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Nothing but the Tears
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Andy's Friend

As someone who's not among "younger people" these days, I find your blanket judgement of a whole generation to be pretty unfair and, quite frankly, inaccurate. They have to navigate a complex information and media landscape that is far beyond anything human society has ever had. They've got tons of tools to be creative, many of them online, and they're being used, massively. Growing up is hard, no matter the decade or era. But I imagine it's even more difficult to figure yourself out in times like these, where your every move and action is under the microscope via social media.

And, yes, while some shows spell things out for you, TV, in particular, is a lot more complex and demanding than it used to be back in the 80's or 70's, for that matter. Most shows back then had one story per episode. That's really all you needed to keep track of. And while there are shows today just stretching things out, there are also those that are ambitious, complex and challenging.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that many young people today are much more aware of diversity and equality. These are things that have always been important to me but I'm still shocked looking back at how tone deaf I was by comparison, just like many of my peers.

The final thing I wanted to add is that I don't think it matters how many stories you tell. They have to be worth telling, well told, and the amount of time devoted to them needs to be appropriate. Plus, no matter how good the story, things still hinge on the characters.
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Nothing but the Tears
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Wow, over 600 comments. That’s more than the reviews for DS9’s and VOY’s finales combined.

So, I just want to dip my toe into a couple of things. I’ve tried to read all comments but it’s WAY to expansive to provide proper responses to everyone.

I think AI and AC (which I hadn’t hear before) are fascinating concepts. I know not nearly enough about either to add anything meaningful to that debate so I’ll limit it to the scope of the show.

The question then simply becomes, does what we see within this fictional universe feel consistent with what came before and what the show portrayed? Do the outcomes feel like natural outcomes of the story being told? Can I easily suspend my disbelief or do I have to work for it?

So, as an individual viewer, my feelings here are:

- That Data would want to die seems in character to me, especially given how long he’s spent in limbo.

- That Picard would turn him off so quickly, that nobody else would question it, that I don’t buy.

- Again, given what we’ve seen on TNG as well as how little we actually know about the synths and the golem here, it feels to me as though it should be possible to transfer Data to the golem. Bear in mind, I say this not from a scientific point of view, just what feels right to me, in universe.

- Overall, I feel like the foundation for Data’s existence in limbo as well as the reasoning that he basically has to die don’t flow naturally from the story. As others have said, I think it could have been set up from the start if Picard had been aware of Data’s state from the start. It could have been about why Data wanted to go, possibly arguing back and forth, so, in the end, it’s clear to Picard that can’t go on.

As far as great Sci-Fi shows out there are concerned:

- The Expanse is probably my favorite show out there right now. Love the characters, love the look and feel, love the music, love the world building, love how willing they are to shake up the show every season as they follow the books.

- The Man in the High Castle I enjoyed immensely. I thought the world had a really strong PKD feel to it. The casting was great throughout, and I think the nailed the different look and feel for the East Coast vs. West Coast and Neutral zone. Loved the music, too. I think it went too much into Indiana Jones territory in its portrayal of the bad guys but I still thought it was worthwhile.

- I’ve been watching The Orville S1 and I’m enjoying it. It’s not great but entertaining. The feeling I constantly get is that I wish it knew what it wanted to be. It seems to meander rather than fully embracing the idea of an homage to TNG or, instead, being Galaxy Quest The TV Show.

- RDM’s BSG remains one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows of all time. The first episode I saw was “33”, and I fell in love with it the moment I saw that episode. I never looked back.

- DS9 remains my favorite Trek show, followed by TNG. I immensely enjoy re-watching both of them to this day, for different reasons. I love DS9’s cast and massive extended cast. I thought they had some fantastic stories, but long and short form. Not a perfect show but close to my heart. TNG is just great fun to watch. I think my favorite type of TNG story is the one where they’re solving some kind of mystery, just slowly peeling back the layers. I also really like the feeling of ‘being’ aboard the Enterprise. Also, Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner. I like the others, too, but these two always come out on top for me.

- Babylon 5 I recently re-watched and really enjoyed it. The best stuff is definitely somewhere between mid season 2 and mid season 4, roughly speaking. And when it’s strong, it’s really strong. Interesting, too, that it doesn’t matter that the SFX and the production in general can be lacking. I find even S1 is worthwhile, especially knowing what’s to come. The last episodes in S5 are also pretty good, after a weak first half. I could do without the movies, tbh. Somehow none of them clicked for me.

Ranking first Trek seasons, hmm, tough one. Let me phrase it this way, this is how high each first season would be on my ‘would like to to re-watch’ list:
1. DS9
2. TNG
3. TOS
4. VOY
5. ENT
6. PIC
7. DIS

Also, it occurs to me that the order would be a bit different if I just wanted to re-watch specific episodes (e.g. I’m still sort of curious to go back and watch Picard’s pilot but I’m not interested in seeing the whole season again). One thing to note here is that I recently re-watched TNG S1 but haven’t seen TOS S1 in ages so that might be impacting this order. With that in mind:
1. DS9
2. TOS
3. TNG
4. PIC
5. VOY
6. ENT
7. DIS

Oh, also wanted to mention that I wonder what an RDM Picard show would have been like. I'd have loved to see what he would have done with it. Has he ever commented on the show? I assume not. Just curious.
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Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I’m really disappointed. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll be back for S2.

As others have also said, I thought the scenes with Data were the best part. They also harkened back to the pilot which remains my favorite episode.

Pretty much everything else just felt like a plot machine grinding its gears. As has been the case before, the characters just feel like plot devices to me. There were also so many different parts that just made me cringe. The two things combined meant I ended up feeling very little overall.

I don’t hate the show or the people making it. I just really don’t understand why they chose to tell this particular story in this way. I honestly don’t. It’s baffling to me. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

I’m curious to see where Jammer lands on this one and the show as a whole.
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Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

The show has managed to lose me again, I’m afraid. Short story, after seeing this, I’m not excited or hopeful for next week.

Longer story, to me, the episode just really feels unfocused, as do conversations. It seems disjointed, with a constant stop-and-go dynamic to it. Major events such as finding the community or an entire Borg cube setting down on a planet seem almost like insignificant blips. I tend to agree with others who’ve pointed to this episode’s direction as part of the issue.

I do like the idea of an ancient race of A.I.s and/or synths as well as a message never meant for organics. A lot of interesting stuff could come out of this. I’m just not hopeful that it will.

What bothers me about this episode and the show in general is that it’s often focusing on sth that isn’t half as interesting as what’s right there, basically sitting next to it.

Seven’s a great example. She’s almost a cipher in all of this, just jumping into the action here and there but never really involved. Then there’s Picard being called Locutus. So why aren’t we getting far more scenes between the two of them considering where they gained humanity? Or talking about where the Borg fit in with an organics vs synths conflict?

Or consider a character like Soong. Who is he beyond his father? Why does he even care about synths himself? It would be interesting to find out more but I doubt we ever will, given how things have gone for supporting characters aka the new red shirts.

At the end of the day, I just didn’t find this episode very good or enjoyable. We’ll see what happens next week. Hope springs eternal.
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Nothing but the Tears
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

First of all, I just wanted to say that the reviews and the comments here have been keeping me going for the past few weeks. I enjoy Jammer's reviews as much as ever, and I've seen some great conversations here. I tend to read most of the comments but only post from time to time.

Secondly, as for the site itself, I'm happy if it stays the same, but I'd also be happy if there were some upgrades. As long as the reviews stick around, I'm a happy camper.

Third, I wanted to touch on something that's been mentioned here a couple of times. That's the score for STP. A few quick items here:

- I've seen many comments saying the music is obtrusive or overpowering. I haven't had that issue. I wonder if it's the setup or if there's a differences between CBS All Access and Amazon Prime (where I'm watching it). Just a thought.

- I LOVE movie and TV scores. Going to the theater with friends, I'm usually the one commenting on the music on the way out whereas everyone else just shrugs when I mention it. In this case, however, most of the music outside the title theme didn't really register that much. The only exception, I think, was the weird ice skating scene on the Cube. I really liked the music even though I could have done without the scene itself.

- I've been listening to the S1 score on Spotify these past few days and I really like it. I'm surprised it didn't stand out to me while I was watching. I usually have music on while I'm working, and this really does the trick.

Other than that, I'm really looking forward to the review for this episode as well as watching the next one on Friday.
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Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

I'm happy to say I enjoyed this episode. Probably not as much as the previous two. That being said, I did like how some of the puzzle pieces came together to paint a more complete picture of what's going on.

I also enjoyed almost everything on the ship whereas it's been a mixed bag for me at times. As others have said, I don't think the stuff on the Borg cube is nearly as strong as it could be. It's almost like the writes (correctly) thought it sounded great on paper but it didn't translate to the finished product.

The writing on this show confuses me in that I've often found it really weak. But, from time to time, there's actually some great stuff here. For example, Troi's writing as some of the best I've seen for her, ever. With much more understanding of how important a character like her would be for a starship crew than TNG seemed to grasp.

Was it perfect? Far from it. Contrivances? Yep. I enjoyed it anyway. And that's one thing I've found. If a show or movie doesn't work for you on a basic, maybe emotional level, any misstep just sticks out like a sore thumb. If you enjoy it, you're a lot more likely to go with the flow and not dwell on or even perceive some of the gaps.

There are two other items I wanted to touch on briefly. One, I completely agree that the villains are a major weak point. And looking at the flashback that opens this episode, I really don't understand why. If this had been the first time we'd ever seen Oh and Narissa, I couldn't have imagined they'd become as shallow and clichéd as they turned out to be. Take away the mustache twirling, take away the sexed up, sadistic persona imposed on Narissa, and you've got two 'villains' with solid motiviations. I just don't get it why they opted for what's on screen.

And, two, I agree with others who have said the show suffers from the way it's structured. I think starting at the time of the planned evacuation and moving forward from there would have been much more effective. They could have still held back details such as the ancient civilization to keep a sense of mystery. Likewise, Dahj and Soji could still have been cyphers at the start. But I think the overall flow and build-up would have been more effective.

Anyway, I'm curious to see how the last two episodes play out. So looking forward to the next two weeks.
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Nothing but the Tears
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

I really enjoyed this one. It was such a joy seeing Riker and Troi again, and I thought Kestra was awesome. I loved the chemistry between Picard, Riker and Troi. It seemed pretty effortless.

Also, as others have said, this was probably the best use of Troi I’ve ever seen. I wish we’d seen a lot more of this on TNG. It goes to show the character had so much more to offer than the writers gave her.

I actually enjoyed seeing Elnor fighting this time. Absolutely justified and pretty satisfying considering what the Romulans had just done. Just wish he’d showed up earlier, taken out Rizzo and saved Hugh. Alas ...

Jurati, I like the choice she makes here. As others have said, I don’t read it as attempted suicide but deactivating the tracker at all costs. I just wish either she’d confessed or the other two had figured out what she’d done to Maddox. Makes nobody look much good.

The Mind Meld, hmm, I don’t really buy that it would make Jurati decide to kill Maddox. What was shown didn’t convince me that she’d respond like that. Beyond that, I find it hard to tell if there’s some form of mind control going on as well which IMHO would be a better explanation. However, that’s not shown or stated.

Quick note on the glasses. I can’t say they bother me too much. I just wish they’d picked a pair that actually looked cool.

I’d say I found this episode about on par with last week but for other reasons. So I’m a fairly happy camper and looking forward to what’s next.

One quick observation. At this time, I don’t feel like I’ll want to re-watch the show beyond maybe the pilot. Depending on things wrap up, that may change. But as it stands, I’m happy to have seen each episode (except for “Stardust City Rag” which I wish I hadn’t seen) just the one time.
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Nothing but the Tears
Mon, Mar 2, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

To echo what others have said, congratulations, Jammer! I’ve been reading your reviews since the days of DS9 and I’m delighted you’re writing new ones to this day. Re-reading some of the old ones is still part of re-watching Trek for me. :-)

With regards to the episode, I’m MUCH happier with this one than the previous one. It actually felt like there was a point to it all, and I loved how Picard’s own history and his experience with the Borg figured into it. I also loved the scenes with Hugh.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like but you can tell an episode is doing something right if they don’t weigh too heavily on one’s enjoyment of said episode.

That being said, I want to call out one scene that took me out of the moment. I’m actually surprised it’s hardly been mentioned. Raffi sacrifices a close friendship, and Picard claps, smiles at her and walks away?

That just felt wrong and really heartless to me. I felt like he should have told her he was sorry for the loss of her friendship, acknowledging she’d sacrificed it for him. I also felt like he should have been the one to escort her to her bedroom and console her.

Yes, Picard could be quite stern or emotionally distant or very goal-oriented at times. But I always saw him as someone possessing a great deal of empathy and kindness. That just seemed to be completely absent here.
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Nothing but the Tears
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Long-time visitor of the site, first comment. Also, I love that Jammer's still reviewing to this day.

I loved the pilot. I thought episodes 2-4 were okay. I though this last one was terrible.

So much has already been said so I’m just leaving some of my thoughts about this episode as well as the show so far.

In my view, the show’s biggest issue by far is its writing. It manages to produce individual moments or exchanges that are great (e.g. Seven and Picard talking about how much of their humanity remains) but often feels meandering or confused to me (which carries over to dialog at times). I love serialized shows as well as shorter seasons but the creators really have to nail it. There’s also the issue of introducing interesting characters such as Dahj or Maddox but never allowing them to grow beyond being plot devices.

The torture scene, in my opinion, was unnecessary. Seven finding Icheb dead or dying, with clear signs of his mistreatment, as well as her reaction, is enough for me to understand how it impacts her and becomes a motivation for her. It really doesn’t take more than that. Based on the reactions of friends and family, I’m also concerned it could serve to drive away viewers, especially if they’ve been on the fence.

To wrap things up, I’m planning to watch the rest of the season. I’m not happy about where we are and I’m not overly optimistic but I still think there’s potential. Plus, if nothing else, I just love watching Patrick Stewart (even though I wasn’t impressed by him here, unfortunately).
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