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Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I'll add to concerns expressed above that there's nothing to celebrate in bringing in
Kurtzman. Discovery's writing has been a mess so far (even though i enjoyed the first season a bit more than most here) and bringing in the guy from Into Darkness and The Mummy (2017) isn't going to help. Kurtzman is a guy who works well within the big money prime time network/big studio system despite a thoroughly mediocre output (Star Trek '09 is probably the best thing he's helped write), so I'm not surprised he got elevated, given that Discovery plays so much more like a transparent cash-in on an established franchise rather than a real attempt to recapture the Trek spirit or to make any kind of a genuine commentary. Kurtzman seems like he's talented at navigating rewrite requests and following commands from executives managing millions of dollars of investments, and that's what CBS wants so that's what we're stuck with.
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Samuel
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 6:52am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

I thought this was excellent - understand that some couldn't suspend their disbelief on the science. I personally could given that this has always been a soft sci-fi show.

Think all the actors were great, particularly Billingsley and Trinneer. Billingsley does a tremendous job of showing in his very few scenes his journey from thinking of Sim as an organ pool which makes him a bit uncomfortable to loving Sim and being horrified by what he needs to do. Trinneer also walks the line very well between making Sim very like Tucker but a little bit less confident and more alien.

I burst into tears at 'You were a hell of a father'.

The ethical questions are so huge that it's almost impossible to judge, but I did think the episode did an excellent job both of hearing people out and showing that they were doing something they hated through grim necessity. Echoes of 'In the Pale Moonlight'.
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Samuel
Mon, Jun 4, 2018, 4:20am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Exile

There were undertones of the worst aspects of online dating in this episode - meeting someone based on limited information who has done way too much research on you, lied about their appearance, and treats their loneliness as an excuse for ignoring your wishes.

Oh and everyone who says that Hoshi is 'escalating' the situation through her clothing - please stop it. People's bodies are their own, to dress as suits them. No outfit makes a person act badly. Tarquin's creepy behaviour is entirely on him.
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Samuel
Wed, May 9, 2018, 4:13am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Future Tense

I liked that you never found out why the ship was there or why it was so important to the Tholians and the Suliban. It helped to create a sense that the Enterprise crew were trying to make the best decisions based on very little information about an hidden conflict of vast importance. Episodes like this help to build a sense of mystery about the Temporal Cold War - mystery that I hope is eventually resolved in a satisfying way.
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Samuel
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Precious Cargo

I think this episode was meant to be a comedy. But the only time I laughed was at 'Faith of the Heart'.
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Baron Samedi
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

I want to note one overlooked quality that I think Season 7 did brilliantly. As the earlier seasons focused more and more on the Hologram Doctor (as well as 7 of 9) at the expense of other characters, we developed increasing sympathy for him and acceptance of him as a rights-holding member of the crew.

Season 7 built on that sentiment, even turning the tables on us at times, quite a bit in "Critical Care," "Author, Author," and "Flesh and Blood." The final moments of "Author, Author" showing at least dozens of Doctors in a mine conjure up another reference to TNG's "Measure of a Man," as we see the slavery Picard and Guinan feared would result from the a denial of Data's rights. If we accept the EMH as deserving of some rights, then what we're seeing is abhorrent injustice, precisely the result we happily saw defeated for androids in "Measure of a Man". "Flesh and Blood" also carries that idea of the EMH as deserving rights to a logical conclusion - if they have rights, then the EMH's betrayal of Voyager is valid and even moral, as the endless suffering of the hologram Hirogen hunting ground victims constitutes a perfectly valid reason for them to fight back and kill living beings in the process.

Of course, the solution to all of this may very well be to deny the EMH any rights whatsoever, but we've developed so much sympathy for him as a character over the past seven years that we don't want to. But it may be the right thing to do. I'm not sure I'd rule the same way as the presiding judge in "Measure of a Man," and I'm not sure I'd rule the way the arbitrator does in "Author, Author". Because, fundamentally, I don't think either Data or the EMG have consciousness, and I like how Voyager Season 7 cleverly suggests that we at least consider that we might have been wrong to care about the Doctor all along. Although, ultimately, I think it comes down on the side of giving some advanced holograms some limited rights, which opens a massive can of worms, but an understandable one that I don't think the show needs to explore any further than it did.
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Samuel
Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Two Days and Two Nights

This is probably the best Risa episode. But that's kind of like saying that it's the tastiest glass of urine.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 9:03am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

A routine and forgettable episode, though not terrible. Two stars is about right. The moments that worked were fleeting and surrounded by Voyager cliches. There were some nice details though, such as the friendly alien Naroq (although there had to also be typical hardheaded xenophobic aliens to balance him out I suppose) and the simple fact that it was nice to see Tuvok and Neelix's friendship fleshed out for the first time in a while. This episode contributes to "Homestead" next season carrying more emotional weight than it would have otherwise.
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Samuel
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 4:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

The scenes at the beginning with the Ferengi moving around past the knocked out crew could potentially have been compelling - if they hadn't been the Ferengi, but rather some new race. It could have been mysterious and creepy - why are these people here, what are they looking for, what do they want with the Enterprise crew? But because it's the Ferengi, we know they're here to steal stuff and leave, so we're just waiting for the plot proper to start.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I watched this episode on a whim because it's one of the few I had never seen before. It was such a delight! "The Ensigns of Command" perfectly captures the spirit of TNG. The story is all about diplomacy, contrasting the crew (sans Data) dealing with a hyper-textualist alien culture and ultimately solving the problem through a third-party arbitration clause hidden in a treaty with Data dealing with a hyper-emotional human culture that fails to respond reasonably to the logic he presents.

I enjoyed the interactions between Data and Ard'rian, though I wish she didn't have to develop vaguely romantic feelings towards Data. She seemed too smart and sharp to believably fall so quickly for a machine. Still, it was cute subplot that added depth to the colony and the story.

Overall, I thought this was a great episode, one that encapsulates TNG's strengths as a show - namely, its focus on problem-solving as carried out by a smart and diligent cast of characters trying to live up to Starfleet's ideals. It was a breath of fresh air after the bleakness, rushed pacing, and overplotting of so much of Star Trek Discovery.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Just throwing out how I would rate the episodes this season:

The Vulcan Hello - 8/10
Battle of the Binary Stars - 8/10
Context is for Kings - 6/10
The Butcher's Knife - 4/10
Choose Your Pain - 7/10
Lethe - 5/10
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 9/10
Si Vis Pacem - 1/10
Into the Forest - 7/10
Despite Yourself - 7/10
The Wolf Inside - 7/10
Vaulting Ambition - 9/10
What's Past... - 9/10
The War Without - 3/10
Will You Take My Hand? - 2/10

I feel like I enjoyed the season more than most people here. It was better than the first season of all post-TOS shows, although most of those first seasons had a couple better episodes than any of Discovery's. I'm also pessimistic that the writers will be capable of righting the wrongs inherent in their current approach. Jammer's review of the finale here does a pretty good job capturing how I feel about the series at the moment.

The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so. Pretty much every major storyline collapses upon the slightest examination (the L'Rell/Voq/Tyler scheme, the end of the Klingon war, the Federation going along with Mirror Georgiou's plan). This resulted in the finale, though not insultingly terrible (faint praise I know), not working on any significant level.

On the other hand, the acting is really good (I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here) all-around and the show managed to be tons of goofy fun. I didn't even mind the evil caricature Lorca turned out to be - it was a reasonably satisfying payoff and I don't think the show needed to deliver anything more.

If the writers can focus on delivering a smaller amount of plot in a satisfying manner, then Discovery could end up being a great show. My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace, so these changes won't actually happen.
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Samuel
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

What a great episode. Some people seem to view DS9 as a relentless, grim slog. This episode disproves that notion. It takes the larger story's threat and fear as its starting point and builds from it into one of the funniest and warmest-hearted episodes of Star Trek.
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Samuel
Fri, Feb 9, 2018, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Natural Law

The Ventu's word for goodbye is the same as the fascist salute from the Terran empire. Throughout the episode I kept thinking the Mirror Universe Terrans were going to show up.
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Samuel
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 3:33am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

Lots to dislike here - Harry running around the ship trying to avoid being raped while people tell him how lucky he is comes to mind. But Tim Russ is absolutely priceless in this episode - one of the funniest performances he's ever given as Tuvok.
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Samuel Lawrence
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In Purgatory's Shadow

Why does everyone assume that Changeling Bashir didn't attempt to save the baby Changeling in 'Begotten'? It could perfectly well be that he did all he could to save it, but was unable to. This is something that happens to real doctors all the time. People often point out that he didn't link with it, but maybe he simply knew that this disease was something linking wouldn't help with, in the same way that it wouldn't help a patient suffering from TB to give them a bone marrow transplant. Or maybe he found a way to link with it without the other characters noticing, but that couldn't save it.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I'll chime in regarding ranking the captains:

Favorite to least favorite as characters:
1) Kirk
2) Sisko
3) Picard
4) Lorca
5) Janeway
6) Archer

Best to worst as actors,:
1) Janeway/Picard (tie)
3) Lorca
4) Kirk
5) Archer
6) Sisko
(I don't think any of these actors were "bad" - they were all great at least 90% of the time. That said, ENT S1-S2 Archer was performed a bit blandly and Avery Brooks occasionally over-acted noticeably.)

Most effective to least effective as leaders:
1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Archer (mostly for S3-S4)
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Kirk

I agree with some of the comments above regarding Janeway's inconsistency as a captain, as you have to make way too many leaps on your own to explain how often she oscillated between strictly following protocol/the prime directive in some episodes and her jettisoning those traits in others. It's tempting to try to draw some kind of an arc around her behavior, but futile imo, as I'm convinced there's hardly anything holding her character together over the course of the series. That said, Kate Mulgrew did a fantastic job with the character and made a big impact with her strong performances in individual episodes ("Tuvix," "The Thaw," "Scorpion," "Dark Frontier," and the series finale come right to mind).

As to "Vaulting Ambitions," it's my favorite episode of Discovery so far. I haven't truly believed anything we've learned about Lorca so far because something has always seemed "off" about him and his explanations for his behavior and his past, so I don't feel like an interesting character has been excised through the revelation that he's from the MU - I was hoping the show would go this route, as it explains a lot about his character so far. On top of that, Saru, Burnham, Stamets, Lorca and Georgiou all had strong character moments throughout. I'm impressed at the number of bases the episode touched effectively in its short running time.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

Season 7 of Voyager is described pretty well here, in that feels pretty pedestrian. The writers have firmly settled into a formula for the show, preventing both the occasional catastrophic misfires and the occasional classics. There are quite a few fairly good episodes ("Author Author," "Repentance," "Critical Care," "The Void," each installment of both two-parters), tons of mediocre ones, and only a couple outright flops ("Friendship One" and "Unimatrix Zero Part 2", both overrated here at 2.5 stars).

It's a very distinct 7th Season from the two other Trek series that have one. TNG was running out of ideas, churning out episodes of a huge range of quality. DS9 attempted to do a whole lot with a new character and a ten-part finale, to varying degrees of success. Voyager S7 just felt like more Voyager, competent and rarely challenging.

Looking back, the peak of the show was from "Before and After" through "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy," roughly Season 3.75-Season 6.2. The end of Season 3 had a huge upward surge in quality, Season 4 shook up the status quo and took the most risks, Season 5 executed stories within that new status quo the most effectively, and Season 6 started with a random string of strong episodes. That made for a thrilling run of television, and almost all the Voyager episodes I revisit are within it.
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Samuel
Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

So the next month the civilization will be gone, at the rate it evolves. So who cares? The plot contrivance is a pointless excuse to make religion a strawman. Yaaaaaaaaaaawn...
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Samuel
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

Trite and unoriginal writing. Orville does its worst when Seth tries to wrestle with theology. Such a shame, since the episode had potential.
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Samuel
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

LaMarr should never have been promoted to engineering. Two words to explain why: majority rule. One more word: statue.
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Samuel
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

So, why didn’t the statue thing come up later when LaMarr is up for promotion to engineering? ::balldrop::
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

I just finished Enterprise and have how seen every Trek episode made so far! (Assuming you don't count The Orville or the Animated Series.)

Compared to Jammer, I liked Seasons 1 and 2 of Enterprise a lot less, Season 3 about the same, and Season 4 a lot more. Botched finale aside, Season 4 really worked for me - it had so much world-building, developed a few of the characters (and put the others in plot-driven stories that at least didn't bring out their underdevelopment as characters), and had the delightful "In a Mirror Darkly..." two-parter, which I had an absolute blast with (Mirror Universe Porthos being a Rottweiler gave me a big laugh).

If Enterprise had 7 seasons, I could see the first two being looked at as the bad ones, three as the transition where it got good, and four as the beginning of its peak. Unfortunately, the show's cancellation and the terrible "These Are the Voyages" (seriously, nothing happened to these characters in six years?) prevented that from happening, and we're left with a failed show that only got consistently good right before the ending.

That said, I'm glad I watched it. Compared especially to Star Trek Discovery so far, Enterprise episodes have a lot of breathing room and are more pleasant to watch. It's fun and relaxing to watch the shows take their time presenting a new conflict every week. Too often, these conflicts were resolved with silly firefights, and the first two seasons hugely overplayed the crew's inexperience and drew heavily on cliche, but it was OK overall. The Xindi Arc worked; the Temporal Cold War didn't. I enjoyed all the two and three parters in Season 4, as they all provided a lot of insight to the Trek universe.

Enterprise's biggest weakness is in its characters. Jeffrey Combs was always a blast to watch but among the regular cast, Reed, Hoshi and Phlox were all only mildly interesting and the rest just bored me. At least Archer grew as a result of the Xindi Arc, but he was never hugely compelling and is definitely the weakest of the Trek main protagonists.

Looking at the number of episodes I gave a positive rating (a 7 or higher on the 10-scale I use on IMDb, which correlates with a 3/4 star rating here), I gave 5 episodes a positive rating in Season 1, 9 in Season 2, 15 in Season 3, and 15 in Season 4. So that's a lot of improvement!

My picks for the best episodes:
1. Cogenitor
2. Twilight
3. Damage
4. In a Mirror Darkly Part I
5. The Council
6. In a Mirror Darkly Part II
7. Shockwave Part I
8. Carbon Creek
9. Stratagem
10. Vox Sola

Thanks as always, Jammer, for running this site, and I'm glad you're continuing writing reviews for Discovery!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

The loss of the data here had more of an emotional impact on me than the loss of most of these characters (aside from Porthos) would have had.
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Baron Samedi
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Having just rewatched this episode, I continue to be blown away by it. It comes close to justifying the whole first two seasons of Enterprise. For once, it acknowledges the pitfalls of Archer & Co.'s approach to space exploration and meeting other cultures in a way that feels believable and non-contrived, all in the context of a fascinating issue.

The way the Vissians treat the cogenitors seems unequivocally awful and unacceptable; yet, the episode doesn't fall into the pitfall of blind cultural relativism in indicting Trip's decision to enforce his own values onto them while knowing very little about them. Archer's admission that his own bad example had a role in inspiring Trip to act the way he did - setting in motion the events that led to the cogenitor's suicide - is as close as Enterprise gets to acknowledging how the writers had written Archer as excessively foolish and simplistic in his handling of exploration up to this point in the show. And the subplot with Reed and the Vissian female was funny and added some light-hearted texture to the story.

I'd even put it on my all-time Top 10 episodes list which, off the top of my head, would be:
1. In the Pale Moonlight (DS9)
2. Duet (DS9)
3. Scorpion (VOY)
4. The Enterprise Incident (TOS)
5. Mirror, Mirror (TOS)
6. Tapestry (TNG)
7. Cogenitor (ENT)
8. Q Who (TNG)
9. The Thaw (VOY)
10. All Good Things...(TNG)
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Samuel
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

It was nice to see Major Hayes from Enterprise show up as the PR guy for John.

Prior to this episode, I was concerned that the Union is really a Terran Empire. Think about it: the ship has already been involved in a dispute that disrespected one crew member's cultural convictions and also invading a ship/world in which the crew overthrew the government and its religious system. This is imperialism of the worst sort, invading and ruining cultures as it goes.

But this episode demonstrates that the Union has some sort of code or doctrine such as the prime directive that deals with non-interference. But where was this code in the previous episodes? The multiculturalism of TNG is dead as a doornail in Orville.

But at least this episode offers the hope of infusion by good episodes of Sliders and the neat scifi elements from that show.
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