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Tim
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

I only come here after the best episodes and was not disappointed to see this as a 4 star. Enthralling episode which yet again cements DS9 as THE star trek series. Moral dilemmas are at the core of a good science fiction story and this was one of them.
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Tim
Tue, May 26, 2020, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

How about forgetting about new shows? Most people here, from what I gather, haven't even watched fucking Babylon 5. Jammer hasn't. As a sci-fi fan, that's a crime.

Also, the same people decrying the "dark and depressing" stuff of today still praise nuBSG.
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Tim
Tue, May 26, 2020, 2:19am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

I think you're a bit mixed up Jeffery. Shouldn't props go to the set designer?
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Tim
Sat, May 16, 2020, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Indiscretion

For me this episode epitomizes why DS9 is THE stand out star trek series. Putting characters together and watching their relationship change and develop from previous episodes and their history pre ds9 is a highlight for me. O'Brien and Bashir from the last episode and now Kira and Dukat in this has more character development than 7 series of voyager!
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Tim C
Fri, May 15, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Great to hear the news there's going to be a new Pike show. As the fourth (!) new Trek show in four years, I hope they take this one in a more episodic direction. And that's all I have to say about it until we see more!
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Tim
Fri, May 15, 2020, 5:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

I'm a few years late but Dennis's post from 2017 is spot on from start to finish.

As far as the Klingons are aware, there is only one non-hostile changeling in the entire galaxy (i.e. Odo), and they clearly treat him with respect. They threaten Laas because they believe him to be a Founder, which is not unreasonable. Instead of attempting to defuse the situation, Laas deliberately inflames it and murders one of them. Which is a dick move (but not out of character as he is a total chode), partly because murder isn't cool but mainly because it puts Odo in an awful position.
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Tim
Thu, May 14, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

Watching the latest Dukat nonsense just makes me nostalgic for the real Cardassian characters of the first few seasons (including Dukat himself)
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Tim
Thu, May 14, 2020, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

As someone who is watching the series from start to finish for the first time, I can't believe how much/quickly DS9 has fallen apart at this point, from the moment the wormhole aliens (COS THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE) disappeared the Dominion in season 6.

The cringeworthy Pah'wraith 'good vs. evil' magic possession nonsense has really spoilt the nuanced science / religion dichotomy it took them seasons to build. The Prophets have gone from ethereal aliens to Gozer the Gozerian, while Sisko has become a simpering ideologue. Even Dukat has become a parody of a parody.

Also, I honestly cannot believe they tried to shoehorn Benny Russell into this episode. What next? Perhaps the founders turn out to be tribbles.

And Dr. Bashir joining a suicide mission (and not even as a doctor) so his dead friend can get into Klingon heaven? WT actual F.

How, in any quadrant, is this a 3.5 star episode?
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Tim
Sun, May 10, 2020, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

This is a strong episode, although I think its glaring deficiency is that it cheaply sacrifices one of the core thematic struggles of DS9 (Sisko's difficulty in accepting the mantle of Emissary, and his attempts to reconcile objective science with Bajoran religion) in the name of exploring the big themes of Spirituality, Faith and Revelation, both from a personal and socio-political standpoint.

Sisko's grudging indulgence of Bajoran prophecy up until now has been firmly rooted in its clear relation to the 'wormhole aliens', yet he makes no attempt to connect the two, even after he recovers. This new unquestioning 'faith' is totally implausible (and certainly not something to be celebrated), regardless of whatever transcendental experience it came out of.
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Tim
Sun, May 10, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Glom

"'Starship Down', the opening of 'Favor the Bold' (though technically a war crime), 'Paradise Lost'"

Starship Down was a total ripoff of the submarine genre, which to be fair was "Balance of Terror" (based on "The Enemy Below") but BoT did it way better, IMHO.

The only DS9 battle sequences I can recall having emotional weight were the destruction of the USS Odyssey and the entirety of "Way of the Warrior". The latter was the best DS9 ever did I feel, we cared about the characters on both sides, we were invested in them, we knew their motivations and the reasons for their choices......

..... the Dominion never had that much depth. They were just Bad Guys, Space Nazis essentially. The Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians were presented as believable villains and occasional friends throughout DS9's run.
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Tim
Sun, May 10, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Booming

I'm not going to get sucked into an Internet back and forth of quoting each other's posts line by line and trying to rebut every single point, but you did say one thing that I'd like to address:

"When you watch the landing in Saving Private Ryan are you just completely detached because you don't know anybody in that scene or because you don't know the "bad guys"?"

Saving Private Ryan's landing scene was about PEOPLE. DS9's battles were about CGI. I stand by this point and you're not terribly likely to convince me otherwise.

Have you seen the new Midway movie? I actually liked much of it, way more than I expected I would, because it paid attention to historical details (specifically, the actions of the USS Nautilus and the attacks by the Midway based aircraft) that are usually overlooked in mainstream tellings, plus the viewpoint ship throughout was the Enterprise and I'm always down for a good CV-6 story.......

...... but when it came to the actual battle sequences, ugh, it was the absolute worst possible use of CGI. They made it look like a video game and it pulled me completely out of the moment, every single time, beginning with Pearl Harbor, continuing through the Marshalls–Gilberts raids, then the Doolittle Raid, and finally the big moment at Midway.

The 1970s Midway movie was terrible, it was a love story and family drama haphazardly pasted onto a major historical event, but I'd take the battle sequences from that movie (or the infinitely superior Tora! Tora! Tora! still the gold standard) over the 2019 production.
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Tim
Thu, May 7, 2020, 3:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

These time travel episodes are always heavy-handed and deal in simplistic caricatures, which makes them less interesting, if not less entertaining. Certainly not 4*.

Also, there's basically nothing 'prescient' about the 2024 in this episode - it's far closer to 1994 than it is to 2020.

Income inequality is wider now than it's ever been, which is of course a problem, but it has nothing to do with poverty, the measurement of which is adjusted on a yearly basis (meaning people in 'poverty' in 2020 are much, much better off than people in poverty in 1960). It makes the whole idea of Sanctuaries very unlikely.
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Tim
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Booming

"Also comparing the US carrier fleets with an entire fleet of a hundreds of planets spanning federation is also a little shaky."

The point is you can only build a ship so fast irrespective of the size of your industrial base. We obviously do not pour our entire industrial base into the construction of our fleet carriers but even if we were able to do so it would not significantly accelerate their construction time. Only so many workers can fit out a ship at one time, only so many cranes can operate in the drydock at one time, etc.

@ Booming

"The war was a setting to tell stories in"

The point that you're missing is I do not regard a CGI battle as a story. Go watch the scene in South Park's Imaginationland trilogy where Michael Bay is pitching "ideas" that are really just special effects. That's how I regard nearly all of the DS9 fleet engagements, with the honorable exception of Way of the Warrior, where I actually gave a shit about the characters ON BOTH SIDES; they weren't just ships manned by generic bad guys (the Klingons) or nameless redshirts (the Federation), they were all characters we were invested in who had believable motivations for their actions.

@ Dom

"Sure, maybe the special effects crew could have settled for 30 ships instead of 50, but that seems like nitpicking."

You did see Jammer's statement in his review, right?

"I don't like the visual arrangement of the fleets during the big standoff. The way the ships warp in and stop on a dime, and the way the ships are crammed comically close to each other, makes this feel like an over-the-top CGI cartoon. There's no weight or dimension to starships anymore. They have unfortunately become video game avatars that look like they were cloned with copy and paste."

Or the comment of @Disappointed that I replied to:

"What's with the need to have massive fleets of spaceships in Startrek now? It's like they are trying to turn it into Star Wars. The original premise of Star Trek was that space was massive and the spaceships, like a battleship or submarine, were on their own in the expanse dealing with problems they found there. So Star Fleet can now magic up 300 battleships for a situation as minor as saving the lives of 30 androids, something the Federation aparently cared nothing about for the last 10 years."

You can dismiss it as nitpicking if you want but I still feel like all of the awe and wonder is gone from starships in the Star Trek Universe and it was DS9 -- not NuTrek -- that started the trend of cut and paste starships.

The Orville still manages this sense of awe and wonder with a fraction of the production budget of NuTrek, IMHO, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Tim
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Tommy D.

"Though, I also think larger fleets made more sense in DS9, so I agree with @Dom there."

I still don't buy it. 40 starships at Wolf 359 when faced with an existential "Twilight of the Human Race" level threat. No real reason to limit to 40 ships, we never saw them, they could have made it 4,000 ships if they had wanted to, but 40 was the number the writers went with and was consistent with Trek lore to that date.

A few years of fictional time later and we're pulling 600+ ship fleets out of our ass and taking body blows (98 ships in just one battle) that make Wolf 359 look like a skirmish instead of the near extinction of humanity.

People on the interwebs rationalize this in all manner of ways, "Starfleet recalled all the ships sent out for exploration after First Contact with the Dominion", "The Federation ramped up like the USA in WW2" (side note: The Two Ocean-Navy Act was passed in 1940, BEFORE the US entered the war; the ships that would beat Japan were all ordered and many were laid down BEFORE Pearl Harbor), etc., but these are all rationalizations, and a good story shouldn't require off-screen rationalization.

Just admit it, the SFX folks went waaaaaay overboard.

What's interesting is you CAN make a large scale battle work in Star Trek; I find "The Way of the Warrior" to be the best DS9 had the offer and the Big Battle at the end of that episode was well done from both a storytelling and an SFX standpoint, infinitely more compelling to me than any of the fleet engagements in the Dominion War arc.

That was a character story first and foremost; we were all emotionally invested in the Klingons and their relationship with the Federation, we all cared about would happen to the Cardassians, what the geopolitical fallout for Bajor would be, how The Dominion played into this intrigue, etc.

The Dominion were just generic bad guys, scary af when first introduced but watered down to nothing by the time the war rolled around. The same Jem Hadar fighters that took down the Odyssey with ease could later be killed by a handful of photon torpedoes (if only Keogh had thought to use his!) or a single volley from a scout ship class Klingon bird-of-prey.

Yawn.
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Tim
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Dom

I couldn't disagree more. It's a fallacy that you needed huge ass fleets to portray "the war to end all wars", for one, it's false "raised stakes", nobody believed the Federation was going to lose, this isn't Battlestar Galactica, it's Star Trek, even dark af NuTrek wouldn't be bold enough to "go there" and have the Federation lose the war.

For two, the best episodes of the war arc were the CHARACTER episodes -- "Rocks and Shoals" and "In the Pale Moonlight" were my two favorites -- not the space combat porn CGI-wank fest episodes.

I'm sorry, but it takes the wonder and awe away when these huge starships are reduced to assembly line constructs, both within the context of the fictional universe and the SFX that we see on screen. I remember reading the TNG Tech Manual as a kid, which was based on the series bible of TNG; it took nearly a decade to build the Enterprise-D, with two more years of shakedown time, and 7+ years proceeding construction for design and R&D, all backstory that was informed by REAL WORLD experience with capital ship design and construction.

It will take at least eight years for the new Enterprise (CVN-80) to be ready for launch from the first fabrication of components (2017) until estimated launch date (2025), with two more years for fitting out before she's ready to be commissioned into the USN (2027), then add an indeterminate amount of shakedown time and training for the plank owner crew before she's ready for her first actual deployment.

Could that timeline be accelerated in time of war? Perhaps. But not as much as you might expect. The Essex Class Fleet Carriers of WW2 fame took a minimum of 18 months from keel laying to launching, another 6 to 12 months before they were fully fitted out and ready for commissioning, then another 6 months for shakedown and training of the plank owner crew before they were ready for action. Keep in mind the Essexes were not nearly as complicated as a modern day fleet carrier or (obviously) a FTL capable starship. We'd never be able to get a Gerald R. Ford into the water and ready for action in three years even if we threw the full resources of the nation behind their construction.
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Tim
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Chrome

"Though I agree the ease of CGI is part of the reason they'd make more fleets than before in modern Trek, it's still extremely expensive to make it look good."

My point is that it DOESN'T look good and it's NOT effective storytelling. It's just space combat porn for the teenage fanboys.

The destruction of the USS Odyssey was shot with models; watch how she moves during that episode and try to remember the gut-punch you felt when it first aired and you watched a GCS get owned in short order by these new bad guys. Keogh was deliberately cast/acted to remind us of Picard and the Odyssey was very deliberately made a GCS.

Now skip ahead to the fleet engagements of the war arc. We don't know any of the crew of these ships, they're literally manned by nameless redshirts, so there's no real emotional impact to what we're watching. There are so damn many of them on the screen we can't tell them apart, two thousand foot long starships move about like F-16s, they fight at point-blank range, and there are more explosions on the screen than we'd see in a Michael Bay production.
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Tim
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Disappointed

"What's with the need to have massive fleets of spaceships in Startrek now? It's like they are trying to turn it into Star Wars. The original premise of Star Trek was that space was massive and the spaceships, like a battleship or submarine, were on their own in the expanse dealing with problems they found there. So Star Fleet can now magic up 300 battleships for a situation as minor as saving the lives of 30 androids, something the Federation aparently cared nothing about for the last 10 years."

I've been saying this for YEARS, ever since Deep Space Nine and the massive fleets of completely disposable CGI starships.

The Enterprise -- in both TOS and TNG -- wasn't exactly one of a kind, but she was a capital ship, exceedingly rare, the rough equivalent of an American supercarrier (we only have eleven of these, FYI, with roughly 1/3 deployed, 1/3 working up for deployment, and 1/3 in extended overhaul at any given time) but in DS9 they were apparently churning out Galaxy Class Starships like sausages.

People rationalize it as "gearing the economy for war" or some such but what it really was is the SFX folks had a new toy (CGI) and they went WAY overboard with it. The wonder is gone when you see hundreds of these things on the screen, there's just nothing special about them anymore, and I'd take a million off-screen Wolf 359s over any one of DS9's on-screen fleet engagements for emotional impact and effective storytelling.

I'd hoped when Admiral Clancy said she was putting together a squadron that we'd get exactly that, a squadron, a half dozen to a dozen starships, which would have at least made a little bit of sense to see Riker in command of, but a retired/reserve Captain in command of a fleet of hundreds of ships with tens of thousands of personnel? Did nobody in the writer's room ever serve in the military? Or study history? Or apply common sense?

On the same topic, why did the Romulans need hundreds of warbirds to sterlize one planet when it was always said that the Enterprise herself had enough firepower to do just that? In TNG at least a warbird was roughly equivalent to the Enterprise and presumably had the same level of firepower. Did the writers forget that the Romulans sent a fleet of just 20 ships to attempt the same thing against the Founders' homeward and that said fleet destroyed 40% of that planet with a single volley?

Ugh!
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 18, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 2

I haven't watched this episode since it originally aired, Coffeeteamix, but I reckon your boyfriend is spot on, because I remember my feelings about the verdict in this episode being exactly the same as Roslin's, heh.

Baltar is perhaps the most hateable character ever to be depicted in televised science fiction. It's a genius portrayal by Callis and the writers, but fuuuuuuuuuuccccckkkkkkk I loathe him. To this day seeing a picture of him makes me mad. He makes me want to reach into my TV and throttle the life out of him, looking him in the eye the entire time.
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Tim
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

So my review isn't really a review of this episode per se but you may judge the episode from what I have to say! Last year I watched Voyager back to back and would often refer to Jammers reviews for comparison to my views on each episode. I'm now working my way through DS9 and haven't really checked back here much (mainly because season 1 and 2 generally suck). However upon watching this episode and being thoroughly enthralled I thought I'd check back here to see if my views matched Jammers and I can safely say they have. Best episode so far!
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Tim M.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Agree 100% with Jammer's review.

This season had its flaws, but gets an overall thumbs-up from me.

I'll definitely be tuning in for Season 2.
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Tim
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Jammer

"There's no weight or dimension to starships anymore. They have unfortunately become video game avatars that look like they were cloned with copy and paste."

This. One million times this. :(
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Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Marvin, you can also put me in the camp that agrees this season should have been a different length. Either much shorter, with less fat, or much longer, so we could actually deal with those additional stories that came out of it and were left unresolved.

But! I don't entirely agree that everything between the bookends was filler. The opening three episodes could definitely have been condensed to two. After that, though, each one had some important moments for Picard. Consider:

• "Absolute Candor" showed us how deep his regret over the refugee situation on Vashti runs. Elnor turned out to be a totally inessential character (albeit entertaining, I thought), and the show failed to properly inform us how things got to this point*. But as a showcase for Picard, I found it pretty effective. He doesn't just regret walking away from the Romulans, he's also downright *angry* that they don't appreciate the effort that he *did* put in. It's a pleasingly complex emotional portrayal, I thought.

• "Stardust City Rag" was pretty intensely disliked it seems (although it's my favourite episode of the season), but I think (?) most people agree the Picard & Seven scenes were exactly the sort of thing they'd hoped for were these two characters to ever meet.

• "The Impossible Box", of course, showed us just how far Picard's willing to go on his new quest. We had those great scenes with him and Hugh and some great demonstration of how his assimilation will never stop haunting him.

• "Nepenthe" - would anyone really want to lose any part of this episode? I think it was kind of essential to have Picard run into his old crew at some point; it's one of those plot things you can't ignore. I mean, if your main character is really up against it and we all know he has an intensely loyal group of friends, you pretty much *have* to include them in the story at some point and explain why they're not a part of this new quest.

• "Broken Pieces" - here's where we really start to see the old Captain really coming back to the fore. The way he sternly puts Raffi and Jurati back in their places, the renewed empathy he shows Soji, his reminiscing on what Data actually meant to him.

You could certainly rewrite this story in many ways to be shorter, in order to focus more intently on Picard, or longer to give the plot more time to wrap up. I think that definitely would have been a better show. But I don't think the show ever took its eye off the ball completely; every episode had some important moments for Picard.

* The backstory for Vashti is effectively told in the prequel novel, "The Last Best Hope", but you can't really count that as part of the show.
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Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Some direct replies:

@Dom: like you, I've become pretty hard-nosed about what TV I spend my time with nowadays, with the streaming era making so much top-shelf content it's impossible to see everything worth seeing. Aside from new Star Trek (because I will *always* set aside an hour a week to watch new Star Trek... unless it's ENT, which I gave up on in frustration very early), right now I make time for Westworld (great!), Homeland (fun!), Better Call Saul (amazing!), The Expanse (excellent!).

When it comes to re-watching shows, it's interesting. I'm far more likely to chuck on an old classic episode of a show I love that's completely self-contained than I'm ever going to say "gee, I'd like to binge an entire season again". It's a real reflection of the changed business models of our time, I think.

When the old Trek shows were geared for sale into syndication, it was also enshrining their rewatchability essentially forever. The new ones are now pumped out to keep you subscribed to a specific streaming service; they can hyper-focus on telling longer stories to an audience that's paying to be there, and there's always new content coming if you're willing to pay. It's early days, but I think this Third Age of Star Trek is not going to be as rewatchable as the First and Second were, just because people don't have time to re-watch entire seasons.

(Rewatching BSG is not on the cards for me, I think. Great show, but like new Trek it demands you keep watching to get a complete picture of the story, and I just don't have time for that anymore!)

@Trent

You point out that Picard's failure to help the Romulan refugees would traumatize him far more deeply than Data's loss. You're right - but the show showed us that! Data's loss is something that sat with Picard for years, but the conclusion of the Romulan evacuation actually led to him quitting his lifelong career and spending a decade in semi-isolation stewing over it. So much of his identity was built on his own idea that he was inseperable from Starfleet, and when it became clear that wasn't true it left him shellshocked for a long time. The refugee situation is the kind of state-level thing that one man can't effectively deal with without the backing of an institution, and this story was partially about Picard forging himself a new path outside of said institutions.

I agree that an interesting show could be built around the political situation the Federation and the Romulans find themselves in, but I don't think I agree that that is the story this first season should have told. Disco's first season failed in part because the show immediately jumped into a high-stakes political plot - a huge war! - without first setting the stage. (In contrast, DS9's Dominion War plot was far more effective because we had multiple seasons of plot chess pieces being put into place first.)
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Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

This review really set the cat among the pigeons, huh? 🤣 (I feel the same way about the review of Nemesis, team.)

It's interesting reading the more critical comments, because in some ways they seem to be echoing my feelings about Disco season 2. I've always accepted that in a franchise with such a deep bench of stories about one-shot, amazing technologies being tossed out on a whim by writers as an excuse to explore the human condition, suspension of disbelief and audience participation is the price of entry if you're actually looking to be entertained.

(Otherwise, you will just drive yourself insane going down the rabbit hole of "But why didn't they just...")

I think the most important distinction is the one that Jammer (with help from the dearly departed Ebert) points out in the review: plot vs story. Disco season 2 fell apart for me because when I step back from it, the plot *was* the story. Burnham's estrangement from Spock, arguably the most easily identifiable story thread of the season, was effectively concluded with "If Memory Serves" (notably, a pretty universally well-liked episode), leaving us with little but plot machinations to endlessly nitpick going forward. The entire season suffered as a result, despite having a generally better quality of one-off episodes than season 1.

When I step back from PIC, though, I don't have the same empty, dissatisfied feeling about the story. Going in, I was promised a story about *Picard* coming back to life, and that's exactly what was delivered in a mostly satisfying way. People asking "but what was the point of the Borg cube?" or "what's the deal with Romulan refugees?" are, I feel, missing the point. Those are all background to the story about *Picard*. The Borg cube is there so Picard has fears to confront. The Romulans are there so he has regrets to consider. Etc etc.

Some people demand a watertight, swiss-watch plot, and I totally get that, but I feel like you're cheating yourselves out of something nice by doing so. Unlike (again) Disco season 2, which had nothing to offer but plot at the end.
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Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:30am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Great review, Jammer. You've zeroed in on the same feeling I had (far more eloquently): the central storyline of this season was always about Picard honouring Data's sacrifice. The pilot made it abundantly clear that Picard's primary motivations going in were a combination of survivor guilt, and needing to regain his lost self-confidence. Viewing the last ten episodes through that lens, I consider the story to be quite a success.

Yes, as a lot of commenters here and elsewhere have noted, the show also spun out a *lot* of other story threads and most were not concluded satisfactorily. But stepping back from the frustrations of not being told a complete story (which, with a second season coming, may yet be resolved), a different question emerges: was I entertained by the ride? And will I buy another ticket?

The answer for me is yes, on both counts.
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