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Matthew Martin
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

This isn’t Star Trek, but it’s not even good “generic” sci-fi either. It reminds of a 1950s sci-fi pulp novel: It’s cheesy, with little story, nothing but action, a random monster attack, etc. All it needs is needless cleavage and a $0.99 price sticker on the cover.
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Matthew Martin
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

Michael remains a frustrating protagonist. She wins every fight, solves every problem, knows every detail, convinces every skeptic. It’s all so tiresome and boring.
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Matthew Martin
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

My problem---admittedly, after only one episode---is that the fundamental problem I have with the show hasn't improved: It's still just dumb schlock. TNG turned the corner because the writing improved. Michael Pillar became the showrunner and said: "This show is about our characters. Every plot is about how it relates to what our characters are going through that week." That internal focus on the half-dozen characters at the heart of the show is what turned so many good "sci-fi ideas" into great "Star Trek episodes."

Discovery hasn't done that. Instead, they're trying to fix the show's fundamental problems by putting band-aids on the bleeding gashes.

Going to the future doesn't change the writing. Adding another side-character doesn't change the writing. Splitting up the crew doesn't change the writing. If anything, the changes that began in season three are only going to exacerbate the core problems I have with the show. Going to the future is a catch-22 problem that will haunt the show from here on out (or until the writers change their minds again and take them back to the past)...

Moving the show to the future is very different from the time jump done in TNG. That was a two-generation leap. Dr. McCoy was in the first episode for crying out loud. Spock showed up for a big two-parter. This isn't a couple generations; Discovery has jumped forward over seven-hundred years. TNG's small jump meant they were able to reset a lot of TOS norms and show off some new tech without everything looking too different.

Discovery's third season is so far ahead in the future, the show is stuck in a catch-22...

Everything is either SO advanced that nothing looks or feels like Star Trek. Do that, and you might as well be a different sci-fi franchise.

OR

Everything is still more or less the Star Trek tech as we've known it, but for a few cosmetic changes, in which case the time jump is pointless.

Discovery seems to be hoping to try a third option: The setting might as well be a different sci-fi universe, but the tech isn't all that different from what we're used to in the old shows. How can that be? Well they're explaining it away by saying there was a galactic-wide apocalyptic event. So that's what Star Trek is now: Mad Max in space. And with that comes the big revelation in episode one: The Federation is basically gone.

And there it is, the evidence I need to know that nuTrek has not learned it's lesson about what makes Star Trek (when done right) so special:

The fundamental notion of Star Trek is that the future is bright. Its aspirational. That's the point. Take that away and you're left with a ship without a rudder. That's why these new shows all feel so aimless. Their cynical, and when they're not cyncial their confused about why they're supposed to be optimistic. It's like building a house without a foundation. You can raise the walls and put a roof on top; from a distance it looks like a house, but all it takes is a stiff breeze and the whole thing collapses.
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Matt B
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

For some reason I thought this episode was going to be boring. Maybe I'm remembering the later Alexander episodes but this was not boring at all. Everybody else said all the great stuff about this episode.
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Matt
Sun, Aug 23, 2020, 12:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Forsaken

One thing that always bothers me about episodes like this is when writers seem to forget all the tools that the characters would have available to them. Sure, the alien computer program is affecting systems like the turbolifts and transporters, and that is a big problem. But it would not be affecting the systems on any of the runabouts since they are independent of the station's computer. Why not just use one of their transporters to rescue Odo and Lwaxana from the turbolift and then later save Bashir and the other ambassadors from the fire?

That sort of oversight seems fairly common and it can nag at my suspension of disbelief. These characters are very bright and resourceful. There's no reason they wouldn't think of that solution other than it's because the plot demanded they don't.

The writers even realized the problem with trapping Odo was that he could shape-shift out, so they came up with an explanation about exposed circuits to counter it. Never mind that Odo has been on this station for several years now and would know this already. It would have made more sense for Odo to have been telling that to Lwaxana rather than for Kira to be informing Odo. After all, Odo has shape-shifted around doors and other places on the station, so presumably he was aware of where it was safe to do so.

At least we got the weak "exposed circuits" explanation. The writers could just as easily come up with a throwaway line like "all of the runabouts are on a survey mission in the Gamma quadrant and won't be back for XX hours." Then at least the problem with the computer becomes much more critical. Though there are other ships docked at the station that could have been used. You'd have to also explain that none of those ships had transporters, even though that seems highly unlikely.

The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get at the contrived predicament. That's not to say that I dislike the episode! I actually like Lwaxana as a character and Odo gets some good character development. It's just the plot hole that nags me.
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Matthew Burns
Mon, Aug 17, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

As a movie First Contact is most definitely the most 'popcorn' and most 'accessible' for general audiences unfamiliar with the TNG Star Trek universe/canon. The script writers, and probably Frakes who directed it, wasted no time with getting the movie moving at speed to the real meat of the story. Generations for example effectively meanders for over half it's running length before anything really happens, namely the saucer crash and Picard getting down on the planet and getting involved with the Nexus.
I like Generations but I like it probably more because its TNG on the big screen with better lit sets, than because it's actually got a really good story, I'll admit. The story takes too long to get going and is not in fact executed that well.

First Contact finds a much healthier balance between great visuals and engaging and well executed story, and its paced very well indeed, and credit goes to Frakes who really hits his own creative peak IMO here, as a director.
Speaking of Frakes, he also directed the sequel, Insurrection, and it's a film that gets a fair amount of stick from the fans, which is unfair. I think with a better script he'd have been able to pull off another big winner. TNG movie era was a little let down mainly by underwhelming and convoluted scripts/plots. Even First Contact didn't escape that downfall, in that the Borg essentially are portrayed in a way that betrays their original concept from the TV show. But the execution and overall story in that case overshadows the problems.
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Matt B
Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Legacy

Ehhh it was okay. Still better than the kid episode two episodes ago.

I really didn't like how trusting they were of Ishara, and how they took her implant out but sent her back. I would have sent her to the Alliance to pay for her deception.
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Matt B
Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Remember Me

I don't remember seeing this episode before, so this was my first time viewing it. I was blown away. McFadden did a great job (thought admittedly I am a Beverly fan), especially when it was just her and the computer. And after the dreck that was the last episode, this was a nice change of pace.
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Matthew Martin
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I understand time is limited and I don't blame you a bit if you skip over this one. I probably will do the same.

That said, I would LOVE to see you go back and review The Expanse!
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Matt B
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Suddenly Human

This was a drag to get through. I think it's worse than most S1 and S2 episodes.

Just terrible.
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Matthew Martin
Sun, Jun 21, 2020, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

Loved this one.

Shout out to the great F Murray Abraham and all the other Trek alums, including writer and director.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Scar

So if I understand the timeline here...

1. Starbuck shoots down a raider in Act of Contrition
2. Starbuck guts the raider's brain and flies it home in You Can't Go Home Again
3. The Raider is flown back to Caprics in Kobol's Last Gleaming and is subsequently stolen by the Cylons soon after she lands
4. The raider is given a new brain, which I assume is the resurrected consciousness that Starbuck shot down previously.
5. Said Raider, scarred and bitter and wise in how Starbuck (and those she teaches) flies, becomes a one man (one cylon) killing machine


Is that how it went? The show never goes into it but I think that's the implication
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Matthew Martin
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Home

Really good episode, though I'm sorry to see one of my favorite characters leave. Every episode that's focused on Alaria has been really good.

As for the humor, I think everyone just needs to accept that it is what it is and it's not going away. This episode had the least amount of it this far, but I'm fine with sophomoric humor, so I wasnt bothered by it. It was stupid but I enjoyed more the reactions to the crew than I did the gags themselves.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Oh what the heck. Here are my favorites

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Flesh and Blood
Resurrection Ship 1-2
Downloaded
Lay Down Your Burdens 1-2
Faith
The Oath / Blood on the Scales
Daybreak

MY FAVORITES

33
Act of Contrition / You Can't Go Home Again
The Hand of God
Kobol's Last Gleaming
Home 1-2
Pegasus
Exodus 1-2
Maelstrom
Crossroads 1-2
Guess What's Coming to Dinner
Revelations / Sometimes a Great Notion

As I said, it's impossible to make a list that isn't stupidly long. I didn't even mention the fantastic "scattered" arc that opened season two.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

I think it's impossible to list my favorite episodes. It would be easier to list the ones I flat-out didn't like and the ones that I want to like but which didn't work...

Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down – The weakest entry of the season. Every season has one episode that just totally failed to stick the landing, but at least this one has great relevance to the series’ mythos and overall plot. The biggest detractor to the episode is the tone, which never really feels at home with the rest of the show.

Black Market – The one and only episode that is entirely skippable, imo. Not just because the plot is expendable but because it’s so boring. Other episodes have plots that add nothing to the overall mythos (there are four by my count, which is an amazingly small number), or maybe have a subplot that's worthwhile, but this one doesn’t even bring anything to the plot or to the characters. If you never watched this episode, you’d miss nothing.

Hero – Unfortunately, you can’t skip this one entirely because, while the A-plot featuring Bulldog is bad and even mildly infuriating with how it tries to rewrite Adama’s history, the B-plot with the Deanna is both intriguing and critical to the upcoming Eye of Jupiter arc. If there were a way to take the B-plot and attach it to “The Passage” you could skip this one with no repercussions.

The Woman King - It don't dislike it as much as I do Black Market, even though it's just as expendable. It's fine to watch for me because it's 45 minutes of Helo getting to be stubbornly righteous while everyone else is annoyed by it, and that's the trait I love the most about him. Still, it's a weak entry in a weak part of season three.

Deadlock - While I don't hate it, and even while I can defend the characterization of Ellen to an extent, I can't get totally get over how radically she is here compared to every other episode after her resurrection. Also the episode seems more interested in moving pieces in place for the finale than it does telling a good story.

That's it, just five episodes I can take or leave. That's a pretty incredible run if you ask me.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

@Nolan,

Yes I heard about the podcast just a few days ago and have it bookmarked. It'll be what I listen to while I draw, that's for sure.

I love the blu ray commentaries. My only problem is I end up getting so engrossed in the show I have to rewind to listen to the comments, lol.
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Matthew Martin
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Hey Occuprice,

It's been fun virtually-rewatching this show with you. I enjoyed reading your comments!

So say we all!
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Matthew Martin
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

I will say this in defense of the show being written "on the fly"

Consider how fundamentally critical Hera was to the show, and yet, when the miniseries was ended, none of the writers or creators thought we'd ever see Helo again.

According to Moore, he was meant to die off screen but the actor was so good they decided to go back to Caprica to check in on him, devising the love story that ended up being the fulcrum of the whole final arc.

That's what writing on the fly can do. It allows you the space to improvise and revise along the way, trusting that a good story will be told when all is said and done.

BSG is told, and it was a great story
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Matthew Martin
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Dont have much to add. My favorite show ever.

I'm sorry my rewatch has ended, but I'll start it up sooner or later.

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Islanded in a Stream of Stars

It's been a pleasure revisiting this show during my COVID quarantine. It had been a few years since my last rewatch.

I blazed through it in just three weeks.

I feel like Adama, who said a dozen episodes or so ago, how he deliberately never finished his favorite book, because he didn't want it to end. That's how it is with me and Daybreak. It's the last one and I don't want it to happen, because I don't want it to end.

No show moves me like this one. No show is nearer and dearer to my heart. I've been watching science-fiction since I watched the Next Generation's 3rd season premier as a child. TNG was my favorite, then DS9. For years that was the king, no show would ever be better.

BSG is my favorite now and forever.
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Matthew Martin
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Someone to Watch Over Me

Such a well put together episode.

Not a wasted scene, and perfectly acted across the board.

Kara suddenly playing All Along the Watchtower is one of those moments I wish I could watch again for the first time.
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Matthew Martin
Wed, Jun 10, 2020, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Deadlock

The episode isn't as bad as some are making it out to be. It struggles to tell a strong story maybe, but it has a lot of great little moments.

I think it's biggest problem is it had to move pieces in place for the final stretch, specifically with regards to the miscarriage, and there was not enough time to do it organically. So there's a bit more contriving than I prefer in my storytelling.

That being said, Ellen switching from sober mother of the skinjobs to petty jealous ex(?) wife makes sense. As she says, she's still the same old Ellen. She's capable of being mature but she often yields to her baser instincts.


Personally, I'd have cut two of the six scenes of Adama inspecting the ship, and replaced them with the quick scene of him talking about the lack of marines, to justify giving Batar heavy ammo.

This was the weakest episode of the season but it's still endlessly more watchable than Black Market, The Woman King, or Hero. Those three can be skipped without consequence. At least this one answered some questions and moved the plot forward.
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Matthew Martin
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

Also, Gaeta's character arc over the four seasons, from doe-eyed kid, to naïve Presidential chief of staff, to frustrated officer, to, finally, a bitter mutineer is one of the finest arcs for a "secondary" character I've ever seen on a TV show.

As for Zarek, I think he stayed consistent from Bastille Day to the end. Shooting the Quorum might seem out of step with him as an idealistic revolutionary, but in his mind, revolutions are bloody. He even says that to Felix when he sees the bloody aftermath. This is what a coup looks like. It's messy but justifiable as long as you're the ones left to write the history.

There's a reason he was in jail at the start of the show. He was always violent and willing to use violence to accomplish what he sincerely believed to be right. He's not like Baltar, whose primary character trait is an ability to say or do anything to survive. Zarek was an idealist, albeit one more than willing to get blood on his hands to see his ideals win the day.
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Matthew Martin
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

I don't often disagree with Jammer. Usually it's over the DS9 Ferengi episodes that he hates but which are my guilty pleasures.

In terms of BSG, we usually always agree.

Giving these two 3.5 and 3 stars is a big disagreement with me. They're both 4 stars solely on the basis of their tension, action, great character moments, and really tight scripting and editing. I see them, together, as a flawless two-parter.
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Matthew Martin
Mon, Jun 8, 2020, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Sometimes a Great Notion

I've watched a lot of TV in my days but I dont think a character death has hurt me as much as Dee's.

She was always so pure and good. I understand why, therefore, it had to be her. I get it, I just hate it.

I've watched and rewatched this show maybe five or six times over the past decade and Dee's death makes me weep every time.
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