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Skywalker
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

@Timo47 well said!
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Skywalker
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

This was a very poor episode, even for Discovery, and its egregious canon violations have gone beyond all previously known extremes. I’d you’re interested, I deal with the importance of canon in story-telling in this open letter I wrote to CBS:

https://youtu.be/i-st18Xx6N0
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Skywalker
Tue, Jan 22, 2019, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

Dave in MN, I share your feeling of being puzzled that Jammer gave Discovery’s S2E1 three stars and this two stars, and appreciate hearing you feel the same as I do about The Orville. Jammer seems deeply confused to me. I think my above note about sincerity is the key to understanding our affection: everything about The Orville rings true, honest, sincere, while much about Discovery is hollow and false. This would seem to come from a cast a crew at The Orville intent upon recreating the best of ‘90s Trek which they revere or even worked on personally (e.g. Braga, Frakes). While the cast and crew of Discovery, most notably the writers, either have no or minimal prior knowledge of Star Trek (and therefore are unaware of its value and the sorts of messages it often conveys), and instead are trying a mash of styles inspired by Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and The Walking Dead. Those are all great shows, and the first true experiment of this type was in RDM’s Battlestar Galactica. RDM set out to create the anti-TNG show, and succeeded in making something intense and memorable and glorious.

But he had a vision. He was fully sincere in his creation. Of the remaining crew of Discovery after Fuller’s departure, who has a vision? The writers seem deeply ignorant about Star Trek in all aspects. Fancy visuals are great and welcome. But they are less important than the soul of the show. That is much harder to capture. Discovery fails to capture almost anything of the soul of Star Trek. The Orville has captured it entirely, plus an original spin in the style of Seth.

I have been humming “Don’t Ask Me Why” all day since I heard it in this episode. Although a Billy Joel fan, I had not heard either of the songs in the episode before. But they were really well chosen. And they stand nicely next to the beautiful full orchestra compositions which are always soaring and filled, again, with sincere love of the craft and the show. Thank goodness we have The Orville.
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Skywalker
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

Adding to my comments above, I would like to respond to “MacFarlane as an actor has to carry big scenes and complicated emotions in a show like this. Unfortunately, Mercer as played by MacFarlane can never transcend the level of the sorry sap who was stood up at the junior prom and has been snarking his way through life ever since. There's no gravitas to the character because there are no dimensions to the performance.”

This sounds like the superficial criticism of Jeri Ryan for being ridiculously gorgeous and therefore accusing Seven of Nine of being a shallow, one-dimensional character (which turned out to be a false assumption made by the critics of the time). For I see incredibly nuanced things in Mercer’s character thanks to MacFarlane’s remarkably good performances. Knowing his previous more puerile work on Family Guy, etc., I expected The Orville to be a truly dumb parody and dreaded seeing the first episodes. Yet MacFarlane does such a great job as a lead Star Teek captain! and thanks to his performance I fell in love with this show. The key difference from other Trek captains is that Mercer is made out to be more of an everyman than previous types, as is the whole cast, which is part of the charm and humor.

In short, I vehemently disagree. Much to the surprise of many, Seth MacFarlane *does* transcend his boyish simplicity and sardonic attitudes with passionate sincerity (I think “sincerity” is the key word behind the creators’ every act, as The Orville oozes with sweet and sincere desire to create this world for us). MacFarlane *does* convey gravitas and there *are* many dimensions to his portrayal of the character. I am sorry that you cannot yet see it. Perhaps one day you will. If these subtleties were absent, as you opine, then the rest of us wouldn’t love The Orville as much as we do.
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Skywalker
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

Jammer, you wrote “such pretentions only work if there's a workable emotional core beneath the surface.”

Yet there is. I was deeply moved by the episode, as was the majority of the fan base. I find it strange that I have agreed with most of your Star Trek reviews, yet your Orville reviews have been hard to understand. I can only surmise that you haven’t quite “got” the Orville yet and are too put off by its similarity to ‘90s Trek, of which The Orville is a passionate homage, not a ripoff.

That’s why Orville fans are so in love with this show. McFarlane has taken all the best aspects of ‘90s Trek and distilled them into a new sci-fi franchise with new characters, settings, etc., that echo the Trek of the past in a deliberate way, adding his colorful sense of humor. Trek would mine its own formula and themes several times, sometimes within the same series — how many times did we see TNG repeat an earlier idea in a later episode, and DS9 too, and definitely Voyager?

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in those series, and in The Orville it’s truly genius. I feel the point of Star Trek is to explore relevant themes, to philosophize about the nature of our humanity and existence. This is exceedingly well presented in “Majority Rule” and “About a Girl” and yes, also this episode, which tackles the notion of romantic betrayal. Those of us who have been betrayed like Mercer can easily relate to him. The sci-fi twist of inter-species racism is an interesting added element to the story, and causes us to ask what will happen in our modern coexisting societies. Mercer becomes preachy in this episode, and when Telaya calls him out on his own obvious imperfections, he retorts comically, “Well at least I know who Billy Joel is.” His petty response is couched in the fact that there is no good answer. We all tend to see ourselves as more moral and better than we really are, and then when we become aware of our deficiencies we labor and brood and have trouble moving on. That’s an important and well expressed message, especially since it was accomplished with one quip in a line of dialogue.

I would encourage you to open your heart to the joys of this show. My guess is that your professionalism as a critic has made you a bit cynical. Forgive my attempt at analysis. I just can’t grasp why you don’t love this show like the rest of the Star Trek fan base. Many thanks for all your hard work in writing and maintaining all your reviews on this great site.
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Skywalker
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Datalore

And after beaming Lore into space, how come they didn't try to retrieve him? Or pursue the Crystalline Entity? "Our computer cores are due for a refit!" Ah, that explains it... hahaha.
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Skywalker
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

...What the heck was that?! I just don’t know. I don’t really hate any of this, but I keep asking myself, “huh?” “what?” “why?” “really?” I mean, was there a point to all this? It feels like these episodes have been composed in parts by completely different writers with only the most superficial of connective tissue. It’s just so weird and jarring. There are some sincere attempts at ... well, at something, but it’s just so below the mark. Compare any of this to BSG: those characters immediately evoke emotions in me when I watch their stories; the star crossed romance between Boomer and Tyrol, the dignity and intensity of Roslin and Adama, the relatable non-preachy opposite sides of arguments between Apollo and Starbuck. If these characters made me feel anything, I could forgive all the rest. So far that has only been Stamets.

It was nice to see Michael smile at the end, after a very mopey season. I’m also glad her rank was restored (though without being an officer before it made no sense how she got promoted so high to begin with).

But does this show stand up to The Orville? The Expanse? To Voyager?
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Skywalker
Fri, Nov 17, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

A great episode! And one of the funniest so far. The blend of humor and Trek has really hit its stride here. I think the funniest moment of all was the very end — thirty seconds of our character just slowly making her way into bed with a calm smile. A part of me was waiting for a sudden joke — which never came! It was so old school Trek that I laughed out loud.

Bravo, MacFarlane!
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Skywalker
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

As for Chad Coleman (Klyden), he, like the Sonequa Martin-Green, the lead of ST Discovery, was a character in The Walking Dead.

I also enjoyed this episode. I’m surprised Jammer dislikes this show so much. It may be he hasn’t internalized the joke of The Orville, which is nostalgia with a mild comic twist, along with some very good sci-fi ideas — a slightly more sober version of Futurama.

As I smile at these scenes, I find myself chuckling and often staying, “that’s so charming!” This show has a very sweet demeanor, unlike Family Guy, for example, which is mean-spirited to the core and characters show zero growth (but that’s the point of that comedy, and I appreciate it as well).
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Skywalker
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

This episode gets an upvote from me! It’s one of the best Star Trek episodes I’ve seen in years. It’s amazing how much better The Orville is than Discovery. Naturally the TNG and TOS atmosphere has been lovingly plagiarized, which doesn’t bother me at all and I enjoy the joke, but then uses this vehicle to present elevating material just like the best Star Trek episodes always did.

I was reading Gee’s comments on the latest DSC episode, “Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum,” wherein he noted how there are no grand views of the ship in the series to help romanticize the setting. We get plenty of those with the Orville, with beautiful orchestral movements to sweep us into the magnificence of the universe and the exhilaration of space travel. And then I laugh, because this show was just supposed to be an irreverent comedy, I realize I’m mostly just experiencing nostalgia. I think that was the intention as well. I love it!
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Skywalker
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

I am in the middle of this episode and noticed that the gavel made into a sphere is a nod to ST:VI! The Klingon gavel was also spherical. Brilliant! Very good episode. This is good sci-fi.
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Skywalker
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Command Performance

Voyager makes a point about dropping out of warp for course changes, but I remember a TNG episode where a Nebula class ship with O’Brien’s old captain veering off at warp.

I actually like this show! It asks good sci-fi questions; almost none of it is comedy. The next episode is quite good.
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Skywalker
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

And one more observation: I’m strongly reminded of Guardians of the Galaxy in this episode, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. The little purple death balls and the wristband of abilities in particular have its style. The blasée technobabble also has the feeling of it. I love Guardians of the Galaxy, mostly because it’s a carefree space romp, but I have often loved Star Trek for its dedication to a hyporthically grounded reality. Did anyone else feel this way?
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Skywalker
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Did anyone wonder why they didn't just *stop* the beaming of the space-dwelling alien onto the ship? Stamets could have turned off main power, called the bridge, raised the shields, deactivated the transporter system, anything — no explanation is given for why this isn't possible so it stands out to me.

Also, they talk about this space-dwelling alien like it's quite common, but the TNG crew were filled with such wonder and awe at the sight of one in Galaxy's Child like it was a truly unique phenomenon. That kind of bothers me too.

And Mudd's knowledge of critical Starfleet systems, and how to hijack them, along with the spore-drive intel makes it unbelievable he would be set free. It seems really sloppy, amidst an otherwise enjoyable episode.
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Skywalker
Sun, Oct 9, 2016, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

I liked the debate Sisko had with Kasidy. It helped to acknowledge that the civil rights movement was still rather new in the '90s and allow the creators to be self aware that their audience is primarily composed of 20th century Americans. It also allowed Sisko to be a mouthpiece for those who have made comparable criticisms about the idealism of race relations in Star Trek in general.

However, I do not believe Sisko would actually feel this way, even after his experience as Benny Russel. It has been more than three centuries since First Contact with the Vulcans occurred; racism of human against human is at least that far removed from these characters. Sisko says "our people," but his people are indeed not merely all of humanity, but the other citizens of the UFP. So, not a realistic opinion for Sisko to hold, but entirely for our benefit as the audience.
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Skywalker
Sun, Oct 9, 2016, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

Jammer, I'm not sure why you assert that continuity has been rewritten regarding the introduction of humanity to the Borg. It has not been. The Hansens set out to pursue a rumor about a cybernetic species that no one in the Alpha Quadrant knew about. They remained far away from the Federation for years and never sent their data back to Starfleet. Ultimately their sacrifice was entirely in vain since they were assimilated before they could inform the Alpha Quadrant of their discoveries.
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Skywalker
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Harry transfers Doc and Krell from the Holodeck to Sickbay — Doc was wearing his mobile emitter on the Holodeck, and is wearing it again in Sickbay. I guess Harry transported it at the same time Doc was transferred. Hah.
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Skywalker
Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 8:24am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: One

Did anyone else catch that Seven reads Paris's vitals as "Pulse: 42. Temperature 97.6..."...degrees Celsius?! Good job, Doc, Tom is almost boiling. Must be all that radiation.
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Skywalker
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

One other note: at the end of the episode Janeway is painting! She never did any painting before "Sacred Ground," and now she's painting in the Ready Room!? That's an incredibly nice touch of continuity, like Picard's piccolo from "The Inner Light."

Oh, and the final mano a mano with the macrovirus is also laugh out loud funny. Plus the digital liquid crystal display?! Sheesh. That's like someone today sticking a pocket watch onto a sophisticated bomb.
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Skywalker
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

This episode isn't bad at all! The rip-off stuff is obvious enough to be funny and therefore enjoyable — Janeway crawling into the Jeffrey's Tube from Sickbay with the EMH and holding a phaser rifle is a grace note to STFC which came out the same year. I laughed out loud when the cheery Talaxian pleasure center characters (still including the female championship volleyball team Harry added from episodes earlier — awesome continuity!) were terrorized by the macroviruses! Perfectly hilarious. And the tie-in with the Tac Tak guys was a nice touch.

The best part about VOY since "Future's End" has been the portrayal of how well this crew works together: they community effectively over the intercom; they solve problems; they work together seemlessly towards their goals. That's good Star Trek! It feels like the crew has come into its own.

And by the way, I noticed how he tricorders became "modernized" suddenly to the DS9 standard back in season 2. I guess they had upgraded units in storage? Doubly the phaser rifles; in one of the previous episodes ("Warlord") Tom has the old style phaser rifle. The new style was introduced this year in STFC. Ah well, I guess they were in storage also...

Given that kind of studio nonsense, I'm frankly surprised the VOY crew didn't update their uniforms with the STFC/DS9 standard this year (1996). Thank goodness! I can imagine a studio exec saying, "These Voyager you guys ain't got the new uniforms. Hey, somebody get these guys the new uniforms, right away!" And then a meek little writer comes up to him and says, "Sir, we can't do that; the Voyager crew is 70,000 light years away from Star Fleet and has not been in contact for almost three years. They wouldn't even know about th change." The neanderthal-like exec would furrow his heavy brow and scratch his tiny head trying to ponder the internal logic of a show he never even watches. He protests, "But the average viewer don't care nothin' about that! We have two different Star Treks with different uniforms. It's confusin'!" After winning the obvious uniforms battle, the meek writer compromises on the tricorders and the phaser rifles.
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Skywalker
Fri, Jul 29, 2016, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Chute

I like at 26 minutes in where the prisoner has a red halo around his head. Nice photography!

And the reveal to the space prison was pretty cool.

I hated this episode when I started ("not another Tom and Harry story..."), but it grew on me.
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Skywalker
Wed, Jul 13, 2016, 9:20am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Flashback

The Doctor: "I don't know what happened to you. But there can be any number of explanations: hallucination, telepathic communication from another race, repressed memory, momentary contact with another reality...take your pick. The universe is such a strange place..."

LOL! What a hilarious line! That's basically a list of every other similar Star Trek episode's premise.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

In the military we have a term: OPSEC. Operational Security. It means not openly discussing tactical or strategic plans. For example, Kira NOT telling Odo, Quark, and Bashir she doesn't have time for their petty problem because she has to go help Sisko retrieve a captured Jem'Hadar vessel, the "greatest intelligence find in the last ten years," according to the captain. Odo, maybe. Bashir, he's not need-to-know. Quark who is still smuggling illegal merchandise?! Now, we can trust Quark won't willingly damage the prospects of the Alpha Quadrant, depending on the price. But considering his wide range of contacts, he only needs to mention the downed ship to someone, and then a Dominion spy overhears and sends in the Jem'Hadar. Which is exactly what happened. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I like Muñiz's line, "Don't worry, jefe. I'll get you through this one."

So Dax, a Trill, can't even speak Trill with trilled 'r's, nor can she trill the 'r's in Klingon — but she goes out of her way to trill the 'r' in "Enrique"?? Pandering much?

@Luke

I want to thank you, because you really helped me to hate Dax. She's awful! I never realized it before I read your reviews. In addition to your pointed criticism, my biggest pet peeve is that she always calls the captain by his first name. It's so unprofessional. I don't care if they are friends. Time and a place! When she is set straight by Sisko, she calls him "Captain" with such condescension.

Tactical mistake: not taking Kilana hostage!

Why is Worf obsessed with Enrique dying? It's not like he has been with humans for a few days. He grew up on Earth! He knows how humans feel about friends dying. His Klingon moralism is utterly contrived, only so that we have a completely artificial discord of these characters:

Worf says to Miles (his friend of 10 years!!) "You are just another weak human afraid to face death."
Even if he weren't a decennial friend, didn't these assholes just enjoy some serious team building on Kronos?! WTF!

This is completely unbelievable. Dax being a snarky bitch, that is common place. I wish Sisko had smacked her broad across the face like a Klingon captain would. She was completely out of line. Miles was just trying to fix the ship and help his friend (who is not an ensign by the way, Jammer, but a crewman, probably an E-3). Worf and Dax are beyond the pale. They deserve each other.

Some barrage! It sounds like distant thunder. This is what breaks their cohesion?! Improbable.

I don't like whatever lesson was supposed to come from this. "...if we had trusted each other!" says Sisko. What?! Dude, Benny, your people died, and the Jem'Hadar died, because of the freaking *Jem'Hadar*! They blew up the Runabout and attacked because they are Dominion.

@Luke, do you think this idiotic message is comparable to left-wingers blaming the United States' for being attacked by Al-Qaeda?

I also think Jammer is dead wrong about Kilana. The unsure-of-herself routine (along with the low cut dress) were meant to lull Sisko into a false sense of security, as was the "it's my first mission" lie. "I'm just a helpless attractive woman in need of a big, strong captain to help me through this diplomacy stuff." Sisko to his credit does not bite. And she looks pissed. All Vorta have this cloying aspect to their character, and Kilana oozing the diplomatic schmooze plus the weak-woman honeypot ploy is perfectly in character for her and the Dominion. I really like her character.

Or maybe it was just the dress...

Didn't they say this Jem'Hadar ship was indeed special in its construction? I guess it wasn't after all. It just had a Founder on it. Oh...

In the final analysis, even I used to really enjoy this episode, it has two untenable problems. Worf is bizarrely out of character, and Sisko blames himself in an unfathomable attempt by the writers to equivocate both sides in a conflict as being equally wrong.

@Luke, I am seldom harder on episodes than you are, but on the Luke Scale I would give this a 5/10 at best.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Apocalypse Rising

@Peter G,

Thanks! That's good intel. They needed a better explanation. I imagine this scene:

Sisko: "Worf, Odo, and O'Brien, I am selecting you three to accompany me on this mission."
O'Brien: "Why me? Wouldn't Commander Dax be better suited to infiltrating the Klingon Empire.
Sisko: "Unfortunately the commander has been called away by Starfleet Intelligence for an update on the technical capabilities of Jem'Hadar warships. And you are the only one who will be able to help us set the prototype."

@Chrome,

I actually think that whole incident with Picard is even more stupid. That was just commando stuff, and special operators would so much better. At least Worf (again on the fool's errand!) and Odo make sense.

As a real-world soldier (Army aviation officer), I can tell you that yes, when we don't have more pressing duties, we get assigned random tasks all the time. But never one of such high importance. It's the old Trek trope, "We're the only ship in range," despite the absurdity, because the writers want the main characters involved.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Apocalypse Rising

Major nitpicks:

1) Not only do Dukat and Kira openly discuss the infiltration plan on the promenade, but they walk right into the Infirmary with open doors for any who can see to the spectacle of three senior staff members being surgically altered to look like Klingons.

I guess they assume that the Klingon Empire considers espionage to be dishonorable.

2) Wouldn't Starfleet have true experts on Klingon culture who are spies who would be infinitely better suited to this? Special Forces? And they are depending on Dukat to create their fake identify files?! Jesus, Starfleet has no idea what it's doing.

3) Wouldn't Dax have been a much better choice than O'Brien for this mission? Her only real usefulness comes from her familiarity with Klingon culture (obviously she hasn't been any good at her Science Officer job for a while since she hasn't done anything with that position in ages; all I see her do is be a lieutenant commander *helmsman*!!). Plus seeing Dax in Klingon garb would have been way hotter than potato-faced Irish handyman Everyman Edward O'Brien.

Dax also speaks Klingon! Educated Klingons like to speak English anyway (see page 10 of The Klingon Dictionary), but that's no guarantee.

Did anyone catch Damar's evil grin after they blew up the other Bird of Prey? It was awesome! Haha.

"It's not easy being funny wearing these teeth." That sounded like Colm Meany talking to Michael Dorn!
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