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Focksbot
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

@RobertH "This is much like the radical leftists today, who, when confronted with the words of their noble spiritual father Martin Luther King ..."

This is a scenario that takes place entirely in your imagination. The more uncomfortable reality for people claiming to be 'moderate' in their politics today is that they would have hated Martin Luther King as much as they hate 'radical leftists' if they'd been around in his time. King was seen as a dangerous extremist - so much so that he was assassinated.

This lesson is repeated all over history - mainstream thinking only accepts that political activism was necessary once a battle has been won.

And Picard is far too intelligent a character to equate collective, non-violent action by powerless groups with acts of persecution by those in power. It's a fundamental plank of this episode that Satie is a figure of authority with a formidable reputation, while Tarses is a lowly crewman. Star Trek repeatedly and rightly leans more to the side of people trying to bring eminent figures to justice for past crimes.

Heck, Picard even 'cancels' Wesley and his fellow cadets.
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Focksbot
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Exile

I'm afraid this episode finally tipped me over my limit in terms of how many times I can watch characters angrily tell other characters that "I didn't imagine it". They're in a completely uncharted part of the universe where ships disappear into invisible pockets of space and gravity switches around in localised areas - just assume that your crewmate is right, for goodness' sake.
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CaptainMercer
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Karl Zimerman I don't totally disagree with your assessment of the Lower Decks 'character" though I think it speaks to just the opposite of what Trek is usually about, seeking scientific and personal truth and not protecting lies or misdeeds (as this short short video points out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1Whdw9HIz8&feature=youtu.be)

My problem is that the show is frivolous in its approach, filled with unfunny gags instead of actual drama.. and the terrible art style doesn't help.
I mean it literally is, guy gets bit, turns crew into zombies, but spider on the surface has the cure. That's literally it. This is what Star trek is now after 50 years of trying to create a kind of verisimilitude in the franchise, after many years of characters trying to solve problems, it's all now a big joke?
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Anonymous Texan
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

@wolfstar,
Thanks for re-posting. I somehow missed this comment earlier; it's very thoughtful and on point. I hadn't thought about the psychological aspects of this episode enough, and your analysis of Alixus' character, her control of the colonists, and her dynamic with Sisko really highlight some strengths of the episode I hadn't considered.

I also hadn't noticed the subtle racial dynamic between Alixus, Sisko, and O'Brien. Interesting that Star Trek, which displays a post-racial society, can wordlessly address racial issues through powerful images.

@Peter G.,
Thank you for the kind response.

You make a very good point about the failings of Alixus' characterization. The writers went for the villain mold right off the bat, maybe to set up the interesting Sisko/Alixus dynamic for tension or just because of lazy writing. I did like her overall personality because I think it makes a small point on how extremist positions tend to find a voice in extreme, inflexible personalities. I think the qualities (of which @wolfstar has given a spot-on analysis) ought to have been revealed more slowly, as you suggested, or maybe needed to coexist with more virtuous qualities to complicate her character.

On further thought, I agree with you that my response is perhaps reading between the lines too much and giving the writers too much benefit of the doubt. There really is only implicit evidence throughout for my final conclusion - I would add the interesting bit about Starfleet uniforms, Alixus' desire to remove them, and how O'Brien only commits an act of violence when he is physically out of his uniform, perhaps a commentary on what the uniform embodies (again, probably reading between lines too much). I will also blatantly plagiarize @wolfstar's great comment and point out the ingenuity displayed in the Dax/Kira plot, in spite of the poor dialogue and silly plot, serving as an example of the daily challenges faced by Starfleet officers. And lastly the virtuous characters of Sisko and O'Brien, contrasted with the cowed colonists and psychotic cult leader, really speak to those characters' strengths, if only implicitly Starfleet's (and also to the failings of Alixus' so-called strong community).

Like you said, I think this episode needed more time to work through the problems it presented. It feels like it should have run somewhere between the length of a full episode and a two-parter. Ultimately, I think there was a lot of missed opportunity to flesh out issues of technology, power, cult psychology, violence, 'the uniform,' the good life, etc. Perhaps a high-concept idea was marred by the need for a 45-minute, tension-oriented format.
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CaptainMercer
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Karl Zimmerman

Star trek is a drama/ adventure.. and the reason those comedy episodes work is that they are a relief form the drama.. and often times they seem to start out and play like regular episodes.. and then you realize that they are using all the tools they have used for dramatic storytelling to make these comedies.

I would argue that the best Trek comedy that you did not mention is "House of Quark".. a perfect comedy because it actually compares and contrasts two different cultures by smashing their idealisms against one another.

Please don't lump me in a category.. even if it is "I hate CBS".. because I have not done so for you. I think Pike is a good captain on "Discovery" and seeing him got me invested in the show. i like Picard MORE than I hate it, as it beautifully shot,, produced and acted and did a lot of challenging things. I just don't see what the point of LD i except to copy another show (Orville) which is copying (or, in my mind, continuing in all but name only) Star Trek. The key tom Orville's success is the same as what I mentioned above, it's really a drama starring good characters and facing real dilemmas.

With Lower Decks, we see htat philosphy being betrayed.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Karl Zimmerman
"Regardless your argument seems to boil down to 'I don't like CBS, and therefore it's not canon.' This is silly, because fans can decide what they like or don't like, but fans cannot decide what counts or doesn't count."

Sure we can.

You're not seriously suggesting that the fans should give CBS an absolute authorative power over us when it comes to Star Trek, do you? We're intelligent consumers of entertainment, not members of some cult.

So yes, when CBS decides to throw everything that made Trek "Trek" and start making offensive garbage like DIS or PIC, we most certainly *are* allowed to say "no, I'm sorry, I can't accept this sh*t as canon".

Among other things, I don't accept a war criminal (Burnham) becoming the savior of the universe, Unklingon klingons, Starfleet planting bombs to kill mourners, Starfleet threatening mass genocide for absolutely reason, Icheb being tortured to death, Seven becoming a serial killer, the Federation just forgetting about the Dominion war yet still managing to collapse into a dystopia, pineapple-only replicators, and Picard ending up as a gibbering idiot that everybody love to ridicule.

And while Lower Decks isn't (yet?) as offensive as the above examples, I don't see any particular reason to accept it as canon either.

In short: I personally love pre-2009 Trek too much to contaminate it with this stuff. If you feel otherwise, that's perfectly fine. You, too, are free to view Star Trek in any way you see fit. It's a TV show, for God's sake.
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wolfstar
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

This is a tremendous episode - a nuanced, sophisticated look at cult dynamics unlike anything else in Trek - and the issues with the ending, as discussed exhaustively above (I agree with William B regarding the ending), shouldn't be allowed to overshadow the whole thing. The episode does not vindicate Alixus or pull an "Alixus was right" twist at the final hour, though it does come dangerously close. It also doesn't let her off the hook in terms of answering for her crimes.

Alixus is the worst kind of narcissistic, manipulative holier-than-thou abuser, as the smart script and strong performance make evidently clear - an adept brainwasher who's prepared to abduct and kill in the name of the "common good" and the "community", but really it's all just about her power, like Winn but worse; what they share is that they never use direct aggression to achieve their aims, instead passive-aggression, control and manipulation, all beneath a beneficient layer of plausible deniability. This is pretty close to how the most evil cult leaders, groomers and abusers operate in reality. She's a true sociopath and psychopath; everyone else's wellbeing is totally collateral to her, she's only interested in other people insofar as they prop up her power and serve her delusion. In a really great piece of writing, the only way she even seems able to experience or conceptualize others' suffering is in narcissistic ways that put the focus back on herself (when Sisko says "What of the dead?", she replies "Only my son knows how I have suffered" - it's the "this will hurt me more than it will hurt you" school of thinking; everything is about psychological control). Abusers in group situations requires an enabler, and here Joseph fulfills that function, though I agree his characterisation is inconsistent - but the Joseph shown at the end is subservient to her and unwilling to stand up to her even once the truth has been revealed; worse, he repeats her dogma and speaks for the entire group in her place when she is removed at the end to take responsibility for her crimes, segueing into the leadership role in a way that, yes, isn't entirely believable or well-executed (the same applies to the total lack of the reaction from the group).

The battle of wills between Alixus and Sisko is riveting, and Avery Brooks's performance is outstanding, full of dignity, unbroken spirit and burning passion - the fact that it's a black man and an Irishman whom she's abducted, tortured and made work in the fields isn't lost on present-day audiences. The uniform becomes a symbolic issue of control and the object of their power game (a little like Sisko's baseball would between him and Dukat) precisely because of its representative value and the message Alixus knows it would send to the rest of the group; she knows the Starfleet presence is a threat to her rule and stands for the possibility of an outside world and an alternative authority and way of doing things. Crushing Sisko's will and assimilating him into the group would crush any lingering thoughts of freedom among the others. The wordless scene where Ben chooses to return to the box rather than live in her community is incredibly powerful. O'Brien following this by taking decisive action to shatter the status quo and get himself, Sisko and hopefully everyone else out of there is also rousing. While I agree there are issues with the over-swift ending and the lack of outrage from the group, I totally echo Justin's comment above: "Anyone who doesn't understand why the colonists acted the way they did has never seen a cult at work. These people have been brainwashed by their leader for 10 years, and brutally punished for crimes of individuality or opposition [...]. When the truth is revealed to them, of course they choose to ignore what it means. It breaks the worldview that's been hammered into them every day for a decade. The only ones capable of rational, objective thought are the ones who have yet to be fully indoctrinated: the two children we see solemnly staring at the cage at the end of the final scene."

Works for me. It's not necessarily implied the colony will continue, but that they're now free to decide their future. I suspect a lot of them will leave.

Jadzia and Kira's rescue mission may seem less dramatically compelling by comparison, but it works as a strong contrast - here are two independent women who do have real power but who use it responsibly by working together to help others, out of a true selfless sense of community. The maneuver Jadzia performs to pull the Rio Grande out of warp risks both her and Kira's lives, and they're both prepared to do this because they trust and respect each other and because of their responsibility to Sisko and O'Brien, important members of their community. This true selflessness and collegial communal spirit stands in total contrast to Alixus's entirely self-serving and hollow instrumentalisation of "community" as a tool of power; she's prepared to sacrifice anyone, even her son, to her ideals, but never herself.

For the record, I'm highly critical of anti-tech episodes like the BSG finale and to some extent Children Of Time. This isn't one - it veers too close to being one at the end, but ultimately it isn't. It's a thoughtful script with no easy endings that doesn't endorse Alixus and condemns her pretty strongly throughout.

3.5

(I took Anonymous Texan's superb comment on this episode today as an opportunity to repost my own comment from March 2017 originally posted under my old username "N".)
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Peter G.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

@ Anonymous Texan,

Nice write-up, this encapsulates some thoughts I've had before. The one aspect of it that didn't occur to me, that Starfleet itself is the marriage between Alixus' ideals and the technological age, probably didn't because it's not really part of the episode's narrative. I agree that we can *find it* between the lines, but the writers definitely did not go there. The fact that you noticed the Starfleet guy was the last to give in is quite interesting, and if it's pointedly deliberate by the writers to say what you think they're saying, then I have to just wonder at why they were so inept as to not take even one moment to show just how much strength Starfleet can provide to people who need challenge in an age of luxury. That would be a huge Trek message to put out there, and probably hasn't been stated clearly in that way since TOS.

I've spent most of my time in the threat arguing against the plot being silly and so forth, but if I'm being honest about an objective appraisal I think that the sub-plot with Kira and Dax was pure wasted screen time that could have fleshed out the philosophical problem more. Alixus is definitely supposed to be objecting to something *real*, something that really does bother most people and that for some is intolerable. But the important issue she observes gets lost beneath her character, which when assassinated kills the point she's making too. The writers needed to have more separation between her and her belief; or better yet, wait a bit to start to make us worried about her. It would have been cool if we were actually quite supportive of her at first.
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Anonymous Texan
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

Surprised at how many people outright hate this episode. Definitely has flaws in execution, but I think the concept is very good.

The SETUP IS INANE. There's no reason why two senior staff members of DS9 have to do scouting missions like this one. Their procedures during the mission are nonsensical. Further, the Kira/Dax plot is facepalm-inducing: "We lost two senior staff members, so let's send another two galloping to their rescue!" And the 'roping' dialogue - urgh.

Regardless, I'm WILLING TO IGNORE these stupid plot points on the grounds that many Star Trek episodes, even the good ones, have questionable setups or finishes.

People here appear to have TWO LINES OF CRITICISM for this episode (with variations): (1) There's no way that the colonists would so easily get on board, and even if they did, there's absolutely no way they would all choose to stay at the end, and (2) Alixus' anti-technology stance is stupid, unconvincing, hypocritical, and yet another example of Star Trek inexplicably promoting primitivism.

WE SHOULD RETHINK (1). Keep in mind, these people are colonists - therefore they were prepared to be away from family (if they even had any), friends, career, etc. for an extended period of time. Yes, they may have embarked with the idea that they could go back at some point, but I think colonists probably self-select as generally unattached people (or even social outsiders, like the pilgrims). In fact, colonists, by their very nature, seek a sense of purpose, of building something of their own. What better demographic for Alixus to seduce to her extremist philosophy?

We also don't know what has happened for the past 10 years. There's no indication that Alixus immediately took over; the Starfleet engineer guy even admits he was 'the last conquest.' There may have been a power struggle, but we don't know because the episode is purposely giving us the perspective of Sisko and O'Brien. So, from the inside, the community had a history that perhaps justified how people thought in the present, but Sisko and O'Brien had the right sort of outside perspective to realize that everyone was a bit loony.

Many have pointed to Alixus' speeches as dull, repetitive, and unconvincing, but she won the argument long ago and the speeches are perhaps an almost RITUALISTIC REAFFIRMATION of belief for the community, a phenomenon easily observable in cults, mainstream religions (think of Christian litanies), or fanatical political movements. These speeches don't ring true only to the uninitiated (us!).

I agree that it's both UNLIKELY AND INTELLECTUALLY INSULTING that one man could 'speak for the community' at the end, and would have liked to have seen a more agonizing decision. I also agree that the acting, beyond Brooks and Meaney, was lackluster.

As for Alixus' philosophy (2), I find it HIGHLY BELIEVABLE. But just because it's fleshed out in a 3-D form does NOT automatically make the script an ENDORSEMENT for this philosophy, as some seem to be taking it.

One of the great things about DS9 was its DESIRE TO POKE HOLES in the TNG narrative and flesh out 24th century humans. TNG showed the best of humanity using its best technology to explore new worlds, all while moralizing about how humanity has 'evolved.' DS9, by contrast, thrust us to the margins of the Federation, politically UNSTABLE and morally AMBIGUOUS. We meet species who don't like the Federation; we see exploitation, corruption, militarism; and best of all, we see how these 'evolved' humans react to these pressures.

This episode is in that DS9 tradition. Here we have MARGINAL figures (colonists who perhaps were such outsiders that no one ever checked in with them) taken over by a marginal thinker. We see that the best and brightest of TNG are NOT representative of everyone. In fact, some question how 'evolved' humanity really is. Some feel RUDDERLESS AND SOFT in a society where EVERYTHING IS PROVIDED for them (Alixus!). Aren't these echoes of the very criticisms we hear of the Federation from Cardassians, Ferengi, Klingons, etc.? That they are 'soft,' morally 'arrogant,' and 'insidious.'

OF COURSE primitivism is utter fantasy - the writers point this out: people die needlessly, Alixus hypocritically uses technology, institutionalized violence has taken hold (the spears, the 'hot box'). The idea of this story is that TECHNOLOGY ALONE DOES NOT IMPROVE HUMANITY. Alixus is an EXTREMIST who sees technological society as IRREDEEMABLE.

THE POINT is that having better technology does not make us better humans - humans have to WORK to be virtuous, by PRACTICING MORALITY. This is the crux of the episode, and why focusing on Sisko and O'Brien's perspective is BRILLIANT. Alixus sees material comfort as preventing the sort of tests that improve humans. But the answer to Alixus is STARFLEET ITSELF, an organization that puts 'evolved' humans TO THE TEST every day, and has proven itself to be an overall MORAL INSTITUTION. Sisko and O'Brien, even with their technology, are just as tough and virtuous as the community members, because they pursue challenging careers that put their morals on the line (I hear echoes of 'Encounter at Farpoint').

Indeed, what more powerful demonstration can there be of true 'evolved' humanity than Sisko's non-violent protest of Alixus' brutal methods? Or O'Brien's real ingenuity in discovering the truth and outwitting the colonists? Whereas the colonists, with Alixus' guidance, hide the truth from themselves (I think this is part of why they hadn't discovered the field dampener) and make hollow paeans to 'ingenuity' and 'toughness,' those very qualities are what Sisko and O'Brien use to defeat Alixus.

Alixu is unlikable. Her moral equivocating is repugnant. But the fact that she exists, and that she could win people over to her side under the right circumstances, complicates the Federation for us. The people not in Starfleet, the people with boring desk jobs or uninspiring careers, at some level sense that they are NOT REACHING THEIR POTENTIAL in a world of MATERIAL ABUNDANCE (notice the Starfleet guy was the last one won over).

This internal sense of failure matters to our understanding of Star Trek, and it matters to us today. In the 21st century technology and material conditions in the US are better than ever, and yet many feel an INTANGIBLE SENSE OF DESPAIR and frustration (which we see every day in politics and online discussions). Think historically too, of UTOPIAN SOCIALISTS in the 1800s or MODERNISTS at the turn of the century. This dissatisfaction is a VERY REAL PHENOMENON. And still the episode has a positive message, implicitly rebutting Alixus with Starfleet itself, an organization that synthesizes technological progress with the improvement of humanity. The episode even acknowledges that some (the colonists) feel the need to find purpose elsewhere.

In short, thought-provoking and believable concept hampered by flaws in execution.

Sorry for the long comment. I actually haven't posted here before and usually roll my eyes at the longer comments, but now I understand why people post them.
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wolfstar
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:05am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Thanks SlackerInc and Sen-Sors, appreciated.

Trent, I think it has quite a lot to do with Kate Mulgrew's slightly camp, 1940s-influenced acting style - she plays the role like she's in a Sirk melodrama. Plus the general lightness of the show and the focus on "fun" from season 3 onwards, as well as the female soap-opera villains (Seska, the Borg Queen). The lesbian fanbase for Seven (and Janeway) is self-explanatory, but I think for gay guys, the fact that (certainly in my case) we never noticed or thought about Seven's body or outfit made it easier to appreciate the character and performance. The narrative of Seven recovering from trauma and carving out her own identity on her own terms is also very appealing and resonant.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:44am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@KarlZimmerman

In my view, the question of how enjoyable Lower Decks is, is totally different from the question of whether we should accept it as part of the main continuity.

Here are my problems with accepting this show as part of the main continuity:

1. Enjoyable or not, it's a silly animated comedy. Can you imagine adding events from Lower Decks to any "serious" Star Trek timeline? I mean, if the show doesn't take *itself* seriously, why should we?

2. If, as you say, the science realism level is on par with giant starship-clutching hands and planet-eating space amoebas, that's not a good sign. Just because TOS did it in the 1960's, doesn't make it any less goofy. Trek has marched forward in the following 40 years, and the standard we've expected from it have risen accordingly.

3. We've already had two new series that don't fit the established continuity at all. To put it bluntly: The trust is gone, so accepting new material as "official history" is no longer the default.

If TPTB want us to reopen our Trek history books and add new material, they'll have to give us a compelling reason to do so. And let's be honest: a light goofy cartoon is not a compelling reason.

I'll admit to one thing, though:

Unlike DIS and PIC, LDS at least feels like it is set in the Star Trek universe. It's a goofy animated comedy set in that world, but there's no doubt about the setting.
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CaptainMercer
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

If the show was called Star Trek: Lower Ducks and it starred a bunch of anthropomorphic ducks in Starfleet uniforms, it would be no more canon than this shit show
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CaptainMercer
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@KarlZimmerman
It's not Star Trek because Star Trek is actually about something it's a bunch of different departments working very hard to bring a story that actually really attempt to examine the human condition while having some fun and action and drama along the way lower deck is a cheap cash grab a desperate Creator in a desperate studio just hoping to quickly give some good numbers to the investors. You can call it starts like all you want because have a name and logo plastered on it but that means nothing
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David Staum
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: The Void

I agree with most of the reviewers - I liked the episode quite a bit, as well as the optimism displayed.

One reviewer mentioned that Janeway should have deployed warning buoys. How about taking it a step further and sending vast quantities of supplies into the void, including the technology to escape? It would have shown magnanimity to those still trapped there, despite their treachery towards Voyager. That would have been a true Starfleet moment.
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SouthofNorth
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident

This episode rates 2 stars at best and certainly nowhere close to 4 stars. Hear me. This story aspires to be serious and significant unlike say “The Trouble with Tribbles” or “A Piece of the Action” which are fun and silly and don’t pretend to be anything else. But just as you would judge “The Trouble with Tribbles” by whether or not it amused you and made you laugh, so too, you have to judge “The Enterprise Incident” by whether it achieves its objectives.

So treating this as a serious story, is the plot credible? Not in the slightest. The basic premise is that the Romulans have cloaking technology that the Federation needs to steal to restore the balance of power. Now, if you want to do something like that you would engage spies and covert operators who could infiltrate the Romulan Empire by stealth and either steal the cloaking device or the plans for one. What you would not do is engage the Federation’s flagship where failure means not only do you lose your opportunity to get the cloaking device but you also lose (perhaps fatally) your frontline crew and your starship, enabling the Romulans to know “everything there is to know about a starship”. Not to mention that very real possibility that you would initiate a war for blatantly violating the Neutral Zone. In other words, you have chosen the action that results in the greatest loss for you if it fails.

Does the plan make sense? Not even close. I’m not even sure I know what the original plan was. There was no guarantee that the Romulans wouldn’t just blow the Enterprise up. Having spared the Enterprise, there’s no reason to think that the Romulan commander would invite anyone aboard her starship. What was in it for her and how could you predict that she would take such an action? But without inviting both Spock and Kirk aboard the ship, there is no way for the plan to succeed and disaster would ensue.

So who’s privy to this “plan”? Only two people: Spock and Kirk. Does Scottie know about it? No. But wait a second, who’s going to be in charge when Spock and Kirk are on the Romulan ship? Wouldn’t you want him to understand what’s going on and why? And who is responsible for installing the cloaking assuming they do manage to steal it? Scottie again. And you’re not going to tell him his job until 15 minutes are left to avoid destruction? Say, wouldn’t you want to let him in on this absurd plan just so that he could, I don’t know, work out as much as he could ahead of time? And who’s responsible for transforming Kirk into a Romulan? McCoy? And you’re not going to tell him ahead of time so he can figure out what needs to be done to make the change. Seriously?

But this is a very dramatic episode. You know that because every 5 minutes or so, you hear “dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb! dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb!” --- the audio cue that tells you that some serious is happening. “We’re surrounded by Romulans!” (dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb!) “Captain Kirk has been injured!” (dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb!). “The ship’s galley is out of rice pudding!! (dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb). Oh yes, Kirk has been killed by Spock. That’s dramatic, if for one second anyone in the audience actually believes that would happen in this show. I was shocked SHOCKED when I found out it wasn’t true! No, unbelievable events like Spock killing Kirk are not dramatic, only believable plausible events are. The great drama in "Amok Time" came from Spock's heartbreaking response to thinking he had killed Kirk, not from the action itself. Fake deaths are cheap way to create "drama" and are ultimately self-defeating.

I could go on about the stupidity of the Romulans (“don’t go down that corridor Mr. Spock, that’s where we keep our top-secret device which we wouldn’t want you to know where it is”) or the embarrassing romantic scenes that had DC Fontane apologize to Leonard Nimoy, telling him that she didn’t write those scenes in HER draft. But this is an overlong post already. 2 stars at best.
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Tuvok's Brain
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

There are many holes in this one, but I did find it kept you entertained and didn't think it merited zero stars. Many of commented that it was a riff on The Fly and that aspect worked OK for me.
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Focksbot
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

'Fun tidbit from the DVD extras: John Billingsley actually asked the writers, “Why wouldn’t Phlox do it? He’s a doctor. She’s a patient. It’s a medical issue. He’d be professional about it.”'

Yep - that's the issue with this kind of titillation. It's not honest, and it's actually kind of prudish in itself; that is, it's too embarrassed by the actual business of sex to handle it properly. Why couldn't T'Pol just crack one off? How sexually repressed does a TV show have to be to fail to acknowledge that women masturbate?

I rate this kind of thing very low because I remember having exactly this kind of attitude to sex - when *I* was a teenager. That is, I wanted to talk about it, to experience it and understand other people's experiences of it, but I also knew it was unseemly, so I was constantly finding excuses to bring it up or hint at it while also pretending that I was being ironic or joking around, or that the subject was somehow unavoidable. I even remember writing fiction where characters lost all their clothes in hilarious mishaps - but wait, it's not dirty, honest, because everyone in the story is so embarrassed and proper about it.

Basically, half of this screenplay seems to have been written by Patrick Stewart's version of himself in Extras:

"They fall off, onto the ground, and she's scrabbling around to get them back on again, but before she can get her knickers on, I've seen everything."

I actually quite liked the other half of the story up to a point, mainly for reasons of continuity. It seems like it's building up Archer's relationship with the Klingons to be a major theme that keeps on becoming more and more complicated, and that gives me nice DS9 vibes. It was also nice to have an alien species with slightly more effort going into the prosthetics than facial ridges and discolouration.

In fact, the number of these different 'humans with wax on' species that we've been introduced to so far in Enterprise really undermines any sense that humanity is bringing anything novel to the universe. To all these other species, we must look curiously featureless - like they have everything that we have, and then something extra.
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Trent
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Robert Meyer Burnett discusses with Melinda Snodgrass about how "Picard" references her TNG episode "Measure Of A Man" and uses characters (Maddox) without crediting her (and paying her residuals):

https://youtu.be/knToX_gE0v4?t=2649
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 4:22am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Mal
"We seem to be further from Star Trek's future than ever."

Star Trek always postulated that things need to get far worse, before they will get better.

So now things are getting worse. Which just means that it's even more important to remain hopeful and remember Trek's original vision for humanity's future.

After all, in the Trekverse, humanity suffered through a Eugenic War, an economic collapse, Sanctuary Districts, The Bell Riots and World War III, yet everything ended up okay in the end.

If they could make it to the bright future shown in TOS and TNG, so can we.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 4:04am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Sen-Sors
"Anyone who doesn't like it 'lacks social skills'? What a petty, childish thing to say."

Well, we're Trekkies, aren't we ;-)

We are also snobbish nerds who never laugh at anything, live in our parent's basement and need to get a life.

Seriously, though, these remarks tell you everything you need to know about the current state of the franchise, doesn't it?

@Dave in MN
"Either this show is bringing in a while new crowd of commenters or there's some kind of organized campaign going on. It'll be fascinating to find out which logical possibility is the truth. "

It's probably a combination of both.

But who cares, really? Either way, it is obvious that the vast majority of these commenters is not interested in an actual discussion. 80% of their stuff is personal attacks and the other 20% of their stuff is empty praise of the kind of "this show is the greatest thing evar!!!!!".
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Nestor
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 2:02am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

You guys are wrong. It's a great show. Christian Blauvelt's review on IndieWire says it may be the most Trek series ever.
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

STLD was laughably bad. Like lowest common denominator waste of time.
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Descent
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

The big problem with the episode isn't the dilemma itself ("shoot on sight" and "let's try to talk to it first, but with our weapons trained on it" are both justifiable given the threat the CE poses). The problem is the script is so firmly on Picard's side and doesn't really care about the alternate view - the scientist is written as a lunatic and the only other proponent of her view is Riker, who brings it up for five seconds and immediately drops it.

Plus Picard just comes across as completely up his own ass. Especially when he deals with Riker. Riker's whole job as a First Officer is to raise alternative viewpoints to the Captain, and when he actually bothers to do that here (a rare occurrence since Riker is usually useless), Picard immediately shuts him down with "oh, well I think you're just mad that your girlfriend blew up". Pretty nasty when you think about it, but Riker just takes it.

The ending scene is farcical. Data, who has no emotions of his own, manages to be absolutely "certain" in his extrapolation of how a dead person he's read the writing of would react. Not only is the end scene dumb, it also makes it completely clear that the script has chosen a side and is going to talk down to the opposite side. I think Picard is right, but at the same time, the script seeming to invite the viewer to be more angry with Marr for taking one life* than the CE for taking millions if not billions.

*and potentially not even a sapient life. You'd assume a creature of any intelligence might notice that the things it's vaporising look suspiciously like settlements full of people, or complicated manmade starships.
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Peter G.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@ Rahul,

"I think the key thing about STLD is that it needs to be understood as a parody primarily, though I don't think it was marketed as such -- at least that was not my expectation when I first started watching it. Strictly as a comedy, it does not work for me. When observed through this parody lens, it's better than a zero-star experience for me even when evaluating it like I would classic Trek, though that's where I was leaning after my first viewing."

The thing about parody is that to be one it would need to do some very particular things. Spoofing a genre, and in particular one show in a genre, requires some pointers towards actual details in the original that you're making fun of. A good example of a TNG parody - probably the gold standard in my book - was MAD Magazine's TNG special back when TNG S1 was on the air. They include several vignettes making fun of TNG, including a funny segment lampooning Justice where a monster is eating the crew and Picard says that they can't interfere with its local customs and so have to let it continue. Not just anything silly or stupid can be parody, it has to actually parody *something*. Just doing anti-Trek in the style of South Park isn't a parody or a spoof all by itself; the content must be pointed. Otherwise it's just a zany childrens' version of the show, not while I would call a parody making mock of the actual content.
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Austin
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 11:27am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Workforce

This was a near perfect episode. I loved the pace at which the story unfolded, and like Jammer said, I had maybe 10 different theories about what was actually going on until they gradually revealed the actual back story. Seeing all the characters there but different was certainly fun to watch, and I did kind of like the Tom/B’elana thing tho I normally don’t like the Trek does romance. All in all, I’d give both 3.5 stars, it was only let down by the rushed ending, and some very terrible acting by Don Most. I don’t normally call out bad actors unless they’re distractingly bad, and Kadan was so distractingly bad, it reminded me of Bernie Casey in DS9’s “The Maquis.” In both episodes, a well written character was essentially ruined by blocks of wood. Otherwise, loved it.
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