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James White
Thu, May 28, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Omicron and Eamon - I agree with you both. CBS had a "sure thing" with Picard that they cashed in on. So, the quality control was probably lacking. Still, if they had bothered to ask the core ST fanbase what is essential to them, the end result may have been closer to the Picard of TNG. The thesis they operated under - that this Picard would be wholly different than the previous Picard, existing in a fundamentally changed Starfleet - probably doomed the whole thing. You can't "undo" Picard in this manner. But, again, this supposes that Kurtzman and his team had the wherewithal and talent to stay true to TNG while bringing a fresh message and set of challenges in a competent manner. They obviously did not.

Moreover, as Eamon indicated - they never needed to.
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James White
Wed, May 27, 2020, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

The truly sad thing is that STP didn't have to suck. It sucked because of factors having nothing to do with the underlying idea of revisiting one of the most iconic sci fi characters near the conclusion of his life. There are many, many ways in which this story could have worked. But that presupposed that a "work of art" was ultimately what CBS desired. What it prioritized. When you have a new show, you need a high quality product. You need to be infused with some combination of exceptional acting talent, writing, substantial issues (or kinetic scenes), depending on what it is you seek to achieve. You hope for those iconic moments - that transcend an episode or even a season - that viewers remember. These keep us coming back. They become the backbone for the mythology that develops. They are the "art" upon which the product depends.

With ST, CBS went full on mercenary. Fan service. Check. Return of iconic character. Check. Cool F/X. Check. Diverse cast. Check. Mystery box. Check. Plot, coherency, intelligence, vision, depth, and the grasping of human beings to understand some higher truth - something bigger than themselves - all of this. UNNECESSARY. Not undesired. Just not needed to succeed. Perhaps too much of a risk. Perhaps not fully attuned to what the younger demographic wants. Who knows.

The sad thing is that STP could have been a great drama. Perhaps even exceptional. But it was never given a chance. Because a hack producer, a mediocre writing team with little to no understanding of ST (as a whole), and a bunch of corporate fucks (much like Disney) decided that success would be exclusively defined by immediate viewership. That the artform itself was irrelevant to the formula in which success was defined.

In the end, we don't hate STP in a vacuum. We hate it because we understand the contempt that CBS held for the entire thesis of ST. A greedy, short-sighted, shallow and intellectually fallow organization contorting ST into something that it could never be. I stand by my original conclusion: fuck you Kurtzman. Now, I'm just adding a few more names.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Omicron - I can't disagree there. If Patrick Stewart would not play Picard as he was on TNG, they really should have said no. It's funny, because in the first episode of the PIC show, you see a glimpse of the old Picard in the interview. Then it's gone for most of the season. THAT MAN needed to come out. He can be older, wiser, even more taciturn. But he cannot be someone unrecognizable to the man that just dominated TNG for all those years.

As for Stewart himself, he's an actor. They're usually not nearly as clever as the characters they play. What do you do...

Take solace in the fact that you know better than the actor himself when it comes to Picard. And look for a brighter future for ST. Who knows, maybe Kurtzman will suffer an embolism when attempting to edit one of his meth-infused, shit scenes.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Omicron - I agree as well. When Ridley Scott started fiddling with his Alien prequel films, that really bugged me. Lucas as well in the SW universe.

Don't sweat it. I thought the Halloween series was irredeemable. Then Carpenter told every director since the original to fuck off. And the result was fantastic. You never know what the future holds, especially for something as timeless as ST. In the meantime, things like Inner Light, Chain of Command, Darmok, BOBW, and so forth will always exist. Just declare Picard "over" with All Good Things. Or maybe even Nemesis if you can stomach it. Kurtzman sucks so bad that honestly I don't consider his shows ST.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Booming - as they say in this country, "not so fast, Jack" :)

As you said, let's get through the list. I'll list your comments and my "response" to each.

------------------------------------

-Black Mirror (apart from San junipero - which I love) it is a very dark show. I liked it more when nobody knew it.

Response: You forgot USS Callister (tough middle part but very uplifting ending); Striking Vipers (fun and engaging); Nosedive (light-hearted fare); Hang the DJ (romantic); and several others. It's not just SJ my friend. Also, a number of the other shows I would not consider "very dark." Yes, White Bear is brutal. But only a few get to that level.

-The Expanse: As I said, right now I have a problem with dark and depressing.

Response: Yes, you indicated this. But you also said there is very little "good sci fi shows" on today. Those are two different things. But I'll take you to mean that "good" = "optimistic." I don't think a majority of people would agree with you. Also, there is a quite a bit of humor in The Expanse. It's really not as bleak as you make it out to be. In fact, the realism adds to my optimism that in the future, at least there will be forces on both sides fighting it out. ST is a utopian drama. Good luck with that future.

-Dark: Not sci fi. And being German I must admit that I'm highly critical of everything German. I think we should stick with strange arthouse movies that nobody watches :) I saw the first season and thought eh...

Response: I disagree. It's a time-traveling mystery/drama that spans multiple timeframes. At best, you could argue it has other elements as well so it's a hybrid.

-Stranger Things: Also not a sci fi show and certainly not optimistic. I really liked the first season but now with the rest I can never watch it again. The later copy and paste seasons destroyed it for me.

Response: That's subjective. The show continues to garner a positive reception and critically favorable reviews. Also, if Stranger Things isn't sci fi, then neither is the X Files or Fringe. Telekinesis, inter-dimensional travel, alien creatures. Yes, this is hardly "hard sci fi." However, ST has warp drive and transporters, neither of which is grounded in anything close to legitimate science.

-The OA: Never seen it. Did not tickle my fancy. Doesn't look very optimistic, though.

Response: It's not overly optimistic. I liked parts of it. It has a very loyal fanbase which was very upset over its cancellation.

-Westworld. MOST PRETENTIOUS SHOW EVER. I liked the first season but after that it becomes pretty thoughtless torture porn. It's like they have to fill a murder quota every episode. Also this show is so much in love with itself.

Response: Actually, it doesn't. Season 2 is held in high regard and some prefer it over season 1. Season 3 is a bit more of a mixed bag. However, it's an attempt to "reboot" the show beyond the theme park motif. The primary criticism is that it is too unwieldy and complex. Hardly the "thoughtless torture porn" you are describing.

-Dr. Who. Yeah ok but for the time being I have no way of getting that even though I'm on three streaming services. It is also pretty redundant but silly enough to be enjoyable.

Response: Well, TNG was pretty redundant when you consider its connection to TOS. VOY is TNG redux. Enterprise is proto-TOS and far less enjoyable. Only DS9 deserves a truly innovative label. Dr. Who isn't for everyone. But it's fun and generally uplifting. A

-Devs: I don't have Hulu. While I really liked both Garland features (I actually like the less beloved Annihilation more) this also looks preeeety depressing.

Response: It's an existential tale with a sci fi premise. If you like Annihilation, you'll probably like this. Because Annihilation is all kinds of depressing and fucked up my friend.

-Handmaid's Tale: Here I jumped ship when I realized that Peggy from Madmen would never get out of it. Also torture porn. Maybe even worse than Westworld. Also very depressing.

Response: Or, incredibly well acted, tight script, compelling plot turns, and extremely believable drama. Torture porn takes up a very small part of it. That's a lazy critique.

-The Man in the High Castle: I liked it a bit but the leads are just too terrible and the plot is all over the place. Also dark and depressing.

Response: Leads are decent but I'll agree they could be better. Also, you've used you allotment of 5 "dark and depressing" criticisms. You're no longer allowed to use this.

-Lost in Space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OrS5Ym6vzU

Response: That was pretty funny. You rick-rolled me, YouTube style. Seriously, Lost in Space is so much better than it has any right to be. The sci fi and overall concepts may not be top tier, but the episodes are entertaining and the characters are well developed. Mediocre? No, Will Robinson!!

-The Orville: Yeah... eh it's ok. The only relatively positive show on your list. If you can ignore some troubling aspects like Stalky McrapeBlob.

Response: This show is worse than probably every other listing. It's at least uplifting so it gets an auto bump of 50% on your scale. Otherwise, it's pretty stupid.

-The Rain: Pass. That show came out when I started to tire of all this dark and depressing stuff that is 95% of "good" shows. People really have to pop a Xanax or get out more.

Response: Yeah, that's probably true of this show.

- Altered Carbon: I watched the first episode, I think, and found it pretty stupid and simplistic.

Response: One episode viewing. Congrats. It's not 2001. But it has it's moments.

- Humans: Never heard of it. Looks like Westworld but less gory but still depressing and dark.

Response: Maybe you don't like depressing and dark because you're prone to constantly saying "depressing and dark"

-Mr. Robot: Evil corporations control us all. I already live that, I don't need to see a show about it. :) I liked the first season, though, then it went off the rails. Consumed by it's own success, I assume.

Response: Partly true. It's a sold show across its seasons. Very few would say it "went off the rails." Also, if you live this, and you're depressed to the point that you cannot watch 75% of the sci fi out there, I suggest a change of scenery for you.

As I said before. Either the US has lost the ability to create positive outlooks or the audience is so depressed that they want nothing else. I do want positive.
The good place was nice, ok they dropped the ball in season three but still. I cried and laughed and at the end I didn't think that everything will get worse and life is a nightmare where we helplessly tumble towards our doom.

Response: We haven't lost the ability. We're in a holding pattern while we "clean house." The U.S. rarely does anything in an efficient or simple fashion. We move in cycles, and the change is often messy. I'm the eternal optimist. Things will get better. The U.S. would do well to embrace some of the features of your country, particularly when it comes to NOT SAYING FUCK YOU to every scientist on television.

Villeneuve is doing Dune... hmm that gives me some hope. I'm somewhat interested in the second age Tolkien thing Amazon spent a whooping billion on. I fear that it will be another tank driving through my early teenage memories. We shall see.

Response: Yep. I'm just having some fun with this. I very much want a return to form for ST. But, to play devil's advocate, you may have dismissed some of the shows above too quickly. Give a few another shot.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Booming - I do agree that Trek is unique. But maybe let it "die" for awhile. It can always come back, especially when the CBSs and Disneys are no longer fucking with our cultural artifacts. In the meantime, give a number of those a try. Also, there's another BSG remake/reboot on the way, a new vision of Dune, a new Nolan film, and plenty of indi sci fi projects.

Ultimately, Roddenberry was a visionary. So we have the extraordinary creation of a visionary's universe, brought to life by some very talented showrunners and writers. Same with Tolkien's LOTR. Possibly the same w/ Dune if Villeneuve can get it right.

Maybe what we need is a new visionary - one that creates a very positive, rich and mentally engaging future. Doesn't need to be ST. With all the talent out there, I say just give it time.

Also, and root for Alex Garland to land new projects.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Booming, here is what's out there -

Black Mirror
The Expanse
Dark
Stranger Things
The OA
Westworld
Dr. Who
Devs
Handmaid's Tale
The Man in the High Castle
Lost in Space
The Orville
The Rain
Altered Carbon
Humans
Mr. Robot

A few have ended recently. And there are others I obviously haven't mentioned. But I stand by what I said. That is a very strong list of sci fi shows.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Cody B - I suggest you do a little research before responding. I'll give you a mulligan.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

It's ironic that in an age in which there is an over-abundance of compelling and thought-provoking science fiction, so many are lamenting the "death of Trek." It's only a "cult" if you live myopically.
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James White
Tue, May 26, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Cody B - do you think Mission Earth was "simple hack writing"?
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James Band
Tue, May 26, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

@Megan @Drake I agree

I agree. For a fantastic series, the ending was too abrupt.
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James Band
Tue, May 26, 2020, 7:45am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

I really loved Voyager. The premise itself was extremely interesting and strong - a Starfleet vessel flung to the other side of the galaxy with a journey of 70 years back home to Earth. There were some wonderful episodes like "Blink of an Eye", to "Someone to watch over me" and the iconic quotes like "They've got lasers... A black man and some bald guy!"

There were also some interesting concept like the Macquis and moral Chakotay integrating with the Starfleet crew. I wish there had been an actual mutiny set of episodes though. The Equinox double bill was superb, though I would have liked to have seen a "Starfleet Pegasus" ship having joined them even if only briefly (perhaps sacrificing itself just like the Pegasus).

This finale though - I'm mixed. An entertaining episode yes. And as a finale it would be sad that it was ending. But it's bittersweet. I am at a loss to explain as to why they made it a bit 'anticlimactic' at the end. There should have been a GLORIOUS arrival on Earth (a little like the opening of the actual episode) and some celebration..or something.

There's also the time paradox, which definitely is not possible from what we know of temporal mechanics - like the TNG movie First Contact, or Voyage Home, events need to have already happened and thus time maintained rather than changing it. It was of course cool to see the Borg being destroyed like that, but surely maintain time somehow.

The series was great and each Star Trek series had its own greatness. Before the dark times. Before lense flare. Story and morality and exploration and wonderful ships made Star Trek. But I feel like several filler episodes like the weird boxing one, and ridiculous Chaotica episode could have been used to add on to the Finale episode to make Endgame have a grander more befitting ending for the Voyager crew. Showing them get home and giving them (and us) payoff to that significant achievement would have meant something and let you forgive the "changing of the timeline."

As far as the romantic pairings go, I thought personally the buildup of Janeway and Chakotay had been there from the start (especially after they got left on that planet). Whilst I understand it might have been difficult to "date" given the circumstances of command, I did feel it was hinted at the entire time. I mean they were having some pretty intimate dinners often. I don't think Picard dines with Riker every other evening. Hell I'm not even sure if Troi dined with anyone every other evening (though the holographic Deanna is another matter). I think it would have been befitting for Janeway and Chakotay to become one at the end.

As for Seven - I concur with above that it felt so out of place without any basis the pairing they showed us. I really liked Seven as a character - her humour and doing what was necessary a lot of the time. Personally, I did very much enjoy her and the Doctor singing. To me, it felt like forever Ensign Kim and Seven should have ended up together. There was chemistry there from the "Do you wish to copulate" scene and "I play the clarinet... You are not on the list Ensign". It would have also given both a happy ending. Of course, the Doctor needed a happy ending - should have met someone fascinated with his intellect when they arrive on Earth.

Should have really seen these characters we've watched for years get their happy ending. Seeing Tuvok meet his family, Tom reconnect with his father (same with B'Elanna"). Oh what could have been.

I loved Voyager, I just feel they could have done the ending better. Replace the 'filler episodes' by giving the finale more screen time and show the glorious ending on Earth. If necessary, skip forward several years to the SAME anniversary celebration this time with ALL characters present - except it's a reunion now they all made it back safely. That would have been poignant in my view.
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James White
Mon, May 25, 2020, 7:05am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Let me make this simple. I watched the show. It sucked. I will not watch it further.

As for self-awareness, focus your attention on the "real world." It's a mess, and a great many people are anxious, paranoid or outright delusional. On both sides. Because they won't look at the science. Won't think for themselves.

Help those people and quick bickering over a shitty television show.
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James G
Sun, May 24, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

I'm OK with this one. I didn't remember ever seeing it before I watched it today, and there can't be many of those. I was entertained.

On the plus side, there's a nice portrait of Riker in command - decisive and perpared to take risks. The plot is fairly original. But it never seems to reach a satisfactory conclusion - we don't find out who put the force field on this desert moon, or why.

I found Wesley's emotional monologue to Picard just a bit too mawkish, and he chews the scenery a bit. He is also ridiculously disrespectful to Dirgo, a man whom Picard generally treats with tact and respect. Doesn't matter that Dirgo is obviously a dick. Ensign Crusher should maintain the dignity and decorum that comes with wearing a Starfleet uniform.

I liked the creepy sci-fi horror feel of the ominous fountain defender, especially when it mummifies Dirgo.

Really minor quibble this, but all the ridiculous flashing lights on Wesley's tricorder - in 2020 when handheld tech is so commonplace as to be mundane, it really seems preposterous. I can't imagine what they're for. Has sci-fi moved past making objects futuristic by adorning them with flashing lights now, 30 years later?
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James
Sun, May 24, 2020, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"One problem is Kurtzman, who:
(a) Believes that good old Trek-style sci fi has no place in the 21st century."

I actually agree with him there. I don't want to watch new TNG or TOS episodes. Fortunately it's not a choice between that and Abrams/Kurtzman style.
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James
Sun, May 24, 2020, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"The writers aren't the problem. Michael Chabon, at least, is known as a good writer."

Yeah, about that... I have my doubts. Never read any of his other stuff (and probably never will now) but in my opinion a good writer wouldn't put his name to writing he didn't approve of. I mean, is he desperately short of cash or something? Credibility and reputation matter a lot to any decent writer.
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James
Sun, May 24, 2020, 3:04am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

How about this for an idea for a new series? A few decades after the Dominion War (post-Picard, of course) a virus shows up on each of the allies' homeworlds, and is determined to be a last-ditch Dominion plot which got delayed for some unknown reason. The Federation is in shambles, interstellar borders close, and maybe one planetary leader (Earth?) starts acting crazy and suggests injecting dilithium as a cure. UFP decides to send out a ship on a 5 year mission to find a cure and some answers.

Would allow for a balance of exploration, diplomacy, science & relevant politics. Both long-form and episodic storytelling. Lots of old cast members. I know it's kinda been tried before but Crusade never got a chance and I'd like to see the Trek take on it. Besides, ST has a great track record with copying Bab5, and could even bring back the DS9 writing team.
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James
Sat, May 23, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Where were you Gerontius when your heard stopped? If you were still here, then what died? If you weren't, then again - what died?
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James G
Sun, May 17, 2020, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Future Imperfect

I quite like this one. Wouldn't have been a bad idea even on the basis of the first plot twist, but the second twist is very clever (albeit the details don't bear thinking about too much).

Once again the away team beams down with the same thin clothing they wear in Forward Ten, and they only find out that the levels of toxicity in the atmosphere are acceptable after they get there.

There's a really interesting scene in this one where Deanna asks Riker what he wished for - he hesitates and she whacks him on the arm, and after he replies the ensuing laughter is so natural that I suspect it's a blooper that they decided to keep in. I don't think the whack on the arm was scripted, I think she was irritated because he seemed to have forgotten a line! But it works really nicely. Frakes might even have ad-libbed that line.

The ageing makeup works quite well. Subtle.

Anyway - not one that bears close scrutiny but enjoyable.
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James White
Sun, May 17, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

William B - whether Apocalypse Now is a psychodrama or bad acid trip does not make it solipsistic. It makes it either a dubious recollection or a figment of one's hallucinating mind. Solipsism is a metaphysical/epistemological concept that questions the ontological basis for anything existing outside of one's mind. As a variant, it questions whether knowledge of the external world is possible. This, in turn, impacts our ability to know others as we do ourselves (assuming they even exist).

You at least make the effort to apply the term with some degree of accuracy. Trent's post was just an America hating rant littered with unsupported and hyperbolic conclusions.
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James White
Tue, May 12, 2020, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

In fairness, maybe Trent is having a really bad day. I've read some solid posts from him. Many people are having a tough time dealing with reality these days, lashing out in some oddly irrational ways. I hope things calm down for his and many others' sakes.
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James White
Tue, May 12, 2020, 12:18am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Trent - your use of the term solipsism is completely off the mark. I suggest you stick to film analysis. Also, you sound like an anti-American schmuck. Some of your criticism is legit, but much of it is just triggered hate.
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James White
Mon, May 11, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

You two should knock off the petulant nonsense.
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James G
Sat, May 9, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

It's a decent one, but it's pretty flawed. The bomb going off doesn't add a lot to the plot and the Romulan involvement is very underplayed. Worf's son's non-reaction to his mother's death is ridiculous.

Worf slaughters one of the candidates for ultimate ruler of the Klingon Empire, and gets away with a reprimand.

Not bad, not really a good one.
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James White
Tue, Apr 28, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Who needs large space fleets when Michael Burnham can solve every problem for you.
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