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Peter G.
Tue, May 22, 2018, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

Sometimes character assignation *is* character assassination. Like with Harry Kim :(
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Peter
Mon, May 21, 2018, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: The 37's

Alas, I made numerous typos and missed some very odd corrections made by spell check that my comment above is embarrassing.

But I wanted to add that this episode was well-acted. Janeway is good as usual, and the doctor’s expression when Fred requests a peaceful death was probably worth half of star by itself. I also really liked Neelix’s backtracking from his brash self-importance just seconds before when he is asked a direct question about what he thinks will happen.

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Peter
Mon, May 21, 2018, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: The 37's

This episode was unusual enough for me to really want to like it, but marred by too many silly elements.

I could accept the 1936 pickup in space, but not that liquids such gas and radiator coolant would remain intact in a vacuum for 4 minutes much less 400 years.

Introducing Amelia Earhart is a great idea, but as others have said, why then under-use her? Her navigator, however, was acting like an idiot to an annoying extent, and I was also bothered that his suit looked like it was from the 1990s rather than the 30s. Besides, while there is no doubt that people back then dressed up much more frequently than today, I doubt they’d have worn a suit and tie for an around-the-world expedition like that. Couldn’t they have given Fred a make version of what Earhart was wearing? The rest of the costumes were okay, which made the error stand out even more.

I was also really bothered by scale issue of the landed Voyager. It made me think of the Zoolander line: “What is this? A school for Ants?!” Since their budget covered a matte of the landed ship but not a matte of at least one of those human cities, why not at least get to look good?

I wasn’t too bothered by the sensor issues others picked up on, as they mentioned both atmospheric disturNce and the “aliens” (human descendents in Bukhas) using some kind of sensor distortion fields — both was bothered by the confiscation of the Japanese military guy’s gun but the missing of Fred’s gun. So a tricorder at close range will pick up a pistol in a leather hoarder but won’t detect one in a suit pocket?

These quibbles could all be cancelled had they done one thing differently: have at least a small handful of Voyager crew (perhaps just extras we don’t recognize) opt to stay behind and at least a couple of 37s opt to leave with Janeway and the rest. That would have shaken things up and made for a much better episode.
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Peter G.
Sat, May 19, 2018, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Watching this one again and I have a few observations that I've not had before. The first minor point is that in my view Jake's character had been assassinated as of the end of S5, turning him into a very annoying person that even Kira could barely stand to have around when he was trying to interview everyone. He went from being an innocent in the mayhem of his father's life to being a pest, or worse, an opportunistic parasite when he stayed behind on DS9 and milked his father's fame to protect him. In this episode we almost see Behr recognize that fact because all of the alter-egos of the characters seem based on their actual personalities; Odo the increasingly reluctant arbiter of order; Quark the man with strange views but caring more than you'd expect; Dax with her head in the clouds; O'Brien the hard worker with a simple manner; and of couse Weyoun and Dukat as bullies. And then there's Jake, who's portrayed as a sleaze, which is interesting since that's what he had actually become on the show. But man, what an on-the-nose way of acknowledging that, by making him a petty criminal with an oily disposition. I also wonder whether his hopeless attitude and penchant for falling into crime is a foreshadow of what's to come in The Reckoning; maybe the pagh wraith choice wasn't entirely just to spite Sisko.

The more important thing I've realized is what this episode is saying about the prophets. The preacher tells Benny to follow the word of the prophets, and of course we think of the Prophets when we hear this - which are deities of a sort. But then I realized that Judaism and Christianity also believe in following the advice of prophets, and that this double-entendre may be more than just a coincidence. What's a prophet after all - someone who tells you the truth, often about things to come. We may think of wormhole aliens as fitting the bill, but I now think that this was intended as a metaphor for science fiction writing in general, which of course is the literal subject matter of the episode. Sci-fi writers can tell us about the future, give us hope, and try to prepare us for what's to come. Granted, they're rarely entirely correct in direct prediction, but more important than accuracy is the fact that they get us *thinking* about the future so that we can have some idea of what we want to strive to achieve and work towards. I can guarantee you that growing up with Trek has strongly shaped my view of the future and the sort of world I hope for. I think the same is true of others, and that's because I've 'heard the word of the prophets', if you will; the message of what's to come if we 'follow the will of the prophets.' We have to actually make that future.

So I think one of the messages here is that not only is sci-fi really important but also that it shouldn't be a passive viewing experience. We need to take what we've seen and heard and *do* something about it. Many black people reportedly saw Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise and decided to pursue careers they never would have thought possible, including in NASA; people became engineers because of Scotty; and so on. And outside of the workplace, there's the matter of how we treat others, or even other nations. In a way I see FBtS as being about the serious responsibility of being a sci-fi writer, that they're directly providing the 'word of the prophets' and that they have a responsibility to tell the truth about the future and to give us hope. Of course, prophecy can also involve being a doomsayer if that's what the prophet sees and if that's what we need to hear, but in any case it should always be the truth and always to try to make us better people. This hits me again with what is most wrong with DISC, which is that the writers seem to have taken no responsibility for being prophets, and instead are just trying to provide entertainment to bring people back for more. They're not teachers, just circus performers. There should be a huge weight on the shoulders of a sci-fi writer, especially when writing for a built-in audience. It's like going into a classroom of young people - the right and proper thought should be "Oh god, I'm now responsible to shape these people!" And I imagine the same goes for being a parent.

I find the parallel between the Prophets, prophets, and sci-fi writers to be striking. The power of the faith of Bajorans towards their Prophets should be a mirror for the intense dedication sci-fi fans have to seeing the world that can be and trying to help bring that about. A show like this one can be entertaining, sure, but it should also be important to the world. I think Trek has been important and for the most part in the right ways, although less and less as the series and films continued on and devolved into easy entertainment, and sometimes not even entertainment.

This is what's so tough about the relationship between Benny and Ben: Ben can't exist without Benny. The future isn't something that just happens no matter what; we create it. Whatever we do *is* what the future is going to be. Just like Benny, our 'writing' of life makes the world that a Benjamin Sisko will inhabit. What we do will change whether Sisko succeeds or fails, or even exists. And yet the image of a Sisko, or a Kirk or Picard, may just give us the inspiration to live our lives a certain way and make that word. So we create them, and they create us. It's not linear, and I think the entire theme of the series - or even the franchise - comes home in this episode.

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Peter G.
Fri, May 18, 2018, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

" After watching the pilot of the new cbs drivel, nothing could get me interested in that."

And it's full of hospital episodes!
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Peter G.
Wed, May 16, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@ Booming,

"I don't think that it is great art but that has nothing to do with the fact that he is white or a penisowner."

Then why bring it up?

"How good is your German or your French?
Tu comprondras, oder eher nicht?"

My French is very good, my German not as good. That's why I wouldn't go to a German forum and insult people there :)
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Peter G.
Wed, May 16, 2018, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

"@Jason R.
Criticising me for not saying much with a short sentence. That's pretty sharp."

Reading comprehension: 0
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Peter G.
Tue, May 15, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@ Booming,

As Jason R pointed out, this statement -

"He was a rich white kid who made movies about "gifted" white kids defeating evil. Which is fine but it certainly isn't great art."

- speaks for itself. You directly said that media about "gifted" white kids defeating evil cannot be great art, or at least when it's a rich white guy making it. Can't see where there's much confusion here. Your implication about an "alt-right" vibe betrays you.
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Peter G.
Tue, May 15, 2018, 12:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

Ugh, ** "I doubt he would have agreed with the notion.." **
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Peter G.
Tue, May 15, 2018, 12:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

@ William B,

"Maybe the point is that free love is fine for some people -- like Riker, again as the classic example within this series. But Riker, at least at his best, is basically open about what he wants."

Amazingly, even though Riker is exhibit A for free love, his backstory as seen in S1-2 is that he's ambitious and chases women to compete with his dad, and refrains from committing to shield himself from the realization that he blew it with Deanna and chose his career instead, even though she was clearly "the one". I doubt this was strictly intentional, but the overview seems to me to suggest that Riker's behavior is more of a defense mechanism than a 'legitimate' approach to love. I guess that jives with your read of K'Ehleyr being in denial because her true feelings are too much, and yet I suspect that this was going on under Roddenberry's radar because I doubt her would have agree with the notion that a policy of free love is something you adopt when you're in denial.
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Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

@ William B,

A strong argument. I'll have to think it over some more, maybe watch it again. My last rewatch left me thinking the episode was siding with K'Ehleyr but maybe I was missing some clues to the contrary.

And by "free love movement" yes, I basically meant the notion that sex can be a part of committed attraction or detached from it, whichever those engaging in it decide. Obviously even in TNG S1-2 there is marriage so sex would be seen as being available with either option. The wrinkle in this episode is that K'Ehleyr admitting the sex meant something doesn't necessarily mean it *must* always mean something; it may just mean that she had intended on it being free love and realized that that's not what she had really wanted - maybe even because of her Klingon half kicking in. I guess what potentially muddies the narrative (or at least my version of it) is that she's half Klingon, which puts my suggested reading of it as...him being a social conservative and her being...half a conservative? Or a free love advocate with conservative impulses? It becomes a mess at this point, I guess. I mean, she certainly wanted to be a free love advocate, but is her inability to stick with that a result of the fact that free love isn't really possible, or due to the fact that she secretly wanted marriage too on some level and so free love wasn't really what they were in for, even though it could totally be what others are in for.

Bah, I guess I'll just have to watch it again and see if I get anything new from it.
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Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@ Booming,

Just to be clear, I meant Yoda's scenes with Luke in Empire Strikes back, not in TLJ.

"And if the old Sta Wars movies were so brilliant why was anything else that Lucas made so dumb and shallow?! Red Tails anybody? "

What is Red Tails? The answer to your question, anyhow, is: Marcia Lucas.

"He was a rich white kid who made movies about "gifted" white kids defeating evil. Which is fine but it certainly isn't great art."

There is no way to have relevant dialogue about anything if your basic premise is that anything starring white people can't be meaningful.





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Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

@ Chrome,

"Worf also gets a chance to show how un-Klingon he can be, by going against his original recited statement "Klingon do not bluff!" by actually bluffing within the episode."

I sort of think this part was supposed to show that Worf has compromised a little and taken a page out of K'Ehleyr's book; the more human and non-violent approach to dealing with the Klingons. Rather than show how un-Klingon Worf is, I think the intent of this part is to show that even though he's set in his ways he's open to learning new things as well. The bluffing scene is, I think, supposed to be something new for Worf rather than a way of showing that he thinks that way regularly. So while his values are those of a traditional Klingon he's also adaptable, which he gets from Starfleet. It's not that he isn't one or the other; it's that he's both.

"I always thought of the argument between Worf and K'Ehleyr over marriage as one highlighting how different humans and traditional Klingons view the subject matter in the 24th century."

I mean, yes, literally speaking that's what's happening. But it can hardly be a coincidence that their disagreement is exactly the one in the conservatism vs free love argument in the States. The episode seems to me to be fundamentally about what was at the time contemporary human culture, and if I'm not mistaken (and maybe I am) Worf's position is meant to show the side of social conservatism losing ground and even admitting that it's too set in its ways. K'Ehleyr gets a sort of victory by the end as Worf realizes that her position is just as grounded in conviction as his, and that he does love her, and so by the end I think he bends a little. Not enough to have a relationship without marriage, but enough to begin to realize that her contempt for tradition has more to it than her merely being stubborn. I take from this that the underlying message we're meant to take from it is that on some level the free love movement is "correct" but that it will take conservatives a long time to 'come around.'
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Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

Just try to keep in mind how much had been established by this point in the series. There was so far no such thing as the House of Mogh, and no sense that Worf wasn't a regular-type Klingon. That would only be introduced later. Likewise we hadn't yet seen that Klingons don't tend to live up to what Worf thinks are Klingon traditions. So far the main canon established was that they are warriors, honor the dead, and according to A Matter of Honor, "A Klingon is his work, not his family." That would be retconned later by Ron Moore, but as of this point none of that existed.

I'm pretty sure the writers of this particular one were using Worf and K'Ehleyr to comment on human social values and that their intent wasn't really to explore a new and alien culture. Worf's values are all-too-familiar here on Earth in certain social circles and the argument he and K'Eyleyr have echoes the very foundation of the 'sexual revolution', of which Roddenberry was a huge proponent.
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Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 9:07am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Just Luke's scenes with Yoda alone are sufficient material for an entire book to expound what's in there. Now to be fair a lot of it is based on Yogic theory so realistically you could also go study Indian philosophy to get a lot of it, but I'm inclined to believe that while Lucas lifted much of it from there he added his own touch to it, matching it with the more Western hero's journey (Campbell) and tying them together.

Let's just put it this way: JJ Abrams didn't spend any time studying philosophy in order to make sure he had something of substance to tell the audience.
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Peter G.
Sun, May 13, 2018, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

@ Michael,

I hear you, and that's a good thing to keep in mind. Isolation I might have concluded the same - in fact I used to. But in my recent-re-watch I noticed the ongoing early trend of 'sexual liberty' in TNG and in that context I think this scene fits into it too neatly to be dismissed. While it's true that Worf is being portrayed as a traditionalist, I would argue that at this point in the series his "traditionalism" in regards to marriage is a placeholder for what we currently think of as social conservatism; sex should involve marriage, with K'Ehleyr speaking for the sexual freedom movement. It wasn't until Ron Moore got his hands on the Klingon story writing that we eventually got what we came to know of as Klingon culture. In TNG S1-2 it seems mostly to involve enjoying battle, yelling for the dead, and honor; but we know little else.

Looking back at this ep retrospectively it seems tempting to suggest this is an early instance of us learning about an alien culture, especially with how much we get to know the Klingons starting in Sins of the Father and onward. But seeing it strictly in context of S1-2 I feel like Worf is being used as a mouthpiece for conservatism as we now know it, not some alien sort that has been invented brand new for this episode. I can't be sure of it, but that's my hunch for now.
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Peter G.
Sun, May 13, 2018, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@ Booming,

"But Star Wars was never substantial or deep or anything."

Maybe you just missed the messages.
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Peter G.
Sat, May 12, 2018, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

@ Rahul,

Like I said, it seems that what you take into the episode with you is affecting the interpretation different people have of the episode. I'm 99.99% certain the writers didn't intend what you're saying, and especially not anything to do with communism or the lack of a deity to be some kind of 20th century totalitarianism reference. That said I can certainly see how the colony could be seen as cult-like...from a certain point of view. If you assume a priori that the way they're living is stupid and impossible then of course you'll conclude that the only way they could be brought to live like that is by being duped. Likewise, when Joseph claims to have actually gotten value out of that way of life, you can read it as him being a brainwashed idiot and that nothing he says is of value in itself. Or...you can take Joseph at his word and read the situation as more complex than that. Obviously if you already believe that his position is stupid then you're left to conclude that either he is stupid or he's been tricked. But I see no textual evidence to suggest the writers intended him to be stupid or not to be taken seriously. Likewise I suppose you could also argue that *SPOILER* Eddington ever says later in the series about the Maquis way of life is also B.S. and that no one could honestly believe that or prefer growing food to replicators. And yet we see it *again* in Children of Time, where different ways of living are given good value by the writers and it's not always about technology. So I guess it's up to you whether you want to believe that in each of these cases the people are dumb and their life philosophies are garbage. But I guarantee you that many real world people feel the same way.
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Peter G.
Fri, May 11, 2018, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

@ Rahul,

"good premise for an episode, shedding light on a failed ideology."

I don't think it's clear that that's the premise of the episode. It almost seems to me like the preconceptions of the viewer tend to color their takeaway from this one because some people clearly see it as a cult where the colonists are dupes, to others where it's a legitimate life philosophy but that shouldn't have been forced on them. It seems inescapable that Alixus is wrong - but wrong about what?
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Peter G.
Fri, May 11, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

Chrome pretty much said what I wanted to, but better and more briefly. I never took it as the text of the show that the Prophets had committed a crime against anyone, just that they operate on some level beyond our ken and it undermines are regular sense of how things work - even to the point of "parentage" being non-linear which then beggars the notion of knowing where you come from.
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Peter G.
Fri, May 11, 2018, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

@ William B,

Yeah, that's the case that has to be made: what is "willingness" when it comes to sharing an existence with non-corporeal aliens. That's why I find it hard to brand it as simply "rape" and be done with it, because we're dealing with vague concepts that we don't understand.

Could the prophets communicate to Sarah to obtain consent? What is consent for a being out of time - does it have to be "before the fact"? What if Sarah one day realized how good it was that she had Benjamin and regretted nothing - is that post hoc realization "consent" since the prophets exist outside of time? Or what if "consent" isn't a conscious agreement in this sense but rather that Sarah 'fits' with the prophets in some obscure sense? That she's suited to them?

It's all very hard to parse, of course, and then we could get into the question of whether any of what the Prophets do is "good" in some colloquial sense. Are they 'moral' in some way we'd understand? Or do the ends justify the means for them and they'll do whatever it takes to produce the timeline they want? I could see an argument either way, that their meddling may be beneficient, or rather that perhaps they should be seen as antagonists who toy with the futures of others for their own purposes. Of course, since the 'technology' exists to do what they do, and the alternative are clowns like the pagh wraiths, maybe it's for the best that the Prophets are the ones driving the DeLorean.
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Peter G.
Fri, May 11, 2018, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

Anyhow, "rape" isn't even an accurate description. That's a term for forced physical/sexual invasion, which wouldn't apply to Joseph since he fell in love with his wife *after* she was possessed. So in his case he was entirely willing. To make the claim of the possession itself being a sort of 'rape' you'd have to demonstrate that she was unwilling, however we have evidence from The Reckoning that the Prophets look for a willing vessel, which would seem to indicate that Sarah was also willing to serve the Prophets in some way. Presumably they'd have known she was willing...because she always had been. That is, there's be no sense of doubt on their part, future/past means nothing to them.
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Peter Swinkels
Thu, May 10, 2018, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: A Fistful of Datas

Okay episode. Amusing but nothing spectacular. The acting didn't bother me.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@ Booming,

"Really?! So the Americans were the Empire and the Vietcong the rebels??
I always thought the fighting was a reminiscence of WW II."

Just my opinion but it seems like it's less about the literal parties involved in the Vietnam war and more about the public image of the American military as being the best thing ever versus the reality on the ground of atrocities committed and politicians so far removed from it that the lives mean nothing to them. I think the core of ANH is Luke pining away to join the Imperial Academy (yeah, that Academy) and later on realizing that the he'd never connected his distaste for the Empire with the fact that military service would mean killing for them. This bitter pill was the basis for a lot of TV in the 70's-80's, including M.A.S.H. and the A-Team.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ William,

It's hard to understand DS9's arc without seeing how it evolved alongside B5. And - I take a liberty saying this - I would suggest to you that you'd be wasting time to re-watch more Trek series when you haven't seen B5 yet. I say this as someone who respects your thoughts, insofar as B5 is something you need to have seen as a sci-fi fan. However I'll preface this by mentioning that while B5 spearheaded purely CGI visual effects a result of these early experiments is that S1's CGI leaves something to be desired. It looks much better in later seasons, but mitigating this issue is that fact that it was operating on a small fraction of Star Trek's budget.

I tend to prevaricate on which I prefer between DS9 and B5, and right now I lean towards B5 but that changes. Actually one of the strong points for DS9 to me is - ironically - Sisko's down-to-Earth real-life type presence, where I really get the feel that these could be real people in a strange situation. B5's characters, while awesome, have more of the mythical quality to them, which to be fair is likely a design intent.
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