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SouthofNorth
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Data's Day

Friggin' A'. The flagship of the Federation has a barber shop. Good grief.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 10:00am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

As so ends Voyager … I often think that the best image of Voyager - and much of Trek I’m afraid - is the poker games on ST:TNG and other series. We’re constantly reminded that money doesn’t exist in the 24th century (for the Federation anyway), so what are they betting? One could argue replicator rations or duty assignments, but you rarely see that aspect played out. No, it’s usually just “chips”. Playing poker with chips is a kids game. If you want to understand poker you have to play with real money with something significant at stake.

Voyager, for much of its run was playing kiddy poker with chips with nothing really risked and nothing really gained. For me, the best SF series of all time is “Babylon 5”. Despite some significant flaws (especially in Seasons 1 and 5) you always felt that the characters were really risking something and that they had to overcome severe trials both from external foes and from their own internal demons. It’s interesting that in both series’ final episode there is a reunion scene of the characters years in the future and in both scenes the chief protagonist (President Sheridan and Admiral Janeway) toast their missing comrades.

But in B5, the loss of comrades is accepted and mourned with the understanding that victory invariably comes at a cost. In Voyager, well, as Captain Janeway says: “You can have your cake and eat it too.” And that was true of the entire series from beginning to end.

So, the game is over. Cash in your chips. Oh wait, there’s nothing to cash in.
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SouthofNorth
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

And another episode where a character evades voyager's laughable security protocols.

In a way, I'm glad there wasn't an eighth season, so I could be spared the episode where Naomi Wildeman takes over the ship, leaving Tuvok stunned and confused.
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SouthofNorth
Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

Not consequential or qwirky enough to like or hate. Just a meh episode to be quickly forgotten. 2 stars.
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SouthofNorth
Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Author, Author

2-Stars.

Okay, I get that the sentiments expressed in this episode are really nice. Who can oppose liberating the oppressed? But let's go beyond that for the moment and look at how this episode was handled. Here are some major flaws:

1. The Doctor's holo-novel was terrible. From the long and turgid preamble which Paris had to skip over to hackneyed dialog, the thing was anything but "high class" entertainment. It was quite frankly awful and no amount of praise from the publisher can change that basic fact.

2. The names and characters in the holo-novel were ridiculous. Okay, so we're supposed to believe that the Doctor is extremely intelligent and artistic but he comes up with names like "Lieutenant Marseille" instead of Lieutenant Paris and then acts shocked that people think the character is based on Tom Paris? Please. I suppose I should be glad that the vulcan was not named "Threevok" and the captain, "Jane Kateway". (or maybe she was ...) Don't treat us like idiots. That kind of writing is something one would expect from a 2nd-grader. And "3 of 8"???? Doesn't the Doctor have the ability to come up with randomly-generated names from the great Federation database?

The point is, you can't have it both ways. If the holo-novel is supposed to be great fiction and the Doctor is supposed to not know he's offended his crewmates, then don't play the holo-novel for transparent laughs and knowing winks.

3. The scene in mines was way over-the-top. This is the 24th century for cripes sake and we're expected to believe that the Federation is mining using tools and techniques more suitable to the 19th century? I'm surprised the Doctors didn't break out in Negro spirituals about their plight.

In other words, the handling of the material is so over-the-top, that it undercuts the message. Everyone has to act like an idiot to accept it.

But it didn't have to be that way.

Imagine instead that the Doctor wrote a novel about his experiences. He could have written about his sense of isolation and the fact that is never really accepted as a person. That his life is always subject to the whim of being shut down and reprogrammed. The holo-novel could exaggerate his experiences slightly - but not too much - and then all of the crew would have the shock of understanding just how poorly they treated the Doctor at times throughout the past 7 years. It would be an important moment of insight and catharsis for all of them.

But that gets lost when you exaggerate the point (the Captain killing an injured patient for example.)

Instead of the mines, how about ending the story with Doctors working menial tasks, totally disrespected and discounted by their coworkers? Understanding that, though sentient, they have absolutely NO chance of improving their lot in life?

Sometimes "less is more" and this was a lost opportunity for a truly great episode. As it is, the clumsy handling undermined the story. The bottom line is the writer should have respected the audience more and trusted their ability to deal with this subject in a more subtle way.
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SouthofNorth
Sat, Jul 7, 2018, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

Another missed opportunity: When Janeway first encounters Chakotay on the bridge, she could have ordered Kim to transport him immediately to the brig:

Kim: Uh ... sorry Captain, I can't get a transporter lock ...
Janeway: Ensign, that's the last time I expect to hear that.
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SouthofNorth
Sat, Jul 7, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

So much potential. Could have been a 4-star episode if they had come upon a some salamanders in sick bay.

Janeway: What's with the salamanders?
Chakotay: Uh, that's you and Tom Paris. You turn into salamanders when you exceed the warp factor limit.
Janeway: The hell you say. What about those baby salamanders?
Chakotay: Well ... that's ... your children. I mean yours and Tom's.
Janeway: WTF? This future ends NOW!

Then we could have had a great scene when the salamanders attack Seska, winning the day.

But no, they didn't go that route. So with a wistful look at what-might-have-been, gotta give this one 2-stars.
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SouthofNorth
Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Drive

This episode would have been 4 stars if it had not been for that ridiculous 24th century putter the Doctor was holding. With that prop, the episode falls to a well-deserved 2 stars.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Jun 18, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy

Any episode that requires that characters act like brain-dead morons to make the plot work is worthy of at most 2 stars. This one is worth 1-star, maybe 1-1/2.

I have no problem with Seven acting paranoid. That can be interesting and relevant as a commentary on the character and methods of conspiracy theorists. The problem with this episode is the ridiculous actions of Chakotay and Janeway. What their characters should have done is realize instantly that something was really really wrong with Seven and then had the Doctor examine her (which would have "confirmed" Seven's suspicions of a conspiracy as now she was being silenced.)

Instead we get the ridiculous plot of Chakotay and Janeway actually buying into this nonsense. But if we, as the audience, know this is nonsense, there is no way to convince us that Chakotay's and Janeway's acceptance of it is nothing more than a lame plot device.

This actually had the potential to be really interesting. Imagine after Seven is cured, the episode ends with this scene:
================
Janeway: Come in

Tuvok: Captain may I have a few minutes with you to discuss Seven's situation ....

Janeway: No need for concern Mr. Tuvok. The doctor has cured her and assures me that it's unlikely she'll suffer a relapse.

Tuvok: I'm pleased to hear it, but I wanted to discuss her analysis of the destruction of the array. I'm gone over the sensor logs in great detail and while Seven may have been suffering from delusions, she was right about the destruction of the array. There was a tractor beam and it does seem it was used to seize some equipment before the explosion.

Janeway: Do you know who was operating the tractor beam?

Tuvok: The sensors readings are very fragmented, but the tractor beam's signature is consistent with federation technology.

Janeway: You're not suggesting that ...

Tuvok: I merely report what I have discovered. It is unproductive to engage in idle speculation and illogical without additional facts.

Janeway: (turning to look out the window with a chilled expression) Indeed it is Mr. Tuvok .... sigh ... we are a far far way from home my friend ...

--- fade out ---
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SouthofNorth
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Relativity

Geez you would have thought that the Borg would have assimilated at least one species that knew how to play ping pong. Seven's form was atrocious!
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Jun 4, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

Nice enough episode. Would've enjoyed it more if they had a different actress playing Shannon O'Donnell.
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SouthofNorth
Fri, May 25, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

Voyager does "Sophie's Choice"

And did it very well. The best dramas are not the action-packed battles in which we're left wondering whether the crew will DIE (here's a spoiler: they won't) but rather putting the characters where they have to make a decision and usually a question that challenges their complacency and beliefs. This is just that kind of an episode for both the Doctor and Janeway. I'm glad they didn't pull any rabbits out of the hat and for the Doctor to grow beyond his programming, he has to resolve the conflicts that will arise between the rules that govern his medical decisions and those that he built for himself in forming friendships. And those two parts of his programming are going to come into conflict as they did for Meryl Streep's character in Sophie's Choice where she has to make an impossible decision.

So kudos. 4 - stars.

Now they just have to build upon it like Babylon 5 did when they would put their characters through the ringer. The future episodes in which the Doctor finally resolves this issue should be fascinating. Oh wait, this is Voyager ... well, it was good while it lasted.
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SouthofNorth
Wed, May 23, 2018, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

Pity that the Doctor wasn't able to send his own message to Seven. It would be something like this:

"Harry Kim is a total screw up. His stupid calculations will destroy the ship. And then he'll spend 15 years trying to correct his error and still destroy the ship. Whatever you do, don't listen to a word that drooling moron says."

Still a 4-star episode and one of the best of the series or any Trek series.

FF rating: No fast-forwarding. Just let it play.
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SouthofNorth
Tue, May 22, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

An episode that manages to be pedantic, sermonizing, smug, pretentious and boring within 50 minutes of running time. 1 star.

FF Rating: Watch the stuff at the beginning which is kind of fun and then FF over all of the ridiculous romance scenes. In fact just keep that FF button pressed until it's mercifully over.
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SouthofNorth
Thu, May 17, 2018, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Hope and Fear

Pity that Janeway didn't have the ability to beam Arturis directly into the Voyager brig and interrogate him there. Oh wait, she did ...
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SouthofNorth
Sun, May 13, 2018, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

2 stars maybe 2.5 stars.

Not really much to keep one's interest in this episode. I suppose there's the fun of watching the Voyager crew go 'gangsta but really since we all knew that telling of the story was bullsh**, it's not any different than the Voyager crew playing make-believe.

Didn't really care about the society because they have no relevance to the series (and disappear for good when the episode is over) and as for the larger "message" that history is often inaccurate, well, actually the story undercuts that message because we are given the true events as dictated by the Doctor. So history is knowable if you have a hologram that was there and can accurately replay the history for you.

It would have been so much more interesting if the story had followed the Rashomon movie in which several competing narratives are presented of this historical event and by the end, you're not quite sure which one is the real story.
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SouthofNorth
Fri, May 11, 2018, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

As someone with a family member that was false accused of sexual abuse (and it was proven to be false), I'll just say that, no you can't always believe the "victim" and that anyone who even suggests doing away with the presumption of innocence because certain people "never" lie is playing with fire and doing a great disservice to our society.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, May 7, 2018, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Concerning Flight

1-star.

Look, everything in this episode is a plot contrivance designed for only one purpose, to get us to the scene where daVinci gets to experience his dream of flight. Nothing else before that is relevant or dramatic or makes a lick of sense. For example, the ineffectual baddie who stole the all important critical essential computer core is rendered unconscious. So? Beam him up to the ship and make him BARGAIN for his freedom!

And we discover that the all important critical essential computer core is housed in this guarded warehouse. So? Beam down a full security contingent armed with phaser rifles and enough firepower to conquer Paris (okay, bad example) and seize it. But no, let's not do that. Let's send ONE person and a 15th century hologram to try to get it back.

Fast Forward rating: Keep your finger on the FF button until you get to the scene where daVinci flies. Play that scene and then press End and go onto the next episode. You won't be missing anything.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 30, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

I want to add to my previous post that there are few things the writer could have done to make the emotional impact of the story “real”. One is to have the Doctor’s family be around for several episodes - or a season - so we get to know them as real characters. After all, if the Doctor had “died” in Voyager’s first episode, it would not have any impact on the audience; but now if he dies, that would be an emotional event. In retrospect, the fact that the family is NEVER seen again, shows that there was never anything real about them and thus the daughter’s death is meaningless.

The other thing would be to give the characters so sense of being different after the change (other than simply become more angry, angsty, and unhappy.) Show that the girl has begun to become sentient and inquisitive about who she is and what she is. Have her ask the Doctor to take her out of the holo-novel (“Take your daughter to work day”) and enter into Voyager. Have him lend her his mobile holo-emitter so she can walk among and converse with the other Voyager characters on the ship. As with Lal in “The Offspring” we will accept his daughter as a real person if we see the other Voyager characters accept her as a real person.

Then you could tie in the Family story with the spatial anomaly story. Have the daughter be on the bridge when a navigation panel explodes (darn that lack of fuses!) and then her holo-whateveritis is seriously damaged and cannot be repaired. So now the Doctor (and the crew) deal with a real and meaningful death and we have a truly meaningful story.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 30, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

Star Trek could never figure out what to do with holodeck people: Are they merely automatons, part of a holo-novel and can be easily done away with, or are they sentient beings whose existence matters to us?

If they’re merely characters in a holo-novel, then the girl’s death has no more meaning and emotional impact than would come from watching the Doctor watching a movie in which a character he likes, dies. Within the context of that double-layered story, no one real has died so why should we care?

On other hand, maybe the girl is sentient, so that her death has the same emotional impact as the death of Data’s daughter in “The Offspring”.

But that interpretation is undermined by the initial behavior of the characters as a weirdly comical 50’s family who sappily adore their father. After all, one could imagine Torres pulling out a gun and putting a bullet in that girl’s head to get her to shut up about the Doctor and if she did, we might all laugh about it. But wait, the girl is dead! Isn’t that terrible? How could you heartless monsters possible laugh?

So this episode tries to have it both ways and it doesn’t work.

Regarding the B-story: I for one am sick of instrument panels blowing up all the time. I keep imagining this conversation:
==========
Torres: Captain, you remember last week when we flew through that spatial vortex anomaly and the navigation panel exploded and killed Ensign DuJour?

Janeway: Do I remember? Tell me about it. We’ve haven’t gotten rid of the stench on the bridge yet.

Torres: Well, I’ve been doing some research and there’s this amazing 20th century device that would prevent our instrument panels from exploding ...

Janeway: Really? Tell me about this miracle invention!

Torres: It’s called a “fuse” and …
========

Fast-Forward Rating: Keep your finger on the FF button and don’t stop till it’s over …
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SouthofNorth
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

1 and half stars.

This one felt like it was hurriedly written in one draft with no edits as the writer put down the plot in a stream of consciousness ...

"okay, let's redo 'Cause and Effect', nah ... let's turn it into ... a remake of 'The Tholian Web', yeah that's the ticket ... nah ... that's too obvious ... let's instead make it a redo of 'Tapestry' but this time with an evil alien that wants to take over Janeway's soul ... errr ... no strike that ... life force .... no ... consciousness. Yeah! Oops ... I've just reached my word count limit for the script. Well, that's a wrap. Onto the next script."
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Fair Trade

3 and 1/2 stars. An excellent episode. And highlights an important principle: good drama involves placing your characters in positions where they have to make a DECISION and it's best if that decision is a difficult one that goes against their beliefs or nature. Episodes like "In the Pale Moonlight" and "City on the Edge of Forever" are great because of the challenges they present for their characters.

On the other hand, an episode in which the only question is "Will Voyager survive?" or "Will Janeway die?" are of limited value if that is the only thing going on. We know that Voyager will not be destroyed and we know that Janeway will not die, so don't waste our time. If that is all you have to say, don't waste our time.

Fast Forward Rating: Let it play and be ready to rewind the closing the scene between Janeway and Neelix.
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Alter Ego

If Neelix is Voyager's Jar-Jar Binks, then Harry is Voyager's Wesley Crusher. The 3/4ths of this episode was darn-near unwatchable. Do the writers understand nothing about these characters? We've already seen that Kim has a hot girlfriend back on Earth that he's living with, so why is he acting like a 14-year boy who just fell in love for the first time? It was all sophomoric and completely insulting.

The last five minutes of the episode were very nice and almost redeemed the nonsense the preceded it.

Rating: 2 stars
Fast Forward Rating: Fast foward through the first 40 minutes and then enjoy the last five.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

Am I the only one who spent the entire episode wondering how a Tic Tak was supposed to eat with that flap of flesh attached between their chin and their nose?
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SouthofNorth
Sun, Apr 22, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Q and the Grey

WTF was that????

I would rate that as 1 star. I might even rank it below "Threshold". At least, "Threshold" didn't ruin a beloved ST character.

Fast Forward Rating: 10 (keep your thumb on the FF button, zip through it quickly, do NOT pause.)
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