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James
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 9:22am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

And would you have mentioned China without the opportunity to defend western countries, accusations of political correctness, etc? I highly doubt it.
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James
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Why is genocide so hard to condemn? I think I answered that: because people don't take notice of things that hold no perceived benefit for them. And that should be obvious by the fact no one was talking about it here until someone's feathers were ruffled by a criticism of Trump.
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James
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 12:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

If we're looking for clues why no one seems to care about some of these atrocities mentioned, I'd say this discussion thread is a fairly accurate microcosm of the general situation. When there's a prize for who's right, which country is superior, which president was better, or concerning the endless left/right debate, that's when these issues start to matter.
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James White
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

It's a good thing you people post anonymously.
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James
Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Legacy

Hmm.. a sinful robot. Which god would he be punished/saved by? It would have to be us humans, given we are his creator. Well, it seems appropriate that we have the power to absolve sin, since we created the idea in the first place.
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James
Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Redemption, Part I

@Mal - He'd have to take on TAS and also Lower Decks to achieve that though.. Is he willing? :)
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James
Sat, Mar 27, 2021, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Hollow Pursuits

A more relevant question to me is how different would the racial representation of TNG be from your average American military unit? I don't imagine it would be that different, though I could be wrong. If the show really wanted to be forward thinking it would have included ethnicities not known for participation in the late 20th century US military, and showed them fitting in perfectly.

TOS did more (for its time) by including a Russian at a time when collaboration would have been unthinkable, giving us a sense of a united future Earth.
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James04
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Nauseating hypocrisy from Picard.

He was very keen for Q to “interfere“ to prevent Starfleet and Earth being assimilated by the Borg - but when begged by Dr. Crusher to give the Ornarans something that could break them of their addiction, he preaches the Prime Directive, which he construes as forbidding interference, at her.

Apparently the PD does not apply when a member of Starfleet is in danger of getting the chop for committing a crime on an alien planet - far from letting the Edosians execute Wesley, Picard‘s adherence to the rule of non-interference that he praises so highly in Symbiosis is allowed to be put on one side. The PD is clearly absolutely binding for Picard - except when it’s not convenient. Millions of strangers can suffer for his inviolable moral principle, the PD - but stuff the PD if it endangers people he cares about. Then it magically (that being the apposite word) ceases to be inviolable. And, as magically, becomes inviolable again when he wants it to be. Bare-faced callousness, though ugly, is at least preferable to callousness masquerading as moral high-mindedness and principle.

His hypocrisy would be nowhere near as offensive if he did not set himself up as morally superior to us 20th-century barbarians. The self-righteous self-congratulation of characters in TNG is one of its more unattractive features. If the members of Starfleet are such moral paragons, why do they lack the wisdom to reject our hypocrisies, instead of copying them ? Picard 0 - Dr. Crusher 1

It’s no wonder he was in a hurry to leave that system - he probably had an uneasy conscience.
To Picard’s credit, he does lose some of his tendency to self-righteous posturing in the course of the series.

I think Jammer was right - 2 seems a fair mark for the episode.
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James
Wed, Mar 17, 2021, 1:10am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Nietzsche had a perspective on a Star Trek movie?

Wow. Please share!

He must have got this immortality thing down pat.
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James White
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Nietzsche's perspective trumps any of the BS posted so far. Also, knock it off Bob (whoever the hell you are).
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James
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Yes but those 42 years have all gone by with the assumption that it matters what you do, that succeeding in life is important, that if you don't do something there could be negative consequences. Imagine how embodied those assumptions are, and for most people, it only gets worse over time. You don't learn what it's like to live forever just by living more years, if those years have been lived under the constant shadow of death. Our thoughts and beliefs about what life is like is what creates our perceptions.
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James
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Isn't that just because we have no idea what it would be like to be immortal? I see it as similar to imagining eternity - when you've lived with time your whole life, it's impossible to imagine what timelessness is like. Our experience of being alive, of being a person, is so infused with the certainty of death that I don't think we can rely on that crystal ball we're looking into.
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James G
Sun, Mar 14, 2021, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

So I worked through the seven TV series, then I started to watch the TNG films. Then this one was next up, and it took me a long time to get round to it. Having seen at the cinema when it came out, I just didn't have any real enthusiasm for it.

As it turns out I enjoyed it a bit more than I expected. But not much more. I think it's overlong. It's an idea that would have stretched to a one hour TV episode that, for me, would have been average at best.

My main problem with it though is the idea it's based on, this notion of a natural fountain of youth. Even for sci-fi, it stretches credulity too far. It would change the whole history of humanity. It would surely be reproduced synthetically eventually and then the whole fabric of human (and Klingon, etc etc) life and society is changed irrevocably. It's best not to touch huge concepts like this, they raise too many questions and problems.

It's also sort of hard to support the notion that, since their world could indeed benefit billions, this small settlement of 600 people should just be left alone. Especially when they aren't indigenous.

I found it odd that a society that has, in Picard's words, "rejected technology" should be able to diagnose the fault in Data's positronic gubbins. Why do they learn that sort of thing?

I don't really like Data going off the rails and attacking Starfleet, even as a consequence of damage from being attacked. It really undermines his character.

There's a certain sentimental whimsy in the way the main characters are played that I suppose is inevitable after over ten years, especially since this must have been the first time for a few years that the cast was back together. And interestingly they're starting to look a bit middle-aged, especially Brent Spiner.

But my main dislike is the long, drawn out, dramatic action movie conclusion. It just didn't grab me.

Anyway, it's not that bad. But to be honest it felt like a bit of a chore sitting through it. My recollection is that Nemesis is a bit better so I'll do that one soon.
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James
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

@Edmund Bloxam
"Also, the critics of 'Voyager' miss that it came before serialised television, in effect. 'B5' was garbage, literal garbage, so the only shows that committed to real consequences were soap operas"

I'm sure someone else will point out that this is factually wrong (I'll leave it to another to list all the serialized shows that came before VOY) but I do want to add my own opinion that the garbage 'B5' is better than any and all of the Trek shows, old and new. Though I don't expect that opinion to be popular on a Trek review site such as this.
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James
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: MAND S1: Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

@Bob & Booming

Are we watching the same show? The Mandalorian is none of those things. It’s trite and prosaic.
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James
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 1:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Elaan of Troyius

I had never seen this episode before and I loved it. You’re not going to believe this but my super successful rich friend married an “Elaan”, and she even looks the same!

How is this even possible? Are we all just stuck in some computer generated universe on a loop? The interaction between Kirk and Elaan is bang on. And the disbelief of McCoy and Spock in the hallway watching this train wreck, yup, who hasn’t been there before?

I just love TOS. How can practically every episode written 50 years ago, seem so relevant today? And I don’t care what anybody says, they are better actors than what’s on TV now...
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James G
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

So - I finished my long odyssey through the telly TNG a few weeks ago, and now I arrive at the second feature film, First Contact. Before this evening, I last saw this at a cinema in London 26 years ago and damn, where did all those years go. I'd quite like to have them back.

Anyway I remember that I liked it a lot, but I'd forgotten how good this is. I think I can remember the remaining feature films well enough, though I will watch them again in the coming weeks, to say that First Contact is the pinnacle of all things TNG.

Like Generations, it benefits from the extra time and money spent on the production and direction, but even more so this time. There's a wonderful big screen feature film mood. Everything works perfectly - the enhanced photography, the more ambitious sets, the dramatic direction. No doubt the darkness of the sets was intended with a darkened cinema in mind but it really reinforced the mood. I found the new Enterprise very stylish.

And there's even some Reg content.

I'm very pleased that the Borg idea gets the more involved cinema treatment. There some very nice horror here - the gruesome details of the assimilation, and the scenes with Data's human skin grafts. The kiss between Data and the Borg Queen. Their dialogue. Really quite chilling.

Patrick Stewart is brilliant in the scene where his need for revenge has got the better of his judgement. So intense. At one point there's a haunted look in his eyes.

I loved the external Enterprise scene as well. Tense and clever, but - it's not clear to me exactly how the Neal McDonough character gets assimilated so quickly, or whey they even bother when they're obviously busy with other priorities.

I was really surprised when the "To Hell with our orders" remark turned up, from Data. I could have sworn that was from the beginning of 'Insurrection'. I remember disliking it when I saw it, because I'd expect Data to be a stickler for the rules.

There are definitely some flaws and question marks. That's true for every TNG episode, but I will explore some of them here anyway.

First off - the basic idea.

How does a civilisation living around bonfires and prefabricated huts in this post-war ramshackle society manage to construct a warp-drive capable spacecraft out of a missile? It's really a stretch. The community at the missile complex look like drop-outs, don't they?

And how, when it's evident that the Vulcans are already capable of warp travel and interstellar flight when they visit the ramshackle post-war Earth populated by near-vagrants, does Earth come to dominate the Federation over the next century or two?

I also wondered why they didn't notice a Starship in orbit when they come to pay a visit, but never mind.

There's a lot less preparation and caution on the Vulcans' part for their first contact than the Federation bothers with in the TNG TV episode of the first name. No preliminary surveillance, and careful private meeting with the chief scientist. No formal overtures to whoever's in charge. They just rock up and start having a few drinks at the bar. But that's not a criticism, just an observation.

This is not a criticism of this film in particular, but - the Borg are a curious opponent. They apparently haven't yet assimilated a species that has taught them not to ignore their enemies unless they are directly under attack. But I like the Borg concept a lot. I'd love to see an origin story of the Borg. It strikes me that they owe something to the Cybermen from the 1960s Doctor Who. There's a cracking origin story for the cybermen, in which their world, once a sister planet to Earth, is expelled from orbit - and their people resort to using cybernetic enhancements to cope with their new, harsh conditions. Perhaps the Borg were something like normal, well-meaning humans, using technology to adapt - until it got out of control.

I didn't quite buy the idea of organising a hologram program for the purpose of attacking Borg drones with a weapon first used in the 1920s, especially given how ineffectual the crew's phasers are in that application, but it's a nice excuse for a glamorous 20th century scene.

Marina Sirtis has a pretty small part in this one. No offence, Deanna fans, but I can't really complain about that. At least her hairdo is nicer than we're used to.

I suppose Geordi's bionic eyes are a natural development.

My biggest problem with the plot really is the same problem I have with all the time travel stories .. they never really withstand scrutiny. In this one, if you think about it, the Borg get as many goes as they like at conquering the post-war Earth. They could do it 100 times until they get it right. Also, the slightest change that happens in the 21st century world could affect the future dramatically, like the wings of a butterfly that cause a hurricane.

Is that actually Brent Spiner in the final scene on the bridge? It doesn't quite look like him. I wondered if some other actor was standing in for him for some reason, though it's definitely his voice.

The CGI for Data's facial human skin, and for the exposed parts is really well done. Much better than the prosthetics in the TV series.

Anyway - this was, without a doubt, a superb film. A definite, visually and dramatically compelling step above the TV series and for me, the ultimate TNG experience.

I watched this on Amazon Prime. Because my browser doesn't support HD for Prime, I rented the SD version - but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually near-HD. It looks an awful lot sharper than Voyager does on Netflix, for example. But I guess it's as much about the source.
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James White
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Jammer, how can you love Star Trek this much and be a capitalist? :)
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James G
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Generations

So having completed my, er, trek through the entirety of the seven TNG TV series a few days ago, this seemed the obvious next step. I hadn't seen it since I went to see it at a cinema in 1993.

I liked it more than I expected, actually. I was not overly fond of it at the time. But coming straight off the back of the TV series, I appreciated the extra money spent on the production. The direction is a lot different, the incidental music more dramatic. Everything seems darker, presumably because it was intended to be seen in a darkened cinema. The scenes in Picard's cabin especially take place in a very moody gloom. The whole thing is slower-paced, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Giving Data a personality in this one was a brilliant move. Brent Spiner puts in a brilliant comedic performance, and Riker's facial reactions to his new-found sense of humour on the bridge were hilarious.

Scotty's part is really well-written - he comes across as a wise old fox who's seen and done it all, and he has a lot more stature and dignity here than he did in his TNG TV cameo.

I've always held the view that the Trek movies seem to take place in a different universe than the TV series, almost though they're written and directed by people who don't quite get the idea. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the frequent references to "Tuesday" on the Enterprise-B. I don't remember ever hearing a character in any of the Trek TV series referring to something so mundane as a day of the week.

Malcolm McDowell is downright brilliant in this. A beautiful blend of thuggish menace and patrician English class. I can't imagine a more suitable actor to play a self-serving mastermind villain with an undercurrent of sadistic cruelty.

I really liked the set pieces. The watery holodeck scene, the Enterprise "crash landing", although I sort of doubt that the crew would survive it. The scene on the Klingon Bird of Prey as the torpedo sizzles in across the void from the Enterprise, visible on the viewer. The xplosions on the bridge were possibly a bit overdone, though. Perhaps that was meant as an homage to the original series, where something on the bridge would blow up every week as the crew rocked from side to side in their chairs.

I wasn't overly keen on the scenes on the planet surface, where Soran has deployed his weapon. The chain and the handrails and the walkway seem a bit 20th century to me, especially when the chain link fails. And the weapon itself .. it's supposed to collide with a star in a matter of seconds? But as it's launched it looks a lot like a 20th century chemical rocket, all a bit low tech. There should have been some sort of CGI beam or a huge flash representing it going to warp in a fraction of a second. Or something. Anything but a big firework going off.

But here's my big problem with this film. What the Smeg is the Nexus? This is never really explored. How did it come to exist, how does it work? There's not even a half-hearted Technobollocks attempt to explain it. How does Guinan lead Picard from his own illusion to Kirk's? How does Picard get to have a second go at preventing the weapon being fired? And if that failed, presumably he'd have a third, or a fourth .. etc?

Picard's wife should have been Beverly really. Missed a trick there.

As for the scenes with Kirk and Picard, there's a nice contrast between their personalities, never more apparent than when Kirk declares that "the Galaxy owes me one". And that underlined the wisdom of not trying to repeat Kirk's character for TNG. Picard is anything but Kirk II, and the series is much the better for it. Kirk's grudging, almost sarcastic order to "take us out" of space dock on the Enterprise-B is Kirk at his most Shatneresque.

This is of course, the story in which Kirk finally meets his end. And I think that was probably a mistake. For one thing it's a bit of a kick in the teeth for all the fans,a nd for another - Kirk has beaten death so many times in his career that it's actually hard to process the idea that he could be killed just like that, not emotionally, but dramatically. He's so indestructible that it barely seems real.

Anyway - flaws aside it does have a lot going for it. The additional money was mostly well spent and there are some bravura performances from Spiner, McDowell, Doohan and Stewart.

I was well entertained.

Shame Netflix doesn't have this; I watched it on Amazon Prime and apart from costing me a few quid it also didn't support HD in Firefox (under Linux). Netflix works beautifully.

But watching in SD didn't really detract from the fun. We were happy enough to have this sort of thing on VHS tapes back in the day.
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James G
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Brilliant. I couldn't imagine a more fitting finale to the whole series. I well remember watching this back in 1994, but I'd forgotten how good it was.

I started watching them all through again in March 2019, never having watched any of them for years, many years in some cases (and never in others). I definitely feel that my Star Trek TNG Odyssey had a good send-off this evening - and since some of the episodes in the last couple of series have been pretty awful, I'm glad about that.

I watched this in January 2021, not much less than 27 years after it was shown - so there was a certain resonance for me in that the "future" events here were supposed to have taken place 25 years after the crew were "all together on the Enterprise", in Picard's words when he meets Geordi. Then again 'Nemesis' was supposed to have taken place 9 years after the last events of the TV series, but anyway - interesting to see how everyone had aged in real life compared to their artificially aged characters. I have to say that Future Riker doesn't look a lot like Frakes in the present day, but there's only so much you can do I guess! And that's not a complaint, although I did laugh when the old boy appeared on screen.

They could have made Geordi's hair a bit whiter. Age is kind to him. But you know what they say - the black don't crack.

Er, anyway - I was truly, properly drawn in to this one and the 90 minutes flew past. But as much as I was intrigued and immersed in the story, I was touched by the way it worked as a sentimental conclusion to the whole TNG TV journey - never becoming too mawkish or cloying. Even the Worf / Troi / Riker subplot didn't annoy me.

Tasha looks a few years older than she did in the first series of course, but at the same time she'd started to look delightfully milfy by 1994, so I could certainly forgive that. And I was really happy to see her included here. I suppose it's a shame that Wesley couldn't have had another run out.

The scenes in which Picard, as a new captain, appears to his new crew to be more or less incompetent are embarrassing, aren't they? And of course he does get them killed. But in a very good cause, of course. And I enjoyed the tension of the new crew wondering if their new captain was actually up to the job.

The idea of bookending the whole 7 series with the Q courtroom conceit was brilliant - really gives emphasis to the finale as a retrospective. And I loved the way Q put that dramatic emphasis on the word 'trek'.

And I loved seeing Earth at the time of the very dawn of life. I often think about that moment when the protein, or RNA molecule, or whatever, formed. And I wonder where it happened. Might even have been in my back garden.

Beverley asks for "milk, warm, with a dash of nutmeg". But she doesn't say "cow's milk". It would have been quite funny if the replicator had given her dog's milk.

It lasts longer than any other milk, dog's milk. No bugger'll drink it. Plus of course the advantage of dog's milk is that when it goes off, it tastes exactly the same as when it's fresh.

A couple of nit-picks, though. I don't really buy the idea of anti-time healing people's injuries and reversing pregnancies, while life appears to go on as normal, clocks tick, conversations take place in the usual linear fashion, etc, etc. There was no real need for it as a plot device and it was nonsensical.

It's odd that Riker is prepared to blow up Klingon warships just to help out his old captain. Really? He's supposed to be a Starfleet Admiral.

But I readily forgive the flaws because this was a colossal 90 minutes of telly. Wonderful.

Well I think I'll watch them all again in ten year's time, but for now - adios.
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James G
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

Didn't think I was going to like this one a lot - although I like Ro, I wasn't really that interested in the story. But as it unfolds .. the moral ambiguity is very well done. Are the Maquis really the bad guys? And the bond between Ro and the old man develops really nicely.

The attack by the Cardassians on the Maquis base, or settlement or whatever it is underlines this beautifully - it seems obvious that Ro should resist it the Cardassian attack with lethal force. Until you remember that they're supposed to be on the same side.

Criticisms? Well, Ro infiltrates the Maquis extremely successfully and very quickly. It's all a bit too easy. But I guess you only have 45 minutes to play with. And the notion of penetrating a Galaxy Class Starship's shields with another craft seems preposterous.

Still - slow to start but the drama intensifies quite substantially in the last 15 mins. A very good one.

Seems a fitting conclusion for the Ro character. I liked Riker's response to her, as well. I would have expected him to snarl "you won't get away with this, lieutenant!" but he knows she's chosen her destiny, and bids her a resigned farewell.

Picard's reaction too, at his desk, is priceless.
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James diGriz
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 8:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Profit and Loss

Definitely one of the most idiotic episodes for aforementioned reasons. I have to take this as non-canon due to the severe violations of Odo's character.
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James G
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Emergence

As it happens, I really like this one. I well remembered an episode with imaginary characters digging coal that I'd liked from way back when, but when that episode with Data having dreams turned up, I thought that must have been it.

As I watched this, it occurred to me that it felt like an episode from one of the first couple of series. Which in turn made me think that maybe the earlier stories are a bit more imaginative.

I didn't really like the idea that the new ship's intelligence saved the ship from being blown up in a sudden unexpected instant. Bit over-dramatic. I thought Deanna was taking a bit of a risk going into the Holodeck the first time, given that someone had already been shot in there.

An in the end, it's a bit bizarre, isn't it? The Enterprise becoming self-aware and giving birth to an intelligent object? And I still don't quite get how it manufactures the colourful plumbing around the various parts of the ship.

Despite all this I really liked the Holodeck imagery / conundrum and I think this is one of the better Series 7 stories.

Picard's comments at the end about mission records and experiences being honourable .. I think that's a sentimental commentary on the entirety of TNG, as it draws to a close.

Just two left .. I think I started this TNG-athon in March 2019. I'll miss it.
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James White
Wed, Jan 6, 2021, 7:37am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

Amos should go on one of his psychotic benders and take out the entire Discovery crew.
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James G
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Bloodlines

Well - I quite liked this one. Quite engaging and interesting, I thought. The guy who plays Picard's pseudo-offspring reminds me of a cheesy and annoying Jim Carrey, but I guess he's supposed to be like that. I was relieved that he wasn't banging a holographic Deanna in Holodeck 4, when Picard turned up.

He looks a bit older than 23, and it turns out the guy who played him was ten years older than that.

Anyway .. a couple of things wrong with this episode. Firstly, the idea that the Enterprise is so easily vulnerable to an attack by a rogue Ferengi. And secondly - Picard performing his own one-man special forces away mission with a phaser.

Still - not bad.
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