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Paul M.
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

I love how the usual suspects are getting tilted hard (harder than usual, that is) at the mere notion that a Discovery episode might merit Jammer's 4 stars.
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Paul M.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Great review, Jammer. Thoughtful, wordy, and just plain fun to read. It's strange. I've been a Trek fan for decades -- since early nineties -- but I can hardly separate my love of the franchise from my appreciation for this site anymore. Jammer's reviews has become a natural extension of Star Trek for me. Fifteen years and counting. Keep it up!
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Paul M.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

*
Jesus, so many typos and awkward sentences! Ugh. The first sentence of the last paragraph should read: "Going now on a complete tangent, does anyone agree that this show feels strangely barren where worldbuilding is concerned?"
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Paul M.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

@Peter G.

"TNG did the best job of creating a 'lived in' feel not because they focused on minor characters, but rather because they had recurring appearances at uneven intervals, with randoms sitting at the CONN much of the time (once Wesley left), and even occasionally at OPS until relieved by Data. It was actually the lack of having the same person at navigation every time that made it seem like it was a big ship with 1,000 crew members"

I see where you come from, but it always took me out of the moment when I saw a completely random never-to-be-seen again crew member at tactical, con, or ops on the Enterprise. Sure, the ship had a crew of hundreds (I believe the 1,014 figure included families), but they all had their assigned stations. It's not like they rotated all around the ship all the time. It was strange how Ent-D never seemed to have the same extra at a given station twice except for that one woman who beat the odds and was the eternal con fixture once Wesley left. I hope she survived Generations because that exploding console sure hit her hard! ;)

"DS9 obviously took secondary characters to the highest level, where some fans outright prefer the secondaries to the main cast. And yet for all that DS9 never to my recollection had recurring faces in OPS, or in sickbay, or even security."

I guess Eddington fits the bill? That guys turned out to be a pretty solid side character. Aside from him, hmm... can't remember anyone. But frankly, not that they were needed, because DS9's very premise was built around the idea of a rundown frontier town, where, aside from several officers, government officials, and lawmen, it's the colorful local characters that would be almost as important. Man, talking about DS9 always makes me eager to rewatch it. It has been, what, over 10 years. Damn, I need to find the time one of these days.

"I would say it's a new thing altogether for DISC to have actually regular, full-time cast members on the bridge and yet who have no lines or parts in the stories. That, I believe, is unprecedented."

That's exactly why I don't really mind it. They're basically extras with recognisable faces and speaking roles. Not really much more to say about them, but I find that this approach doesn't bother me as I accept their roles for what they are. That said, I think Discovery could stand to have a couple recurring characters in the old-fashioned sense.

Going now on a complete tangent, but does anyone feel this show feels strangely barren where worldbuilding is concealed? It's been over 20 episodes, but we haven't seen nor visited a single Federation colony, or much of any civilized planet while we're at it (Vulcan and Kaminar excepted), aside from the Enterprise Discovery hasn't met any other Starfleet vessels... It's like the ship exists in a vacuum, and nothing outside its hull has any permanence or importance. That's the one thing I'd like to see this show improve on in Season 3. Give us a sense of all those "strange new worlds and new civilisations"... They are bound to be out there somewhere, right?
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Paul M.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

I don't know, I find the lack of characterization of the supporting bridge crew... unimportant, I guess? We have been conditioned over the decades and the various Trek shows to expect all recurring bridge staff to be among the main cast and given prominent roles. But, honestly, why should we always expect that? As I see it, the main characters onboard the Discovery are Pike, Burnham, Saru, Stamets, and Tilly. Owosekun, Detmer, Airiam, and Rhys are in a way like those interchangeable Enterprise crew members manning various consoles around the bridge, just this time they're always the same recognisable people, giving the ship a more lived-in feel. These side characters aren't just faceless and voiceless mooks, but are a part of the everyday routine. It makes the bridge crew a little bit more "real" and familiar without having to spend time on what are clearly background characters. Would it be cool to develop them a bit more? Sure. Would I mind it? Nope. But at the end of the day, they are what they are.
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Paul M.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

@Rahul: "I agree with you about Jammer's talents being wasted on "The Orville" -- especially when there is/were "The Expanse" and "Babylon 5"."

What happened to Jammer's off-season reviewing project he kinda sorta announced last year? I really hoped it'd be The Expanse. As far as I am concerned, this site is the absolute Number One place to find some damn fine space sci-fi reviews, and the community that sprung up around here isn't too shabby too! Seeing as how The Expanse is the best space show since the glory days of BSG (and I don't say this lightly), who better to review this mighty fine piece of TV than ol' Jammer? And what's more, I really think he'd enjoy it. It has just the right mix of character drama, political intrigue, action, and weird alien science to be right up Jammer's alley.

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Paul M.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

@Mertov: "As for DSC vs Orville: never have I seen a more pointless debate. The two shows are trying to accomplish wildly different things in very different ways."

You know the best part? All these Trek gatekeepers lately inhabiting Jammer's boards would have diametrically opposed opinions on DIS and ORV, if Orville were the official Trek series (with some cosmetic changes, of course) and Discovery were the unofficial Trek copy/love letter/choose your description. You can bet your ass that the usual suspects around here would hate, HATE! Orville with a burning hatred of a thousand suns and glorify Discovery as the Second Coming, some "understandable imperfections" aside.

Cause, in the end, it's not about these two shows. Just how it wasn't about TNG when it premiered back in '86 or about DS9 when it first aired in '93, when they faced enormous "fan" backlash and hate. Just how it wasn't about reimagined BSG when the die-hard fans of the original series called it GINO - Galactica in Name Only. Imagine feeling nothing but contempt for one of the best space-based sci-fi shows of all time, a show that after more than 20 years breathed new life into those same "fans'" favorite fictional universe. Imagine how out of touch, how fundamentally creepy that mindset is.

So no, it's not about Discovery and its perceived or real flaws. It's about chest-thumping, proving to themselves and their surroundings how they're the True Fans, Gatekeepers, that cherish and safeguard a time and place when intentions were pure, stars bright, and they young. It's sad really. Living in constant need to recapture an ancient feeling all the while, in the corner of your mind, knowing you never really will. Hence the constant aggression, the compulsion to hate-watch and the desire to have these feelings validated by similarly afflicted.

My sincere suggestion: find a new hobby.
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Paul M.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

"When a ship radically changes a planet's culture that has stayed the same for 2000 years, they had better stay and deal with the situation. Otherwise, they seem incredibly stupid at best, and callous at worst."

James Kirk would like a word with you. :)
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Paul M.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 3:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

@Peter G: "I honestly don't know how any Trek series - even an excellent one - could possibly tell the story of a temporal cold war without resorting to Dr. Who type stories where we're going back and forth through time, seeing godlike advanced species dueling across time; really it's impossible."

12 Monkeys TV show that spanned 4 seasons was a surprisingly solid take on the temporal shenanigans. I'd recommend it to just about anyone who enjoys sci-fi.
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Paul M.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

"Non sequitur. Clearly my criticisms refer to the style and level of the writing, Paul."

"Clearly"? I dunno, when I think of CW, I imagine young chiseled people angsting all day long. To me, writing on Discovery is clearly incomparable with a CW show. I mean, clearly.
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Paul M.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Gil, I am having a really REALLY hard time recalling the last CW show in which the average age of the main cast members is 43. Just sayin'. You may want to rethink your approach here and go for the road less traveled.
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Paul M.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Oobat421: "@jammer Hate to be a grammar Nazi after reading so many succinct and insightful reviews, but in the paragraph before "Some Other Thoughts" you write "overcome millenniums of injustice." The plural of millennium is millennia."

Are you certain?
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Paul M.
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@William B: "I think DS9 s2 is better than TNG s2 also. But I think the quality difference isn't as big as Robert is suggesting, at least it's not for me. (...) TNG s2 is special, though, in that it's at a stage with wild shifts of quality from episode to episode and even from scene to scene, and it has a number of hidden great moments. I dig it, even if you have to sift through a lot."

Oh, definitely. While it's not comparable in quality to TNG of Seasons 3-6, the second season occupies that interesting and sometimes exhilarating middle ground between goofy outlandishness of Season 1 and confident characters as well as storytelling of prime TNG. There is a certain charm to the season, often found in unlikely places.

"Even many weak episodes have a real spark from the introduction Guinan and (IMO, though this is more controversial) Pulaski, as in The Child."

Do I sense a fellow Pulaski fan? Perhaps "fan" is too bold a word, but I always appreciated the character and the actress (I must admit, I was sad to see Beverly return). She was the only main character in TNG that was seriously flirting with un-PC behavior and had a degree of unapologetic straightforwardness in her dealings with certain crew members. It was a breath of fresh air among the crew that could at times be considered "stuffy", and I say that qualification in the most affectionate way possible as a great TNG fan.

"Even an ep as disastrous as Up the Long Ladder has some interesting ideas and the nice tea ceremony scene between Worf and Pulaski."

A beautiful scene that has stuck with me over the decades. Not only is it strange to see a TNG character willfully poison oneself (and with such enthusiasm!) in order to enjoy tea, but it also reveals a gentler, more existentially romantic side to Worf and the wider Klingon culture. Have you watched this scene with the original Ron Jones music restored? You can find it on Youtube.
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Paul M.
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@Rahul

Ent S3 was definitely a step in the right direction after abysmally bad first two seasons but... I never really warmed up to that show, even its third or fourth seasons. There was always something, I dunno, fundamentally shoddy about it. Guest actors, characterization across the board, camera work, direction and editing, set design, special effects... Enterprise was on the most basic production level a low-quality TV show, never mind actual storytelling. It looked uninteresting and dated, like a video game that spent countless years in development and was finally released in a hopelessly obsolete state, promising gameplay other studios mastered a long time ago (if this analogy makes any sense). To me, Enteprise was fundamentally fake, down to its very bones.
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Paul M.
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

"I recall the online acrimony dumb-downed Trek, aka ENT, sparked during its run because, well, I actually participated in it, but looking back, would the particular rift in fandom ENT spawned exceed, compare or be marginal to the divisiveness STD continues to foment?"

Fans are fans. It's probably worse these days, but I think that's because of Internet and social media. Fifteen years ago there was simply no technical way to spew as much hatred and moaning all day long -- and have an audience while doing it -- as there is today. Trek is in no way unique here; almost every single long-running franchise is faced with similar problems, besieged on all sides by so-called fans in dire need of heeding William Shatner's advice.

"J.J. Trek aside, is STD, in its attempt to chase the CW demo, the absolute nadir of Star Trek (we've seen thus far)? And what are the unique factors debilitating or undermining STD specifically and the Trek franchise generally as you see them?"

I don't think Discovery is the nadir of Trek. I am speaking only for myself (of course), but I found Voyager and Enterprise almost unwatchable all those years ago, and I thought the same about Insurrection and Nemesis. These were all sub-par products, milking the old cash cow for all the poor thing's worth. All of them were shoddily produced and showing their age by the time they hit the screen (well, maybe Voyager excepted), the cast and characters were getting increasingly one-note and caricaturised, and Trekkian themes were barely there anymore. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I find it kinda silly to blame nuTrek (meaning JJ Trek here) for turning the franchise into a slickly packaged action-adventure schlock when that's something Powers That Be have been trying ever since late nineties. AbramsTrek is everything late-era Berman&Braga wanted and failed to accomplish.

As for Discovery... I am not a huge fan; I'd like to see more thoughtfulness, more classic Trekian approach to symbolism and thematic exploration of various contemporary issues. That said, I find Discovery enjoyable to watch week-to-week, and I sincerely do think it's a step in the right direction (especially Season 2) from pure action adventure to something with a humane heart&soul at the center. Discovery in my humble opinion, for all its flaws, does a fairly good job of blending high-end action with solid character work and some interesting sci-fi concepts. It's far from perfect, but I find it much more enjoyable than much of late-era Berman mediocrity.
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Paul M.
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Haha Booming, you're a little harsh. TOS is a product of its time and it shows. But it was also ahead of its time in multiple ways, so there's that. But your point is taken.

I do want to comment on your remark regarding the characterization (or lack thereof) of TOS secondary characters. I do find it amusing how overblown the whole "just look at DIS supporting cast to see how bad that show is-syndrome" has become. True, these guys could stand a lot more screen time and plot/character relevance, but it's not like the other Trek shows were that much better, especially after this few episodes. As you said: Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu. I'll add Troi, Beverly, Chakotay, Kim, Sato, Mayweather, a probably a few more. Where I am concerned, characters are the least problematic part of Discovery. While we can (and do!) level all sorts of criticisms upon the show for its often lazy hypersonic plotting, the core cast and characters are almost universally very very good. I've said it before, but I'd take Pike, Burnham, Saru, Stamets, and Tilly over VOY and ENT cast any day... and, you know, it may be a blasphemy, but it's not that far behind TNG crew. I mean, Picard is Picard, and Data is Data, but that show had, what, 170 episodes to get to the point where they are. For mere 20 installments, I'd say Discovery is not too shabby at all in this department.
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Paul M.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

"If I remember correctly, Jammer reviewed TNG after the series had already aired, while DS9, VOY and DSC are being reviewed while the show airs.
Reviewing episodes of a show you have already seen and where you know how it will all play out, will probably influence your review and ratings somewhat."

True. TNG was a bit more hit'n'miss than your average TV show due to its often experimental and/or high concept nature. I'd say that weak episodes seem even weaker when viewed later due to the lack of novelty and surprise factor. At least that's how I see it. There were a lot of silly "out-there" episodes of Trek that were genuinely interesting to watch the first time around, but grew increasingly less enjoyable later on as that first impression wore off and all that I was left with was second-rate sci-fi pulp. And this is coming from someone who truly loves TNG. My guess is that Jammer's TNG reviews would score a little higher on average had they been based on his initial impressions. On the flip side, taking into account the general been-there-done-that feel of Voyager and Enterprise, perhaps Jammer's reviews of those two shows, had they been penned at a later date, would have been even more critical.
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Paul M.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

"D’ya suppose Airiam would rather be serving on the Orville where they wouldn’t treat him/her/it like some random stage prop in a shintzy Las Vegas magic show?"

Nah. I think the toilet humor would be beneath him/her/it.
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Paul M.
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Gil, while reading your posts is fun, as they are eloquent and enjoyable to read, they'd carry more weight had I not seen ones just like them countless times in almost every conversation regarding any given fictional universe in the last few decades. No matter the subject, whether TNG, DS9, BSG, Dr Who, GoT, Star Wars, Harry Potter, or any of the myriad other examples, it's always the same: The new guys are clueless hacks bent on destroying everything the original property stood for, opposed by stoic Revolutionary Guard composed of elite keepers of the flame tasked with the holy duty of illuminating the unwashed masses on the meaning of The Word. The Guard members are bestowed with a vital power: to issue Certificates of Faithfulness. Woe to those who fall short of their lofty standards!
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Paul M.
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

I like you Dave, but lay off with canon please. It's... embarrassing. And the domain of 7-year olds.
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Paul M.
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Dave, I can't believe Optimus Prime died so easily in 1986 movie after having been practically impervious throughout the animated series! Also, did you notice that Jon Snow doesn't look like Arya when the books canonically state they look very much alike! So disrespectful to canon!

...

And to my childhood! My precious childhood!
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Paul M.
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

@MadManMUC: "Put this in contrast to 'Chain of Command'"

But why don't we put this in contrast with, say, Code of Honor, Justice, Angel One, When the Bough Breaks, The Outrageous Okona, The Royale, Manhunt, Shades of Gray, Menage a Troi, Devil's Due, The Outcast, Cost of Living, Aquiel, Suspicions, Liaisons, Dark Page, Sub Rosa, Genesis, and countless other TNG episodes that could best be described as utter schlock?

Don't get me wrong, I love TNG, I grew up on it, but when will we finally stop pretending that Star Trek was something that it wasn't? You can't cherry-pick Trek's very best and pretend all those dozens of misses never happened, and contrast that with Discovery.

Personally, I am of the opinion that Discovery is the best Trek show since Deep Space Nine... which isn't saying much because I really dislike both Voyager and Enterprise. Up till now, DIS isn't on the level of DS9 or prime TNG (Seasons 3-6); it doesn't even try reaching those heights as it seems to willingly abandon the more symbolic and mythological aspects of Trek (Calypso excluded: that short was phenomenal).

But!... I find it quite enjoyable for what it is: a razzle-dazzle action-adventure show with great special effects, engaging-enough story, and some very solid performances as well as characters. Say what you will, but after 20 episodes, I'd take Pike, Burnham, Saru, Tilly, and Stamets over Archer, T'Pol, Hoshi or Mayweather any day. And when we get really down to it, where were Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, Tasha, Troi, or Crusher 20 episodes in (or even much more than 20 episodes in?)

And the less we talk about The Toilet Humor Show that is being heralded as the Second Coming of Jesus Trek Christ, the better...
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Paul M.
Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

"Truthfully Jammer I don't know why you continue to write reviews for this show. You clearly don't like it. I get it that the show drives page views for your site beyond what discovery is bringing in these days. But are you just that defensive of discovery that you must force yourself to watch and give negative reviews to a tangentially related TV show just out of defensiveness?"

:Chuckle:

There is one guy here who is rather defensive when it comes to a certain TV show... and it ain't Jammer. :)
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Paul M.
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, what was your first Trek?
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Paul M.
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

"But I *do* mind if these people give those diverse characters a crappy role that doesn't do them justice. Does the character of Michael Burnham really does the black population any favors? In season 1, at least, she was one step away from being a villain. Do we really need more black villains on TV?"

When I watch Burnham, I see a character who is rather one-note and an actress who doesn't exactly blow me away with her acting chops. None of which has anything to do with her being black. The color of Sonequa's skin has absolutely nothing to do with the depiction of Burnham and her on-screen experiences aren't grounded in racial themes nor does the show in any way explore them in relation to her character.

"The situation with Tilly is even worse, because the reason she is so annoying is that she is written as a stereotype. The general population already "knows" that people with Asperger's are socially stupid and annoying as ****. Does the character of Tilly alleviates this stigma in any way?"

My 15-year-old nephew has Asperger's and can be annoying as hell. And sweet as hell. He never knew his father because the guy ran for the exit the minute he heard about the pregnancy. My nephew sees me as a kind of father figure; I think I can in some small way be credited with the way he turned out. All this is my way of saying that people with Asperger's can be considered "socially stupid and annoying as hell" because, well, they kinda are. But there is also much more to them, as to any other human being, if one is willing to look beneath the surface. Saying that Tilly's character is a stereotype is in itself a stereotypical argument that reduces a rather vibrant character, and a valuable addition to the Discovery crew, to "that chick with Asperger's".

"Doing "representation" like this is pointless and even harmful."

Yeah well, I think that viewing every racial, ethnic, sexual, and what-have-you minority character as "representation" first and foremost is where today's identity politics shenanigans and its mirror-opposites on the right have gone off the rails. Can these characters be viewed as people for once and not fictional paragons of their "identities"? Identities, which are by the way regularly reduced to "black", "gay", "disabled", "woman", "white man", or what have you, by the very people who often claim to be the foremost fighters for these causes. In a way, we have come full circle: both the worst homophobe and the biggest self-styled SJW see a gay person as one thing and one thing only, just from a different perspective -- a gay person. It's very tiring.
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