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Fri, Aug 16, 2019, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

@Top Hat

Data may mean “she can use contractions [freely]”. That would still be grammatically correct and convey that he struggles with them.

Out of universe, in interviews Spiner said he’d always hated the contraction bit for Data, so him slipping them in can be seen as a form of peaceful protest. It is pretty dumb, if you’ve taken even beginners’ programming you’d understand that the function for a computer using contractions is really simple.
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Fri, Aug 16, 2019, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

Actually this episode fixes the contradiction for us. The line in this episode is that Data hasn't "mastered" contractions yet, which means he can use them, but only on a limited basis unlike Lore and Lal who use them freely.
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Wed, Aug 14, 2019, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Impulse

I don't think Scott Bakula is particularly good casting either. I watched Quantum Leap as a child and couldn't get that image of him being an Earth time jumper out of my head. Instead of trekking across the cosmos, the dude just looks like he should be out in Nebraska building a baseball field for dream players to play on while Ziggy tells him his time isn't up yet.
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Tue, Aug 13, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

Peter G. wrote:

"So the only question in this episode is whether it's morally right to play the bad cop and get the information proving their activities, or to be like Picard and sue for peace almost at any cost. I don't want to call Picard naive in this case, but I've said before that if Picard had been in charge during Chain of Command things would have turned out poorly for the Federation. We should be thankful for men like Picard to reign in bullies and pragmatists, but at the same time we should be thankful for Jellicos and Maxwells who have the guts to go in and get the job done."

I think both TNG and DS9 leave it open to interpretation whether the pragmatic approach gets the job done. I mean sure, Maxwell was right here, but his actions may have escalated a relatively small problem that could've gone away on its own as the people got comfortable with peace. Despite these pragmatists getting their hands dirty because Picard won't, war still breaks out again with Cardassia. Thus, you have to wonder if being dirty didn't cost the Federation more in the long run.

And to be fair, you could argue that not taking action sooner like Maxwell wanted led to more war. There's no way to know for sure - the writers don't give us the info and leave it up to the viewer. One interpretation is that war was inevitable, another is that the hawks on both sides sabotaged any chance for peace.

I think what makes a lot of this story still relevant is we see these kinds of petty skirmishes with the Russia and Europe/USA to this day. You have to wonder what the best way to handle this is and whether we need a Maxwell or a Picard or maybe someone *completely different* to help stop the cold aggression.
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Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Sorry for the typos, Internet Explorer is apparently *my* virtual opponent today.
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Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

I mostly like this one too and I agree with William B and Springy's analysis that the beginning "game" part of the episode where with the characters decided they want something challenging and engaging pairs well with Morality becoming a living being that actually challenges the Trekkian notion of lifeform. Muldaur, Spiner, and Burton are all great in this one and it probably sells itself on performance and costume alone.

That said, I don't think episode does resolve Pulaski's challenge very well. Did Data solve the Holmes' mystery? It feels more like Picard had to solve it for everyone. And if that's so then the takeaway appears to be that Pulaski was right; Data isn't human enough to take on an original challenge yet. And - don't get me wrong - that conclusion by itself wouldn't be such a bad thing, but somehow I don't feel like that's the conclusion the writers were going for.
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Sun, Aug 11, 2019, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: True Q

@Stredja

“I can't remember where I've read it, but I've heard one of the first rules Michael Piller laid down when he became a showrunner was that each story has to be in some way about one of the main characters.”

I’d like to see the source for that just out of curiosity, but I think that’s more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. “The Defector”, for example, is mostly about Admiral Jarok but it tells a gripping story about Cold War tensions. And to this episode’s credit, we do learn that Q still works for the Continuum’s interests and also that the trial for humanity isn’t over. Those developments make a good setup for the Picard and Q characters in the finale.
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Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

@Springy

It's interesting, I often pass over this episode but reading your comments makes me think that this season tends to talk about "What is life and death?" and "What is the nature of life?" quite often. Feels like season two had quite the group of philosophers on board its writing team. :-)
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Thu, Aug 8, 2019, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

@Peter G.

That's a good point with Bulldog. The show itself largely diminished Dan Butler's role on the show after season 3 or so perhaps because such behavior elicited a negative response from some viewers. Though, the character's kind of interesting case, because he's almost pathologically bad at handling women and I wonder if Ross isn't reporting him to HR out of pity. Another layer to all this is that Dan Butler's a gay man, so his role as Bulldog is kind of like farce wrapped in another farce.

Anyway, sorry to interrupt the discussion with the side-note. I'm just a big fan of Wings, Cheers, and Frasier. :-)
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Thu, Aug 8, 2019, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

@Peter G.

"As it happens, I'm doing a watch-through of Frasier now with my wife, and we're occasionally dumbstruck as the casual sexism that passed for 'comedy' in the early 90's. Like guys in an office slapping a lady's butt, which is supposed to be taken as "oh, that guy!" or the casual sexual harassment of people in the office constantly referencing her sex life in pejorative terms. So yeah, I'm down with re-evaluating 90's stuff from a modern perspective to see how it's aged."

Wait, people were slapping women on the butt without objection in Frasier? You know, Frasier often looks at things from Martin's time (the 1950s), but as far as I can remember it always couches those quirks from 1950s culture with a sense of "that's not how things work now, Dad". Moreover, Frasier is a show that presents strong successful women on a weekly basis. Lifetime (the women's network in the USA) aired the show regularly after its run in the 2000s and it was lauded by many women's groups for its positive portrayal of the working woman. So, I mean say what you will with 2019 values, but Frasier was way ahead of its time *in terms of feminism*.

The rub in looking back at these old shows with a wagging finger is that you need to put the show into historical context (which I think is your larger point, Peter). TOS and TNG may have had their problems with gender, but remember that without them pioneering progressive ideas there would never be a Voyager with a female captain, let alone Discovery with a female lead. I hope you all can meter your discussions with a little perspective. I know Jammer does.
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Wed, Aug 7, 2019, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Conspiracy

@Springy

I never thought about this episode considering what's inside each character that's important. One sort of unexplored angle - to me, at least - is that we see Remmick again reprising his role as the abiding toady. This seems like it might be a continuation from "Coming of Age" where, under orders, he dutifully audited the Enterprise for security breaches. The problem is though, is that it seems like Remmick did a 180 in the previous episode, and was no longer interested in just the nuts and bolts of Starfleet. It turns out that he really wanted to be with a good team that took Starfleet to another level like on the Enterprise-D. So inside, Remmick was a decent guy - just following obnoxious orders.

Now it turns out that probably sometime in between that episode and this one that Remmick was invaded, but I wonder why he was chosen? It's not really a matter of just desserts for the audience now, is it? Are they trying to show that even the most dedicated members of Starfleet interested in protecting it were being turned by the Conspirators? I'm not quite sure.
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Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

Peter's reference to the day's of yore is closer to the writers' intent here. Kamala's arranged marriage for peace is similar to Henry VIII of England offering his sister to Louis XII of France for a peace treaty. Henry's sister has no agency; she's simply carrying out the marriage because she must obey Henry VIII and - perhaps she knew that someday this would be her fate because it's part of being royal Countess. Kamala's tragic duty mirror's the Countess' in this scenario.

The stripper analogy is clumsy because it suggests that Kamala is performing services for *her own gain* - that she's trained to handle many men and earn personal income from it. That's not at all what's happening in this episode.

I'm not sure where the notion that Kamala is lying came from; it comes off as an inexplicably cynical head-canon for the episode. If Kamala's last conversation with Picard was a big fat lie it essentially guts the entire piece - we can't take any part of the climactic dialogue seriously.

This a story by American writers from 1992 we're talking about. They understand that forced arranged marriage is *not a good thing*. As has been stated, it's more likely the writers wanted to show us that despite knowing that Kamala's role is an unjust one for her, there is dignity in self-sacrifice. Being forced to sacrifice is wrong; but choosing to sacrifice, as Kamala ultimately does, is something we can respect.
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Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

@Peter G.

I like that idea as it plays well to Cochrane's curiosity and disgust as he adapts to the wonders of space. Much of Trek discusses how space will change the way we live and think. If things become too extreme and different for humanity though, we may find that like Cochrane, it will be a change that is impossible to accept. Indeed, Bedford becomes incidentally ill from spending too much time in the struggles of space. There needs to be a sort of well-guided compromise of human and alien values for this exploration to work. This speaks much to the idea of using the "carrot" as Bones suggested to get the companion to both learn from us as we learn from her.
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Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

The stripper analogy is wrong and in bad taste.
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Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

I don't think any commenters yet have gotten to the heart of the episode. We have Cochrane who gave up his whole life to the pursuit of space travel and in the end nearly died lonely. This juxtaposes well with Bedford who also gave her life to establish peace in the galaxy Cochrane "discovered". Cochrane can never rest until he finds peace - represented by Bedford. These two need each other for peaceful existence, just as the companion and Cochrane needed each other.
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Mon, Aug 5, 2019, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

I'm sympathetic with Peter on this one; I think the intent of the episode was to show there existed injustices in how women are treated in the workforce and how such injustice can drive someone to do very desperate things. There's also the lingering issue that women cannot hold certain positions in the military and are generally treated different (though for biological reasons, if my understanding is correct) which is hinted at by this episode. But I do agree also with Springy, that much of the writing was lacking for the Women's Rights concept (ex: why was it never mentioned how Janice Lester could've been something in Starfleet if she had done x, y, and z? What's the "if only" all about?)

Nevertheless, I largely agree with Jammer's review. Shatner was really on his game this episode, and it's fun to see "someone else" inside the Captain. The scenes that worked really well were the ones that showed how blindly the crew on the Enterprise were willing to follow a leader because of the chain of command - despite that leader's increasingly questionable actions. Insert relevant modern-day political commentary here.

Sandra Smith was also wonderful to watch with her depiction of Kirk and it was fun seeing her outmatch the intruder on a cerebral level at a hearing. So I'd say the episode is largely a fun watch but with a huge ASTERIX.
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Sun, Aug 4, 2019, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

@Theo

Late reply! Been brooding on this episode for 3 months? :-) I see your point about Picard, but I’m not sure being solitary is really presented as a good thing for him in this show. By the time “All Good Things” and Generations come about, we see that Picard is in terrible pain from leading this type of life.

“I can't take Kamala's romantic tragedy seriously, because it is unclear that it is really a tragedy. She will say *anything* to make you like her. There is no reason to believe anything she said to anyone throughout the episode, including the idea that she "permanently imprinted" with Picard. She's a stripper, and strippers spin stories.”

We’re supposed to take Kamala’s statement that she’s imprinted at face value. I know this because she says she’s imprinted and *because she’s imprinted* she can’t stay with Picard despite his wishes. If she were trying to lure by lying to him like you claim, why would she deny him? That’s nonsensical.
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Thu, Aug 1, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

@Peter G.

"Is this a theory that you think may fit the *intended* story, or do you actually perceive this vibe from the show itself?"

I don't know what the showrunners intended (and it's not like they'd admit it) but it's a topic worth considering in products predominately produced by males, for males. I also think Rom fulfills a similar role on DS9, or at least that's the best reason I can think of why they'd pair the most wormy, irritating character with the most attractive woman on the set. For some subset of fans that may not include you, this is a dream come true on screen.
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Thu, Aug 1, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

Momofsix wrote:

"I never got the Kes character....ever....and somehow felt the Neelix/kes relationship was just creepy. To continue the personal note, I thought 7 of 9 was a welcome addition—just overused, at times. But ‘defeating The Borg’ by ‘de-assimilation ‘ was a stroke of irony and genius."

I'm not really sure I get her, either, but on the surface it appears that Kes was used to fulfill a sort of nerd fantasy for the audience - i.e. the goofy-looking guy with weird social skills gets the pretty girl. Sometimes I think it works okay on that level, but yes, the fact that Neelix followed Kes onboard and creeps on her relentlessly makes for a disconcerting message.

I liked Seven as well and luckily her character was used often for some cerebral and thoughtful pieces so, at least in her case, the nerd-wish fulfillment material didn't stand out so much.
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Wed, Jul 31, 2019, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

Goodness, I had no idea what I was getting into when I watched this. So, I agree with all the criticisms (shoehorned pilot for other show, etc., etc.) but it wasn't all bad. I think the one thing they got right was the dramatic tension for the episode. The show framed Gary Seven as the villain of the episode with an obviously nefarious agenda, although it mentioned the possibility he could be doing his assignment for the greater good. I think the direction worked in a way that made us forget he was possibly doing "the right thing" - which, in turn, made for an interesting reversal in the end. I suppose the problem with all this is, it's hard to relate to Gary Seven when you're being told by all the scripting, visual, and music cues that he's a bad guy. it would be like if they were using DS9 as a pilot for Edington and a Maquis show (who's rooting for that guy?).

Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out what that cat that turns into a woman was all about. It looks like a template for a Sailor Moon character. :3
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Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

@Mozzer

Red Letter Media made the same observation in their review of Insurrection. It is, in fact, a good example of why this episode is good and Insurrection is stupid.
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Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Samaritan Snare

@Hatted

That's pretty interesting to hear. Ironically, this episode was so hated that it inspired other writers to come forward and pitch scripts. There's a snippet about that in Tin Man's production notes:

"The point at which we became serious about trying to write a script for the show was about five minutes after watching 'Samaritan Snare,' which in my personal opinion was the most abysmal piece of Star Trek ever filmed. My objections to it were that it always resorted to idiot plotting to make the story work, and that offended me a great deal worse than some of the awful shows which were done on the original series. I thought the way in which it was plotted and the way it was dealt with was an insult to the intelligence of the people who watched the show and the actors and characters in the show. None of the plot could have happened if all of the characters hadn't suddenly became morons that week."

"Someone must have been aware of how hokey it was, because they wrote obvious questions into the script which they chose not to answer. For instance, before Geordi beams over, Worf says explicitly to Riker, 'Do we have to send them our chief engineer because they have a little problem?' and it's never answered. If you don't want to answer it, don't bring it up. Another thing that is stupid is Deanna Troi comes on the bridge and says to Riker, 'I don't sense fear or confusion. Geordi is in danger. Bring him back,' and no one even responds to that. They simply act as if it wasn't said. On the trip over to the starbase, where Picard and Wesley have this long heart to heart talk, Wesley says why would anyone use a defective heart transplant. That's a minor point. A major piece of stupidity is they send him to a medical facility where it turned out that no one was qualified to handle the operation if it went at all wrong. I can't believe they expect viewers to be so stupid as to not ask about that. The fact that the routine was repeatedly said, throughout the show, to be an absolutely routine procedure and when it went wrong, it went wrong for no reason that was mentioned, except that it had to go wrong to have the climax. Then it turns out they have to call the Enterprise to bring Pulaski over to do the operation because she's more qualified and the people there weren't." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)"
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Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

@Bob

Oh, I didn't know that about Europe and Cheers. Interesting to hear. :-)

Morn not speaking *is* the joke. It's like Mr. Burns not remembering Homer's name. You might say, well, he could remember Homer's name *just one* episode because Homer saved his life and that's super important(!) - but then the joke would be over and a small part of Mr. Burn's character would disappear forever.
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Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

@Bob

"But for pete's sake, just give Morn a bloody line."

Europeans might not catch this, but it's a running gag that's also an homage to the tv series, Cheers. You see, both DS9 and Cheers were produced by Paramount Television and Cheers also had a character (Norm's wife, Vera) who was always talked about but never had a line. Cheers' spin-off series, Frasier, also had a character (Maris) who had the same gag. Incidentally, Morn spelled backwards is Norm. :-)
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Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Second Skin

I understand where Ildaf's coming from - if you put any amount of critical thinking into the situation there's no way you could believe that Kira was actually Cardassian all along.

Yet, I think it was still early enough it DS9 to buy, momentarily, that Kira was a Cardassian operative gone wrong - after all, she seems uniquely strong even among other Bajorans. Also, Cardassians seem to be capable of very ruthless and overly-complicated schemes. I think this is the same season that "Civil Defense" was aired showing the Cardassian dedication to getting the last laugh in the most convoluted way - something that is considered genius among those people.

Of course, you could argue that forcing unbelievably-complicated plots is in itself bad writing guised as good Cardassian characterization and I think that's an interesting point of discussion. I think I fall in more of the giving the benefit of the doubt to the writers camp myself, but I can see the other side of the coin.

"The tales of Iliana, ruthless Obsidian spy, hero of Cardassia."

I'm pretty sure there's a DS9 novel that touches on this topic but don't quote me on that.
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