
Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 11:16am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

"It sounds a little too mono-causal and deterministic for my taste and I could point out that the USA, which was the first country to separate state and church, is still the most religious in the western hemisphere."

First of all I didn't say "separation of church and state" was the key factor, although I am sure it plays part. My thesis is that the rise of secular humanism fuelled by science / technology is what is killing religion.

Second, like every first world country, the USA's level of religiosity has nosedived in the 21st century continuing and accelerating an already rapid decline from the 20th century. It's hard for me to post links on my phone (apologies) but a casual glance at stats on Wikipedia confirms that almost all the mainline churches in the USA (including evangelical groups) are closing churches left and right. You would have to be living under a rock to claim that church attendance isn't down precipitously since, say, the 50s.

And by the way, wouldn't South America, Mexico and the Carribbean count as part of the Western hemisphere? If so, I want you to explain how countries like Jamaica, Mexico or Brazil are less "religious" than the USA. That is impossible to believe. Even a casual glance at church attendance stats confirms that can't be true. So I don't accept at all your claim that the USA is the "most religious" in the western hemisphere without major evidence.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 10:37am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

hmmm So what you are saying is that religion will more or less implode once state and church are separated/religion cannot control all aspects of life? Winn, in your reading, tries to block any attempt at establishing institutions that are not controlled by religious authorities because this would eventually lead to an atheist society (apart from here ulterior motive)?

It sounds a little too mono-causal and deterministic for my taste and I could point out that the USA, which was the first country to separate state and church, is still the most religious in the western hemisphere.
Thinking about what you said I stumbled over this channel
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 9:29am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

Season 1 and 2 of Voyager combined have 41 episodes. I'd say 23 of these range from decent to great.

My gut tells me TNG has less outright bad episodes in its first two seasons, and that TNG's mediocre episodes during this period are more interesting than Voyager's. TNG has an austere, elegant quality that just seems classier than Voyager, resulting in its junk having aged a bit better.

I would also say we're more forgiving to TNG by dint of its place in history. It was making mistakes and correcting problems which Voyager should have learned from.

But who has more masterpieces in its first two seasons? I'd say TNG has about six or seven. Voyager has similar numbers: "Eye of the Needle", "Prime Factors", "Projections", and arguably "Tuvix", "Deadlock", "Lifesigns", "Death Wish" and Emanations".

So about the same.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 9:09am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S2: Basics, Part I

Ewww, a Kazon two parter.

Though "Voyager's" later two-parters are reliably excellent, I found this one to be almost unwatchable. The Kazon are a cheesy, cartoonish race, the scenes of Seska always walking about with a baby are ridiculous, and Janeway's adventures on planet have almost nothing to do with - and so juxtapose badly against - the adventures on the ship.

The idea that this show reduces the crew to "basics", and forces them out of their comfort zone, is also a bit silly. While it's cool watching the crew forced to eke out a life on the planet, without technology to assist them, their ordeal is hardly arduous. They seem to only be away from Voyager for a matter of hours.

I feel TOS' "The Savage Curtain" and "Arena", which similarly force Kirk to fight low-tech battles and survive away from his ship - handle such material far better.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 8:59am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S2: The Thaw

The first time I saw this episode, I thought it was an undiscovered gem; a sort of trippy, gaudy, TOS-styled-nightmare in the vein of "Empath" and "Plato's Stepchildren."

Watching it again today, I think it's lost some of its mad power. The "evil clown" seems less effective, and the sets less massacre than I remembered (strangely, the even cheaper TOS sets seem to hold up better for me), though the plot remains clever. Janeway's outsmarting of the computer, and its death, remains an arresting scene in particular.
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Jason R.
Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 7:09am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

"No, I don't. The prophets exist. "

At this point in the series, the wormhole aliens exist. Believing they are "prophets" I.e. Gods is not something you would accept if you were a Federation citizen any more than you accept that the groundhog in your backyard has a "spirit" or your neighbour's cat is a witch's familiar. Yes groundhogs and cats exist - but that is hardly the point.

I think part of the problem here is that I am looking at this episode in its allegorical context, in other words, what the episode is trying to convey to us the viewers. Of course Peter is correct that the big joke is that Winn ends up being 100% vindicated by the end of the series because the wormhole aliens are literally "Prophets" in a Celestial Temple and all of Winn's hocus pocus is factually correct!

But in my defence, even the writers didn't know all that at this point in the series.

"I understand what you are saying. You cannot compromise with fanatics."

All people become fanatical when they perceive a threat to their way of life.

Secularism is a mortal threat to religion. That much has been obvious even in my lifetime. I was an atheist by the time I was 10 but I distinctly remember feeling like this was still a relatively uncommon thing back then in the early 90s. I remember when "cancel culture" was pearl clutching evangelicals getting upset about violence in video games or pornography.

They were already impotent politically and culturally by that point of course (as the last 30 years has proven in spades) but they were still a force! (albeit a spent one) Now they can't seem to muster the impotent outrage they got back then.

I am shocked at how rapidly religion has been hollowed out in the past 30 years. The more secular the institutions and societies the more rapidly it has occurred. By the time my kids are my age I think most religions in the first world will be little more than rumps and the developing world will be well on the path.

The only reason the religious didn't fight harder against this is because back then they didn't understand the threat secularism posed. Perhaps they accepted the liberal promise that religion could co-exist with secular humanism and science (I don't think it can).

The Taliban and other groups like them seem to know the score. Them I don't have trouble understanding. They are also behaving logically within their framework. They are merely doing what any religious person from 500 years ago would have done if someone time travelled to them with a copy of the New York Times from 2021. They are doing what you would do if you discovered that Germany in 2100 would return to Naziism and usher in a 1,000 year reich. You'd be a fanatic too if you saw the writing was on the wall for your way of life.
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Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 2:45am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

Ok, there are some misunderstandings here. That is why I asked if you have a scientific background. How do I explain this? No scientists will tell you that a scientific law will be true forever. We only know that a scientific law is accurate now but tomorrow it could change, that may be extremely unlikely in some cases but we just don't know because we don't know the future. Maybe the apple will not fall in a trillion years or even tomorrow, so to speak. So when Keiko says that the wormhole is stable then that doesn't mean that she argues that it will be stable forever. Just that it is stable from the moment they started to study it.

"No, it's actual the 'hands of the Prophets' literally causing ships to pass through or not pass through safely as they desire. It operates according to their design at all times. It's not a natural phenomenon,"
Keiko clearly says that it was artificially constructed by the entities that live in there. She even agrees that "in a manner of speaking" yes the prophets are guiding ships through the wormhole. She never says that the religious interpretation is wrong.

"and Kai Winn thinks it's heresy doesn't only happen to be valid on a narrative basis"
She doesn't call it heresy aka an internal conflict in a religion, she calls it blasphemy. Which according to wikipedia means:"Blasphemy,..., is an insult that shows contempt, disrespect or lack of reverence concerning a deity, a sacred object or something considered inviolable." Winn is effectively demanding that everybody who teaches should revere the Bajoran religion. In a later scene Keiko rightly points out that she could not teach evolution or history and many other things that go against Bajoran religion.

"but it's in fact more *scientifically* valid than what Keiko is saying too. Not that Winn did experiments to come to her conclusion, so it didn't follow a scientific method per se, but it's scientific in the sense of being borne of experience and repetition."
Ok, the issue here is not facts but framing. Keiko is presenting it based on the facts that they have. Winn just wants her to present these facts in a way that she deems appropriate. This would give a fundamentalist the power to demand more or less anything she wants.

"but another more honest Vedek might well have made the same objection in this scenario."
But none did. It is a weak point of the episode that Bareill does not give any actual opinion on the matter, considering that Winn is the fundamentalist while he is presented as the opposite.

"Of course you don't, because you see the Bajoran faith as made up superstitious nonsense"
No, I don't. The prophets exist. As I wrote a little above, the whole disagreement in the episode is so far about framing, not about facts which is another shortcoming of the episode because in relations to, well I guess, the US situation it would have been more fitting if Winn would have walked in there and said:"Are you teaching that the universe was created 10000 years ago when two prophets kissed?" or something like that, in other words something that is irreconcilable with scientific facts.

"But she sees it as an integral part of her life, which she wants to perpetuate."
I understand what you are saying. You cannot compromise with fanatics. Again Vedek Bareill not giving his opinion is a missed opportunity. Furthermore that, apart from Ajatollah Kira, we hear no other Bajorans voicing their opinions. When I rewatched the episode yesterday I was giggling because the Bajorans always sheepishly follow the last person that talked.

Still, it's a good episode.
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Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 8:41pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

WTF is with all other captains and Starfleet officials being complete mentally-unhinged douchebags in every episode they're in? It gets tiresome quickly. And like the mirror universe, you have to wonder how Starfleet actually managed to progress.
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Jason R.
Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 7:18pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

"I really see no problem with what Keiko says."

Of course you don't, because you see the Bajoran faith as made up superstitious nonsense (or you would if it was a real religion) - as does Keiko, as would I if I were living in that reality.

But she sees it as an integral part of her life, which she wants to perpetuate. For her a world where her religion disappears in the next generation is a horrible thing.

And she is doing a perfectly logical thing in challenging an existential threat to that belief system (whether the person perpetuating the threat sees itself that way or not).
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