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ovatross
Wed, Aug 14, 2019, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: The 37's

This episode is more brain-dead than Vedek Bareil in "Life Support" (rim shot!). I've long believed that any premise, no matter how ridiculous, can be the stuff off good drama or comedy, but for that to work, the premise has to be executed with basic(s?) competence.

This episode is not executed with basic competence. The scenes do not move. The tone falters between hokeyness and seriousness. The dialogue is flat and uninspiring. And the ending is predictable in a muted, banal fashion that should come as a surprise to no one: No one decides to leave Voyager and stay on Amelia's planet. Perhaps that was for the best; life on that planet appeared to be intolerably boring anyway.

This was the wrong episode to have left-over and open season 2 with (not that Twisted or Elogium would have been the "right" episodes) - a Ford Gran Bore-ino floating in space (yes, that is a lame joke - you get from it an idea of what you're in for when you watch the episode).
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IIolande C. Rossignol
Sat, Nov 24, 2018, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Life Line

What I really care for in all Star Trek series is the philosophical equations they propose to explore. And this episode is one of the most spectacular ones. In Life Line, the relationship between a human and his electronic creation that has evolved in becoming more human, way beyond his expectations, mesmerizes me . Aren't we on the verge of a tremendous age of AI ? Isn't it relevant to explore such a situation through a good story, with a great actor, able to nuance his performance to the point of having us believe both of them ? Those two characters finally represent two POV on humanity. A) one who enjoys becoming what he views as more human, having become able to empathize and develop skills to be able to help ; b) one who does not even care of being a better human, centred on his ego, giving predominance to feelings of despair, rage, remorse, shame, guilt, without any second thought. Both hold not only our attention but our sympathy to their singular humanity. I wish a better philosopher than me could elaborate on all that research, specially in the last seasons of Voyager.
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Ross
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I cannot care about any of these characters. As much as I try, they just don't have any character, qualities, or history worth caring about, with maybe Saru and Lorca as slight exceptions. It simply lacks all of the important qualities that make Star Trek what it is. Even the trite mirror universe doesn't feel right, but rather like a group of writers floundering through production trying to use old Star Trek tropes as cheap plot twists and crutches for bad writing.

Discovery isn't any more Star Trek than Battlestar Galactica is. Except at least BG gets these themes of war and difficult choices right.

I desperately want a real Star Trek again. How sad is it that The Orville is more Star Trek than Discovery?

1) Picard/Sisko
2) Kirk
3) Archer
4) Alternate universe Riker where his only appearance is screaming at the other Riker before his ship blows up
5) Janeway (her incompetence is the reason they got lost, and she routinely betrayed her own ideals. Not to mention she was hugely smug and obnoxious. The Riker that gets his ship blown up is still better.)
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Ross Carlson
Fri, Mar 24, 2017, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

Recently re-watched this episode, in my top 5, and realized something that's always bugged me. Clemens mentions Mr. Whitley from the geological survey and Data says he doesn't know the man's name but he talks with several people in that office. Given the time period he was in certainly he would have been introduced by name or at somepoint he would have learned the names of everyone in the office. Name plates, on pieces of paper, conversation, etc. He'd only have to hear it once and he'd remember it perfectly forever. The way they play it and the line written would be more like a human would have probably heard it and just didn't remember as that'd be very common for anyone other than Data.

Anyone else notice this??
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Ross Carlson
Fri, Jan 6, 2017, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

I was a music major in college and have played saxophone for 30 years, as such I tend to get really annoyed by faking instruments, etc. in films and television. That said I understand it's something that just has to be done, you can't always cast a piano virtuoso for the role of Darren. That said she does an acceptable job in faking the piano, not over playing her body and facial expressions. Picard also does an acceptable job with his penny whistle flute, again not over doing it. The same goes for Data who as always does a great job at faking the violin. What does really bug me about Lessons is the total gibberish Picard says to Darren after the concert. "during the second arpeggio in the first movement, I noticed that you played an F minor chord instead of a diminished D" - what? For the non-musicians reading this that's just a bunch of musical words crammed into a sentence. First as a classically trained pianist she wouldn't be improvising in a piece like that, you'd be playing it exactly as written. The only place you'd be taking some personal liberties would be with the tempo and emotion of the piece. Then for Picard to hear the difference in a single minor and diminished cord is laughable. Had Darren made that kind of substitution each time she played an F minor cord maybe he's notice that, maybe. Again for the non-musicians there is but a single note difference between the two cords, in fact it's not even a full note/tone - it's a half tone as an F minor chord would have an A as it's third where a D diminished would have an Ab (A flat) as it's 5th - so in simple terms the difference in sound of those two chords 1 time in a piece would be absolutely indistinguishable to any human ear.

What really bugs me the most about things like this is just ask a damn musician to not only review your line of dialogue but to help you write it. There are many things that Darren could have done with the piece that Picard could have commented on in a believable way. "Your phrasing after the coda was great", "the dynamic range in your playing was very elegant", etc. Finally the worst part of something like this is Riker IS a musician! He's played trombone since school, when we see him play trombone he really is playing trombone (save for the time he's playing with a quartet and his birthday party but that's simply for technical reasons - he does a fine job faking it as he really plays). Why the writers would have run that past Frakes and/or he (Frakes) wouldn't chime in during the episode to say "Uh, that's stupid dialogue, try this instead".

I'm sure I'm in the minority that gets bugged by this, it's just so avoidable a mistake that I've never understood it since it's so damn easy to prevent it.
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Ross
Mon, Dec 26, 2016, 2:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

While this is certainly a bad episode it's far from one of the worst (Masks anyone, ugh). To all those commenting that they could have or should have saved the Boraalans exactly how would they have done that? By the time they arrived at the planet there was very little time left before it was to lose it's atmosphere. They could have (and due to Nicholi did) save what, 200 people? Let's round up and say 1000. How would they pick those 1000? Figure out the smartest and save them? The most fit? What criteria would you use that wouldn't be called out as selective in some negative way. And what would happen to the culture? Sure you'd keep 1000 people alive, and clearly that's a very good thing, but the culture would absolutely be lost. That is the entire point of the prime directive, to not allow for the destruction or perversion of other cultures who are not yet warp capable.

It's very easy to say they should have saved them as it puts you on some moral high ground that doesn't really exist. Sure, you're being "good" and saving lives but at what cost and how? This is very "tree falls in the forest and no one hears it". Had the Federation never studied this planet everyone on it would have died just like they did. Should the Federation be spending as much effort as possible flying around the galaxy trying to help or save other cultures at risk of destruction? What right would Starfleet have in changing the course of these worlds by not only saving them but by forever altering their future.

The Boraalans were selected by nature for extinction. There is nothing moral about that one way or another. Nature knows nothing of morality, it only knows of the realities of life. Things are born, they live, they die. Nature decides this. For the Enterprise to have stepped in and chosen a group to not die would have been monumentally arrogant on their part. They have no place in choosing who lives and who dies. What about all the other life on the planet? Of course I understand that humanoids are sentient but there were far more lives at risk than just the Boraalans. If it were possible to save everything living on the planet that would be one thing. I forget the episode where the used the Enterprise to change the entire atmosphere of a planet thereby saving everyone. If that could have been done without the Boraalans knowledge that would be very different. You could save everyone without destroying their culture at the same time. That's not what happened here and as such the Enterprise had no place nor moral obligation to save only a small group of the lifeforms on the planet. Sad, yes. Starfleets responsibility, no, not at all. Put another way what if two races on a planet were at war with each other with one side about to win and destroy the other. Should the Federation intervene and save the side that's about to die? Who at Starfleet would decide which side is "right" and which is "wrong"? What if the Federation had seen the end of WWII and decided that beating and therefore killing a lot of the Nazis was wrong and should be stopped. Of course we think of the Nazis to be evil (being clear of course I believe that) but how would the Federation make that judgement from their perspective. In an effort to save lives they stop the war, Hitler lives and 10 years later is able to wage another war killing many more.

In short the Federation simply can't play sides. They can't change the natural course of a planet's evolution. They can't save a small subset of people just like they can't help another progress faster. They must remain impartial and separate as they have absolutely no right nor moral obligation to change the course of history for a world and by extension the galaxy. I'm sure I'll be called heartless, as you don't know me you can't know how far from the truth that is. Am I glad that Nickoli's half-baked idea saves about 50 people from an entire planet/culture of course, I didn't want those people to die. But who is he or anyone at Starfleet to play God and decide that this group of Boraalans live and this group dies. As I see it that was decided by one thing, Nickoli's sex drive. He mated with a Boraalan and as such chose her village to live. Why is no one outraged that the only reason this group was selected to be saved was due to an inappropriate sexual relationship? I say inappropriate as he was sent there as a scientist, not to jump into bed with one of the people he was studying.

Is it sad the Boraalans died, of course, it's terribly tragic. It's sad when anything dies, period. Placing the burden to choose who lives and dies on a captain and crew is absolutely unfair to them. How could they live knowing they saved only a small group, they would second guess the decision to save this person or group against that person or group forever. It would be absolutely unfair to place the burden of that decision on a group of explorers, especially with a case like this where the choice needed to be made so quickly with such little information. Nature is a cruel mistress at times and we have neither a moral nor ethical obligation to step in and stop her.
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Ross
Sat, Sep 3, 2016, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Journey's End

I never got the hate for Wes until now. Why let him grow up and then have him act like a teenager? Its not enough being a prodigy but he has to be super human too. Plus, Dr Crusher accepts him leaving starfleet in about thirty seconds, after having no idea he was having second thoughts. Maybe it's for the best, as no one seems to care that he left and tried to talk him round.

I'm fortunate that I missed this episode the first time around. It reminds me of Voyager and its Indian spiritual preachy mumbo jumbo in every Chakotay episode. At least the captain didn't whisper at the end.
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Ross TW
Wed, Mar 30, 2016, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sins of the Father

I can't watch this episode without thinking about Ezri's conversation with Worf in DS9's 'Tacking Into the Wind.' What a great 10-year arc that begins here!
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Ross TW
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Enemy

I would think, when beaming into a hazardous environment where you can barely see and have to yell to be heard, you should always travel with a partner. Instead, Riker, Worf, and Geordi split up alone. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end.

Worf's refusal to give blood to the Romulan is the most potent of the story threads here, but it's nice to see the Romulans scheming, even if we don't know what the scheming is about. It broadened the canvas of the Trek universe.
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Ross TW
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

I've seen this episode countless times, but this is the first time I consciously realized they didn't bother to make the aliens look alien at all. They're perfectly human in appearance. I assume this was on purpose, to make the allegory more hard-hitting, especially at the time.

But the message is something that still has relevance today. It's also interesting to compare the takes on terrorism here vs. Deep Space Nine (with Kira, especially).

Ron Jones with another memorable score, too.
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Ross TW
Wed, Feb 3, 2016, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

I love this episode! So much fun, endlessly rewatchable. I might slip it into my Voyager Top 10 just based on entertainment value alone.
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Ross TW
Sat, Jan 23, 2016, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Fourth Season Recap

Doing a franchise re-watch and just finished Voyager's 4th Season. One of my fave seasons in Trek, and definitely the best of this particular series.

I forgot just how often Seven and Janeway fought in this season, but the tension is SO compelling. It provides a through-line for both characters, and they grow a lot in the process. Seven's a breath of fresh air that makes everyone she interacts with better. (Even Harry, who I've never disliked; I thought his crush on Seven was cute and realistic.)

I feel like there's a loose attempt at continuity here. Early on, Seven and Harry work on building Astrometrics for several episodes (and that set is awesome). There's the Hirogen, the letter from home, ramifications of the 8472/Borg conflict (followed up on in Prey and Hope & Fear). So ... I appreciated that a lot.

I felt like Janeway changed a whole lot this season. From 'Year of Hell' onward, she became notably more aggressive in her actions. Coincidentally or not, this coincides with her 'letting her hair down.' I wonder if the writers liked the Janeway they saw in 'Year of Hell' and just kept pushing her in that direction.

Epic, all-time episodes in S4, like 'Scorpion,' 'Year of Hell,' 'Prey,' 'Living Witness,' 'Message in a Bottle.'

Also, one of my favorite dialogue exchanges, between a Hirogen and Paris:

"I once tracked a silicon lifeform through the collapsed mantle of a neutron star."

"I once tracked a mouse through Jefferies Tube 32."

Love it.
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RossTW
Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: The Void

Loved this episode, but it was remarkably similar to an episode from Star Trek: The Animated Series. Like, very similar. I can't remember the name of it, but ...

Yeah, Voyager should've been tackling these things long-term.
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Ross TW
Tue, Dec 29, 2015, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Change of Heart

I liked the lighter parts of this episode. The banter between Worf/Jadzia, and the FX of the runabout navigating the asteroid field.

However, the fact that the Cardassian defector is such a jerk really stacks the deck. If he had been portrayed as sympathetic or truly scared, maybe Worf's choice would've seemed harder or carried more weight. But because he's so rude, dry, and stand-offish when talking to Worf and Dax, it doesn't make us feel sorry for his fate.
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Ross Waitt
Sat, Dec 26, 2015, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Waltz

Excellent episode, riveting to watch. A heavyweight battle of words between Sisko and Dukat. The only downside is that it set Dukat on a maniacal path that made him a less complex villain. But, still. 3.5 stars, at least, borderline 4 if I'm in the mood.

One thing I noticed (and not sure if anyone's mentioned), when Dukat tells Sisko of how they escaped the Honshu when it was destroyed, he mentions another crewman that was with them (McConnell?) and when Sisko asks what happened to him Dukat claims he got hit by shrapnel on the way to the shuttle. But, honestly ... I think Dukat killed him. If they escaped, he would've wanted to have Sisko one-on-one. It's just a throwaway observation, but it adds a further 'charge' to Dukat's list of crimes.
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Ross
Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Things Past

I wanted to like this one more than I did, but it feels too much like a 'flip-side' of "Necessary Evil," almost down to the Kira/Odo ending in his office. And I think NE is Top 10 material for the series.

But whereas "Necessary Evil" felt more organically framed and had an exquisitely noir-ish direction/aesthetic going on, this felt a little more forced all around (the random mini mind link, Odo's clear discomfort/guilt from the beginning that the others don't really press him on until the end).

Still a three-star outing, for me. The performances are really good, but it sits in "Necessary Evil's" shadow. I suppose that's more a commentary on that episode than this one, though.
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Ross
Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

This is one of those episodes that makes me ache for DS9 in HD. The production design and cinematography are off the charts. I'd love to see it remastered! Sigh. Alas.

The steep camera angles when the Klingons beam onto the runabout in the teaser are very dynamic (for Trek, especially). Everything about the camera in "Crossover" is slightly tilted, slightly off, much like the Mirror Universe itself. Also loved the tracking shot following Bashir through the access tube. It accentuated the urgency of the situation.

The lighting also gives the 'other side' a subtly different look ... somewhat like the 'noir' look in "Necessary Evil" but with more color, perhaps (more nefarious reds and such). It never felt like a copy of the Occupied Terok Nor. It felt like its own universe.

And, as mentioned above, Odo's 'explosion' was a visceral piece of FX.

Story-wise, I love the performances, even though nothing much happens. Kira and Bashir show up, everyone reacts to them, and they leave. But it's still very entertaining. Evil Odo slapping Bashir and Bashir talking back. Mirror Kira is unhinged but there's an air of menace about her (unlike her following appearances). And I just love Trek doing sequels to past series' episodes. Makes the franchise feel even more interconnected.

Four stars, in my book. Great all around, but the real winner here is the production team. They really sell the setting.
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Ross
Fri, Aug 21, 2015, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Visionary

This is one of my favorite DS9 one-offs. A good dose of sci-fi weirdness, mystery, and an impressive visual (of the runabouts fleeing the station as it explodes).

But, even though it's a standalone, it's still connected to the larger fabric! It foreshadows just how concerned the Romulans were about the Dominion. First, they lend the Defiant a cloaking device in 'The Search,' and then they try to destroy the wormhole here. Their failure to do so in this episode leads to their co-venture with the Cardassians to obliterate the Founders in 'Improbable Cause'/'The Die is Cast.'

With all their motivations laid clear, their future actions shouldn't be surprising. (And with the Cardassians' own involvement foreshadowed with the fleet build-up in 'Defiant,' it's amazing just how subtly that whole invasion plot was hinted at beforehand. In retrospect, it's all there.)

But there are so many great lines in this one! From Odo telling Sisko how he needs to remind him just how good he is at his job, to Odo telling the Klingons off in the holding cell, to Kira reading the Romulans the riot act, to Bashir saying, 'Who am I to argue with me?' The dialogue was great throughout.

Very enjoyable.
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Rossana
Sat, Jan 24, 2015, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Crossing

My problem with the episode was only the ending. Why couldn't Archer just negotiate with the aliens and offer them to come in Enterprise and if they agree not to possess any crew member without a concrete agreement including length of time and alerting the crew of not commissioning the crew member to real work while the exchange was happening... Enterprise would then take the noncorporeal lifeforms to a planet where they could live in peace.

I think the way they destroyed 300+ lifeforms without trying to negotiate with them was inconsistent with their value system.
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Michael Cross
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

WOW... 4 stars for this?! This was yet another pointless cheesy comedy episode, and quite annoying too. I've been watching this series from beginning to end, and while season 5 seems to have some of the better episides thus far, it has also been loaded with too many of these comedy episodes. It only makes this show harder to take seriously, and that's not a good thing considering (at this point) they're trying to built up this huge war with the Dominion.
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