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Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

@Alan Roi

Yes I understand that. I guess my point is why some people seemingly have an agenda to just hate on DSC.

In any case, I just like to get a sense for what some commenters (that I choose not to completely ignore) thought about the episode. This comment stream is a big free-for-all and so there will be all kinds of opinions, takes, interpretations etc.

FWIW, objectively speaking, I thought it was a well-written and mostly well-acted episode and that is also relative to prior Treks.
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Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

@Peter G.,

Thanks for your comments, as usual.

I guess the operative idea her is "on its own terms".

So yes, strictly speaking the 2 statements aren't exact opposites although it's a bit of semantics. The 2 statements are basically expressing contradictory feelings about something in common.

And I would say, reading some of these comments, it does seem like some folks have it in for DSC for whatever reason. True, those people probably aren't accepting it on its own terms. I tend to look at it in absolute terms and measure it against other Treks. No question, it has plenty of flaws that transcend any "it's trying to do its own thing" and those flaws involve character development, writing, direction, and overall premises/themes/ideas. But sometimes a DSC episode gets these things mostly right.
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Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Interesting how 2 people can have totally different takes/understandings of the writing/acting in this episode (or perhaps Trek in general).

Chrome: "Honestly, this is the most tightly written episode of the season"

Kinematic: "The writing and acting are also really weak here."

So who is right? They both can't be.

It does sound like some folks have an agenda against DSC and aren't able to be objective about their comments. Either that or they don't understand what constitutes good writing/acting.
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Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 8:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

One other thought about Airiam as being some kind of half-robot/android after the human Airiam had some kind of terrible accident: Basically she is where the Federation is at in terms of making androids out of humans prior to TOS's "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" when Dr. Roger Korby perfects the technique and can make the android look exactly like the human thus "preserving" the human for eternity -- until, of course, Kirk & co. comes along and puts an end to Korby's plan. So I think DSC is consistent with canon here. Trek has not come to the stage of the Data android yet which is not based on a human.

And I guess I wouldn't rule out rescuing Airiam somehow in a future episode as she could probably be re-booted after tracked down from floating in space. Surely, this would not be beyond Section 31's capabilities...

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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

A pretty good episode here and one of the season’s better ones mainly because of the ending and the death of a somewhat regular cast member in Airiam. Glad the series is taking risks, although it remains to be seen if this is just done for the shock value of building up a character and then killing her off — need to see the greater purpose, but for now the effect worked as a mostly self-contained drama. Section 31’s motives are interesting — how did they compromise Airiam? Was it Tyler’s doing? And trying to get the sphere’s data from Discovery to build up AI to become invincible somehow is a curious, farfetched but plausible idea under the Trek paradigm.

The ending really elevated this episode. It’s good to see the crew’s horror as Airiam is blown out of the airlock. The scene with Burnham trying to save her while getting orders to blow her into space even from Airiam herself was powerful. Well done with a decent musical score to highlight the gravity of losing a secondary cast member.

The episode built up Airiam’s back story — and it’s pretty good. She has memories she cherishes, others she wishes to delete. Some decent texture was added to the character.

Section 31 is now clearly the enemy. I don’t buy how the entire rest of the Federation would side with them vs. Discovery and now Cornwell who also becomes a fugitive. But maybe this is Section 31’s doing in blocking all communications from Star Fleet and using holograms to frame the Vulcan admiral along with Spock. But we need to see other admirals in Star Fleet and not just Cornwell.

There were some noteworthy character interactions (Spock/Burnham, Tilly/Airiam, Stamets/Spock) which help flesh out the cast.

Spock and Burnham still have issues with each other - to no surprise. Spock unleashes his emotions after the chess match — in TOS Spock would have the occasional outburst (smashes monitor in “Amok Time”) so it’s not totally out of character + it’s hard to figure how compromised Spock on DSC is after all the Red Angel visions. I liked how Spock points out Burnham is full of self-importance — so very true. I wasn’t a fan of SMG’s acting here or maybe it was how the Burnham character was written yelling like a child “Shut up!”

Stamets is like a “glue guy” — I like this aspect in how he tries to help Spock and Burnham understand each other. By the way, where the hell is Jet Reno? There have been enough scenes in engineering but she’s nowhere to be seen or found. Weird how DSC seems to have completely dropped her. But I was never a fan of the character anyway.

Thought the fight scene between Airiam and Burnham was made to look overly dramatic — it wasn’t as realistic as the fight between Burnham and Georgiou in “Light and Shadows”. There was also the scenes of the ship navigating the mines which reminded me of the flying through the asteroid scene on “Brother” — didn’t do much for me and seems to be purely for flaunting the technical aspects of the production, which are cool for sure.

3 stars for “Project Daedalus” — interesting title referring to something Airiam mentioned before getting killed - something Section 31 is running it would seem. As for the Red Angel, not much new as Spock tries to figure out why he was chosen. Liked Stamets’ prodding of Spock on why he is unique and the chosen one. Thought this was another one of DSC’s fairly self-contained episodes that had good tension, didn’t irritate me with overly rapid pacing, and upped the stakes in the intriguing battle between Discover and S31.
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Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

I was very quickly reminded of "Christine" here -- loved that movie but this episode is really just a tease of that and goes in a different direction and fizzles out. The story is mediocre and many scenes seem typical. Definitely no envelopes are pushed here.

Interesting to see John Fleck, a reliable Trek guest actor, in a mostly easy-going jovial role here -- he pulled it off but is really a minor character. The woman playing "Alice" played the neurotic, compulsive character well.

The ending is super-weak and typical of VOY for the solution to be so convenient with everything working out perfectly so that there can be a nice little coda between Tom and B'Elanna.

Many things that don't add up, of course -- like this special, possessed shuttle, like the neurogenic interface. But some handwaving can be done. The story isn't terrible but just isn't challenging enough, nor compelling enough. I guess Alice is some kind of entity in the shuttle that wants to escape into the anomaly come hell or high water -- so the actual shuttle is expendable but a suitable pilot is needed. Enter Tom Paris. But at least it plays on his character who likes fixing cars etc. and wants to further boost his reputation as a pilot.

Also liked the interactions between B'Elanna and Tom -- I think these 2 have a good chemistry as actors and characters. The part where they yell at each other after she nearly suffocates had the right amount of edge to it as Tom is completely obsessed. It's good that VOY has been able to build their relationship over a few seasons now and it can provide a wealth of material to build on.

A low 2 stars for "Alice" -- thought it might be something of a tribute to "Christine" maybe like TNG's "Starship Mine" seemed to be to "Die Hard". The first half of the episode was slow and had a very cheery feel to it which abruptly changed in the 2nd half. No lasting consequences of course which goes back to my point of playing it safe thanks to a very convenient ending. Another test for Tom and B'Elanna's relationship ultimately, which is fine but this episode just seemed like a weak effort at something that has been done far better.
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Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Enjoyed reading Jammer's review as usual. Not surprised at all he rated it as 4 stars. As I've said before, this is the best episode DSC has produced so far and my rating also reflects that.

This is what we want to see from DSC, albeit there are things that could be improved upon. But if, positioned when it is in the Trek canon, DSC can connect TOS threads, retcon successfully -- and bottom line, tell a compelling story with decent to solid acting performances, the issues with the series (direction etc.) will gradually fade into the background. All the other Trek series had their consistent flaws as well.

I still can't truly say I like DSC like I do the other 5 Trek series, but after this episode I certainly appreciated it a lot more.
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Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

@Luiz Castanheira

I agree with you about Jammer's talents being wasted on "The Orville" -- especially when there is/were "The Expanse" and "Babylon 5".

Also agree that this episode was the best DSC has produced so far.
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Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

@Rob S

Yes, of course.

I was only joking given all the changes Culber said he was feeling since his return.
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Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Catspaw

@No Poet

"Catspaw" is TOS mediocrity for sure but that's not to say TNG, DS9, VOY didn't have their shares of mediocrity as well -- their's was just different. And there was more of it given the 7 seasons. TNG's tended to be more sci-fi-ish, DS9's fillers involved crap like the Ferengi arc, and VOY's tended to be efforts at character pieces for the lesser cast members and spatial anomalies. Those are very broad generalizations on my part.

As for bringing up Earth's past -- these aliens presumably probed the crew's minds to come up with something that would be scary to them -- why would they conjure up something scary to say the Klingons when it is mostly (other than Spock) earthlings visiting them?

To each his own opinion but I'd hardly call "Night Terrors" vastly superior to "Catspaw" -- both are 2* episodes for me. And "Devil's Due" is a poor 1.5* ep. I suggest a better episode with the genre of scaring crewmembers / psychological terror might be something like "The Thaw".
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Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Naked Time

Suggest William B. and Springy read the exchange between JTIBERIUS, Peter G.,and myself (to a lesser extent) about what makes this episode pretty good to excellent. Spock's breakdown is phenomenal (Nimoy's acting).

As far as Springy's "Watching and Commenting" posts -- I tend to ignore those. Much better if somebody is able to take at least a few moments to digest the episode and then comment sensibly.
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Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Terrific episode and, for me, the best of DSC yet. Thought the plot with resolving Spock’s issues with the help of the Talosians while avoiding Section 31 was clever and even the Culber/Stamets B-plot was decent. I’ve not been a fan of Ash Tyler and it was good to see him put in his place for trying to undermine Discovery’s efforts. And the crew comes together with Spock apparently back to normal with the most intel on the Red Angel so far — had a feel-good ending to it. There was a lot of ground covered in this episode but it didn’t suffer from the heater-skelter pace of “Point of Light” and “Light and Shadows”.

I can understand DSC paying a tribute to “The Cage” with the opener and Pike’s vision prior to his Captain’s log, but the way it was done with the accelerated original TOS theme music didn’t feel right to me. This was over-the-top stuff and excessive. But otherwise, this episode kept the integrity of “The Cage” very well — the Talosians were well done; liked the nice touch of the blue-leafed plants on Talos IV!

As for the Talosians wanting to see Burnham and Spock memories as kids as payment, this is convenient for resolving their squabble. If Burnham wanted to run away to avoid the logic extremists, why did she have to be such an asshole to Spock who apparently idolized her? Where was her compassion for him as someone struggling being half Vulcan half human? But the lesson for Spock here is that he learned his human half was damaging and he thus suppresses it.

The Talosians and their illusion capabilities which can reach light years away is farfetched but it is part of the canon. It was used well to fool Section 31 and help Discovery/Spock/Burnham. So Star Fleet command wants Spock for his knowledge of the Red Angel’s info, which Leland was going to get and now Discovery is a fugitive working with Spock on the Red Angel stuff. That’s an interesting dynamic, although the whole thing about the threat to all sentient life and all these planets getting destroyed is definitely going overboard. Will have to see how it all works out.

The more I watch DSC, the more a fan I am of Mount as Pike. Good scene with telling Saru not to condone violence after Culber/Tyler brawl. It’s interesting that the changed Saru permitted the fight whereas if he had his threat ganglia he would not have. I also like Pike’s concern for Burnham and Spock and his defiance of Leland.

I guess whatever is up with Airiam remains a mystery.

As for Culber/Stamets — did coming back from the dead make Culber straight? He wants nothing to do with Stamets and it pissed him off to see Tyler on the ship. What did their fight solve? It was strange to see the fight but Saru’s justification of an “unavoidable catharsis” seemed OK to me. And the fact that Pike addressed it with Saru cleans up the indiscretion.

3.5 stars for “If Memory Serves” — really well done with working the Talosians into the Red Angel/Spock story in a sensible way. Felt like the Discovery crew (barring Tyler) came together well and the Pike character continues to shine. The qualm I have is the Red Angel being a human with some kind of futuristic technology and conveying to Spock future visions of so many planets blowing up is definitely stretching the suspension of disbelief (which probably means a letdown of an upcoming episode).
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Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Definitely one of the weaker episodes of the season which almost seemed to get worse as it wore on! One of my peeves about Trek is when a very capable officer acts unprofessionally -- not a fan of Scotty falling all over certain women and Geordi's struggles with women as an underlying character trait/vulnerability doesn't make for a good contribution to an episode, let alone carrying one. The whole murder mystery thing was very slow and it just dragged and then the introduction of the coalescent alien nonsense was an example of poor sci-fi.

With the dog introduced in the opener, one felt it had to have a purpose as the episode wore on and then when the BS about the coalescent alien comes about, it gets all too predictable that the dog was the coalescent. Like what does the coalescent alien actually want to achieve? Does it kill people to eat?

Just really not much to say here. The actress for Aquiel was poor and I totally agree with Jammer that there was zero chemistry between her and Geordi. Yet another bad Trek romance episode. I literally started shaking my head when Geordi kisses Aquiel and says "We'll get through this." What garbage. Aquiel just came off as overly shady and forced and you're like "WTF is Geordi thinking??" but then we know his vulnerability with women...

I also had to laugh when Aquiel packs her suitcase as if to run away from a murder investigation. How could this level of writing not get cut?

The episode isn't all bad and it did make me think a bit about the case where 2 fairly junior officers could be stuck on some remote station in isolation with only a belligerent Klingon for the occasional "excitement". Shouldn't be surprising that some kind of conflict between the 2 takes place.

1.5 stars for "Aquiel" -- didn't have enough stupid to fall into the 1-star realm for me but it came close. Perhaps some sympathy for Geordi is warranted although it didn't seem he learned anything, but I liked Riker's line to him about judgment getting clouded. The convenience / idiocy of the coalescent alien as the resolution was a downer along with the Aquiel character.
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Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

Mostly intriguing episode that gets to the heart of what DS9 was in the 1st 2 seasons and thus feels somewhat out of place in Season 4. The best aspects of it are the quandary it puts Sisko in and how potentially there could be massive changes to the series, but it all gets wrapped up too conveniently with a quick trip to the wormhole and the Prophets basically deciding. So it is a bit of a reset and is probably inconsequential.

Akorem doesn't come across as forceful although the changes he brings about are drastic -- we have to take the Bajorans as unwavering in their faith such that they willingly and gladly regress some 200 years and bring back a caste system. I liked the exchange between Kira and Odo where he tells her he doesn't get her faith but she responds that once you have faith, no explanation is necessary -- quite profound.

This was one of the better acting performances for Brooks IMO -- in general I think his acting is a weakness -- but here, the more contemplative Sisko is well done as he realizes he might well have failed in his mission to get Bajor into the Federation. Of course it had to take a death due to the reversion to the caste system to spark Sisko into challenging Akorem for who should be the Emissary.

I've always liked how Kira's faith in the Prophets is portrayed. She tries sculpting to no effect and is ready to resign and go back to being an artist.

As for the B-plot, with Keiko coming back and the adjustment for O'Brien, it's a good fit for the A-plot. On it's own, it's good as well as change with the return of Keiko means a permanent re-adjustment for him and Bashir. Their friendship seems almost more important than O'Brien's marriage but at least Keiko wasn't annoying and she actually tricks Miles and Julian into spending more time together, which was a good twist.

2.5 stars for "Accession" -- the ending is too convenient and a let-down after some pretty intelligent but not outstanding buildup. The cryptic Prophets and the Kai Opaka vision -- I've never been a fan of them but we can take their representations as more symbolic than how they are physically portrayed I think. Probably would appear to the Bajorans rather suspicious when Sisko returns from the wormhole without Akorem, however the ending is too convenient and a Bajoran couple have no problem coming to Sisko for a blessing.
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Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Light and Shadows

DSC went back to its bad habits with a blur of an episode — other than some quieter scenes with Amanda and Burnham, things moved at warp speed in the 2 subplots: the rescue from the time rift and Spock/Section 31. This was a bridge episode as opposed to “The Sound of Thunder” which was a well-contained story. Not much resolution or finality to anything and frankly I’m rather unsatisfied/somewhat frustrated. Watching this episode was not particularly enjoyable — left with a lot of WTFs.

The revelation at the end that Spock kept mumbling coordinates for Talos IV is intriguing. I guess according to canon it is happening at the right time roughly speaking but I didn’t think it would happen so soon in the series. So there’s probably some background Spock builds up on Talos IV before Pike has his major accident and the events of “The Cage” take place.

So what was the point of the time rift rescue subplot? We know the Red Angel is some kind of time traveler. This subplot was pretty mechanical I think. Their probe turns into a gigantic metal squid that nearly kills Tyler and Pike. Stamets uses his tardigrade DNA to rescue them. Tilly acts like an airhead (one of her weaker episodes for me). The point seemed to be that they are in a fight for the future, so perhaps the Red Angel is from the future and has come back to the past to change the future — sounds a lot like the temporal cold war from ENT. Ugh.

A number of pissing matches (light vs. shadows perhaps?): Sarek vs. Amanda on shielding Spock from Section 31 and her helping him as a child due to a condition and his human half; Leland / Georgiou power struggle in Section 31 (wasn’t sure how Georgiou was blackmailing Leland — whose parents did he kill?) and Tyler/Pike who make up after the rescue but it was bizarre to see Tyler challenging the captain on just about everything. I think the writers just like to create conflict for the purpose of conflict, hence the in-your-face presence of Section 31. It just strikes me as artificially created tension, which is a hallmark of DSC.

2 stars for “Light and Shadows” — a confusing mess of an episode, some of which is due to answers that should come in subsequent episodes. At least we finally see Spock, although he’s a basket case. A bit more is learned about the Red Angel so the overall arc has been advanced. But this episode was difficult to watch due to the blistering pacing/switching between subplots — does everybody have to talk in rapid, hushed tones? This one reminded me of the problems with “Point of Light”. But Burnham and Spock are off to the see the masters of illusion on Talos IV and that’s promising to get that familiarity.
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Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@Paul M.

The thing to keep in mind about ENT is that the ship should not look anything nearly as sophisticated as the other ships on Trek. The NX-01 should probably look fairly spartan compared to the Enterprise / Voyager -- and it did. But the costumes for aliens and VFX were fine and certainly not detractors. Stuff like direction, camera work didn't bother me like it does with DSC.

Forgetting about the 1st 2 seasons, which were poor -- though not nearly as bad as TNG's 1st 2 seasons -- it is fair to say there weren't enough good actors and characters overall. That's the biggest problem. But in seasons 3 & 4, it did come up with some decent stories to tell, which is why they were much better seasons than 1 & 2.

But to say: "To me, Enteprise was fundamentally fake, down to its very bones." is harsh. I'd say, critically speaking, ENT is the 5th best Trek series. I've seen it 3 or 4 times and I still enjoy it.
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Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@William B

I highly recommend ENT S3 and S4 -- much better than its 1st 2 seasons. I'm a huge fan of what ENT did there with a season-long arc in S3 and a few 3-parters in S4. It would be interesting to get your thoughts on these 2 seasons which are definitely above average as far as the entire Trek franchise goes. In fact, I'd go so far as to say ENT S3 is one of my favorites and, even objectively speaking, best seasons in all of Trek.
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Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Just something to follow up on a previous comment I made about DSC taking the time to crank out episodes and that it has achieved consistency without any truly outstanding or truly terrible episodes.

DSC has now put out 21 episodes. Since the time it debuted to the time of the 21st episode a whopping 507 days have elapsed.

By comparison (and I fully understand this is not an apples-to-apples comparison as some series were into Season 2 by the 21st episode etc.), here's how many days elapsed between the starts of the series and the airing of their 21st episodes:

TOS 151
TNG 193
ENT 208
VOY 249*
DS9 263*
* took 3-month breaks between S1 & S2

I think it's remarkable what TOS achieved in S1. But I really think DSC should be doing much better given how much time they're taking. And there would certainly be no excuse for a turd of an episode. All the earlier series except TNG came up with some outstanding episodes in the early going (first 21 episodes).

In a nutshell, I think some new [better] writers are needed with DSC. I tend to agree with Jason R.'s final point about DSC being forgotten in 10-20 years if things keep going the way they are.

As a digression -- with Trek, it is really the outstanding episodes that are treasured/remembered and that define a series. So with TNG (getting bashed for its terrible start), it will always be remembered for coming up with some of the best episodes in the Trek franchise like BoBW, "The Inner Light" and "All Good Things..." And TOS and DS9 have such episodes as well. But, to me, VOY and ENT didn't quite reach those heights - but I still greatly appreciate them.
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Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder


I don't mean to sound rude or something but I totally disagree with pretty much everything you said. And honestly whenever I see your comments, I just scroll past them. I thought about whether I should respond to you or not.

"Trek is also about execution" -- no it isn't. Different series made various "execution" mistakes and that makes some of their episodes unable to realize potential, but to say Trek is about execution is just bizarre. Trek is not about a technical exercise in producing an episode well.

"Discovery has plenty of great ideas" -- like what? The spore drive? A mini-arc in the Mirror Universe? Have you actually seen the series? DSC lacks great ideas. But I agree that what few good ideas it has, it hasn't executed them well.

I don't think you really understand acting. Consistently across the main cast and guest actors TOS absolutely had the best acting. I'd say DS9 is the next most well-acted series, but Brooks/Farrell aren't good enough.

And where do you get that I don't respect Jammer's opinion? I always look forward to reading his reviews whether I agree with them or not. He writes well and intelligently. If he likes DS9 most, good for him. I think it's a terrific series too. I know you're not supposed to compare his ratings across series, but just as an exercise in a series achieving it's objectives, I don't agree with him that DS9 does this so much better than any other series (judging by series average ratings). If my thinking that offends you then too bad.

And don't tell me to respect somebody's opinions -- I'll judge for myself what to respect and what not to. I respect Jammer's opinions but I can't respect yours.
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Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

@ Tim C

"DS9 gets the highest not because Jammer's biased in favour of it, as some suggest. It's because while it too had a largely episodic structure, it also devoted time to Big Picture arcs that made even the filler eps more satisfying for the long term viewer. Objectively speaking, it's the best Star Trek show and I don't know how anyone can really dispute that (even though my own loyalties ping pong between the uber-cheesy TOS and the eternal underachiever VOY). "

You don't know how anyone can really dispute that?? I can easily dispute that. Those who call TOS "uber-cheesy" simply just don't get it. Trek should not be penalized for poor special effects or cheap production. It's about ideas, themes, and stories whether episodic or not. And the DS9 filler episodes like the Ferengi ones are mostly utter garbage. You really think "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace" etc. is good Star Trek and make for more satisfying viewing over the long-term? I've watched DS9 at least 3 times and I don't agree with that at all.

TOS had better acting, better themes, better characters than DS9 or any other Trek. Not taking anything away from DS9, it's my 2nd favorite Trek but nothing comes close to TOS.
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Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder


The reason DSC's average ratings look pretty good now is that the series hasn't thrown us a true turd of an episode (i.e. no 1* or below episodes) and it's only been 20 episodes. There has been a consistency as to the quality.

And I don't think they'll screw up so badly as to throw us a "Profit and Lace" or "Threshold" etc. They're making fewer episodes and taking more time to do it. That being said, they should be hitting more 3.5* episodes.

As for the other series, it's clear Jammer has a strong positive bias toward DS9. I really think you have to take his DS9 ratings with a grain of salt. It's not very useful that you can't compare his ratings across series -- (which is why I'm doing it myself and trying to be rigorous/unbiased about it).
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Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

@Jammer -- the official episode title is called "The Sound of Thunder" not "The Sounds of Thunder"
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Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Very good episode overall that is helped by building on the established background of the Kelpiens and Ba'ul. An emancipation story tends to work pretty well although I wish there was more of an examination/discussion of the Prime Directive, which just seemed to get glossed over. And now the Red Angel is considered as some kind of savior by the Kelpiens who can try to establish a new balance with the Ba'ul -- guess the jury is still out on that, but there's hope.

I liked the parallels between Burnham and what she realizes she has to do for her brother Spock and how Saru helps his sister and all other Kelpiens go through the Vahar'ai. This is an episode about hope conquering fear and becoming what you're meant to be -- judging from Saru's opening monologue (which I appreciated -- at least it wasn't Burnham doing it).

Good that this episode is rather self-contained and had enough moments where it could breathe. Also nice that there was really only 1 plot -- Culber getting used to his new body doesn't even count as a subplot since it had so few scenes.

Really liked the scenes on the Kelpien planet -- at least everything's not a shade of blue! Saru's sister was a good character, well-acted. She shows genuine awe at meeting another species (the human Burnham).

The Ba'ul were a bit ridiculous -- I guess they look like Armas from "Skin of Evil"? Hard to catch every word they said but it was clear they wanted to maintain the status quo and keep enslaving the Kelpiens. Pike is initially certain he doesn't want Saru involved as he's lost his fear and still getting used to that, but he gives him pretty wide latitude nevertheless and eventually has to try to stop a genocide. I think a scene just between Pike and Saru would have been good to establish some order.

What was a bit convenient was Saru breaking free from captivity and destroying the drones -- seems farfetched / out of place in the episode. Stuff like being able to induce the Vahar'ai in all the Kelpiens via the sphere's knowledge ... gotta let this kind of thing go in Trek. But it was neat that the sphere had history on the planet and that, at one point, the Kelpiens were predatory and the Ba'ul were on the defensive.

As for the Red Angel deactivating the Ba'ul's weapons -- apparently manipulating the fates of species ... this is also intriguing + it's a humanoid with advanced tech. Is it Spock himself?

3 stars for "The Sound of Thunder" -- plenty to like about this episode. Had its quieter moments as well as tension. I think the writers went overboard in trying to make the Ba'ul appear evil -- maybe like a cross between the Sheliak from "The Ensigns of Command" and Armas. Interesting to ponder the Red Angel's motives -- a bit more learned in this episode. But ultimately I guess we're supposed to feel good about the Kelpiens being liberated -- was this the Red Angel's intention or could Pike/Saru/Burnham not provide a greater justification of how it jives with the PD? Overall one of the best DSC episodes for me.
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Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

Not a bad VOY outing that works some familiar themes (shuttle crash, rescue under duress from time and enemy fire, instant romance with an alien). Was going to use Jammer's "hard-headed aliens of the week" but then I read his review where he says: "These are Uncooperative Aliens of the Week (not to be confused with the slightly more extreme Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week, who would probably open fire on Voyager rather than just cutting off a communication effort)."

I liked the Paris/Tuvok dynamic where Tom presses the Vulcan to open up. But what didn't work was the supposed romance building quickly between Noss and Tuvok. When Paris first challenged Tuvok that he's in love with Noss -- how could he possibly come to that conclusion given that they had just met? This felt forced as if to set up the examination of Tuvok's conquering of the love emotion and Paris' ongoing attempts at prodding Tuvok (which eventually work). And the Noss character's sudden change to hating logic when spurned by Tuvok didn't feel right either. Another attempt at romance on Trek that failed.

The "Uncooperative Aliens of the Week" might as well have been hard-headed. This is typical VOY and is usually the weakness in any episode they're in. The ones on the planet had evolved into raiders putting Noss under constant threat.

I liked the idea of the subspace sinkhole combined with the temporal anomaly that makes the people on the planet forced to spend a long period of time together. That has potential if Noss is a better character. But I'm glad they didn't make this another 7 episode -- other VOY characters are being marginalized.

As for a Tuvok character examination through the flashbacks to his youth -- perhaps he's now a stricter Vulcan given what he went through with the Vulcan Master who helped him get over unrequited love. But Tuvok eventually "breaks down" and explains to Paris and through the mind meld explains to Noss -- but the episode didn't really explain how he got over love -- just that he did as a Vulcan. So not a well-done character examination for me. Was it supposed to be the main thrust of this episode or just in the background of a mainly rescue mission episode? I suspect it was supposed to be the main thrust. But if so, it was half-assed.

2.5 stars for "Gravity" -- some creative elements here were nice like the planet and the initial lack of the universal translator for Noss - made it feel like Star Wars for a bit. The rescue under duress was OK, but the romantic element didn't work (which isn't surprising for Trek). As Tuvok episodes go, this one didn't really give us much more about him ("Innocence" was better in that respect). Tom Paris can be quite nosy. No way is this one of the better VOY episodes in a solid Season 5 but it didn't suck either.
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Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

I'm surprised at Jammer's obvious appreciation for this episode, which to me is clearly the worst of DSC S2.

But I do agree with his comments re. Section 31 -- that it is not the same organization seen in DS9. But let's not forget, it was a highly secretive operation during the time of ENT - recall in Season 4 where Malcolm had to meet the Section 31 dude in darkened back alley, and also how they were making backroom deals with the Klingons ("Affliction"/"Divergence"). So it seems Section 31 has changed from the time of ENT and "will change again" when it gets to DS9's time. I don't have an issue with that. But I would disagree that the Section 31 subplot is the weaker part of this episode. It isn't great but it's not as bad as the spore network rescue plot.

@ Peter G. says "Jammer has always been great as judging a show based on its own aspirations rather than what he might have preferred to see. It's another reason why comparing ratings he gives one series to those of another doesn't work."

I don't know if this means DSC's aspirations are lower! Certainly they're different. As for my evaluations of these episodes, I personally try to look at them the same way I'd look at the other Treks so that my DSC ratings jive with my ratings of the other Treks. So for me a 3* DSC episode is just as good as a 3* TNG episode, for example. Personally I think that's more helpful, but to each his/her own.
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