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Wed, Oct 28, 2020, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Without delving into spoilers for Picard or Discovery, this episode of DS9 set a gold standard for approaching the classic Trek canon that newer series have failed to meet. Instead of being embarrassed by the camp of TOS, Tribble-ations embraces it head on. The meta, of course, is the characters are interacting with the retro with the same fondness we do. Jammer cited this element as a flaw, but Jadzia’s “pep” is absolutely appropriate - and given strong rationale in the episode. Having lived through this time, like many viewers, she is delighted to revisit it.

Modern Trek is seemingly ashamed of its origins dressing its crew and ships in drab grey and muted blue. Feeling the need to be sleek and edgy, Discovery may share its position on the timeline, but too afraid to share TOS’ colorful optimism. DS9 knew how to honor its roots, respect its canon, and still do something new. This episode is Trek at its best.
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Wesley's pyjamas
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 3:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Far From Home

Did anyone catch what the purpose of using the phaser during the crash was meant to be? I think Saru said something about cushioning the impact, but how would that work? It couldn't be by applying inverse force to the ship, because that would mean anytime a phaser is fired the person or ship would be propelled backward. The only other thing I can think of is melting the ice.
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Wes B.
Tue, Sep 15, 2020, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

I think this episode is perfect and achieved greatness. :) A beautiful piece, superbly written and performed by all involved. Four stars (or Dyson Spheres) out of four! An exhilarating and moving hour full of brilliant moments and an outstanding conclusion.
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Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 4:01am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

I have so many mixed feelings about Star Trek: Enterprise in almost every category.

Positives: Unlike later Abrams Trek, Enterprise more or less maintained the Star Trek “feel” (especially in the latter third and fourth seasons). And unlike the bile of contemporary Kurtzman Trek, it demonstrated a general respect for the franchise. Did we *really* need to know why TOS Klingons had smooth features? No, probably not. But I remain in awe that this series had such a love for TOS and desire to honor the overall continuity that it gave us an origin story anyway. That “love-letter” to continuity ended up an albatross in the finale weaving in the TNG cast in a story that was not their own, but it at least proved the showrunners cared about the wider franchise canon. That’s commendable.

Visually, Enterprise is a good looking show. A little more drab than previous entries, but, again, considering how embarrassed Kurtzman seems of classic Trek uniforms, ships, and aesthetics in DIS and PIC, Enterprise honors the visual style of its predecessors, while still being slickly produced.

A number of the series’ characters are engaging, particularly Tripp. Likewise Malcolm and Doctor Phlox (disagreeing with the reviewer) are reasonably well-rounded and no member of the crew grated on the viewer like Wesley or Neelix. I remain a Travis defender in that Anthony Montgomery COULD have handled deeper, more abundant material. His bright-eyed optimism and divergent upbringing could have been a real asset if they had bothered to give him more screen time. If he appears “wooden,” perhaps it derives from so much time atrophying on the bench.

Enterprise also makes more of its premise than its predecessor Voyager. We see first contact with a number of classic races, in-depth looks at early relations with Vulcan, and a sense of the wonder, danger, and novelty of interstellar travel in their era. It isn’t flawless, but it does well as a prequel (again, shots fired, Discovery).

Negatives: The collective cast never gels in remotely the same way as the TOS Trinity or the TNG bridge crew or the wonderful noir ensemble on DS9. Even later Voyager managed to build meaningful dynamics between EMH, Seven, and Janeway or Tom and Belanna. T’Pol regresses in many ways as a character after ingesting toxic metals (emotion crack) losing her strength, competency, and distinctiveness. The continual “will they, won’t they” yo-yoing of her and Tripp’s relationship culminated in absolutely nothing and the reviewer rightly notes that all characters essentially end where they began. Character arcs need not be seismic to be profound (before senselessly killing Data off in Nemesis, his triumph was merely in incrementally becoming more human).

Archer ultimately never really worked as a character, especially when the writers unsuccessfully wrote him as a tough guy. A series of poor scripts resulted in Archer imprisoned or kidnapped too many times to count and the character fluctuated wildly between compassionate and aggressive (Janeway syndrome).

Now the unfortunate standard, Enterprise pioneered season-spanning arcs far beyond even what occurred on DS9. Relying on ongoing narratives for an entire season necessitates that your core story be really good. And like eventual Discovery and Picard, much of Enterprise’s core plot threads were not very good. Particularly the Temporal Cold War which was a) confusing, b) largely unexplained and unresolved, and c) diverting and uninteresting. Anchoring so much of seasons 1, 2, and partially 3 in this plot marred many of the series’ episodes. DS9 paid dividends focusing on the Dominion War, but also showed the dangers of serialization with the P’ah Wraiths and the Prophets (in many ways seriously harming its own finale).

All in all, Enterprise is as worthy a member of the franchise as Voyager, if not in some respects more meritorious. Voyager and even TNG and DS9 all came into their own in their latter halves. With three more seasons and the promising changes of seasons three and four, Enterprise might well have become a great series, despite its flaws. Cut off at the legs as it was hitting its stride, we half to judge it as a half series. Yes, it’s tiptoeing into grittier material and serialization may have helped pollute the franchise of the latter 2010s. And no, Enterprise lacks a Darmok or a Measure of a Man or an Inner Light. But it tried something new, fleshed out the canon in a meaningful way, and showed great respect and care for a franchise we love.
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Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

This was my favorite mirror universe episode since TOS. Sure, it was pointless. But considering what a slog some of the DS9 mirror adventures turned out to be, this was a breath of fresh air. Fan service is at its best when its contained to a bottle (like DS9’s wonderful Tribble outing). Keeping the plot relatively light and inconsequential is actually a good thing. Considering other (read: later) series infatuation with the overly serious Mirror stories, relegating this camp romp to its own, independent tale was smart. Plus we get a gorn, a fun twist, and lots of hammy invocations of Kirk through Archer’s overacting. This two-parter is a winner in my book.
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Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Bound

Yes, the episode is a mess. It deals in sexist tropes and its “empowering” reveal makes little sense in regard to t previous appearance of the Orions in an earlier episode. For a final five episode installment, shockingly poor.

But like DS9’s Profit and Lace, it isn’t nearly the worst Trek outing. Despite its many failings, it still has a light, comedic bent that makes it less painful. Some of the banter is fun and it was a treat hearing about the Gorn. But compared to TNG’s deeply problematic forays to planets of both Native Americans and Africans or Voyager’s butchering of both evolution and warp drive that sees Janeway and Tom mating as lizards, this was at least semi-watchable. Not great. Not good. But not mindnumblingly boring or canon-rending.
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Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: United

It seems plausible Shran simply viewed “incapacitation” as impossible in a battle with serated blades. Archer took advantage of the secondary element of the ushaan-tor, the tether, to choke Shran and then unbalance him by slicing off his antenna. So I think it’s fair to say “duel to the death” is fueled more by the practical and emotional considerations of Shran than the explicit rules themselves.
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Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Damage

Though a fine episode, it is easy in retrospect to see it as a portend for the franchise’s steep decline into murky, aggressive, any-means-necessary dreck now synonymous with Discovery and Picard. The episode’s message ages particularly poorly as we look back at the actual War on Terror over a decade on. T’Pol’s crack addiction and Pirate Archer are now emblematic of the franchise that lost its way. Picard would convene the officers in his ready-room to weigh any ethical dilemma. Archer unilaterally and continually makes the unethical call. And the franchise still lives with the consequences.
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Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 1:20am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Like “Doctor, Doctor,” another episode with an extremely dubious moral lesson. Yes, Tripp overstepped bounds by entering the cogenitor’s quarters and bringing it aboard the ship (initially). But once the cogenitor (Charles) becomes aware it is a slave - and there is no avoiding recognizing this fact - and requests asylum, Archer becomes morally culpable for dooming this person to be denied autonomy, choice, or even basic personhood. In “Doctor, Doctor,” Archer permitted an ENTIRE ALIEN RACE to face imminent extinction on the off-chance that the subordinate race MIGHT evolve into greater potential. In this episode, Archer forces a runaway slave back into captivity to avoid offending the slaver race. Only one episode prior, Archer DEMANDED Dr. Phlox administer treatment to an ill alien in violation of Phlox personal medical ethics.

Of course, what Tripp should have done isn’t cut and dry and the degree to which Enterprise should have involved itself in mitigating sex-based slavery among these people is worthy of consideration. But the ultimate conclusion is yet one more example of Enterprise disturbing didactic episodes.
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Wed, Jun 24, 2020, 1:01am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Horizon

I chime in these many years later to say I don’t see Travis as a “blank slate,” but rather very earnest and optimistic. And revisiting this episode after the jaded, downright deplorable character traits on display in ST:Picard, that fresh, eager, openness is extremely welcome. I only find myself disappointed that Travis is relegated to the background when in many ways I prefer him to Hoshi’s blandness or Malcolm’s “must follow the rules” routine.
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David Westfall
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 12:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Patterns of Force

I started watching Star Trek about 50 years ago. The Vietnam War was still hot, right in the middle of the Cold War.
Ho Chi Minh had led the Vietnamese to shrug off the European yoke, and he has much inspiration from both the USA and Marxism; the latter dominated. It also motivated his lieutenants, and they were much more ruthless. Ho wanted the revolution, but the lackies gladly made sure there was no outer OR inner threat. Ho was the figurehead, the man on TV who impressed world society; the thugs ran the show.
I believe that, at the very least, heavily influenced the episode, and Nazi uniforms were the visual portrayal. (National Socialism and Communism are virtually identical, largely differing in purpose/justification of expansion.)
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Picard Is Wesleys Father
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Finally, Roddenberry's dream of a drug-filled, vulgar, income inequality laden, xenophobic future has been realized! Actually, therein is my biggest problem with this series - pessimism and grit. I doubt any of us ever *really* wanted to see Captain Picard dressed down with the f-bomb or watch an emotionally shattered Starfleet subordinate take a hit off a future bong. It also feels like watching two shows of very wildly inconsistent quality: Picard Adventures, brimming with the acting talent of Patrick Stewart, and Romulan Borg Cube Exposition, a very boring show about sexy people learning how to act on the set.
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Picard is Wesleys Father
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 3:42am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Yes, Phlox and Archer ultimately come to a hamfisted, potentially evil decision at episode’s end. It is a philosophy of complete inaction if taken to its conclusion. Indeed, ANY interference in ANY matter great or small might well alter “nature’s” course. Given sufficient time and development, the planet’s microbes might become a dominant species after billions of years. The presence of the dominant species here seems in no way to impede the development of the less developed species. For all Phlox really knows, the Menk and the Valakians may well thrive and both continue to evolve co-dependently for millennia if the cure is delivered.

The worst part of this episode is that is otherwise fascinating and wonderfully constructed. By altering the dilemma somewhat, this entire debacle might have been avoided. Perhaps if the Menk faced certain extinction if the Valakians survived as they both fought over scarce resources. Or the key to Valakian genetic survival was in cross-breeding with the Menk, but their prejudices stood in the way. Or the Doctor made a shocking discovery that the vaccination came through harvesting genetic material from the Menk in such a way that caused them harm. ANYTHING but the distant possibility that the Menk might not reach apex primacy over the planet in a million years.

Even if Archer still accepted that deeply flawed logic, the episode might have been redeemed if we concluded on a moment of thoughtful melancholy. “Did we do the right thing dooming this entire race to certain extinction in deference to a warped understanding of evolution?” Phlox might have mused aloud. Instead, Phlox tees up a date for himself and everyone goes about their business, content knowing that by the Age of Picard, all of Valakian culture, an entire race, its music and history and science, its hopes and dreams vanish from existence with the highly dependent Menk likely also extinct from sudden neglect.
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Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

One, thing that really irritates me about those reviews is this arrogant anthropocentrism: "Of course is a silly custom, because we humans automatically know what's objectively wrong and right!" This same happened when Jammer was talking about "TNG Half a life" when he automatically said that Kaelon's custom is obviously stupid, without even considering why it even existed in the first place. If aliens exists, they are culturally different that us - do we have the right to judge them by human standards? I completely agree, I would also say its a somewhat biased modern western viewpoint and reading this in 2020 it feels incredibly shallow and even bigoted. There are plenty of cultures in which ritual suicide is a social/culturally accepted path. To state that the episode fails because Worf's cultural mindset is 'silly' is failing in critical thought. Throughout TNG (and other star trek series) Klingons are shown to have a culture that espouses ritual suicide in various situations. They are also a people with very specific views about the physicality needed. Perhaps Jammer should have listened to Picard a few more times............... "that's a very human perspective, for a KLINGON in Worf's position, his life is over...... we don't have to agree with it, we don't have to understand it"
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Wes B.
Wed, Jun 5, 2019, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

Great thoughts, everyone. The joining of Cochrane and the Companion-Hedford reminded me of the joining between Decker and the Ilia probe in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979).

On another note-- For those of you who may not know, the director of this episode and others, Ralph Senensky, has written about his directorial experiences on his blog. Here's the one on "Metamorphosis," which was his favorite TOS episode to direct:
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Sun, May 26, 2019, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Recycling previous stories or concepts but giving them a new twist is rich ground for sci-fi, I thought this episode did that and a lot of the credit should go to Adrienne Pallecki for giving such warmth and humanity to her depiction of the older and younger Kelly Grayson. Also some great supporting scenes with the other main cast to explore the characters of Grayson and Mercer.

Wonderful special effects and camera work with a nice twist at the end to keep the audience on their toes.
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Tue, May 21, 2019, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

I loved The Orville and it's whacky indulgent and slightly unbalanced workplace comedy feel right from the start, and it looks like Jammer and some other people are coming around.

Some of the comments re comparisons with MASH are surprisingly illuminating, although I"m not a MASH fan or expert myself.

It's Seth's "love letter" to the Trek universe but still quite surprising how much heart shines through, the juxtaposition of Dolly Parton music over a routine hand to hand combat scene was inspired.

Thank God for Seth showing us that Sci Fi can be "fun" - something that only a few Trek episodes and Red Dwarf and maybe some Dr Who have pulled off,
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Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

Seth Macfarlane and everyone else involved in making this episode absolutely nails it here with biting absurdist satire that asks a lot of questions and allows the audience the intellectual space to really reflect on some deep issues in society here.

Easily the best Orville episode made and possibly could be included in some of the best Trek episodes ever made.

I think time will be kind to this episode and it will gradually gain more respect among critics and fans as the years pass.
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Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 5:28am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

Fairly solid episode with some nice twists to the typical holodeck run-amok device that keeps the audience off-balance long enough. Cast coming together really nicely and the deadpan humour is really timed , this lovingly made deadpan comedy/homage and genre crossing experiment is really coming together in my opinion.
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Mon, Dec 24, 2018, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

it's interesting that people are no longer aware of the memes operating at the time, and for a long time, when this episode was written.

It's the Noble Savage meme: that primitive peoples, living simply, had a better life--a kind of modernized Garden of Eden myth.

Another meme is the Western stud. Western guys are more appreciated outside their Western countries. Ironic our women do not appreciate us as much as women who can barely speak English.

I find this episode, pure hetero-romance that only the pre-2000s could produce. It's my favorite. Reminds me of the crushes I had as a teenager.
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Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 7:13am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

Have held off commenting on The Orville until now, but as a McFarlane fan this has surpassed my own high expectations. After seeing the Family Guy homages to Star Wars it was pretty obvious that The Orville was going to be a loving homage to the Star Trek franchise, the only real surprise was the choice not to animate it and adopt all the Star Trek visual techniques, sets, costumes, music etc and put his own nudge nudge wink wink irreverence into this very "trekkian" looking universe.

I agree with other posters that the plot referencing is totally deliberate and inspired. There are wall-to-wall insider jokes everywhere , the cast show great potential, the special effects and music is superb and this show is really only to be fully appreciated by dedicated Trek fans who would have seen most of TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY & ENT.

It's not surprising that that some of the humourless Trek fans don't appreciate this (and presumably missed all of the great comedy embedded in The X Files, DS9 & VOY) but in my opinion it's a lovingly crafted but also intelligent love letter to the genre.
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Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 5:31am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

One of the finest EPs of Voyager that I had managed to miss until now. Quality and relevance of the story even more obvious 20 years after being made, and still feels fresh and even more relevant today.
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Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 4:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

One of the few Voyager S1 episodes I had missed and just caught it recently, overall not very impressed with Season 1 but this one is a standout episode in my opinion, it all works really well and shows a lot of thought, it's the first time where the characters really open up and the situation of Voyager being stranded in the delta quadrant is used to motivate a good story with a nice 'prime directive' dilemma turned completely on its head in that the Starfleet crew are on the receiving end of a law/directive that it always a good way of introducing and exploring moral dilemmas, it's all really tight and nicely paced writing and plot development that stays true to the developed characters which are all performed well, but especially Roxanne Dawson, Tim Russ and Kate Mulgrew.

Nice work - it's a pity there wasn't more of this in Voyager.

Still stands up as quite a decent bit of TV 20years later and that's a credit to the writers and cast and crew.
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Fri, Nov 17, 2017, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

It's as hard to get over the prudential issue as it is the ethical one in this story. It's incredibly stupid to expose or risk losing future tech to the Borg. These things could alter timelines in so many unforeseen ways; it's hilarious that this is dismissed as "pragmatism" about the temporal prime directive.
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Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bride of Chaotica!

For a light-hearted episode, it was a little strange to juxtapose the parody with all those innocent life forms being murdered. It's a joke people!
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