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ovaduh
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

Wow, Picard’s “The Impossible Box” reference to this episode, somehow made this episode even better
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Ovaduh
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

Another Roddenberry “parallel-Earth” stinkeroo. To think, someone thought this script worthy of submission as a second pilot
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ovaduh
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

@Quincy: “People seem to forget a lot of Star Trek material, while they are busy idealizing and sanitizing their memories of it.”

YES!! Exactly right.that is among the most astute observations to grace this site.

TNG Seasons 1 and 2 were awful - and the show then wasn’t even awful TNG, but awful TOS.

DSN: When Season 1 actually aired, there (surprise!) complaints about being too static and too “dark.” It wasn’t the Star Trek people were used to.

Enterprise’s first two seasons made it clear that the Braga/Berman ship was running on Voyager’s fumes.

Every prior incarnation of Trek has either had growing pains, and was criticized for not “being Star Trek.” In 1986 and 1987, as David Gerrold told me, Gene Roddenberry’s lawyer planted the idea in Roddenberry’s head that there was no interpersonal conflict in the Federation of the future.

The entirety of what people claiming is the mythos and intrigue of Star Trek - that it is a world of sterility and sereneness and light - was manufactured by Roddenberry and his attorney.

Given the fact the creator of the show himself was so malleable as to what kind of future will be in store for us, it is arrogant-hubristic-to proclaim certitude as to what Star Trek is. Roddenberry sanitized his own creation, and people are complaining that.... the show has moved too far away from this sanitized ideal.

“Dark” And “optimistic” are characteristics. They have no normative value. From the time of the airing of “In the Pale Moonlight” until the present, people have refused to accept the notion that yes, humans can be morally corrupt, can decide (as the Admiral stated in Maps and Legends) whether a species lives or dies, and can life with the knowledge of their corruptness.

If the writers are choosing to write from what they know - and what we all know is that in the real world, America is not in the comfy geopolitical position it was in 1992 (the future did not, in fact, mean the end of human history) - if the tone of the show reflects the time in whI have the show is created, that is not a crime. It is a feature.

Debates over what something “is” can be quite destructive to art. Rain Johnson had his on opinion as to what Star Wars was, and he was flogged mercilessly for having an opinion that deviated from received fan groupthink. J.J. Abrams/Disney decided that The Rise of Skywalker was going to be a return to what Star Wars “really was.” .... And critics and real people hated. Trying to conform to a “vision” which Roddenberry himself retroengineereed is pointless and self-defeating.

And apparently, not online is it the law that Star Trek must not be “dark,” it is also the law that there shall be no dissent from the collective judgment that STP is “objectively dark.”

To quote the great man himself , “This is getting tiresome.”
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ovaduh
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Nicholas Meyer recounted a story where Gene Roddenberry erupted after a screening of Star Trek VI (it may have been a different Roddenberry eruption but I can’t recall); Roddenberry was in disbelief that his beloved Star Trek characters were racist. Meyer said this is as it should be because 1) nothing in real-life history or logic suggests humans will evolve past racism; and 2) Trek itself never explained how it became that greed and bigotry were eliminated; how humans no longer succumbed to revenge; and how money no longer motivated them and instead humans just decided to work for the betterment of humanity. Picard shows that recognizable human behavior persists into the 24th century and has been criticized on those grounds. Please.
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ovaduh
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Just as Admiral Picard has in many ways remained the same, so has the nature of some of the comments on the site.

Some of the comments take it as a fait accompli that TOS/TNG were "Utopian," and therefore, are what Star Trek "is about." Even if the premise is correct (and that is open to interpretation), the conclusion does not follow.

No one person has (or should have) a monopoly on what the meaning of Star Trek is. At least one person here, has already criticized the show - not on its actual merits, but because it is too "dystopian."

The phrase "dystopian" is in the eye of the beholder. Half of the entirety of DS9 aired amid the backdrop (and sometimes the foredrop, if that is a word) of a war between two Alpha Quadrant powers; viewers were reminded of the brutality and unnatural-ness of war more than Once ("Siege at AR-558," "Nor the Battle to the Strong...."). And many of TOS' allegorical episodes were in-your-face with treatment of what is regarded as the most turbulent decade of our time, perhaps.

Is Picard gratuitously dystopian? Is the dystopia (assuming for argument's sake that label is accrate) intefering with the abillity to appreciate the show? No, and no, I would say.

If there is a common thread tying the Trek of the past with the Trek of today, it is, yes (cliches be damned; they are cliches for a reason), "optimism," in the face of turbulence, or responding to bad things with a foot forward instead of cursing the darkness. The first episode featured so much Picardian self-reckoning because.... he wanted to be a pessimist until his dying days? I don't believe that.

I also don't care for political correctness, however and by whomever it is practiced, being shoved in my face. I don't think "Picard" has been stridently P.C. -not from the limited evidence of what was the first episode.

@Bold Helmsman, what you want isn't too much to ask for, given that what exactly is the "established Star Trek universe" ultimately is an expression of one's value judgment, and as such not a fixed-definition commandment.

Entertainment may serve as a commentary on contemporaneous issues. If it does so competently, and cogently, and in a way that is dramatically interesting. That's fine (examples where Trek failed to do this - Enterprise's "Chosen Realm," the Krola character in "First Contact" - these episodes felt didactic, not organic) Wokeness for wokeness' sake is wrong. If a Star Trek show - the show that introduced the concept of IDIC while Dr. King was marching - needs to beat its chest to show its progressive bona fides, or to prove to viewers who just put in new batteries in their wokemeter, we're in trouble.


Re: The Hitchcock comment: "Alfred Hitchcock used to say that everyone knowing a gun is under the table is more interesting than guns being fired; anticipation, buildup and tension are more exciting than space Kungfu."

Hitchock practiced what he preached. His approach to showing versus telling was neither "right" or "wrong." He happened to be an expert practitioner in creating suspense. Other directors have tried to live by Hitchcock's maxim, and can't deliver the goods. It is not the storytelling device that we should applaud or "boo" someone for using. How well the storyteller employs its preferred method of storytelling is what counts. Certainly, there is room for reasonable disagreement as to whether Discovery is paced too quickly, is overly "sedate" for what it wants us to glean, and so forth.

I think the dialogue serviced the plot, and that the plot was functional, if not exceptional. The show, to me, took time to pause and breathe. (Proving that this is possible, DISCOVERY). The acting (especially, Sir Patrick, of course) was overall pretty good. For a piece of popular entertainment, I don't demand much more

Surely there are more interesting, original and tense ways to cook up a sense of danger and threat than having ninja-Romulans beaming into rooms and throwing knives? Stewart deserves highbrow action sequences, clever, measured, patiently drawn-out and exquisite, not a 12 year old's conception of cool.
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ovaduh
Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Memorial

It is, as Spock said, "arrogant presumption" on Janeway's part to believe that other races encountering the memorial will learn the same lesson That Violence is Awful, that the Voyager crew did.

This decision is up there with Archer's decision to preserve a lethal virus in "Extinction" in terms of the Star Trek writers' fixation with "We Must Remember the Past."

I keep thinking back to a far superior episode that allowed for The Past to Be Remembered in more thoughtful manner - that being the Voyager episode "Remember," in which B'Elanna ASKED someone's permission to share her (B'Elanna's) experiences as given to her by the older Enaran woman.

What, at the end of the day, did the Voyager characters learn in "Memorial" that they were not cognizant of, or supposed to be cognizant of, already? And why is it assumed that other races want to or should learn the same Moral Lessons Our Crew did?
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ovaduh
Fri, Jul 26, 2019, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

@Peter G.

Thanks for replying to my message. I'm not precisely sure what our point of disagreement is. You noted,

"We like to think that we're so superior because we have a democratic way of life, however what this little ending tells us is that you aren't better because you have self-government; rather, you can only self-govern *once you are better*. In Trek terms that means evolving as a culture until ready for something like the UFP, probably after a few international fiascos first. It means that democracy doesn't actually work unless the people are worthy of it."

I don't necessarily disagree with any of the above. I was trying to ask, how, exactly, can a group of people be *taught* to develop a normal, self-governing culture, when the "teachers" are poor role models? How will the Providers themselves be able to teach the lesson when they have no frame of reference or experience on which to draw?

I think a real-world analogy (albeit a crude one) would be that of slavemasters trying to teach slaves whom they has "released" from slavery, how to establish and maintain a system of self-governance. How is a slavemaster - to whom the very notion has been anathema by definition - qualified to do this, exactly?

"Once you become better" seems to be a logical requirement for self-government. The question is, though, how DOES a group of people become "better"? How do they become "worthy" of self-governance? I don't really know the answer to this question. Must they be taught? By whom, and how?

Some people say racism is "taught." I'm not sure of that. I think we can agree that it is something that must be learned - and that learning can happen without a teacher; someone can pick it up by simply by being in a certain environment wher racist behavior and language are common. There's no guaranteed outcome, in terms of impact on an indvidual, as a result of such exposure. Some people may observe the racist behavior and conclude it is wrong; some may find the behavior to be reasonable or non-offensive. I don't know how to teach "moral development" any more than I know how to teach "self-governance." Are people born morally neutral? Is morality a function of genetics? These are fascinating questions - but the questions - I can practically guarantee you - were not on the mind of the people who made this episode. What the reaction to the phrase "Chi-koo" would be, was what was on their minds.



I don't know the answers. Would the Republic in Episode 1 have been saved from political destruction if there was no such thing as a "Sith"?
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ovaduh
Fri, Jul 12, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

Shahna bids farewell to Captain Kirk: "Goodbye, Jim Kirk. I will learn, and watch the lights in the sky, and remember."

That line must be evalauted in context - which means, in this case, the line (Kirk's) that preceded it.

And what was that line, Kirk's parting line to Shahna? "There's so much you must learn here first. The Providers will teach you. Learn it, Shahna. all your people must learn before you can reach for the stars. Shahna."

And what is it that the Providers will teach? How to "establish a normal self-governing culture."

The Providers will be teaching this to the Thralls, with respect to whom the Providers made the following observation: "We are known to the thralls as Providers because we provide for all their needs. The term is easier for their limited mental abilities to comprehend."

What was the 4-star moment, again? Those 4 stars have dim wattage, indeed.

As one blogger said, "It's as if writer Margaret Armen was given a big book of science-fiction clichés and somehow mistook it for a to-do list."
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ovaduh
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

@Trek fan

In ancient times, bear-baiting was regarded as highly entertaining, as was watching gladiators get mauled and maimed. The YouTube voters may have thought the episode was so bad it was good, and rated it accordingly. I thought it was so bad it was bad. Stringing cliches found in episode A with others in Episode B and with still others from Episode C resulted in three times the headache, not three times the excitement. Parts of the episode are unintentionally hilarious, I will concede
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ovaduh
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

@Pamrl

Exactly so, the slavery scenes were put in to to titillate. The scenes with Angelique Pettyjohn with the diaper and the rest of her outfit and the obedience collar no doubt served as an inducement for Shatner to verbally and physically demean the actress. The sexism in this one was quite pronounced, even by Roddenberrian standards (he was describing his conception of the Ferengi, years later, to Robert Justman, by descrIbing Ferengi male gonads and codpieces, leading Justman to shout, “Gene, this is supposed to be a family show!”

I do remember one line of dialogue uttered on Triskelion: “Goodbye Jim Kirk.” The only thing Shana seems to have “learned” is not that slavery is wrong because It is wrong, but rather that it is wrong because it gets in the way of Kirk/Shatner’s ability to treat her like garbage.
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ovaduh
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

This episode was the apex of over-the-top Trek trash.

It took great elements (the Amok Time music) and inserted them into a gladiator match that must have been run by the same proprietor who used to parade The Elephant Man around.

Other reliable Trek tropes were executed in the most dull manner impossible:

Shatner, seizure-pausing with abandon, as he talks to three overgrown cauiflower stubs about the rights of man. Some of the Kirk speeches along those lines were good, in season 1, anyway.

The nothingness that are the scenes of Scotty, McCoy and Spock arguing about whether and how to search for Kirk and Co. Remember when Scotty said, in a similar situation, "Aye, the haggis is in the fire for sure!"? This episode doesn't.

The brain-dead (pardon the pun?) romance between Kirk and Pamperella, who managed to impressively both run around in a diaper and with a big pointy-looking weapon at the same time. Actually, there is no "good" equivalent for this one.

The "obedience collar." The Talosians' method of mind-control-as-punishment was better, if only for the reason we didn't get to witness Shatner panotiming asphyxiation.

Kirk's instruction to the fight team of "hand to hand," after he observes other methods of attack don't work. In past episodes, Kirk would just go for the instinctive drop-kick when all else failed.

If the actors were having a good time, it must have been because they were REALLY trying to keep a straight face between takes but just couldn't contain the repressed emotions.

I want my quatloos back
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