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Mertov
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

Chrome, fyi... You piqued my curiosity so I looked at your comments on that board, and I found myself agreeing with most of what you wrote... 4 years ago :)))
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Mertov
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

No. I used neither of those terms, nor did I imply them. But ok...
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Mertov
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

"Ok, call what I write deep dive nitpicking (I'm not entirely sure what that means) but my comments on episodes are my actual opinion. What you wrote here is not your actual opinion. "

Of course. That was the whole point of the exercise, I made that clear twice already. You don't have to defend "The Quickening" (as I made clear above, I agree with Jammer's review). The point was, for the third time, that with the standard of nitpicking imposed on every syllable and second of every shot there, I can shit on any episode of any series, or any series period (ok, I won't repeat it a fourth time, I thought that had been made clear from the beginning).
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Mertov
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 12:00am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

No, remember, the idea was "give me any episode of any series and I can shit on it by applying the same standards of deep-dive nitpicking that you do to a scene, or two, or three" (change a word or two). Go back and read it if you wish.
I did exactly what I promised, applying those standards of nit-picking here. Sorry you expected something else.
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Late To The Party Girl
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi had it right:

"I do not find this kind of cr*p to be either entertaining nor insightful. It may be "Star Trek", but it most certainly does not have the same qualities that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place: The optimism, the intelligence, the open-mindedness, the inspiration to become a better person."

That's the point. Or, at least to me that was the point of Star Trek: it was aspirational in nature - the notion that we could all be better and, just as important, that we should all at least TRY to be better. That was the entertainment factor. The premise didn't always succeed (because naturally the characters were all flawed in one respect or another) and not infrequently got it wrong, but the premise was sound.

What we have in Picard is feather light content wrapped in camera angles and quick cuts designed for some aesthetic sense of "modern" production technique over entertainment - that's why you get no end of quick camera cuts, the gratuitous swearing, torture porn, music that drowns out dialogue and many, many flashing lights). The characters themselves are a sorry group that didn't need to be that way - Picard is a non-entity so far. Villains rise and fall in one episode (but without a story being told) and characters we might at some point come to care about are also dismissed quickly - the housekeepers, Dahj and even Number One for heaven's sake! (Remember Porthos, anyone? A nice subtle character that added to the show.) They raise what could have been an important issue with Raffi and her son out of the blue and drop it without any development. Agnes Jurati you saw coming a mile away (no one is genuinely that clueless). I could go on....

The problem is just that they don't have enough content to fill the allotted time so we are stuck with this long drawn out nothingness that creeps towards something happening hopefully soon- where were the writers? Had this been a movie, we'd be at about the 30 minute mark at this point - not 5 hours down the road. I think the issue here is that they didn't want to start up another Trek series in the episodic format - which, by the way, kept people interested, watching and talking. So, they planned this 10 hour "movie" without enough to fill it.
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Late To The Party Girl
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Brutal show. Worst one yet. Where to begin?

I have commented before that this show features style over content - same again this week and now let's add gratuitous gore to the mix. The filming was choppy as before and the tech isn't good enough to compensate for the lack of genuine plot. Shifting camera angles until I'm slightly nauseous.

Just a few howlers:

- Agnes standing with her back turned whilst Maddox choked out some key facts to Picard in Sick Bah about Dahj/Soji just screamed "I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING BAD TO MADDOX ONCE PICARD LEAVES" and shur 'nuf...

- Picard and Seven have a discussion about humanity - just before Seven vaporizes the bad lady who hurt Icheb

- The whole "cortical node must be there somewhere" - you're telling me that NONE of those machines could scan and detect that there wasn't one???

- One of the worst: Raffi and her abandonment of her child? One attempt to correct that past, she gives up and she's out of there and back on the ship? Substance abuse and recovery raised and rejected in 5 minutes. Appallingly poor writing there to address a serious issue.

- One of the reasons (I think) why Star Trek had such sticking power is because it was aspirational in nature. 5 shows in, and this is as far from aspirational as you get.

- Anyone else notice how Picard really is a minor character so far in the series? In TNG he was clearly in command - here he is just a movable chess piece. That might change going forward, but for now it's a serious disservice to both the character and the actor.

- The scene where they all dress up and go to Free Cloud had all the sophistication and engagement of an impromptu after-dinner skit at a family dinner that no one prepared for or wants to participate in - "I'll be in the skit but ONLY if I get to be the pirate..." Not even the actors believed what they were doing there.

The one bright note I heard this week was that Whoopi Goldberg would be reprising her role as Guinan in PIC series 2.

Jammer's 1.5 stars was generous. I'd give this one a .5. Sigh.
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Robert
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Jammer, I've been on your site for awhile now and I really appreciate your reviews and discussions here. I think a few points in your review are worth discussing this week so I'd like to go ahead and respond to those.

"About that [amputation] scene: It's the most gruesome and off-putting scene in the annals of filmed Star Trek. A scene in which an unidentified man — ultimately revealed to be poor Icheb, who was "like a son" to Seven — has his eyeball drilled and then pulled out of his head with a metal claw as he lies strapped to a table screaming. We're spared only the worst of the worst sights with just-barely-merciful camera framing. So, yes, you have my attention, but for all the wrong reasons."

Much of the Borg assimilation threat, tracing back to The Best of Both Worlds, is the body horror associated with the assimilation process. We've seen Picard face a similar drill to eye, a circular saw to the head, and multiple amputations of various appendages. Granted, that body horror was made for daytime television, but we need to take into account that STP is a sequel to TNG for the audience who grew up on it. It seems natural that they'd have to up the graphic detail for adult eyes to get the same shock of the original Borg assimilation. If they copied the 90s effects verbatim, the now saturated audience would not perceive the process with its original fear factor.

Admittedly, we aren't dealing with Borg assimilation in this scene exactly, rather the fallout from the assimilation process with hungry harvesters in search of Borg parts. Nevertheless, it's all connected to the Borg/synth legacy which this series seeks to explore. To understand the pain of what these ex-Borg are going through here, it helps to see some of that assimilation body horror again.

"(Can someone explain to me why Picard isn't instantly recognized by people who should know who he is, given he's the famous former Locutus of Borg, whom ex-Borg-hunters might be interested in?)"

As far as I know, this is Romulan space, so that should explain why they wouldn't immediately recognize the now recluse Picard. As for why they aren't after Picard generally, the story specifies that Bjayzl is interested not in former Borg, but specifically the parts from former Borg. Seeing as how Picard had all those parts removed, he's not a target, and therefore unimportant.

"But what we get here is depressingly rote. Revenge. Frontier justice. Alien sin cities. Undercover operations with precious little wit and lots of bland scumbags. Stupid nonlinear shifts in the narrative that exist for no reason except to exist."

It's an attempt to capture the frontier aspect of Trek again. DS9 was on the fringes as well and put up with black markets, slave trading, organ harvesting, and rogue Starfleet agents turned Marquis. I agree what we see here is grizzly in a sense, but there's a romantic side to the whole thing that hearkens back to cowboys fighting bandits on the frontier. This all takes place in a collapsed Neutral Zone, not the Federation proper, so there's no reason why this hotbed of space can't be full of unsavory characters who aren't keen on the Starfleet way.

"Then as quickly as we learn Raffi has an estranged family, the scene is over and we're done with it, and she goes back to be with Picard. It's quite the journey for such a tepid, single-scene payoff. (And I realize this may be revisited, but that still doesn't make the strange rhythm of these character beats any better.)"

Here I agree with you 100%. Raffi's scenes with her family don't seem to add up to the dramatic weight foreshadowed in previous episodes. Raffi's story should have been given at least a B plot level of screen time. Maybe they could have trimmed some of the fat from earlier episodes to make it so.

Anyway, for the most part, I'm enjoying this series and have no problem with those who don't. Agree or disagree, I'm looking forward to more STP reviews!
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Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Older Chris:
"I always enjoy the "the old version wasn't any good anyway" defense for the new versions of these things."

Do you? Interesting. I find it somewhat ordinary.

I find it the same as slamming of a new show using the old versions as a starting point, especially when all of its producers and main characters repeatedly insisted that the show and its characters would NOT be like their older versions.
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Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

"Funny how the reviews started on a very positive tone, only to veer off towards ba[d] reviews after a while."

Maybe that's because Jammer addressed the elephant in the room and none of the others would/dared/whatever?
----

Er, no. What elephant anyway? I love Jammer's reviews and although I strongly disagree with his review this time (including the "it ain't Trek" line which is, in and out of itself in great conflict with the paragraph he writes above it), having followed his reviews for years, I fully trust that he evaluates each episode fairly and on on its own merits and he gives each show a fair shake. He is one of the only two episode reviewers that I personally trust (the other on Tor) after having read reviews regularly since the early 1980s. And in his several hundred reviews of episodes, I have yet to read a line where Jammer attacks any fan for their views of Trek, which is a talent many commenters cannot even show for a couple of comments. I have rarely disagreed with Jammer's reviews (this one's a rare case) and I enjoy reading them anyway even if I don't agree with all of it.

The pattern you describe is pretty much with every episode of Discovery and Picard (I believe that is when Jammer began allowing comments before his review was posted). Many people do not have the time to post 20 messages per episode and don't care to. I did this time around (don't know how many but probably the most I ever have), but I don't either usually. Don't read too much into the motivations of people writing. Some people just post 20+ per episode, repeating the same negative or positive points. There is even a poster averaging a dozen or more comments per episode on the episode or the show, without even having watched a single minute of Discovery or Picard.

If Jammer's reviews were considered ex-cathedra as you seem to believe, some of his very positive reviews would then make the negative comments go away for that episode, and that is definitely not the case.
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Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Booming, as you were writing your last post another comment popped up basically saying that people who defend PIC have their brains turned off because there are so many good TV shows out there. Both maaaan, both! And my dad beats your dad :))
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Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:45am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ Skye
Look at the Mike W comment. There are faaaaar more comments from fans of STP insulting the people who are critical.

You missed the one diagnosing those who like it as having a disconnect due to their "curiously malleable mindsets" as a symptom of being "less grounded in their thinking and judgments" as the larger part of the "often cognitively dissonant culture/populace of America."
It's 'both sides' maaaaaaaaan :)))
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Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:37am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Booming, I had nightmares for a while when after I watched "Charlie X" as a youngster, about the woman with no face and Charlie's eyeroll.. Brrrr.... :)
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Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:34am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Enjoy it Booming, hahaha, and I'll enjoy reading your 'scathing' rebuttal whenever it comes up :))))))))
Petulant, it's fine, it was a joke. Far worse language has been used on these message boards.
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Matthew Martin
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

best scenes of the episode were the ones that featured Picard and Seven, sitting next to each other, playing verbal chess. The single best scene this week came at the end, where the two ex-Borg share a moment of solidarity, both acknowledging that, after all these years, they both know a little part of them is still gone. Picard leaves Seven with a hopeful word, in true Picard fashion, telling her that they keep getting that little part of their humanity back, a piece at a time, every day.

Seven then beams back to the planet and murders the villain of the week.

Picard's still searching for his little missing piece of humanity; Seven seems to be chipping away at what's left of hers. That's great, great, great, stuff and I wish the whole show was that good. After episode one, I was left with the impression that this would be a return to Star Trek being a show that loved pondering ideas, debating morality, and resolving conflicts. Halfway through the first season and that feeling has yet to reappear except in little, fleeting, glimpses like we had with Seven/Picard.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Dom,
Fair. I like those shows too. Check out Counterpart if you get the chance. Good sci-fi, but set on earth, parallel-universe tale.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Nolan,
Are doing a study on that and writing a paper or something? If so, I'd love to read it once finished.

Dom,
I totally understand and I can identify with that since that is what I would have done too (now I understand why I didn't see you around much during S2). If you ever get the urge, I'd recommend you give S2 a shot, it was clearly better and tighter than S1, may even be better in binge format, I imagine.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Alright Booming, we'll see. By the way, carried out my "The Quickening" promise to you, feel free to check it out whenever you find the time ;)
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

Explanation for what is to follow at the very end…

----------------------------------------

Interesting premise bogged down by the most idiotic execution possible.

Let’s begin with the stupid, numb-nut opening scene.
Four or of our main characters talking about the juvenile song by Quark and scolding the designated little kid of the show. He tempered with the station’s comp systems, WHOOP-DE-DOO!!! Like he’d never done that before. Odo says it’s a class-3 offense (whatever that means, this is juvenile comedy, not meant to go deep or explore statements). Quark does shit like this every episode just so we can have the weekly Quark-Odo childish spat going on for 96 episodes now. And that Odo threat about a class-whatever offense is supposed to scare Quark? Such a pointless line that nobody even cares. Move on. After four years, writers lack originality, or even adult intelligence to come up with a better Odo-Quark interaction.

Oh but wait, the “class-3 offense” is supposed to work with… wait for it… the Magistrate! Oooooooooo, now Quark is scared. Who the hell is the Magistrate, who the hell knows? It doesn’t matter, this is DS9 slapstick humor. Just know that Quark is supposed to get some verdict from the Magistrate and that scares the hell out of him, not that you will see any remnants of this process with the magistrate due to a stupid song will be heard at any moment in any future DS9 episode, because, DS9 writers. What is the value of Odo’s threat other than a stupid line injected into a totally dumb-ass scene with zero relation to the rest of the episode in tone and topic? Less than zero. Way to begin what is supposed to be a very serious episode with an oafish, low-IQ scene, denigrating four main characters further.
Oh, of course, let’s please not forget Kira grabbing Quark by the collar and verbally abusing him. Are we supposed to pretend it has any effect? Quark doesn’t. I wouldn’t either after I’ve seen it zillion times, but this is a TV show, so he will fake caring for the sake of stupid!

Then, comes in Worf, who ordered a glass prune juice from the replicator and gets Quark’s free-refill mug, and this is why he appears at all in this episode. Is this what DS9 has reduced Worf to now? A mighty Klingon getting his feelings hurt and joining the regular bi-weekly (being generous) dose let’s-shit-on-Quark parade led by Odo? Way to crap on a great TNG character, unimaginative, pathetic writers of DS9.

When Dax and Bashir arrive to the planet and walk through the village, some dude has his arm rigidly lifted at a 90-degree angle continuously points his finger right to their faces as he approaches them, passes them by and goes to sit down with a buddy. What the hell is that? Does Auberjenois not realize as the director how oafish that looks? Did he tell the dude to do that? It looks stoooopid.

Once they begin talking to the villagers, more gratuitous dialogue happens. Dax gets transportation to the hospital because she gave a hairclip to that one lady. The lady has access to transportation but not to a hairclip. Whatever.

There’s then a guy who comes to Trevean’s place and says that it’s the first time he slept in bed in his life. First time he had worn clean clothes and bathed in hot water. He looks, in human years, about mid-30s I suppose, so I am supposed to believe for around 35 years, his body NEVER felt hot water and NEVER put on clean clothes. Trevean has access to hot water and clean clothes that he continuously deprives the villagers of for three-plus decades? Yeah, OKAY.

Never mind that Trevean considerably looks older than everyone else and has yet to catch the blythe and ZERO explanation is provided by the writers because they were too busy coming up Worf’s prune-juice temper-tantrum or the fascinating world of Magistrates and verdicts that we never get to see!

200 years ago, these people were as advanced as humans (Trevean says so) and the Jem’hadar destroyed their world. So, for two centuries, they had a distress call out and nobody had been to find a cure, yet our Bashir will. Two centuries, and nobody helped them? Do writers even know how long two centuries are? 60 years, I may have bought it. 200 years? No thanks. But of course, it makes it that much more dramatic that “our” Starfleet hero will find something! By the way, why would the Jem’hadar not use that distress call as a chance to catch other aliens anyway? Not a word said about that, no explanation. Yes, I know, the writers are too busy.

It’s obvious that these people don’t want help and Bashir’s presence obviously causes some serious disturbance, and yet, nobody touches him or gets rough with him, because we are in the safe-zone of Berman trek. Trevean even tells the tale of many people having come for help before and how they exploited them, leaving with their clothes and food, etc. Yet, these people are not *that* hostile to Bashir – even after his efforts cause a dozen of them to die in writhing agony – other than a few bad staring contests (oh, and let’s not forget that guy with the goofy-ass finger-pointing in total silence for seconds as he approaches them, passes by, and walks away).

I could immediately tell that some people were going to believe Julian, and that he would fail at first and end up in a so-called more difficult position, but ultimate emerge as the hero who rises up to find some level of greatness from an impossible situation. Because, the writer is a long-time TNG writer where everything resets every episode, our heroes remain spanking clean and (almost) perfect. Also, how cliché that the baby of the pregnant woman gets saved (at least). And worry not, planet inhabitants, “the” Bashir will continue to keep looking for a cure for you, after having saved your children, the episode makes sure we know that with the closing scene.

In the meantime, nice commanding decision by Kira to leave Bashir and Dax for a whole week alone on the planet in a very unsafe environment. Jem’hadar may stop by and hurt them, the locals may get violent toward them. Ah, but no problem, Dax can continue to trade hair clips for transport, and other planet-like privileges.

How long was Bashir gone from the station? At least two months I believe. Not a very busy station, I suppose, this DS9 station is, not that we are IN THE MIDDLE of the Dominion war or anything, or not that DS9 plays a MAJOR role in that war or anything. Oh no, no worries at all!! Just like that, Bashir can take two months off. Also, let’s please not send Bashir any help for two months, leave him alone in a hostile environment, with limited equipment and no medical assistants. It’s not like the lives of a whole planet-population are in danger or anything (!!)

-----------------------------------------

Folks, that was an exercise in nit-picking, nothing more.
Don’t take it too seriously. Some of what you read may be true, but it’s all about nitpicking, nothing more. I agree with Jammer’s review 100%, this episode is strong. In fact, I am thankful to another member of the board for motivating me to watch this episode again (probably for the 5th or 6th time).

But if my intention was to shit all over it, with endless nitpicking, that was what that exercise would have looked look like.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

James White:

@Mertov

I bet a good number of people on this forum will not watch DSC Season 3. And, if things continue to devolve, quality-wise, for PIC, then many on this forum will not tune in for Season 2.
-------------

James,

I bet not (will happily take you on for a beer, or a beverage of your choice :)) Many who loathed DSC in season 1 (and Picard, before even the series started) are still here every week. I'll bet you a beer they will still be around every week the rest of the season, every week in Season 2, every week in DSC season 3, and beyond.

What you're describing actually makes total sense, in that if one loathes a TV show with a passion they would stop watching it and move on to something else instead of putting aside that much time and effort per week on show they loathe. That is at least what I do, and I don't even have to loathe it with a passion. If a TV show is not to my liking or does not grab my attention enough, I move on to the next show, there are zillions of choices. This addiction to hate-watching and writing about it is something completely unfamiliar to me.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

"Why should I continue to watch a grim and bloody show when I already have BSG and The Expanse???"

Oh but you will Booming ;).
If these boards are any indication of how Trekkies who loathe a Trek show with a passion continue to still put aside one hour (at least) of their time every week to watch it, and probably another hour or more, also every week, to put into writing (sometimes in essay form) their loathe for the show, for a total of two hours or more per week of their time, then yes, you will ;)
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Trent:
"Mertov said: "I really don't care what Todd or Abrams said or their opinions of one another. Neither are an authority.""
Nope, That's not what I said. If you're going to quote me, you should do it correctly. You just did what I said to Booming a bit earlier.

Booming:
Got it. And yes, like I said, I agree with most of your post including the comparison you just mentioned (not all, Drea is right about nobody starving or being homeless).
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

"If the portrayed Federation is a utopia then I don't want to know what a dystopia looks like for you."

Booming, did Drea say that? "Federation is utopia"? Or did she have a nuance to that statement that gets lost if you transfer it only as "Federation is utopia"?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with most of your post, but I am against the idea of taking a few words out of a larger sentence or picking a quote or two out of a whole and misrepresent what someone says for the sake of argument.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Trent,
I really don't care what Todd or Abrams said or their opinions of one another. Neither has any bearing on my enjoyment of Picard nor related to its production, nor do they have any authority on the show.
My original remark about Voyager being safe and episodic stands.
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Artymiss
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Reading these comments makes me very glad I stopped watching Picard half way through the first episode.
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Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:52am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Tim C,

I agree with you completely. I would have zero interest now in a rehashing of the safe, episodic format of TNG or VOY (that had to live with the restrictions of network ratings, which, thankfully, the new shows do not have to). Would I watch it? Sure, at least once, because it's Star Trek. Like it? Probably not unless there is some incredible storytelling. Will I label its fans "supposed" Trekkies or "cynical" or any other name because they happen to like what I don't? Absolutely not.

Star Trek is a setting (that is not a definition either, like Tim C. says, anyone who claims to know what it is, is lying) and within this setting there are many adventures/crews to follow. One may like some and not like others (ex: Enterprise for me), but regardless, they are all parts of Star Trek.
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