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Zakalwe
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

I haven’t been remotely perturbed by the scarcity of Trekkian morality on display thus far in DSC. Many of the people who recognise the origin of my screen name might agree.

When Utopia faces a truly existential threat, it will fight back like a cornered tiger, because it has no option not to. Like the tiger, it will fight with every weapon in its armoury and completely amorally.
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Zakalwe
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 7:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

I’ve read most of the comments on all of Jammer’s reviews for episodes I’ve seen, but the 200+ comment pages are a bit much, I haven’t read every one, so I apologise as this point has almost certainly been made above.

In this episode alone, we see prisoners of war being brutally beaten as part of a control strategy; a bloke being curb-stomped to death; the reveal that a character has been rape-tortured over several months; a woman having the side of a her face melted off; a sentient creature being placed into the engine of a spaceship and zapped with electrodes to make it tell the crew which way to go.

Yet of course by far the biggest reaction to the episode (elsewhere if not here) is the use of the F-word.

Cognitive dissonance is fucking cool.
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Zakalwe
Sat, Nov 3, 2018, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Bound

I say this as somebody who likes Trek and has watched every episode of every completed series at least twice over and each movie more times than I can remember - even the complete bowel-movements that were The Motionless Picture, Insurrection and Nemesis.

Smoking weed is preferable to watching ANY episode of Star Trek.
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Zakalwe
Thu, Nov 1, 2018, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: United

I’m fine with the loophole abuse, but the resolution of the Ushaan was still a little hollow.

They had T’Pol going all Michael Buffer in the lead-up, building up the big fight and giving it out that Andorians play with their icy Space Knives for years starting from when they’re mere Smurfs. She points out that as a commander in the elite military force of an interstellar species he’s highly trained in hand-to-hand combat. She doesn’t even have to say at this point that by contrast Archer gets beaten down by pretty much every level-1 mook he encounters and his default reaction to getting into a scrap is to basically say “PLEASE JUST TAKE ME HOSTAGE NOW!”

So then they have Archer - puny Earthling - the man who couldn’t fight his way out of Teletubby-land without having a few bones broken by a swing from Tinky-Winky’s handbag, actually win a fair fight against Shran, playing by his rules, using his opponent’s weapon-of-choice whilst he’s bloodlusted. So basically like me lacing on the gloves, stepping into a boxing ring with Anthony Joshua and levelling the giant freak in the first round.
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Zakalwe
Wed, Oct 24, 2018, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Home

T’Pol was channelling Skeletor in this one.
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Zakalwe
Sun, Oct 14, 2018, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: The Forgotten

John, I don’t especially like Trip, though he doesn’t offend me either. He’s a bit of a hick and it stretches credulity a little to think a bloke like him is essentially a future rocket scientist. On the other hand the actor who plays him is above average when compared to the rest of the cast.

That being said, your calling out of his “petulance” is harsh. This episode makes it explicit that he has not, up to this point even attempted to come to terms with Elizabeth’s death. Imagine then coming face to face with the man who killed your nearest and dearest relative and extrapolate what your reaction might be. THEN imagine that not only did this man kill a member of your family, but he’s responsible for a Hitler-esque level of genocide. Don’t you think that actually, Trip’s apparent petulance was pretty understandable and in fact his reaction as a whole was rather restrained?

To paraphrase Khabib Nurmagomedov, I’d have changed his face on sight.
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Zakalwe
Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

In the novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, the race of Cats that evolved after the explosion on the ship that killed everybody bar Lister, had a holy war that split them into two factions. Both factions believed exactly the same thing, except one side thought the name of the Maker was Clister the Stupid, the other lot thought it was Cloister the Stupid. Of course, Grant and Naylor were taking the piss out of religion and the religious. You’ve got to assume that the writers of this were doing exactly the same thing with the 9 days vs 10 days thing.
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Zakalwe
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

As an Englishman I’ve never really “got” the Western genre and every classical Western I’ve seen just plays like a parody. The exception is Unforgiven, which is a great movie, but that’s probably because the film expertly deconstructs many of the tired tropes associated with Westerns.

So then, when you have an (almost) contemporary sci-fi show set in space dozens of light years from Earth, hundreds of years in the future, and they decide to do a Western, it becomes a parody of a parody. If you do a parody of a parody, it has to be funny, otherwise it comes off as cheesy and riddled with cliches. This isn’t funny and it is cheesy and riddled with cliches.

Red Dwarf, season six, Gunmen of the Apocalypse. A sci-fi Western parody that’s well worth a watch, is cheesy and riddled with every cliche in the book as well as being hilariously funny.
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Zakalwe
Wed, Oct 3, 2018, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Anomaly

I see several people parroting the line that “torture is not a reliable means of gathering information” - an accurate statement - who nevertheless seem unable to understand that that is not the same as saying “torture is always ineffective”. The latter statement is patently absurd. Of course torture sometimes works.

A thought experiment:

You’re in bed late at night when suddenly your bedroom door gets smashed in by three blokes brandishing pliers and a pair of electrodes. They quickly overpower you, then strap the electrodes to your plums and hook them up to the mains, whilst getting to work on your fingernails with the pliers. A few minutes and some screaming later, they ask you for the keys to your car. Do you think you’re telling these bollock-burners a lie to stop the torture or are you going to tell them where the keys are? That’s a rhetorical question because any rational, sane person in this situation is absolutely terrified that a lie will simply result in further torture whilst giving away the information demanded might lead to a reprieve. So you hand over the bloody keys sharpish.

The reason torture isn’t a reliable method of extracting information is because, much of the time, the poor sap being tortured doesn’t actually have the information being demanded. In that event a person will often make up a story in the hope of stopping the torture. Unlike the scenario presented above, they have nothing to lose by lying because the alternative is the guarantee of prolonged torture and/or execution.

If you have the relevant information and assuming you aren’t a highly unusually resilient individual or specially trained to resist (e.g. special forces soldier) then any sufficiently unpleasant torture will make you squeal like Miss Piggy in Kermit’s bedroom. It isn’t in any way outlandish that in this episode the alien gave accurate information under duress. In reality it might’ve taken a bit more than a few seconds of hypoxia to make him spill his guts, but then again it is a family TV show.
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Zakalwe
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Expanse

Regarding the apparent chauvinism of the writers, we can forgive the Trek ones. After all, they made the greatest starship Captain in history English. Sure, they tried to pretend he was French by giving him a stupid name, allowing him to utter a single word in French throughout his show’s entire run and having him tend a vinyard when he developed future-Alzheimer’s in an alternative timeline, but we know the truth. He’s from Yorkshire. Man probably had a picture of Geoffrey Boycott on the wall of his ready room just off camera.
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Zakalwe
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

Jolene Blalock in her togs, covered in “gel” panting like a mutt in a greenhouse. What’s not to like?

Phlox, that’s what! All the blatant fan service thrown in with having nympho T’Pol on screen is cancelled out about 876 million times over by seeing Billingsley with his man-tits, horrible chest/torso rug and weird prosthetic spinal ridges on display. I vomited a little bit in my mouth when I saw T’Pol rub that shit with her hand like that was supposed to be sensual. It would hardly have been worse to look at than if she’d started scrubbing her hands in one of the doctor’s freshly laid jobbies.

I think I’ll need to do an auto frontal lobotomy to excise those images from my brain.
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Zakalwe
Tue, Sep 25, 2018, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Breach

Denobulan medical ethics are really rather similar to 21st century Earth medical ethics, at least as practised in the West. A doctor cannot treat a mentally competent patient against their will, even if their decision seems to be irrational to a dispassionate observer and even if the decision leads directly to death. No ifs, buts or maybes.

So to anybody who knows that, the scene where Archer literally screams at Phlox in rage-filled ignorance to treat the Antaran against his will confirms once again that the Captain is a bit of a twat.
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Zakalwe
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Stigma

You have to love it. Jez “and Liberals...” is the start of a sentence you know is going to be asinine.

Firstly Jez, HIV is no longer a deadly disease, at least not in developed countries. It might blow your tiny mind to learn that in fact, with proper treatment, those diagnosed with HIV today have normal life expectancies.

Secondly, we’ll completely skim over the fact that countless people worldwide have contracted the disease through no fault of their own. “Let’s stigmatise them all because SOME OF THEM WERE HAVING MORE FUN THAN ME!” You’re no doubt clueless as to the meaning of the term “vertical transmission” so probably think the thousands of babies diagnosed with HIV got it by shagging around. Perhaps you do have a vague understanding of the term “blood transfusion” so I probably don’t need to explain that one. Maybe given enough time you can cobble together the constituents of “needlestick injury” to get some idea of how that works. Oh, and many women, particularly in developing countries contracted HIV after being raped. But fuck’em, eh Jez? It’s their fault for being born with holes.

Thirdly and interestingly, the 40% of Americans who are obese don’t have a normal life expectancy and do have an increased risk of dozens of actually deadly diseases including but not limited to strokes, heart attacks and various cancers. By your “logic”, these people’s “reckless participation” in such risky activities as eating cheese from cans, having zero portion control and consuming hamburgers as rapidly as they utilise oxygen ought to be stigmatised. They are killing themselves after all.

Numpty.
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Zakalwe
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

Jack
Thu, Oct 2, 2014, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
“They peel off a rubber forehead thing and then say "you've been surgically altered". Is gluing something on your face really surgery?”

Jack’ll probably never see this, but the General wasn’t suggesting the rubber prosthetics constituted surgical alteration, he thought that Archer and Reed had been surgically altered to look non-whatever his race was called (i.e. human). Of course that begs the question why the Alliance would try to infiltrate their enemy by surgically altering soldiers to look like a completely different freaking species, THEN sticking some easily dislodged rubber onto them just to make them look how they would’ve looked before they were surgically altered. But then the General didn’t seem like there was a whole lot of wattage running through upstairs.

Whilst I’m nitpicking, the technology level displayed by the aliens was a bit all over the shop. They had fighter planes shooting energy weapons whilst being able to match the manoeuvres performed by an advanced alien spaceship, but according to Archer also hadn’t learned how to achieve nuclear fission.
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Zakalwe
Thu, Sep 13, 2018, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

I’d forgotten every detail of this episode since I watched it originally, but in my rewatch of every episode of Trek and subsequent reviews by Jammer and elsewhere, this one kept popping up in comments as being notoriously bad.

Having just rewatched it, I have a suspicion that some of the criticism is bandwagoning. To be sure, it ain’t great but it isn’t offensively bad either.

Specifically, I don’t get the criticism regarding the apparent assassination of Archer’s character and him acting like a knob. Firstly this criticism implies that Archer was previously a man of good character. This is the guy who refused to cure an entire species of a lethal illness despite having the means to do so; the bloke who handed over highly sensitive intelligence belonging to Starfleet’s only military ally to their sworn enemy; the geezer who handed over said intel in part because he is unable to go a single episode without demonstrating how much of a massive racist he is just because a few nasty Vulcans made daddy vewwy vewwy sad. This guy is already established as being a massive tool, temperamentally unsuited to captaining Starfleet’s first vessel of exploration and arguably a criminal. Yet now people get upset because his dog-crush leads to a bit of pissiness directed at some douche-bag aliens? Doesn’t really add up to me.

But secondly, why is it even a problem if Archer is a cheb-end? It’s simply reflective of the real life fact that some people elevated to positions of power are emotionally unsuited to those positions. Or more simply, some people are just dicks and they aren’t always “the bad guys”. Somebody might point out that having a dislikable protagonist harms the show because the audience won’t root for the heroes. To which I’d respond, you don’t have to root for the heroes - like watching a football match where you hate one of the teams, you can still enjoy the game, or root for the opposition.

This episode does reinforce that both the character of Phlox and the actor who plays him are excellent. Now this dude really did have his character assassinated in Dear Doctor since he has thus far been otherwise depicted as a highly intelligent, empathetic and decent individual.
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Zakalwe
Wed, Sep 12, 2018, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Minefield

Ben, Khan really was activating the genesis device. Firstly, a ship’s self destruct would not threaten to destroy a ship millions of miles away as was the case in WOK (only Spock restoring the ship’s ability to warp saved them from destruction) as evidenced by the next film when Kirk destroys the Enterprise and watches it burn from the surface of the Genesis planet. Secondly, the destruct sequence on Federation ships has only ever been seen to be activated by voice command (as, once again, happens in the next film). Thirdly, and most pertinently, he’s literally activating the genesis device! Watch the film again, there’s even a recurring shot of the device making ever louder noises and starting to glow as Khan turns more of the silly metal cylinders.

Anyway, shouldn’t T’Pol have at least partially recognised the Romulan lingo when the ship was hailed first time round?
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Zakalwe
Thu, Sep 6, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Vox Sola

Ah, “The One With The Jizz-Monster”.

The VFX detract from, rather than enhance this episode, and not just because seeing Sam Beckett half conscious and covered in spunk is a tough watch.
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Zakalwe
Fri, Aug 31, 2018, 9:40am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Tom.

You’ve perfectly described one of the many ways in which the writers’ bone-headed ignorance regarding how evolution works stuffed this episode.

A pan-species genetic change that results in them all dying is physically impossible. A spontaneous genetic mutation that inevitably results in the death of the host whilst conferring no survival benefit isn’t a trait that’s likely to remain in the gene pool for very long, much less afflict every single individual of the species.

There are only two in-universe explanations I can think of that could explain this contradiction: one is that Phlox was wrong about it being a genetic condition. The other is that the condition is not naturally occurring, which implies that an advanced alien race has manipulated the Valakians at a genetic level.

Obviously there is zero evidence in-episode for either of these explanations because the real reason is that the script is bollocks.
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Zakalwe
Thu, Aug 30, 2018, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Silent Enemy

Argh! The B-story nearly wrecks this episode. The ingredients are there for an absolute classic albeit decidedly un-Trekkian slice of suspense/thriller sci-fi.

The episode pretty quickly reminded me of Spielberg's first film as director - The Duel. Now that film is a classic to which this episode really does not compare in terms of quality though there are similarities in terms of the antagonists. The Duel features a relentless, implacable and seemingly motiveless truck driver trying repeatedly to run the protagonist off the road, whom we never actually see throughout the whole film and who doesn’t utter a single line. I don’t know whether this villain lacked “depth” or was a 1970’s MacGuffin but I do know he was an all-time great screen villain (or, at least the truck was, since we never see the driver the antagonist of the film is effectively the vehicle itself).

So count me in with the people who think these were well conceived, truly “alien” aliens. There is little scarier than the fear of the unknown so having aliens without stated motivations, who don’t talk and who look so different to humans is a great starting point for a thrilling episode.

So why on Earth, when you have the nucleus of an episode based on scary, nasty, threatening aliens would you splice in a tonally-jarring B-plot about bloody Malcolm’s favourite sodding food, including interviews with his Hollywood-cliche-level posh English family? Silent Enemy would’ve been SO much better if they’d simply excised the B-plot and done nothing more, to say nothing of what it might have been had the writers then used that extra time to ratchet up the suspense and perhaps not telegraph the resolution (the BFG) quite so blatantly.

Despite all that, I still think there are enough redeeming features here to be able to recommend the episode.
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Zakalwe
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 11:43am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Breaking the Ice

Regarding the criticism of Bakula’s portrayal of Archer. I don’t particularly have a problem with it. I have no idea if the fact that Archer comes across as overly informal, slightly petulant and pretty unprofessional in S1 (mostly from memory - I’m rewatching for the first time in years and am only up to this episode) is by design or due to writing inconsistency or poor acting choices. Either way I’m fine with it because it makes perfect sense that the first Starfleet captain in space doesn’t have the polish of Picard, force of will of Janeway or streetwise nous of Kirk and is by comparison, a little bit incompetent. He is also of course hampered by his racism (this clearly is an intentionally written aspect of the character) which nearly gets Reed and Mayweather killed here.

Having said that, I’ve only ever seen Bakula in this and Quantum Leap, which I absolutely loved as a kid (and as an aside, the last episode of that show remains an out and out classic of the TV sci-fi genre). It strikes me that Scott Bakula is basically good at playing Scott Bakula - Archer basically comes across as Sam Beckett minus some of the bumbling and this may have hurt the portrayal of the character slightly.
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Zakalwe
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Drive

Nolan C, Cloudane responded to a comment by Jay immediately before his. That and the TNG season five episode “The First Duty” adequately explains his comment.

Alternatively and in brief: Nicholas Locarno was a character in the aforementioned TNG episode played by Robert Duncan McNeill, who was a Starfleet Acadamy cadet and star student pilot who got booted out of the academy for orchestrating a stunt that got a fellow student killed and for subsequently trying to cover the incident up.

It’s widely accepted that the character of Tom Paris is based on Locarno and indeed he was originally intended to BE Locarno. However this idea was nixed because the writers who created the original character would’ve been due a royalty payment for every appearance on Voyager. So instead the Voyager team used the same actor, tweaked the character’s background slightly and renamed him.
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Zakalwe
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Terra Nova

I may have missed something, but surely there was a massive clue staring the Novans in their stupid crusty faces that they were in fact human; namely that they speak the same language as the humans - albeit speaking a dialect you’d associate with people who’ve suffered brain injuries.
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Zakalwe
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Strange New World

Archer is a pretty textbook racist. Because this is a work of fiction and because his view of Vulcans in universe is a somewhat fair reflection of human nature (to distrust folk who look/act differently to oneself) I don’t especially have a problem with it. It does though contribute to the contempt in which he seems to be held by many fans and as such it might have helped the show if he was portrayed as slightly less bigoted.
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Zakalwe
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Broken Bow

I watched this series for the first time a few years ago, after it aired but before I had any idea of or interest in the prevailing critical view of the show in the eyes of the fandom.

I thought it was a decent show, though I’ve never been that sensitive to canon violations, which obviously was an issue throughout the course of the series (and especially in S3).

Having now become aware of many of the criticisms, a couple of comments above me have compelled me to defend T’Pol. When I saw this first time, I thought Blalock was competently playing a Vulcan who isn’t very good at suppressing her emotions. Of course, the consensus of fandom is some combination of “Blalock is a terrible actress” and “the writers curled out a massive log on the concept of the Vulcans as outwardly emotionless stoics”. I think these reactions are somewhat hysterical.

We know canonically that Vulcans are by nature far more emotionally labile and volatile than humans. We know that in their natural state, they are potentially a very violent race. We also know that they suppress these heightened emotions and that the techniques required to do so are learned in childhood over an extended period of time. We know that some young Vulcans struggle to accept the teachings of Surak and that they may even rebel against them (see Tuvok in Gravity). It stands to reason that anything that can be learned can be learned well, adequately, poorly or not even at all. There is even a precedent in canon for Vulcans who choose to reject logic and stoicism entirely and who instead embrace their emotions (Sybok in STV). It’s only the one-dimensional mentality that would see the Vulcans as a race of hats that would fail to accept that some Vulcans will be more or less “Vulcan” (i.e. emotionally controlled) that others.

T’Pol, for reasons that are adequately explained over the course of the show’s run, happens to be one of those Vulcans who can’t keep the lid on her shit. Trashing the actress (though admittedly, she ain’t no Meryl Streep) or ranting about the defenestration of the Vulcans through T’Pol’s obvious emotionality seems to be a weird reaction to me.
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Zakalwe
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 6:21am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

On my latest rewatch, I had forgotten that Carey gets waxed in this one. Of course, not being a mark I had a fair idea what was coming given his sudden unexplained resurrection from 7 years of being locked in his quarters for not committing treason and his status as redshirt of the week.

But then, when he gets singled out by the guy who reminded me of Christopher Lloyd with cereal stuck to his face this obvious “somebody’s gonna die now” music kicks in quite a time before it’s blatantly obvious from the visuals and dialogue that he is about to be murdered. Somebody above me actually praised it! Personally I think signposting a spoiler of what is supposed to be one of the emotional cruxes of your own show with the score is pretty bone-headed.
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