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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 7:35am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

The whole "not messing in the internal affairs of other states" (policy of non interference)is kind of the odd duck in the prime directive. Almost all countries on earth do follow that policy... in theory. If a country has some form of spy service then they are very likely interfering somewhere as does the Federation and not just section 31. So that policy is in somewhat of a grey area.

"That society might die, but if they did that to themselves, why'd we want them in space?"
If a civilization destroys itself then the Federation shouldn't stop it. That is their decision to make. Have fun. Go nuke yourself out, I say.

"Could humanity withstand that much of an ego boost? " Humanity maybe not, let's hope the Vulcans can. :)
Seriously though, the Federation already has the tech to save certain civilizations. This is no trolley problem. Letting an entire civilization die is also doing something . Just sitting there in orbit watching millions or billions of beings die once or twice a year will probably have a more negative effect on the Federation, than saving them.

"Interfere, but for goodness sake, don't be blatant or showy about it."
That is the form I mean. If the muggles down on the planet don't notice anything then there is really no reason not to save them.
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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 6:23am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals


The second part not making sense; yes and no. First because it's really its own two parts of non-interference. The "internal matter" part makes sense. Don't step in to resolve conflicts. Partially ties in with the not giving tech to less developed species part. But also, "don't wade into a situation and impose our ideals as a form of conflict resolution", regardless if the society is less or equally developed. I doubt the Enterprise would intervene if they happened across a world in the midst of nuclear war. That society might die, but if they did that to themselves, why'd we want them in space?

The second part of the "don't help" doctrine is the one that often doesn't make sensr, at least not as presented. It's always couched as "what if we mess up this species' natual development" rather than, "what'll happen to us if we start accruing a reputation of being godlike across the galaxy?" Could humanity withstand that much of an ego boost? Or would they become like Q in dispostion, handing out destiny based on their own alien value judgements? Is that a postion OUR society would want to be in? Could we withstand it?

Of course, the answer is to develop a protocol for this type of interference that would do much to negate that risk, based around the idea best stated by Futurama's "godbeing": "If you do things right, people won't be sure you did anything at all." Interfere, but for goodness sake, don't be blatant or showy about it.
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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 5:36am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

The prime directive has two parts. One makes sense, the other does not.
The first part is that giving species technology that is far more developed could be too much to handle for that civilization. That makes sense.
Just think about what would have happened if the Austrian Empire during the siege of Vienna would have been given an atomic bomb. Yeah Istanbul would be a pile of ash. First an foremost societies need to slowly adapt to new tech or there is a good chance of chaos. Furthermore knowing that a species is not alone can also be blowing up the structure of a society.

The second is the: "We won't do anything if a meteor hits a planet part". This is pure nonsense. Sure we don't know if down the line a saved civilization become space Nazis but the Federation doesn't know that about any less developed civilization. It is some odd notion that borders on a believe in fate.

It is in the show to create drama.
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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 4:42am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

Given how much discussion over the Prime Directive there's already been, I'll simply make a single observation.

Had a Trek-like civilization decided that it was their ethical responsibility to stop the Chicxulub asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, we wouldn't be here to even have this discussion. Interference, even in the form of preventing global catastrophe and mass extinction, may have profoundly negative effects down the line that cannot be predicted. Which is why non-interference, and the Prime Directive, may actually be the more responsible position to take concerning other worlds.
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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 3:29am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dax

Fascinating episode. I'm intrigued by its choice to make no ruling on whether or not Jadzia Dax can be charged for the crimes of Curzon Dax, and I don't feel it's too fair to criticise it for that. Not all exploration of issues needs to have the story settle on a definite answer. Simply raising the questions, with each side allowed to voice their own opinions, is a valid method. In fact, I feel it's stronger for this. In terms of the plot, you'll naturally be led to side with the protagonists, and they're arguing in favour of the distinction between Curzon and Jadzia. Meanwhile, the argument that they're enough of the same entity is hypothetically going to lead to the removal of one of our main characters -- and of course that's not going to happen, so maybe you're even *expecting* Sisko et al to win the debate. Allowing the question to remain unanswered in-story liberates it from the attached plot and consequences, and essentially equalises the two sides of the argument. You can believe in a continuity between Curzon and Jadzia all you want -- Dax is no longer endangered by the answer.

The comparisons to The Measure of a Man are obvious, and practically draw themselves. Both are courtroom episodes where it's not a person on trial, but rather a concept relating to a major character's personhood. But TNG's take did come to a conclusion, and one that surely everyone has to have been rooting for, for Data's sake. When viewed in isolation from Jadzia's possible imprisonment, the fundamental question at the heart of this episode is far less black and white. It can't be equated with TMoaM's question of whether a beloved character should have his choices respected. The question of whether different forms of Dax should be treated as different entities doesn't fundamentally threaten their status as a character. Rather, it makes the character richer for it, and there's fascination to be found in both answers. Hell, I don't think there even *should* be an answer (when talking purely on a level of character analysis -- the pragmatics of criminal justice are, of course, a different matter). Dax is interesting from both perspectives, and to fully understand the character, both *should* be considered.
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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 12:38am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

Time travel conceits are inane from git to go: between the unavoidable grandfather and origination paradoxes and the attempts to do away with them with infinitely branching timelines in an endless cosmic sea of frothing bubble universes, I don’t know how it’s possible to sagaciously judge one as more “scientifically plausible” than another. They’re all pure fantasy, so blithely slipping the moorings of even the most counterintuitive things we think we know about the actual universe that it makes no sense to critique them in scientific - or even logical - terms.

But they’re an unfortunate staple of all sci-fi, a venerable Trek tradition, so here we are again. And since I don’t watch Trek for its science (which is generally ridiculous anyway), I don’t skip them.

And since I know there’s no point in criticizing the unresisiting imbecility of the science, I let that go in favor of seeing what other merits the episode may have. Sometimes I can enjoy the speculative what-ifs of a future possibly awaiting Our Heroes, seeing how the history we’ve seen might work itself out; sometimes I enjoy seeing possible pasts. Always I can pick up clues cues and insights about the characters (or not), and the time puzzle itself can be inherently interesting purely as a mind exercise.

But over all else, I can be entertained - or not.

This one entertained me. I found a lot to like. I always like Chakotay, and he has the perfect dogged unflappable temperament to mediate these time fragments and give them the emotional and historical logic the shattered-time pretense lacks. A nice outing for him.

I enjoyed the time puzzle, neither too precious nor too tedious. I liked the choices of past events. All the characters were shown being their characteristic selves, with a few additional insights from the juxtaposition of eras, and nothing to violate Voyager canon or continuity. And goofy as time travel is, the notion of members of the crew from various points across decades of time corroborating to resolve a single problem serves to emphasize the collegial trust and goodwill the crew developed over the voyage. (Other than Seska, yuck ptui, a character for whom I’ve never been able to scare up a scrap of regard.)

And while it wasn’t a clip show, it was a retrospective survey which gathered highlights (and absurdities) from Voyager’s long strange trip and created an overall arc for us, a review. Seeing what was to be the unimaginable future from a pre-Delta Janeway’s perspective emphasizes just how much Voyager the ship/crew have been through - and how much Voyager the show actually HAS done with its original brief (in the face of the interminable “fan” whining and bitching in these reviews and comments).

That it visited both some of Janeway’s biggest hits and a few of the decisions she’s been most critized for (and has been shown to second-guess herself for) is another nice touch. It’s a nod and a wink from the writers that they’ve heard the jeers from the cheap seats.

Which also adds a meta layer, making the episode as much about Voyager the show as Voyager the fictional ship. It’s a scrapbook shared by the writers with faithful viewers - “The Way We Were” with a slightly wry twist, but in the end an earnest and warm benediction.

Also, as typified by “Slaughterhouse Five”, the fragmented time device is a pretty good metaphor for the way human memory works, how we are all constantly engaged in integrating our memories and our intuition about the future into a coherent story about who we are in the present.

So...a pleasant enough installment for me, helping shape an overall understanding of Voyager’s narrative shape - even if that shape comprises a willful selection of random incidents arbitrarily arranged to make meaning where they may originally have been none.

But that’s ALso what we do with the stuff of our own lives - so OK.
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Mads Leonard Holvik
Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

The moment that really underlines how terrible Discovery is comes when I type the antispam answer: Picard. TNG comes to mind, and honestly it's like Dostojevskij compared to Weekly World News.
I'm more on the left side of the political spectrum, but I don't like to be underestimated and thought a moron.
I don't know why they made this and why they push woke agendas so blatantly. I know one thing, though. I will continue to watch TNG, Voyager, DS9 and occasionally TOS and Enterprise, but I will never rewatch Discovery.
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Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 11:18am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

I disagree. I think that his father should have been punished more severely and his mother, too. How many parents would engineer their children if the only consequence are 2-3 years in a Federation low security prison and it isn't even both parents. Such a federation prison is probably a nicer place than most hotels today.
The best safeguard is to deny people who are engineered any kind of post in the Federation as to not incentivize anybody who wants a better future for their unintelligent offspring. If you make a better life impossible then you eradicate the main reason for parents to engineer their kids. Simple and effective.
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Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 10:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Also, I didn't see a problem with letting Bashir retain his commission in exchange for his father being imprisoned. It wasn't Bashir's fault he was engineered-- or that he had to lie because Starfleet has this fucked-up attitude towards kids who were enhanced without consent. His father was the piece of shit who destroyed a six-year-old for not being "good enough"; his father deserves the consequences.
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Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 10:12am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@William B

That's an excellent point regarding Jadzia. I'd much rather have that as a headcanon than Bashir just liking her because she's pretty (even though it's certainly true!)

I like this episode-- because I like basically all the DS9 episodes that deal with heavy gray ethical stuff rather than black-and-white morality-- but I absolutely agree with everyone else who said that they should've spent more time focusing on the ramifications of Bashir's time in the prison camp. One of the best things about DS9 is how it's not serialized, and it lets its characters grow and learn from things that happen in previous episodes.

In season 2 or even 3, I would've expected them to completely ignore his time in the prison camp. But it's season 5 now. If we can have Eddington becoming a Maquis, or Dukat disowning his daughter for choosing DS9 over him, there's absolutely no reason not to spend at least *some* of what is literally a *Bashir-centric episode* talking about the impacts of camp 317.
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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 6:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Eh, not tooooooooooo bad, but... eh. Knowing that "the dog did it" -- and not realising that till seconds before the dog transformed -- mostly just makes me feel a little stupid in hindsight. I guess I did fall for it. I do have a weakness for big, fluffy dogs.

I do find the whole bait-and-switch on the crystal thing kind of amusing, though. Geordi thinks he's about to have some mindblowing crystal-assisted semi-telepathic sexual experience, but gasp, she's actually a shapeshifting entity trying to steal his form! But wait, no, actually, sometimes a mindblowing crystal-assisted semi-telepathic sexual experience... really just *is* a mindblowing crystal-assisted semi-telepathic sexual experience. Thanks, Star Trek.
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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

Thoroughly enjoyable episode. It manages to reconcile the differing wants of everyone involved, in the end, and the reality created for Moriarty and the Countess is just as real as they are. I can't help wondering if they'd ever realise the deception, though, as the first layer of holodeck had the warp core glitch out when Picard threw something at it. Imagine a holodeck malfunction when the holodeck is your only existence.

I usually can't stand Barclay or his episodes, but there's little enough of him here to avoid much frustration with the episode. His interaction with the Countess is something of a fun moment, even, as is his wary "computer, end program" at the end. Don't worry, Barclay. You're real... or, at least, as real as our own "little device sitting on someone's table" makes you.
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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

If Lien’s current situation is relevant, then potentially problems started even back then. I’d always thought this - at what point did those problems really first materialize, and as I always have Voyager on rotation I’m looking for the turn.
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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

@Sleeper Agent

With respect, I think you're missing out on the big picture of this one. There's two huge unintuitive, or anti-heroic, conflicts in the episode. The first is that saving the sweet intelligent woman does not save the day. The second is that peace is not the correct path towards freedom. Kirk is left with making two horrible decisions that he clearly doesn't wish to make and his struggle with that conflict is what makes the episode good. It takes the idea that "if only we could've prevented these bad things in the past things would've been better" and flips it on its head. The ending is also bittersweet, as Kirk leaves the planet feeling disgusted despite doing the most logical thing he could.
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Peter G.
Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

@ Chris,

I think the difference there lies in what the ship's mission is. Starfleet crew members join up with the idea of serving to do their duty, knowing they could die in the line of duty. That's part of the deal, that missions can be dangerous. In this scenario, however, Sisko's choice is to sacrifice his crew's lives as they know them (and his mission as well) in order to populate a colony. This is (a) not what Starfleet personnel signed up for, and (b) not part of any mission that has been assigned to them. I think these are very important issues because it is not correct to suppose that a Captain has the moral authority to sacrifice his crew for any purpose he deems fit, unless it falls under doing so for the purposes of a mission of the defense of the Federation. There may be many 'good causes' around the galaxy for which a Captain could sacrifice his ship and crew, but it would not be appropriate to play god and use them like that.

So in this instance I think the more dangerous choice would be to choose to stay, unless it really was some kind of unanimous vote and everyone agreed. That still doesn't speak to them losing Starfleet's ship, but at least the personnel question is spoken for.
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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

Remember in TNG when Deanna Troy fails the Star Fleet simulation because she couldn't order someone to their death to save the lives of the rest of the crew on the ship? But she does it in the end, passes the exam and everyone is happy about the valuable lesson she learned about tough choices?
So why is Sisko so self righteous about offing an entire planet of intelligent lifeforms (Ignoring the Prime Directive) just because he won't ask Kira to sacrifice herself ?
Still a good episode though.
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Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Re: Supernova

Why. Just why.
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Sleeper Agent
Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 12:52am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

Having seen TNG, DS9 and VOY and always heard references to "City on the Edge.." as being the all-time best Trek episode, I have to confess I'm severely disappointed. It's not bad, the acting is on point and the Guardian is really cool, I also like that Uhura was part of the away team. However, overall the story is predictable and the setting not very exciting. The fact that it justifies America's complete annihilation of two Japanese cities also leaves a bad after taste.

Off the top of my head I can count at least 5 if not 10 episodes from season 1 alone, that are better than this. Perhaps I'm too allergic to time travel episodes, because this simply didn't do it for me.

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Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 10:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

I've been looking forward to starting DS9. I'm glad I've decided to watch TNG and DS9 in airdate order, because I love the way the former transitions into the latter.

I can tell there's going to be far more of a sense of permanence here. The Cardassians withdrawing at the end of Chain of Command could so easily have been ignored on TNG from then on -- the Enterprise flies away, the problems aren't theirs to deal with any more, the crew gets another situation to get ankle deep into before moving onto yet another one. And hey, there's nothing inherently wrong with that kind of storytelling. I was raised on classic Doctor Who, which is pretty much as episodic as it gets -- you get the Doctor, the TARDIS, however many companions you've got and a few recurring enemies, and almost everything else will be unique to whichever episode they're in. It makes you feel like a bit of a cosmic tourist, staying long enough to get a feel for something and then moving on -- you get to do pretty much any kind of story you want, at the price of not being able to get too far into any of it.

Deep Space Nine, though? As I can tell so far, it's an entire goddamn *series* of storyline dedicated to the consequences of Starfleet's actions: the shifting of power in the region, and all that comes of that. By showing a lot of different worlds, TNG has made the universe feel more expansive. By taking time to focus on the ramifications, even DS9's existence so far is making the universe feel more *real*. Breadth versus depth. I'm fascinated to see what Star Trek can do with a series focused on exploring a situation in depth, and from what I hear, I'm in for a treat.

Thoughts on the characters, as they're established here:

- Sisko interests me well enough, and I appreciate the dad angle. I found myself really liking the scenes where he talks to... whatever's in the wormhole. They keep a momentum going through a ton of different settings and scenes.
- Jake Sisko > Wesley Crusher, at least from what I can tell so far.
- Poor O'Brien, going from a galaxy-class starship to a half-rusted space station. He's gonna need a lot more kicks where that came from. But god, this was better than anything I'd ever seen from him in TNG (except maybe The Wounded), and I'm looking forward to seeing him used better.
- Oh, naive idealistic Bashir. Wonder how he'll go here.
- You can count me a Kira fan already. I like her for a lot of the same reasons I like Ro Laren (which makes sense), and I'll appreciate her having more space for development than Ro did.
- Quark is a potentially interesting Ferengi who doesn't entirely make me want to bash my head against the wall, which is a good start and a break from the species' track record.
- Not enough of Dax or Odo yet for me to really make a judgement. Feels strange to be finally meeting Odo with René Auberjonois' death just a few days ago, though.
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van zeSpleen
Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Just read critique/review on Season 2.
I love them bringing back the 3-dimensional chess - missed out on ordering a model decades ago. Figurines I never cared to own, so perhaps we will get a second chance to own that futuristic chess set soon?!
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Deborah Katz
Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 8:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

The essence of science fiction, a true and original thought experiment. Love this episode, come back to it again and again
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Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

Boothby channelling his inner Mick from Rocky?
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William B
Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

I don't think the idea is that Lien was fired instead of Wang because Wang is better looking (both are good looking people), but because Wang got more positive press that year (related to his good looks). It seems as if the producers weren't particularly happy with either of them and then pivoted from firing Wang to firing Lien so they could capitalize on the publicity for Wang. That it seems Lien had some big personal problems is probably another factor.

Strictly speaking, the "character bible" versions of Kim and Kes were some of the characters who would have the most obvious arcs over the course of the series, as the youngest, the naifs who would be expected to change the most over the seven-year journey. It's sort of a shame that one's story was truncated by her leaving the show and the other was kept in a semi-artificial stasis. I say sort of because it's hard to know how much the show could have really done for the characters given the possible limitations of the actors (either in terms of range or in terms of personal problems getting in the way, or maybe both). In fact the best episode (arguably) for each character is one which jumped ahead in time (Before and After, Timeless) to a "fully developed" version of the character, even though in principle we could have seen some of this development in real time. (I know that we did, a bit -- Elliott I'm sure will talk about what Kes development actually did happen in season 3, especially.)
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Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

It's nice that Garrett was in a beauty magazine and all, but Lien herself was a beautiful woman in her own right. It sounds like the problems with Kess go beyond the aesthetic.
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William B
Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

I also dimly recall an interview where Wang said that they wouldn't let him direct an episode when he asked, in contrast to every other cast member (Trek was generally pretty generous with allowing cast members to direct). For whatever reason, they did seem to maybe have it in for him. Most of us here seem to think his performances weren't really great, so it might be that the producers didn't think he had the artistic chops or something, but I don't know if that fully explains it.

"Alas, they underserve him again. They didn’t HAVE to make him an indecisive, micro-managing, arrogant and unsympathetic middle manager. Those characteristics do not naturally emerge from earlier shows where he’s been shown to have more judgment and maturity. He could just as believably - and more rewardingly - have been allowed to demonstrate more ability here. The writers pranked him."

Yeah. I think part of the problem is that the writers wanted to make "a command episode" for Kim which is *only* about his command abilities, and so that necessarily means they have to have some kind of arc about his command abilities, and so the arc they settled on is "he is bad at it but learns," and then they went about it in a hamhanded way. They might have done better if they'd made Kim commanding part of an episode about something else (as they did in season five sometimes).
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