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SC
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

If that's the case then Stewart was wrong. You should go and watch The Critical Drinker's video on why Picard failed. Everything he says makes sense.
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SC
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Booming

"Patrick Stewart demanded that every aspect of Star Trek had to be changed or he wouldn't come back (So yeah it is Star Trek, just completely changed) and apparently Chabon wanted to do something else entirely but had to do a doomsday plot. Never good to force a highly talented artist to do stupid. No wonder Chabon left after season 1."

Where is the proof of this? Because according to The Critical Drinker on YouTube it went quite differently, with the writers shoehorning Stewart in to an already existing plot, to sell the Trek idea they already had.
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SC
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Check out The Critical Drinker's YouTube video about why Star Trek Picard failed. I often find him overcritical but he makes a lot of good points. I can't deny anything he's saying and it shows why this show pales in comparison to TNG.
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SC
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@skye francis-maidstone

Well, of course, because it's just an opinion. You deciding his review wasn't well written is just your opinion. I think it was very well written.
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SC
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:52am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@skye francis-maidstone You're still upset about Jammer's review from last week and because he doesn't agree with you, you're saying it was badly written. It wasn't and he was right. Picard isn't terrible by any means but it's largely, mediocre and forgettable television, after the first watch.
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SC
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

It was all right. It wrapped everything up but it wasn't anything special. No one will be talking about it, on mass, in a week from now. Yet, everyone is still after that Pike / Spock spin-off show.

Couldn't they have put Data's consciousness into a synthetic body?
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Wainscoting
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Startrekwatcher Just as with Discovery, the writers spend their time layering mystery boxes upon an already creaking foundation of mystery boxes and then with a few minutes left, elect to tear them all open at once. A lone, random box in the pile will contain a flashbang grenade that blinds you and leaves your brain smarting in a concerted effort to distract you from the fact that the rest of the boxes were either empty or at best released a small asthmatic wheeze.

I recall one of The Expanse S4 B-plots which stretched over quite literally half that season, and consisted of *MINOR SPOILER* a portion of the crew of the Rocinante solving the problem of a decaying orbit in order to attempt a rescue of 3 people. That's it. All the high-concept sci-fi stuff was left to the A-plot and it WORKED. It was focused, meaningful and entertained us without damaging that world.

In Picard, there came that moment when Kurtzman and co. realised they didn't have any ideas about how to manage the hundreds/thousands of Borg on the cube awaiting reclamation; so their solution? Jettison them all into space! (presumably to slowly and painfully deteriorate as we know Borg can survive in a vacuum). They seem to expect us to marvel at this scene of countless living beings being tossed away as refuse, when a little while earlier we were invited to empathise with them as victims of a great crime, now being righted. "NOO" yells Seven in her super awesome, distorted Borg Queen voice. Cognitive dissonance for mine.

I didn't love everything Chabon said in that Variety interview and I'm by no means convinced he is built for TV writing, but one of his answers made me wish he had full creative control from the outset of this show.

"You know, personally speaking, my own tastes and inclination, I always said when we were in the earliest versions of the room for this show, if we could have just done a whole show about Picard and the dog on the vineyard in France, with no starships, no phasers, the only Romulans would be those two Romulans who work for him on the vineyard, and no politics — just, like, there’s a funfair down in the village and they all go, and maybe Picard solves a very low stakes mystery in the village, like, someone has stolen the antique bell out of the bell tower, or something like that? I would have loved to write that show."

I think I would have been into that, actually. As it is this is where I'll completely sign off from Trek, at least while it's in the hands of Kurtzman. Should have done so earlier, but it's hard to tear yourself away from something culturally significant to you I guess.

Stay safe everyone!
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SC
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

@skye francis-maidstone

Jammer doesn't agree with you, and so you don't like his reviews any more, go figure! Jammer is actually right. I'm glad you like the show and that you get enjoyment from it at this troubled time, but if you critic it, it isn't very good.
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Scott
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"My review got lost in the posting so I will try and remember. I think this was a 4/10. The only value was the Geordie conversation about a society pre judging someone's value. "

This was my only problem with it. The idea that destroying some cells with a genetic defect is pre-judging people isn't right to me. It seems more correct to say in their society that Geordie would be born without those and other defects.


>Troi feeling shame for having sex? I guess Riker's one night stands were never with other societies as part of his away missions? Troi didn't breach the Prime Directive and only professionalism.

Riker's sex usually wouldn't potentially undermine their entire society and growth. The only time I can think that was a problem is that odd scene where he pretty much got blackmailed into being raped by alien doctor in the First Contact episode. The society in this episode requires isolation. They were already disturbing that isolation, but out of pure necessity. Troy went way too far past that. It's only not a Prime Directive failure because of the technicality that they are human.

"After all in the next episode he has sex with Ro, a fellow crew member, who reported to him?? Didn't they know their ranks at that time? "

One of the areas were TNG shows its age. Sex with crew members down the chain of command wasn't frowned upon as it should have been.

"The so called Masterpiece society was lame : a few people leave and 1000s are at risk? Haven't they heard of redundancy? "

They address this in the episode. The society is perfectly planned. They do have the redundancy to handle a few unexpected accidental deaths but many more than a few were intrigued by the outsiders with more advanced technology that were different and wanted to leave.

Honestly I think this is a great episode that makes one think about these values. Would you rather a tightly controlled society where everyone's needs are met and everyone has a purpose to fill to help the greater good (probably a not so subtle allegory to communism) or would you rather have a life where things are far more uncertain, where people have far more direction and certainty in life and have to compete with each other, but where that leads to faster growth and advancement at the expense of many not having a fulfilling life? Personally, give me the former.
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SC
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

The show is watchable but nothing more. It's not something I'd ever want to re-watch as it feels incredibly drawn out. It's a sad state of affairs when the character Picard is back and it's all kinda forgettable. Stewart seems to be playing second fiddle in his own show.

They showed in this episode how human consciousness can be added to a synthetic body. They could do this with Picard to keep the show going. It would be foolish and it would undoubtedly fail, but they could.
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SC
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

ffs, I hate the fact that Picard is dying! Couldn't he be healthy in his old age? Have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the show. It has a way of telling rather than showing, there is a lot of exposition. It was fun seeing Brent again but this is no TNG. Compare this to the first season of Firefly and it's like night and day.

I really hope they don't transfer Picard's consciousness into a new synthetic body.
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Scott
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

Picard took the conn on two occasions that I can remember - 11001001 which was mentioned above, and then Booby Trap when he relieved Wesley and piloted the Enterprise out of the asteroid field

Riker did something similar when he relieved the helmsman in ST: Insurrection.
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Hirsch
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 12:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

@ Soji

You got the point. That's what I meant when I said that I always smile watching the scene: We all love Star Trek for so many reasons, but this stupid 60's miniskirt machismo of TOS is undoubtedly part of the Saga, too.

I hope there's no need to seriously discuss about it any more - I consider scenes like these simply as unintentionally funny.
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Hirsch
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

I wonder why nobody here has mentioned yet one of the most beautiful Kirk-esque phrases of the whole Star Trek Universe that happens to be spoken out in this episode:

"Worlds may change, galaxies disintegrate, but a woman always remains a woman."

It makes me always smile when I rewatch it.
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SC
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

Easily the worst episode so far. It was tedious. It was boring. They basically spent an hour telling us what we already know, again, with some hologram shenanigans along the way (which showed that Rios can act, but still...) This whole series could have been done in like 3 hours. I won't be re-watching the series.

Plus the swearing, uh! Telling Picard to shut the f**k up feels so wrong!

2/5
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Fatty Corpuscle
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

Plus sizers need to take responsibility. Being overweight especially in senior years is unacceptable and if you’ve let yourself become flabby and overweight shame on you. Under what circumstance are you comfortable foisting your health burdens upon the insurance paying public? It is not “fat shaming” it is health shaming. You feel shame because you know you are unhealthy. Put down the bon bons and exercise for an hour after your hour of Picard. Then come write a review.
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Descent
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Quincy
I'm possibly being uncharitable to the writers, but I think you and I have probably put more thought into the scene with the guards than the writing staff did. It seems to me like it was transparently there to be "cool" and as a very awkward way to get Elnor onto the Cube. The viewer isn't invited to consider the moral ramifications of stabbing the guards to death in any way, because we're not even meant to care. The characters themselves don't care at all. For me, seeing Picard completely fail to react to his friend killing three people really pushes me away from the show and makes it a lot more difficult to connect with the characters. Even if we accept what the writers probably intended, that they were "forced" to use lethal violence immediately to save themselves, surely it wouldn't hurt just to have someone comment on how regrettable it was and look sad for about 10 seconds. It also doesn't help that the writers seem to want us to see Elnor as funny and endearing, rather than unpredictable and dangerous (which is what he clearly is...).

I criticized The Vengeance Factor because I agree it's crap, both in its general quality and in the behavior of Riker (and the behavior of Picard in not tearing into Riker afterwards). I acknowledge why you gave it as an example - it absolutely is an instance of pointless, glossed-over murder in Star Trek, which is why I criticize it in the same way I'm criticizing the scene from Picard. If anyone really does defend Riker in that one, I'm just as bewildered as you are.

As for BoBW, the Borg are actively attacking en-masse and the Federation don't even know at that point that Borg can be deassimilated, as far as I remember. They're basically space zombies as far as anyone knows. When the situation is less straightforward in "I, Borg", Picard - rightly or wrongly - refuses the opportunity to stop the Borg once and for all on moral grounds.

I always just really liked that the heroes would go to sometimes pretty stupid lengths to avoid lethal violence in a lot of TOS/TNG/VOY episodes. It made it feel distinct from most everything else on television and was a crucial part of Star Trek's character and identity to me. I always think of the end of "The High Ground" when Riker and Worf rush a compound of armed terrorists, and put themselves at incredible risk of being shot by insisting on using knockout syringes and hand-to-hand on everyone. It's slightly absurd to the point of being funny, but for me it's so much more preferable to having a samurai elf ninja behead three people. Elnor knocking the guards out would still have let the show have its mandatory quota of cool ninja mid-air twirling and shots of people getting thrown around like ragdolls that seemingly has to happen once an episode, but wouldn't have made the heroes look oddly sociopathic.
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Descent
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Quincy

I don't agree that killing them was "clearly justified". The guards appeared on screen for literally about one second before being killed. They held Picard at gunpoint but there's nothing to suggest they were ordered to shoot, or were intending to do so. Their one single action was to ask Picard and pals to surrender. This entire scene only happened because the writers wanted more violence and killing that added nothing to the episode. I think literally every episode so far has had at least one death, usually more.

Regardless, even if a situation was manufactured in which the random guards convincingly "had" to be killed, the reaction of the team could have been far better written. Picard seems glad they're dead (compare with his reaction to the deaths of the terrorists in Starship Mine, for example). Soji and Hugh have been working alongside these people for however long and neither of them care what happened. As it stands, it's just yet another item to add to the list of things that are alienating me from this series.

Also, who defends the Vengeance Factor? It's terrible - not just for the hilariously poor ending, the whole episode is weak. One of the mercies of episodic television is that nonsense like that is gone in 45 minutes and you're onto something better.
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Descent
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Booming
Fair point, of course, but at least up until now its been either antagonists committing the murders, or the heroes justifiably defending themselves against assassins who were opening fire on them. Aside from that, we've had the beheading which was called out by Picard, and Seven murdering the gang leader which I really, REALLY hope will be acknowledged and reflected upon in a decent way later in the series.

This one was weird because it was three random people who weren't even antagonistic, were just doing their jobs of responding to the situation with Soji, were trying to peacefully apprehend the heroes, and yet were brutally and violently killed - from behind, no less - by a character I'm pretty sure we're meant to be on-side with. Picard even thanked him for it. It's the first example of the heroes just straightforwardly murdering people in a way that I think the writers intend the audience to be completely uncritical of, and it's really bothering me for that reason.
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Descent
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:31am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Surprised that only a couple of people have mentioned Elnor murdering three people near the end. Seemed like a really bizarre and pointless thing to put in that cheapens the characters and the episode for absolutely no gain.

If they really had to have five seconds of combat, why couldn't he just disarm or knock out the guards with some ridiculous ninja twirling?
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Wainscoting
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

I genuinely enjoyed those moments between Picard and Hugh. When they interacted there was none of the passive aggressive snark or vacuous, tropey melodrama; just a calm, rational discussion between two good people with implicit trust in the motivations of the other. There are perhaps slight liberties taken concerning the depth of their relationship (as with Data, Geordi was Hugh's main contact and friend onboard the Enterprise as Picard learned to tolerate him from a certain emotional distance) but it effectively delivered some exposition about the 'ex-b' community, which for me is the most narratively interesting fragment produced by STP's patchy efforts at world building. I slowed down from 1.5x speed for that whole sequence. It was nice.

Then one of our heroes coldly murders three security guards from behind by hacking into their necks with a samurai sword, despite their having clearly announced an intent to apprehend rather than attack the 3 ostensible criminals. Picard chides him for not staying on the ship and then chuckles gratefully at his homicidal friend's forthright reply. Ah, the magic's gone again.

Hugh was also being threatened with a knife in the next episode's preview. Yay.
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Wainscoting
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Booming
"Do you really believe that the show is constructed around a philosophical framework created in mid 20th century France about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures? "

I'm not saying it was intentional but kind of. I mean essentially everything in media we consume is to some extent no?

A fair disclaimer: my philosophy is high school level really and even I know the folly of throwing that nebulous P word around, especially without providing an explicit definition. My understanding of the premise of postmodernism is that our mythologies contain dangerous foundational assumptions born of a narrow set of cultural parameters that irrevocably dictate our reality and what we’re able to think. It says that the very concept of ‘reasoning’ is itself the product of Western cultural bias. There is no objective Truth with a capital T etc.

I think it's very useful for pointing out the flaws in power structures and exposing privilege but when unchecked, people descend into moral relativism, irony and nihilism. See @Guiding Light higher in the comments for a prime example ;)

I'm sure I've totally misrepresented postmodern thinkers, so let me just say that I find that nu-trek lacks the sincerity I appreciated in older Star Trek shows. That will do for now.

Thanks for the video! I'll watch it when I get a chance tonight.
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Wainscoting
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I love that people are mentioning Mass Effect 2! Garrus, Tali, Mordin, Wrex...there were some fantastic characters there. The interesting thing about that game when it came to the story beats is that it frequently gave you the option to align with a humanist, Trekkian view of the world or a cynical, nihilistic one. For instance, on Garrus Vakarian's 'loyalty mission' you discover that Garrus ran a vigilante mercenary group undermining various crime syndicates that was betrayed by a member, resulting in the deaths of all but him. Anyway, you spend some time hunting the traitor down and having discussed his underlying motivations along the way Garrus ultimately asks Shepard to draw the traitor into the open so he can kill him from range. You can either aid in this person's death or at the last second to step into the line of fire and explore the circumstances leading to the betrayal as well as the guilt and suffering it is causing this person. Garrus may be dissuaded from vengeance and is fundamentally changed for the rest of the story. Incidentally, no eyes were horrifically yanked from sockets by metal claws in order to evoke emotional response.

Basically, Mass Effect 2 (specifically in those moments where you aren't shooting thousands of bad guys) did Trek better than this nu-Trek can.

That aside, although Jammer's apathy towards the "What is Star Trek?" question is justly earned, most Trek fans will draw a philosophical line somewhere. It seems undeniable that TNG and DS9 largely emerged from their predecessors shadow because they necessarily supplemented the humanist, modernist core of Star Trek with more postmodern spheres of thought. Yet, while challenging themselves, they remained sincerely devoted to the idea that all sentient beings possess moral value and despite our myriad differences, by embracing a 'sovereignty of reason' we can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and perhaps in some small way strive meaningfully towards one day solving the epistemological, metaphysical and ontological questions we all share.

This new, truly postmodern trek has replaced all that sincerity with irony. We see that intelligent life is disposable, people are vain, self-obsessed and eschew the idea of a duty to the common good, society is destined to remain fragmented with people always finding a way to exploit one other. In other words, the pursuit of any truth greater than ourselves is simply a futile attempt to escape the historical and cultural discourses that run our lives.

Q: “You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did.”

Sorry Q, it seems you were wrong. 'Picard' believes in nothing and says nothing, simply taking pleasure in unravelling all that the character represented in TNG to the pleasure of some and the despair of the rest of us.
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Descent
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Guiding Light

It is a very American-centric show, as all Star Trek series including Picard are, but I think you're selling TNG's diversity short:
- Geordi is a prominent black human character, born in Somalia
- Recurring characters include Keiko, with acknowledgements to her Japanese cultural heritage given several times
- Though their characterisation obviously reflects American culture, several white characters are said to be non-American - Picard is French and played by an English actor, O'Brien is Irish and played by an Irish actor, and so on.
- Guinan and Worf are both prominent characters played by black actors
- Many extras seen serving aboard the ship are not white, including some prominently-seen named recurring characters such as Ensign Gates
- Ships have names such as USS Yamato, USS Al-Batani, etc.

I think many of the extras being white (when in reality, based purely on Earth's current demographics, we'd expect them to be in a minority) is due to the production realities of making the show in America. As for the principal cast being overwhelmingly white, you're right and I agree, though I don't think it's enough to scupper the show or accuse it of "close-minded whiteness". We're in a much better position today, where a show like Discovery can offer a fantastic level of representation among its bridge crew - I just wish the scripts were any good...

The classical music thing sucks, not just because it's Western-centric but because it's so boring. I've heard that it was chosen because it's royalty-free and therefore much easier for the producers to include than something they'd have to pay a license for, maybe that goes some way to explain it. I think the cultural references being mostly Western is another fairly understandable product of the show being an American production - we get James Bond and Shakespeare references because they're what the writers know, and they're also widely known enough worldwide, at least in passing, that most viewers can be relied upon to be familiar enough with them to understand the reference.

On the topic of non-Western references, for whatever it's worth, there's a bunch of anime references in early TNG, mostly just in easter egg form. They wanted Wesley to have a Dirty Pair poster in his room, which still makes me laugh thinking about it.

"And there is also the way problems are solved: Picard shows up, gives a big speech and then people agree and we move on. But that is not how these things work. This is how you present it from a priviliged position that assumes that everyone always has to listen to you. In reality, it's activism, hard work and a constant struggle to move a society into a better future. Not just a few well-chosen words. But TNG postulated easy activism."

I don't think that's a fair reading of the show. The Federation explicitly doesn't start from the position of assuming everyone has to listen to them - half the time, Picard has to deal with wanting to help but being explicitly forbidden to do so as a result of the Federation's strict non-interference policies. You also seem to imply that TNG consists of Picard showing up, telling people how to behave, people overhauling their societies to match his demands, and then him jetting off to his next neo-colonialist adventure (sorry if this is an unfair misrepresentation of your argument). That really undersells how complicated TNG could get.

There are relatively few episodes that actually just consist of Picard showing up, giving a speech which fixes everything, and leaving. Much more common are episodes where Picard has to mediate between two groups, episodes where un-ideal (albeit still optimistic) solutions are found, episodes where Picard's/the Federation's starting position was wrong and it's them who end up learning a lesson, episodes where nobody is really in the wrong and it's all about dealing with cultural relativism, episodes where cultural change is effected but it's acknowledged to be the start of a lengthy and difficult process, etc.

"And it presented characters spewing platitudes about inclusion and working together while I.) never showing the reality of that and II.) never showing that 'uplifting others' often means 'taking a step back yourself'."

How might the show have depicted these? If I'm reading your second point right, I think the show depicted this fairly often - the crew adhering to diplomatic protocol and the Prime Directive, acknowledging that their own personal ideals had to take a backseat to cultures they interacted with, because they knew they didn't necessarily have all the answers, nor the right to impose themselves or their values on independent peoples.
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Descent
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Guiding Light

I don't remember the direction in Voyager being sexist for the most part - at least not with most of the recurring directors and cast member directors.

If you're not trolling, what did you mean by TNG ignoring the voices of minority communities and contributing to the rise in 2010s right-wing populism? Genuinely interested to discuss this, because your evaluation of the show jars so heavily against my own to the point where I honestly don't know what you're talking about.

As for being "morally myopic" and "naive", yes I do want them to make a series in which most problems encountered can be solved via dialogue and peaceful negotiation, where the protagonists strive to understand their enemies, and where antagonists can be talked down or shown the error of their ways. Regardless of whether or not you think that's naive and inapplicable to the real world, it was Star Trek's identity and what made it stand out from other science fiction, and people are completely within their rights to lament that the current owners of the franchise are more interested in shootouts, irredeemable and thinly-written villains, and recycled conspiracy plots. Even if you prefer the new shows, you can't be that surprised when fans of the existing 50 years of work comment on the major change in direction the franchise has taken.

I agree that it's no good when people argue that the new shows are "not Star Trek" since they of course literally are, but if people instead say that it's no longer the Star Trek they want to see, then I'd agree with them.
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