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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

The issue there was that they were a pre-contact species. It's not to do with it being natural causes. The Enterprise helped with natural disasters plenty of times ("Deja Q" and "A Matter of Time" come to mind).
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 6:44am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

I always find that discussions of the economics of Star Trek stall easily because they give us so little, and what they do give us is barely consistent. Mind you, someone managed to get a book out of the topic. Haven't read it yet but I will: https://www.amazon.com/Trekonomics-Economics-Star-Manu-Saadia/dp/1941758754/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=trekonomics&qid=1579696975&sr=8-1
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Well, there is the odd reference to something like the Dytallix Mining Corporation and there are clearly still profit-driven humans like Vash and Mudd. TAS had a rich philanthropist, Carter Winston, which definitely implies that personal wealth is still a thing. But maybe these are sort of traces of the prior social-economic order rather than the norm. The general idea, in TNG-era Trek at least, is that the buy-in for being part of society is to work for its betterment rather than yours alone.
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

I almost get the sense that "working directly for the state" and "existing in society" have thin distinction in Star Trek, which is pretty socialist. It can't quite be communist in Marx's strict sense since there are still leaders, private enterprise, personal property, inheritance rights, etc.

But yeah, they zigzag like crazy on a lot of this. Take this exchange in "The Cloud" about Paris's experience in non-holographic France:

PARIS: I found this place just after my pocket was picked walking by the harbour.
KIM: Somebody picked your pocket? On Earth?
PARIS: Oh, they just do it for tourists. They give it back. Most of the time.

Pocket picked of what?
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 8:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

Yikes, I sort of helped trigger this exchange and now I can't bring myself to do more than skim it. It sure would have helped if the writers had supplied a better reason for Sisko to be on a runabout deep in the Gamma Quadrant than that he's leading a quantity surveying mission, right?
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

Interesting! The poll question "Which series have you watched the most?" inherently disadvantages series with shorter runs. It perhaps goes without saying that this is at best "infotainment" rather than anything empirical. At best it would seem to indicate that regular browsers of startrek.com skew towards Voyager fans... or perhaps that people who elect to participate in such polls skew Voyager. It's not a ton to hang one's hat on, but it's at least interesting.
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 6:32am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

Voyager was the highest rated show on UPN, which is a tad like being the thinnest kid at fat camp. It meant that it kept getting resources and advertising, but a rising tide floats all boats, and UPN was anything but.

I'm curious what poll you mean -- among general viewers? It does seem generally true that Voyager had more visibility. That does not innately translate to people watching it regularly, much less liking it.

If you like Voyager, that's great. But I'm afraid I've never found the "millions of viewers can't be wrong" argument a pretty meaningful one, about anything.
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Top Hat
Mon, Jan 20, 2020, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

Just if people are interested: http://www.madmind.de/2009/05/02/all-star-trek-movies-and-episodes-in-two-charts/. You'll note that in absolute terms, DS9 had better ratings than Voyager, aside from a handful of short periods (including right at the beginning). Both declined sharply over time, however, which TNG did not.
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Top Hat
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

Admittedly it's not yet an active war, but the Dominion have made it clear that they need little excuse to attack Starfleet ships. So yeah.
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Top Hat
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

I think the drama mostly works in this one (Sisko telling off Dax is a thing of beauty), but I agree that it's deeply contrived. One thing you don't mention is: why would the Federation consider mining a planet in the Gamma Quadrant, even one they wrongly think is a comfortable distance from Dominion patrols? It would require some sort of shipping schedule to be set up and are they really satisfied that it would be safe, given that this isn't an area heavily patrolled by Starfleet? Is this mineral so rare that they literally can't find it on their side of the galaxy?
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Here's an interview in which Siddig expresses his discontent: https://tv.avclub.com/alexander-siddig-on-being-bashir-quitting-24-and-gett-1798282506

What annoys me the most is that they decide that Bashir was not only brought up to normal or even prodigy levels of intelligence by the genetic treatment, but also that it turned him into a god among men physically too. What why what?
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:25am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

One thing I always liked about this episode is that it's fairly technobabble light. We're told that the radiation is such that nobody but Data can go to the planet, and that phasers won't work for the same reason. Reasonable. Picard has O'Brien and Geordi seek a technical solution but this just supplies a comic sub-subplot, with exchanges like this:

RIKER: Gentlemen, we're giving you an assignment. One thing we don't want to hear is that it is impossible.
PICARD: I need the transporters to function despite the hyperonic radiation.
LAFORGE: Yeah, but that's im... Yes, sir.

The stakes are clarified with a minimum of dialogue. Later, Data rigs a phaser and the explanation for how he can do it is pretty short and clear.

I feel like a few seasons later there'd be a full act of tehnobabble in there.
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Top Hat
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 7:16am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

Yeah, "the cat thing is the best part of this episode" is less about how good the cat part is than how bad the rest is.
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

So the lack antagonism between them makes romance less likely? Ziyal not being particularly socialized with other Cardassians?
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Yes, I think there's space to push against the idea that Garak was sexually or romantically interested in Ziyal at all. There's exchange in "In Purgatory's Shadow":

Ziyal: You’re intelligent, and cultured… and kind…
Garak: My dear, you’re young, so I realize that you’re a poor judge of character—
Ziyal: Why do you always make fun of my feelings for you?
Garak: Perhaps because I find them a bit… misguided?
Ziyal: Well, if that’s what you think, why do you spend so much time with me?
Garak: Because I’m exiled, and alone, and a long way from home, and when I’m with you, it doesn’t feel so bad.

It sounds like he's trying to politely to deflate any romantic interest on her part.
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Adding to some of the interviews cited above, here's another interview (undated but presumably around 2000, when A Stitch in Time came out) where Robinson talked about Garak as sexually ambiguous: http://www.littlereview.com/getcritical/trektalk/robinson.htm. He also expresses disenchantment with the Ziyal arc:

"Was the romance with Ziyal an attempt to heterosexualize Garak because the writers got nervous about the Bashir/Garak dynamic? "Probably," admits Robinson. "It never really developed. There was never really any investment on their part.""
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 8:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Reflecting on Bashir’s conduct, rather than anything about Garak’a motivation, it reminds me of a few cases when I was younger where I’ve had a pleasant if out of the blue conversation with some fellow and found myself thinking: was that a chat up? Or was he just being friendly? Everyone likes attention but I’d hate to give the guy the wrong idea. El Fadil nails this mix of excitement and mild confusion.
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Top Hat
Tue, Jan 14, 2020, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

Just for the record, I'm pretty sure DS9 never had any female staff writers (unlike Voyager, which had Lisa Clink). There are a smattering of women freelance writers credited, but mostly early on, when they were still drawing through the TNG slush pile.
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Top Hat
Mon, Jan 13, 2020, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

There is a thread about that, but the episode is a bit too “nice” to really have much to say on the topic that really lands. Even the big city bureaucrat gets a gentle treatment.
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Top Hat
Mon, Jan 13, 2020, 8:23am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

I wonder to what extent people's like or dislike of this episode corresponds to dislike of interior, character pieces in general.
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Top Hat
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Interesting thought. Is this the Brian’s Song or Shawshank Redemption of TNG: a male weepie?
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Top Hat
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

To go back to Alexandra's post, I've observed an interesting phenomenon in recent years of this episode's stock declining. Women at Warp's episode on it was largely negative. The Inglorious Treksperts podcast listed among the overrated episodes of Trek. It might be anecdotal, but I think it's status as a top-regarded episode is starting to fray.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Sons of Mogh

I wonder why they wanted to remove Kurn from the roster of recurring characters at all. Why not keep him around to participate in later plotlines?
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Timothy W. Lynch's contemporaneous review of this episode has an interesting note: "Two things figure importantly in whether you'll like or dislike the show. The first is the respect and liking (or lack thereof) you have for Patrick Stewart's acting, as this was very definitely a showpiece for him. I think most people 'round here tend to like his work a great deal, but there are always exceptions. The second is more difficult, but I think a lot of your enjoyment will depend on how many, if any, personal chords Kamin's life struck within you. To some extent, a personal connection to an important character is always important, of course; but I think it's far more so here."

I'd be hard pressed to think of a more actorly episode of all of Star Trek. The fact is, Ressik is not an especially interesting place; there's not a lot of world building with the people of Kataan, and I think the pastoral "praise of the simple life" thing is laid on a bit too thick, and the staging is a little flat across the board. The episode loses momentum when it cuts back to the Enterprise (the same can be said of "Darmok," another very Stewart-driven episode). I would agree that the characters around Kamin, while well-played, are a little bland and archetypical, but they're really also not meant to be interesting on the their own terms, only for how they shape Picard's experience.

Here's a question I've always had: that moment when Picard/Kamin notices that Eline's necklace looks like the probe. What is that about? It comes and goes with no obvious consequences.
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Top Hat
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Apropos of nothing: https://twitter.com/BryanFuller/status/1197705516933214208
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