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Niall
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

"Anything else non-Trek is basically off the table, save the stray movie review" - would that potentially include Arrival, Jammer?
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Niall
Sun, Oct 30, 2016, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Off-topic: Jammer, have you thought about reviewing Black Mirror?
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Niall
Sat, Oct 15, 2016, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

*an attempted nod to TOS
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Niall
Sat, Oct 15, 2016, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Hey Bufo... I broadly agree, and you're right to point out a Troi->Seven->T'Pol trend of worsening sexism in relation to each series's "woman in bodysuit" eye candy character in the flagship shows of the Berman era. I think with Seven (and Troi), as a gay guy I honestly never really noticed or thought about her breasts or costume and so was able to focus on the character and performance and just took her at face value, yet somehow T'Pol's presentation as sex object bothers me much more, probably partly because the character and performance is so much worse. Also with Seven, I think when she switched to the brown and blue suits it was an improvement, the initial silver suit was a little OTT. I believe Ron Moore also pointed out the issue with Seven's outfit during his brief tenure at Voyager, along the lines of "How is the audience supposed to take the character seriously when she's basically naked?" To DS9's credit, their "beautiful woman" cast member (Jadzia) wore a standard Starfleet uniform for the duration.

Regarding STD, this is 2016 and it will be the first Trek series in the social media era (and the era of Netflix and OITNB etc) - I think there'd be an online storm if they were to have a female main character dressed up as eye candy, one recalls the reactions to the ridiculous underwear scene with Alice Eve in STID. Plus Bryan Fuller is an intelligent writer, and a gay man - not that gay guys can't be sexist too, but I trust him enough not to due the blatant pandering that Berman/Braga did when it came to the "sexy chick" character. It's not Fuller's sensibility and he's a more skillful writer than that. I actually only watched Enterprise over the past couple of years - when it was first shown I found its whole tone offputting and unwelcoming because of the sexism in the pilot, which I think was partly an attempted not to TOS but ended up coming off much cruder - not just T'Pol and the decon chamber, but the men leering at the "sexy alien dancers" at the outpost, and the ceiling conversation about "women" etc...
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Niall
Fri, Oct 14, 2016, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Re: sexism and Bufo's comment, it was Enterprise that was the step back, Voyager not so much. There's no way Voyager was more sexist than TOS - despite the outfit, Seven was a vastly more complex and developed character than the female TOS characters (Uhura/Rand/Chapel). B'Elanna too - her potential was a little underutilized (though nowhere near as much as Chakotay/Kim etc) but she was a great and interesting character. Voyager is the Trek show with the female captain and good female characters (Janeway arguably the least good, mostly due to the inconsistency with which she was written, especially in latter seasons), and it's the Trek show that passes the Bechdel test more than any other. I'm primarily a DS9 but I think Voyager gets too much criticism and, Seven's outfit aside, sexism isn't really a warranted criticism of the show. Fuller was also not "reponsible" (as bufo writes) for the creation of Seven's character or for her outfit, which should be obvious.

ENT by contrast treated its two female characters (especially T'Pol) more exploitatively than Voyager ever did at a conceptual, script and directorial level. The decon chamber, the "Vulcan neuropressure", scenes like Hoshi's top coming off in Shockwave II and the way Hoshi is attired and shot in parts of Exile - we never saw anything like that kind of tawdry, juvenile faux-sexuality in Voyager. Just on a directorial level, though the revealingness of their outfits may not differ significantly, I always though T'Pol was often shot more exploitatively in terms of camera angle and framing than Seven ever way. Plus obviously the fact they cast a glamor model with near-zero acting experience as the series's female lead (her performance was suitably atrocious, esp. in S1-2 - she improved from S3 on), whereas Jeri Ryan and Roxann Dawson in Voyager were clearly vastly better actresses. Add the fact that Enterprise's male human cast was basically rednecks in space (Enterprise is very much the Dubya-era Trek) and the overall feel of the show was pretty backwards. I grew up on TNG, DS9 and VOY and never felt any of them were remotely sexist, but ENT? Absolutely.
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Niall
Tue, May 31, 2016, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Afterimage

For me, this episode is a surprising and jarring misfire that damages the characters that appear in it, especially Garak, Ezri and Sisko (perhaps to some extent also Worf, Bashir and Quark). The Worf/Ezri material mostly works (though not as well as it could), but the Garak material doesn't work at all (for the reasons William B outlines), and Sisko and Garak aggressively using reverse psychology on a vulnerable individual comes over as misguided in the extreme (as William B also writes above). Fortunately, Echevarria was able to fix in Penumbra/Til Death what didn't work here in terms of Ezri/Worf - I felt Penumbra did a much better job of handling the two characters and their complex situation.
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Niall
Fri, May 20, 2016, 6:07am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Prey

I agree with Amagnonx.
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Niall
Fri, May 13, 2016, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Emperor's New Cloak

More great comments - one of the things Trek does best, in the form of characters like Worf, Nog and Garak, is explore what it means to negotiate life between two cultures, something a lot of people can relate to. (This obviously overlaps with the classic "outsider" characters like Spock, Data, Odo and the Doc.) I think this is a big part of what makes Star Trek what it is, the fact it explores society and culture from within and without, and how it's not always easy to navigate and negotiate things when you're (for instance) a Klingon who's grown up among humans, a Cardassian exiled from your people, or a young Ferengi becoming alienated from your own culture after living with and befriending people from other races and seeing how they do things differently. I think Worf's arc is one of 90s Trek's biggest achievements, and Nog's arc one of DS9's biggest achievements. The writers allowed Nog to grow and develop so much, allowed him to make mistakes and experience trauma but always ultimately pick himself back up again and come through the other side thanks to his own conviction and determination as well as the friendship, help and love of those around him. And at the end of the day he was still able to enjoy a good relationship with his father and uncle (who took pride in him) and be accepted and valued by his Starfleet colleagues without rejecting his own heritage or being uncomfortably caught between two worlds. He's a great role model, and Aron Eisenberg a great actor.
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Niall
Fri, May 13, 2016, 10:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Great comments, and it's for reasons like these that - despite not liking Afterimage, Prodigal Daughter or Field Of Fire - I prefer Ezri to Jadzia as a character (as well as preferring DeBoer's performance to Farrell's). It's a testament to the writers that we can have these kinds of rich discussions.
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Niall
Fri, May 13, 2016, 10:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

This is a wonderful analysis by Peter G. Despite how well the actors sold it, I never bought Kira's relationship with Odo, especially after the combined events of Things Past, Children Of Time and Behind The Lines. I always thought Kira's best relationship was with Bareil. "men of strong but uncomplicated conviction" sums up Kira's type perfectly, and Odo being revealed as having a morally unreliable and self-serving side to him in those three episodes (a product of his weakness/isolation and the Link being his Achilles heal) was indeed "the worst horror" for her - which is why her getting together with him in His Way wasn't credible for me, especially as the episode is told from his perspective rather than hers. I think rather that, as a contrast to previous Trek series where (unrealistically) there were no relationships between the crew (apart from Riker-Troi-Worf), the DS9 writers were keen to pair up as many of the cast as possible (Sisko and Kasidy, Worf and Jadzia, Bashir and Ezri, Garak and Ziyal, Rom and Leeta, Dukat and Winn, Kira and Odo) as part of character development and showing the characters growing together as a family.
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Niall
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 3:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

Think of Bajor as Poland and Cardassia as Russia. One's just a single planet/country, the other's an empire. Poland has a wonderfully rich culture, proud history and fascinating language, but that's never helped it when it comes to defending itself against Germany and Russia - it's just in a bad location.
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Niall
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

Yes, it's a great episode for the mood, ideas, dialogue, details, and Michael Vejar's typically auteur/outstanding direction, rather than the plot nitty-gritty or the less credible aspects. And yeah, the fact she put herself in a situation where she almost lost someone else's baby is an issue. (Imagine if she had.) It's also a shame Furel and Lupaza were written out here (and a shame Shakaar made hardly any appearances in the series). For me, Kira's best relationship was with Bareil, they were each other's true love and I totally bought it and felt it - whereas I never fully bought into the Kira-Odo romantic relationship despite the great performances (both actors were against the relationship, notably).

Randy Oglesby is also great in this. He was the saving grace of season 3 of Enterprise too.
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Niall
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

As usual William, an absolute joy to read your erudite analysis, and you've added to my appreciation of the episode (already one of my favourites). Please keep writing about culture this intelligently on whatever platforms are available to you.
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Niall
Thu, Dec 3, 2015, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

Just want to say how much I always enjoy reading William B's erudite comments on Jammer's review - you're a great writer and critic William, I hope you get to use these talents not just on here!
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Niall
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 5:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

My family and I thought the same thing when we watched it.
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Niall
Tue, Feb 3, 2015, 5:46am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Terra Nova

It's absolutely awful.
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Niall
Sun, Jan 25, 2015, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I agree with Nic. The fact the death is "meaningless" is the point (as in the case of Course Oblivion - though I'm not a fan of that episode, I do appreciate what they were going for with the ending). I was 7 when I saw this episode and it had a profound impact on me. Like Conspiracy a few episodes later, it's marvellously un-Trekkian - irredeemable badness exists and good people die for no "meaningful" reason. There's a unsettling rawness and viscerality to both episodes that I find very effective and powerful.
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Niall
Sat, Jan 24, 2015, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Just watched this for the first time since the first time... so let me get this straight, the plot of the series finale is about a spatial anomaly expanding in anti-time created by an inverse tachyon pulse in a possible future and that has to be collapsed by ships from three different times creating a static warp shell? WTF? Braga writing at its absolute nadir. The series deserved so much better. Unlike many I'm not a fan of Cause And Effect, Timescape etc., but this is considerably worse drama than previously similarly-themed Braga episodes. The Q scenes are great, and Patrick Stewart's ability to transcend bad material is really on show here - he's brilliant, especially in the future scenes - but the plot is dire, and the attempts at character work (the Riker-Worf conflict, Worf/Troi, Beverly "Picard", the poker scene) are ham-fisted and don't ring true. Not to mention Riker's laughable aging-makeup and Beverly's "old lady walk". The DS9 finale had its flaws for sure, but it's in another league to this. As bad as the Voyager finale, quite possibly worse.
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Niall
Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 5:56am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Swarm

Totally agree with Skeptical.
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Niall
Thu, Jan 22, 2015, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

But also I want to comment on how sensual and heartfelt this episode is, and how the line between father and lover is blurred in the form of Picard. It's an episode of goodbyes for Ro - goodbye to her father figure Macias, goodbye to her one-time lover Riker (their relationship only being possible under the circumstances of the episode Conundrum, but a tenderness and connection nevertheless remaining between them), and goodbye to Picard, the person who meant most to Ro in the world and who in turn cared tremendously about her and was truly proud of and invested in her. The scene where Ro and Picard have their final conversation while posing as sex worker and client, as they touch each other tenderly and whisper in each other's ear, is phenomenally directed and acted - there a breathtaking sensuality and deep sadness to it. Zack Handlen was right when he wrote that it came over like a break-up; they're both solitary people who forged an unexpected but deeply meaningful connection with each other in the face of barriers and who mean a tremendous amount to each other, more than is verbalized by either, but are both bound by their moral code and sense of duty, with the result that their paths are destined to diverge. That scene and a couple of others in this episode (like the final shot, and "Goodbye Will") feel kind of iconic and it's a shame that moments this truly deep and sensual are so rare on Trek; the intimate personal aspects and subtext of Pre-emptive Strike do remind me of Echevarria's Chimera in the final season of DS9, and the actors make just as much out of them.
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Niall
Thu, Jan 22, 2015, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

This is one of TNG's best, it really stands up and Michelle Forbes's performance is great - there's a maturity, depth and roundedness to it that perhaps was less visible back in "Ensign Ro". Great script by Rene Echevarria. As much as I love it, it's not without its niggles and problems though - firstly, not only does the way Ro is so easily accepted by the Maquis cell strain credulity, their later off-camera acceptance of Riker(!) as a Bajoran relative of hers is downright ridiculous. And the cell members don't really seem like credible terrorists/resistance fighters; Macias (as written) seems to exists only as a father figure for Ro and isn't otherwise fleshed out as a character.

Finally, how does Ro explain herself to her Maquis colleagues at the end? How does she explain how she knew about the Starfleet armada in the nebula? How does she explain the disappearance of her "Bajoran relative" and the loss of her ship? Non-credible details like this do harm an overall excellent episode...
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Niall
Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Not sure where to post this... I was just reading Cynic's Corner (David E Sluss) - who, like Jammer, wrote some really funny and incisive pieces on Andromeda and did a great job of decrying its decline (www.cynicscorner.org/andro_2/andro_212.html). Out of curiosity I googled David to find out what he was up to now, and I came across this, suggesting he died a few weeks ago:

www.legacy.com/obituaries/heritage/obituary.aspx?n=david-e-sluss&pid=173530304

Does anyone know any more about this? Is it the same David?
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Niall
Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Shadows of P'Jem

This episode is terrible. And what's really notable by this point in the show is all the really bad episodes are those by Berman/Braga and the decent and halfway-decent ones (the stretch from Breaking The Ice to Dear Doctor) are by other writers.
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Niall
Wed, Jan 14, 2015, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S1: To Loose the Fateful Lightning

The bit where they all suddenly fall to the floor because of the activation of the "artificial gravity field" is hilarious.
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Niall
Mon, Dec 1, 2014, 7:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Unification

This assessment feels fair to me. Unification is a lot weaker than I remember it being the first time I saw it, as a kid. There's a huge amount of padding in part 1 (Picard and Data's comic scenes on the bird of prey, the Enterprise's investigation in the junkyard) and part 2 doesn't come together either (the bar scenes with the piano player and the "fat Ferengi" are corny, and nothing that happens on Romulus convinces). The Sarek scene at the start of part 1 and the Picard/Spock scene at the end of part 2 are the raison d'etre for this episode, but it could have been done much better as a single episode without all the filler and the daft Romulan hijinks.
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