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MisterWooster
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

I've been cruising these comment threads for a few weeks now, silently.

I didn't have a fully crystallized way to put my thoughts down in a way that didn't come across as dismissive or confrontational.

I've apparently been enjoying Discovery much more than, it seems, most of the commenters here. I think, despite its flaws (which it definitely has), AND despite the immense amount of behind-the-scenes chaos that _absolutely_ impacted the first 2-3 episodes (and thereby the rest of the show), that Discovery is walking a hugely difficult tightrope - of network expectations, fan expectations, Trek legacy, AND the fact that TV has evolved SO MUCH in the twenty years since its TV heyday - and it's walking that tightrope with an overall high rate of success.

What I lacked before today was this: syfy.com/syfywire/how-star-trek-discovery-is-challenging-my-understanding-of-my-own-fandom

The link above is a SyFy Network blogger, who is wrestling with her own ingrained expectations of what Star Trek "has to be," and how - or whether - Discovery fits into them. AND, most importantly, how that reckoning has affected, and will continue to affect, week-to-week, her enjoyment of the show.

It comes around to an argument that the main point of friction is an uncertainty - uncertainty about what to expect from the very fabric of the show, and the continuity of characters and settings, from one episode to the next.

And this expectation is being both explicitly and implicitly cited by commenters here as reasons why Discovery is "terrible".

"We don't have a clear crew manifest yet - we don't even know who the Chief Medical Officer is."

"Lorca isn't an appropriate captain - he's anti-science/untrustworthy/probably crazy."

"The writers made a character say something that doesn't fit within the purest of Trek 'ideals', therefore they - the writers - must not believe those ideals are important and how dare they presume to write Star Trek."

What we have in DISCO is a Trek that doesn't adhere to the "8ish or so Senior Officers Going on Adventures" template, and the reason behind that is: That Template No Longer Works In 2017TM.

We're seeing it tried, right now, in parallel, with The Orville. The Orville is, unabashedly and transparently, TNG2017 + Seth Macfarlane Penis JokesTM. And what ORV demonstrates, above all else, is that the straight Trek 8OfficersOnAdventures template is two decades out of date. The only thing making ORV watchable and enjoyable, insanely enough, is the slightly jagged edge that Macfarlane's crass humor brings to the table. It's like someone took unproduced TNG scripts and is MST3King them for $2-3 million bucks a pop. MSTNG3K. ORV shows, with unfailing consistency, that the rigid, moralist, 90s-pastel-shaded planet-of-the-week stories are simply not capable of sustaining themselves in the TV/entertainment climate of the 21st century.

The fact that a solid plurality of people, here, on a supposed STAR TREK fan review site, are more comfortable with ORV's brand of mediocre-if-well-meaning, off-the-shelf stories than with Discovery's admittedly more challenging view of Trek's core values, is LOONEY TUNES to me.

Star Trek, from the beginning, was about pushing at boundaries. TOS put social issues in the faces of people wholly unaccustomed to seeing them. Other series kept this up, and adapted where they had to as Trek itself became an elder statesman and society grew alongside.

But now, after more than 50 years, the thing that most needs pushing at - if it is to maintain ANY relevance at all - is Trek itself. Latter series (VOY, ENT) struggled to do new things under a template that had been churning out episodes weekly for almost 20 years.

DISCO is acknowledging that and stepping, one might even say BOLDLY GOING, into the logical future. As the post I linked mentioned, the creators and writers know that to actually, effectively, examine the real "ideals" of Trek, on television, in 2017, they need to push at them, challenge them, look at them from an angle (a damaged heroine serving under an imperfect captain) that has never been explored before.

And the sheer volume of resistance to that idea that I see here, again, on supposed FAN sites, is staggering. And so, so disheartening.

There seems to be an instant equating of "writing I don't like" with "bad writing." (Discovery is not badly written - it is opaque, and not always super-tight, but on balance it is a very well written and executed show.) These are not the same thing. And again, on a site supposedly filled with people inspired by the ideas of curiosity and openmindedness that Trek teaches, it's sad.

And that's not even engaging with the HUGE bulk of comments - here and elsewhere, including on the post linked above - that show an even more fundamental closed-mindedness that gets as ticky-tacky as "Pff, spore drive? That's stupid, I won't watch" or "Holodecks don't exist yet". I realize that the nitpicky nerd is essentially a subculture that Trek FULLY created in the first place, but for a group that is so proud of its supposed intelligence and tolerance, we Trek nerds seem to get AWFULLY defensive when a new idea we don't like gets injected into our make-believe stories. (In before the "but Trek was always faithful to science" rebuttals - Trektechnology is sci-fi magic and anyone who tries to draw threads to real science as an ACTUAL reason judging the quality of fiction is only trying to justify their own love of make-believes stories to themselves for some reason.)

DISCO is trying, and succeeding (mostly) to drag Trek - and its longtime fans - into the 21st century. But if, as many here seem to be, you are fundamentally unable to allow your own expectations to be flexible enough to see that, go watch The Outrageous Okona or Silicon Avatar again, for the 75th time. The Trek you supposedly love hasn't gone anywhere. It'll always be there - in the past. But over here, where Trek is going, and has to go to continue to evolve and be relevant, we're going to be watching, and enjoying, (and debating!) Discovery.
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XanderW.
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Terrible. Just terrible.
I want to like this show, I really do. I want it to succeed and I want to enjoy
and support the franchise that has been an important part of my life ever since
TNG aired. But this? This has nothing which makes it Trek, apart from cosmetics
and the 'wink wink, nudge nudge' references.

I had hoped that this episode would return to what Star Trek really is about, if
only a bit, and that the action-packed premiere was just there to draw in new
fans. Instead, this episode leaves little doubt about the new course they've
set: action, horror, and dumb drama just because everyone is a prick. I could
write a long text about everything I did not like, but I will just refer to
Hank's first comment which sums it up perfectly.

I hope that other people can enjoy this show -- from the comments here it seems
like plenty do -- but for the first time in my life I just do not want to watch
another episode of Star Trek. And that makes me really sad.
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chickwnunderwear
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

This episode inspired this blog post

whatyourdonotknowbecauseyouarenotme.blogspot.com/2015/08/what-would-you-want.html
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KanarWithDamar
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

It's been a long time since Sam posted but you must be smoking some bajoran weed if you thing Brooks is a better actor than Stewart. Maybe you've seen his other film work or something. I haven't. But in ds9 his voice sounds creepy. Sometimes when he's talking to Cassidy he'll almost whisper and sound like a crazy person. Or out of nowhere he'll read his lines like he's in a Shakespeare play. Go back and watch that ep rocks and shoals. Great ep but when they are debating killing the jem hadar he says something like "if it's them or us there is NO CHOICE. He rolls his tongue and sounds so funny you can see colm meaney trying to hold back a laugh.

As for the characters Sisko is the worst captain. What did it is him being fooled by the wormhole aliens into believing they are Gods. Both Kirk and Picard have run into powerful beings who portray themselves as God and sometimes to planets they look over. But Kirk and Picard are never fooled by them. I mean Sisko had to teach the aliens about linear time. The same linear time the bajorans live in. Picard and Kirk would never have been dumb enough to be fooled to
the point of risking their son's life and the life of their crew to allow the aliens to battle it out on their ship. And they definitely wouldn't have abandoned they family and starfleet to join the aliens. Sisko had some great qualities in the early seasons but once the aliens got him to follow them he turns into a trajic figure who also decides to throw away many of his morals for either what he sees as the greater good or for whatever the aliens need him to do. Wow. That was a lot of typing. I will say that quark is a great character though.
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easrwest101
Sat, Jan 25, 2014, 7:22am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Empok Nor

I agree with Jammer on this one, the setup dialogue, sets, lighting etc in the first half are all great but are all wasted with a poorly scripted 2nd half that spirals down a predictable, pedestrian, gruesome and frankly "by the numbers" crew member goes insane path, a waste of the actors time and also seemed to lose all the tension and momentum from the first half. Would be interesting to hear what happened to the script and shooting process to see what happened.
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RW
Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 6:19am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

I enjoyed both movies as good action adventure yarns. I am hoping that future movies will take advantage of the reboot and shake off all the baggage of previous shows. It would be nice if the 5 year mission into uncharted territory really explores uncharted territory (and story lines).
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Darwin Dave
Sun, May 19, 2013, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Is the new film pro US and anti-terrorist?
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Mrwonder?
Mon, Oct 22, 2012, 12:04am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

Why is it that people complain Harry Kim's character never evolves and then on episodes where they work on "Evolving" his character people complain that it was "So obvious" and don't like it?
Go back to previous episodes with Harry Kim as the main plot character and read the forums section and you'll see what I'm talking about.
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darwinawards
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

I absolutely loved DS9, especially once the Dominion War story arc got going.

The writing was excellent and very imaginative. I really enjoyed the characters as well, especially the recurring characters such as Dukat and Garak.

I really hated a couple of things about the series, however.

First is the dreaded Ferengi episodes. I don't think I need to go into detail.

The second is the concept of the Prophets (and pah wraiths), which was absolutely not necessary to the show. DS9 would have worked fine as a show about a space station next to a wormhole in the middle of an intergalactic war. I didn't need to hear the endless babbling from the Bajorans about the Prophets...it grated on me so much that at times I found myself hoping that the Cardassians would re-invade Bajor just to shut them the hell up. The Prophets were absolutely unnecessary. The wormhole itself, which connected distant parts of the galaxy, was interesting enough by itself.

But the writers truly went off the deep end by introducing the pah wraith concept. Why is it necessary to have some unexplained "evil" to serve as an antagonist when you already have an enemy (the Dominion) that has been developed over 3 seasons?

The writers plunged into insanity, however, with Gul Dukat. Dukat was perhaps the most brilliant villain (or tragic hero, depending on how you see him) in the entire Trek franchise. He commanded the occupation of Bajor, could be a real bastard at times, and yet he was a loving father, and a helpful ally to the Federation. He really established a relationship with Sisko and even got Kira to thaw out a little. I actually liked him and saw him as one of the "good guys," although perhaps misguided at times.

And then, the writers turned him into a one-dimensional fanatic, and finally into a supernatural comic book villain with red eyes. Gone was the complexity. Gone was the painstaking character development. He was just the bad guy now. The scene with him fighting Sisko in the fire pit was so dumb that I was laughing at the screen.

Then, they make Sisko one of the Prophets? That's really nice. Just abandon your job AND YOUR SON!!!
I don't want to point fingers, but I think that writer-producer Ira Behr is the one responsible for all of this religious crap. He said in an interview that he wanted to make Sisko into a god. Gene Roddenberry is rolling over in his grave.
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darwinawards
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

Can anyone explain what the purpose of Neelix is other than to be the Jar Jar Binks of Star Trek? I swear that if I hear him say "Mr. Vulcan" one more time, I will throw my TV out the window. He is THE most annoying character in all of Star Trek. He adds absolutely nothing to the series. He has no technical skill, apparently sucks as a chef, has no qualifications to be an ambassador, and is useless as "morale officer."

If his sole purpose is to be a foil to Tuvok, this idea fails miserably. It seems that the Trek writers just tried to find two opposite characters and give them dialogue with no apparent purpose. Tuvokis one-dimensional, with the only dimension being "seriously boring" or "boringly serious." Neelix is just a bumbling goofball. Neither character causes the other to grow, and there is no comic relief provided by their interaction. Compare their relationship to that of McCoy and Spock or Riker and Data.

I would rather sit through an entire Ferengi episode on DS9 rather than watch Neelix for 2 minutes.
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darwinawards
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Harbinger

Is it me, or is Malcolm Reed one of the worst characters on this series? I've been trying to like him, but this episode put me over the edge with his ridiculous pissing match with the major.

When I think of a security officer, I think of a huge, menacing dude who kicks butt and loves weapons (e.g., Worf). The security officer is the person you do not F with. Ever.

Reed is a small, slightly effeminate, thickheaded British guy with a serious chip on his shoulder and absolutely no personality.

In the first place, there is no reason for him to have such an unpleasant demeanor. Worf was all business, but he had an interesting personality and had some funny and lighthearted moments.

Secondly, his only qualification for being a security officer is that he comes from a military family. They should have given him something that actually makes him qualified, such as being a former British SAS operative.

And where the hell is his "team" of security personnel that he is always talking about? Does his team consist of just Travis and T'Pol and the random redshirt we see get instantly shot every time there is a security threat?

Frankly, I think the MACOs are much better qualified than Reed's "team" to do anything security-related. They have better weapons than Reed's team and they actually don't get themselves shot within the first 5 seconds of screen time.
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darwinawards
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 1:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Hatchery

I keep asking myself why the crew needed to takeover the ship in the first place instead of using Starfleet regulations that were available to them.

T'Pol had grounds to relieve Archer of command, even just temporarily so she could contact Starfleet Command for further instructions. Instead, she just accepts being relieved of duty without question.

In the scene with Tucker and Phlox where Archer defies Phlox's order to report to sick bay, Phlox had the legal authority to relieve Archer of command (and he even mentions this fact). Yet, he just walks away with Tucker.
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