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Peter H
Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

"I sincerely hope the mysterious Burn does not become something which this season, later in the game, uses to needlessly up the stakes into possible galactic destruction. "

I've not watched any more episodes, and have somehow completely avoided spoiling the plot, but this show is so fundamentally bad at this point that I could really believe this is actually true.

For all the appalling overacting and generic action fluff before it, the lone Federation representative really sold me on it emotionally. Also, it felt like to be a part of the Federation is to appear almost as a true believer of a religion. In this episode I could see how Series One Klingons saw the zealous Federation as such an existential threat.

I think I'm enjoying the show, but it's become a truly guilty pleasure - cos - it's total trash to the core!
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Peter H
Tue, Feb 23, 2021, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Waking Moments

The more I watch this show the more I appreciate Tukok and Janeway's relationship. Tuvok genuinely loses his temper and practically has a full on emotional outburst when Janeway returns from the dream warp core explosion unharmed.

I never really appreciated him first time round, but to me now he's the secret star of the show. From the scene in Scientific Method where he comforts Janeway by saying he'll "share a glass of wine" with her, to their tender "goodbye" In year of Hell Part 2, to all the way back in Season 1 where he takes part in illicit behaviour to spare Janeway from making an uncomfortable ethical decision.

I'm always desperate to know what he'll say and do next!
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Peter G.
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

Watching this now for no particular reason, and boy is it uninteresting for the most part. But I'm noticing something in the middle of some of the tedium which should have been really interesting, but it never amounted to anything. We have a situation where a scientist is working with Data, and his Holmes comes out and makes small but relevant repeated observations. Over time these come to an inevitable conclusion, and he can do more than observe but can now predict her actions and abilities. But instead of his solving a stranger, she's supposedly his mother, which throws the whole mystery into a cross-current of another story that doesn't fit with it at all. Instead of a cool science mystery, reminiscent of Ship in a Bottle, instead it's this fake-feeling bonding story where everything is just bland and nothing interesting ever happens.

The one moment that should have been a really cool "aha!" moment for the audience is when they are about to jump off a cliff, and she says "I'm never make it" and Data yells back "yes you will." Instead that could have been "Yes you will!" with triumph, as if to announce he is now certain about his conclusions and know an android will survive the fall. If anything he is surprised that she was injured at all, and mostly it's because she didn't know she was physically capable of landing safely (something about as plausible as a man not knowing he's super strong like in Unbreakable).

So instead of a neat story where Data becomes suspicious of a random scientist, it has to be his mother with all that wasted maudlin melodrama with his dad at the end. Instead of a search for clues, deliberately putting her in a situation where she'd reveal her superior abilities, he just notices them randomly and we are only told he did after the fact (a bit of a narrative cheat some of the time). The music concert could have been diagnostic on his part, but instead the script just makes nothing more of it than a mother/son boring scene. Instead of something in her subconscious making her nervous about the concert, since it would out her (even thought she consciously doesn't really know), she seems nervous but frankly for unrelated and tedious reasons.

Cool story premise, and totally lame writing. If I was directing this I would have demanded to rewrite half of it. This story deserved a much better teleplay, and much more from the actors involved. It should have had at minimum Geordi/Data scene likes Holmes and Watson, but instead we get only Troi and Picard at the end, ho hum.
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Peter G.
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

@ Jeffrey Jakucyk,

"Well how WOULD you approach that, especially when you start teaching about evolution or plate tectonics and the students/administrators insist that god created all life and Earth is only 6,000 years old?"

Well I didn't specify that it had to be a fundamentalist or anti-science religious community. I think it's probable that an anti-science community wouldn't have a secular science teacher go in to teach anyhow. For most 'normal' communities that are religious, it would be important enough to know what their beliefs are in order to frame things without being insulting. "The three alien entities you call the trinity" wouldn't be particularly diplomatic, no matter whether it was meant to be objective or not. I would suggest that one of the key issues is especially the use of the term "wormhole alien" to talk about their gods. It pretty clearly lays out that they are just regular aliens living in a hole in space, which has a particular implication in terms of whether they ought to be worshipped. In fact, the question of how to teach Bajorans so that they learn their science without your stumbling into terms that have built-in prejudices from your own culture is precisely *what* the learning curve would have to be for a teacher going in there. I don't know how to tell you what the best answer is; maybe it's different for each community. In Keiko's case her "I respect that they believe it" comes off as little more than a thinly veiled scoff. I think Patrick Stewart could have made that line believable, so maybe this is about the actress? I never since the first day I saw the episode thought it was anything else other than she was saying between the lines that their beliefs were dumb (or at minimum ignorant) but she couldn't say so in those words.
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Peter G.
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

@ Rahul,

The one caveat I would put in front of all that is in most of those cases the happiness is fake; either an illusion, naive lack of knowing anything better, or outright false happiness such as in Return of the Archons where they are really boiling underneath the surface and are not at peace at all. But I do somewhat think that in This Side of Paradise they are uniquely showing us an environment where they experience real bliss, and not an unintelligent one. The crew can still think, it's just that they are 100% hooked on the spore juice and love it. Unlike the other episodes with a similar theme, here it would appear that even without an evil computer controlling them, a fake happiness or a sanitized peace (like in A Taste of Armageddon) here they have the real deal, and it's up to the Captain to decide if even the real deal is acceptable when the consequence is that humanity will advance no further in any way after this, forever. It's a question of freedom, yes, but also a question of whether people should be allowed to freely choose to give away their freedom. Kirk seems to be saying "you will be free whether you like it or not!" It's a pretty strong position to take, and much less of a no-brainer than releasing people from some stupid computer system.
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Peter G.
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

One detail worth noting is that the episode isn't *only* addressing whether a person choosing lazy bliss is making just as good a choice as someone choosing struggle and effort. That would be a related but somewhat different conversation. In this episode what happens is the crew are infected, and never make a conscious choice about what's best for them. The lazy happiness is literally contagious, and the way it's shown they have absolutely no choice in the matter. Even Spock, who otherwise makes logical decisions about all things, finds himself switched immediately when exposed to the spores. So while it's not blatant mind control, it comes very close to be an existential danger to the crew.

Now the episode obviously is also talking about bliss versus struggle in general, and Kirk's decision at the end that he prefers struggle is right on point with that. He alone seems to be in the position to see both sides and chooses. His choice also involves making that choice for his crew, however since arguably they weren't ever given a choice in the first place this seems entirely proper to me.

Another thing to consider is that if we want to go more metaphorical and less literal, there is an issue here about immediate gratification being like a drug you won't ever be able to turn off once you start. It's like the pleasure button, and you would go crazy if that button went away for even a minute once you're hooked. Many people would choose that even knowing what it means. Maybe even most would choose it eventually. So there is even a moral question about whether it should be seen as a public danger that something even exists that can enslave users immediately and permanently. There is a good argument to be made that this could threaten entire civilizations. It is not unreasonable to me that a civilization might even take steps to ban or destroy any tech (or in this case spores) that effectively remove your free will and replace it with constant pleasure. It's drugs times a million. So even if the spores are not malevolent in themselves, they still seem to be to be extremely dangerous.
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Peter G.
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

@ OfBalance,

I think this issue has more importance than whether in this one episode the two sides were presently fairly. The issue of 'militant atheism' (which to be fair the episode doesn't really bring up anyhow) is not just that religion is rejected, but that the people who are religious are not respected. It would be fine if Jake or Keiko didn't believe in the Prophets, but respected the Bajoran beliefs and culture in the Picardian fashion. But I think the episode is hinting a bit at the fact that when you think their religion is frankly stupid and that they are ignorant to use any term other than "wormhole aliens" that is going to trickle into your relations with them no matter how you cut it. And this kind of becomes apparently in the few episodes we do get involving Starfleet brass at DS9, where they are basically rolling their eyes anytime the Bajoran religion or culture is brought up. It's really not the best approach to learning about strange new worlds, to judge them by your standards and dismiss their beliefs.

The funny thing is although it's objectionable to some people that the show went down the Sisko-as-prophet route, even if they hadn't done that so directly it was definitely necessary for him to come to respect the Bajorans.

SPOILERS

Sisko deciding he feels such kindship with Bajor that he wants to build his house there is note-perfect in terms of the closeness it would take for the Federation liaison to them to really understand and respect them. It doesn't take him being their chosen one to feel that they have a beautiful people and culture and endorse it wholeheartedly. It wouldn't have even required him converting or believing in it per se to find it very attractive and in a manner of speaking a unique piece of anthropological art.

So to me it's not really enough to say that Jake is entitled to his opinion and that he doesn't force his beliefs on them. That is true, but if the attitude of the Federation were akin to that then that would not be a great basis for establishing respect and membership. "Hey you're entitled to your stupid beliefs" is not a good place to start, whether or not you disagree with them. Sisko's middle-series approach seems like a sound one, where he's not going to go to bat for their religion, but at the same time he would say there are nice things about how their pursue their beliefs, and that he definitely respects them as a people. That's a much better approach.

Just as an analogy, imagine on Earth a secularist going into a religion community to teach science. Would it really be appropriate for the teacher to start saying things like "and now let's talk about the religion-myths you believe". Sure, you're not forcing atheism on them, but you're also being pretty dismissive of them right to their face. At best that is rude. It's not militant, maybe, but it's abrasive and antagonistic. You might see how ridiculous it would be to reverse the case and imagine a religious proctor going to teach in a fairly non-religious community, and referring to their life choices as "sins" or to call their secularism as "the silly beliefs that pretend god doesn't exist." You are not gonna get along with the locals talking like that, and then saying "oh but I wasn't forcing anyhow" as if that makes it all ok.

I'm not at all surprised that Winn was up in arms at a Federation school teaching Bajorans when the teacher doesn't even really know anything about or respect their culture. There are shades of colonial North America in there, of trying to educate the native Americans without really caring much about their own culture yourself, believing that your superior knowledge is what they need to learn. I'm not saying Keiko is some kind of imperialist, but it does strike a concerning chord to go to someone else's homeland and start teaching them your beliefs without respecting theirs.
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Peter G.
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

@ Jason R.,

That interesting theory brings into question a binary interpretation of Sisko's first meeting with the Prophets in Emissary: did he need to explain linear time to them, or did they need to explain to him (knowing full well what linear time is) that he in fact did not strictly live in linear time as he claimed. Which way we go with that supports one version of future-history or the other. If they actually had no idea what time was until he told them, then it would seriously suggest a paradoxical causality wherein they only learned later how to create the reality that was already created. If, however, the meeting with him was entirely to educate him and show him that he was living in both present and past at once, then it would easier to see that meeting as his introduction to how they think, which would imply they knew him already and needed to begin his training or whatever.
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Peter G.
Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 9:57am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: All Our Yesterdays

Personally I always thought Atoz was supposed to be more or less insane. Maybe it's because he's the last person on his planet or something. The fact that the holograms come across as whacky, and then Atoz himself is barely better, seems to me to suggest that the off-kilter vibe isn't just stylistic to the episode but is literal, like Kirk would even find it weird. Atoz seems particularly clueless and unable to process what seem to be simple questions and drawn conclusions as Jason R. suggests. Yes, it may be because they have no space travel technology, but perhaps the choice to retreat into their planet's past says something about them as a species. Maybe they are really insular, or lacking in imagination in some respect, and instead of branching out and expanding they just want to dwell in their own history, going backward instead of forward. If I'm being charitable, maybe the writer had in mind that the very worst use of technology would be to bring about the regression of the species, where finally someone who is a mere librarian is the custodian of their whole culture.
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Peter G.
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 5:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

He also led an Insurrection
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Peter G.
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@ William B,

I agree that choosing to live among humans may carry some tacit agreement to abide by their laws, but then again he only exercised his power after they were all destroyed, so I guess he wasn't among humans anymore when he did it?

I also started thinking that maybe the fact that he chose to live among humans and not use his powers meant he was renouncing doing godlike things. In other words, he was trying to not use his powers. But then when he had everything taken away from him the powers just jumped out of him, which may mean it's impossible for him not to do such things when provoked. If that's true then even talking about a rule is pointless, because if he can't prevent himself doing that kind of thing even after having made efforts not to, then any sense of a law being preventative is irrelevant. Beyond that the only question would be punishment, which is impossible, and judgement. This last is the one I would choose to focus on if I had to, and frankly I'm not even sure how much I could condemn someone who literally tried their best to do no harm and simply couldn't help it. At that point you need to either help them, stop them, or avoid them. But you can't ask for more than trying his best.
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Peter G.
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 11:05am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

In addition to the basic fact that it is not physically possible to enforce any sentence on Kevin, I think Picard's statement is also one about law itself: humans can make laws to govern *themselves*, but do not believe in the legitimacy of insisting that laws automatically apply to everyone in the universe. If Andorians want to *accept* human laws then that is a contract between them, and binding only those that agree, For enemy races such as Romulans, they must come to some accord with hostile species to at minimum determine certain agreed upon treaty terms (e.g. the Neutral zone), In the absence of any agreement there is no law. So Kevin is not bound by human laws, not only because he is beyond their enforcement, but because he simply never accepted to abide by them. The Federation probably doesn't even have legal legitimacy to prosecute random aliens in the galaxy who have committed genocide who are not gods; what business it is of theirs to go around policing the cosmos?

I think perhaps the most important reason Kevin is beyond human law is the moral side of it. Our laws regard actions taken within a social context, against fellow sentients, and within the bounds of 'free will' and 'choice to act'. Laws in TNG don't apply to thoughts or to desires, only to actions taken with the intent to act. None of these categories, however, apply to a being that is (a) not of the same type at all, not even corporeal, and (b) who can commit what we could call crimes by accident, in a moment's blind thought. It is not possible for a human to have a single moment of rage and be prosecuted for it; it takes far longer than that for a human to execute a course of violent action. But for Kevin, one single moment's rage can mean a genocide. How can a law manage individual extreme thoughts? For a being like that, there is not even a way for us to comprehend how such powers could be prevented from going wild. You could even imagine a technological human age far in the future where pressing one button (the world eraser button!) could cause mayhem, and where it could be pressed in a moment's rage.

So no, we really can't (and shouldn't, and are unable to) judge Kevin.
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Peter H
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 4:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Scientific Method

This episode is kind of a camp classic, nearly as compellingly exciting as Season 2's Deadlock, but as hilariously OTT and _extra_ as that one was serious and believable.

And Tuvok's line that he would have a glass of wine with Janeway was deeply touching. What a great handle the writers had on these characters, despite how wacky the whole episode unfolding around them is.
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Peter G.
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

So Booming,

You've come back here just to violate the one thing Jammer has asked of us, not to discuss other shows in this thread?
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Peter G.
Wed, Feb 3, 2021, 2:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

@ Seb,

I'm not entirely sure you're taking the argument made in this episode seriously enough. For Sisko to know he can't do the truly rotten things, but to allow Garak into the game, is a case not of ends justifying means, but of compartmentalizing responsibility. In the real world analogy, we might well say something similar to what Garak said, which is "what do you actually think the CIA is for? to do the things you don't want to know need to be done, because you won't do them yourself." Now this can be contested, and IMO the bedrock of the argument is to be found in other episodes such as the first Section 31 episode. Is it possible to actually compete in the real world without using advantages (such as the Obsidian Order, Tal Shiar, Section 31) that other major powers use?

ITPM doesn't address that question directly, but it does suggest that people of conscience may need to let others *occasionally* step in to do some dirty work, knowing full well it may entail things they don't like, but also knowing those other people cannot run things. And maybe there is something here about illusion; maybe some actions are possible only if you blind yourself to them. Maybe certain dangerous jobs and plans would never come to fruition if one was too aware of their dangers; and maybe war would never be possible if we truly knew the pain we were causing. It's worth asking whether that disconnect is a good thing or not, just as Sisko asks whether being able to live with it justifies his actions. He didn't commit murder, Garak did, and the difference there is no trivial. Even if he would repeat it all again to achieve the same end, doesn't necessarily mean he would agree to do Garak's part in it with his own hands. And I'm not entirely sure that's an inconsistent or hypocritical position to take. Or at least - the episode asks whether it is.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Call to Arms

@ Occuprice,

I definitely think there is a texture in DS9's scenes that is lacking in other post-TOS Treks. It's not just the character histories alone, although that memory no doubt informs the scene work, but it's the ongoing feelings about each other that begin and end each scene. No scenes are stand-alone - all fit into the ongoing relationship that you palpably feel. in VOY there are some fun exchanges, no doubt about it, but usually the start of a scene is neutral and it's the plot element or story points that create either tension or positive feelings. Even with Tom/Harry you don't quite get pals happy to see each other when they meet; it requires what they are doing to show they are friends. Contrast with Dax in DS9, who despite being a novice actor at the start of the series, does still manage to capture one important element: warmth. When she sees a friend, you get the feeling right away there is affection there, and the story points and plot are not necessary to make that come out. Part of it probably had to do with the cast's working atmosphere and respect.

TNG had a similar texture through the latter parts of its run, certainly from S4 onwards, which is an enjoyment of being together. At times it feels like RIker and Troi are the lynchpins of this feeling, but you definitely sense they like each other. Now this is one-note, and rarely are there other textures that are very evident, but that's ok, the show is fun and that really is enough to make it enjoyable. On DS9, by contrast, it's in-character relationships, not the out-of-character fun that we tend to see. Odo/Quark scenes, for instance, don't just start at zero and then heat up once they're getting on each other's nerves. You can sense whatever the hell it is they have between them at all times. Kira alternatively has great warmth for some characters, and various other feelings for others (for instance immediate irritation with Quark or Garak).

So I do think it's not only the plots and show continuity on VOY that gets the reset switch each episode, but it also goes for how the characters think or feel about each other. They are really starting at neutral in most episodes. This does in a way leave room for writers to do absolutely anything they wish without regard for having to keep continuity, or having to worry about whether the actors would like it. On DS9, it was apparently common for the actors to fight for their characters, say they would or wouldn't do certain things; that type of thing. On VOY it seems like it was more of an auteur's vehicle, and in fact Moore says something to this effect. When he asked them what he limitations were and how the characters and stories needed to be, they told him just write whatever he wanted. In his case that was a big negative, but maybe it allowed the show to be freer in some way the showrunners wanted. Mulgrew did apaprently put her foot down on certain issues, but I think they were meta issues rather than in-character things. For instance she's said many times that she told them flat out Janeway would not have a romantic relationship on the show. But that's not because of how her character was written or how things developed on the show, but rather because she felt it was sending the wrong message about a strong female captain inevitably ending up in a relationship. That's a fine reason, but it's not one related to her character's development.

I may have trailed off here a bit, but I guess my point is that it's funny how the show's tone on DS9 and VOY in particular really trickle into all departments, right down to how the actors walk into scenes.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Clues

Nice idea, William.

I guess we could also suggest that despite having nominal rights at this point, or perhaps only de facto right since Starfleet will not expressly claim Data *does not* have rights, there is still the issue of proper functionality. Unlike biological organisms where we tend to think of their proper functioning as being 'medical', in Data's case it's mechanical *and* an issue of programming. So for instance in Brothers where Data is effectively taken over by Soong, I don't think it would be outrageous for Starfleet to have, in process of stopping him (which in that episode they failed to do), take him apart looking for the mechanical or programming failure. It's not quite the same as a biological being in this sense. And likewise, if it appeared that Data was usurping Starfleet's prerogatives in Clues, perhaps a legitimate and even moral argument could leave room to have his disassembled under the assumption that he is broken or his programming compromised in some way. I'm not sure this would be a violation like 'taking apart' Picard would be if he disobeyed an order, because as far as our understanding of Picard goes, he can't just randomly 'break' in such a way as to cause him to violate Starfleet's commands. But maybe Data could? It's a tough area, even if Starfleet is being completely moral.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 10:47am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

It could be as simple as a Paypal/credit card payment system like on Ebay, or a Patreon page with more personal info on it. Either works. I think it's a good idea.
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Peter Swinkels
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 4:32am (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S1: Under the Night

I watched this one episode, and I am sorry but this looked like one of those cheap live action shows you might find on a channel aimed at children. Even for the early 2000s this appeared glib and cheap. If this episode is any indicator it is no wonder the show went to sh*t. Bleh. What were they thinking? Better yet, were they actually thinking at all?
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Peter G.
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

It's worth mentioning also that ST: III had a bit of a weird script in places, and most of the time a director like Nimoy who is not a Stephen Spielberg caliber career director is not going to be able to veto script elements or just change them however he wants. Considering the flaws that I think Mal correctly points out, Nimoy did a bang-up job on the actual feel of the movie, because despite being strangely focused on only Spock in regards to the Genesis effect (where the planet itself is barely more than a metaphor for Spock's unstable adolescence), I always felt a rather epic sense from this film. Despite the antagonist being just one bird of prey with a tiny crew, the villains always felt larger than life, almost the embodiment of heatless butchers everywhere. And despite some of the odd logic regarding the Vulcan customs and rites, it always still felt like "The Search for Spock" was at the forefront, where it should be, rather than the exploration of the genesis technology. Let's face it, the idea of this technology is at the same time silly and - if one takes it seriously - practically as outlandishly power as the Tox Uthat. In other words, it's incalculably advanced and we can't really have such techs in this universe for the literal worldbuilding and balance of power to make sense.

So I think Nimoy did quite well with a few bizarre or unfinished scripting elements, and make something very memorable. Not flawless, and not as invigorating as WoK, but still awesome in the literal sense. And Kirk's tactical solution at the end is an excellent one, to eventually be recalled in DS9's Return to Grace almost to T.

Personally I do think this film has at times been overrated, but at this point in history the reverse is more the trend, of no one caring about it. I think it's pretty great.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

Some good points, Bob. It's hard to address the issue of killing the clones, because honestly the episode doesn't want to be about that. It's a quick moment meant to wrap-up the discovery of what they did and do away with it. There seems to be no pretense in the episode about what it means of what to do about it, so Riker shooting them seems also to be - plotwise - a way to just make it go away. The fact that on the literal level making it go away in that fashion raises even more issues than the episode is already addressing, is a problem on a story-writing level. By having those clones exist in the first place the writers painted themselves into a corner they could never get back out of in just one episode, or perhaps at all. So I would personally call that a writing error, rather than a moral failure. It was just a mistake in terms of episode construction to write in that they were cloned successfully. I wouldn't worry to much beyond that about the moral implications; they aren't exploring that there and it's not supposed to be about that IMO. There seems to be no argument made that the cloned colonists themselves aren't real people, so clearly if you examine it closely this point isn't even consistent within the episode.

Regarding the polygamy, I have to say this seems to me like pure Roddenberry-itis which is present here and there throughout S1-2. It's not so much that it's a novel or controversial sexual concept being put forward as if the colonists all agree already. It's more like Roddenberry (and presumably this writer) already think it would be grand, and wait 'till these guys discover how good it is to have lots of ladies at once! Now it's not a good optic, to say the least, but I think that's where it's coming from. Amazingly you'd have thought this sort of hippy 'let's forget about monogamy' attitude would have been present more in TOS, but strangely that show - despite Kirk's flings - comes off as much more sensitive about sex than TNG is early on. Maybe it was the network censors or something reigning them in. But anyhow I don't think this episode is presenting the polygamy as a crazy idea but one that these guys will just have to dutifully accept. It feels to me more like the writer (a woman, interestingly) is saying that this is really the best setup anyhow, and boy will it be fun for all of you. So they are therefore expected to like it because it's super-cool, and once they get over themselves they'll love it. Or something like that.
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peter swinkels
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 4:09am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@ramon ymalay
Transporting a photon is a far cry from a human. And you don’t believe we’re close to holodeck tech? Wonderful!
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Peter G.
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Part of the interesting aspect of both Decker and Ilia is that they are both incomplete at the start of the film. The film suggests that in fact we are all incomplete, but that we potentially have different ideal ends to merge with. For Decker and Ilia their ideal merging is with each other; or specifically the person-to-person connection to make their exploration of the unknown a reality. To them the unknown is best found in someone else. For Kirk the merging has to, in the end, be with the Enterprise. Someone else was docking with his mate, and he had to stay in that chair. We could see it as him being one of those hateful admirals, but in TOS those admirals are invariably people totally unsuited to the captain's chair. They are bad not because they are admirals, but because they are treading where they don't belong. In Kirk's case it is where he belongs, and he is a better captain than an admiral. William Decker himself chooses the merging in the end as his ultimate good. Yes, we could argue that it was the typical selfless Starfleet sacrifice to save his crew, but the film gives us enough to show it's more than that; this was his ultimate happiness. Not in command of a ship, but merged with his lover. From that standpoint I'm not sure he had entirely made up his mind about even being a captain. From the pilot we see Pike ruminating about another life, about being with a woman, and he's miserable. He gets his happy ending in The Menagerie, but he did not leave The Cage a happy camper. Decker gets his happy marriage, and it is not to his ship. So to me that makes it right and proper that Kirk gets the ship and Decker gets the marriage. Until TNG comes along, family and command did not mix, and TMP makes it very clear he wants both very badly. So unlike his dad - and perhaps in a subtle but deliberate nod to The Doomsday Machine - William goes a different direction from Matt, choosing something other than an obsession with hanging on to his ship.

From Ilia's standpoint we don't get quite as much, other than she seems more Vulcan than human in disposition. I hardly think it's a coincidence that V'Ger, the machine that wants more, chooses her as its vessel. There is something in common with Spock there, except it's somewhat the inverse: Spock has the human element and thinks he wants less; Ilia seems to lack it to an extent and wants more. She gets more by connecting with Decker, and Spock seems to realize in the end that he shouldn't want less. So what begins as an inverse perhaps ends in a kind of parity; they both realize they need more than just themselves to be complete. Spock's completion doesn't necessarily happen until ST: IV, but the arc begins in TMP. II-IV are largely the Spock saga, showing how he comes to terms with accepting his human half, but all the cards are laid out on the table right here in terms of the Kolinar failing for him, and needing (in a cosmic sense) some great thing that is currently beyond him. For V'Ger that thing was humanity itself, as it seems to be for Spock. Perhaps this film is saying that the attempt to banish or destroy the thing bothering us inside ourselves leads to destruction; that we have to find how to give it a proper home.

The thing that's beautiful about most of the TOS films is they have some heavy meta-content while still whizzing along on the literal story level. ST:V fails in this regard because the literal story barely makes sense in its pre-occupation with the message. TMP is different because both message and story are there, but the story is as drawn out and cosmic as the message is. This uniformity makes it hard to watch for some people, especially when contrasted with WoK or other films whose story moves at a brisk rate, even though its delineation of the meta-narrative is slow, even taking multiple films to complete. But in TMP the story is just as slow as the message, making the experience of seeing one already get you to the other. I think this is a neat device, similar as mentioned in other posts to 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I do think TMP pulls it off. I'm sad to have to say that no TNG film had the heft of this one in terms of what it was trying to get across. These older films were far more ambitious, and less pandering to what they thought people wanted. Granted they did realize for ST: II they needed more action, but even so the messages didn't become pandering and trite.
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Peter Swinkels
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 10:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

ramon wrote: "Heck we are getting closer and closer to holodeck technology already. Not sure how much VR you do, but the Virtuix Omni is a VERY rudimentary idea of the treadmill in place concept and they are even producing a second version. Combine that with replicated matter and transporter tech and it’s really not hard to
Imagine a holodeck."

@ramon:
Vr is similar to a holodeck? Us getting closer to holodeck tech? And you think transporters and matter replication are even remotely plausible? Especially in the near future as you appear to think? Don't make me laugh.

As far as I know vr involves putting contraptions on your body, a holodeck does not. It is doubtful matter replication and transporters are even possible within known physics.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Cloud Minders

Great review, Mal. This episode is really one of the high points of Trek. It combines intellectual discussion, a tantalizing look at what plenty can achieve in good hands, a class struggle with more than mere greed behind it, an examination of environemnt and how that shapes behavior, and even a bit of actually relevant action where the fighting is directly tied to the circumstances of the miners and the gas.

The sorts of direct statements in an episode like this could be seen as terse by today's standards. Having a dude walk up to a lady and call her a work of art, and have their mutual admiration a fait accomplis with no other smalltalk, flirting, or lead-up, is actually refreshing to me. What they think of each other is both physically and logically clear, so why not be clear? And likewise, the facts regarding the gas and the aggressive behavior leave nothing to guesswork: it *definitely* has an effect. The episode doesn't tell us how much of an effect, but it is stated as a simple fact that having to breathe in this environment leads to aggression. And yet it doesn't denounce the aristocratic cloud dwellers as being deliberately manipulative either; it's not like the upper class fatcat who keeps the people in their place so that he can line his pockets. Here there are only people to respect, no one to look down on, and this is something I don't think you'll see in modern American media. In TV (and apparently politics) today someone is either the bad guy, or sullied in some way, or it's grimdark and everyone is shades of grey, probably all of them sort of low on virtue generally. It's hard to find someone in Game of Thrones, for example, that I'd like to actually hang out with. TOS has a funny way of making even the guest actors inviting. We were just talking about Requiem for Methuselah, and you know for all the episode's quirks, Flint still seems like a cool guy to know. Here it's the same: even after the reveal that the Troglytes have been abused, we don't suddenly see Droxine as being some abusive witch. There is no veil to lift here; she really was what she appeared to be, there was just something new to learn about nature and how it affects people. That's a nice message.
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