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Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

@SC Cabrera is clearly a skilled actor, but that hologram stuff was 95% ham, and not tasty ham at that. There's no need to chew quite so much scenery.
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Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

I'm not perturbed by the language either, other than it's totally out of place here. What's the deal? The writers are allowed one 'fuck' every other episode? Go big or go home. Seriously, what's the point? It adds nothing to the context, other than to reinforce the notion that J-LP is nothing more than some daft old geriatric to be yelled at.
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Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

Eh. I could have done without the uncanny valley of the holograms' 'amusing' British Isles (+ Irish, don't flame me) accents. They were 90% there, but that 10% that was way way off was intensely distracting.

Weird episode in general. Tonally, all over the place. Another completely gratuitous f-bomb, comedy holograms, Seven badassness, Space Legolas serving no apparent purpose and flying brain matter. The plot has just enough to keep me interested, but really, what a mess.
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Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Hands up if you spotted the briefest phrase of Voyager theme recapitulated in tonight's show. A leitmotif, and a nice touch (despite the horror elsewhere).
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Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I have to say I was thrown by the Irish Romulan...that's just not something I was expecting. But maybe the Universal Translator, or whatever it is, can simulate an Irish accent, why not?

Anyway, I enjoyed it, although Picard (and by extension, Stewart, obviously) does seem quite frail.
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Tue, Nov 19, 2019, 7:32am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

Ah, and I forgot, why the 'doctor' tells Trip, his hand will "rematerialize" itself????????? It's a cloak, not a "dematerializer"................................
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Tue, Nov 19, 2019, 7:26am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

Yet another TV show with the cartoon Soviet military dudes (yeah, take a look on the very least the uniforms, they better had said they were space Soviets from the 50's). Then the "I can't believe I'm dying protecting this people" crap? How were they protecting them???? By retrieving some 'advanced' walkie-talkie? Just idiotic.
Yeah, we're not aliens, we're genetically engineered soldiers from your enemy (wink, wink, the space USA), and we have particle weapons and stealth ships. How can that "protect" them??? The writers for sure were procrastinating until deadline was very close.
Yet, still better than STD...
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Tue, Nov 19, 2019, 2:40am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Minefield

1.- You have a mine which was fabricated by a totally unknown alien race. Yeah, just scan it with your tablet and there you go! Anyone can disarm it!
2.- Romulans are supposed to be essentially Vulcans. During most of the 1st. and 2nd. seasons, they refer the omnipresent "Vulcan database" at all times. But now "the computer have difficulties translating Romulan"? They can totally translate unknown languages, but one related to another that is known, no way, it needs Hoshi to out of the thin air miraculously translates it. [By the way, it's ridiculous that she said "Romulins", when the word is "Rihannsu", how in the hell it can go from "Romulan" to "Romulin" with that? At that point it was her choice to translate it as she wanted to...]
3.- I don't know if it could be out of character, but Romulans would had shot first and asked later. Of course the show-runners wanted to show-off their new BoP design, but it was unnecessary, an automated message could've been enough.
4.- Why the captain was in a dangerous situation disarming the mine? Wasn't it wiser to have on the ship more than one dude who happens to know how to disarm ANY [laughable...] alien mine they can find? Yeah, disarming mines isn't a risk profession, so there's only one out there because nothing can happen to him/her...
5.- Everything happens veeeery sloooow. Romulans threaten to attack if they don't leave "immediately", but close to the end, it takes like 10 minutes until they finally decide what to do, with the miraculous panels and all. Romulans said it doesn't matter if you leave one dude behind, because they're gonna pulverize the ship. Nah, they changed their mind, they'll give them enough time, our threats are void as Romulans, we don't want respect...
6.- The Romulans were there, watching how an alien ship navigated through their cloaked minefield, after deploying some kind of scanner. Hmmmm, they can detect our cloaked mines!!! Fire at will!!! Nah, let them go with our little secret... I thought Romulans were very zealous with their cloaking technology... No matter how outdated it is...
7.- No matter how bad this show is, at least it's not STD...
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Wed, Jun 19, 2019, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Generations

I'm a relatively new Trek fan and have seen all of TOS and TNG (started DS9 relatively recently). I enjoyed this movie, honestly. Not great, but there's good stuff in it and it's well made. Where is stalls for me is the Kirk/Picard interactions. I wish that the film had gotten back to Kirk faster to give more time between him and Picard. There could have been some truly great dialogue between the two to really showcase the difference in their personalities and ideologies. I wouldn't say that was wasted, but it was incredibly rushed. What could have been a very memorable meeting of two of the most iconic characters in history came down to just a two minute mild disagreement. Generations gets 3/4 for me.
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Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Change of Heart

Rewatching this series for the, what, 10th, time? This episode bothers me so much that I had to find somewhere to post :p

It is inconceivable that Starfleet, knowing full well about the Jem-Hadar anti-coagulant beam, would leave such medical counteragents out of the medkits. It just isn't possible. This oversight ruins the entire episode, and leaves a bad taste about the whole series.

Additionally and finally, I am so sick of the filler and meaningless crap that takes up entire episodes.

I haven't watched Discovery yet, but I hope it doesn't suffer from the familiar ST pitfalls.
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Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:13am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Resolutions

I'm surprised no one mentioned the similarity to TNG's 'Attached' where Picard and Crusher were stranded together. That was a much better episode in how it dealt with the mostly unspoken feelings that two characters have for each other. Though of course in that episode they were linked telepathically, but still. That was mostly a reset button episode too, but at least it seemed more meaningful than this one.

Now on to this episode specifically.

Why were Chakotay and Janeway in stasis to begin with? They were on the planet, in no danger from the disease, since there is 'something' that keeps them from getting sick. So why stasis? I would think the two of them would have liked to have remained awake so they can find out what's going on. Beam that shelter and other stuff down right away.

They were infected by an insect bite. Everyone knew this. But they were in stasis for 17 days and the Doc (Shmullus, lol) had been working on the solution for over a month. And no one had collected a sample of the insect in that time! You'd think that would be, you know, a priority. Why not? Why not keep them out of stasis so they can find the bug? Or send down teams in spacesuits to find it, or start beaming up bugs, or something? It's only after Voyager leaves that Janeway says basically 'Boy I better catch one of those bugs! That's our only hope!'. Ridiculous.

Sidenote, because it's not just Voyager that does this. It annoys me that every planet in the galaxy looks just like earth, same animals (a monkey!), same plants, same sky, etc. At least in TOS they put in purple trees and pink skies and shit like that a lot of the time.

Everyone on the ship is so sad :( because they are gone, and morale sucks. But it's been six weeks. You'd think they would have gotten over some of that by now, but no. Everyone is testy and can't focus and so on. Pfft.

So Kes makes a very emotional plea to Tuvok, and asks him to think about his feelings. That is about the worst way to convince a Vulcan to do anything. She, or in this case, Neelix (though I hate to say that), since he's the 'morale officer', should have convinced him that morale is bad because they are gone and so logically they won't make it home or some such thing. Kes's appeal about emotions makes no sense.

I'm not a woman, so I don't know if Chakotay's story would have gotten me all hot and bothered were that the case, but to me it was pretty lame. 'You make me at peace'. Pfft.

Then Denara contacts the Doc directly in sickbay when the Vidiians are attacking. How? And why didn't she just send over the formula or chemical compostion for the cure when they communicated with her in the first place? Let's suppose they had to have the actual vial of it, whatever. But the Vidiians were planning to attack, and I assume take Voyager and the crew, so why would the Vidiians bring her along to an attack? Why would they bring the cure with them? Wut? Makes no sense.

Then they use the antimatter trick to win the battle. Apparently they didn't care that Denara was on one of the ships that might be destroyed. But I guess they knew that a massive antimatter exposion would only disable the ships and not destroy them or something. And that's a good trick. Too bad they never used it before or ever again. Another Voyager contrivance.

Most of this episode makes no sense, but if they had used it for some good character development between Janeway and Chakotay, I could almost forgive them, but of course they didn't and it's all forgetten by the next episode.

1 1/2 stars.
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Mon, Jul 11, 2016, 3:02am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the most beautiful Trek film, and the least human
A partial defense of the weird first film

Star Trek turns 50 this year. It is the most important of the great pop culture franchises, maybe, the first realized vision of a cross-platform fictionalized universe. There are long-running narrative ideas that predate Trek’s 1966 TV debut, sure: James Bond, Middle-Earth, Godzilla, Spider-Man, Superman, Sherlock Holmes. But the Star Trek half-century is the half-century of fandom, canon, mythology, spin-offs, young faces growing old across sequels and reboots. It is the age that fandom took over the movie industry – or the age of the movie industry co-opting fandom. Consider: The other franchises had to come to Hollywood. Trek started here – to the south, in Culver City, at Desilu Productions, rescued from development oblivion because Lucille Ball had serious sway.

If you want to understand everything fascinating about our movie moment – the push and pull between fans and creators, between beloved actors and the characters who define them, between the executives with all the money and the creators with all the ideas, between the demand for more of what has already worked and the constant need to set off in bold new directions, between the infinite creative possibilities of special effects and the infinite destructive possibilities of special effects – you need to understand Star Trek. It is the miracle of modern entertainment.

Star Trek turns 50 this year. It is the most inessential of the great pop culture franchises, maybe, forever chasing the stylistic advances of younger upstart entertainments, forever entrapped in narrative tropes and hackneyed philosophy, a vision of the future long past. Once progressive in vision, the franchise turned conservative in its desperate curation. In Trek, you see the beginning of the Faustian bargain between fan and executive – between the person who wants more of the same, and the person unwilling to try anything new – that would transform genre storytelling from the fascinating fringe into the vanilla mainstream. In Trek, you see the end of science fiction as a venue for ideas; the never-ending birth of remake culture; you can pinpoint the moment when every movie needed to be an action movie.

If you want to understand everything depressing about our movie moment – how every movie is an advertisement for another movie, how the most expensive films in history have less emotional impact than a middling episode of Better Call Saul, how directors became crossing guards, how actors became spokespeople, why a Pulitzer Prize-winning author is working on the Hasbro Cinematic Universe – you have to understand Star Trek. It is the downward spiral, the totalitarian Mirror Universe. It is modern entertainment’s original sin.

There is no simple way to understand Star Trek. There are high highs and low lows. There is canon and fanon, a general sense that continuity doesn’t matter running alongside a fierce protection of holy canon. There are arguments: Kirk vs Picard, Deep Space Nine vs everything, Voyager was secretly brilliant the whole time, J.J. saved Trek, J.J. ruined Trek.

Best to focus in, I think. On July 22, the 13th Star Trek movie will arrive in theaters. If Star Trek Beyond is awful, it still might not be the worst Star Trek movie. If Beyond is fantastic, it still might not be the best Star Trek movie. Trek cinema is all over the map: Thrilling, boring, experimental, primitive, expensive, shoestring. Maybe Star Trek should only be a TV show. (A new one arrives 2017.) Maybe Star Trek should only be about an Enterprise. Maybe it should just end. Maybe we’re just beginning. Every week from now until Beyond, we’ll look closely at one of the movies, in chronological order from Kirk to Picard to Kirk again. Hopefully, we’ll understand more at the end.


There are some moments in Star Trek: The Motion Picture that are so beautiful – serene, cosmic, passionately alive with the possibility of The Infinite. You want to cry, you don’t know why. There are planetscapes and solaric abstractions and effervescent fugue-core incoherence rippling across electric oceans. The villain in The Motion Picture is one such abstraction: A demi-god vapor-planet of unknown origin and unknowable purpose. It is the first thing we see in the movie, and we never really see it at all.

In the first scene of The Motion Picture, three Klingon ships approach the cloud. In 1979, a Star Trek fan would have recognized the design of the Klingon ships. But things would have also looked different, to that diehard Trek fan. The camera follows the ships move across the stars – the kind of special effect that was practically impossible when Star Trek was on TV.

The Klingons are different, too: more alien, with makeup and forehead prosthetics. The subtext could be understood by a child: Star Trek is now $tar Trek!. And things sound better, too. The Motion Picture opens with the new Star Trek theme by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the greatest and most instantly recognizable musical cues in the last four decades. And the first scene is set to Goldsmith’s Klingon Battle Theme. That track might actually be better than Goldsmith’s theme tune, the way John Williams’ “The Imperial March” is deeper, richer, funnier, more dramatic than the Star Wars main theme.

The Motion Picture needs you to know that it’s a movie, by god. It’s right there in the title: “The Motion Picture,” a phrase connoting something bigger, better, more official, maybe even more pure than all that had come before. (You can feel an implication: Wouldn’t Star Trek be even better on the big screen?)

Today, “The Motion Picture” is a meaningless title. It runs along another outdated idea: That movies are fundamentally better than television. Almost four decades on, TV is more like movies, and movies are more like TV. And – roll with me, please – “motion pictures” stopped being A Thing You Watch and started being Your Life And How You Express Yourself. Your ten-year-old nephew makes motion pictures. Your ten-year-old nephew films from better angles than Robert Wise.

Wise directed The Motion Picture. He is one of perhaps twenty people who you could say saved Star Trek, and he is one of perhaps thirty who you could say almost destroyed Star Trek. (The lists overlap. Gene Roddenberry’s on both, at the top.) But if you allow for some wide wiggle room in your definition of “authorship,” all the best motion pictures in The Motion Picture comes from Douglas Trumbull.

Trumbull was a special-effects guy, worked on some of the most famous sequences in 2001: A Space Odyssey, was just finishing Close Encounters of the Third Kind, would soon craft the neon gritworlds of Blade Runner. An impressive run, and one that maybe Trumbull himself only appreciates as a complimentary prize from fate. In the early ’70s, Trumbull directed Silent Running, a Big Idea space thinker that earned the kind of negative money cult sensations always earn.

Trumbull only agreed to do The Motion Picture out of spite. Paramount was in a jam; he was on contract to them; they needed him; he wanted nothing to do with Paramount ever again. So he agreed to finish the movies’ special effects on a tight turnaround, on the condition that he would never have to work with Paramount again. He worked his team hard – in his own telling, Trumbull wound up in the hospital for two weeks, exhausted. Working alongside onetime protégé John Dykstra (who created some of the most memorable effects in Star Wars) and much of the Close Encounters team, Trumbull the weirdest and gorgeous and often wildly incongruous visions ever seen in a science fiction movie.

Much of it looks unreal, like this early shot of Planet Vulcan, rendered across matte paintings and smoke effects and the tease of rockform gargantuans. Who knows how this played in 1979, so soon after Star Wars imagined alien planets as real on-location set-ups in Tunisia and Guatemala.

In the best and maybe most despised sequence from The Motion Picture, the Starship Enterprise enters the godcloud, and, for 10 minutes, we see an interior that seems to hold the cosmos. It’s the closest thing to a tesseract ever caught on film: The deeper we go, the more there is.

There’s a shot in this sequence that may be the single most stunning image ever captured in a Star Trek project. Maybe that doesn’t matter as much as we think; maybe the franchise only gets worse when the people involved think “stunning images” are what define Star Trek. But, toward the end of this journey inwards, the camera pulls back to what a cinematographer might call a “Cosmically Extreme Long Shot,” and we see the great starship Enterprise, a tiny speck on this monster’s horizon.

Later, Spock puts on a spacesuit and goes on his own private journey through what you can only safely describe as a cosmic vaginal endoscape. The cutting strategy is familiar to anyone who saw 2001: Spock’s face, something crazy, Spock’s face, something crazy. At the end of Spock’s journey, there is a woman – Ilia, but it doesn’t matter, names don’t matter in The Motion Picture, nothing any person does really matters. We know that’s not the real woman; she’s back on the Enterprise, or some version of her is.

But Spock is tantalized. To the extent that any character has a “journey” in The Motion Picture, Spock has been seeking something the whole movie. A higher state of consciousness, maybe? He seems to find it here, in this glowing representation of WOMAN. An unearthly glow encompasses him, erasing his face from our sight. He reaches out his hands – to mindmeld, to know.

The mindmeld blasts Spock backwards. The effect is, no other way of saying this, orgasmic. Spock describes the strange thoughts he experienced, inside the creature’s brain. “Is this all I am?” he says. “Is there nothing more?”

The Motion Picture’s monster is in the midst of an existential crisis, it turns out. It was a computer, created by man – Voyager 7 6, or “V’GER,” a satellite sent out to the stars. In the stars, it found more computers, which gave it inconceivable power. It has seen everything now – and, in achieving total cosmic awareness, it has also achieved sentience. It lives: So what?

In The Motion Picture, the “what now” is… well, sex. Or togetherness. Or the awareness of other life. Or the knowledge that we live only so that we can create other things that live. It’s all a bit abstract – but don’t Zen Buddhists seem pretty happy? The movie ends with Ilia and Decker – another nothing character, they might as well be named Eve and Adam, Woman and Man, Thing One and Thing Two – bonding with the cloud-thing. The climactic image of them – receiving enlightenment? ascending to a higher state? dying? being reborn? – is one of the silliest and most transcendent special effects shots ever.

“I think we gave it the ability to create its own sense of purpose,” concludes SpockKirk. You might point out, rightly, that “creating a sense of purpose” is not the most dramatic concept for a movie. You might also point out, just as rightly, that “creating a sense of purpose” is the central experience of humanity. How do you put such a vague but universal experience onscreen? How do you conjure up the fear that there is no purpose? Maybe you need a new language, something beyond words. Cinema, or whatever cinema used to be.

Decades later, Wise worked on a special cut of The Motion Picture. It was released with added digital effects – not the first time a major moment in Trek history happened because of Star Wars, not the last time a terrible moment in Trek history happened because of Star Wars. That special cut adds in a few shots that seem to clearly identify what V’Ger looks like. This is helpful only if you think that incoherence was The Motion Picture’s problem, and not its saving grace. The first Star Trek film has almost no real story, and the characters are only “characters” because we know their names and faces from a long-dead TV show. But you could spend a long time pondering the image of the Enterprise, dwarfed and surrounded by V’Ger.

You wonder what it must have been like, to see that on a big screen. You wonder what it must have felt like, to only see motion pictures on the big screen. You wonder, above all, what it was like to feel so small in the universe.

The Motion Picture depends on you loving space – and I mean “space” both ways, as in “everything outside of Earth” and as in “height and depth and width and distance.” In 2016, nobody pays much attention to outer space, except as one more piece of nostalgiabait trending curiosity. (Is Pluto still not a planet?) And maybe we don’t pay as much attention to the other definition of space: What does distance mean, to digital natives?

So The Motion Picture is beloved by film theorists and special effects nerds and people who treat marijuana as a sacrament. But in 2016, special effects are too common – and marijuana too legal – to feel sacred.


Kirk looks at the Enterprise for the first time around minute 16 of The Motion Picture, and doesn’t stop until minute 23. Kirk and Scotty are riding a little shuttle to their ship, and that ride takes seven minutes of screen time. It is slow, and nothing “happens,” unless you love Douglas Trumbull’s special effects and Jerry Goldsmith’s music, unless you can groove onto the idea that “Looking” is an active state. (Wrath of Khan is to The Motion Picture as The Motion Picture is to Solaris.)

Kirk’s returning to the old ship after years behind a desk. He ascended from the captain’s chair to become, ahem “Chief of Starfleet Operations.” One of the many accidental gags in The Motion Picture’s nonsense script is that Kirk must have been truly terrible at operating Starfleet. There is a giant killer gas cloud coming towards Earth – and “the only starship in interception range is the Enterprise.” The only starship? Isn’t Earth, like, the center of Starfleet Operations? Wouldn’t this be, like, the Joint Chiefs saying, “We’ve only got one fighter jet defending Washington!”)

Kirk is out of practice. “You haven’t logged a single star hour in two years!” declares Commander Decker, the man who would have been in charge of the Enterprise if Kirk hadn’t unretired himself. Decker is played by Stephen Collins, with retroactively creepy blandness. There is a ghost of a good idea here, the whole DNA of Wrath of Khan: What if Kirk is too old for this? But part of the strangeness of The Motion Picture is that the special effects sequences are vivid, mad with pulsating power – and the scenes with human beings are void, stilted, static. Wise shoots with wide angles and deep focus, so you can appreciate how full this Enterprise is of humans standing immobile, unresponsive.

Wise had a huge budget, and so he built huge sets, each less compelling than the last. The Enterprise’s Rec Room looks as playful as a prison cell, and the observation lounge allows crew members to sit on asylum sofas and contemplate the eternal void.

You could say that the whole problem of Star Trek – or a problem that many brilliant creators and actors have grappled with – is how stilted the core ethos of the franchise is, on narrative and visual levels. Star Trek must have a cast of characters who obey authority and work together. Everyone’s an officer in some codified organized military or other. Everyone wears a uniform. Because most of the action happens with the main characters on “The Bridge,” most of the climactic sequences in Star Trek history happen with all our heroes sitting down.

Wise does not try to bring life to this structure. He doesn’t send the crew into a fistfight, doesn’t blow up the ship, doesn’t ram spaceships into each other. He does send a couple characters out into space – but they don’t fire lasers at anyone. Late in the long first act, Dr. McCoy arrives on the Enterprise, and Kirk asks him for help. Look at how Shatner insistently extends his hand; that is the closest Kirk comes to an action scene in The Motion Picture.

Maybe the problem was Roddenberry. The creator of Star Trek spent the decade after Star Trek trying to bring back Star Trek. He would not let it die. You think of George Miller, returning to create the perfect Mad Max 30 years later. Or maybe you think of George Lucas, who returned to the saga he created with no clear sense of what made the saga work so well. Or maybe you think of other people – Chris Carter? Roger Kumble? Anyone on Fuller House who isn’t John Stamos? – returning to the most popular item on a long-dormant IMDb page.

Roddenberry was devoted to Star Trek, but he carried the blame for all the perceived faults of The Motion Picture. This is the only Trek film Roddenberry really worked on. History repeats: Years later, Roddenberry was booted from The Next Generation. Mythology holds that Roddenberry’s utopian vision was the antithesis of drama. So in The Motion Picture, Decker is only ever mildly upset with Kirk, and Kirk is only ever mildly concerned about Spock.

The film can’t even commit to a lack of emotion. One of Ilia’s first terrible lines is, “My oath of celibacy is on the record, Captain.” Soon, celibate Ilia is transformed into an emotionless robot – two different layers of Spocklike indifference! But Ilia can’t keep her eyes off love interest Decker, and Decker can’t stop smiling at her. Here again, another ghost of a good idea – what if Kirk Junior had to romance Lady Spock for the good of the cosmos! – but the outcome is never in doubt, the drama never dangerous.

Roddenberry was a utopianist. He believed in the best ideas about humanity getting along. This is the beautiful thing about Star Trek, and it is why people who love Star Trek get nervous whenever some new Star Trek thing tries to be dark, or less-than-hopeful. It strikes me that the vision of Starfleet in The Motion Picture is as close as Roddenberry ever got to a pure utopia. Everyone is so… serene. Everyone is so… peaceful. Everyone is so… bland. George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig are only in the movie to smile at Kirk.

Kubrick’s big joke in 2001 was that the computer was more human than the humans. That’s another accidental joke in The Motion Picture. Shatner, dangerously toned-down, seems more Vulcan than the Vulcan. The Enterprise crew listens patiently to Kirk giving commands, follows orders. Spock pursues great knowledge, with no ambition or thirst. He seeks cosmic transcendence with all the exhausted energy of a TSA officer opening her 31st carry-on of the day, knowing there’s probably nothing inside but a toenail clipper and a forgotten half-empty water bottle.

The Motion Picture has a simple problem: It’s too goddamn slow. Every other Star Trek film is, in some way, a reaction against that complaint. But the slowness creates the great parts of The Motion Picture – those long moments of sound and image, unencumbered by plot or character or even dialogue. You could argue that The Motion Picture is 2001 for Dummies, or the misbegotten mash-up of 2001 and Star Wars with placeholders where characters should be.

But The Motion Picture is reaching for something no other Trek film has even tried to reach for. It is Head-Trip science fiction, Big Question science fiction. No one involved can think of a compelling way to dramatize those questions. Surely there was a way, though! You think of “Balance of Terror,” one of the greatest of all Star Trek stories. “Balance of Terror” is a bottle episode about people in one set trying to outthink people on another set. Like a lot of great original series episodes, it might as well have a declarative title: “THIS IS ABOUT THE COLD WAR.” The characters have no psychology: They exist as mouthpieces for thought-notions, “Let’s shoot first,” “Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt,” “We can’t trust anyone,” “We need to trust someone.” The narrative is Socratic, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every fight needs to be choreographed.

Could The Motion Picture have worked like that, as a thoughtful exploration? It still almost does, even if everyone besides DeForest Kelley looks bored. There’s no other film like it – besides maybe Final Frontier (more on that in four weeks). So The Motion Picture is a fascinating curio. There are better Treks, but they’re smaller, too, and maybe less ambitious. This could be the last Star Trek ever. Will anyone ever even try to write the last Star Trek?


Further sign of the cognitive dissonance that powers The Motion Picture: The special effects are colorful, neon-dark against the infinite, and the clothes are beige, gray, light brown, and off-white. The clothes look like furniture, the furniture looks like clothes. These are the shortest-lived of the Trek uniforms, and the extras all look like they’re wearing pajamas. I am not sure we will ever be in a moment like this again: One of the most expensive movies of the year takes for granted that you want to see middle-aged men wear V-necks.

But, devil’s advocate: The Motion Picture uniforms are the only Star Trek costumes that look made for comfort. They are loose, turtlenecks and sweatshirts, onesies, shirts that don’t ever get tucked in. Witness the Holy Trinity in slanket-chic.

The grand exception is Ilia, played by Persis Khambatta. An Indian model with silent-cinema eyes, Khambatta was cast as Ilia when The Motion Picture was going to be a new TV show, and her character only just barely transitioned to the feature film, with the barest whisp of a backstory and a kinda-nude scene. Captured and reprogrammed by V’Ger, Ilia returns to the Enterprise in a barely-there bathrobe with a cowl and high heels – a clear sign that V’Ger is much kinkier than the movie allows.


The first lens flare in any Star Trek film occurs about 35 minutes into the original theatrical cut. You can see it floating next to Sulu’s head. This was almost certainly a mistake brought on by Wise’s abject love for unnecessary camera trickery. But penicillin was a mistake, too.
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St. Manfred
Sat, Apr 9, 2016, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Journey to Babel

I agree with everyone, an amazing episode.

However, I am somewhat surprised that no one realized a glaring inconsistency in Spock's mother's behavior: when she first learns that Spock might die trying to save his father, she sternly opposes it, claiming that she "won't risk both of" them. But later, when Spock prioritizes his duty to the ship over the blood transfusion, she desperately tries to convince Spock to help Sarek.

3.5 stars from me.
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Fri, Apr 24, 2015, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

A good series. It is a lot easier to criticize than to praise it. I consider myself a huge Star Trek fan. When I say "Star Trek", I am speaking of the utopian future Gene Roddenberry envisioned, from the core of mankind improving the human condition itself to economics all the way to philosophical normative ideals. Whenever I watch a Star Trek show, I am expecting this premise to resonate through its fabric.

When I started out watching VOY, I did not expect any serialized soap drama we now find in almost every TV show (the incredibly manipulative, pseudo-level-of-suspense and pseudo-plot driven "Game of Thrones" being paramount here). I expected a show that (for the most part) conveys the serene, humbling and enlightened Roddenberry-vision even through its darker plots. I like the occasional character and relationship development, as well as progression of the Bigger Picture in Star Trek shows, but I never watch them for these. I am watching Star Trek to get positive-normative allegories on where mankind might end up in some distant future, when we finally will have been able to "kill the beast" within.

Bearing this in mind, I think VOY has delivered. And it's these unique characteristics that make Star Trek so outstanding among all these hip post-modern self-devouring TV-shows nowadays, which basically cuddle our vanities and fears of loss of ego and materialistic possessions.

3 Stars for Star Trek VOY from me. Now I am looking forward to watching Star Trek DS9 for the first time.
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Tue, Apr 21, 2015, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Q2

I liked the ep, with the exception of Keegan's acting and / or the sudden change of mind forced upon his character by the writers. 2.5 stars.
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Fri, Apr 17, 2015, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

Very thoughtful and well-balanced episode. Contrary to some of you, I think the story was neither pro or con death penalty. Rather, I was left with the impression the writers wanted us to question our opinions toward this issue. With regards to those of you voicing their stance on the matter quite loudly, I feel the writers have accomplished their mission. 3.5 stars.
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Fri, Apr 17, 2015, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

Great episode, nice upbeat atmosphere and Trek spirit. Just what to expect from Star Trek with regards to ideals and optimism despite human flaw. 3 stars.
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Fri, Apr 10, 2015, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes

While I liked the premise, I'll agree with the previous posters that either the writers were lazy or (even worse) they underestimate the intelligence of the viewer in disclosing the moral conflict of where Lindsay really belongs to or whose claim of her is more 'valid'. Picard would have realized and philosophically dissected this dilemma 5 mins after Lindsay's initial report. And Janeway would have as well, hadn't the writers made her act out of character for plot reasons. 2 stars from me.
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Thu, Apr 9, 2015, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Collective

Good episode. A lot better than the WWF disaster, which IMO was the weakest episode so far. 3 stars from me. However, with great actors like Dawson, Russ and Beltran at hand, I'll never get why Voyager turned into a Picardo/Ryan solo play.
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Fri, Apr 3, 2015, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

Good episode, and underrated. Excellent directing and stellar performance by Beltran. The David Lynch episode of VOY. 3 stars from me.
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Sun, Apr 26, 2009, 2:38am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2 (April Fools Version)

@ Alexy's 10 proposed points:

So say we all.
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Mon, Apr 21, 2008, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Downloaded

Hi Jammer,

While I agree this was a 4-star episode, it confused me a little. Do you have any insight into what the extent of this "download" process is?

It would seem to me that the downloaded consciousness is in a 1:1 ratio, meaning that when a cylon dies, it's memories are downloaded to a new body and to that new body only. So how does that explain how the Sharon on Galactica has the memories as well? Is it a 1 to 1 download, or are the memories dissemenated to all the Sharon models. I'm fuzzy on the subject.

It's also worth noting that I've not yet seen season 3 or 4 yet, so therefore should I just wait??
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