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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 6:45am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

Rewatching this in 2019 makes me hope the new show Picard will not fall victim to the same biggest two problems of ST:

1) Lack of plausible Federation security measures and combat skills (it would only be half as ridiculous if we were not constantly reminded of the quality of security teams and Academy combat training)

2) Using all their resources at hand to choose the most logical and easiest solution to a problem (instead of constantly forgetting they have better options in store).
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 2:03am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Ehh. Mediocre episode. 2+. I could have lived with a 3, but I’m in indignant reaction to Jammer rating it so highly.

And yet, while rating it so highly, he couldn’t even notice that it COULD be a payoff for the bitchy, confrontational bad B’Elanna mood he’s so frequently objected to over the past half season? Could it POSSIBLY be the writers were planting hints ahead of time that something’s wrong with B’Elanna? I guess the proof of that pudding won’t be known till we see if there’s a kinder, gentler B’Elanna in subsequent episodes, but I’m willing until then to give the writers some credit for gradual character development.

And I do think the episode provides significant - and convincing, well-supported - character development.

It’s just that the means of getting there are so very transparent, the “symbolism” so transparent - and fergawdsake (so to speak), Tuvok even TELLS us we’re to interpret the visions symbolically, metaphorically. That it’s NOT literal. Given that orientation, the episode leads us by the hand, does all the interpretation for us.

Is B’Elanna human, Klingon, Starfleet, Maquis, daughter, lover, engineer, believer, blah blah blah? Well, clearly, like all of us, she’s a mixture of identities and roles, DUH, she’s ALL of them.

Her problem, for whatever reason (and who are we to judge her right to inner conflict?), is that she hasn’t successfully reconciled and integrated the roles. She’s a psychological battleground. So what does she learn as she flings her weapon in frustration into the monster-writhing chaos of the storm-tossed deeps?

Why, to STOP FIGHTING. Enough with the inner turmoil. Accept all her roles.

So I like where she goes psychologically, and even that she gets there through the metaphoric agency of mythopoeic symbolism - it’s just that it’s all about as subtle as Pilgrim’s Progress. I guess I like my mythic tales a little more ambiguous, even a bit vague and mysterious - not so slavishly, by-the-numbers allegorical.

It’s just not a surprise to me that psychological processes can dress in symbols and proceed as mythic role-playing. The execution and the production were all defy enough - and it was great to see B’El in full Klingon raiment - but the dream sequence itself just seemed ploddingly sophomoric.

I don’t object that B’Elanna worked out her conflicts in Klingon religious terms; I don’t think her scientific bent and overt hostility to her Klingon-ity makes that unrealistic. On the contrary, it seems appropriate. It doesn’t matter that she has consciously and rationally rejected belief in the literal reality of Klingon mythology; she was inculcated into the true religion as a child - sent to religion school, as it were - so those images are burned into her subconscious. She can’t escape them.

And both of her “near-death” experiences can be fit into a rigidly scientific and materialist context - if we can accept that the entire episode, from her bang-up shuttle landing at the beginning clear through to her waking up at the very end, are all part of the same near-death/coma fever dream. (This gets Janeway and the Doc off the hook for idiotically trying to recreate such an experience, and fits in with several other ST episodes where characters are subjected to multiple levels of sleep/dream, during some of which they believe they’re really awake - and during which the audience is intentionally deceived.)

In such a reading, there is no debate about whether the Klingon afterlife is “real.” It’s simply that B’Elanna is “dreaming” the whole thing. We don’t need clues that it isn’t real, because we all know what it is to have dreams which seem to us, at the time, to be perfectly real. We’re experiencing everything from her perspective - including the interactions with other crew members toward the middle of the episode, when we believe (with B’Elanna) that we’re “awake” in Voyager’s literal reality. It’s during these interactions that B’Elanna’s rational, engineering mind comes to the fore, and she presents arguments with herself about varying interpretations and roles of religion and its relationship to reality. (And they’re only mildly interesting observations, fairly pedestrian questions.)

So...during her extended vacation from reality, her unconscious mind works up a little psychodrama for her, in the guise of the mythology imprinted on her as a child, wherein she works out internal conflicts relating to identity, her relationship with her mother, etc.

And all that sounds pretty good, really - a pretty strong brief for a prime-time TV show to illustrate the common grounding of myth and religion in the deep psychology of the human mind, and put it all in a defensibly scientific comtext. I feel like I ought to have liked the episode better than I did...

I just keep coming back to the transparent, predictable, color-by-numbers imagery, symbols, and plotting employed for the dream sequences - which take up most of the running time, and are the focus of the episode. The Wizard of Oz is more entertaining.

I’m not a Klingon-hater, but maybe the reason the episode falls flat for me is that Klingon religion is good with retribution, guilt, shame, stalwart discipline and honor - but low on grace, freedom, and transcendence. One feels no sense of the divine. There’s no mystery, no at-one-ment. By comparison, the Great Link seems a better metaphor for spirituality.

The most affecting theme of the episode for me is actually the opening-up and surrender to vulnerability demonstrated at the end when B’Elanna embraces Janeway. It suggests the resolution of one of her deepest issues, the one which pre-dates the Starfleet/Maquis conflict - which is that she was rejected (or at least abandoned, and to a child what’s the difference?) by her father, then resented and pulled away from her mother till both of them rejected each other.

Psychologically, she’s a motherless child - and the scene suggests to me that she’s both come to terms with own mother, and now accepts Janeway as her spiritual (or at least substitute) mother. Thus her first emotional opening is to Janeway - before even Tom. I liked that.

But I have a question. If the bargemaster killed the Klingon gods...who then had the power to condemn him to an eternity running the River Styx ferry?
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

" there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society,"

This is utter nonsense. Capitalism implies people control their own lives, not others. The further away you move from that, the further EVERYONE is from liberation of any kind.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

Loved it. loved it. loved it!

This may be among the best episodes all-time of all shows.

The look the Doctor gave Seven in the final seconds....priceless!
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

Wow, I need to give this ep a second chance. Last time I attempted to watch Voyager was in between either Stargate, Farscape, or DS9 and I didn't get very far in the series, however I got to this episode, watched enough that I remembered what happened, and skipped it. Really, really disliked the lead alien - it was bad enough they he was creepy but I got the impression he was almost trying to force them to stay (the kind of character I wouldn't have been surprised if he sabotaged the ship to stop them leaving) and I just couldn't make it through the episode, so in my proper rewatch this time skipped it again. I'll have to come back to it when I can cope with Gath a bit better, and try to see the episode beyond him.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Phage

"It's just beyond silly to think a disease that eats their cellular structures physically can be overcome by grafting harvested organs from aliens. Yikes. Total turn off."

It's not overcome, they have to keep replacing organs as the Phage attacks them - I thought that was the point? As for how the species survived, it's clear they even harvest skin (or so I thought from the patchwork grafts, unless that's the remnants of their skin instead?) so surely they just kept replacing every organ system as it fails.

The stored organs could have been spare from when they harvested from corpses.

Janeway made the moral choice, but she should have decided to hold them on principle until a resolution to Neelix' situation was found - she would have shown there would be at least some consequences rather than just allowing them to go free.
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Lars Tarkas
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Patterns of Force

Actually, it's not so unusual for Jewish actors to play Nazis. The actors who played Colonel Klink, Sergeant Shultz, General Burkhalter and Major Hoffstader on Hogan's Heroes were Jewish. There have been a great many Jewish actors who have played Nazis in order to mock them, or to remind people that Nazis are bad. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world that Nazis are bad, but unfortunately, people seem to need to be reminded of this every now and then.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 9:00am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Love this episode, but noticed something in the comments from the posters Mad and Paul Allen. Of course you're so concerned about *slut shaming*, or maybe you get your rocks off on the idea of sexed women unrealistically drooling over men. As a feminist, let me let you in on a secret, there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society, it's a way that men reframe treating us like pieces of meat, sexual objects, by pretending that it is liberating instead of humiliating, and it's a lie that many women convince themselves of to cope with the constant degradation of being viewed sexually by men.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 5:57am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

The main plot lives off the idea that a 20th century guy/hippie can reconstruct 29th century technology superior to 24th century technology within the confines of the 20th SL century. Just by examining the ship, he (alone or with an invisible army of scientists), Over the course of 1-2 decades, can build transporter tech, force fields, scanning jammers, hack into Voyager from an Earth computer, etc. Why even the best of Starfleet's engineers in the 24th century need years of study to build on 24th century knowledge, this guy learns it all from a crashed 29th century 1-person ship.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: Return of the Anykey

Ditto on all above. Another Lefty - I swear by mine, in use everyday continuously since windows for workgroups came out. Never touched, special ordered with "Safeskin" cover installed. Now the 4th one is wearing through & I can no longer find a replacement. I will never understand how others can live without the diagonal arrow keys, an editors blessing. I use mine through a Belkin KVM.
I can think of no other device that has had that kind of longevity since the copper phase-out obsoleted my Practical Peripherals PMT144 modem half a decade ago.
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Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Whether Hugh is a "born" or "assimilated" Borg seems to have little consequence thematically -- if it's the former, he's analogous to a person born into a cult.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Hello Everyone!

My thought was if, for example, the Borg assimilated an entire planet or species, some of the ladies would be with child. The maturation chambers would then be used to bring up the children.

Oh, and they'd assimilate children as well, down to the wee bairns.

I don't figure they'd bother with making their own babies, unless they were stranded without enough drones, or something...

Regards... RT
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Inside Man

I am with some who felt the ending was somewhat unsatisfying.
For example, I like my characters in a story to have any hoax, deceptions, or naughty things done to them explained and cleared up at the end.
Nor do I like loose ends not covered in some way. I suppose we can always use the rule of assumptions to cover such things but if there are too many holes...the story gets too piecemmeally (is that a word?). Gotta check on that.

Not too bad. it had some good moments. Seven is so gorgeous!
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One


Where did you get "Omni" from? It's OMIcron Theta after the greek letters (and Data's home planet). There's no N in there.

"I meant it more in a way that the motherly role was a pretty standard role for women on TV back then so TNG wasn't really pushing boundaries but stayed somewhat within them."

Only after reading your last comments, did I realize that TNG deserves high praise for giving us a woman character who (a) happens to be a mother and (b) isn't defined by that trait.

It's certainly more impressive (and more natural) then giving us some kind of "strong woman archetype" character.

"Come on... she is the chief medical officer and the show had 178 episodes."

Exactly. Not only Crusher had - indeed - saved the ship and/or solved the episode's mystery in multiple occasions, but she also holds such an important role that you actually *expect* her to do these things.

Not exactly a point in your argument's favor, is it?

Though I'm beginning wonder if you even *have* a serious argument at all, or whether you're just arguing for the sake of arguing to elevate your boredom.

When you write something like this:

"More debate, silly! :D"


"Do we have to make an analysis about how many times women saved the ship and how many times men did? And then correlate that with how many times women almost destroyed the ship?? Will this madness never end?! :D"

It becomes increasingly difficult to believe that you're discussing the issues in good faith.
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Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Icarus Factor

I don't hate this episode altogether. I like Picard and Riker's conversations command, the Worf stuff is fun (although Wesley comes off as an infuriating busybody here), the stuff with Pulaski is okay. I even kind of like Riker's conversation with Troi, cliched though it is. And it's really the episode that places O'Brien on the map. That leaves... everything about Kyle Riker.
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Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 2:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

And I don't have any problem with her having had a past relationship with Riker's dad, except the "hurt/comfort" aspect to it (her having nursed him back to health after him being wounded). That's an icky cliche.
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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"it's nice to have a middle aged woman who is not defined by her relationships to men at all."

Other than Riker's dad :(
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Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Marina Sirtis said in an interview that Diana Muldaur told her the first day they worked together that she'd only be on the series for one year. Assuming that she's remembering correctly, I don't know what to make of that; the simplest explanation is probably that she didn't want to stay longer than that and the circumstances that allowed McFadden's return (rather than introducing a third character, or phasing out the CMO as a regular altogether) were separate.

In any event, I hear both sides of the case of Pulaski and generally agree with both. On one hand, she is misdone off the bat (sabotaged?) by the writing. McCoy ripoff, picks fights with Data, disrespectful to Picard, etc. Not the best look. On the other hand, she does shake up the dynamic and it's nice to have a middle aged woman who is not defined by her relationships to men at all.
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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

@ Chrome,

"According to Muldaur, putting an anti-tech character on a show that was considerably pro-technology made her character unlikable. There’s a Memory Alpha on the subject, but whether it was the writing or the acting the character wasn’t a good fit for the show."

I guess this makes sense on the surface, except for one thing: Pulaski was a shameless copy of McCoy right from the start. They brought her in guns blazing, ripping into the Vulcan - sorry, the android - and groaning about technology. This is McCoy's character bible in a nutshell, other than that she doesn't represent humanity's empathy. I found it irritating right from the get-go that they would have such an obvious lift from TOS rather than come up with a new character. That said, McCoy is such a better character than people like Crusher or Geordi that, yeah, it's going to come on strong and leave an impression.

But one thing I don't buy is Pulaski's interpretation of why it didn't work. Although it's a reasonable hypothesis, contemporary with TNG S2 was ST 5: The Final Frontier, featuring the very anti-technology character they were lifting, even down to the luddite campfire scene (self-mocked by the rocket boots). But McCoy was a fan favorite and certainly never stood against the grain of Trek even though he always complained about having his molecules scattered across the galaxy and called himself a good old fashioned country doctor. I think one big difference between them is McCoy's concern about technology always seemed to reflect concerns about culture, the human condition, and what would become of us if replaced by tech (see: The Ultimate Computer). Pulaski, on the other hand, came off as disliking things that others liked not out of concern for humanity's heart, but out of personal arrogance and disdain, like her values were better than theirs. *This* is, I think, what stood to make her unlikable, and that's a writing issue rather than an acting one. I do agree with Jason R that her acting seems more interesting than Crusher's.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 10:38am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Relativity

What happens in the Delta Quadrant stays in the DQ?
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 12:42am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Relativity

Why was Carey hitting on Seven? In “Prime Factors” he states he has a wife and children waiting back home.
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Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: The Cloud

VOY was the first Star Trek I followed when it was shown daily on a Freeview channel, though I missee episodes here and there. Then came TNG, and a long time later, DS9. I've rewatched TNG over and over (love it) and have seen VOY a few times through, but after a long Trek break for Stargates SG1 and Atlantis a few times through each, followed by Farscape, then returning to Trek with DS9, coming to VOY is ... different. I already know the lack of continuity or consequences are infuriating, but I wanted to watch it again because it was my favourite for so long at the beginning. I wasn't sure where to start but saw Quark of all characters in the thumbnail for the Pilot so just had to start there after all!

I'm watching with allowing myself the option to skip bits where I know what happens and have no interest in seeing it again (did the same with a partial second DS9 rewatch too) but so far I've only skipped bits of the Time episode. This episode I did not remember, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I know by the end of the series the Doctor was my favourite character, bur I couldn't remember if he grew on me or how soon I started enjoying his character - right from the off, it turns out :D

Really enjoyed the character work in this, and "That's Starfleet for 'get out'!" made me chuckle. I always thought Neelix was supposed to be annoying - like Bashir at the beginning of DS9 - but obviously he doesn't develop anywhere near as well as Bashir. Always thought he had a good heart though, even if he didn't show it in the best way. I'll be interested to see how I feel about him in time (though his deception in the Pilot was a big mistake - I can only think that Janeway let him stay because he got them onto the planet which was necessary for the rescue. A bit of a stretch though.)

The holoprogramme was cringeworthy, and I was very surprised to see it in action so early on. I'm not sure if this is worse than Bride of Chaotica - actually I think it is, because it takes itself seriously as a place to relax!?! Whereas BoC is obviously just for laughs. I don't recall whether Sandrine's gets any better but I suspect not.

Those were quite disjointed thoughts - in short, aside from the majority of the holodeck scenes this was a very enjoyable episode for me.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One


"At this point I realize that I write all this just to not do any actual work"

Ah. A noble cause, I see. ;-)

"The empirists have basically won the battle for the soul of the social sciences which means that sociologists and political scientists avoid making value judgements. So no good or bad."

Fair enough.

But my question was less about a making a moral judgement, and more about reaching ANY kind of meaningful conclusion.

I mean, what could an empiricist say here, besides "the analysis proves [with a confidence level of - say - 99%] that the men in the show talk more/less about romance than the women in the show"?

In other words: What would be the actual *point* of such an exercise? If we already know in advance that the numbers won't really tell us anything meaningful, why even bother?


Sorry, I thought you were ranking the characters in order of importance and put the two women at the bottom.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

It was the hippy ideal.

This is also why the Enterprise-D could do a saucer-seperation: You could get the civilians to safety in the saucer while the stardrive section enters the thick of the action.

Unfortunately TPTB quickly found out that (a) they can't afford showing a saucer-seperation in every second episode and (b) it was too cumbersome to work as compelling TV on a regular basis.

So the whole thing was mostly dropped after the first few episodes, even though the children and families remained. Hence the crazy situation we've ended up with, where a starship that goes into battle every Tuesday is doing it with hundreds of civilians onboard.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 5:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Profit and Lace

Rough stuff?

Gotta say, I can't help but laugh whenever someone "accuses" Star Trek of going the Social Justice route, or starts whining about strong women that are giving men orders. Seriously, did this guy live under a rock in the past 50 years, that he doesn't know what Trek is all about?

From a 24th century perspective, this "rough stuff" is just laughable. "Hey bro, what's a primitive guy like you doing on our shiny starship? Oh, and by the way, welcome to the 24th century" ;-)
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