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Tony
Wed, Aug 18, 2021, 5:14am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

(I've been commenting here a LOT, I'm taking a break after this one, I promise!)

Both of Nicholas Meyer's Star Trek films are these meta deconstructions of different aspects of the TV show:

TWOK is about Kirk having to deal with long-term consequences now that his problems can't just be wrapped up and left behind in convenient weekly "episodes."

TUC is about the inevitable nasty implications of simple black-and-white, Good Guys and Bad Guys tropes of episodic genre television when you try to run them through the complexities of a real-life geopolitical event.

Meyer's very well-read (to the point where I can imagine him being kind of a snob, even) but I wonder whether this was all intentional or if it just sort of happened because that's where his interests lean.
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Tony
Wed, Aug 18, 2021, 4:46am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

@Booming
All good. I think we all are more or less on the same page and just haven't found the-one-size-fits-all description of the concepts we're talking about. :)

Nicolas Meyer has said that his final conversation with Rodenberry just before he died was a heated argument over the film, something he deeply regrets. From what I understand this lead to a small compromise: the theatrical cut removed the scenes featuring Colonel West (his proposal of a starfleet military operation, and the reveal that he was the "Klingon" assassin in disguise) so that Starfleet would look less warmongering and corrupt (and by extension the conspiracy feels more Klingon-involved), and then Meyer got to have his preferred cut on the video release.
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Tony
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 8:06pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

@Silly
"The parallels with the Coke War were very clear when the movie was released"

Indeed, in particular I recognized the allusions to the Pepsi Peace Accords almost instantly!
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Tony
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 7:40pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

On a positive note: how wonderful is it that Dr. McCoy is the *least* racist member of the crew here? He recognizes Gorkon's sincerity right away and wants to see it all work out. And even when he objects at the suggestion that Klingon culture will be annihilated, he insists that it's not true rather than getting defensive about how maybe their culture really ought to be annihilated. I get the feeling that for Bones racism is old hat, been-there-done-that, and he knows better than anyone that it's all BS. It's a really underappreciated way to sendoff his character.
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Tony
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 7:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Put another way, racism is wrong because for us humans here in our reality, it's a concept that is fundamentally not true. In fiction, though, you can make circumstances where it is true: it's not immoral to be prejudiced against the Borg collective, or the creatures from 'Aliens,' or any number of fantasy "races" consisting of demons or monsters who are by their nature malicious.

That's the way TOS treated the Klingons, and honestly that wouldn't even necessarily be that terrible of a thing except it *also* wanted the Klingons to be analogues for various modern real-life human peoples, usually Russians and "Orientals" (it would've helped immensely if the villainous Klingons were specifically a political group rather than an entire race/ species - Nazis rather than Germans - but alas...).

While I think deep down Kirk still knows better (which is the saddest part), you almost can't even blame Kirk's attitude when all his life the only redeemable thing Star Trek has shown him of the Klingons is the time they grudgingly apologized (for hunting him down for sport) and managed to behave themselves at a cocktail party to make up for it (again: for trying to kill him, out of boredom).

It's good that Rodenberry was committed to showing that the Klingons could be something more than barbarians, but he wanted to do so in a way that proved them inferior to the Federation/ Humanity (Star Trek's analogue for "the West"), which is, well, racist, and exactly the kind of framing that created the problem in the first place.
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Tony
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 9:23am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

"Let me ask you more directly. It is your view that if the Federation is portrayed as not racist and another state-like entity is portrayed as racist, and the Federation then helps that entity to overcome that racism, then that story is in itself always racist? "

The answer's no. The issue is that the Klingons were specifically invented to be a bad race and that Rodenberry insisted that they again be the bad guys in a story about how racism is bad. The trouble (and irony) with that seems lost on him.
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Tony
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 4:48am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

An allegory about human racism and why it's wrong doesn't work if the racism is true and justified. A story in which the enlightened people teach the bloodthirsty savages the error of their ways would have been a cringe-worthy earnest endorsement of white man's burden (not to mention sounds like a really tedious film to watch). The best you could probably hope for is one where the Klingons reform themselves independently of the Federation, but then you've rendered the latter rather superfluous the and that story would best be told form the Klingons' perspective.

The story that Nimoy and Meyer went with is the one that feels truest if it's going to be a commentary on contemporary humanity (which is explicitly what they were going for): the Federation and the Klingons discover they were both wrong about each other.
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Tony
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 12:33am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

On another note, I'll disagree with fans and Nicholas Meyer about Saavik being the traitor. It would have been shocking and hurtful, yes--largely because it isn't very believable. Saavik is not conniving or duplicitous. I can see her perhaps objecting to peace with the klingons, but she'd make her opinion known, and she'd either refuse the mission or, like Kirk, suck it up and do her duty.

Valeris, on the other hand, has a coldness to her that informs her treachery. She casually bends the rules when it suits her (suggesting Romulan ale; firing a phaser in the kitchen) and is not very forthcoming (of her presence outside Kirk's quarters; of her misgivings to Spock), a combination that makes it very, very believable when she's found to be a conspirator.

In short, Valeris being the villain is a betrayal to the other characters. Saavik being the villain would have been a betrayal to *her* character.

(I also think it was a touch of brilliance that Kim Cattrall shaved her sideburns for the role. It makes her look slightly "off" in exactly the most appropriate way.)
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Tony
Sun, Aug 15, 2021, 10:15pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The thing that really hammered in for me why Star Trek VI was important was when I read that Rodenberry's initial reaction to the story was that the crew couldn't be racist... it had to be *the Klingons* who were struggling with their prejudices, and the Federation would show them the error of their ways.

Because, you know, the Klingons. They're not enlightened like the Federation. They need help, sort of like children. They're the bad guys, not the Federation. It has to be that way because Star Trek isn't racis--bwahHAHAHahaha, come on now!

'The Undiscovered County' lays bare the hypocrisy of Star Trek and works to correct it. The Klingons were the villains, an example of everything the opposite of humanity's ideals, to be wrong at every juncture, and to top it all off they looked and sounded like a hodge-podge of every "scary foreigner" stereotype all in one. The Klingons as originally conceived were a Bad Race.

The crew couldn't hope but to grow racist against Klingons... Star Trek was freakin' racist! And I for one am glad that the series didn't just try to pretend that wasn't the case but rather tackled it head on and had the courage to be self-deprecating about it. It turns what could've been an embarrassment to be ignored into a part of a larger and meaningful story arc.
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Tony
Sun, Aug 15, 2021, 9:42pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

It is supposed to be shocking and sad to see the Star Trek crew be so blatantly racist. There are a couple of things going on in 'Undiscovered Country' with the racism.

The first is about age. "Is it possible that we two, you and I, have grown so old and inflexible that we've outlived our usefulness?" Here to be "old" is less a physical condition than a mental outlook, a lazy (or to be more charitable, weary) cynicism masquerading as wisdom. The crew's racism is a parallel/ byproduct of being "old."

And like age, racism sneaks up on you. How can the crew of the Enterprise be racist? Didn't you see their idealistic young 60s selves? Didn't they have a party with the Klingons in the previous film? "I can't be racist, I have Klingon friends!" It happens. It happened right under their noses, but the crew has become old.

You want to know when you've really grown old, when it's time to pack it in and retire? It's when your experience becomes a liability rather than a benefit. The crew's experiences with the Klingons now work against them, which ties into the second thing TUC is doing with the racism...
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Tony Macaroni
Sun, May 10, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Love the continuity this episode sets up. I feel the errors can be best brushed aside when you think about it like this. Enterprise doesnt necessarily take place before TNG, DS9, etc, but on a slightly different timeline changed by their fairly frequent visits to the past which probably changed a few things here and there, e.g First Contact.
The music and direction in this one were stellar, and I feel we have to give John Billingsley some major credit for his performances as Phlox, every episode he's superb, here he conveys the fear and confusion of borg conversion extremely well, he may be my favourite Trek doctor.
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Tony Macaroni
Mon, May 4, 2020, 4:54pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S2: Stigma

I found it strange that the delicately handled AIDS metaphor was in the same episode as a goofy sexual subplot, even featuring some remarkably unsubtle innuendos.
All in all this is a strange one, it feels like a script that was rejected during the first season of TNG for being too sensitive then dusted off fifteen years later by which time it was well past it's well by date when it comes to relevance. That's not to say HIV is no longer an issue, nor was it not back in '03, but one would expect a series of this era to perhaps tackle themes of terrorism or surveillance, remember, it was only the year after this when they were parodying the reaction in Team America, which was ironically a lot more pertinent to then current events than Enterprise was up to this point.
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Mark Antony
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 2:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S2: Meld

I love this episode, Tom Russ is an incredible actor and ,as others have said, very underused in ST Voyager.

After the meld you can actually see Tuvok beginning to lose his Vulcan control and when he finally does Tim Russ’s performance in his quarters and in the medical bay are first rate. Also the interaction between Russ and Dourif are excellent!

On another note I couldn’t help thinking while watching Crazy Tuvok in this episode, remember the DS9 episode where Worf is forced to fight Jem H’adar warriors in single combat I that Dominion prison? Imagine Crazy Tuvok in that scenario......
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Mark Antony
Sun, Sep 22, 2019, 5:11am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S7: The Void

Did anyone else think it was a shame that Seven went to all that trouble of preparing her shipmates a gourmet meal only for it to all end up on the floor?

Those damn spacial anomalies are a real nuisance aren’t they?
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Tony
Wed, May 29, 2019, 2:28am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

"Meanwhile, something like hockey, which you suggest is complicated, is bewilderingly simple: puck goes in goal, number goes up. "

Well, assuming you know what a "puck" and a "goal" is and what they're for. To an ignorant observer, one is just a flattened piece of rubber and the other is a wooden framework covered in netting.
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Tony
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Not sure that Kelly and Bortus would actually been let go after they murdered many prison guards.
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Tony
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 9:56pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S2: Return to Tomorrow

If Sargon and his race could make android bodies for their minds. Why did they not make them in the past, instead of putting their consciousness in the sheres. They certainly could have done so in the past and escaped the planet in ships. Building them perhaps underground .
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Tony
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

I've been rewatching Voyager on Netflix. I found this thread because I was wondering if it was Avery Brooks as a Klingon... He seemed very familiar and I realized it was his voice that sounded familiar- his inflections are just like Avery Brooks.
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ToNy
Sun, Nov 6, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

Not a fan of this episode AT ALL. So much so I did an immediate google search to see if anyone else agreed with me.

Thank you for creating this review site.

Love Star Trek! Especially TNG and Voyager (hence going back and watching yet again)

My main problem is the ridiculous plot holes. The villain being able to have such a high level of understanding of future tech. The horrible dialog, especially the 'uh-oh' death line. I was cringing the whole time.
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Tony
Fri, Oct 7, 2016, 2:03am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

Thanks for the review. Agreed with pretty much all of it.

Archer's character had seemed to me to have been written as that of a self-entitled 12-year-old, so arguably this episode showed he'd matured a year or 2. But it was very silly.

I did like the bit where Archer spoke to T'Pol about the "tension" and she gave him a verbal slap, but other than that pretty bad.

It also annoys me when Archer talks about how "Porthos needs fresh air as well". Yeah, how many crew members are there? And how many of them get 'fresh air'?

The decontamination zone is getting annoying for its use as a plot device.
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Tony
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 3:18pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S2: Minefield

I didn't see the comparison with Shuttlepod One. Maybe I just enjoyed Trip and Reed more than Archer and Reed. I'd watch Shuttlepod One several times, but not this one.
I liked last week's though, can't please everyone all the time.
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Tony
Fri, Sep 16, 2016, 3:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S2: Shockwave, Part II

I was expecting it to be pretty bad from watching other tv shows. Part 2 always cheats part 1.
I thought this was really good. I like Silik's character and but it was weird how Archer managed to overpower the ship like that.
Some of the action scenes felt like padding.
But I like it. Promising start to series 2 (I'm watching these rather late you'll gather, just found they're on Netflix).
As for 'hammy', I really like Enterprise but I feel that some of the acting's like that every week. The speeches worked for me and Archer was just Archer.
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Tony
Thu, Sep 15, 2016, 2:57pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S1: Shockwave, Part I

I loved that episode.
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Tony
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 5:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S1: Shuttlepod One

Regarding Red Dwarf's Marooned - I haven't seen it for a while but by my recollection that worked because we knew the characters a lot better, whereas this was in series 1.

Also, I think Reed is a deeper character than Rimmer.

And RD is comedy sci-fi (partly depending on which series) whereas Enterprise is sci-fi drama with some comedy thrown in. And I think we learned more about Reed and Tucker than we did about Lister and Rimmer in the 2 episodes.

(this is mostly my opinion obviously....)
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Tony
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 5:03pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S1: Shuttlepod One

Definitely one of my favourites of season 1.
2 men in a room winding each other up and exploring their characters. I thought Trip got too many of the punchlines, but that his frustration was fair enough.
The airlock bit was a bit silly though.

Regarding Reed as the lady's man, I thought his actions suggested the opposite. He knew (or had known) a few women and still had strong feelings for them.
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