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Stubb
Sun, Feb 19, 2012, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

"200 years ago, you could have said -- And finally...Since a million years of human history and societal evolution have left us with mercantilism and slavery as our best alternative"

On most topics I'd agree with you. As I said, "maybe" capitalism is the best we can do. (Insert "Omega Glory" Constitution joke here.) But above all else in a civilization, things need to get done. This whole thread was based on the question of whether a Trek-style approach could actually get people to do things, whether it's exploring space or washing dishes. I wish it were so. But I still contend that the only consistent way to get people to do things (especially big things) is the promise of reward, AKA greed. Call it capitalism, call it money-grubbing, call it whatever you want. But in order for a Trek-style 'utopia' to have a prayer of working, human nature would have to change. And I don't believe it ever will.
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Stubb
Sat, Oct 22, 2011, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

Sorry, two more things.

Tripps, you assume that money won't be necessary in a 'post-scarcity' society, because nobody will ever need anything from anyone else. This overlooks the valuable commodities known as knowledge and expertise -- aka, SERVICES. Unless each of us knows everything, lawyers and doctors and plumbers will still have to work for each other, performing these services. Whether we'd be willing to do all this work for free remains to be seen.

And finally...Since a million years of human history and societal evolution have left us with capitalism as our best alternative, I find it hard to believe a couple of hundred years will be enough time to completely replace it with something 'better'. Sorry to say this, but given our entrenched 'human nature', maybe capitalism is the best we can do.
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Stubb
Sat, Oct 22, 2011, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

Tripps, your points are well-taken. Of course I wish it were so. But like Weyoun, I fear any optimism about human beings doing things "for the love of it" breaks down when taken to its logical conclusion.

Let's return to the drug company example. The issue is not that I don't want lifesaving drugs created; we all do. But I can't create any. You know why? Not only because I don't have the expertise, but because I don't have ten billion dollars -- nine of which will probably be wasted just to create a single viable drug. That money pays for the time, the effort, the knowledge, and the materials necessary to create these miracle medicines. This ten billion dollars (aka 'investment') comes from stockholders and R&D funds (i.e. previous earnings), and was put up in hopes of a financial reward at the end of the whole process. In other words, literally tens of thousands of people have contributed their time, investment, and expertise to create that single drug over the course of many years. One person who 'loves what he does' could never accomplish this -- chances are he has neither the knowledge nor the 10 billion dollars. It's therefore my contention that if we take away the promise of reward, that $10B worth of time and expertise coordinated among tens of thousands of people never gets applied, and we have no miracle drugs.

Where your optimism falters is in branding "money" as its own separate entity, and therefore superfluous to this process. Money is not 'one' thing in this equation -- it represents ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. The time, the investment, the knowledge, the effort, but most importantly the *motivation* for 10000 people to get together in our diverse society and create that life-saving drug. Take that away, and we might all still be living in caves, rubbing sticks together.

Oh, and one more point -- guess where some of the profit our drug company makes off its massive investment goes? Into creating the next miracle drug. And on we go.
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Stubb
Mon, Aug 8, 2011, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

As I've commented on other threads, DS9 suffered from TNG disease -- it took a season and a half to find its sea legs. Unlike TOS, which seemed to hit the ground running, DS9's plots and characters were largely misdirected and confused for the first two seasons (with a few exceptions). Season 4 improved, and season 5 was very good.

What elevated DS9 in seasons 5-7 was one thing: the Dominion War. Neither TOS or TNG possessed anything like the epic, sweeping scope of this fascinating plot arc. Yes, DS9 strayed from it a few times. But overall, it added a depth lacking in the other shows.

Tell you what I mean. When I was a little kid watching TOS, I quickly figured out that none of the main characters could ever die. Unlike a 2-hour film, this puts a serious damper on drama. I used to call it Scooby Doo Syndrome. Where's the dramatic impact if I know no major characters can die? If I know they'll always escape at the end? It takes inspired storytelling to bridge that gap and convince me to care what happens on a weekly show. The Dominion War, as a long-term story arc, achieved this objective. Instead of 26 four-act plays told in an hour apiece, we had 26-hour stories with a continuous plot arc (plus diversions). Form me, THAT is what made DS9 rise above the other series.

WYLB was a satisfying and moving finale for DS9. I miss it still.
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Stubb
Thu, Aug 4, 2011, 8:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

I'll buy what ASDF says above. Maybe Quark's holosuites (there are four of them right?) are like hotel conference rooms, with walls that can be opened up to join them together and create one giant holosuite. That would give a little more wiggle room for home plate --> outfield and running to first base. But also, don't forget that they are playing with holographic baseballs as well. When a long fly ball is hit to right field, the ball can be controlled/altered by the holosuite to appear to be traveling 350 feet.
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Stubb
Mon, Jul 25, 2011, 7:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Assignment

I'll defend Rom's character too. Aside from Colm Meaney's typically strong performance, I felt Rom was the most pleasant surprise in this episode. He has engineering talent, but is also naive and easily duped. Rom offers more than we see at first glance. To me, that equals complexity. And Grodenchick's acting was fine.
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Stubb
Wed, Jul 13, 2011, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Way of the Warrior

While I enjoyed this episode well enough, it does suffer from most of the complaints lodged above. How can every warship except the Defiant blow up with one torpedo? Why are Klingons so easily defeated in hand-to-hand combat?

But the Achilles' Heel of this episode (and most of DS9 in fact) are Andrew Robinson and Marc Alaimo. Not that they are bad. The problem is that they are so darn GOOD that most every other character and actor pales by comparison. When Garak or Dukat are onscreen, this show CRACKLES. My hair stands on end. Birds sing. I know, I've beaten this horse to death on other comment strings. But man! What makes these characters so gripping? Is it the writing, the acting, the Cardassian intrigue and treachery, or all of the above? Not that Odo, Bashir, or Quark aren't good characters. I just love me some Garak/Dukat.
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Stubb
Mon, Jul 11, 2011, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

I just want to second Jammer's comments on Garak, and Andrew Robinson in particular. I don't know whether it's Robinson's talent, Garak's character development, good writing, Cardassian complexities, or all of the above. But for me there is little doubt that Garak is the best developed, most mysterious, and most fascinating individual character in the whole series. Gul Dukat and Damarr are great too (Cardassians rock!), but they come behind Garak, probably because he lives among the Federation and is a former Obsidian Order operative.

When Garak stared down the Founder, I got chills. Why? Because I knew that no matter how powerful, determined, or devious she might be, Garak's indomitable treachery would somehow find a way. Sure enough, it almost did. And who can argue with his logic? Much as he deviously helped Sisko bring the Romulans into the Dominion war in "Pale Moonlight", here he is willing to cold-bloodedly sacrifice a few lives to protect the entire Alpha Quadrant. Watching this scene, I came to believe Worf might just regret his interference in the future...honor be damned.
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Stubb
Thu, Jul 7, 2011, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

OK, let me be the grinch to rain on Homefront's parade. The wooden overacting and strained "family" dialogue between the three Siskos just about sinks this episode. I cringed watching the banter between Joseph and Benjamin. And this is not just the script's fault. Both of them were over-emoting ridiculously, especially in the first half hour.
Second, the post-9/11 comparisons. Yes, DS9 was prescient here. But the issue is handled SO ham-handedly as to negate its impact. The sledgehammer treatment of difficult issues does nothing to challenge thought. Is this simply because we've all lived through these tough questions since 9/11? I can't say.
Third, the 'no money' question. Not to get all Ayn Randian here, but would you really work and invest precious time for nothing? I mean really? Doctors are great, but would you spend decades in school and residency (grade 1 on up) for nothing? Lifesaving drugs are great, but if it costs 10 billion dollars to create 10 new drugs, 9 of which fail, what company would do that with no payoff? Human nature does not change.

Actually, it seems to me that one of the few places this fantasy might function is (drumroll) on a starship. Space exploration is so thrilling and rewarding that, yes, people might just train for years to explore space for free.
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Stubb
Tue, Jun 28, 2011, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Improbable Cause

I also adore the writing and dialogue in this episode. "Julius Caesar" being my favorite Shakespeare play, it was a pleasure to watch Garak and Bashir spar over it at lunch, only to have Garak do an about-face and approvingly quote the play near the end of Part II. ("'The fault is not in the stars, dear Tain, but in ourselves.' Something I learned from Dr. Bashir.") Great way to tie up beginning and end, spread over two full episodes.
The mystery and intrigue of the Cardassians, and Garak's character in particular, have allowed DS9 to age VERY well.
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Stubb
Mon, Jun 27, 2011, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

First of all, just ogling Dax, Kira and Jennifer in their sultry alternate guises makes this episode worth watching. Then there's the odd Sisko discrepancy -- apparently the alternate Avery Brooks actually *can* act. But what I don't understand (jumping ahead to include the subsequent Crossover episodes) is alternate-Kira's propensity for suffering betrayal. Here she is, the ruthless Intendent of Terok Nor, getting taken in by every two-bit shyster who comes her way (male or female). Sisko smiles at her, Smiley lies to her, and next thing you know she's betrayed, everyone's escaped, and Kira is either pouting or lying unconscious on the floor. Without the masterly and cynical Garak by her side, this patsy wouldn't stand a chance. How on earth did such a sucker become the feared Intendent of Tarok Nor??
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Stubb
Thu, May 19, 2011, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

As a kid who grew up obsessed with Body Snatchers (both versions) and other 50s-60s Cold War paranoia, the beauty of "Whispers" stems from how deftly the episode turns the classic 'Paranoid Conspiracy' on its head. Given a lifetime of THEY'RE OUT TO GET YOU! reinforcement, I admit that I didn't see the end coming until the very last minute. Of course it was a conspiracy! Of course O'Brien was the normal one! Oops, guess not. Brilliant.
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Stubb
Wed, May 18, 2011, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I won't go as far as Elliot, and I was certainly affected by several parts of "The Visitor". But the Reset Button effect in this episode is just too darn overwhelming. While not ruining it outright, the RB still puts such a heavy damper on the proceedings that I wasn't 'transported' the way the best Trek episodes can.

I'll try not to belabor the point, but here's a synopsis:

1. Avery Brooks' over-emoting. It so SO hard to ignore a story's 'scaffolding' when I feel like I'm watching an actor perform, instead of a character living his life.
2. The aged crewmembers, and 'getting the gang back together'. This was just too pat and expected (although I did think Terry Farrell's age makeup was outstanding).
3. The surprise writer-guest. This worn-out storytelling tactic is another example of the 'scaffolding' getting in the way of the story.
4. Worst of all, the Reset Syndrome. The moment we find out Tony Todd is playing old Jake, we know nothing will 'take' at the end. Despite the episode's emotional power (and there is plenty), the unavoidable Reset taints it with a fairytale quality that can't help but detract from it.
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Stubb
Tue, May 17, 2011, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

This episode crystallizes one of the oddest quirks in the entire Star Trek canon: the fact that each series required at least a season and a half to get its sea legs -- except TOS, which was off and running in a month.

Let me explain.

Even allowing for two pilots (three counting "Corbomite Maneuver", in which the series was still feeling its way), TOS had some of its greatest successes early in its first season. Episodes like "Naked Time" showed that the actors 'got' their characters very early on, and the stories benefited accordingly. But TNG's first season and most of the second SUCKED. DS9 was slightly better, but also took awhile to get going. When I started paying attention to TNG again during the third season, I was surprised to discover that the actors had finally nailed their characters, especially Frakes and Spiner.

This strange Trek pattern is brought into stark relief here, by the appearance of Nicole deBoer as Ezri Dax. In my opinion she is a subpar actress anyhow, but leave that aside. She has NO depth of feeling for her character (yet). Her acting resembles a young girl in her third school play -- not awful, but clearly leagues below the rest of the cast. I'm not sure I ever warmed up to her as Dax, but for me her appearance taints this episode simply because it reminded me of just how uninspired TNG and DS9 could be during their first two seasons.
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Stubb
Mon, May 16, 2011, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

TAPS in space, except that TAPS was a fun movie. When Dorian started crying, I thought of the little kid in TAPS who jumps up screaming, drops his rifle, and gets shot by Ronny Cox's national guardsmen. Except she didn't get shot. She also didn't jump off the ship, I guess.
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Stubb
Mon, May 9, 2011, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

Wow. Divergent viewpoints and a spirited debate. For my two cents, I'm also surprised at Jam's four-star rating for what is essentially a gimmicky comedy episode, done to far better and deeper effect in "Far Beyond The Stars". The last ten minutes make the show; take those moving final moments away and we're left with a pointless, irritating, self-absorbed caper focused on two of the show's least appealing minor characters (Jake & Nog) and a cardboard tinfoil-hat villain (Dr. Immortality). I will admit enjoying the way the script tied everything up at the end, especially seeing Weyoun lie down in the immortality pod. I think I could watch Jeffrey Combs' predatory smile all day long.
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Stubb
Wed, May 4, 2011, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Since we've all beaten this film to death over the past 30 years, I'll only say this: I cannot believe how well this film (and screenplay) have aged. This may be my favorite sci-fi screenplay of all time (not just ST), if only because in over 50 viewings I have yet to find a single element about it that I don't like. From a story, dialogue, and action perspective, it's about as close to perfect as a script can get.
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Stubb
Thu, Apr 14, 2011, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: That Which Survives

Here's one lonely cheer for "That Which Survives". When I was a little kid watching this episode in the early 70s, it absolutely scared the bejeezus out of me. I used to sneak up on my brother and touch his shoulder like Losira. Then we'd both run away screaming.
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Stubb
Thu, Apr 14, 2011, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

Also, one Redshirt quibble: Lt. Galloway (David Ross) in "Omega Glory" is NOT just another doomed Redshirt. He starred in several other episodes, including "A Taste Of Armageddon".
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Stubb
Thu, Apr 14, 2011, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

1. Assignment: Earth is listed as a potential pilot in David Gerrold's "The World Of Star Trek", from 1973. I'm pretty sure it's received wisdom.
2. Since we're listing 'favorite middle-tier episodes', I want to put my two cents in for "Metamorphosis". While justly not considered among the series' very best, I have always been deeply moved by 1) the Companion's indelible passion for Cochrane, 2) the analysis of love provided by Kirk/Spock/McCoy, and 3) Cochrane's surprisingly parochial response to the Companion's affection for him. Is it because he's centuries old? Regardless of the reason, it adds the perfect left-field touch to what I consider the most achingly romantic episode TOS ever did.
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Stubb
Thu, Apr 14, 2011, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Operation--Annihilate!

One question. What happens to Kirk's nephew in "Operation: Annihilate"? Both his parents (Kirk's brother and sister-in-law) are dead. Assuming the kid survived -- which we aren't told -- shouldn't Kirk feel obligated to care for him? Oh well. It Takes A Village, I guess.
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Stubb
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

There is only one thing that lifts this episode from good to great, and that is Andrew Robinson's performance as Garak. Garak is a nuanced, deeply realized character with a mysterious past that leads us to wonder not only what he's done, but also what he is CAPABLE of doing. Each scene with Sisko adds to Garak's virtuosity and ruthlessness. But watching his final confrontation with Sisko, it's blatantly obvious that he utterly steals the climax of this episode right out from under our dear over-emoting Captain. I've watched the end of this episode multiple times, and never cease to wonder at the depth of Robinson's acting -- it seems his every move, his every expression, his every gesture in that final confrontation is perfectly calibrated. Jaw-dropping.
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Stubb
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

Jam has a point about "His Way" following on the heels of "Pale Moonlight". A quirk in production vs. airdate order, no doubt. Perhaps this could have been rectified by having Odo go to Garak for romantic advice instead of Vic Fontaine. Now THAT would have been interesting.
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Stubb
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

Fluff, yes. But this episode's two saving graces are 1) James Darren, who I just can't get enough of (Time Tunnel withdrawal as a kid maybe?), and 2) the fact that the cast looked like they had a blast filming it. For me, that goes a long way toward forgiving the numerous flaws and distractions.
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Stubb
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

(cont'd one more time)
4. OK, final thought re: divergent timelines and taking the colonists with them. By the end, the Defiant crew remembers people who never existed (i.e., neuron imprint). If they had taken video of the colonists, would that video have gone blank the instant they leave orbit? When Odo kissed Kira, he may have left a trace of saliva on her lips. Did that saliva vanish when they left orbit? My extremely belabored point is that they most likely could have taken a substantial number of colonists with them. Heck, maybe they could have stored their patterns in the transporter and thereby saved them all.
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