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Skip Bittman
Sat, Jun 1, 2019, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

I saw this in cinemas back in 1999 with 3 friends. As the opening credit crawl, our hearts sank simultaneously and we all looked at each other: oh dear. Something is terribly wrong.

next thing I remember is the walk in the parking lot and the jabbering about the weird cartoonish semi-racist semi-dodgy characters.
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Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Demons

Reporter: Smile
Mayweather: ...
Reporter: I never could get you to smile for the camera.

And that, folks, is what we call "leaning on the 4th wall". A direct explanation to the audience why the very wooden Anthony Montgomery was never given much to do in this series.
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Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

I thought it was kind of amusing that the all-male Moclan society turned their homeworld into a polluted, over industrialized dump, along with random firearms discharges being considered the norm. A subtle jab at "toxic" masculinity, perhaps? Maybe with a bit of feminine perspective, their world wouldn't be so chaotic and grim.

Anyway, long time reader, first time commenter. I wasn't planning on giving Star Trek: Orville a chance, but I'm glad I changed my mind.
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Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fusion

Regarding Vulcans, I found the mind-meld scene disturbing but it reminded me that Spock forces a mind-meld on Valeris in The Undiscovered Country. I was quite young when I first watched UC and always found Spock's actions made the tone of the film much darker. As Leonard Nimoy played it, Spock himself was very shaken by what he had done, although he acted out of need to save Kirk and McCoy, not out of anger like Tolaris. It makes me wonder if Vulcans ever had laws about mind-melds.
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Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 5:38am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Brilliant argument from @hobo. Using Borg technology seems to not be a problem for Voyager.
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Louis M Brantmeyer
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Starship Mine

*The episode, not the killing
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Louis M Brantmeyer
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Starship Mine

Man, Picard kills a LOT of people in this episode! I really enjoyed it however.
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Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: The Void

Warning buoys, really? Even when the other ships trapped in the void weren't very friendly, it would still be the humanitarian thing to make a rescue attempt. The least they could do is collect some deuterium (since it's found "everywhere" according to Tom) and try to send it into the void, alongside with blueprints for this device they built and all of the data they collected on their escape so others could reproduce it. I wouldn't even put it past them to collect enough supplies and, after devising a more reliable way to escape, to go back into the void in order to help others escape.

Think about it, how many people are aboard all the ships? Are they all supposed to suffer for the decisions their captains made?

What are the alternatives?
If they do nothing, new ships will continue to be pulled in and fall victim to the trapped ships.
If warning buoys are put there, that will only mean the situation in the void will grow more desperate over time and the people trapped there will asphyxiate, starve or kill each other in a fight for the last resources.

This is just the "Gravity" episode over again, isn't it?
There are aliens which will die a gruesome death and Voyager may have the means to rescue them, but let's not dwell on thoughts about them. It's their own fault, they should have tried being more important to the writers of the show!
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Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

I have to admit, the skin color point wasn't entirely serious. :)
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Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 6:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

I think it should have had at least one star.
I thought it was hilarious. The 'beloved mutant' line stood out. Neelix accidentally solving the problem (this is why no one has ever solved the threshold problem before... No Neelix!) And the ending was ridiculous enough to be very funny.

Despite the technobabble and the warp threshold not quite making sense, Tom's desire to get his name in the history books played out well. Of course breaking the threshold would have bizarre consequences. At one point Paris has two hearts and (after an infinite time and space experience) and I thought he'd "evolved" into a Timelord! Whether the writers call what happens to Tom evolution or something else, DNA is very elastic all through Star Trek.

As for Voyager finding the shuttlecraft in three days. I can only assume Janeway did something sensible and dropped the shuttle out of warp before turning into a randy lizard.

Jammer didn't mention the hint at consequences from this episode because Tom's experience results in Voyager getting detailed star maps. And the traitor in engineering sends them to the Kazon. Can't remember if this comes up in future episodes but it would be good if it did.
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Thu, Jun 8, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

Unfortunately a minor plot point overshadowed this episode for me: I couldn't take the artificial urgency seriously. Did Voyager honestly never manage to communicate to the hard headed "we lost seven ships" that they have a transporter relay? "Hey, guys, we have a transporter relay into that sinkhole, if you give us 2 hours we can rescue every single one of your survivors. You don't have to risk anything, just stay back and let us do our thing and we'll return your survivors in no time. If we fail, you can still close the sinkhole. Deal?" They can't be that hard headed to say no to that!

Anyway, on Voyager nobody seemed to care that all the others aliens on that planet were going to be crushed. I'd understand if in the end they didn't manage to rescue them all, but not even talking about attempting to do it?

Why did the aliens attack the ship just before Voyager rescued our "heroes"?

1) They are cardboard villains who have no motivation but to be villains and to attack (wasting plasma grenades!) at the moment the plot requires them to attack.

2) They intercepted the message and make a desperate attempt (wasting all their weapons) to reach the distress beacon and get rescued before the subspace sinkhole collapses and they are all crushed to certain death.

There is a scene where two aliens stand outside the force field and hit it with their fists. At first I thought it's 1) and they're just being ridiculous. But then I thought of 2) and realized they are in a desperate panic that they don't get through the force field and will die.

After being threatened and robbed by the aliens for months it's understandable that Tom and Noss don't particularly care for the aliens. But Tuvok as the logical person should have brought it up - after all Noss herself robbed Tom at gunpoint on their first encounter.

The only difference is that she is not using much violence - but who is to say that's not just because she is physically smaller/weaker/alone? Why is Noss so important and all the other aliens are not? Is it because she is white and looks like a human and has sparkly stuff on her face while the aliens look less human and have darker skin?

There have been several points in the series I have been disappointed by this crew supposedly upholding Starfleet values. Here it's the blatant lack of empathy for the lives of the aliens. Based on what? The actions of this single one hard headed bureaucrat? Does Janeway and the rest of the crew like to judge all members of a species based on one unpleasant individual? Thinking back to the void with the waste disposal guy - yes, they do.
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Fri, Jun 2, 2017, 7:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Night

I really wish Star Trek and especially Voyager was at least trying to stick to a fictional world that makes sense.

I mean the aliens are cool and all, but "they might be indigenous to the void"? Well, they have a very humanoid form, so obviously they evolved similar to apes on a "Class M" planet. Obviously they only came to the void after they already had a space faring civilization - there is nothing in the void to provide energy and nothing to build ships out of.

Energy: It's been established at least twice in this episode - first they explicitly said they need to conserve energy, then at a random scene I think Harry says "not a single electron". Voyager should have been *extremely* interested in how the aliens get the energy to power their ships, since we have seen Voyager run out of energy just a couple of episodes ago in "Demon".

Back to the aliens: They have "adapted" to the void and are very sensitive to light and everything. Why? Since they could have only come to the void after already having space ships, there is no reason they should have no light on their ships.

Did I mention the aliens have space ships? Which they could use to simply fly away and leave the void? Sure, people might not want to leave their home, but come on, before every is going to die from theta radiation, you might want to consider it.

Wait, what did the villain waste dumper say how many aliens there are? And ones who are technically advanced enough to disable Voyager? Why didn't they try to fight? There is only one ship, that inexplicably is much more powerful than Voyager, but am I to believe it is more powerful than all the alien forces combined?

Why is the villain so hard headed anyway? He is concerned about being put out of business while being the guy who brings his people new technology and a solution to their problems? In any reasonable society he would be a hero and wouldn't have to worry about anything anymore at that point!

Speaking of technology, why is Voyager just giving away their technology to random people they encounter? Remember the Kazon and the replicators? Are we not doing this Starfleet thing anymore? I mean I understand if they'd made a value judgement here, but it wasn't even mentioned at all...

Janeway's attempt so sacrifice herself just boggles the mind. If you keep an eye out for it you notice soon how Star Trek always avoids looking at how the software and automation technology they have actually works. You could maybe try to argue that they consider this to be too complicated for their audience, but plots like this here shows that the writers just have no idea how stuff works. Occasionally the crew is even just plain voice commands to accomplish tasks of about this complexity: "Computer, hold this position and in fifteen minutes, shoot X photon torpedos at coordinates XYZ". If that's not good enough this should be most trivial to directly program. If that's not good enough, the entertainment system routinely creates fully fledged human like characters that are more than qualified to carry out this task. It's not just that you have to suspend your disbelief - I'm really trying to come up with an in-universe explanation why there should be any reason for anyone - especially the captain - to have to control a shuttle for this task manually, but I come up empty.

I'm rambling and complaining a lot, but only because I'm so disappointed over the wasted potential. As others have said, the premise and beginning of the episode was great, they should have just continued what they started with. Instead they decided to shoehorn this weird stuff into it that just doesn't feel right. I mean come on. Dumping toxic waste where other people live and harming them is bad! Duh! I'm glad Star Trek told me this. It's not like we don't all know that we shouldn't dump toxic electronic waste into poor african etc. countries and leave it to the local poor population to risk their health to recycle whatever valuable materials may be left...
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Sun, May 14, 2017, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

Two years after this comment I watched this episode and have to call it into question: "it's the alien pulling memories and giving Janeway something to see that is believable to her"

Seriously, the scene where the doctor immediately kills her while she pleads for him not to do it is supposed to be believable to her? The fake doctor's behaviour is so completely out of the ordinary that I believe it actually breaks the plot of the episode. Not only does Janeway not question what the hell these extremely weird behaving time loops are, she doesn't even notice that the doctor in her sickbay death experience was painfully obviously not the real doctor.

If her experience was simply crashing with the shuttle -> dying -> having her father trying to guide her to the afterlife, I can see how she could have bought it. But her actual experience makes absolutely no sense. Another example is how she was supposed to have contracted the phage. The doctor speculates that - according to Janeway's story - a Videan grabbed her. But in this specific time loop this didn't happen. They sent out their tachyon burst and the two videan ships disappeared before they had any actual interaction with them. The hypothesis to explain this would be that somehow the virus was kept in Janeway's body through a time loop, even though everything else about her body was restored to the way it was. Well, except their memories, which is a problem many time loop stories have - how the hell do people retain their memory when they get reset into the exact same configuration every time? So let's suspend our disbelief - Why does Chakotey suddenly not remember any of the time loops?

I understand that the alien created all these experience so they don't have to make sense. What I don't understand is why Janeway didn't see the massive plot holes in her memories. Is her judgement affected by the alien? This is never made clear, but it's really the only explanation that makes any sense - but if the alien can do that already, why even set up such elaborate scenarios?

Look, I don't expect everything in science fiction to follow my expectations of how things should work - if there is some technobabble to explain away some weird fact of the universe, I can buy it. But it bugs me when the stories don't make much sense in-world, when the characters should know better.

Where the hell did that alien come from and went to anyway? As far as the episode is concerned, it just appeared out of thin air and vanished just as well. Does nobody find it curious where these aliens live and how one might prevent them from appearing?
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Fri, Apr 28, 2017, 3:47am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Profit and Lace

In answer to Quarkissnyder, Julian was wearing his surgical operating outfit. It's only been in one other episode.
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Fri, Apr 21, 2017, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Surprisingly, since Dukat has been such an arrogant villain in the last few episodes, I was moved to tears over his grief for Ziyal, and then to see Garak's desperate searching amongst all the happy reunions...powerful stuff.
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Sun, Mar 26, 2017, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

Sisko sleeping with Dax is strange. Partly for reasons already stated above. I could almost get my head around Sisko going along with it as Dax seems to expect sex and he is pretending to be mirror-Sisko, except for Jennifer. Sisko seems to be not over her death yet up to this point, he was obviously very in love and given the chance to see a mirror-jennifer, would his feelings about that alter his approach to Dax? I think it would, unless he sleeps with Dax to shield against his feelings about seeing his dead wife again. Like when he became Gabriel Bell, Sisko seems to quickly pick up stepping into other roles, but I still found it a bit unbelievable. And real Dax is his friend. Did he ever tell her? Wish this had more consequences than a slap in the next MU outing.
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Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

Jammer, I have enjoyed your reviews for years, and tend to re-read them if I happen to watch the episode at issue. I have not commented before, but weirdly, I feel the need to for this one even though, I agree, it is not exactly TNG's shining moment.

However, it does contain one of my favorite ever TNG lines/moments. Lwaxana is telling Deanna about her ill-thought-out plans to marry an internet date she has never met. Deanna is basically rolling her eyes. Then, Lwaxana mentions a wedding gown, and Deanna perks up and says, completely scandalized, "You're not going to be naked at your own wedding ??!!" Deanna's horror at that notion delights me, because it really embraces the world-building they've done to this point.

I mean, one of the first things we learn about Betazoids is that their wedding ceremony requires everyone to be naked -- it's apparently a very central cultural tenet. And of course, as some of the comments here make clear, it's something so counter to our own culture that some people have difficulty accepting it even in the concept of a fantasy show about a made-up culture.

As a continuation, I also kinda love the final scene, where Lwaxana cheerily appears at her wedding naked, as a true Betazoid bride, and Deanna looks pleased to bits. Notably, everyone else except the hapless groom and his henchman kind of rolls their eyes, like "Betazoids are so goofy."

I agree, though, that the rest of the episode is feeble. But I'd give it an extra half-star just for Deanna's line.
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Thu, Nov 19, 2015, 9:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

This is my personal favorite tng episode, if only for the fact that the themes are really deep for tv, specifically mental illness and the right to die. I only appreciated it much later.

Also the music cues for Gomtuu are haunting and almost tribal, a definite departure in sound.
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Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Kahryl, I always wondered what happened to the surviving Jem'Hadar, Vorta, and Founders. Maybe they were exiled back to the Gamma Quadrant. As far as the aftermath, the Dominion initially sent several hundred ships when it took over Cardassia, and lost several thousand when the Prophets stepped in during Sacrifice of Angels. The loss of those resources had to damage the Dominion's position back home. With Odo basically negotiating the surrender, I imagine the other Founders would keep their word to Odo to stay away from the Alpha Quadrant.
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Wed, Jul 30, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

As said by many others, this movie killed Trek for two major reasons (and a couple minor ones):

1. The scripts for Insurrection and Nemesis were no better than a regular episode and couldn't carry the weight of a feature film. They were boring and winning no new fans. "Mustachioed Villain with BS motivations a doomsday weapon and a countdown part n" would have been a good working title.

2. Everything about this plot was a big middle finger to the loyal fans they had left. Every five minutes was a major break in years of continuity built between TNG, DS9, and even parts of the previous couple movies. I wasn't expecting the movie to cater to fanboys, but it was like the writers never watched a single episode of Star Trek before making the movie. As a fan of Trek I spent more time scratching my head than watching the movie the first time around.

3. The TNG movies could have been called "Picard and Data parts I-IV." Every single plot was about them and only them. The rest of the cast combined probably didn't equal their screen time.

4. The TNG series ended on a fairly high note, but they were running out of ideas and laid the groundwork for DS9 and Voyager. The movies had nothing to offer except show us how the TNG cast was aging before our eyes.
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Thu, Jun 6, 2013, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

I bet he gives it either a low 2.5 or a high 2.

Up until the third act, I would've given it a 2, but trying my hardest to not laugh in the theater during the "death" scene, and then not being able to take the film seriously at all after that, knocked it down to a 1.5.
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Sun, May 19, 2013, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Is it too soon to warp through the plotholes?

It appears Scotty's magical transwarp beaming formula allows one to beam from Earth to Kronos?? Aren't we talking hundreds of light years? (And lucky for Admiral Marcus that Khan chose to beam there, or else his Master Plan would've been worthless) So do we even need Starships to explore strange new worlds? Why build a massive starship to battle Klingons? Why not simply beam an invasion force to Kronos?

Where was the rest of the entire Starfleet when two starships were battling in Earth's solar system? It was nice, FOR ONCE, to see a city other than San Francisco be the target for the enemy. But that changed later in the film with Khan crashing his ship there. I know its Starfleet HQ, but insurance rates for the locals must be through the roof

Carol Marcus with a British accent? And explain to me why she stripped down? Bibi Besch is spinning in her grave.

Spock calls Leonard Nimoy for advice on Khan. Nimoy says he wouldn't divulge information, and proceeds to divulge information. Spock asked Nimoy how they beat Khan. What, if any, advice did Nimoy give and when was it put to use?

The film spent a great deal of time inventing plot twists and then undoing them:

Kirk loses command, Spock gets transferred. Then are reunited when the first crisis occurs.

Khan is played as sympathetic, Kirk temporarily allies with him. Undone when Khan betrays them.

Kirk dies a heroic death, tears are flowing, then the laughable miracle cure. Khan's blood can cure anything! Do you think this will ever be put to use again??

The more I actually think about the film, the more I dislike it.
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Mon, Jan 21, 2013, 12:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

I think your assessment is about the only logical one for this one. Your comments made a lot of sense. I'm gonna watch this with my little nephew and see his reaction.
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Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

Well, a veeeery bad one indeed. However, I do have to admit that during the 'loneliness' speech, watching Majel's eyes made it hit home. I was moved as I wondered if she thought of her husband while acting the scene. It's hard not to think of the elderly in your lives, say grandparents or parents for that matter, as that scene played.

But I agree with the rest here otherwise.
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Wed, Jan 2, 2013, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Absolutely awful. If given the option of being forced to watch this or Shades of Gray, it'd be the latter.
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