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Tue, May 4, 2021, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Thoughts on finishing my first viewing of Picard:

-In some ways, this show was much better than I expected and there were actually a lot of moments that felt like the show was doing something very special. But the core scaffolding I'd say was a bit more middling--- like a 2.5 star show with enough really special moments to bring it up to 3.

-Most of those really special moments were the ways in which the series re-introduced and worked with established characters--- Seven of Nine, Riker, Data-Picard (see the finale).

-The biggest source issue for the show I think is kind of sloppy writing. This was evident in plenty of plotting, in the execution of some scenes, and in the inconsistencies around a lot of the new characters. A lot of the time the show felt like it was taking shortcuts, changing its mind, or avoiding a techno-babble exposition type scene because those got way overdone on previous trek-- but they are still needed in some form here! Ultimately, there were a lot of leaps of faith required of a viewer based on what was just seen on screen. It got to the point where I became too suspicious of hanging threads and any work not directly shown to us-- you can get away with that if the audience is confident that these things are deliberate and you will address them, but they don't work nearly as well when my first incliniation is that it is just sloppiness.

-It took me a little while to accept the continuation of 90s trek characters and universe in a show that really doesn't feel much like 90s trek in many ways. But once I got on board, I stopped having those issues.

-Seven of Nine was my favorite character this season. And I really liked Stardust City Rag mostly for her value.

-Picard is dead, and now we have a nice little copy of Picard. I'm fine with that, but I don't have confidence that the series will explore copy Picard's situation--- it looks like they are going to just treat him as Picard, and as someone who thinks he IS Picard, with a few jokes thrown in. I'd really like to see him grapple with the nature of his existence for a bit, before perhaps accepting that whatever distance there is between himself as the copy and the original Picard doesn't matter so much because he is a real sentient consciousness with all the memories and experiences of Picard-- that whatever you might say about how this is a distinct new copied consciousness, from his perspective there's no difference.

-The serialized format with season-long story I think worked well to reintroduce Picard and take on all the weight that that involved. As an engaging plot with a satisfying pay off it was decent-- neither a bust nor a ringing success. But I'm hoping the next season will have a more episodic approach with ongoing plot threads, character development, and balancing individual stories with something bigger. Based on how this season ended with essentially Picard and his new crew fully assembled, it seems to me that this might be the direction they are going-- following this crew on some adventures while something lurks in the background.
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Wed, Apr 28, 2021, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I've finally gotten around to watching Picard (haven't been especially attracted by new trek), and I really liked this episode. I'd give it a 3.5/4 and the highest marks so far for the season. I definitely get Jammer's objections about this not being Trek or going too far and heavy handed with some things. But I also had my arms folded the first episode or two and had to work to get beyond "this does not feel like 90s trek at all/a world that the same character of Picard inhabits"-- so in a sense I've already done the work of opening myself up to accepting and enjoying whatever this version of Trek is.

So, I can accept and even value the opening scene because it *isn't* simply gratuitous torture porn, but effectively conveys the horror and outrage that's going to fuel Seven here. The issue about organic replacements for borg eye implants falls under the category of "that's a small enough detail" to retcon/change/forget about--- certainly, I don't hold Picard to a higher standard of respecting Voyager's continuity than Voyager did.

The simplicity of the themes, beats, character moments, etc didn't bother me-- they were just kind of the scaffolding for the stuff with Seven I really loved. Seven is my favorite trek character period, and I loved both Jeri Ryan's performance and this character of Seven-- to me it is quite believable, given circumstances, and an exciting way to realize her humanity. Free Seven from the guiding (perhaps too much) hand of Janeway on Voyager and I do believe this is where she would end up. Definitely fits with her sense of morality and various stances she took throughout Voyager. And she's just such a badass. And I can believe her taking revenge in cold blood this way in a way I couldn't believe it of many (any?) starfleet trek characters.

For me, this is better than previous episodes because the pace picks up and it's not all introductions and repeating Picard's confrontations with people who no longer respect him so much. It's a 3.5 standout for nailing Seven.

I'm glad seven's ultimate journey didn't have to end with the limitations of Voyager.
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Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Call to Arms

After doing a big rewatch of Voyager (well, the half or so of episodes that are worthwhile), I'm starting some DS9 rewatch here.

What strikes me most in flipping from Voyager to DS9 and this episode in particular is how much richer these characters and their relationships with each other are. Scene after scene of relationships that feel real and particulad and informed by past experiences in a way Voyager could never do-- I love those characters and some of the relationships, but they operate at a much simpler level (in part because there is less continuity and therefore development, but also because characters are put in fewer stories that even seem
to allow them to grow in the first place).

In fact, even in a fairly minor scene like the exchange between Dax and Martok when he arrives to the rescue, and forgetting all the particulars of their past relationship (which I don't think was much apart from Kurzon Klingon stuff)--- there was a richness to their pretty simple exchange that came from actors knowing the nuances of their (I think somewhat) limited history.

And of course all of the wonderful material informing Dukat's personal relationship to the siege and sisko.

Anyway, in my mind DS9 is the best trek because of the storytelling, but I can't say that it's my favorite crew. For whatever reason that is, its certainly the richest one. I guess I just like my Voyager junk food...
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Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Persistence of Vision

I liked the episode. 2.5 or 3 stars sounds good to me. I particularly liked the ending and the facf that we don't get anything more from the alien than "because I can".
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Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

I liked the first half, 3 stars on its own and could have been the first half of a standout episode. But the second half just got progressively disappointing-- once we got the cake line, I just felt a shrug. I think I liked it more in middle school. But It all just ends with a shrug for me (and how did voyager get in that sphere?)

Fortunately, since voyager isn't particularly into growth and change and continuity and such, it's not like this is a blown landing for things leading up to it.

And my, how tired the borg have gotten.

2.5 stars sounds right. I love Voyager, but it's not a great show. Cut out 1/3 of the episodes on rewatch, turn off your brain to anything beyond the episode itself, and it's my favorite to watch for whatever reason.

If I want something that does more, DS9 and BSG await. I like Voyager for Voyager. As a series? 3 stars? 2.5?
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Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Author, Author

Definitely a contender for best episode (along with Scorpion and perhaps Timeless). It was even better than I remembered-- in my mind this was the is the doctor a person episode, and while that part is the ultimately the core, I was surprised by the ground it covers before it settles into that. Particularly, I reeeeeallly liked crew members like Paris confronting the doctor about how he must see them. Neelix was put to great use in delicately coaxing the doctor into the right action. And all of the little conversations with family were so well done (and concise and efficient) that I was kind of impressed that the episode was able to make room comfortably for these side things. Seven's was great.

So the comparisons to measure of a man I think are a bit unfair-- that's just one component of the episode (really just its climax) and just one really interesting outcome
of doc'a holonovel. It's handled in its own way and is done well, but the episode is more than that!
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Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Of course Neelix is the first thing she sees in hell. 4 stars for that haha.

Strong episode. It's not among my personal favorites, but I do think it's high quality.
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Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

This is a strong episode on its terms, but there are a lot of bits that I had to suspend disbelief because they were unconvincing of the Borg. I'm a huge Ron Moore fanboy, but I don't think he had the best grasp over what the Borg were (although a lot of good ideas for what they could be or how they could be used-- see First Contact's Queen for a great and successful example of something unborgian in nature but a good addition anyway). I had a hard time with hiw quickly individuality seemed to come on once stranded, how Seven emerged as a queen-like leader among the drones, how the collective mind became collective agreement around a suggestion and not actually collective thought. And though I liked the one drone's point that in the collective all the voices were white noise and with 3 it is too loud and intrusive, it seems to suggest greater mental independence of drones in the collective-- their mind in opposition to a hive buzz, not an equal part of it.

But, on its own the episode is strong. And at this point I think it's ok and only natural that some of the canonical ideas of the borg are fudged or compromised in order to tell new types of worthwhile stories. Voyager will keep doing this with the borg, and from here on they aren't necessarily worthwhile compromises. This one is.

On a broader scope, it's sure starting to look like borg reclaiming some form of individuality is quite common (this, Unity, Seven herself just to start). Here it comes on particularly strongly and quickly. But, the episode itself is a real winner and worth it.
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Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

I love Kim's story about his ancestor piloting a ship with crew in stasis and Seven just sits there without commenting that that is exactly what she did in One. And Tom says "I'd rather be in stasis" when he did everything he could to get out of that stasis.

I don't think this story was a winking reference, which is an impressive bit of non-tinuity...

Anyway, I do like this episode a lot.
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Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Fifth Season Recap

It's interesting diving back into Voyager in 2020. Having a show (BSG) that delivers on the missed opportunities of the premise, and being many years into a period where tv js by default serialized... I actually view the episodic low continuity reset nature of Voyager as an asset in a way I didn't before. It allows for a lot of things you can't have in a serialized show dedicated to lasting effects, growth, more realism, etc. BSG is a far superior show to Voyager, but Voyager has a comfort food familiar quality and the opportunity to pursue things it couldn't if it had to follow through on consequences-- it can do more (albeit with less depth). Turns out it now fills a void I find for a show that does exist to entertain an hour at a time.

One section of this season review that stood out to me was the remark that Voyager would be remembered for what it did as a series, not just on the strength of its individual episodes. This is to an extent true-- and I think character arcs like the doc and seven and certain recurrent themes across the seasons were worthwhile. But, I actually think it's better assessed as a collection of one offs, an average or sum of its parts. Indeed, in a time when seasons are maybe half the length of a Voyager season... I think this show is a delight if you just completely omit the bottom third-to-half. There are a toooon of good episodes over 7 seasons of usually 26 episodes. I assess the show ultimately on the many episodes I would rewatch, not on every episode it produced.

Of course, even doing that it has fewer great top tier episodes than DS9 or TNG. But, I come to Voyager more for the comfort food.

I've always "liked" Voyager more than Jammer's reviews seem to indicate he did (not that he actively disliked it), but probably would have averaged the same star ratings per season with minor adjustments up or down. It's not that I thought it was a better show than Jammer seemed to, just liked it more. With 2020 eyes, however, I see certain "problems" or shortcomings of the show that I once held (and are noted throughout Jammer's reviews) are not necessarily the defects I thought at the time. What I want from the show has changed somewhat, and assessment of a show is as much about what we bring to the table as what the show does.

Anyway, this seemed like an appropriate place to dump my pseudo-rewatch thoughts.
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Sat, Jun 27, 2020, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Plan

On rewatch, hard to stay too engaged while watching. Nothing really negative to say other than that it is basically scaffolding for some good though unnecessary bits. I'm watching the credits now, and I actually really like this reworked version of the theme song. This is oddly my favorite part of the Plan now.

2.5 seems right, though on the lower end.
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Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Some comments on the series as a whole on rewatch:

-Tricia Helfer really is a good actress, and it only took the writers until seeing her work in Pegasus to open up the opportunities she got in seasons 3 and 4

-BSG has always been my favorite show, but it was even better than I remembered. Watching it as it aired I think let me develop a lot of expectations and fears around being let down and such. Issues like the reduction of cylon/hybrid babies, for example, were a bigger issue for me at the time. And really, those bumps really aren't big deals if you take the pressure I placed as a rabid viewer off

-I've regarded season 4 as the best, but in my mind it was like 4.0 was perfect and 4.5 had a lot of amazing but also issues and grinding gears. On rewatch, perhaps 4.0 is better simply because its floor episode-quality was higher, but 4.5 probably has even more high points, a lot of beauty and poignancy in its few episodes, and (as mentioned) issues like the children or not enough aftermath from the mutiny really didn't bother me the way I feared they might.

-I'd rank seasons: 4,1,2,3 I suppose. Season three is hard to rank because the opening and closing arcs are possibly the high points of the show, and new caprica reverberates throughout in ways that elevate lesser episodes. But the middle goes so long without a standout, has a few clunkers, and even the good episodes have some issue or other.

My thoughts on the best episodes:

1. Tie: Crossroads and Sometimes a Great Notion
3. Maelstrom
4. Occupation/Precipice
5. Kobol's Last Gleaming
6. Revelations
7. Pegasus
8. Exodus part 2
9. 33
10. The Oath? Downloaded? Daybreak? Coming to Dinner? Home?
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Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Nice to have a rewatch buddy!

Just finished Daybreak all in one go. It's really quite beautiful and I think its best moments are the ones it takes for characters and imagery over plot. Watched as a whole, part 1 is a seamlessly satisfying part of the whole.

I do have to admit racetrack's hand of god nuking was a bit much, and unnecessary. Similarly, Gaius sayinf at least twice that clearly there is a "god" whatever that is--- I believe that is true for this universe, and I believe Baltar has come to believe, yet somehow it came across a bit like Moore trying to speak to the audience. Not needed.

Finally, as much as I have tried to get on board with it in the past, I cannot buy the decision (especially so swift and easy) to settle earth in the way they do. It's to the episode's credit that this last issue doesn't actually hurt it as much as it could. The series as plot is over once they jump to earth, and for me the rest is just providing a setting for goodbyes and nice character moments. A setting where the images of hope and life matter more than the logic. And the quick decision is itself a thorn in my side watching, that speed lets us have 2 full acts to make various goodbyes with the time they deserve. By the end of the episode, I no longer care about that thorny issue, and I'm just really satisfied with the character endings it provided.

I also like the flashbacks more each time I watch.

And that flash forward to present and All Along the Watchtower robotics montage is the perfect way to end the show.

3.5 for the whole, but a rating for a single 3 hour episode that serves as the finale is hard to do. In a lot of ways this is 4 stars and among the very best of battlestar. It's just difficult to maintain that for 3 continuous hours, and when *everything* must be addressed and you can't funnel off the clunkier bits to lesser episodes (see Deadlock).

I love the way the finale leaves me feeling, and leaves me feeling about characters and the show in particular.
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Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Islanded in a Stream of Stars

Like Matthew Martin, I've been rewatching during the pandemic (I've stretched it over 4 weeks though!) and I would echo his entire post

For me this is a really strong 3 star episode, and I'd give the other half star to the Oath.

Boomer is an endlessly fascinating character each time we catch up with her. She is torn apart by feelings of betrayal by the Cylons (for discovering she IS a cylon) and by the humans (for killing her etc). She copes by trying to cling being human (Downloaded) or by going hard on loyalty with the old
line Cavil group after none of that works (like with New Caprica). Here at the end, she's still convulsing across all these loyalties and betrayals outside and within herself. She's really quite broken, and I have appreciated the mess in contrast to Athena or the Final Five in reconcling (with effort and struggle) who they are. Not everyone in every situation can.
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Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Deadlock

On rewatch, I like this episode a lot more than I remembered. I had built it up in my head as the one (though huge) flaw in the fourth season. In retrospect, the biggest issue was my expectations.

I actually really like the characterization of Ellen in this episode now. I see more nuance as she struggles (failingly) to be the Revered Final Fiver of No Exit despite circumstances triggering all the Ellen defects of character. To me, it's a great expression of how human and fallible these revered ones are. And I like the circumstances of Ellen's life can produce versions of her from early on in the show as well as the new Ellen with all her experience and memories-- and yet all parts are in her, waiting to be triggered under the issues of love and Saul that really get her. She can handle all the loss and Cavil's actions in about the best way possible, but when it comes to this one ever-trouble area, it all flares up (even as she tries to maintain the exterior). I also like that when Ellen votes to go with the Cylons and that pure cylon is the way to go, she is doing it for the "petty and vile" "human" defects---Saul is right that human or cylon alone is no good, and together is better and they can temper each other.

I also liked Baltar's story and the rest of the episode fine.

I don't know that the loss of the baby now reads as an appropriate development, but I don't have any objections to it now. A little distance from my expectations at the time, and kind of 180 on my reaction to Ellen this episode... and I do like this episode lot more.

Not to say the episode is entirely successful or without issues. 2.5 I think. Definitely better than Black Market, Passage, Day in the Life, and Hero (setting aside Tigh's scenes there).
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Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

3.5 from me. Yeah, it doesn't have the space to address all the fallout and remaining mess. Yes, that is a bit of a mark against the season. But the episode itself is really strong. I can buy that this all exploded suddenly and, to an extend, ends as quickly as it came (all in a matter of hours) and that a lot of traitors were swept up before realizing the real consequences and mess of it all (like Kelly).

I am behind Zarek shooting the Quorom. It's in him and he's been constantly frustrated with Gaeta not just killing Adama immediately (even in part 1) and the dangers in letting those of the former authority remain. Also, I think there is a distinction between the Quorom and the People-- I don't see an issue with Tom killing them and still fighting to persuade the people. Indeed, they are part of the old regime and seem to remain loyal there. Let the people have new representatives who stand for them rather than Roslin. Not a smart move, but one that I think makes sense for Zarek as he digs himself deeper to dig himself out.

And Roslin yelling. Amazing.
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Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Oath

On rewatch, I'd give this 4 stars. Watching seasons 3 and 4 knowing where Gaeta winds up here has made it seem
incredibly inevitable-- some serious steady character work and fulfillment here. I also loved the touch of Gaeta sitting down and frakkin with starbuck in the mess hall like she did in Collaborators. Both stained and untrusted outsiders at the time.

I always smile and chuckle when Roslin says "Frakking Zarek- he always had dangerous ideas!" I mean, yes...
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Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

I don't know if this is 2.5 or 3 stars for me, but I know I always like it and appreciate the breathing room to linger on some of the things Jammer notes as issues. In my mind it's a bit like Final Cut-- I always enjoy it, there are some really good moments, nothing really bad. But don't have to go to the mat for it either.
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Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Sine Qua Non

On rewatch, the Romo confrontation still makes me groan but the rest is good. I really like that when Adama handed things over to Tigh, he told Tigh to let Athena have her daughter back. He's done with the bullshit separating people from their sine qua nons.
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Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 1:06am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Razor

On rewatch, very enjoyable and solid. I didn't find the redundant nature to be a negative, because to me that was just scaffolding for seeing characters to make choices that are fleshed out here. I watched the extended version, which has longer segments flashing back to the first war-- this created some difficulty in keeping the emphasis on Cain and Pegasus (by the end, it felt like it wasn't really the main story at all-- which is ok, because all the other material
was good) and the time switching could be a little disruptive. Actually, taking the pressure off of this as The Pegasus/Cain Story and giving more material to the interesting present day (and first cylon war bit with Adama) was kind of a good thing-- I didn't feel like I needed more from Pegasus/Cain. Also, removing pressure of being the only content btwn seasons 3 and 4 and rewatching this as just a kind of Bonus... well, it helped too.

Strong 3.
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Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 2

Lol evidently I made almost the exact same comment 12 years ago...
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Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 2

The whole episode is amazing, but the final act is start to finish the most exciting chunk of television I have ever seen.

Saul Tigh becomes my favorite character from now til the end of the show (and he was so good all season).
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Tue, Jun 2, 2020, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Dirty Hands

Also, I saw the quick changes of mind by Roslin and Adama as essentially they agreed with Tyrol’s points, but they could not give credence to strike as legitimate. So once they got him to back down first, get that token win, they proceeded to address the issues like the rational people they are.
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Tue, Jun 2, 2020, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Dirty Hands

On rewatch I *really* liked this episode and the ending with seelix really moved it. I remembered thinking it was good but that Adama acted in a way at the end that I didn’t totally buy. But this time, I had no issue. It struck me very clearly that Adama was making an aggressive bluff and Tyrol had no desire to call it (in part because it was so unexpected and convincing). I liked that Roslin could be very firm and rigid in some places (as with Adama, she knows this is a can of worms that cannot be even slightly legitimized) but where there was room and it was a conversation without extortion/strike (the conversations about inheriting jobs, and again at the end) she met Tyrol’s POV genuinely. A lesser episode would have kept her hardline throughout.

3 stars feels right, but a strong 3. First episode in a while that really felt like it was firing on all cylinders in all aspects (even other midseason stronger episodes had some weaknesses).
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Sun, May 31, 2020, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: A Day in the Life

Forgettable episode with some cringey moments and also some really good ones— which I had forgotten about and enjoyed anew! It’s not actually the “worst episode in the show” that I thought it was— it just shares that black market, and maybe the passage And deadlock. The episode annoys me more than black market, but it also has some wonderful moments that black market did not (adama roslin, helo moving away from hot dog and his rash)
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