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Ben
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Timescape

Couldn't get into this one... watching actors hold their breath and stand realllllly still just felt silly, like a gimmick in a children's play. I couldn't take it seriously. And really the whole episode was one gimmick after another. Now time's standing still, but only for certain members of the crew! Now it's moving 50 times faster than normal! Now it's going backwards! And even though each of these concepts should be practically revolutionary in its implications, Geordi can simply configure an armband to immunize the crew from the effects, and precisely calibrate the reversal of time, as though these things had been done a thousand times.

I also wasn't much sold on the "mystery" aspect, which only shifted into gear for 5 minutes at the end and felt tacked-on to me. However, I did like the opening banter on the runabout, Picard's maniacal laughing, and the concept of a warp coil incubating the young of another species.

For my money, I'd have preferred that the episode be about the runabout going for 47 days without anyone on board being aware of it, running out of fuel, and then the crew having to find their way back home. That could have been interesting and it's where I thought it was going. Alas, no. 2 stars.
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Ben
Tue, Jun 19, 2018, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

I have a soft spot in my heart for this episode, because I remember when it originally aired and how excited I felt watching it (then the loooong summer wait for part 2). For me, it still holds up quite well on rewatch. The reveal of "Data's head" is fun to see even if you know it's coming. The phase shift in the cave was very well done. When we finally meet the Devidians they (especially the woman) are just the right amount of creepy, and the ivory snake cane is a master touch. I love Star Trek dress-up and time-travel episodes -- Star Trek IV has always been my favorite for that reason -- and I thoroughly enjoyed the crew romping around in 19th Century San Francisco. The Mark Twain character didn't dominate Part I as he did Part II so he was more enjoyable/goofy than annoying in this one.

There are some great lines here, especially early on as the crew tiptoes in comical fashion around Data's death, and Brent Spiner had great comic timing in those scenes, especially "I am also fond of you, Commander." Then there's Troi in the cave -- "There's life here. A child. An old woman. Dozens more. Hundreds. Terrified." And Data in the cave narrating the Devidians' draining of life with scientific precision, which only increases the horror. Picard to Guinan: "I haven't seen such a complex operation since the Academy lab final in exochemistry. " And finally Troi again in the cave, "There is no life here. What I have sensed is more like an imprint. An echo of the last moment of life. Human life. They all died in terror ." These are all great lines and really build the suspense.

Jammer may be right that the episode is "all setup and absolutely no payoff," but when the setup is fun to watch, and the actors seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, who cares? Star Trek -- like most shows -- rises and falls with the characters. In this episode, they're all at their likable best. And for that, plus the suspense and elaborate build-up, I'd give 3.5 stars.
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Ben
Mon, Jun 11, 2018, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

This episode is abominable and I can't believe that it actually exists. Along with Rascals, probably the worst TNG episode I can remember. And unlike Rascals (Riker's technobabble extravaganza), it has not a single scene that is remotely enjoyable to watch. I could not care the slightest for any of the characters, for the concept of a shuttle flying into a star's corona, for the murder mystery, for the framing device involving Guinan and voiceovers, and by the end I didn't even care if Beverly (who I usually like) lived or died. I admit that I skipped about 10 minutes of it to preserve my sanity. 0 stars.
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Ben
Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

@ Del_Duio

Concur absolutely. It's like having the feelings of nostalgia and discovery all rolled up into one! Puts a smile on my face when it turns out to be a good episode like this one.

@ LaSmelter

Yes I also found Troi to be excellent in this episode, and particularly in the holodeck scene where she really was a conduit for the increasing suspense.
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Ben
Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

When I originally saw this in the first run, I thought as many have mentioned that it should have been a two-parter given the scope and the profound implications, and how hurriedly it seemed to wrap up after the buildup. Now, 25 years later(!), I doubt that the writers could have filled two complete episodes and kept it engaging. BIrthright, anyone? It would have ended up being a bloated mess. As it was, at one episode it stayed pretty suspenseful all the way through. So as you're watching it you don't have time to think all too much about how absurd it all is, as many have mentioned above.

Actually, it seems like this episode is almost a commentary on Roddenberry's utopian ideals by those who took the reins after his death. Here this ancient civilization assumed that only through camaraderie and teamwork could the various species work together to make the "program" work. Instead, it's only through backstabbing, deception, lying in wait, destroying all the life on a planet, blowing up a ship, and killing a professor do they all make it there to the end. In other words, it's as much through conflict as through peace and harmony that advances and discoveries are made. Take that, Gene!

On that note, can someone explain why the fact that the Klingons are harboring and actually deploying some sort of planet-devouring technology is not worthy of serious concern? I mean, that's practically Death Star-like in its implications. Shouldn't the Klingon captain have been apprehended and brought to trial by the Federation for completely destroying all life on a planet? Although then he wouldn't have been around to utter the wonderful "If she were not dead, I would kill her" line, I suppose.

And can someone also please provide an in-universe explanation of how anyone could understand what the Progenitor hologram was saying? Clearly, she wasn't speaking English, or any language known to the universal translator. I mean, are we really not supposed to think about that kind of thing? It's like in Face of the Enemy, did the Romulans imagine that Troi was actually speaking Romulan, rather than English that was being translated into Romulan through technology?

Despite the absurdities, an engaging episode, although it's not more than 3 stars.
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Ben
Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 2:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

I consider this a beautiful episode with tremendous acting performances by Patrick Stewart and the very likeable Wendy Hughes. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no throwaway "B" subplot to throw red meat to those who expect action in every episode, and for that I give the writers a lot of credit. Also for daring to have multiple lengthy scenes where the characters do no more then play music and react to one another, mostly non-verbally. Perhaps it helps to be of a certain age to appreciate the nuances. Picard showed a fragility here, especially when he smiled at Neela's encouragement during the lessons, that really sold the romance.

Of course Neela wasn't going to last more than one episode but it was handled as well as could be expected. At least she wasn't killed off. I'd give this a solid 3.5 stars.
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Ben
Thu, May 24, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

This episode is outstanding for the reasons that many have eloquently mentioned above. The plot, the acting, and the suspense are superb, as is the "reveal" of the Kolvoord Starburst. But what seals its 4-star status for me is the final scene. When Picard meets Wesley on the campus walkway, you expect him to say something like "I'm proud of you, Wesley" or "You did well back there," and pat him on the back, because the genre requires the status quo be regained at the end of the episode. Instead, Picard retains the same clipped aloofness and formality that he adopted from the moment Wesley said "I choose not to answer, sir" earlier in the episode. He offers no assurances or consolation. Instead, he deals in consequences: "It's not going to be easy staying here on campus, everyone knowing what you did. You have difficult times ahead." He tells Wesley that he won't be graduating with his class with an undertone of "you deserved worse." Tellingly, Picard's last line is "Good-bye, Cadet," not "Good-bye, Wesley," and they depart with a stiff handshake. This is a mature episode with a mature ending.
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Ben
Thu, May 24, 2018, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

Although I'd watched most of the first-run episodes in high school and college and nostalgically rewatched most through Netflix/Amazon the last couple of years, I believe I'd missed Schisms completely so watching it today was a real treat, especially as I'd assume any episode I'd missed to this point must have been awful.

I'd have to give this one 3.5 stars. The writing is excellent -- first, actually constructing two poems in strict meters that are so exactly what you would imagine Data writing is by no means a straightforward task. Second, the holodeck scene as many have pointed out is absolutely gripping in its building horror, both acted and directed to perfection, and in my opinion is one of the standout scenes of TNG. Worf's scene with Mot the Barber (an unexpected recurring character) was hilarious.

I thought Jonathan Frakes was outstanding, and as a fan of the much-maligned Marina Sirtis, her Counselor Troi more than held her own, especially in the holodeck scene. I'd also point out that I enjoyed what to me was an unspoken red herring -- Ensign Kaminer (I looked it up), the "newcomer" joining the ship's senior crew as a victim of the abductions. Think MacDuff in Conundrum. I kept waiting for her to tip her hand, because I remembered that she was also at the poetry reading -- seemed a little too much screen time for an unintroduced crewmember.

It's just unfortunate that Braga felt the need to end the episode with a race-against-time-or-enterprise-gets-destroyed plot device. It was really unnecessary, just as in last week's Relics. In Relics, can't we just enjoy the Dyson Sphere without the Enterprise nearly being liquidated by the stellar core? Here, can't we just enjoy the creepy aliens and mysterious abuctions (if you get my meaning) without the subspace field nearly causing a hull breach? And why isn't Picard ordering that the saucer section be jettisoned if the ship is really that close to being ripped to shreds?

But I've learned not to judge a TNG episode too harshly by the last five minutes, given the constraints of the genre. 3.5 stars for me.
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Ben Ramsey
Wed, May 9, 2018, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

Everyone has missed the most glaring "plot hole" of all, one that unfortunately makes the entire story impossible I think, or at least very problematic. If the planet experiences a day in the time the outside universe, from low orbit and beyond, experiences one second, then the planet would be spinning at a whirling rate. Voyager would look down and see the planet spinning super fast, all the way around once per second, like a basketball rolling along the ground. But presumably the actual revolution of the planet around its star (for the year) is normal. This means the seasons would not appear accelerated from Voyager's point of view as they did near the beginning of the episode, and from the surface, seasons would actually be 900 years apart, taking 3600 years to fully orbit the star (if it's similar to earth). More importantly, how would light work? How would light from the star reach the planet's surface? There is only so much energy being output from the star, and it would be spread out 1/3600th its normal intensity. It would be basically night always, nothing could grow, the planet would be an iceball, no civilization, no story. Or perhaps the star is actually a large super-giant star, which we know can be at least 1500 times larger than our sun, but in that case Voyager would have noticed the unusually large bright star with a planet orbiting too closely, and the astronauts would be instantly cooked and fried with radiation and heat as soon as they got into orbit.

It's best they ignored this issue, it would be too extreme to try to portray it.

I actually have a bigger problem personally - the civilization would have DEFINITELY discovered the time lag issue with the normal space program development. It's impossible that the first launch of an orbital object would be an advanced manned mission to Voyager. There would be satellites (sputnik?) and other test flights. From the ground, a rocket would go up and up, then the rocket would suddenly freeze it's relative velocity, painted in the sky along with the sun, moon, stars, and Voyager, all relatively motionless to each other. Over the next several years the ground could observe the rocket relatively inching closer and closer to Voyager.

Oh well, it's all a bit heady stuff, and way too hard sci-fi for Star Trek. I still liked the episode, and the fact that it made me even think of stuff like this is a plus in my book.
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Ben Brode
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Code of Honor

I couldn't bring myself to finish this episode. On top of the overt racism (which is undeniable), the plot is extremely boring. We get a Tasha Yar episode, and let's face it, she's not really capable of leading an episode by herself.

I think her "strong woman" role is too overplayed and just feels a little awkward, especially when Lutan covets her because of her strength.
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ben sisko
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

“So as I understand it, the whole plot of solving the cloaking secret and getting back from the MU was (to reference KT's correct observation) yet another shaggy dog episode that meant nothing”

Lorca used the crew’s desire to beat the Klingon cloak to get back to his universe. Those multi-jumps and scans allowed him to find a viable path to the MU. So, it was a relevant part to his story, as it showed how much he could con the Discovery. By the time Starfleet finally got the cloaking secret, it was too late for it to turn the tide of the war, even if it helped a little. This was addressed last episode.
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ben sisko
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

Guys, Sarek didn’t have a goatee in the trailer. The only MU character brought over was Georgiou.
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Ben E.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

Some of this episode fell off into the land of corniness, but everything involving the ambassador was absolutely hilarious. The duet was cringy, but otherwise the dating lessons felt natural. Definitely up there for me. Relatable and melancholy ending.
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Ben E.
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

Biggest problem with this episode: The copies can't breathe oxygen (see Demon). You'd think doc woulda noticed that.
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ben sisko
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I'm sure the writers are building up to yet another big reveal. If they wanted Lorca's reveal to be a dramatic turnabout, they would've saved it for the finale or something.

Also, whoever is ranking Janeway above Picard I must ask, are you also from the Mirror Universe? Because that's the only explanation I can think of for that ranking.
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doctorbenjiphd
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:44am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

forgive me if this was mentioned above, but I really got the impression from this episode that MU Stamets and PU Stamets switched places..."our" Stamets is on the Charon while the one talking to Tilly and checking the spore cache was the imperial Staments. All because when he is told to follow the music or whatever, it shows him waking up on the Charon and saying "I'm back." I definitely got the impression that they are switched.

A comment on the show overall. Where is this all going? In three episodes the season will be over. I presume Discovery will be back in its native universe. Probably no Lorca. Captain Burnham? Captain Saru with First Officer Burnham? Back to the war with the Klingons? It doesn't really make sense.

I know when Bryan Fuller pitched this show, he wanted to do an anthology--every season being a self-contained story with unique characters in different points throughout the timeline of the prime Trek universe. I think it really shows that they have *no idea* where they are going without Fuller. It might as well be an anthology show, just with a shared core cast of Burnham, Saru and Stamets.
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Ben
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

I'm enjoying Discovery and am looking forward to seeing the Stamets story progress.

My prediction is that in the last episode of the season, they'll end up destroying the mycelial network in the process of returning to the prime universe and attempting to save Stamets. That will help explain the lack of Spore drive in later series. It will invoke moral choices and sacrifice. It will keep the prime and mirror universes separate.
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Ben
Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

@Darren SPOILER ALERT: Yaphit does not apologize to Claire for sexually harassing her in the season finale. UGH
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Ben E.
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

I thought this was wildly goofy, and part two seriously lost focus, but it was all around extremely fun and seeing Paris and Chakotay in the army tent was hilarious and awesome. Generally a creative premise and in my eyes and entertaining two parter. Good Trekian fun.
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Ben E
Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

I'm really surprised at how much people liked this one. This was in my opinion one of the weakest in the series and left me feeling kind of betrayed. Hard to put the feeling more into words than that, but just left behind.

And RIP Kes's hair.
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Ben e
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

I actually liked part 2 better than part 1, but that might just be because I was really turned off at the beginning by the central premise of "we're in the 90s woooooaaah!"

I'm not sure how I feel about the doctor being able to move around freely. He was a total badass in this episode and his "divine intervention" entrance was amazing, but he has a niche on the show and it felt not quite right having him play action hero.

I think my problem with both of these episodes is that they didn't feel grounded, and having doc wandering the streets of LA kind of exemplifies that.

Thought: this must have been the cheapest episode to film. Just go into your backyard (downtown LA) and start filming.
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Ben e.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

I have to give this a 0. The entire story felt contrived and none of the characters seemed true to themselves. Kes is not so stupid that she'd run into a sacred shrine. I thought they were going with a psychic thing where she could hear the spirits, but that's never explored and so it just flows like one random event following another for a frustrating 45 minutes. This is the first episode of the show I've had trouble sitting through. If it all is explainable by science in the end then the monks scolding her ends up being meaningless.
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Ben
Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: The Thaw

I've been watching through Voyager for the first time and just hit this episode. All I can say is, what an ending!

Definitely one of the most out there episodes so far, and it's a nice break from Kaison (sp?) diplomacy storylines. The clown world was truly unsettling and he really makes a great nemesis. His interactions with the doctor we're legendary.

The ending is what really makes the episode though. It's a dangerous line between being a powerful examination of human emotion and the purest level or Star Trek corniness, but The Thaw hits the mark so well and it really resonated with me.

Hoping the series keeps being awesome! Definitely my favorite Star Trek series so far.
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Ben S
Sat, Nov 18, 2017, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

When it comes to The Orville, I always try to remember that it's not Star Trek. It's a comedy series with a Trek feel. I don't hold it up to the same standard I would reserve for actual Star Trek. It's a silly universe where silly things happen, so I can overlook plot holes sometimes and just go along for the ride. The fact that The Orville sometimes manages to make an actual statement or squeeze in convincing drama around the comedy is just icing on the cake.

This episode was better than the last. I spent most of the episode trying to decide if the whole thing was just in Alara's head, but the show kept tricking me into believing there was something deeper here. Others could see the clown. Others were attacked by spiders.

About the time Alara was alone on the ship, I thought it was surely all in her head. But then, Isaac showed up. And I thought I was wrong again.

In the end, it wasn't quite in her head...but it was close. But the episode did a good job of keeping me guessing. And honestly, there were some really tense moments. The lighting and music were fantastic.

If anything, I felt that they made the reveal a little bit too soon. Usually, in Star Trek, if they make a reveal about something similar, the story shifts to the people outside trying to help the person inside...but instead they just went back inside. That removed some of the tension and I think was the biggest misstep of the episode. Once you knew that, you knew that she wasn't going to really be in any danger.

Overall, I liked the episode. It was better than the last, for sure, but didn't quite reach the height of some of the past episodes. Felt very much like a TNG episode, which is interesting when you consider it's not even Star Trek.

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Ben S.
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

Love this show, overall, but felt this was probably the weakest episode yet. It was a bit predictable but did have its funny moments (the elevator scenes were hilarious).

Unlike some people on here, I'm not offended by the story or how it progressed. This is comedy and I don't think we're meant to take it that seriously. So, I didn't.

Hopefully the episodes will get back to better stories, though. All series, no matter how great, will stumble and have bad episodes from time to time.
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