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Paul M.
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 10:49am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Let's hope Michelle makes a better showrunner. She doesn't exactly have much experience, but at least she *is* primarily a writer. Kurtzman, on the other hand, has only a couple writing credits in this century and around one million producer credits. At this very moment the guy is producing 5 movies and several TV shows. How anyone can accomplish that in addition to writing, editing, showrunning, and directing is beyond me.
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Paul M.
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 10:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I thought this season was coming along rather nicely, with its own unique voice and approach to storytelling, up until Red Angel stuff hit us full force, sometime around when Momma Burnham showed up. Since then, these last, say, 4-5 episodes were going down the drain, and quickly. The show abandoned the episodic structure of the earlier two thirds of the season and dived headlong into the narrative and character black hole that is the Control/Red Angel plot. Pathos increased exponentially, tears and fake earnestness flowed like blood at the Red Wedding, outrageous plot points started piling atop one another, and it all culminated in a gigantic space battle that was, like any Michael Bay movie, at the same time a marvel of technical expertise and a textbook example of style without substance or character.

Even upon rewatch, I am still not sure which pew-pew beams are supposed to hit Discovery and Enterprise and which ones are actually fired by the two ships. There is no strategy or tactics to the battle, just thousands of light pixels exploding everywhere. Compare this to any of BSG space battles, which were done on a vastly smaller budget. BSG also had a lot of smaller craft flying around, it had that awesome looking flak barrier that seemed to be present around Big-E and Disco as well -- but there is no comparison. BSG battles were masterpieces of pacing, action, storytelling, and character beats. This thing... ugh.

And that ending, sweet Roberta, that ending. For months Kurtzman had been all around the various media outlets, talking about how the ending will explain any and all canon inconsistencies (which -- canon, I mean -- is rather low on my list of priorities, so I never exactly needed an explanation, but fine, whatever). The explanation: they swore never to talk about it. And Starfleet apparently abandoned perfectly workable and reliable technology like, oh I don't know, spore drive and time travel because, hey, why not? There may be some bad guys who could misuse it, so let's pretend it doesn't exist.

Though, why stop there? I vote for the retirement of antimatter energy production and transporters! They could be abused in a million ways. Oh, and a note to the future Federation engineers: DO NOT DESIGN HOLODECKS!!! Those damn things abuse themselves all the time, not to mention that they seem intent on creating self-aware AIs every now and then. It's only a matter of time before a 20th century afficionado embarks on a Terminator-style holo-adventure with a sentient Arnold replica, and the future is screwed. You were warned. Arnold did say he'd be back.

On a side note: after all is said done, what was with all those strange Borg callbacks that amounted to nothing? Sentient fusing of organic and artificial, green nano-technology injected into the body that assimilates the host (kinda), "struggle is pointless"... What the hell was all that? It's way too reminiscent of the established Borg lore to be a mere coincidence... yet that's exactly what it seems to be from an in-universe standpoint.
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Paul M.
Mon, Apr 22, 2019, 3:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Trent
"Can someone explain the probe encountered over Kaminar? "

Feels to me like there was some heavy behind-the-scenes rejiggering of the plotlines after the dismissal of the previous showrunners, which happened somewhere early in the season. I don't think all the pieces neatly fall in as we would like.
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Paul M.
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

This was a disaster. One of the worst Star Trek episodes I have ever seen. There wasn't a single element that made sense: the battle, confrontation with Leland, bomb disarming subplot, vow of silence, explanation of the red bursts, medieval priestesses flying space ships, technobabble to end all technobabbles, and on and on it goes. This was a disaster the likes of which I have never in my life seen on Star Trek, unless you count the likes of Spock's Brain or Threshold. This episode seemed like it was made by a murdered corpse of Michael Bay that underwent extensive zombification somewhere along the way. Abysmal is a kind word for the quality of this... thing.
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Paul M.
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Daya

"Or it could be Khan."

Nah. Could be K'Ehleyr being delivered to the Enterprise, photon torpedo-style. I mean, she's used to it.
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Paul M.
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Daya,

I don't think that's a photon torpedo lodged in Enterprise's hull. It's way too big. Some kind of probe? Insidious evil malicious thing trying to take control of the ship? Proto-Borg ship-sized nanite-delivery vehicle intent on assimilating everything in its path? Be sure to tune in next week and find out!
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Paul M.
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Trent:

"I think it was done for purely commercial reasons. The TOS era is more swashbuckling, edgier in a pulpy way, has readily packaged villains and so forth. It's the perfect epoch for a vast, pulpy, action series."

There's no reason you can't have a swashbuckling action series post-VOY. Just because it's set in the future doesn't mean the show has to adhere to a more TNG-era approach to storytelling. They could have done whatever they wanted in whatever time period they wanted. Doubly so when you consider that the initial idea was NOT to feature Spock or Enterprise. So if you're doing a prequel show and don't really want to "prequelize" stuff all that much, why do it in the first place? While your explanation certainly has merit, I still think that the primary motivation behind placing DIS ahead of TOS was twofold:

(1) to avoid answering (literal and narrative, not to mention copyright) questions about "Prime or Abrams", and
(2) hitch a ride on the movie bandwagon -- stylistically and by drawing on other common elements.

I still think DIS is superior to Abrams Trek, which I found almost unwatchable.
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Paul M.
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 5:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Rahul:

(...) killing these writers (...) [is] the choice of starting DSC in the Trek canon roughly a decade before TOS. This series needed to start sometime in the future after VOY finished (...)

I speculated years ago that the, frankly unneeded, decision to place DIS pre-TOS is the likely result of not wanting to mess with split timelines that resulted from Abrams' movies and thus confuse the audiences that were first introduced to the franchise courtesy of J.J.

Now, I believe this was weird and unnecessary: old Trekkies know better, and new ones will hardly be bothered -- if they even notice anything -- by some divergent lore, e.g. Vulcan still being there.

But such is the way of Hollywood: I sincerely doubt that the present course of action was the result of creators' and showrunners' decisions, but was more likely mandated by execs from above because they wanted to tie their show more closely to the J.J. Trek.

Of course, once you're under that mandate, it's still the responsibility of the showrunners to deliver the best possible product. That they haven't speaks primarily to their failings.
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Paul M.
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Discovery's hypersonic plotting really deserves a good old Jammer's season recap. I know we're not gonna get it, but I think it'd be a cool read.
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Paul M.
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

There's so much pathos and saying goodbye in this episode that I have a feeling we'll see some real rejiggering (again) of Discovery heading into Season 3. I don't think they'll go the "Burnham writes herself out of history" route, but I wouldn't be surprised at some MAJOR temporal hijinks in order to realign the show with established canon.
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Paul M.
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 8:11am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

@Tim C
"As Jammer says, though, this feels like it's dragged on long enough. I still think a better idea for the third season might be smaller arcs, like Enterprise S4 or Agents of Shield's season 4."

I was never really a fan of the whole multiple mini-arcs thing. It segments the story into these strange independent chunks that have nothing to do with each other. But if that's the case, why not simply revert to the good old episodic thing and tell a bunch of solid stories?

I think the main problem with Disco's overarching narrative is that it's too simple. Yeah, you heard that right! :) The whole thing can be summed up in a couple of sentences about AIs, future, and all that jazz. That's why the writers, in order to prolong the narrative, resort to various soapy bits and plot twists. That wouldn't be nearly as evident, had the season-long storyline been constructed with more relevant moving pieces (not too many though!), better fleshed out motivations of various antagonists and side players, and a stronger focus on the wider world and worldbuilding in general. This way the season could have been structured around several plot-relevant high points along the way, which would in turn help with the feeling that the entire season is just a stalling tactic until the episode count runs out.

Again, this from someone who actually likes the season quite a bit, but isn't blind to its obvious shortcomings.
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Paul M.
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 3:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

I wonder if this season is falling into the same trap as Season 1. The closer we're getting to the end, the more heavily serialized the season becomes, and the crazy factor starts heating up towards overdrive.
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Paul M.
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Haha, I must commend mixmets7 for his masterful use of Trek quotes.
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Paul M.
Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 4:18am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

"Everyone is invited to chime in as to how they manage to be fans of both TOS and DIS without suffering any cognitive dissonance, if they feel like it."

I don't know Alan's position, but if may volunteer my own. My favorite Treks are TNG and DS9. They are the first I watched, but I also think they are by far the most consistent and well-made TV shows out of all the Trek incarnations. I fully accept that my opinion may be influenced by the fact that I grew up on them, but I'd like to think I can intellectually formulate some quality standards that aren't completely dependent upon my early TV viewing experiences.

I like both TOS and DIS. TOS's first season was exemplary, but unfortunately that show progressively worsened as seasons went by. It therefore doesn't have the consistency nor the overall quality to really qualify for the top-tier. Discovery, on the other hand, never tried or wanted to be exceptional in its themes, symbolism, or storytelling. It's a well-executed action-adventure show that is entertaining to watch and has compelling performances. Some may not like it, but to me Discovery seems to be the crowd pleaser that Voyager wanted to be but could never really get there. DIS has the money, the visuals, and the relentlessness that are a solid fit for what they are trying to achieve. Simply put: I like it. It's not TNG, DS9, or TOS, (let's not even mention the masterpiece that is The Expanse), but it gets the job done and keeps my interest in a way VOY or ENT never managed.

As for "cognitive dissonance" that Daya mentioned, well, I was never all that into continuity porn. That's not to say that I don't appreciate canon, but it's not very high on my list of priorities. And this applies not only to canon, but to other continuity parameters as well -- I don't need unified themes or visual language to enjoy a franchise over several different TV shows.

"One of the deeper complaints I have seen is that bringing in new information so close to our beloved previous information just spoils our original memories. Fans of TOS want the original charm / intrigue / mystique of TOS intact, not hyper-explained. To many it feels as if someone is unnecessarily altering our fond childhood memories."

I can sympathize with your view, though I have mocked this sentiment in some of my, let's just say, less charitable posts. For those, I do apologize. Thing is, TOS is still there, all 79 episodes, original or remastered, for your viewing pleasure. That show and all your childhood memories aren't going anywhere. Watch it, cherish it, debate it with all the millions of Trek fans around the world, hopefully myself included. Discovery, for all its sins, real or perceived -- and beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder -- can't destroy that if *you* don't let it.
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Paul M.
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Has anyone suffered more than O'Brien? ;)
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Paul M.
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 4:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

People talk of Terminator when considering influences on the arc of this season. Don't know about that, but these latest revelations coupled with Kurtzman's own words -- https://trekmovie.com/2019/03/29/watch-alex-kurtzman-explains-whats-motivating-section-31s-control-in-star-trek-discovery/

...

This screams Mass Effect to me, honestly.
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Paul M.
Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

I don't intend to add more fuel to the Mary Sue debate because labels are a slippery slope, especially in this day and age. I do think that the writers are dangerously close to writing themselves into a corner due to the Fuller's initial decision not to center the show on the ensemble or the captain. Because of this, they constantly need to come up with ways to personally connect Burnham with almost every plot and side character out there and make everything at least tangentially related to her. So it's not some devious desire to make Mary Sue out of Burnham, but a consequence of making her the only true lead without giving her the needed moral and hierarchical authority in-setting.
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Paul M.
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 11:15am (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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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