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James04
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Death Wish

At last I know what I dislike about Q and his kind: they are totally egocentric. Self-obsessed bores do not make a good episode.

1 star, for a good beginning. The rest of the episode was lousy.
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James04
Mon, Aug 26, 2019, 12:13am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Projections

This was a good holodeck episode, “Ship in a Bottle” good. Not a silly holodeck episode, with Picard and co. dressed up as 18th-century Naval officers, and not twee, and much better than a Janeway holonovel episode. This was also much better in every way than the episodes exploring, about whether Data is human, because the exploration of the Doctor’s status arose entirely naturally from the logic of the events in the story and the series; it was not preachy, as so much of TNG is.

It was good to see Reg Barclay - we always see a great deal of the Bridge officers, and it was a pleasant change to see a lower-ranking character get some of the attention instead. On the whole, Voyager divides its attention between the Bridge officers, and the all-important lower ranks, rather well; better, perhaps, than TNG does.
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james04
Sun, Aug 25, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Squire of Gothos

One of my favourite TOS episodes. Far more alien, even eerie, than many that were more impressive in production values. And far superior to Q in almost every way. Trelane would have made a much better Q than Q. At times the episode had the tone and atmosphere of one of the more disconcerting Twilight Zone episodes. The lion’s share of the credit for that belongs to the excellent William Campbell, whose mercurial Squire was unpredictable, friendly, ingratiating, wheedling, incredulous, hurt, tantrum-throwing, and terrifying by turns.
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James04
Sun, Aug 25, 2019, 3:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

A worthy forerunner to a very good film.
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james04
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 4:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

It was quite watchable……until the Tin Man’s re-hashed nonsense about the Gadgets of the Week being alive. Sorry, but they are not alive, and neither are is the TM. The TM is a sophisticated machine, nothing more, which gives the illusion of being more because it is the invention of script-writers who are more. Data is as genuinely tiresome as the well-hated Wonderboy was said to be.

The episode stopped being intelligent, and became tiresome. Machines with angst are funny, now and again, because they are ridiculous, but when the angst never lets up they become tedious. Data needs a convenient airlock - or better still, a trash compactor. Unfortunately, that does not happen in TNG. But human beings, unlike St. Rubbish-bin, are expendable.

And having a weird hairstyle like something from Cosmo does not an alien make. Ray Bradbury was able to make even things on Earth seem alien - a gift far too few script-writers in ST shared. TNG is all too often a soap opera in space.

Still, at least the nauseatingly twee Trevis and Flotta were not inflicted on the viewer. Mercifully, neither was the unbearable Q. But an episode does not become a good episode merely because detestable characters do not feature in it.

Two stars.
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James04
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 6:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

Q is an obnoxious jerk, and a very little of him goes a very long way. For a supposedly omnipotent being, he does very little with his powers. The episode would have been much better without Q, or at least without the silliness that is seemingly inseparable from the character.
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james04
Wed, Jan 23, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

The Rasmussen character has the most punchable face in all ST. Which is saying something. I really like the scene in which Punchbag-face tries being cocky and annoying once too often, only to have Picard shout at him with unmistakeable, but well-controlled, anger. I find it troubling that the bridge crew accept Rasmussen so readily, and tell him so much.

I thought the end wrapped the whole thing up nicely. 2.5 stars.
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james04
Wed, Jan 23, 2019, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

One of the very best episodes in TOS, and in all of ST. 4/4
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james04
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

“Except it had been communicated with in previous episode with Lore. And communicating with a rampaging death sentence is not hip. It's a threat and you wipe out a threat of this magnitude - not try to get to know it while it poses an immediate danger.”

I agree with that. Picard had the right idea, but his timing was off. If an enormous, dangerous, deadly space-entity thas has recently killed thousands is after your ship, trying to negotiate with it is irresponsible. Negotiate with it by all means, but only once it can do no harm. Then is the time for dialogue - but not while it is free and able to kill. Dialogue with an entity that can do no harm because it is no longer a danger allows one the freedom to destroy it, if need be, without requiring that as the only safe course of action.

It might conceivably have been an infant, that had to eat in order to grow. And killing it could have been very unwise, if it had had parents to go all Mummy Bear on its behalf. Those questions could, perhaps, have been answered, had it not been killed.
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james04
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 8:42am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

Move Along Home is the Sub Rosa or Threshold of DS 9. 1 star - just to be generous.
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james04
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

@Peter G:

Thanks for replying.

“but the flaw in the episode isn't that the Federation stomped on local law. ”

It is however one of the flaws. The Federation has no right to come in and impose their laws on a planet and a people not under their lawful rule, to which they are strangers. They should have complied with the Edo’s laws.

This could have been a good episode, exploring the tension between the two, but it was mishandled, so the exploration, which could have been very creative, was incompletely realised.

As for the responsibility you refer to - in a better version of this episode, it could have been explored. The defence you make for Wesley might not convince the Edo.
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James04
Mon, Jul 23, 2018, 4:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

The Dal’rok is plausible enough, if one remembers the Id Monster from “Forbidden Planet”. What takes rather more swallowing is the appearance of the Dal’rok - it resembles a cross between the Michelin Man and a scrambled egg. Its appearance was about as unthreatening as could well be imagined.

2 stars, I think. The B plot with Jake, Nog and Varis was much better handled. The inclusion of Odo was a nice touch.
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James04
Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Supplemental log: 4 stars out of 4. The choice of Picard for that mission rather than Data seems wrong, but not sufficient to cost the two-parter anything. Two-parters always seem to be strong episodes.
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James04
Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Commander Riker acted very unprofessionally in getting into a stand-up row with Captain Jellico. That set a bad example, and showed a lack of self-discipline, and a want of respect for the Captain. Objecting to an order that seems inhumane or imprudent or otherwise uncalled-for becomes wrong, once the Captain has made it clear that the objection has been dismissed and that his decision stands. What is the point of a chain of command, if the Captain’s final decision is, after all, not final ? Someone has to have the final word: a starship is not a democracy. If obedience to an order that is not illegitimate is made to depend on the approval of those commanded, obedience to authority is at an end; what is the point of joining Starfleet, if one’s obedience to orders is to be contingent on whether one agrees with them ? Riker goes a long way to trashing Captain Picard’s glowing testimonial to him, and that is very sad. (I suspect the inclusion of the testimonial was meant to show that Riker’s objections would be justified; if that is what the writers intended, they managed to undermine the point they were hoping to make.) Riker’s behaviour when the Captain visited his quarters seemed very off-hand; a Captain deserves respect because of his rank, whether one likes him or not. A First Officer should know that.

If Riker had simply been doing his duty of questioning questionable orders, he would not have been so emotionally involved in objecting as he did. The Captain acted properly in relieving him. And showed admirable self-restraint when Riker criticised him - and very unfair criticisms they were too. OTOH, the Captain and Geordi got on very well.

Captain Jellico clearly had the ability to shrug off losses of personnel without being emotionally crippled by them. That may seem callous of him, but I like it, a lot. I liked his direct, no-nonsense, no frills approach. It is a refreshing change from TNG’s reigning assumption that bad stuff can always be reversed. As some previous episodes in series 6 have shown, this is not always possible. Sometimes, bad or idiotic things with grievous results cannot be changed or put right. That kind of realism is welcome. We are a world away from an early episode like “Justice”, which had to betray its own logic to end as it did. (Maybe the Tar Baby Kills Tasha Yar episode was an attempt to retrieve the illogic of “Justice”.) Picard survived his ordeal - but only through credible means that did not pressing the Reset button or the use of other implausibilities.

The Captain’s decision is tough on Picard, but losses of personnel cannot be ruled out if Starfleet plays that kind of double game. The Federation should have delayed signing a peace treaty until it had established that the Cardassians were not up to something. The duplicity shown by the Federation is a spectacular own goal. OTOH, the Cardassians have no right to complain of Federation spying when their own behaviour includes using torture. If the Federation’s behaviour is a lot less whiter than white, that of the Cardassians is a very dingy grey.

Starfleet should not have sent Captain Picard to Centris III. Sending Data, an android incapable of succumbing to torture, would seem to be a better choice. Especially as his powers of assimilating and co-ordinating info far exceed that of a human or human-like being. Data withstood even assimilation by the Borg; it is scarcely credible that the perverted ingenuity of the Cardassians could have been more successful against him.
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James04
Sun, Jun 24, 2018, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Suddenly Human

I thought this was very funny, and it increased my respect for Captain Picard. First Troi quizzes him, then she leaves him in the lurch so he can act as the boy’s substitute father: that was harsh. I don’t think a Starship captain should have to shoulder that kind of responsibility, when he has an entire crew to look after; especially when the crew is a thousand strong. Worf should have been been Jono’s substitute father, rather than Picard, as others have already said.

2.5 stars.
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James04
Sat, Jun 16, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Loud as a Whisper

That scene where Troi reveals what was on Worf’s mind, may have been there to act as a foil to the scene, also on the Enterprise, where Data vocalises the thoughts of Riva. Worf and Riva are, after all, very different characters.

The place given to Data, and to Riva’s reactions to him, show how Data is growing as a character, and proving, yet again, how versatile and important he is. Troi is clearly secondary to him in this episode. Whatever its flaws may be, some important things happen in it. The episode also provides some “personal growth” for Riva.

I think this episode is a lot better than it’s given credit for being. 3 stars out of 4 seems about right.
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james04
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: True Q

OK except for the last 5 to 10 minutes. Q is either a bully, or completely amoral - either way, a repulsive character. The ending was completely the wrong one. 2.5 stars seems fair. It was a pity to see the same trope being trotted out, as when Riker was tempted to become a Q, of testing characters by letting something happen that they would want to correct.

Q has the same failing as the Greek gods, only more so: because he do anything, Q has no capacity for, and no understanding of, tragedy - his existence is fundamentally frivolous, because it is totally devoid of risk; and it is not based on goodness, but on egotism; so ultimately, it is hollow and selfish. That sounds pretty much like Hell to me. To be bamboozled into choosing that kind of existence, rather than the friendships Amanda could have had, turns the end of the episode into something very like one of the grimmer Twilight Zone episodes.
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james04
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 5:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

4/4. The two main leads did not put a foot wrong. This was an excellent example of TNG at its best.
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James04
Tue, May 29, 2018, 2:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

Not a horrible episode, so......2.5 stars, I think. Basically, not quite good enough to get 3 stars, but watchable, interesting, involving, and, unlike some, it did not drag.
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James04
Sat, May 26, 2018, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

A flawless episode - 4 stars out of 4.
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James04
Sat, May 26, 2018, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Dark Page

The lullaby sequence surprised me that it wasn’t “Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty” - I must be confusing The Big Bang Theory, which is always worth watchiing, with TNG, which is sometimes tedious and psycho-babbly - like this episode. TBBT is always fun, and far too many episodes of TNG, like this one, are not fun, but a chore.

I know what’s wrong with this episode: much too much of it felt, and even looked, like a consultation with a doctor. It was too obvious that the actors were people acting - disbelief went unsuspended. I think this is probably why I dislike of the holodeck scenes: they set out to destroy all possibility of suspension of disbelief. And this episode was marred by the same staginess.

Two stars seems fair: the episode is not unwatchable garbage with no redeeming features whatsoever, but it is dull and (I believe the word is) over-acted.
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james04
Thu, May 24, 2018, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Captive Pursuit

After a shaky start with parts of “Emissary”, I find DS9 grows on one. This was a good episode. I just wish that the usual colour scheme of the station was not so muddy brown - the blue of the uniforms of Bashir and Dax, and the vivid, Starfleet-like red worn by Tosk’s pursuers, were a genuine relief. (The colours of the uniforms in TNG also left something to be desired - mustard-brown, purple and black clash). It was good to have an episode in which O’Brien was so much to the fore, and there was real tension in the uncertainty about what Tosk would decide to do. This episode deserves its 3 stars. I don’t - yet - see why Jake Sisko is such a hate-figure in parts of the fandom; later, perhaps.
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james04
Tue, May 8, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

1 star is more than enough.

The ending was especially off-putting, with the smug Starfleet types doing a runner, and violating the justice of the Edosians, without bothering to explain why their own justice should take precedence over it. There was the seed of an intelligent debate here, but nothing could come of it. Wesley should have been executed. That would have been a hard choice for Picard, it would have satisfied the logic of the Prime Directive, & it would have provided a plotline for possible future use. Other members of Starfleet die - so why should he be spared ? It would have shown that Redshirts are not the only mortals on Enterprise, and that actions have consequences.

As that scene in fact developed, it left the impression that the Federation can stomp over other cultures’ laws and sensibilities because the pygmy Eloi - sorry, pre-warp aliens - cannot stop it doing so. The vaunted Prime Directive is merely a figleaf to cover the moral nakedness of Starfleet, for its application is not governed by any discernible principle. One was unpleasantly reminded of US military interventionism at its most sanctimonious. Hypocrisy and smugness are no less nauseating from Starfleet 350 years from now than they are from present-day politicians. The obvious moral of this intellectually tawdry episode is the very cynical one that might makes right.
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james04
Thu, May 3, 2018, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Author, Author

A big old 4 stars. This episode was everything a ST Voyager episode should be.
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james04
Sun, Apr 29, 2018, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

1. Why is Neelix talking about having “served over 300 meals” ? 204 Klingons + 150 Voyager crew = over 350 meals, at least. That is a lot more than “over 300” would suggest. Those replicators must have been working overtime.

2. Why is Janeway endangering her crew by beaming aboard more Klingons than she has crewmembers ?

3. Neelix, yet again, has all the tact and consideration for Tuvok of a Hutt (OK, different ‘verse, but anyway).

4. Why secular folk like Klingons, whose gods are dead, would have hopes of a saviour, is anyone’s guess. Maybe this Klingon sect has a different theology ?

5. I can’t decide whether this episode is mocking certain Jewish or Christian beliefs, or pillorying the abuse of those beliefs for selfish ends, or alerting attention to the manipulation of religion for selfish ends, or a bit of all three.

Since ST is fond of issues-driven episodes, it is only to be expected that religion, that plays so prominent a part in US culture, should come in for some attention. The uncertainty of tone is a pity nonetheless, seeing as other programmes - The Simpsons, South Park - have been able to explore this topic without this uncertainty. Maybe cartoons are a better medium for exploring certain issues than more “realistic” drama ?

6. A Klingon with what appear to be three (adamantium ?) claws ? Hmm...OK. Since he is aggressive, fair enough.

7. BLT’s semi-quotation from “Starship Troopers” was fun.

2.5 stars, I think.
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