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Rahul
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

@ Dave in MN

In my experience people are caught up in their own little worlds and it is hard to think of suffering half way around the world. For example, the Chinese communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong has been compared to another holocaust. They literally harvest their organs for transplant tourism -- it's an evil the world has never seen -- and this horror funds even more persecution.

In any case, keep up the good work. You don't have to prove anything to people like Jason R. or anybody else but just be mindful that (especially on a forum such as this with limited communication) you're not going to get the depth of response you might be expecting.

I could go on and on about why there is a reticence to take China to task -- it has to do with money, business/political interests of course but in my experience, talking to people face to face about what the communist regime is doing usually proves fruitful. But on this forum, which is to discuss Trek, I wouldn't expect to see a whole lot of obvious support.
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Rahul
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

@Dave in MN

maybe you should read what I touched on a bit last night (as part of addressing something else) -- one of the causes of great significance to me is to alert people to the atrocities of the Chinese communist regime
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Rahul
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

@Peter G.,

To some extent we may be conflating the individual and a sovereign nation in terms of this notion of getting one's house in order before pointing the finger externally. And ironically enough I come up with 2 very different "suggestions" based on which point of view of I'm speaking from.

My prior comment was primarily speaking from the point of view of sovereign nations -- the US or Canada -- vis-a-vis China since that what I gathered the prior 2-3 comments were addressing.

But if I'm speaking as an individual, I'm not blaming other individuals (not playing the victim card) but am taking responsibility for myself and my own actions and circumstances. And that's where I think you're coming from.
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Rahul
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"However my belief, and perhaps this plays into Jason R's comments, is that one should not point fingers outward until one's own house is in order."

I don't agree with this at all. Does that mean that we need to be perfect in order to criticize another (not that we necessarily want to) ? I sure hope not. Who in this world is perfect? Nobody is. That is part of this whole political correctness nonsense that some (the left) would want to impose on us and ultimately control us with.

This is also precisely what totalitarian regimes like Beijing will hold up against us when we try and criticize it. And while we as individuals or even a middle power like Canada can't do much to significantly impact China, it absolutely does not mean we should not condemn the genocide in Xinjiang or do whatever it takes to free detainees like the 2 Michaels and speak out about all of China's wrongdoings like the national security law in Hong Kong, threatening military action against Taiwan etc. etc.

This is not to say that the US shouldn't "do better" but to say it ought to clean up its act before pointing the finger at China is totally ludicrous. And it's really the ruling communist regime in Beijing that has to be taken to task -- the distinction between it and the ordinary citizens of China must be recognized.
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Rahul
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 11:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

could not agree more Nic. well said.
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Rahul
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

@Tidd

I think your criticisms of this episode are pretty weak -- don't mean to be so blunt about it but not sure how else to express it. Yes, occasionally the ship/shuttle in scale don't jive with how big the doomsday machine should be, but when it counts the monstrous size and power of the machine is clearly conveyed. It's not a "belching of fire" either -- that I believe is an effect of the enhanced version (I don't think the original was that way).

"there should have been something to suggest the 'doomsday' aspect."

I think there's plenty here to suggest the 'doomsday' aspect -- Kirk's theorizing about how it continues to destroy solar systems long after the war between the 2 sides (where one side built it) was long over, and the fact that it has destroyed numerous solar systems just to get to where the Constellation was. Leaves just the right amount for the imagination, which is what good sci-fi should do. I really feel "The Doomsday Machine" is as close to perfection as a Trek episode could be.
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Rahul
Sat, Mar 27, 2021, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Swarm

Re. Biden -- I can't help thinking of him as like John Gill in "Patterns of Force" -- a puppet, a figurehead for evil forces pulling the strings behind the scenes. Maybe Kamala is Melakon.

Biden is unimpressive at best, absolutely sucks at worst -- very much agree with what "Dave in MN" said. I have no doubt he'll be the worst president in my lifetime until Kamala takes over in 2 yrs. time. And her being a woman of color has nothing to do with it.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

I actually think it is pretty much coincidental that both "Journey to Babel" and "Sarek" have a mother slapping her son. I think reading into the TOS episode that Sarek may have been leaking emotional vibes is stretching -- it's a heart issue in TOS, a physical ailment -- but in TNG it's a mental/emotional disease which leads to this emotional leaking as an interesting side-effect.

One should also consider why Amanda slapped Spock -- she's frustrated with Vulcan logic and that Spock is choosing duty over saving his father's life. She can't understand that and reacts in an understandable way. I don't think Fontana would attribute the slap to an unreasonable mental lapse for Amanda due to Sarek involuntarily projecting some vibes. The slap comes organically.

Whereas in "Sarek" Dr. Crusher just slaps Wesley for no reason -- it's all because of Sarek's mental instability, though the memory leakage hypothesis in this particular instance has some merit.
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Rahul
Mon, Mar 22, 2021, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: ANDR S1: Under the Night

Just for grins I watched the entire episode and given that the premiere is a 2-parter, I wasn't going to hang around for the 2nd part. Having seen bits and pieces of various episodes over the years I know this is not a series I want to invest any time in.

I can't really find anything glowing to say about anything other than I think Sorbo is a capable lead, good actor. But overall there was too much that annoyed me or just couldn't interest me. I can't stand Trans and Harper and their dialog. And shootout scenes, hand-to-hand combat rarely does it for me unless the stakes are meaningful, which takes time to build up. Even the Andromeda ship looks impractical -- more style over substance.

I suppose the premise of Captain Hunt and his ship brought forward in time 300 years and presumably trying to piece back the Commonwealth is not unlike DSC in S3 with the Federation. But the characters and the vibe do have that VOY feel.

A low 2 stars for "Under the Night" -- perhaps it really has to be considered along with the 2nd part but extreme mediocrity is how I'd characterize the 1st part of the Andromeda premiere. Even if I didn't know that this series was quite poorly regarded, it would be difficult to to watch.

I have to be amazed at how prolific Gene Roddenberry was in coming up with ideas, but perhaps they saw life because of who he is and not for their own merit. I'd say that for Andromeda with Earth Final Conflict lasting a season or 2 too long, which I could probably say for VOY as well.
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Rahul
Mon, Mar 22, 2021, 9:28am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

Just wishing William Shatner happy 90th birthday today -- I believe he has said this was is favorite episode and I definitely think it was one of his best performances. An outstanding actor and the man behind Captain Kirk, who has to be up there among the most well-known fictional characters ever created.
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Rahul
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 8:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

For me, another angle different from dark tone / optimism is about just having some class/decency. Classic Trek has that class/decency in that it knows how to handle dark topics without getting nihilistic. It knows the boundaries and won't go past them, whereas nu-Trek is nihilistic, brutally violent and vulgar. Nu-Trek is a product of the streaming generation whereas classic Trek was made for TV. But it ultimately comes down to the writers and producers and if they themselves have class and decency (and if they're good at their jobs, which nu-Trek writers aren't).

DS9 was darker than any other classic Trek, sure. But it was still handled with class and decency. But yes, Trek is supposed to be optimistic. I'm sick and tired of dystopian, hopeless etc. -- that's not Trek, and it certainly doesn't feel like it.
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

"As for Darmok - it's a classic. I'd be hard pressed to name 10 better episodes in all of Trek."

Darmok is a classic but that doesn't make it an outstanding episode. Here are 10 better episodes (and there are many more) IMHO just from TNG alone:

BoBW
The Inner Light
AGT...
I Borg
Yesterday's Enterprise
Lower Decks
Reunion
Sins of the Father
Q Who
CoC
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Resurrection

@Icarus32soar

Interesting take on Anglim as an actor and comparing him with Fletcher. Personally I feel the opposite -- I always thought Anglim was too stiff in his portrayal of Bareil. Off the top of my head, he had one good scene much earlier in DS9's run with Sisko on Bajor where he danced around his motives (episode title actually escaping me here...) There's a way to do understated acting well and I think a terrific example of this is Keating on ENT as Malcolm Reed.

And despite not liking the Kai Winn character, one can appreciate her motivations and the added conflict she brought to DS9. I think Fletcher did a pretty good job in this role and I believe she's a better, more accomplished actor than Anglim.

But this episode "Resurrection" was putrid -- just terrible. Filler garbage that should not have been made. DS9 has a few of these kinds of episodes ...
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

@Greg, how do you get that Picard's friend is named "Patay"? It's "Batai".

Seems like you're stretching...
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Rahul
Wed, Feb 24, 2021, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

@Robbie

Season 7 is DS9's best season IMHO although it starts out weakly. Stick with it!
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

TOS was pretty adamant that humans should not be controlled and that humans need to explore, work to earn their rewards etc. That's a classic sci-fi theme.

In none of the situations is humanity actually making a choice to be controlled to achieve "happiness" and I think it's instructive that Kirk & co. provide that outside viewpoint to assess the problem and remedy it. The viewer can take whatever he/she wants from that theme.

In this episode, it's the spores that delude humans into thinking they are happy. But Kirk & co. establish a pretty consistent track record of playing liberator -- "The Return of the Archons" where they free a society from Landru's computer control; "The Apple" where they free people from the god-machine Vaal; "Dagger of the Mind" where they free patients from Dr. Adams' mind manipulation; "Who Mourns for Adonais?" has Kirk telling Apollo that humans of this era can no longer be shepherds -- they've grown beyond that; in "Errand of Mercy" they see an arrested culture and want to help it advance (aside from the strategic importance of Organia) until they find out the Organians are super-beings.

TOS would tell you humans can't exist in captivity ("The Cage" / "The Menagerie").

So I think this episode is just one iteration/flavor of a consistent TOS theme.
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

Not really sure Seb's comment is worth a response (seems like borderline trolling to me). I love both TOS and TNG a great deal but if I was to evaluate them objectively and unemotionally, there's no question in my mind that TOS is clearly superior.

TOS had some of the best sci-fi writers of its day and the stories have more staying power and speak to various aspects of the human condition, geopolitics etc. generally better than TNG did. There are very few truly terrible TOS episodes, which is remarkable given how quickly they had to crank them out and how low the budget was. My big issue with TNG is that there were so many terrible episodes, but fortunately there were enough of great ones too, otherwise it would not have started a TV sci-fi boom in the early 90s.

I really have to say that the writing and acting (main cast and especially guest actors) for TOS is also generally far superior to that of TNG and that's what really makes, on average, watching a TOS episode a better experience for me than a TNG one. The TOS music goes a long way toward the overall experience, and that is another thing TNG failed to pick up on (barring a small handful of episodes with good soundtracks). It's a bit tougher to have a fair comparison for character development since TNG had twice the number of episodes and TOS really focused on the Big 3 and maybe Scotty a bit.

There have been plenty of Kirk vs. Picard comparisons over the years. I can't say which one is better or whatever, but we have to acknowledge that they are fundamentally different not just because of the era in which the characters are created. That being said, I think Spock is the single best character in all of Trek and one that the other series have tried to emulate (Data on TNG, the doctor on VOY, etc.)

I think TNG's success, despite all its weaknesses (poor actors, a lot of poor writing, taking 2 seasons to really create an identity, and then largely coasting thru Seasons 6&7) really comes from maybe 2 dozen terrific episodes. I think the masses of TV viewers were starved for quality in the early 90s and TNG did enough to hit a home run.
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Elaan of Troyius

"I just love TOS. How can practically every episode written 50 years ago, seem so relevant today? And I don’t care what anybody says, they are better actors than what’s on TV now..."

Re. the acting on TOS, this is so very true -- especially when you get into the guest actors, that's where the ones on TOS absolutely blow away the ones on other Trek series.

Yes I think we've all been there at some point or another watching a mate getting tangled up with the wrong gal... That's an aspect of this episode I didn't really think about since there is plenty else going on... so I would also agree that a great many TOS episodes are very relevant today as those were archetypal stories and will always be relevant on some level to the human condition. By contrast, stories from DSC, PIC will be forgotten a few months after they premier (if not sooner by some).
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Rahul
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Cloud Minders

Loved your review Mal for one of my favourite episodes. There really is so much here that TOS does wonderfully.

Spock's monologue is brilliant and as a Spock episode I like how you've turned the tables in asking how he can not understand what it means to be human. I never thought of that aspect, but if there is some continuity to how McCoy chides him in that prior episode (which I believe is "Requiem for Methuselah") then there is some growth for the character here -- or at least added depth. What's been interesting in S3 is how Spock evolves -- really opening up about the mating aspects here is so different from "Amok Time". Maybe it all had to do with McCoy rewiring his brain in "Spock's Brain"! But then he also hit his head in "That Which Survives" and started acting like a jerk...

It's also great that we get scenes where Plasus and Droxine discuss the situation without any of the main cast present, we really get to understand their motivations. I also liked Vanna a great deal -- man, was she hot in that cave scene...

And I don't know if you notice the very final shot in this episode is a glance at Droxine and a hint of the love she might have fulfilled with Spock that is likely gone forever. It always says a lot for me.

I think this episode is quintessential Trek and going back to the discussion on "The Enterprise Incident", while this episode doesn't rate as quite as highly for me as that one did (it's not far off 8/10 vs. 9/10), I think it is more "series defining" than "The Enterprise Incident", which I hadn't considered before.
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Rahul
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

very sad to hear we lost Mira Furlan -- just watched "Confessions and Lamentations" last night as well ...
She was so good as Delenn -- really brought the aspect of another culture into the character.
Yes, would be cool to have a B5 section on this site -- a wonderful series indeed.
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Rahul
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

I wasn't too disappointed with the explanation for the Burn given in this episode, nor was I when it was hinted at in "Su'Kal" -- found this moderately interesting:

https://ca.startrek.com/news/the-science-behind-discoverys-burn
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Rahul
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

@ Mal

Re. the Vians — I don’t think it is categorically as clear as you make it out to be that they are evil or that they are villains, especially if you keep in mind what William B wrote about the situation they are put in, their capabilities and what they are trying to do. What makes “The Empath” great Trek is it makes you think (if you are willing to) are they evil? Are they really villains? For me, the answer is no. They are certainly not the hard-headed aliens of the week so frequently seen on VOY. The Cardies in CoC are villains — no question about it. But is Sisko a villain in “In the Pale Moonlight”? His situation is sort of similar to the Vians’. If he doesn’t figure out a way to get the Romulans on the side of the Federation in the war against the Dominion, the Alpha Quadrant is fucked. Sort of similarly, the Vians want to make sure the species they save is the right one. I will always condemn violence, torture and killing from a human standpoint, but can we impose our morals on aliens? What makes them alien? For me, one thing that would make them alien is a different set of universal values.

Re. the writer Joyce Muskat — she was an amateur and I think it is irrelevant that she didn’t go on to have the careers of Moore and Shankar. She wrote a short story (“The Answerer” I believe its called) and it was turned into this episode. Maybe she didn’t enjoy the experience of working with the TOS powers that be back then and decided not to write anymore. Or maybe she became a housewife or a pharmacist. Who knows? My point is I don’t think we need to necessarily look at a writer’s career to opine on how 1 of their projects stands up to the test of time.

Obviously this episode is not visually appealing, it is dark, the subject matter is very dark. I would not be surprised to find out that “The Empath” was the absolute lowest budget Trek episode ever made. We know TOS S3 was running on a shoestring budget. This episode is all about the story, the characters and the acting. In terms of bang-for-the-buck, I’m hard pressed to come up with an episode that did it better. If a few more bucks were spent on whatever, it might well be a 4* episode for me. I think “The Empath” is quite an accomplishment.
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Rahul
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

Brilliant comment from William B -- you sir are a "pearl of great price" on this forum!

This is clearly a highly polarizing episode but I think it should be clear that the Vians are clearly not cardboard baddies -- they represent intellect and are tasked with playing God. Note that they are not saving themselves either -- their society will be extinct. They are taking responsibility for the future development of another world in the best (most logical) way, according to them. If a viewer can't see this distinction, they'll most likely hate the episode.

I think we humans naturally want to imbue or inject human universal values onto aliens like the Vians, but some of these Trek tales are about being in situations no humans could realistically be in and then seeing what values / ideals can be gleaned.

For me personally, I love this episode and rate it very highly (9/10), but the difference with my hating "Plato's Stepchildren" (PS) has to do with what is gratuitous but more importantly what is torture vs. what is demeaning humiliation. As William B says, I agree that the torture in "The Empath" is not gratuitous -- it does its job and creates the circumstances for Gem to do her thing. In PS, what Kirk/Spock go thru is demeaning humiliation and beyond a point, it becomes gratuitous. That's the difference for me. I think PS establishes pretty clearly early on that Parmen is an a$$hole. Then the episode goes on to establish how big of an a$$hole he really is.

As for CoC II, the torture isn't gratuitous either for me -- it is just the right amount to keep the plot progressing and to show Picard's resistance develop.
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Rahul
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Tholian Web

@Mal

Re. the madness being needed or not in this episode, I suspect it is a "feature" meant to amp up the ticking time bomb factor. It could have been done without, but the episode would have been less visceral. Also, given the episodic nature of TOS, I don't think TPTB expected us to be counting the number of recent episodes where the crew is going insane. They surely didn't expect folks like us to watch the series over and over again and analyze it to death!

Also, I think we have to assume that for most of the duration of the episode, Bones and Spock are not affected by the madness, such that they are able to carry on their "rivalry" as being true to their archetypes. That's how I feel that these 2 characters maintain their integrity here and why TW is a high 3 stars ep.

I'll also add re. "Plato's Stepchildren" that it is the one of the very few TOS episodes that I actually also hate, though I do respect it from a critical standpoint. On re-watches, I don't watch the parts where Kirk/Spock get humiliated. I also found CoC II to be tough to watch at times but it's a very powerful hour and in the context of a prisoner of war situation, the torture is more understandable.

But as for "The Empath", this one is more true to TOS in that we don't actually see brutal torture taking place. It wouldn't be consistent with the aesthetic of the episode. Bones is at death's door but the writers leave it to us to fill in the details. Can you imagine if DSC was to do "The Empath" -- well, I guess we have seen how idiotically brutal DSC can be...
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Rahul
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Tholian Web

@Mal

Even after re-watching TOS umpteen times, it never bothered me that with "The Tholian Web" (TW), it is another episode where the crew goes "insane".

TOS will use devices like insanity (or mass crew manipulation more broadly) and super-beings (particularly in S1) over and over but with enough twists on it so that they tell a different story or focus on a different theme every time.

There's plenty of substance in TW to differentiate from the mediocrity of a 2* episode. William B.'s ghost analogy is very well thought out (as usual), but where TOS shines here is the situation created with Kirk's seeming death and the effects that has on Spock/Bones. Even if Bones is over the top, he is playing an archetypal role, as is Spock with Kirk (presumed dead) not available to balance things out. I really liked this dynamic, particularly for Spock.

It's a very busy episode sort of like your favorite "Journey to Babel" but the pacing is excellent and it all works very well, with a touch of handwaving. From the standpoint of TOS sci-fi, this one is also pretty good and the intro of the Tholians as a hostile species with a different technology (weapon) with their web shows some creativity in that it's not just another race that's going to pew-pew you to death.

Anyhow, I think you're about to review "The Empath" -- one of my favorites, so I look forward to that!
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