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Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 9:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

This is the perfect “get to know you” episode. Spock provides initial family history and steps short of saying “I’m sorry” (ooh, that pesky human half!). McCoy/Kirk banter reveals close friendship. Kirk/Rand tension is introduced. Background chatter speaks of a busy and crowded ship. Kirk’s resourcefulness first showcased with the poker gambit. Scotty’s unflagging honesty first seen (“Beats me what makes it go”). For anyone unfamiliar with the show (is that possible?), this episode is the best primer.
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Walter E. Gough
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Worth noting, when this episode first aired, it seemed (pardon the expression) light years beyond the original Star Trek. Everything about the "new" Enterprise was bigger, better, more plush (wood trim on the bridge horseshoe) than the old formica-laden ship. But that old 1701 was the Enterprise we'd all fallen in love with, without which there would have been no 1701-D.

So that moment when Scotty (Scotty!) recreates the old bridge which we'd not seen in a new contex for about two decades was pretty special, at least to me.

Scotty and PIcard talking shop on the Constitution-class Enterprise. Loved it then. Still love it now.
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Walter E. Gough
Sun, Jan 15, 2017, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

Trouble with this episode is that the writers cheated their way out. Ardra -- considering her long criminal record -- has some pretty incredible technology at command... better even than that of the Federation.

So what starts out as a "now, how did she do that?", gets a neaty, tidy ending with nobody questioning how she came by technology that allows her to cloak her ship and the Enterprise and to materialize and disappear people and things in the blink of an eye.

In any other context, who IS she and HOW did she get all this stuff could have made a good tale all by itself, maybe even better than the one we got.
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Walter E. Gough
Mon, Dec 19, 2016, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

Solid solid solid.

Unsung: The closing scene of Picard, alone in his ready room, his headwounds bandaged, turning to peer out his window at the Earth below [fade].

Really beautifully done.
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Walter E. Gough
Sun, Dec 18, 2016, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

Five stars?
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Walter E. Gough
Sun, Dec 18, 2016, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

I may have missed this episode in its initial airing, or simply forgotten about it, but having watched it last night I'm struck by its overt religious message.

Star Trek, historically, has avoided direct message shows and dealt with issues via anology or allegory. There was talk of the son of god near the end of Bread & Circuses, but overall the franchise has been overwhelmingly about science and only sometimes -- and then only impliedly -- about faith.

Here we have an episode, first aired in June 1990 according to the Memory Alpha wiki (so it wasn't a Christmas show), titled Transfigurations, a direct reference to an event described in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

I found its vaguely proselytizing message strange, and -- with all due respect to DutchStudent82 above -- for somebody like me who seeks answers from science, not faith, a disconcerting departure from what I expect from Star Trek.
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Walter E. Gough
Thu, Dec 15, 2016, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Allegiance

A good idea gone awry. This episode held up until its authors needed to find a way out of their created conundrum.

First there was the Picard trivia trick to identify the fake hostage and then, once safely back on the Enterprise bridge, the FORCE FIELD to immobilze the bad guys while Picard delivered his sermon on involuntary confiment.

But... but... Since when is there a security force field on the bridge?

I can't recall ever having seen it before or since (though there was a security phaser mounted on the bridge in the TAS episode Beyond the Farthest Star).

So was this a single-episode plot contrivance, like the otherwise useless rods stuck in the engineering panel for beating up genetically engineered 20th century supermen in Space Seed?
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Walter E. Gough
Mon, Dec 5, 2016, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Meh too.

Interesting concept, but somehow this episode is less than the sum of its parts.

Daynar's ultimate escape from the ship seems to take forever and somehow, on a starship with more than 1,000 people, there's just Worf and two security men available to hunt this guy? How is that possible?

Also, at the risk of being rude, at what point does somebody just hit Daynar with a phaser set to heavy stunn or simply kill him?

Overall, the episode seems needlessly drawn out for its preordained conclusion.
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Walter E. Gough
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

The Gatherers looked like an out-of-work 80s metal band. Kept waiting for them to break out the guitars and amps.
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Walter E. Gough
Tue, Oct 18, 2016, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Icarus Factor

What really makes this episode difficult to watch is Wesley the Wonderboy. Sorry Wil Wheaton, I know you're not responsible for the script writing. I have no quarrel with you. Its just that his naivety comes off as grating more than it does as sincere.

Diana Muldaur's Dr. Pulaski was a fine character. She had grit and depth that it never felt like the writers were willing to impart to Gates McFadden's Dr. Crusher,

I join the commenters above in observing that the Rikers quarrel went away just a little too easily to be believable, while Will Riker's sudden decision to turn down the Ares seems woefully unexplained. Oh well, there's always the Melbourne.

Oh, wait...
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Walter E. Gough
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek Umpteen: Been There, Done That

ST:NEM isn't really a bad story, as far as stories go. Arguably it was a better story than its goes-nowhere, does-nothing predecessor, the overly technobabble-filled pseudo-Insurrection (in which the most lasting consequence was Troi and Riker hooking up).

Unfortunately, they made Insurrection first, which pretty much doomed Nemesis.

What else doomed Nemesis? The resurrection of plot devices trotted out elsewhere:

* Data's bad sibling;
* Riker's "Kirk kicks Kluge in the face" finish to his fight with the Viceroy;
* The "Stop the Bad Guy and His Death Ray in the Nick of Time" finish we'd just seen in the prior film; and
* Kill off the beloved character, sort of.

Pity. Nemesis held some promise. The awesome opening Roman Senate scene; the desert chase; the intriguing Picard clone concept ("the triumph of the echo over the voice"); the Remans, the Scimitar, the vicious space battle.

This was a more entertaining movie than Insurrection but also showed the franchise running out of new ideas.

One wonders what would have happened if they'd skipped the bloated TV episode that was Insurrection and gone directly from First Contact to Nemesis. My bet is that would have left room for a better finale, perhaps one that could have woven together some of the contemporaneous characters from DS9 and VOY.

Now that could have been a heck of a send-off.
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Walter E. Gough
Sat, Sep 24, 2016, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

While predictable in outcome (might as well have called it Star Trek III: Spoiler Alert), the Search for Spock may be the most underrated movie in the canon.

The story is tight and taught. The action is purposeful. There's no meandering, no digression. It is a tale that proceeds from start to fore-ordained finish.

Perhaps the reason I really like this movie is it departs from what has, unfortunately, become a Star Trek movie formula that continues right through Beyond, the James Bond-like "stop the bad guy with his death ray," tale that must end in a climactic fight to save some or all of humanity.

We saw this template used in ST:TMP (Stop V-ger from killing everyone on Earth); WOK (The Genesis Wave. "Scotty, I need warp speed in three minutes or we're all dead."); The Voyage Home (Stop an alien probe from killing everone on Earth); less so but still the Final Frontier ("what does god need with a starship?); Generations (Stop Soran's trilithium missile, save Veridian III); First Contact (Stop the Borg from assimilating Earth in the past); Insurrection (Stop the Son'a from killing the Baku); Nemesis (stop Shinzon from killing everyone on Earth); ST re-boot: (Stop Nero from killing everyone on Earth) and in Beyond (Stop Krall from killing everyone on Starbase Yorktown).

So that leaves arguably three ST movies, of which this is one (the others being The Undiscovered Country and Into Darkenss) where the story takes us someplace else, to some different kind of conflict and a different kind of resolution.

At the same time, Search for Spock is more intimate, more personal, certainly more anguished in tone and story and really really hardcore. This is a sequel for folks who really bought into the franchise, bought into the Wrath of Khan storyline and bought into Spock's death and Kirk's encounter with his son. This film, in that sense, cannot exist without its predecessor.

If you haven't seen the Wrath of Khan, you don't want to watch this.

In that light, it's too bad we never got to explore the Saavik/David understory related in the WOK novelizaiton, never got to pick up the thread of Saavik helping young Spock through Pon Farr (and perhaps dropping out of Star Fleet to raise their child). Also, for as well as William Shatner portrayed Kirk's stunned reaction to David's death, one could make the argument it was a bit underplayed, with nary a nod to the explanation he's going to owe Carol Marcus.

All in all though, a tight, taught story, well told, even if we all knew how it was going to end.
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Walter Dunsel
Tue, May 26, 2015, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident

Couple of points from a long time listener

- we do not know if Klingon ships are bought or stolen by the Romulans. Kirk's statement that the ships were "of identical design" could mean they were stolen designs

- It is perhaps less important if long time viewers had their credulity strained; it would be less likely the Commander would be aware of the unique relationship between K&S

- They want to keep Kirk alive to test their truth beams on; this they have time for

- Why would the Commander wish to go back ? I suspect her fate was known to her and would find a "scandal " to be a difficult time (although of Romulans had Americans' taste for celebrity rehabilitation, she may have indeed preserved)

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Samuel Walters
Wed, May 13, 2009, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

The problem with Lee's decision to abandon technology isn't necessarily in the concept, but in the execution -- as in, why wasn't there a more plausible and explicit build up to those sentiments in the series? (Yes, I get the whole deal of the Colonials being annihilated and hunted by their technology, but why weren't these sentiments given voice before Lee's sudden revelation?)

More importantly, however, when Lee says "technology" does he mean all tools, all science? If so, goodbye clubs, goodbye huts, goodbye domesticated animals, farming, and the like. Does Lee simply mean, "goodbye to anything electrical or nuclear powered"? Does he mean something else? He says no cities, but there can be small communities? How big is too big of a settlement? There's absolutely no mention of where Lee plans to draw the line on any of these issues beyond simply saying that they'll give the natives language. The line, as written, is simply too vague.

Clearly, from Baltar's words, farming will continue, so unless the Colonials plan to do all the planting and harvesting by hand, they will need *some* form of tools assist them. And they'll need some form of science to predict the best times to plant and harvest their crops, to irrigate the crops in times of drought, to determine the best times to go hunting and so forth.

Plus, if you plan on hunting, you'll also need tools, so what about blacksmiths? And tools lead to weapons -- whether its a gun or a scythe. That's the inherent paradox of technology (it is at once a method of production and at the same time method of destruction), one that was wholly ignored by Lee's decision.

If all of this works for some viewers (which, clearly it does) then that's cool. But no amount of "well, it worked for me" will provide a justification for the actions of the Colonials, Moore's decision to have the Colonials give up all technology to begin with, and his method of so suddenly and insufficiently portraying that decision on-screen.
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Samuel Walters
Sat, May 9, 2009, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Maybe Moore & co. should go back and release a "Special Edition" of the Zodiac map room scene in which they use CGI to alter the constellations so as to avoid the inconsistency?

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Samuel Walters
Sat, Mar 28, 2009, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2 (April Fools Version)

Samuel Walters - you have a point. Maybe that's what they were trying to indicate (as much as I disagree with it) - the "decadance" of pre-Fall Caprica, which could only be solved by abandoning technology.
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Samuel Walters
Sat, Mar 28, 2009, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2 (April Fools Version)

I think the best way to look at the flashbacks -- Roslin's smoking, sleeping with a former student; death of her family by drunk driver; Tigh & Adama drunk at a strip club; Lee's and Kara's drunken near miss; Adama puking on himself; Baltar's rage against his father -- was, at least in part, to show the decadence of pre-Fall Caprica.

In and of itself, the "decadence" explanation is tenuous but otherwise, I really don't think those moments were revelatory enough about the characters themselves to really justify their presence in a finale.
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Samuel Walters
Tue, Mar 24, 2009, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2 (April Fools Version)

trav⋅es⋅ty –noun
1. a literary or artistic burlesque of a serious work or subject, characterized by grotesque or ludicrous incongruity of style, treatment, or subject matter.
2. a literary or artistic composition so inferior in quality as to be merely a grotesque imitation of its model.
3. any grotesque or debased likeness or imitation: a travesty of justice.

Actually, it's not unrealistic for some viewers to see the finale as a "ludicrous incongruity of" what BSG was at the beginning. ;-)

Besides, just because I think BSG became a "grotesque imitation" of what it once was (through inconsistent characterizations, weak plotting, lazy deus ex machina explanations, etc.), that doesn't mean anyone has to conform to my perspective. But why not share that opinion since, by their nature, comment forms solicit opinions?

Personally, I don't see how an objective assessment of the finale can explain away all of the issues I see with it -- from Starbuck's nature to the lack of resolution between Adama and Tigh to the way that "God" was used to explain nearly every major plot mystery -- but that's entirely the prerogative of Jammer and those who loved the finale. I'll simply agree to disagree with those who see no (or almost no) faults with the episode.
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Samuel Walters
Mon, Mar 23, 2009, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2 (April Fools Version)

Subtle? The cameo was many things, but I wouldn't call it subtle. ;-)

As for me, I thought this episode perfectly epitomizes the series -- regardless of how you view it.

In other words, if you're willing to concede the flaws of the series, you're more likely to see the flaws in this episode. If you're forgiving of the flaws (or do not see any real flaws) in the series, then you're more likely to laud the episode itself.

Personally, I tend to view BSG has having become riddled with critical errors, thus I see the episode as highly flawed.
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Samuel Walters
Fri, Mar 20, 2009, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 1

I agree that BSG likes to concentrate on character moments, but from my perspective it seems that all too often character actions are shoehorned into the needs of the plot, rather than letting the characters "grow" the plot through their natural and consistent choices.

Which makes me wonder: Why do those of you who claim to look for stories about "character" enjoy BSG so much when (at least in my opinion) the characters themselves are inconsistently portrayed?

Do those of you who continue to laud the series not see any inconsistencies? If not, how do you explain the wild range of melodramatic actions from these characters? If you do see inconsistencies, do they fit into some "acceptable range" of inconsistency (if so, where would you draw the line at character inconsistency -- for instance, what *couldn't* Admiral Adama do, given what we know of his character)? Or do you simply ignore the previous episodes, and focus solely on the one at hand? Is there some other rationale I haven't thought of?

I ask because I really do want to know. I've been following this series from the beginning, loved the mini-series and much of seasons 1 & 2, but found season 3 & 4 severely lacking -- mainly because of character. So I am genuinely intrigued by those who tout "character" as a BSG strength when I see it as such a glaring weakness.
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Samuel Walters
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Islanded in a Stream of Stars

Of course, the counter argument to all of this is, perhaps, the George Lucas Syndrome. When Lucas had constraints and was forced to (at least a little) compromise in his Original Trilogy, the creative tension created something spectacular. It can be argued that the "creative freedom" he enjoyed on the Prequels led to a less focused, more sloppy result.

I have to wonder what BSG would have been like had someone been there to effectively "edit" what Moore & co. were coming up with -- particularly through season 3 & 4. Perhaps some creative tension would have gone a long way toward making BSG much more focused and consistent (particularly with the characters).

This is, of course, purely speculative (and in a large part subjective) ... but with the end so close, it makes for an interesting train of thought ...
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Samuel Walters
Sun, Feb 22, 2009, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, and the idea of "great acting" is in large part subjective, but I would argue that a broad-brush statement like "the acting on this series is among the best in TV history" is just a wee bit of hyperbole. There are some really solid moments, no argument there, but, objectively, I think you're over reaching with the whole "best in TV history" perspective -- particularly if you take into account how poor some of the performances have been.
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Samuel Walters
Thu, Feb 19, 2009, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

I think that those who would have liked this story arc to contain more episodes might be losing the forest in the trees -- so-to-speak. I agree that a longer arc would have allowed for the Mutiny to unfold at a more plausible pace, but I'm not convinced that doing so would have had any tangible benefit for the series (I'm still not certain that the mutiny plot really advanced the series, not without us seeing explicit consequences for everyone involved, not just Zarek and Gaeta).

To put it another way, the series needed to move on from the Mutiny Plot -- even if it was at the expense of that plot to begin with. In that sense, there needed to be a "neat and tidy" resolution to the Mutiny itself and it had to happen quickly so that the series could get on to the more important matters: What happens now that characters have made their choices and definitively picked a side in a life-or-death crisis? If we don't get that, then it won't matter how many episodes it took to resolve the mutiny -- it'd still be just as pointless.
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Samuel Walters
Sun, Jan 25, 2009, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Face of the Enemy

I disagree with the notion that the format itself is an inherent detriment. Rather, it was the story that BSG tried to tell through the webisode format that was the real problem.

The murder-mystery story was riddled with plotholes (such as neither the mechanic nor the Eight noticing that the rubber grip was missing -- are they *both* that stupid?). And while the New Caprica flashbacks were interesting, they broke up the already fragmented story resulting in a much more awkward pace.

Incidentally, if you're looking for the right way to tell a story in 10 webisodes, visit and watch the NYC story arc. It's ten episodes long, fits into a larger story, and is much, much better than Face of the Enemy.
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