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Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

I never called for you to be banned nor do I think you should be, neither did I say I agreed with everything Omicron wrote; what I have done is directly ask you to stop behaving hatefully to people on here. Your comments on many of the episodes are good and constructive (e.g. Let He Who Is Without Sin) were it not for your constant firestarting. I didn't post here for over two months and only intervened when I saw you were attacking someone again and no-one else was defending them, including once again attacking Rahul including making comments about his ethnicity. Perhaps I shouldn't have done that because I don't think Rahul or anyone else here needs me to defend them, but I hate it when everyone just stands by in the face of the kind of comments you make about people. I am completely bored of this. I used the word "troll" because you've stated in the past here that you start arguments for your own entertainment. Viel Spaß dabei.
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Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

"You will never escape from trolls no matter where you go" - I think architecture plays a huge role in the prevalence thereof. I don't go on Star Trek forums and don't use social media, so maybe my impression of this is off, but the web feels less troll-y in general than it used to. These days everything from Facebook and Twitter to Youtube comments sections and Reddit has some form of upvoting/downvoting or like/dislike system, which means that even communities that aren't directly moderated have a sort of self-moderating system, and anyone who persistently acts inappropriately is sufficiently downvoted by other community members that it disincentivizes them from acting that way, especially if they get so many downvotes/dislikes that their comments are hidden from view. This helps non-troll posters too, as it helps set clear boundaries if someone steps over the line intentionally or unintentionally. (ie. if I normally get likes/upvotes when I post on a site, but I say something that gets fiercely downvoted or ratioed, I know that I've made a mistake in the eyes of the community. This makes it clear what forms of speech are and aren't acceptable, and discourages me from doing so again. There are also mechanisms for people to reach out to each other privately.) The fact that so much of the modern web architecture operates on this model, for obvious reasons, means that people who want to act outside of those boundaries seek out other forums that allow them to do so (e.g. 4chan etc.)

I know Omicron got into quite a few arguments when they first started using this site, but certainly in the past 2 years they became one of the most thoughtful and constructive commenters (of which there are many), and I hate to see this framed as if they're the problem simply for reacting to/failing to ignore a self-confessed troll and for making an appeal to authority. I'm fortunate not to be in this position, but I'm very aware of the fact at the moment that we're in lockdown in the middle of a pandemic which - on top of general social atomization and the loneliness crisis even before Covid - means that engaging on this site or on other forums or social media might be some people's only regular social interaction, which is partly why feelings are heightened, why people take abusive posts personally (and in some but not all cases, why they make them), and why everyone (including me, in case anyone thinks I'm being hypocritical or trying to speak for everyone) needs to try and de-escalate as much as they can. My $0.02.

I haven't seen any of Discovery S3 and don't have Netflix/CBS.
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Fri, Nov 13, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

Jesus, what the fuck is your problem with Rahul? You've gone from saying he had "probably never been discriminated against apart from women not wanting him" to now accusing him of faking being Asian. And all because you perceive him as being against what you refer to as "inclusion aka identity politics" (which are not the same thing, and I'd argue Discovery is doing neither). You're doing a great job of modeling your much-vaunted inclusion and diversity (which ARE important) there by constantly nastily personally haranguing one of the few Asian posters on the site. It has to stop.
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Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 5:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth

"I just enjoy to mess with all these douchebags [...] What these people want is being shitty and face no backlash because of it. That's where I come in."

No-one else enjoys it. No-one else enjoys watching you start argument after argument. And your definition of someone being a "douchebag" or "shitty" (aside from the fact no-one appointed you sole arbiter thereof) extends to the most innocuous comments - basically, anything that gives you an excuse to dive in. Quincy is completely right. At least you've finally admitted you do it for your own entertainment.
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Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

As I said before, Germany has come to terms with its past very well, but there's a tendency among a minority of West Germans (typically in the Generation X age-range) to be in a state of constant paranoid vigilance towards anyone or anything they perceive as "Nazi" or associated with the (far-)right. Some of these people can be overzealous in a counterproductive way, even attacking people on the left who they don't see as sufficiently left, and also think that Vergangenheitsbewältigung gives them a certain moral superiority and the right to preach to the rest of the world - like righteously, indignantly explaining American politics to Americans from 6000 miles away. I've only infrequently encountered these types of people, but I see the traits in a certain commenter here and remarked on it. Even if someone on a Trek forum is using alt-right-associated terms or rhetoric (whether or not they actually know it, because some of this stuff has unfortunately seeped into aspects of online speech), it's not useful to - as Elliott rightly said - "throw every ad hominem, stereotypical grab-bag of anti-right slurs one could think of at them. That's not going to convince anybody of anything other than that you're too angry to have a conversation with." If Booming is indeed "past trying to convince people", as they replied, then I wonder what the point of this entire argument was (and every other political argument they've been involved in on here). I'm certainly retroactively embarrassed by my own involvement in it.
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Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture
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Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 10:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

You're right, Rahul. The worst thing about it, apart from the general appalling conduct and the constant falling back on "well, we in Germany [xyz]" as an defense and explanation for his behavior - which is totally fallacious, because almost no-one in Germany is like that and if he acted the way he does on this forum in any German workplace or social environment he'd be fired or kicked out - is how profoundly selfish it is. He doesn't care how many people he pushes away from the left and further to the right, how many people he potentially further radicalizes, as long as people are paying attention to him. That would be bad coming from an ordinary person, but from someone who claims to actually be a researcher into right-wing beliefs/groupings it's flabbergasting and shamefully counterproductive. Someone who is good at combating extremist beliefs does so with skill and care. Someone who is an extremist themselves interprets the entire world through ideological goggles and sees any opinions not conforming to said ideology as something to be denounced and eliminated. In this case compounded by consistently using their profession and nationality as an excuse for their own self-aggrandisement. Germany has on the whole done such a good job of coming to terms with its past, and there are so many people and institutions who've worked hard on this in all kinds of ways and continue to today, that it's shameful to see someone act so crudely then use the fact that they're German and a supposed anti-far-right researcher as a get-out clause to try to deflect any and all criticism. The efforts that people throughout Germany have made to process, atone for and move on from 1933-1945 have been complex, meaningful and in no way easy, and it really cheapens and trivializes this serious struggle to see someone glibly fall back on "well, I'm German and I'm an anti-far-right researcher" as an excuse for being an ass on a fucking Star Trek forum.
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Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 9:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

I know I don't have to, I was extending compassion.

"And it is true I research right wing populism. Around 15% in most western countries hold right wing radical or extremist views." - be that as it may, who made you chief anti-Nazi inquisitor on this site? Are you not exhausted from gleefully seeing offence at every possible opportunity? Aside from which, the work of dissuading someone from any extremist viewpoint (whether far-right, far-left, fundamentalist religion, whatever) is about deradicalization, which takes calmness and dexterity. Think Janeway in the shuttle at the end of The Voyager Conspiracy. You don't coax someone away from an extremist position (of any kind) by hectoring and abusing them and policing even the most minor perceived infringement (like your example of some guy calling Seven "Hooters of Nine", which you judge to be offensive when in fact the extreme sex scenario you subsequently concocted on here was far more grotesque) - in fact, that pushes them further away and makes them double down. All the evidence we have tells us this. The way you start arguments on here on the daily may appear on the surface as some kind of unhinged moral crusade, like you at least have good intentions, but it's actually nothing to do with genuinely calling out problematic behavior, trying to bring people back into the fold or dislodge their far-right or conspiratorial beliefs (if it were, you'd probably do a better job of it, whereas your success rate speaks for itself) - rather it seems you just want to manufacture argument after argument in order to give yourself a sense of purpose and a feeling of being listened to. Trust me, we're listening. If you actually want to win more people over to a more left-wing (or even just more centrist) way of thinking, (which no-one has asked you to do because this is a Star Trek forum but anyway) you don't do that by constantly going on the attack, because that just pushes them further right.
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Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Booming, if you are someone "who [has] suffered more in the defense of freedom before they were 20" than most people, I'm sorry that that happened to you. You didn't deserve it.

You've touched on a military past and also mentioned that your work/research looks at right-wing groupings, and I'd remind you that you're not in a military context or fighting fascism on this site. It feels like you're in a constant struggle with everyone and your worldview has been primed to be constantly on guard and seeing "fascists" and "Nazis" everywhere, even in the most throwaway comments on a Star Trek forum. No-one can be a one-man antifaschistischer Schutzwall.

I like Rapture and DS9's handling of religion in general, but it's true that the actual content and nature of the Bajoran religion - what the core beliefs and practices are, what actually happens during a temple service - remain relatively ill-defined. I think this is partly just because creating an entire 24th century religion is a big ask, just as we know little about Federation popular culture and never hear Trek characters listen to music (because creating 24th century pop culture would also be a biggish ask). I think some of the handling of religion in the closing stages of DS9 did indirectly pave the way for a lot of the much clumsier, more ill-thought-out use of religion and deus ex machina on BSG.
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Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

Gee, I wonder what might put people off using this forum more - some straight guy writing "The alien chick is hot, I'd do her" in his review of an episode which is *about sex*, or the person who starts a tone-deaf argument constantly trying to police trivial bullshit like this on every single forum thread. Look, I've argued with people for using gross misogynist or hateful language on here before, but this isn't one of those cases. Writing "The alien chick/dude is hot" is perfectly fine, we're adults and we can talk about who we find attractive... the "I'd do her" addendum is maybe a bit juvenile, but the entire topic of the episode is Harry breaking protocols (albeit retconned for this episode) by having sex with an alien because he's overcome by the strength of his attraction. Mikey is just saying that he'd do the same as Harry in that situation, i.e. he is - unlike some people - commenting directly and personally on the central theme of the episode and saying what he'd do if presented with the same dilemma.

"and a 15 year old female teenager might have a different perception of a guy objectifying and fantasizing about having sex with a female character and even risking going to prison for years because of it." - this is so typical, inventing an imaginary offended person to justify your outrage on their behalf and enforce your own social power. We get it.

I think this one is slightly underrated and for me it's a 2.5. The biggest problem isn't the sex storyline or the acting, but the fact that the protocol not to get intimately involved with aliens is invented just for this episode. That's a fairly big problem. I like the concept and execution of the ship and I like Wang's performance as always.
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Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Picard season 2 was so poorly received by test audiences that they scrapped it and went straight to season 3. Like with Windows 9.

Nah. I think it was a typo.
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Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

"Ok people maybe [...] liberal arts students will murder us all and bring about a terrible dictatorship [...]. Maybe not. My money is on not."

The Khmer Rouge, which ended up killing a quarter of Cambodia's population in a very short interval of just 4 years, grew out of a Paris student group - they were the children of the Cambodian landowning elite who'd been sent to study abroad.

Apropos Peter's excellent post (and his observation that "Satie ultimately has the grace of a steamroller"), one thing that really works about the episode is how Picard clearly understands that the best way to defeat Satie is to give her enough rope to hang herself. He can see what's going on and the underlying dynamics at play, but it's not yet clear to everyone else (including her superiors), so to expose her, rather than going directly on the attack, he allows her to get carried away with her paranoid witch-hunt (at professional risk to himself) until she overreaches badly and the true nature of proceedings is made apparent to all. Spencer Garrett is also really excellent as Tarses in quite a difficult role.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

"That 'Drumhead' gets re-read as being 'also about reverse racism', BLM and the modern 'cancelling of whites' seems silly to me."

It seems to me that the cancel culture debate is almost like the "what is/isn't Star Trek" debate in that the term and concept are too loosely defined for people to ever be able to agree on what constitutes it and whether it's good or bad, right or wrong.

But the thing about a good parable is that it can be applied to multiple situations, people in different contexts and decades can see themselves and their own experiences in it. And I wouldn't be hasty to reduce the counterargument here to being about the "cancelling of whites". I have seen black people who dared to side with the wrong person or voice even mild disagreement with aspects and methods of current progressive politics face torrents of abuse denouncing them as "Uncle Toms", "coconuts", "coons", "house negro" etc. by other black people on social media, even here in the UK. It's absolutely repellent and extremely ugly. We've created a situation where *within minority groups*, people feel entitled to abuse and shun anyone who doesn't display the right fealties. In the past when I have been "cancelled" or targeted on social media for wrongthink, it was almost always other gay guys doing it - and I've never voted for a right-wing party in my life. The left eats it own, and social media has gamified and depersonalized this to the extent it's almost become a sport. Look at the incredible hostility and often really nasty personal invective directed towards Pete Buttigieg during his campaign - not from the right, but by "progressives"/the hard left, particularly gay American millennials to his left. (On top of being terrible conduct, all of this is also just an incredibly dumb strategy because it pushes people away from the left and further towards the right - it's the last way to behave if you want to convince someone or win them over to your side.) I'm really sick of this "wrong type of minority" culture that's taking hold more and more where if you're black, gay, female, trans, etc. etc. but you don't hold the opinions and allegiances that your identity group is supposed to hold, you get viciously attacked by your own peers and those who are supposed to be on your own side, and essentially branded as a collaborator or pariah. The U.S. has an incredibly deeply rooted cluster of problems around ingrained racism that spans areas like police brutality, the carceral state, gun culture etc. - it's extreme and quite unique in a way that I think can be hard for people in other countries to appreciate. But current progressive politics has empowered bullies *within* minority groups who will think nothing of abusing and trampling over supposed allies and members of their own minority group if it furthers their own profile and self-interest, and a lot of well-meaning people in the center who genuinely want to help minority rights are giving these people a voice and status. There are Winns, Alixuses and Saties within every progressive activist campaign, because being able to cloak yourself in a benevolent cause is like catnip to certain types of extremely dangerous toxic people with various cluster-B personality disorders, as it's the perfect shield - I wish there weren't, but I've met them. I'm still left but more center-left these days. I encourage anyone who wants to see what cancel culture looks like in practice in the real world to read Freddie deBoer:

"I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19-year-old white woman—smart, well-meaning, passionate—literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word “disabled.” Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20-year-old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn’t a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20-year-olds from rural South Carolina aren’t born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33-year-old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22-year-old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to “man up” and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don’t know how metaphorical language works or else we’re bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself."
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Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

This is a tremendous episode - a nuanced, sophisticated look at cult dynamics unlike anything else in Trek - and the issues with the ending, as discussed exhaustively above (I agree with William B regarding the ending), shouldn't be allowed to overshadow the whole thing. The episode does not vindicate Alixus or pull an "Alixus was right" twist at the final hour, though it does come dangerously close. It also doesn't let her off the hook in terms of answering for her crimes.

Alixus is the worst kind of narcissistic, manipulative holier-than-thou abuser, as the smart script and strong performance make evidently clear - an adept brainwasher who's prepared to abduct and kill in the name of the "common good" and the "community", but really it's all just about her power, like Winn but worse; what they share is that they never use direct aggression to achieve their aims, instead passive-aggression, control and manipulation, all beneath a beneficient layer of plausible deniability. This is pretty close to how the most evil cult leaders, groomers and abusers operate in reality. She's a true sociopath and psychopath; everyone else's wellbeing is totally collateral to her, she's only interested in other people insofar as they prop up her power and serve her delusion. In a really great piece of writing, the only way she even seems able to experience or conceptualize others' suffering is in narcissistic ways that put the focus back on herself (when Sisko says "What of the dead?", she replies "Only my son knows how I have suffered" - it's the "this will hurt me more than it will hurt you" school of thinking; everything is about psychological control). Abusers in group situations requires an enabler, and here Joseph fulfills that function, though I agree his characterisation is inconsistent - but the Joseph shown at the end is subservient to her and unwilling to stand up to her even once the truth has been revealed; worse, he repeats her dogma and speaks for the entire group in her place when she is removed at the end to take responsibility for her crimes, segueing into the leadership role in a way that, yes, isn't entirely believable or well-executed (the same applies to the total lack of the reaction from the group).

The battle of wills between Alixus and Sisko is riveting, and Avery Brooks's performance is outstanding, full of dignity, unbroken spirit and burning passion - the fact that it's a black man and an Irishman whom she's abducted, tortured and made work in the fields isn't lost on present-day audiences. The uniform becomes a symbolic issue of control and the object of their power game (a little like Sisko's baseball would between him and Dukat) precisely because of its representative value and the message Alixus knows it would send to the rest of the group; she knows the Starfleet presence is a threat to her rule and stands for the possibility of an outside world and an alternative authority and way of doing things. Crushing Sisko's will and assimilating him into the group would crush any lingering thoughts of freedom among the others. The wordless scene where Ben chooses to return to the box rather than live in her community is incredibly powerful. O'Brien following this by taking decisive action to shatter the status quo and get himself, Sisko and hopefully everyone else out of there is also rousing. While I agree there are issues with the over-swift ending and the lack of outrage from the group, I totally echo Justin's comment above: "Anyone who doesn't understand why the colonists acted the way they did has never seen a cult at work. These people have been brainwashed by their leader for 10 years, and brutally punished for crimes of individuality or opposition [...]. When the truth is revealed to them, of course they choose to ignore what it means. It breaks the worldview that's been hammered into them every day for a decade. The only ones capable of rational, objective thought are the ones who have yet to be fully indoctrinated: the two children we see solemnly staring at the cage at the end of the final scene."

Works for me. It's not necessarily implied the colony will continue, but that they're now free to decide their future. I suspect a lot of them will leave.

Jadzia and Kira's rescue mission may seem less dramatically compelling by comparison, but it works as a strong contrast - here are two independent women who do have real power but who use it responsibly by working together to help others, out of a true selfless sense of community. The maneuver Jadzia performs to pull the Rio Grande out of warp risks both her and Kira's lives, and they're both prepared to do this because they trust and respect each other and because of their responsibility to Sisko and O'Brien, important members of their community. This true selflessness and collegial communal spirit stands in total contrast to Alixus's entirely self-serving and hollow instrumentalisation of "community" as a tool of power; she's prepared to sacrifice anyone, even her son, to her ideals, but never herself.

For the record, I'm highly critical of anti-tech episodes like the BSG finale and to some extent Children Of Time. This isn't one - it veers too close to being one at the end, but ultimately it isn't. It's a thoughtful script with no easy endings that doesn't endorse Alixus and condemns her pretty strongly throughout.


(I took Anonymous Texan's superb comment on this episode today as an opportunity to repost my own comment from March 2017 originally posted under my old username "N".)
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Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:05am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Thanks SlackerInc and Sen-Sors, appreciated.

Trent, I think it has quite a lot to do with Kate Mulgrew's slightly camp, 1940s-influenced acting style - she plays the role like she's in a Sirk melodrama. Plus the general lightness of the show and the focus on "fun" from season 3 onwards, as well as the female soap-opera villains (Seska, the Borg Queen). The lesbian fanbase for Seven (and Janeway) is self-explanatory, but I think for gay guys, the fact that (certainly in my case) we never noticed or thought about Seven's body or outfit made it easier to appreciate the character and performance. The narrative of Seven recovering from trauma and carving out her own identity on her own terms is also very appealing and resonant.
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Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Putting aside the whole debate of what is and isn't Star Trek (because it quickly becomes circular and rarely leads anywhere productive):

Guiding Light... you know, there are lots of women who dislike "modern" Star Trek too. And most of my gay male friends still say Voyager is their favorite series (mine's DS9) and that they prefer it to Discovery. About half of my gay friends (all millennials) like Discovery, half dislike it, and all but one of them disliked Picard (a couple really liked it at the start, but thought it was terrible by the end of the season). The female characters of Voyager and DS9 are far better written than those in modern Trek. The writing for women in contemporary Trek is atrocious. B'Elanna, Kira, Seven, Ro, Winn, Guinan etc. were vastly better-written and far richer characters than any of the women in any subsequent Trek property. I'd say the same too of the slightly less-strong female characters like Crusher, Troi, Jadzia/Ezri - although they didn't get many good standalones, they were used excellently as part of the ensemble. Compare that to contemporary Trek - Burnham is barely given room to breathe or develop naturally as a character because all of her actions are determined by the needs of the plot which utilizes her as an avatar for the viewer (Discovery being a "ride" show). Mirror Georgiou is a one-dimensional pantomime villain, Captain Georgiou was great but they killed her off in the pilot. (Imagine the rich female characterization and wonderful performance we'd have been denied if DS9 had killed off Kira Nerys at the end of Emissary then made the Intendant a main character in her place - that's essentially what Discovery did to Georgiou). Tilly was promising when first introduced but ever since has basically been treated as Neelix- or Rom-style comic relief (except without even their backstory and development). Airiam got one great episode and the rest of the bridge crew are almost completely undeveloped two seasons in. The Abrams films reduced Uhura to a love interest for Spock (Beyond thankfully utilized her in a more professional capacity), and Picard made its only African-American character an embittered drug addict living in a trailer. The writers of the contemporary Star Trek series can't write women because they can't write people - these shows are not interested in character. I don't care about the optics and semantics of whether they are or aren't Star Trek, whether the Klingons look right or whether the technology is too modern, I care about the fact they're bad drama. (Or in this case, bad comedy.)

As to those reviews being "objective" - both Collider and Trekmovie are notorious shills, Collider in particular have been mocked and called out for it numerous times (mainly in relation to Star Wars) - they won't negatively review major studio properties because they don't want to lose perks and access. Same goes for Trekmovie. If you want to get an overview of how Lower Decks is being received, look at the professional reviews collated on Rotten Tomatoes (by writers who review TV for a living, most of whom aren't Star Trek fans).

"Trek cannot be just for men who are 50 and older" is no argument because it's a statement that's impossible to disagree with. Of course Trek can't be just for men who are 50 and older! Everyone knows that - in fact, far from the rhetorical specter of the stale male gatekeeper you're invoking here, a huge part of the reason many people (women and men of all ages) dislike modern Trek is precisely because it's no longer a family show, one that kids can grow up with and that three generations can watch together, due to the use of sensationalized violence and gore as titillation. I know there are a lot of TNG/TOS nostalgists out there (I'm not one of them) and I very much agree that modern Trek series shouldn't try to be TNG/TOS - that conservative studio approach led to diminishing returns on Voyager and Enterprise, so the fact that the modern series are at least taking risks and trying to do something completely different is great, were it not for the fact that the writing quality has been largely abysmal (with the exception of Star Trek Beyond and about 4-5 Discovery episodes across two seasons). The fact that the modern series aren't TNG/TOS isn't most people's problem with them - it's that they're vulgar, chaotic and violent, with poor characterization and no ideas. They're not about anything, and any topics they do address are either terribly handled (partly due to the shows' poor internal consistency, owing to inexperienced writing teams, behind-the-scenes recutting and changes in showrunners) or are so barely developed that they're essentially window dressing. As to modern Trek being "diverse", to pick out one example, many episodes of DS9 articulate different aspects of the African-American experience in rich, nuanced, complex ways in a future sci-fi context (both filled with hope and fraught with difficulty) with a quality and legacy that remains unparalleled within Trek. Sisko is a hero to a lot of people to this day for the richness of his character, his arc, Brooks's superb portrayal, and the depiction of his family life, just as TNG Picard is a hero to so many people for being the opposite of a conventional gung-ho captain/action hero - instead reserved, thoughtful and someone who leads by listening to others and taking action based on consensual decision-making - an absolutely fantastic role model for men in our present era of political strongmen. So in relation to Sisko and Picard in particular, I won't hear it said that "captains and crews always felt stocky and unrealistic". The new series have absolutely no idea how to approach diversity. On earlier Trek series, diversity was baked into the fabric of the show - TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY understood that diversity was just a starting point, a necessary tool for good storytelling, whereas now, the show creators seem to think it's an end point, an achievement in and of itself. Diversity and representation have been placed on a pedestal to the point that some writers and creatives increasingly don't think *beyond* them: they think representation alone is enough, that as long as you tick all the right boxes, viewers will automatically be happy at seeing a member of their identity group on-screen and will enjoy the show merely on that basis - to see themselves represented - so you don't have to bother with decent writing, characterization or storytelling, or to properly flesh your characters out and give them depth, relatability and compelling motivations. The new Treks series seem to think it's enough to create a cast with female, non-white and LGBT characters, then give them almost no character development and consistently show them as unprofessional, impulsive and irresponsible. I would trust Sisko, Kira, Geordi, Beverly, Guinan, Seven, Tuvok etc. with my life. I wouldn't trust Michael Burnham or any of the Picard or Lower Decks characters to make me a cup of tea.
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Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Favorite DS9 episodes:

10. Past Tense
9. The Jem'Hadar
8. Call To Arms
7. Rocks And Shoals
6. Image In The Sand/Shadows And Symbols
5. The Siege Of AR-558/It's Only A Paper Moon
4. The Way Of The Warrior
3. The Visitor
2. Far Beyond The Stars
1. The Darkness And The Light

Least favorite DS9 episodes:

10. Children Of Time
9. Q-Less
8. The Emperor's New Cloak
7. Battle Lines
6. Dramatis Personae
5. Profit And Lace
4. Field Of Fire
3. Afterimage
2. A Simple Investigation
1. Extreme Measures
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Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 6:38am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Favorite TNG episodes:

10. Skin Of Evil
9. Dark Page
8. Conspiracy
7. The Best Of Both Worlds
6. Yesterday's Enterprise
5. The Inner Light
4. Reunion
3. Q Who?
2. The Offspring
1. The Most Toys

Least favorite TNG episodes:

10. The Child
9. Masks
8. Emergence
7. Force Of Nature
6. The Naked Now
5. The Royale
4. Interface
3. Shades Of Gray
2. Loud As A Whisper
1. Hide And Q
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Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

Favorite Voyager episodes:

10. Persistence Of Vision
9. The Voyager Conspiracy
8. Gravity
7. Future's End
6. Someone To Watch Over Me
5. Warlord
4. Retrospect
3. Resistance
2. Counterpoint
1. The Thaw

Least favorite Voyager episodes:

10. Q2
9. The Q And The Grey
8. The Fight
7. Fair Haven
6. Spirit Folk
5. Inside Man
4. Fury
3. Dark Frontier
2. Endgame
1. Unimatrix Zero
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Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Hey Tim - I hope you enjoy Lower Decks. (I hope against hope myself that it isn't as bad as it looks.) I know discussions of the new shows can feel negative, but I think a lot of that (apart from the terrible writing, which is the root of the problem) is because people hold Star Trek in high regard, expect a lot of it and aren't used to it being bad. Certainly in my own comments, I gave a positive review to the Discovery pilot and the first episode of Picard, before then souring quickly on both series. I feel that you're fair and sincere in your comments too. I'd beware, though, of lumping those critical of the new shows under the label of "negative nancies determined to hate anything", because someone who's a super-fan of Discovery and Picard could easily throw that back at you - in recent comments you wrote that "Disco's first season failed" and "Disco season 2 fell apart" leaving you with an "empty, dissatisfied feeling" (I agree with all of that!), while you had "a ton of issues with" the Picard finale, including "painfully tedious cliched villain nonsense", a "boring-as-hell visual trope", "Yawn" etc. I'm only half-joking when I say that some die-hard Picard/DIS stan who's unable to tolerate criticism of those shows at all could come along and lump you under the same "harping on"/"miserable" category...
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Sat, Jul 18, 2020, 2:19am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

Yes, Alexander is 75% Klingon, 24% palm oil and 1% flavorings and emulsifiers.
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Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

To me the question of whether something like this should be part of the Star Trek franchise is secondary (ultimately it doesn't have to be treated as canon, just as The Animated Series isn't by most people)... for me it's more the case that this thing seems to be failing on its own terms. Probably most of us here have at some point enjoyed shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, Daria, Bojack, Futurama etc. There's an established audience for irreverent animations aimed at adults. Honestly, if I had laughed even just two or three times in the trailer, I would be much more positive. But there's nothing close to a joke or resembling wit or intelligence - the style is very much what one of the commenters on Youtube (before the comments section was shut down) described as "millennial lol so random" humor. It reminds me more than anything else of that viral Twitter video a girl made last year about what passes for comedy in most Hollywood movies now: It just looks like snarky puerile chaos, and the voice acting is incredibly strident and annoying.
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Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

"How about if it were a show a single female Klingon and her 3 female friends all trying to find a mate?"

I would watch the hell out of that.

I would watch Andor Shore.

I would watch a version of Catfish where a girl from North Carolina has been chatting online to a cute guy called Brian for 10 months, but grows suspicious when he keeps finding excuses not to video-chat and not to meet up with her, and when they track him down and knock on the door of his penthouse, it's actually the Crystalline Entity.

I would watch Celebrity Rehab Jem'Hadar Special.

I would watch the spinoff series Sex And The Entity, in which the Crystalline Entity achieves its dream of moving to New York, where it balances shoe-shopping and writing its magazine column with consuming all organic life.

I would watch My 600-lb Pakled Life.

I would watch WWE: Horta vs Vorta.

I probably won't watch this.
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Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Yeah, Elliott has not espoused literal communism here, and "socialist" is a very open term that can include things like social democracy. It's not useful to pigeon-hole someone or assume a specific set of motives because they described themselves using this general term on a totally different comment thread. As to "if not, then the 9 years is irrelevant" - that depends how worthwhile or incisive we consider offence archaeology to be. I think most of us had opinions in the past that we might now either disavow or express in a milder or more balanced form today.

I think a lot of people's feelings are heightened at the moment (mine certainly are) and it's almost like people are keen to form themselves into tribes and assume the worst of those they see as being on the opposing side. I think this whole issue was dredged up unnecessarily, but as Peter G outlines, I can understand how Michael and Rahul found Elliott's old post provocative, particularly if they've had previous experience regarding inflationary "Thing X is racist" discourse (as Peter touches on with the Pocahontas example). I don't think Elliott either now or then was trying to deliberately push people's buttons on this thread or being disingenious, but just expressing his own perspective, and I think Michael misinterpreted the place his views were coming from. I'd decided I was going to ignore the whole debate and just scroll past it in the comments stream until petrol was poured on the flames and I didn't want those kind of below-the-belt comments being made to Rahul without anyone drawing a line, which is why I briefly stepped in. I apologise if my responding to Booming's comment made things worse. I think most of us agree this is a great episode.

Somewhere in the midst of this there's probably a whole debate to be had on how modern Trek (presumably as part of a diverse casting approach) handles Earth ethnicities in relation to alien species, especially since Picard gave us white, black, Asian and Irish(!) Romulans...
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Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott is right, but for the record, when I said "Why does every major argument on this site in the past year or two always involve the same person?", I didn't mean him.

As to the discussion, I don't think casting black actresses as future Jake's wife and Tuvok's wife is offensive or racist. Neither were ever paired exclusively with black characters - Jake dated a white Bajoran dabo girl in season 2/3 then is shown as married to a mixed-race Bajoran woman in The Visitor. I don't read anything into either of those things. And as Elliott also points out, Tuvok was later paired with Lori Petty in one episode.
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