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Wed, May 30, 2018, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

@Dimitris I think any issue with droid overpowering/inconsistency goes beyond Disney and at least back to the prequels, where they're making goofy wisecracks but then also slaughtering hordes of Jedi on Geonosis, etc.

The Admiral Holdo deal, though... phew, no excuse, Disney blew that plot point.
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Wed, May 9, 2018, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Jammer, thanks for your thoughtful review. I normally agree with your reviews, and those I don't agree with, I tend to think more highly of than you do (TOS's "Balance of Terror" and DS9's "Civil Defense" come to mind). This is the first I can recall where you've rated something more highly than I did (well, there's the 2 stars for Nemesis I suppose, which is about 1.5 stars higher than I would've given...)

But your review helped clarify for me one reason I didn't like it: you're right, it feels more like DS9 and BSG than traditional Star Wars. And I enjoyed both DS9 and BSG. But not every franchise needs to imitate those series' dark tones and moral greyness. And I think I want Star Wars to be Star Wars. Not that the franchise should stay static and never evolve (Force Awakens definitely flirted with that temptation). But TLJ was, for my money, too much of a change too quickly, and not always change that was particularly well-executed (@Dom, well said regarding the ham-handed political commentary).
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Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 8:56am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

One thing that's bothering me that I haven't seen discussed elsewhere: I'm not buying Finn's character. For someone raised from childhood to be a killing machine, he seems remarkably well-adjusted -- charming, even. Given his background, it seems like he should have at least a touch of the awkwardness exhibited by, say, Seven of Nine after her liberation from the Borg. Not to that extent of course given that assimilation is much more invasive -- but at least *something* to suggest that he's not some normal guy who had a normal life before joining the Resistance.
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Sun, Jun 9, 2013, 7:41am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Lonely Among Us

After coming back to the show after awhile watching the first six episodes, this is the weakest of that bunch. Both "Farpoint" and "Where No One..." had great moments, and at least "Naked," "Code," and "Outpost" have amusing camp... but this one falls terribly flat. There's no connecting thread--the delegate storyline goes nowhere, Data as Holmes is amusing but comes out of nowhere, the episode explains the entity's motivations nowhere, and it stretches credibility to believe that energy-pattern Picard could be beamed back out of nowhere. Truly an episode that deserves to be forgotten.
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Sat, May 18, 2013, 6:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Spock's Brain

I watched this episode recently--having heard of its reputation but never having seen it. I posted this brief review on my Facebook page:

So while many other Star Trek fans were gearing up to watch "Star Trek Into Darkness" (which sounds like an awesome movie--can't wait to see it!), instead, I finished watching the notoriously bad episode "Spock's Brain." Three thoughts:

1) Yeah. It's bad. Really bad. Plays out like a *parody* of Star Trek rather than the genuine article. The plot doesn't stand up to close scrutiny--in fact, it doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny.

2) But still--REMOTE-CONTROLLED SPOCK?? Wow, that's almost as cool as Park and Rec's DJ Roomba!

3) Nevertheless, the episode is much much better than bad Voyager or Enterprise (which is unfortunately too large a percentage of those shows). It's over-the-top campy, and I think it was meant to be taken that way. My sense is that neither the director nor the actors (particularly Shatner) didn't buy the premise, so they just hammed it up. As bad as it is--it's one of those things that's so bad I actually rather enjoyed watching it.

I'd also add that I agree with the comment above by Jeffrey that the bridge scene is a highlight of the show--almost TNG-like in its problem-solving approach. A nice touch in an otherwise rather embarrassing episode.
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Mon, Apr 1, 2013, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

@Paul: I completely agree with your analysis--and with your claim that TOS and TNG had the most "right" to vary in quality from episode to episode.

@William: Yes, TNG S7 is quite variable for just that reason. Some episodes are truly great TNG classics; others are forgettable, and others are junk (hi "Genesis"). But I'd say that variable seasons like TNG S7 are preferable to consistent mediocrity (like most of Ent and Voy).

Just for kicks, I looked at the data for BSG--whoa boy, definitely a series that Jammer liked. Not surprising to anyone who reads this site, I suppose. But here it is:

BSG S1: M = 3.25, SD = 0.58
BSG S2: M = 3.10, SD = 0.58
BSG S3: M = 3.08, SD = 0.57
BSG S4: M = 3.36, SD = 0.52
BSG Total: M = 3.20, SD = 0.58

Overall, Jammer saw it as a show with remarkably high quality and consistency (and I agree--although I really didn't care for the series finale at all, but that's a much-rehashed convo for another page on this site!). And I'd agree with these ratings that S3 was the nadir for BSG. I'm surprised S2 isn't a bit more variable; but Jammer never assigned a rating below 2 for BSG, so it makes sense the SD is lower for BSG than for all of Trek (only DS9 S1 beats BSG for consistency).

But not to digress too far from "All Good Things..." The reflective nature of the show makes it feel appropriate to me to reflect on what Trek (and Trek-influence sci-fi like BSG) has been, and perhaps what it will be. It's a beautiful episode, and the only ending to a Trek series that truly befits the show (although I think Trek VI did that well for TOS, and DS9's finale came close).
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Mon, Apr 1, 2013, 10:08am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

And, I realized TNG S5 was inadvertently left off the above list (no slight intended): M = 2.69, SD = 0.78 (similar to TNG S4).
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Mon, Apr 1, 2013, 8:37am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

One more note--looking at standard deviations also solves the mystery of DS9 S5. It's one of my favorites, too--but it's also a tad inconsistent. Specifically, "Let He Who is Without Sin" and "Ferengi Love Songs" are outlier episodes in the season (that, may I suggest, many of us try to block out of our minds!) Specifically, if you drop "Sin", the average increases to 3.10 and SD decreases to 0.68 -- placing it as the best Trek season and one of the most consistent. Drop "Love Songs" and it changes to M = 3.17 and SD = 0.60.

But, that's arguably "cheating"--the reality is that those two stinkers are in S5 and, by comparison, S2 doesn't have anything quite that bad (although I'm not going to sit down and rewatch "Melora" or "Profit and Loss" any time soon, admittedly...)
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Mon, Apr 1, 2013, 7:58am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

I used the spreadsheet file to compute standard deviations. Here is each season, ranked from most consistent to least consistent:

DS9 S1 (M = 2.89, SD = 0.54)
Ent S4 (M = 2.64, SD = 0.60)
Voy S1 (M = 2.73, SD = 0.62)
DS9 S2 (M = 3.00, SD = 0.63)
Ent S1 (M = 2.68, SD = 0.64)
TOS S1 (M = 2.84, SD = 0.66)
Voy S7 (M = 2.63, SD = 0.66)
DS9 S4 (M = 3.02, SD = 0.67)
Ent S3 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.68)
Voy S4 (M = 2.60, SD = 0.72)
TNG S3 (M = 2.90, SD = 0.74)
TNG S6 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.74)
Voy S5 (M = 2.62, SD = 0.74)
DS9 S3 (M = 2.87, SD = 0.74)
DS9 S7 (M = 3.02, SD = 0.74)
Voy S3 (M = 2.58, SD = 0.78)
Voy S6 (M = 2.65, SD = 0.78)
TOS S2 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.79)
TNG S4 (M = 2.81, SD = 0.80)
DS9 S6 (M = 2.90, SD = 0.82)
Ent S2 (M = 2.48, SD = 0.84)
Voy S2 (M = 2.54, SD = 0.85)
TNG S1 (M = 2.20, SD = 0.85)
DS9 S5 (M = 2.98, SD = 0.90)
TNG S7 (M = 2.44, SD = 0.96)
TNG S2 (M = 2.45, SD = 1.01)
TOS S3 (M = 2.27, SD = 1.02)

Note the inconsistency of TNG--Seasons 1, 2, and 7 are all among the most variable seasons in all of Trek. Notice also the gem that is DS9 Season 2--the third highest average of any Trek season and one of the most consistent. I watched thru DS9 a few years ago, and I agree with this analysis that DS9 S2 is an underrated treasure.

Finally, averages and standard deviations across each series as a whole, ranked from most to least consistent:

Ent (M = 2.63, SD = 0.70)
DS9 (M = 2.96, SD = 0.73)
Voy (M = 2.61, SD = 0.74)
TOS (M = 2.63, SD = 0.86)
TNG (M = 2.61, SD = 0.86)

These numbers suggest that DS9 was pretty good and consistent, Ent and VOY were pretty mediocre and consistent, and TOS and TNG were pretty variable (with some really great episodes and some pretty crummy ones). That sounds about right to me.
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Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 8:18am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Wow. It says something about "Aquiel" that much of the comment thread has become about "Parallels."
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Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

Would've given this at least a half-star lower for lack of plausibility--I'm not a nitpicker (really), but if those Ferengi can take over a Galaxy-class starship, Starfleet is simply a joke. One of my least favorite episodes of the entire series.
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Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Family

"Not powerful or gripping or original or groundbreaking..."

The first two are subjective evaluations (and I would argue this episode is both)... but the last two... boy... looking at the Trek canon up to this point, "Family" is quite original and groundbreaking. No episode before this showed such direct follow-up and consequence to the immediately prior two episodes. And no episode before this focused so much on characters versus plot. In many ways, this episode sowed seeds that in time would alter the franchise--particularly giving rise to the great show that was DS9.

In other words--knocking this show for not being "original or groundbreaking" seems to me like knocking Yesterday's Enterprise for being so much like other (later) time travel episodes.
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