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Brian L
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

this is a good episode of ST:P, but IMO not a good piece of art or storytelling. I guess at this point I have to admit that I just don't believe calling Soji a "synth" makes any sense. She is a flesh-and-blood human who experiences the entire range of normal human emotions perfectly well, who just so happens to have a good memory and is pretty strong and good at martial arts.

We are being way too loose with who we label "synths". Data was a synth. It was very obvious that he was not a flesh-and-blood human, but instead a very advanced machine designed to look like one. New-BSG made the same error with the new Cylons. Why do people think its so compelling to be told that a human is in fact "not really" a human, but in fact a "synth". But there isn't anything about them that would suggest that, not even close. It is entirely conceptual and just seems rather inconsequential to me.

"It's like they're a human but in reality they're not, they're a synth!"

Well, what IS that? What does that MEAN? If they are made of flesh and blood, and experience the full array of human emotions, but are just a little stronger and with better memory, then THEY ARE human.

This is why I appreciated when classic trek did the "augments". They didn't try to pretend they weren't human. In fact, that was the whole point, that they WERE human, just modified, broken, augmented, but HUMAN.

I'm just not buying it anymore, the whole narrative of "synths" that are indistinguishable from humanoids, who have ultimate power and can destroy the universe. I'm sorry but the premise to me doesn't make any sense. I know some people find these types of questions compelling, and I can see how it leads to a discussion of what makes us who we are, but for me, it doesn't really do that. At least not anymore. It holds back the narrative and the stories. We are constantly stuck on this beat of "well what is she?" and "what is real?"

Can we just have a show where everyone is real, everyone is alive, and just tell good stories about them? And if there is synthetic life being toyed with, make it...grounded in reality a bit more? Like even Data was a huge stretch for me. A very rewarding stretch, and an essential part of the stories, but his existence was pushing the boundaries of what I could believe in.

I mean, we are machines, biological machines, but we inhabit a physical body with physical processes. We are all "synths". What is Soji? A synthetic synth? Maybe a synthetic synthetic synth. Are her cells constantly flip flopping between being organic and "inorganic"? Would that matter? We're all made of the same elements.

To me that whole trope leads nowhere. Just an infinite regress of "well, what is real?" and then you look outside, feel the sunshine on your face, and admit grimly that that's probably real and maybe you should just go outside and do something good or productive instead of sitting inside moping and ruminating about "what is really real really really?"
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Brian
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 5:12am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

It still isn't Star Trek but it's better than the last episode. But that isn't hard.
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Brian L
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Coca-Cola. It's a drink, made out of coca extract, and cola nut extract. That's what coca-cola is. The "coca cola" produced today is not Coca Cola. It's just "Cola". And not even "Cola" because it's an artificial flavoring. There is no coca or cola in Coca-Cola, and thus, it is not Coca-Cola. It does not matter how many cans of it they produce, it is not and will never be Coca-Cola.

The original Trek series, and everything up to and including enterprise, were Star Trek. Trek is an adventure, going into the unknown, a journey. Star Trek = a trek in the stars. That's what Star Trek is. Millions of people, along with the creators, writers, and producers of that thing, got together and agreed that that is what it is.
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Brian
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Maybe if they wanted to make what they're trying to depict in STP more plausible they should have had old man Picard somehow get stuck in the past for the rest of his life so that they could write the show as if all the problems they're trying to say are there hadn't been solved for at least a couple hundred years.

It's like if someone tried to write a story that is set in 2020 where the main character needs to contact his wife to have her keep his house from burning down but somehow, he can't just call her.
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Brian
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

This episode (as well as many other TOS episodes) is a great example of everything that is wrong with the newer Treks (Mostly post TNG Trek).

I'm sure I first saw this episode sometime in the 80s. I might have been all of 13 when I saw it. I have seen it maybe twice since then (with quite a few years in between). Each time I see it, I appreciate the depth of it's genius and it's forward thinking themes that much more.

This episode as as engaging and intellectually meaty now as it ever was. I wonder what people thought of it when it originally aired? Really great stuff! I don't think the stuff they're making now under the Trek name will fare so well far into the future.
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Brian S.
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

@Iceman: "Contrary to what Sisko protests, he is shown to be a bit prejudiced against Ferengi."

To whatever extent Sisko may have (or had) some prejudices against Ferengi at large, I don't think that prejudice is at play in that specific scene.

Prejudicial treatment is where you treat an individual a certain way because of your opinions about their race at large.

Insofar as this scene goes, Sisko knows Nog. And Rom and Quark. He's known them for years. He has seen their behaviors, listened to their motivations, and is aware of the cultural influences that they espouse.

Sisko, in this cas, isn't suspicious of Nog being up to something because of something other members of his race did. Sisko is suspicious of Nog because of Nog's own personal individual history which includes several petty crimes, a rejection of many human/Starfleet egalitarian values, and numerous lies and dishonest schemes either for his own benefit or in service of his uncle.

The reveal of Nog's genuine interest in joining Starfleet is as much a confusion and surprise to us (the viewer) as it is to Sisko. Because it is a bit out of character, from what we know of Nog to this point in the series. Even within his episode, the viewer suspects there's something hidden behind Nog's efforts. It's not specifically about himself being a Ferengi….it's about Nog himself having a reputation for being not completely trustworthy and not showing much interest or value in anything Starfleet has to offer. A reputation he had more or less earned through the first 2+ seasons.

But when he lets Sisko and us in on the real reason, when the façade is dropped and Nog shows his sincerity and vulnerability, a new reputation is earned for the individual.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Bottom line for me....

This show obviously cannot be all things to all people. And that's OK. But they chose to use the Picard character to make this show appeal to a very specific audience. It should at least not destroy Trek for the audience it was marketed to.
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brian L
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

More of the same, essentially a filler episode where 7of9 is brought back and paraded around to keep fans subscribed to CBS. Oh, and some random political statements too. Is she "bisexual" now? Of course she is. Now she's a gun-slinging bisexual vigilante with a "heart of gold". Can you get anymore cliche? Tropey?

The "reveals" are seen coming a mile away and the audience is 2-3 episodes ahead of the writing at all times, and so the show is essentially boring. The violence, gore, swearing and grimdark are turned up to 11.The show is an absolute joke.

The references and callbacks to Trek-lore are highly specific and seemingly disconnected from the larger established universe. "Hugh" shows up for 2 minutes and then he's gone. Icheb shows up for 1 scene and is brutally tortured and killed. They seem to be there only so that the rabid fans have something to point to to defend it---"no really guys, its canon, look, they made REFERENCES!"

I recently saw Rick Bermans twitter post asking "How are you all enjoying Picard"? And 75% of the responders were negative to nu-trek.

Meanwhile the media echo-chamber continues to heap praise on the show, similar to throwing paper and gasoline on a fire that is going out. It will burn bright for a few minutes but its dead unless you find some real wood, but there isn't any.

What are we, 3...4 years into nu-Trek TV now? It's not going to get better.
Please, do not give a single dime to CBS, this whole project needs to burn out and die so someone can come in and replace it with something good.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Patrick D

That decision (though) did not have to succeed. I think I remember someone calling it "catching lightning in a bottle". That is rare. Basically, the success of TNG was practically an accident. No one really knows exactly what made it work. So what did they do? Well, they thought they could do it again with a completely different cast and so forth and it has been less successful (and palatable) each time.

Kinda like nobody really knows how to make another Data. So what do you do when you have something truly unique and irreplaceable? You erase it and try to make your own copy, of course!
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Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Nolan

WRT the whole episodic versus serialized debate. I get what you're saying but even then, things changed drastically at the end of TNG. It was all but impossible to watch just one episode of DS9 and have any idea at all what was going on because things had gone to the point of "If you miss an episode, you miss a lot".

I remember that I saw the potential in DS9 when it originally aired but I gave up on it fast because I didn't always catch every episode. So I never got to watch DS9 the way it was intended to be seen until a couple of years ago when I could finally watch every episode in order. And that was a struggle for me because there were a lot of episodes I didn't care for but was afraid not to watch them.

Every series has bad episodes. TNG had it's fair share. The difference was you could skip most of them and it would not hinder your comprehension of the show that much (if at all).

And also, for example, if TNG had not been strongly episodic, I would have never started watching it. I skipped the first season because it was just so bad. I skipped most of the second season for the same reason. The show clicked on the 3rd season for me (and many others). I never had to watch most of the 1st and 2nd seasons. Yes. You could get more out of it if you watched everything because some episodes did advance things. But you didn't have to know that to sit down and watch a random 4th season episode. Same with TOS. That was it's strength. It could pick up new viewers at any time because they could see a random episode and not be completely bewildered.

I get that people think the serialized format is a better business model because it makes people either all in or all out. I'm a viewer. It never mattered to me how much money they made. Still doesn't. They could make awful Trek and still make money (though I suspect nobody will remember this show in 20 years).
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Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Oh yeah. And Trek's real strength was always episodic. That was another Roddenberry stipulation. That made it easy to move on from a stinker of an episode to a great one without having to concoct some implausible halfassed explanation for stuff you'd rather forget. Like the first season. The first season (and most of the second season) is a self contained box of poop and you can leave most of it where it sits and watch the rest of the series and still understand what's going on. Obviously, Encounter at Farpoint is a necessity and the dreadful episode where Yar was killed by the oil slick is necessary. Beyond a few necessities, you don't have to suffer though hours upon hours of garbage to get something worth having.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

FROM - "Dan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
"Roddenberry’s vision"

Jesus.

If Trek had stuck exclusively with the above, it would have been over long, long ago. There are only so many stories you can tell with such a limited scope.

People who think Trek "died" when DS9 came out and such should probably not bother with the new incarnations, because you're just setting yourself up for frustration. Just keep re-watching TOS and the first couple of seasons of TNG. Those are representative of the "vision" you place on a pedestal. Hope "Code of Honor" doesn't wear out its welcome too quickly."

I think you didn't read what I wrote too well (but that's OK. I wrote a lot). I didn't say anything about "Roddenberry's vision" and I hated the first season of TNG (and still do). Obviously Roddenberry did not create what worked on TNG single-handedly. But he created stipulations that forced writers to be more resourceful and more creative (for example, conflict needed to come from an outside force) and that (IMO) kept things from going to hell in a handbasket sooner than they did.

It wasn't that he was some kind of flawless person. And yes. Some of those first season episodes exposed some rather unpleasant things about him. It's not about his vision. It's about the role he played in making the show what it was. He was what he was as a human being but in the power structure of TNG, he was also someone who kept the writers on a short leash and didn't let them run wild with every errant idea they came up with. Which also tended to have the nice side effect of nurturing good writers and shunning bad ones.

Again, you can look at the timeline. I don't have to prove when things went South. Just look. You can look at the ratings and the popularity and the reviews. It all speaks for itself. Without TNG, nothing that came after it would have been possible. Because it soared so high, it took several terrible movies and multiple lackluster series to drag things down to the point to where it's almost preferable to not have new Trek at all.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Nathan L

OK. But for all intents and purposes, TNG was cancelled. As far as fans of the show were concerned, it could have gone on probably for several more years and still had enough momentum for movies. Nobody in their right mind would want their favorite show to stop having new episodes and only having one new movie every couple years or so. From a fan's perspective, what they did just didn't make any sense.

Yeah. Season 7 was weak but it was weak because they had too much crap going on at the same time and they were using TNG (and resources from it) to prepare for DS9 and Voyager. And obviously, the people who were working BTS on TNG didn't really have much incentive to keep making it a strong show when they knew it was the final season. Why bother at that point?

Again, I think they were just tired of working within the confines of TNG and they thought Trek would work with lots of conflict and war and spy stuff going on. That was when Trek really stopped working. They changed the formula in a bad way and it shows.

And also, nobody has a 7 year attention span anymore. Especially when you can't miss a single episode and you have to really struggle to suffer through the ones you hate to get the important details to make the next episode make sense.
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Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

FROM - "Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -6)
I think that's a mischaracterisation of my opinion, Booming. It's not that I don't think Star Trek has an identity; it's that I think it has *multiple* identities, and it suffers whenever it tries to copy itself. TOS, TNG and DS9 are all quite distinct from one another. VOY and ENTs biggest creative weakness was their unwillingness to move on from the TNG model. It led to the eventual cancellation of the franchise. People had been there and done that.

Trek has to keep moving forward and reinventing itself."

Brian replies. Oh no no no no! Trek has multiple personality disorder because (after Roddenberry died) they foolishly thought they could reinvent it the way they thought it ought to be and the incarnations of it they created became increasingly dreadful.

I still say that the decline began the instant DS9 appeared and TNG was retired. That was the end of Star Trek AFAIC. They never did like the restrictions Roddenberry put on the writers (even though those restrictions weeded out the bad writers and forced the better ones to get creative and make stuff that was worth watching). So Roddenberry's body wasn't cold yet before they were making plans to bury Trek with him and create their own knockoff and slap the Star Trek name on it and hope nobody noticed.

DS9 (miraculously) wasn't too bad. But it was a space show that was (very loosely) based upon TNG. Without that name there's no way it would have gone on as long as it did.

Voyager was where it became really apparent that things were off the rails (in a bad way). It had some good elements but there were many "WTF?" moments that obviously turned people off and just left me wondering why the hell they cancelled TNG so they could do this crap.

Then the TNG movies started rolling out and boy did they suck! Except for First Contact. There's a big empty spot in my mind where everything after First Contact would have been. Hey. Even the TOS crew made at least one real dud (ST V). But there was (by the time of Nemesis) an obvious pathology running wild. And that is the real reason you haven't heard much about Trek since. You're still better off watching the reruns of TOS, TNG and even DS9 (and maybe some of Voyager if you can stomach a lot of rotten food).

Now what are they doing here? I don't even know. I don't think I want to know. I'm watching it but I don't know why. I'm getting that same feeling I started getting about halfway through the first season of Voyager.

And I think your post (Tim) sums up everything that is wrong with what they have been doing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Right? Remember that? When was the last time Trek really worked? TNG (It was at it's peak when it was cancelled and Trek has never been the same). You can have all the denial you want but it's a fact. What they have been doing wrong is they had a successful model and a successful show that it worked with and they wasted it and tried to go "forward" with this serialized crap and Trek just does not work well in that format. It never has.
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Brian
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Not terrible. Rocky start but gets more tolerable as the episode goes on. It's still more like Star Trek turned upside down than Star Trek but I guess it's to be expected. I don't know why they bothered if they were just going to take all of our most cherished characters and not improve them in any way, shape or form. Picard's been better, 7 has been better. I'm expecting Riker to show up and admit he blew Troi out of an airlock somewhere and started drinking and doesn't remember Picard.
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Brian L
Mon, Feb 17, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Rahul
"But what I'd also say that since Trek is no longer using the 25 episodes a season model running for several seasons, our expectations should be higher. While being a tighter, more focused product will likely prevent a truly terrible (1* or below) episode from being produced, I'm disappointed at the lack of excellent (3.5* or better episodes) produced by DSC and PIC."

Many people aren't comfortable dealing with emotions, and they look for something to numb them out. And, having been there at one time, where I would rather just feel nothing than gamble with the good and bad, now as an older person I see things differently.

I'll gladly take an occasional "Code of Honor", to get an occasional "Tapestry" or "Inner Light". Just like in real life, where you're sort of required to push through the dark times, in order to have a chance at the peak experiences.

Nu-Trek is like Star Trek on anti-depressants. Watching it makes me feel...flat. Nothing. It's never horrible. It's never breathtaking. It's just kind of there. And to me that is the biggest disservice we could ever do to the Star Trek franchise.
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Brian L
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@ Dougie
"If I were a studio exec, and stumbled upon this place, I’d formally send Epsicokhan an email requesting a shutdown. Anyone aged 6-16 who came by here and read this nonsense about a new series might be convinced not to view it."

So you literally advocate censorship? And I think you underestimate 6-16 year olds. By the way, you're welcome to express your opinion about the show, but you are not welcome to advocate censorship or personally attack the opinions of others. People are allowed to actively dislike the show. If that bothers you, there's always r/startrek.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Also, the ship is just blaa. I mean not every ship in the Star Trek universe has to be the Enterprise but they're making the same mistake here they made with the Defiant. It was just not a very pleasant thing to look at. If it's going to be a main character (and the ship is a character) it should be easy on the eyes. And it isn't.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 10:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@A A Roi

It says that fiction needs to be done really well in order for people to buy into it hook line and sinker. Episodes like the one I cited do that.

Anyway, we'll see. If they keep going the way they're going, this show will fizzle out. Picard is a strong character (and they have a couple of others who have potential) but I just don't see the audience caring that much about any of the others except for Picard and other well established characters from the past. Unless they do it better than they've been doing it.

I don't know why any of this would be any kind of mystery, since you can go through all of the highest rated episodes and compare them to this and see what they're doing wrong.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@A A Roi

Said -

"You don't think that Picard, a bastion of the highest morals of the Federation wouldn't want to take this opportunity to demonstrate to the galaxy that his civilization is willing to put all past differences with an enemy behind them, act with all due compassion to save hundreds of millions of people? That he wouldn't think this was a good idea for everyone concerned and that it would be a step forward for everyone. Have you not watched his argument with Q in Q Who over his interpretation of Hamlets description of mankind? I can easily see Picard seeing the rescue of the Romulans as a demonstration that his faith in the Federation as everything he'd been preaching for decades. You honestly disagree?"

I respond - It's not really so much about whether or not this approximates Picard's supposed values. It's about the fact that I don't really care about these people he's trying to help because I'm not emotionally invested in them any more than the time it takes to read a brief backstory on them and a cartoon outline of why I'm supposed to care.

Like I said - We cared in Measure of a Man because we knew, liked, even loved the character of Data. His character was lovingly constructed to make us care. It wasn't just some vague ethics puzzle. It was personal. Why did the audience hate Maddox? Because he came out of nowhere and wanted to take Data apart. It was a visceral reaction to a threat to a character we were invested in.

Why does the audience care about Picard's attachment to these people he left behind? Do we really care if every single one of these people is never mentioned again? We're watching this show because it's Picard. Why are we still willing to watch something just because it has Picard in it some 20 years after the last time he did anything? Because we are emotionally invested in him and the attachments and relationships he had with his crew. And it took 7 seasons for that to happen. This is something that was built a piece at a time and could have easily failed (but didn't). Because they took the time to slowly bring us into the world of TNG and explain to us why we should care about each character. There's been almost none of that here. For a show that's trying it's damnedest to be in a serialized format, it feels very disjointed.

And this episode was better than the last one. They did have some meaningful dialogue and character development (finally).

And again, Picard's passionate advocacy for worthy causes is well documented. However, it usually gave us someone to identify with and relate to and get at least somewhat emotionally invested in. Even with Hugh, they took an entire episode and did it right so we felt the same way by the time they got to it. That's the difference between good, tight writing and clunky writing.

It's fine. It's OK. Will we still be talking about any of this in 30 years? Are we still talking about Insurrection? Well, yeah. But not in a good way.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 3:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@A A Roi

I don't have a problem (really) with the way Picard is being portrayed. Obviously, Picard would be treated much differently as a retired old man wandering around in places that Captain Picard probably would not have really been interested in.

I think they missed something when they tried to carry Picard over and give him new causes. Like his passion for saving the Romulans just seems far-fetched. Yes. Picard took some passionate stands in TNG but this series starts by harkening back to the Measure of a Man thing. Would he still have been so passionate about it if it wasn't Data? Probably not. It wouldn't have made sense and the audience would not have felt it. It's kinda like with the Hugh thing. It was still OK but it wasn't as relatable as it was when it was Data. Because they had spent enough time building something between these characters that you could understand why it would be an "Oh no you don't!" moment when Maddox wanted to do this. We completely understand because we loved Data too.

Now they're just having Picard be passionate about things we can't really relate to and they haven't spent any time at all making us care about. Data's sacrifice in Nemesis was probably the only thing that happened in that film that most fans even cared about. Yes. We understand why Picard misses Data. Though I'm not sure the Picard we knew would spend the rest of his life moping even over the loss of Data. Yes. Picard and Data were tight but the Picard we knew shook off the deaths of his brother and nephew by the end of Generations. So the idea he'd be so devastated by losing Data that he'd never be the same again is completely implausible. And also the idea he would get so caught up in the Romulan thing also seems fairly out of character.

So really, they completely re-wrote the character of Picard and hired Patrick Stewart to play him because that's the only way they could get people to watch.

Now there are some consistencies between the Picard we knew and the one we see here. Which makes it all the more jarring when he does things we know he'd have never done. Whiplash. It's kinda like if James Kirk would have just inexplicably been captain of the Enterprise D when TNG started and was walking around talking to people in a British accent and loving Earl Grey tea. It would have been implausible because that was not Kirk. We embraced Picard because they took a new character and fleshed him out well enough that we KNEW him. And we knew him well enough to know this isn't him. He'd have to be on drugs or something to be the same character.

I appreciate what they're trying to do but it's obvious that they have no caring or comprehension for the people who are only watching this because it's Picard. So I will not be surprised if they completely leave us high and dry.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I really hope they don't try to tie this show in with Discovery in such a way that attempts to force people who aren't interested in it to watch Discovery. That'll kill it for me. I'm just not gonna do it. I suspected all along their plan was to draw old Trek fans in with Picard and then pull a kind of bait and switch. I'm already not liking that they're dragging in a lot of stuff you wouldn't necessarily know unless you're following absolutely everything they've been doing. Trek fans have always been pretty loyal but this is pushing it.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

John Harmon wrote--
"how is it at all odd the way they spoke in TOS and TNG? They made sure to stay away from contemporary slang that would horribly date the show and had them speak more formally and classically, to keep the dialogue timeless. There’s nothing odd about it."

Exactly. It seems like some people just never figured this out.
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@remcospockhelmet
"He was speaking Chilean. I'm just gonna let you process that and then maybe think about your attitude."

He was speaking spanish. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be processing here. He's a spaniard, he speaks spanish. There are tons of dialects all throughout the Americas, whats your point? It's all spanish. MY point was, why does the holo-gunner randomly start speaking spanish for a few lines seemingly out of nowhere? It seemed shoe-horned to me. Maybe you could be a little less obtuse and just say what you mean to say?
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Brian
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 3:17am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I'll come right out and say it, "absolute candor" and all that

This show sucks so far. Chabon and company's writing is college level, and the repeated references to his favorite book are a clue that they don't take the audience seriously. Every episode so far has had a scene completely devoted to leaving the camera lingering on the back of this book. "It's a book about the existential pain of living with the knowledge of your own impending death" or some such clap trap. How many times will they trot that out. I cannot believe the writers would use the stage they've been handed to do personal shoutouts to obscure writers no one cares about. I'm sure they have some grand idea about the book being this deep analogy to how Picards mortality affects his actions. The whole thing strikes me as incredibly immature on the part of the writers, like a big in-joke that we are barely in on. At best, it feels like product placement for the college philosophy student.

Now to the show, well let's see. I feel like I'm writing all the same things I did about Discovery. The dialogue is clunky, and the entire show comes off like a shakespearean stage production. Lines do not roll off the tongue, there is no flow, no rhythm to the words and ideas being presented. Scenes come and go with little or no context or setup. In some scenes it literally seems like actors are struggling with their lines. And the problem is not the actors, it's the scripts they are reading.

The show continues to push a narrative that does not square up with what they are showing us. A perfect example came in this episode--the narrative tells us that Picard is despised by the hard-done-by Romulan refugees who live in poverty and squalor. But what we are shown is almost the complete opposite--a thriving little town full of houses, trees, happy children, women living in relatively opulent homes with fine linens, lots of space....men hanging out in a community bar sharing food and drink, etc. Where exactly is the squalor again? SHHHH. THE NARRATIVE. SAYS. THERE IS. SQUALOR.

The show habitually and gratuitously violates the "show don't tell" principle. And in fact, it shows us one thing and then tells us the complete opposite. The entire narrative of Picard being this outcast broken old man because he tried to do good but "failed" and now everyone hates him, just falls completely flat because honestly it makes no sense. It feels like a narrative that is just being pushed on us by the show to generate "emotions" around Picard, and that's it. It goes no deeper than that. Everything is a set piece to build a narrative which they came up with in advance. The world and the narrative do not seem to move in unison.

I continue to not care at all about the Borg cube or anything that happens on it, though I do feel like Isa briones is the best actor in the show. It's a shame she's only on screen for 2% of each episode, and when she is, she is shoe-horned into an extremely hammy sub-plot that feels like its going nowhere fast.

At two points, my wife and I found ourselves literally laughing out loud. The first was when mr. hologram gunner started speaking spanish. You can almost read the email chain from executive to marketing, to producers, to the writing team--"we need to reach out to the latino segment, that market is growing, we can't afford to miss out, put some spanish in the show. I don't care how you do it, just get it done."

The second point, was the 7of9 reveal. TWO GUNS people. Not one. TWO. Tune in next week on CBS all access. My wife and I were literally laughing, like how you laugh when your child does something embarassing, but they have no idea.

Here's my absolute candor. I appreciate some of the attempted world-building, I appreciate some of the performances, particularly Isa Briones. But overall I feel like the show was not conceived well. Unlike other more well executed serialized sci-fi dramas like BSG, who's themes, narratives, and on-screen action moved together with precision (and did so from the very first episode onwards), ST:P feels disjointed and sloppy. They get away with it because of the nostalgia factor, but I don't see this show building into anything significant or lasting. It reads and feels like a forgettable spinoff show that no one is really investing that much time or effort on.
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