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Tue, Aug 20, 2019, 9:33pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

Wow, what richly humorous observations the last two commenters made!

As Jammer has observed, Seven’s character development has been one step forward, the producers and writers not remembering or caring about what that step was, and then a subsequent episode that may be a step backward.

For the writers to have established a linear progression of her development, they would first have to have someone surgically pry their fingers off the weekly reset button.

Season 5 in particular highlighted this problem: several episodes including this one were about “Seven is being called back by the collective somehow!” - it’s hard to write her as a living, breathing character when she is constantly at the mercy of the folks who ran the UPN promo department.

What did Seven really “learn” by the end of the show? Upon the conclusion of the last stand-alone episode she was in, “Natural Law,” the answer was nothing. (Whatever happened in Endgame to her and everyone else was so Jeri-rigged that it’s hard to remember any specific character beats, save for Harry Kim’s laugh-Out-loud proclamation that “It’s always been about the journey, not the destination!”)
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Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 1:05pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

Wouldn’t The Legend of How Kor Died (a tale one suspects Klingons will tell their children while leaving out the facts that Kor was a provincial-minded bigot whose physical and mental wherewithal, as depicted in the first 40 minutes of the episode, are such that the final battlecould not possibly have played out as it did) be something teetering close to the passing down through the ages of the “ignorance” condemned by Picard in Who Watches the Watchers? In some Trek episodes, perpetuation of myth is seen as a social good (I.e.., the death of Li Nalas. We see Exultation of myth propagation in movies too (I.e. the closing line of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”)

What a dfferent Worf we have here than the one from Peak Performance- the one who noted, upon hearing of the Zakdorns’ reputation as strategically gifted, states that the reputation (myth) means nothing since no one has actually tested it. That Worf believed in the importance of making conclusions based on evidence.

Scratching behind the surface of what we have been told about legends has made us learn quite a bit about people and history. On the whole, critical thinking is a good thing.

As for the episode’s not showing the battle, perhaps that was for the best given the episode’s myth fetishization. Taudience would have laughed at how it was depicted, given what we saw of Kor’s mental acuity earlier on. Kor’s actions would have come off as implausible, just as myths are.
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Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 2:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Qpid

I loved this episode when it premiered. I was 13 at the time. Some of he one-liners are (and remain) funny, and the verbal jousting between Picard and Q was then, and is now, pretty amusing.

My 41-year-old-self notes, though, is hat the episode is an empty suit. Not in an entertaining way, though. The stakes are zero, and one can search in vain for what exactly it is that Q is giving as a favor to Picard. A lesson that Picard must not dismiss feelings of love, or that he must not deny that he has those feelings about Vash? Who knows?

Since these lessons are not those in which Q has expertise delivering, basically.... nothing is going on in this episode, except for generic Sherwood Forest “action” where the ladies dispatch of the bad guys with flower pots and Q occasionally pops up to Interact with some dreadful performances delivered by actors supposedly playing the standard figures in the Robin Hood legend.

The episode is a little tonal mishmash. Early on, we’re primed to see something interesting play out - that of how do you repay a debt to someone who wants nothing more than to never see you again? This idea is never developed. It is as he p producers stumbled upon a marginal reason for the yearly Q appearance (he owes Picard a debt!) and then goes straight for lowest-common-denominator.... “adventure.” There’s no credible segue that bridges the opening scenes with the Sherwood ones.

The lack of urgency and focus seemed to show itself in Q’s lines - maybe one of high was quotable and the rest of which were forgettable. DeLancie as Q seems vaguely disinterested in the proceedings-not that one can blame him- resulting in the most forgettable use of Q in the entire series’ run. I would rathe r have listened to the speech that Picard was to give, than have watched what was produced.
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Tue, Jun 18, 2019, 9:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Masks

“It’s not a total mess.”

When comments like that are the chief apologias for an episode, the episode has problems.

More than one person has commented that he or she has studied or is familiar with principles of archaeology or mythology. One shouldn’t have to be, though, to find the episode coherent or enjoyable. Some people are fond of Civil War reenactments. A movie that constitutes a three-hour-Long Civil War re-enactment would no doubt be regarded as “good” by these people-whether or not the movie made sense, was interesting, entertaining, or dramatically compelling. People who like something for what it is about instead of how it is about that thing, should at least cop to it.

As to “what is it about,” as in, “Does the episode have a meaning or purpose or moral or theme?,” my answer is I have no idea but in any event the having of one does not make something inherenly better. Mindless action movies can be quite entertaining if made with skill. To me, Masks was so incoherent that I cannot tell whether I was trying to say something, or whether it was not. Incoherence of that magnitude - that makes it impossible to tell who is doing what with whom, and where, and why, can be entertaining, but it wasn’t here. I love the line where right before Picard basically talks an alien to death, he says, “I have experience with this sort of thing” (the line may have been “I have experience with these kinds of situations” (or”mythology”)... he then...promptly talks an alien to death with characteristic numbing pomposity.

“Your speech.. It’s dull.. plodding... pedantic.... much like yourself.”
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Wed, May 29, 2019, 10:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

I think Jammer put a sentiment well: "To mock the melodramatic excess that occurs in "Eye of the Beholder" is to mock what is actually only happening in the version of the story that takes place in Troi's mind as a result of proxy jealousy that isn't even hers to begin with. The writers managed to avoid writing contrived characterization by beaming it into her mind from unimportant characters who have been dead for eight years."

I don't know, or care, what work was "done" on Marina Sirtis. Someone should have done some work this episode's script, and if the script was doctored because earlier versions were even worse, then we have a case here of the operation being a success (contrived characterization was avoided) but the patient dying (incoherent storytelling that makes you not care that it was avoided).

There was a kernel of a good idea of a story here, but as was the case with "Masks," they managed to turn a gem of something interesting into something completely pedestrian, and ultimately, laughable. Guess I should "Genesis" to that category. The seventh season was out there - kind of both too much and not enough all at once.

Pedestrian and incoherent are an unpleasant combination, cf. "The Alternativev Factor."

"Eye of the Beholder" just aired on Heroes and Icons, a local syndicate, and I watched part of it again in an exercise to see if I could remember the ending. By the time the ending unfurled, I was experiencing deja vu - the feeling that I tried remembering the ending the last time I watched the episode, and neither remembered nor cared what it was, then, or now.
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Mon, May 20, 2019, 3:32pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2


The book about the aborted Phase II series is definitely worth a read (not to the detriment of graduate studies lol; speaking of studies, I got through many a lonely night in college through reading it and can't recommend it enough). Several of the proposed stories became TNG episodes, which you already may know. I think the Reeves-Strevensens, the authors, subsequently wrote at least one episode of Enterprise.
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Sat, May 18, 2019, 4:30pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

"Fans like you (and that would be the singular "you," not the group for which you appear to be elected the spokesman) or I don't get to decide what is in the Star Trek ethos. We are not that important."

I like this comment. As Nicholas Meyer has said, "Art is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship." And as the late movie critic Pauline Kael said about Mike Nichols' direction of The Graduate, "Nichols lets the audience direct him. This is demagoguery in the arts."

If a show is flawed, let's focus on the flaws, without using the royal we's (not to mention the strident tone and ad hominem attacks, as if to simplly disagree with someone is to insult the core of their existence) and the ad hominem attacks, disguised as "direct responses to arguments, head-on,") and thus implicitly putting ourselves on the side of Those With Taste and Culture and Superior Morality (if there is a common thread running through all Star Trek shows, it's that Those With Taste and Culture and Superior Morality do not facilitate discussion; they stifle it).

Let's focus on why we like what we like and why we don't like what we don't, without resorting to, "Well, it's not Star Trek." People make that assertion all of the time - some cleverly, some with fancy language, and some more brusquely, but in the end that is all it is. An assertion, not an argument. I could argue, for example, that "Shades of Gray," the last episode of season 2, showed as much contempt for Trek audiences as anything Trek has ever put out. But, to make that argument as opposed to just throwing the phrase out there, I'd need to, at a minimum:

1. Comment on the quality of the script and direction and production values of that episode;
2. Look for any comments those involved in the making of it have provided (more than once, the creators have been candid with us, a la Brannon Braga's criique of "Threshold");
3. Put my cards on the table about what I found insulting. I generally find clip shows to be indicative of lazy writing, whether or no they are the product of Writers' Strikes. I'd have to go further, though, and say why I found that PARTICULAR episode to be the product of lazy writing; and (among many others)
4. Make an assessment as to what entertaiment value, if any, the episode holds.

(Even these four factors involve, ultimately, expressions of opinions - just not on the most base and reductive level).

Assertions are hide-the-ball value judgments, and those making the assertion won't bring their biases to the fore. Assertions are crude expressions of belief - and beliefs, I try to remind myself, are beliefs precisely because they are not facts. Trying to make an argument involves trying to think before speaking. For me, that often isn't easy, but I've found that if I have something I want to share with others that I want these others to not dismiss out of hand, it's the only way to go.

Like you, I also was alive and cognizant when the criticisms of TNG and subsequent iterations were made. To determine whether these criticisms were different in both degree and kind than those leveled against DSC, one must first actually read the criticisms, or at least attempt to gain knowledge about them. Criticism against Trek not being "Star Trek" have been with us since time immemorial.

There is a wonderful book that was written in the '90s: "Star Trek : The Making of the Lost Series by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens." This book was a behind-the-scenes-look at the '70s "Star Trek Phase II" series that never was (but instead was ultimately was the basis for The Motion Picture). The book recounts how the producers' and Leonard Nimoy's decision to have Spock be featured on only 2 out of every 13 episodes (I believe that was the number) led to some pre-emptively dismissing the show as not "Star Trek."

Some things never change.
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Fri, May 17, 2019, 9:01am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2


You are welcome!


I tagged you because I agree with you!! Sorry for any confusion.


Thanks for your message!
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Fri, May 10, 2019, 10:47pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2


Jammer, I won't talk about you as if you are not in the proverbial room next to me. Jammer, thank you so much for 25 years of always well-written reviews, which are perceptive, insightful, and sometimes just darn funny. Even if I don't agree with a review or something you said in it, your writing has a logic and a flow to it, from which I think I may have learned a little bit about what you like, and don't like, in terms of storytelling (by the way, some people are of the opinion that you must like certain things, and once you do, your likes must never change. What a boring existence that would result in for the person trying to take this opinion seriously). And you've managed to put yourself out there time and again - after receiving an amount of negative (and unfair) commentary that would have led me, and I suspect many others, to throw in the towel a long time ago. (Needless to say, you've also shown remarkable tolerance toward those who have used this site for, well, purposes unrelated to the discussion of Star Trek. Noise these people make, indeed). Thanks for always having something cogent to say, and thanks for being you. Happy Anniversary, and I'd be grateful for another 25 years of reviews!
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