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Paul M.
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

Rahul, I'm not sure where this comes from. Have I been anything but civil in my discussion? Why do you feel personally offended by my words? Moreover, where in any of my posts did you see "left-wing fanaticism"? I have nothing against capitalism as practiced in Europe and elsewhere -- social democratic variety. I have severe misgivings about neoliberal capitalism that strips people of healthcare and gives undue power to unelected corporate elites. How that position devolved to your point about fanatics and tens of millions of dead, I have no clue. I am sure Fox News soundbites about Venezuela have something to do with it, but that is a pretty tired example. I mean, why not talk about Sweden or Netherlands? Or any number of other countries with strong social democratic foundations?

By the way, 45,000 people die every year (back in 2009) in the US because they don't have access to healthcare. I don't know, that sounds pretty effed up to me, but mileage may vary, I guess.
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Paul M.
Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

"How many deaths are directly attributable to neoliberal capitalism?"

If I remember correctly, around 45,000 in the US every year.
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Paul M.
Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 10:11am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

"I know what you're saying -- that the predominant force on the left is this democratic socialism, and traditional socialism doesn't have a "serious force" behind it. And I'd agree with that - thankfully. But what I don't know is the risk of democratic socialism moving further to the left and turning into full-blown socialism and, even worse, communism. Maybe that risk is small in today's world."

Well, the more contemporary governments force unbridled monstrosity that is neoliberal capitalism down the vanishing middle class throat, the bigger the chance some extreme quasi-communist hydra rears its ugly head in response.
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Paul M.
Sun, Dec 23, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Rahul: "And many Poles/Czechs who lived through the communism imposed upon them by the Soviets decry it and warn Americans not to embrace socialism -- for they've lived through the destruction it wrought."

Not my intention to let this devolve into a political argument, but there is some serious mixing of terminology here. For one, I don't think think there is any serious force in American politics advocating socialism in its traditional sense, but something more akin to social democracy. Even Bernie is guilty of this as he calls his policies "democratic socialism" when they are in fact what should be properly called social democratic concepts. Second, hardly anyone of consequence in Europe is warning Americans not to embrace socialism (again, properly called social democracy) when practically every single country in Europe *IS* a social democracy with single-payer healthcare, robust social security net, stronger government regulation of markets etc.
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Paul M.
Tue, Nov 27, 2018, 12:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

@Yanks: "The SJW crap was flung by the writers. Not in the carrying out of Discovery. well, not until the last episode.
Good article here if you care to read it.
www.quora.com/Do-the-SJW-rumours-about-Star-Trek-Discovery-hold-any-weight"

I had an intense urge to stop reading after coming upon this little gem: "You think it is a coincidence that there is not a single beautiful woman on board? " I don't know about the writer but Burnham, Georgiou, Tilly, Landry and Owosekun are rather pretty women. I mean, they are not supermodel levels of pretty, but faaaaar from what one would call ugly. So, if there aren't supermodels on the ship, it's SJWs ruining stuff left, right, and center? Believe me, these women -- and women (or men) on American TV in general -- are much prettier / handsome / hot&sexy than anything traditionally found on European series or movies.
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Paul M.
Mon, Nov 12, 2018, 1:33am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

I'll reiterate: I am having a bit of trouble understanding the teeth-gnashing Discovery elicits when compared to late-era Berman Trek. It's one thing to dislike Abrams/CBS Trek -- truth be told, I am not sold on it; just go read some of my comments on those threads -- it's quite another to pretend Trek before that was the epitome of Trekness.

"Discovery betrayed Trek", "Trek in name only", "STD killed Star Trek"... Has anyone actually watched Voyager, Enteprise, Insurrection and Nemesis? One can hardly do worse than those sorry excuses for Trek.
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Paul M.
Sun, Oct 28, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi: "No, because nothing that was produced after 2005 should be called "Star Trek" in the first place. It doesn't look like Trek. It doesn't feel like Trek. It doesn't obey the "laws of nature" that were established for Trek. It doesn't have the aliens and technology that's normally associated with Trek. It isn't consistent with the established in-universe history of Trek. So why would anyone call this stuff "Star Trek"?"

These kinds of "gatekeeper" arguments never resonated with me. "Looks like Trek, feels like Trek..." What does it mean, really? TNG (especially Season 3+) looks and feels nothing like TOS. Hell, TOS movies -- except for ST5, I guess -- feel very little like the TOS series. DS9, then, feels very differently from both earlier incarnations of Trek. I'll admit that all Second Era Trek shows (TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT) look rather similar, but I'm not sure that's much of a compliment, given how stagnant Trek became in its visual style, soundtrack and storytelling tropes.

Speaking of Discovery, I'm pretty much with Jammer: the show hasn't blown me away, but it's also fun and far from being the worst Trek has had to offer. I mean, for the love of all the gods, I shudder to think of so many episodes of TOS Season 3, various "brilliant" Voyager installments and dreadful dreariness of ENT in general. Berman-era Trek in its later years evolved into something so unexciting and frankly boring that I'm having trouble understanding all this hate for DIS. News at eleven, Trek hasn't been very good in a long long time, but DIS at least looks and feels like it isn't a paraplegic in a wheelchair trying to be hip.
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Paul M.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

It's interesting how everyone approaches these things from their own perspective and cultural baggage in mind. For whatever reasons I won't speculate on, Americans seem obsessed with identity politics, principally focusing on its various non-national expressions - race, gender, etc. So people talk about the percentages of non-whites or females or what have you and in what way they are presented on screen. Just an observation, not a condemnation... because I find myself critically examining Trek (and not just DIS) from a somewhat similar perspective, but one influenced primarily by me not being American.

In my view, it's kinda sad for a franchise that depicts a utopian future of united humankind to be so exclusively peopled by English-speaking-and-sounding might-as-well-be Americans. In Discovery, for instance, except for (presumably) Captain Georgiou, we have Michael Burnham, Gabriel Lorca (as per producers intentionally "modeled" after US Southerners), commander Landry, Ash Tyler, Tilly, Paul Stamets, dr. Hugh Culber, Admirals Cornwell and Brett Anderson... notice the pattern here?

I know DIS is an American TV show and is therefore primarily concerned with speaking to American audiences, but this "national sameness" is still.. well, I won't say it's actively bothering me, but I do feel it's a missed opportunity for some real worldbuilding.
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Paul M.
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Tim: "I didn't care for the Defiant's concept or design, it felt like a bit of "me too!" in response to the White Star on Babylon 5"

The Defiant appeared a full year *before* the White Star. It can hardly be a case of "me too!"
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Paul M.
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

If I remember correctly, wasn't this meant to be the continuation of the alien threat from "Conspiracy"? Someone then supposedly decided that the horror angle wasn't what Trek was about, so they introduced the Borg.
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Paul M.
Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

@BZ: "I have to disagree about the score. The fact I'm even noticing that it's there is the first indicator that there is a problem."

Really? For there not to be a problem, one must not notice the score? That sounds like something Rick Berman with his sonic wallpaper approach would say.
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Paul M.
Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 12:13am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Well, she got her Harry Mudd wish!
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Paul M.
Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Dom: "How many people can really remember what happened in and individual episode of Game of Thrones, or even the more serialized parts of BSG or DS9? By contrast, I bet everyone here can remember pretty clearly what happened in TNG's "Darmok" or "I, Borg.""

Eh, I can't speak about other people, but I can remember perfectly well what happened in individual memorable episodes of those series. To mention the most obvious examples, "Rains of Castamere", "Hardhome", and "Winds of Winter" are among the best GoT episodes and their "bestness" comes from being the culmination of so many episodes of earlier plot development and character growth. BSG's New Caprica arc -- "Lay Down Your Burderns through Collaborators -- is arguably the pinnacle of BSG that includes some of the series' very best individual episodes.
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Paul M.
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 11:04am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I don't know KT, I personally enjoyed the first season of Battlestar 5. My favorite episode was the one where Baltar and G'Kar try to find out how Shadows managed to disable Colonial defenses. I also liked it when, at the start of Season 2, Captain Sheridama arrived to take command of Babylactica. Great stuff!
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Paul M.
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Trent: "Jammer massively underrates TOS' first season. If he rewatches the remastered versions today, he'd probably throw a couple more four stars here and there. IMO, Balance of Terror, Miri, Conscience of the King, The Galileo Seven, Court Martial, The Devil in the Dark, Errand of Mercy and the City on the Edge of Forever are all 4 star episodes. Arena, A Taste of Armageddon, The Return of the Archons and five or six others come close as well. There's a reason Trek became a giant franchise, and it's because TOS' first season was exceptional."

TOS Season 1 really is something special. If you can get past that silly 60s overacting (actually, TOS acting was more in line with 30s-50s cinema) and the dated approach to storytelling, it was very thought-provoking, bold, and just plain fun to watch. Honestly, as much as I love 21st century plot- and character-oriented TV paradigm, which has also been increasingly present in Trek (DS9, ENT, especially Discovery), with each passing day I miss the old-school idea- and symbolism-driven Trek that is epitomized by TOS and TNG. Don't get me wrong, I love DS9 for its departure from Trek norms, but I can't help but feel that pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.
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Paul M.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Fun Fact Time!

Out of 29 seasons of Trek, there have been only three without a single four-star-episode as reviewed by Jammer: VOY1, ENT4, and DIS1.

What grand and esoteric piece of wisdom can be gleaned from this? What truth lies hidden beneath the murky waters of subjective opinion, waiting to be ushered into the light? Time will only tell... or will it?
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Paul M.
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

@Tim: "This bit I agree with 100%. It makes me wonder why they had to set the series in this time period? Why not set it a hundred years after the adventures of Picard and his contemporaries? Then you can have your spore drive, the war, and all of this, without current fans scratching their heads trying to reconcile this all with what came before."

It probably has to do with Abramsverse. As we well know, for some time Trek hasn't been under one roof: CBS owns TV rights, while Paramount owns movie rights. My guess is that CBS doesn't want to deal with divergent TV/movie canons and in the process they intend to silently merge the two without ever saying so, probably banking on the fact that new audiences are going to be more familiar with 2009+ movies. And the only way to do that is to place the show in an era before the split occurred. That's also the reason behind much of the visual feel and design of Discovery which definitely owes much more to Abramsverse than to classic Trek.
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Paul M.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

It's not *that* dark and creepy! I mean, it is, but there's a real sense of camaraderie, adventure, and wonder, as well as there being a lived-in, almost cozy quality to the worldbuilding that makes up for it. For example, BSG was extremely dark right out of the gate, but at the same time it... wasn't...? Watching Adama and Tigh eat noodles in the very first episode after the pilot or Baltar cavort around or simply watching Lee and Roslin form a quiet bond over a shared tragic experience... The Expanse has that similar comforting feel of flawed yet relatable and at their core decent people doing what they can to make the world a better place one small step at a time.

This will sound like a crazy example, but are Stranger Things dark and creepy? In a way, yes, but that show is also a love letter to the 80s pop-culture, that special brand of kid movies that were popular then (remember Goonies?), King, D&D, adventure of all kinds but, most of all, it's a celebration of innocence, childhood, and friendship. That's what resonated the most with the audiences and the show a hit, not creepy mirror universes, Cthulhoid monsters, paranormal powers and the like.

Now obviously, Expanse is a much more mature, political, and -- yes -- dark series. But the point is, that's not the point (if you'll pardon the pun). It has its heart in the right place with a compelling ensemble of fundamentally decent characters and a good old-fashioned true sci-fi mystery at the core.
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Paul M.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Two seasons with S3 on the way; 23 episodes aired thus far. Give it a try, see how you like it. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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Paul M.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 2:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

"Jammer, have you considered reviewing the series The Expanse? IMO, it is the best sci-fi show on TV right now by a mile. Also, if you haven't seen it, you should watch!"

Seconded. I know Jammer has his plate full with job, family, not to mention DIS and ORV, but he'd really really want to watch (and review! heh) The Expanse. It's without a doubt the best space-based SF show since BSG: good characters, great sci-fi plot, outstanding production values, wonderful worldbuilding and a lived-in immersive sense of place. An almost perfect blend of serious and well-executed factional politics, character drama and a series-long creepy real-deal sci-fi mystery (and, it must be noted, Avasarala's dresses are a reason unto itself to watch the show. That old lady must be the best-dressed SF character in the entire space-time continuum. Just sayin'.) The series is a feast for the senses... while it lasts, that is, because with how much it allegedly costs and how low the viewing numbers are, I fear it might not get a fourth season. Hope springs eternal though!

Seriously Jammer, you should give The Expanse a go, maybe in the DIS/ORV off-season. I think it'd be right up you alley. At least watch it! And frankly, the site that has all these ST, SW, BSG and even Andromeda reviews deserves to be made even better with some Expanse goodness! It's a perfect fit.
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Paul M.
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

@Skupper: "Because I dislike how certain characters are introduced or portrayed doesn't make me intolerant. In fact I believe it's quite the opposite. The fact that you don't care, is more indicitive of your own ignorance, rather than mine. I actually care how people of different backgrounds are treated in the show. All that seems to matter to you is that they exist. I believe that many of these characters were created to fill quotas, and nothing more. If you are willing to accept characters like that, so be it. I want something more of them.********** I want them to have a reason to exist on the show, and to be integral parts of it. Having a gay person or an autistic person on a show just to make it look good is ridiculous.*************

Exactly as I said in my previous post. Anyone who "deviates from the norm" has to have a special justification to exist. Straight white guys and non-threatening women, sure. Occasional person of color to make us feel good? Bring it on. Anything other than that though? You want a gay couple? An autistic person? An uncomfortable percentage of dusky cast members? Whoa there! I need some reasons and I need them now! Why are all these people cluttering my TV screen? Quotas! Quotas everywhere!

Seriously now, there is something unsettling to me when confronted with this school of thought. Why the hell can't Stamets be just an engineer who happens to be a gay who loves to brush his teeth together with his nice doctor partner? What, does his gayism (that's the word) need a special gay-oriented storyline to justify his existence? I really can't wrap my head around this thing.

This doesn't man that there isn't real "pandering to diversity" -- tokenism -- in cases where unimportant or side characters are black/gay/pink/whatever in order to simulate a sense of superficial inclusiveness or where the entire purpose of those characters are to be black/gay/pink/whatever and their whole storyline revolves around their affiliation to a particular group. But frankly, Discovery for all its problems, hardly belongs to that kind of TV show.
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Paul M.
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

@Ubik: "If you think the writers didn't deliberately decide, in advance, that Kirk was going to be a straight white male, before deciding anything else about him, then you're living in a fantasy land."

Exactly. I wonder where all these "I'm all for diversity, but..." people come from lately. I'm all for people of color, but look how they're shoving people of color down our throats. I'm all for strong independent women, but look how they're showing strong independent women down our throats. I'm all for gays, but look how they 're shoving gays down our throats. I'm all for disabled people, but look how they're shoving disabled (or autistic) people down our throats.

News flash guys: maybe you're not as tolerant as you think. It's easy to be "above these issues" when you're straight white male (which I am by the way). So many people don't even register that the vast majority of important, plot-relevant, "heroic" characters are straight white males (aka people like me, hurray!). We take it for granted without even thinking. It's so ingrained in our psyche that any deviation from the norm automatically sends warning signals. "Huh, gays holding hands. Must be diversity quota!" And maybe it sometimes is, but why is it no one ever questions when a straight couple is holding hands. How come they can do it without comment in literally every TV show every created in the history of universe, but the moment a gay couple appears, it's "diversity quota"? Ditto for the above comments on Tilly: "Gee, they only included her cause autism, duh! How tolerant of us."

In other words, straight white guys can appear wherever and whenever, no questions asked. But we apparently need special approval, adequate plot relevance and sufficient character impact to dare to even contemplate having anyone else around.

Or in the words of my grandmother: "I don't hate gays, they can do all they want behind closed doors. I just don't want to see them." Ain't that peachy?
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Paul M.
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 10:44am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

@mal: "It is implied in “Magic" that if Starfleet didn’t have a rule threatening a courts martial of a captain if such an animal was not rescued, the Discovery would not have rescued this fish. That’s incredible. Even in our own day and age, most decent people don't need a sledgehammer-like threat of a courts martial to do the right thing. It says something that this Starfleet has to have such a draconian law on the books to enforce basic decency. And it says something far worse that the law had to be explicitly invoked for the Discovery to do the right thing here. How far we’ve fallen - and I’m not even saying from the moral high of Picard - but this is a fall even from the moral low of Archer."

This right here is the perfect example of arguing in extreme bad faith (even with outright fabrications) that haters (yes, haters) of Discovery engage in every day on this site. Anyone who watched this episode with a modicum of good faith couldn't and wouldn't have interpreted it the way the above poster did.

In fact the scene goes this way: Saru informs the captain that gormaganders life readings are "highly unstable". Michael and Taylor, warned by Stamets about the time loop, immediately try to dissuade Lorca from helping the "space whale" at which point Saru interjects and advises the captain on the provisions of the Endangered Species Act and the possibility of court martial if the ship doesn't follow regulations. This entire time Lorca doesn't utter a single word and in fact has no opportunity to do so as this entire conversation between his officers takes a couple of seconds. To construe this as Lorca backing off from screwing over an endangered species only when threatened with court martial is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order. But than again, I've come to expect that from certain posters.
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Paul M.
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 11:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

I myself am not quite sure of this show yet. Storytelling and plot have to improve, especially when compared to mindblowing sci-fi shows like The Expanse. That said, it's very difficult to have a productive argument with people whose primary motive for watching Discovery, when all is said and done, is to relive their youth. Trek as comfort food... I guess I can see it, but it's hardly a compelling starting position.
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Paul M.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 3:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

"This isnt Star Trek at all. It is just some random-generic Sci-Fi-series which happens to have Star Trek in name."

Google defines generic as "characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific". Regardless of whether we consider DIS good, bad, or in between, I'd like to know to what Sci-Fi "genericness" in your mind this series compares to. For example, we could say that various CSI spin-offs are generic in that they bear striking similarities to numerous other TV shows. We could say the same about a lot of court dramas or police dramas or hospital dramas.

I am having a tough time thinking of TV shows that look and feel like Discovery so I am not entirely sure how one call it "generic", whataver its failings may be.
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