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R.
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 4:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

Technical question: Is conventional warp drive much, much faster in 'Discovery' than in the older series? Those red flashes are spread across a thirty thousand light year radius which, even at warp 9.975 (the maximum cruising speed observed across the previous shows and movies), would require a travel time of around thirty years to travel between two flashes at opposite sides of the galaxy - and that's discounting travelling to multiple flashes along the way

I'm just confused as I thought they would definitely be using the spore drive to travel across such vast distances?
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Jason R.
Sat, Dec 22, 2018, 6:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

I should add that interestingly, DS9 addressed this issue in a different context - when Quark was selling weapons and was shunned by his friends.

But here's the difference - Quark valued his relations with his friends and was in some ways $$$ing in tneir own backyard. They weren't condemning something he did in the past like Garak or what kind of person he was in an abstract sense.

And because he was already their friend, they had an influence over him that Bashir would never have with Garak.
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Jason R.
Sat, Dec 22, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

There are some people I would not want to associate with, even casually - not because they are immoral or even evil, but because proximity to them could be physically or morally dangerous. A Tony Soprano type, for example. Someone like that is a vortex that sucks even casual acquaintences into his criminal sphere, so you wouldn't want him frequenting your business or be seen having lunch with him.

Garak doesn't really belong in that category. But as Peter alluded to, I get the sense that some of the people claiming to not want to associate with types like Garak are doing so due to a moral objection (who the person is) not due to some direct or indirect threat that person poses to you.

This is what I don't get. It isn't immoral to associate with immoral people. Having lunch with even a nazi doesn't make you a nazi especially if you are not aiding their negative enterprises.

Moral condemnatation of such characters is meaningless and futile. Shunning is equally worthless as a technique to reform. So the idea that you must shun them seems, frankly, irrational - more self-righteous than anything.

Not saying you have to associate with such people. But if you are otherwise compatible and find the company pleasant, absent some threat to your safety, why wouldn't you take the relationship on whatever level you find profitable? Maybe you'll learn something from them.

This kind of thinking leads to blue restaurants and red restaurants - ideological segregation. I personally find that depressing and caustic to our social wellbeing.
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Jason R.
Fri, Dec 21, 2018, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

Springy you are a bit like my wife in that you seem to have an aversion to interacting with someone you deem morally suspect. By contrast, unless I thought someone posed a threat I wouldn't rule out cultivating a relationship with such a person. You can be friends with someone without approving of their lifestyle.
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Jason R.
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 11:34am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Waltz

Chrome Dukat's status as a cult leader is completely consistent with his earlier characterizations. It is him reliving his fantasy version of the occupation where the Bajorans acknowledge his benevolence - Kira even says this.

As for the Pah Raiths, I see them as a means to an end. They do not supply the motivation. His motivation is clearly established in Waltz which in turn flowed logically from his previously established character traits of narcissism and rage on rejection.
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Jason R.
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 7:08am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

That this was never so much as mentioned in all of Trek save one or two oblique references in TOS and DS9 tells you alot about how we feel about Democracy here in the west where Trek was born.

That no one in the history of Trek has ever alluded to elections, voting, or any aspect of civilian political life, despite allegedly existing in a democracy is quite telling.

Does Picard vote? I guess not.

I think Rodenberry and his successors considered politics, especially in a democracy, inherently dirty, unworthy of a utopian future. Yet no one could conceive of a palatable alternative so they just swept that whole concept under a rug. There is another good reason why Trek always focused so much on Starfleet, a military system. Democracy is messy, sometimes ugly and ever so human - the antithesis of the Trekkian vision of the future (at least according to Roddenberry I think)
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Jason R.
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

Well every series to date has focused on Starfleet which is a military organization, not a democracy. DS9 was the first series that had a few true civilians as regulars (Quark, Garek etc....) but even that show was largely focused on starfleet.

But funny you mention it, it occurred to me: do we know that the Federation *is* a democracy? Has there ever been a single reference to voting or elections? I am drawing blank.

I guess political campaigning and those machinations would spoil Rodenberry's perfect future.
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Jason R.
Mon, Dec 17, 2018, 8:13am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Waltz

I was watching Return to Grace the other day and admired the nuances of Marc Alamo's performance. I loved how even as he did a seemingly noble thing in sacrificing his career for his daughter, everything really was all about him. His description of his fall from grace to Kira is so manipulative.

He even used that love for his daughter as a tool to draw Kira closer into his orbit. Although this is strictly my head canon, I highly doubt that Dukat being chosen for this mission was co-incidence. Dukat undoubtedly volunteered for the assignment. He needed to show Kira what he had sacrificed, to see her with his daughter and how noble he was. The entire situation was a setup - a delicious opportunity to feed his ego.

Indeed, I'm also convinced that his decision to permit Zial to stay with Kira was another subtle manipulation, a means to keep Kira joined with him, connected despite her revulsion at his advances.

Dukat has always been an immensely self-serving manipulator. His characterization never really changed, even when it was shown he was capable of affection, even love.

I don't see his behaviour in Waltz as cartoonish or detached from his prior characterizations. The Bajoran people rejected him, which for an egotist like Dukat was an unacceptable slight. Like an abusive husband who chooses to kill his family rather than let his wife leave him, Dukat turned homicidal when he realized the Bajorans would never affirm him as he sought (with Sisko as their placeholder). For someone like him, true rejection was an unforgiveable slight.

The scale of his fury may have been grander than a garden variety family annihilator, but that's just because Dukat had so much greater means in his position and with his abilities. Hate is hate.

To me Waltz isn't a break from Dukat's previous characterization, but the affirmation of it. I agree with Peter that in Waltz we see who Dukat was all along.
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Jason R.
Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

"No, that's Star Trek for you pretty much from the get go. ... and least since TMP. "

I gotta disagree. In most of Star Trek from TOS through to Voyager, the stakes were rarely so grand as the whole galaxy. Indeed, in TNG with a couple of exceptions (eg: the borg) even the Federation was not really at stake in most episodes.

The same holds true for most of the movies by the way, although I tend to give movies a pass on this because there is a tendency to want to up the drama factor with a film.

But I agree with the previous commentator that a galaxy ending threat is tiresome for a series. Certainly that's not how the best trek series approached things. It would be nice if Trek could get back to some exploration, some wonder. They had a drive that could take them *anywhere* in season 1 of Discovery and as near as I could tell, they went *nowhere* and discovered nothing.
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Jason R.
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 8:39am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

Each Admiral always seems like an emperor in each episode. How many admirals are there anyway? Were they all going along with this coup?

So little about it makes sense. Why would the rest of starfleet go along with this? What makes this guy think for a second they would just fall in line?

This coup has more holes in it than Sela's hare brained plan to conquer Vulcan.
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Jason R.
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 8:31am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: One

So this subnucleonic radiation sails right through the shields and hull but stops at the 2 inch thick tin plated stasis pods. Ummmm.... why? Who cares if the pods are on separate life support systems. It's radiation - it"s not in the air, it is going right through the hull.

And I love how Tuvok has to painfully and slowly stagger over to Tom's station to punch in the coordinates manually while everyone is being bbq'd. Why don't you just tell the computer to reverse course verbally? We even see Seven giving verbal course corrections to the computer later in the episode!

And at the end Seven cuts life support with just 11 minutes to exit the nebula and.... instantaneously starts suffocating? Ummmm.. the giant starship doesn't have 11 minutes worth of air and heat. You cut life support and BAM she's sucking vacuum?
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Jason R.
Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

I find it hard sometimes to put myself back in the frame of mind I was in when these shows were on the air and I was in my teens. Certainly I realize I was very forgiving back then. As bad as TNG season 1 seems to my adult eyes, to my eyes as a child it was still worth watching religiously. Of course by Season 3 and Best of Both Worlds there was no question - I was hooked. Saturday nights were TNG nights and I am certain I watched the entire series as it aired, perhaps with a few exceptions where I simply couldn't watch it or tape it.

Reflecting on DS9 and Voyager it's hard now to summon memory of more than an overall impression. DS9 was boring to me when I watched it and I feel I must have skipped most of its original airing. Voyager I probably watched more of, ironically, in its original airing. It was OK.

But going into my twenties there is little doubt as I caught up on both these series that Voyager's star certainly fell as DS9's rose. The characters on Voyager never really clicked for me. And by that point in my life, strictly episodic TV without a grander story was just no longer good enough. Shows like Babylon 5 and DS9 (after a couple seasons) spoiled me in that way. Even TNG seemed behind the times in this regard, although in retrospect, the amazing actors and characters (chiefly Stewart) elevated it even as Voyager just sunk like lead in my eyes with its bland characters, ridiculous technobabble reliance, and lazy reset switch forgettable plots.

For me, Voyager was the moment when Trek started to go wrong. With the exception of maybe Scorpion it was the first Trek show that lacked truly compelling can't miss episodes.

By Enterprise my patience was just not what it was. I watched maybe four episodes and that was that.
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Jason R.
Mon, Dec 3, 2018, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

"They would know that this wasn't him being executed, which surely defeats the purpose?"

It was established throughout DS9's run that the Cardassian state constantly deceived its populace and the people knew it. In Season 7 this was made explicit when it was said that the people refused to believe D'Mar had died.

Enough people would believe it that it would have made an impact. The more the state denied it the more people would believe it.
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Jason R.
Fri, Nov 30, 2018, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

I think Peter is right. If you walk into a hospital nursery and just steal a baby and the raise it for the next 5 years as your own, I don't think there's any debate where the child ends up when the cops catch you. Even if you are a lovely parent and the child really would be better off with you - it's not staying with you.

I've always felt since studying family law, that the "best interests of the child" standard is one that's been fraught with bias, and resulted in highly self-serving conclusions. Since both sides inevitably claim *their* position is in the child's interest, and since the determination is so subjective (a child may have many overlapping interests - the need for stability versus the need for a relationship with both parents etc...) what you end up with seems less an objective determination and more an ideological exercise.
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Jason R.
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

So tedious. Half the episode was spent on these lame special effects. Meanwhile the concept is ridiculous. A man has a mass of what, 90 kg? That much matter meeting an equal quantity of antimatter would be insanely destructive but it would hardly blow up the universe.
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Jason R.
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath

Chrome, I should explain what I meant by "easy" in this context. I don't mean to suggest that Picard's actions were easy in the sense that they required no personal courage or sacrifice in any sense. Obviously surving torture, choosing to destroy the ship rather than submit to inhumane experiments etc. are all difficult things requiring tremendous integrity and conviction.

But I'm talking about a *moral* sacrifice here. I am saying that Picard's choices are easy in the sense that they don't require him to sacrifice his principles the way Sisko does in ITPM. Picard choosing to endure torture rather than surrender, or blowing up the ship rather than submit to experiments, affirm his own personal sense of morality. He may lose his crew or his life, but for a man like that (and Starfleet officers) those are acceptable stakes and indeed, it is what they signed up for.

If Picard had chosen to let Nagolim kill half the ship to save the rest, or if he had chosen to use Hue as a weapon against the borg, that would have been a true sacrifice for a man like Picard.

Why didn't he? Because the show never really permitted us to test that resolve with stakes that could truly move the needle. Would Picard have let Hue go if he knew the Federation would be assimilated as a result, if the wolves were really at the door and a cube was on its way to Earth?

Picard was a man who captained the flahship of the Federation, set policy, had a huge role in its strategic operations and policy, yet somehow got away with never sullying his own conscience, never having to compromise his personal integrity for a greater good. I just don't buy that.

Unfortunately, TNG always cheated, refusing to really put a man like Picard's feet to the fire the way Sisko was. In ITPM there is no doubt in my mind that Sisko made the right choice. I agree with Sisko that one officer's self respect was a small price to pay. Picard, in my view, got off lightly in TNG.



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Jason R.
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 5:36am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath

The problem with TNG is that outside perhaps one episode (I Borg, to be specific) Picard's choices were never all that hard, at least as I always saw it. Doing the right thing, by 24th century Picardian standards, is relatively easy when you're the captain of a Galaxy Class starship at the vanguard of an interstellar federation that is simultaneously virtuous and all-powerful.

Most of Picard's moral dilemmas entailed choosing the sacrifice of strangers (Pen Pals, Symbiosis, the one with Worf's Brother...) or alternatively, the sacrifice of crewpeople where in the end it isn't even necessary and the price need not be paid (eg Justice, When the Bough Breaks).

In the Pale Moonlight, and to a lesser extent, Paradise Lost, are rebukes of that fraudulent TNG era Roddenberry morality where humans are supposedly *better* yet where that concept is never tested. Saints in paradise is right.

The irony with Silicon Avatar is that I don't even think it should have been much of a dilemma. The Enterprise could have blasted the entity to pieces with its phasers any time it pleased. They were either going to convince it to behave or destroy it. Picard's position was not all that radical.

I Borg should be the much more controversial episode. That should have been Picard's ITPM moment. But since he never had to pay the piper and take responsibility for his decision (the Borg were transformed by Voyager into villain of the week cartoons) he once again got away with being the Saint but dodging the lion's jaws.
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Jason R.
Thu, Nov 8, 2018, 5:25am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

"But indeed, control of one's thoughts is something to be striven for. By this I mean doing one's best to eliminate violent, immoral, and otherwise improper thoughts. The fact that this does not happen in the world around us is a real shame and the increase in violence is the sad result. Such things as violent videogames, television, and other "entertainment" (I use the word in quotes as it is anything but) is sadly condoned and again, the results speak for themselves"

Control of one's thoughts and emotions is indeed something to be strived for. But if it is your desire to have the state enforce this control through authoritarian means, then that is where most are going to part ways with you.

Indeed, assuming such technology existed, it would only be adopted society wide through the use of force. To think otherwise is utopian.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Boomer maybe we don't even disagree after all. You seem to be implying that CBS is selling the family silver to pay its rent for the month. In other words out of desperation. Cam't say I disagree.

And if they really think they are going to compete with Netflix? Then they're insane.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

"And as I pointed out 10 years ago Trek was basically a dead brand which still had value as a cultural phenomenon. In other words. Everybody knows Spock."

You're wrong on several points. First, Star Trek wasn't a "dead" brand. Dead brands don't have legions of fans writing fiction, attending conventions, playing card games, reading novels etc...

That was Star Trek's magic and its value. Movies would come and go, TV shows would rise and fall, but Trek was immortal.

It was never about mere recognition as you imply i.e. everyone knows Spock. That was exactly the wrong conclusion to draw. I am not discounting the value of name recognition, but that was only a fraction of the Trek brand's true value.

I will concede my retail analogy is not perfect, but it is a stark lesson in business of the dangers of diluting a brand beyond recognition. The masses are fickle. Those who fight in those murky waters for a true mass audience had better be titans, because not many are going to thrive.

Can CBS turn Trek into mass entertainment? Is that the optimal use of *this* brand? Maybe if you want to goose the stock price for a couple years so Mr. CEO can get his quarterly bonus. Is it a long term strategy to effectively stripmine Trek? I just don't see it.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 8:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Ubiq I agree completely that if it's good, that is, in some ways, all that matters. In theory if you made a Star Trek slapstick comedy a la Pink Panther, and it genuinely as funny as Pink Panther, it should be successful. But what are the odds of that happening?

Going back to my retail example, Coach could start producing $7,000 purses and go toe to toe with Prada and Chanel - but would they want to? Even if they could succeed on quality, on marketing, on rebranding, would it make any sense? Would it be an optimal use of resources?

Brands are investments. They are packed with value in terms of built-in audience, good will, expectations. When CBS purchased the rights to Trek, it paid for that package. So what sense does it make to wipe the slate clean and start over? Commercially, it makes no sense at all. If Trek isn't Trek, then what did CBS buy?
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 6:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Booming, these things are cyclical. I'm reminded of how branding goes in retail. A company like Coach has a brand name that stands for luxury, exclusivity. They have a loyal following. Someone logically says let's open many more stores, sell at outlets to the masses. It works, for a while. But over time, everyone has a coach purse. Everyone is buying that $400 purse for 50% off and before you know it Coach isn't luxury anymore - it's cheap trash. And the masses? They've moved on. And now Coach has a hard time going back because they've trained their customers to think of their purses as bargain bin merchandise. They killed their golden goose.

Netflix is a behemoth that burns through cash producing buckets of programming, most of it godawful, with just enough quality shows to keep people subscribing. It remains to be seen if that business model is sustainable in the long term.

CBS will never compete with Netflix on Netflix's terms, nor should it try. CBS thinks that it can leverage Trek (the Coach brand of its lineup) by making it all things for all people. Come see Trek on sale, 50% off! Trek for less! Trek comedy, Trek drama, Trek for all! Trek on every TV.

We'll see what happens in the long run, but I think turning Trek into a mass market brand a la Star Wars is a mistake. I think CBS, like Coach, will end up with neither the niche exclusive market, nor the mass market. They'll just be nowhere.
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Mr. Gene Dynarski
Tue, Oct 23, 2018, 9:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

A truly inspired episode. The premise of Kirk being responsible, though indirectly for introducing a death sentence to an entire world is thought provoking. Also, the trick with giving the wrong beam down coordinates was a nice add- on to the story.
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

I agree with Peter about world-building but I wanted to hone in on that point. What is world-building? What does it mean? I think it refers to a kind of storytelling that implies that things are going on in the background, that this universe has a vitality beyond just what is shown on the screen. That even if something is left unexplained on screen, it is *explicable* on its own terms.

Little details about how big or small an operation Bespin was in ESB, the Huts being described as gangsters and criminals outside of imperial control in PM, or slavery being illegal in the Republic but practiced out on the rim in TPM, the Senate being dissolved in ANH, the great library in AOTC, droids not being allowed in bars, Mos Eisley being a hive of scum and villainy...

None of these references are even necessary to the story in their respective movies and are at best tangental to the plot, but they contribute to the sense that stuff is happening behind the scenes, that not everything that matters in the universe is on camera.

In TFA I can scarcely think of a single plot element or reference that isn't directly a part of the main plot. Hell even basic elements of the universe that are fundamental to the plot are sketched in the most rudimentary detail. What the hell is the First Order? What is Hosnian Prime, the planet that gets destroyed? What happened to the Republic fleet? Who or what is Snope?

I guess the closest we get is the casino planet in TLJ which seems to have *no connection* to the plot at all. Even there, I can't even understand what I was watching - it felt like a half-assed social statement about income inequality awkwardly grafted into Star Wars. It had nothing to do with anything that had come before and I doubt we'll see or hear about it again.
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 10:53am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

"I'm really confused by your reply. In what way was "my little green friend" a reference to anything we had seen prior? What exactly was the relationship between Palpatine and Yoda? Did he ever refer to him as his "little green friend" during their political meetings? I don't get it."

I'm confused by your confusion. Did I suggest this one comment was about their prior relationship? I just thought it was a fun quip punctuating a moment between two great characters. I love how in that scene after putting Yoda on his green ass with a bolt of lightning Palpatine just raises up his arms in total joy, as if mugging for an applause. It's just a moment of tremendous satisfaction and a rare glimpse of hubris in a character who previously was all business and didn't really express a ton of emotion or egotism.

But you know, scratch that - I think this line (and the scene) was about their relationship after all.

Palpatine did have a pretty significant relationship with Yoda. The two were political colleagues for years. We did have scenes where Palpatine and Yoda are together and Palpatine even defers to him. Yoda was the grandmaster of the Jedi, the wisest, the strongest and Palpatine just knocked him on his green ass, after outwitting him, killing most of his friends and taking over the government. For Palpatine, this had to be the cherry on the sundae. Yoda even saw the lightning bolt coming and couldn't even block it.

Yeah, I'd say this was extremely personal for these two characters. But even if you ignore that subtext and just call it a fun quip, it's a great scene because McDiarmitt just oozes personality and character. He sells it.

On the topic of TLJ I don't really recall much about the battle with Kylo and Luke so I can't say if it was good or bad. I just remember being so disappointed that Luke wasn't even there, and that he just died - arbitrarily. I didn't much care about the Resistance at this point because their survival meant nothing to me so his "sacrifice" (why did he die again?) was a pointless diversion of little consequence. They should have just had Rey fight him at that point. Who needs a Jedi Master anyway when Rey could just do it herself?

I didn't care about the First Order either because apart from Ren, they were just a bunch of clowns whose leader was played as a buffoon (General Nazi or whatshisname)

Yeah, again, no idea what was so appealing about any of those battles.
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