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Maq
Wed, May 27, 2020, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Twilight

A really good time twist story. Also one of my favourites. Archer / T'Pol / Phlox chemistry works fine.

There are many complaints regarding Anthony Montgomery and Linda Parks acting or Characters. They are too weak / bad.

To be honest I am not sure. Perhaps two background characters where needed. It was the same with Garrett Wang in Voyager. I believe such character are needed or perhaps wanted. In real life there are a lot of people who not expose themselves to much. Hoshi get more space then Travis but I am not sure that it was just bad acting that brought Montgomery in the background. His acting / character has not been a big annoyance to me. But it is a pity that he could not be used more or better.

Sometimes it seems as we need to bash.

I would have liked to see more of the character Cutler from first season.
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Eamon
Wed, May 27, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@omicron

Bingo. The difference between DS9 and its edgier, dark turn is that a) there was still an appreciation of the source material by the writers and b) even the characters themselves struggled with it.

Actually watching the characters of DS9 deal with the morally changing circumstances and the test of their ideals made for great viewing. It’s actually those things that elevate DS9 above TNG in my ranking. Let’s be honest, DS9 was probably equally controversial in its day. However, as the stories played out people came to still respect that there was an undercurrent of what made Star Trek unique. Even if the ideals of the federation were getting bent (or broken) there were ramifications for them. Either characters struggling with that, arguing for or against the bending of tradition, etc. There was debate WITHIN the show about “What is star trek.”.

Like you said, if you remove any of the trek packaging from the new series or new films, you’re only left with generic space show/film. Not particularly compelling as Trek or otherwise.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

@ Chrome,

"The PD doesn't apply here because the Klingons already messed with the natural development of the people. Kirk's solution is supposed to correct that interference."

I'm citing the PD because I think the spirit of the PD is what's in play here - to give them a chance at a normal development, or as close to one as is possible at this point. TOS did more actually than the later series did to not only spell out the PD, but also to spell out that as a law it requires on-the-fly interpretation and that it's never black and white (which on TNG they often make it). A Captain is uniquely in the position to determine the best way to maintain its spirit when the letter of it is no longer possible (see A Piece of the Action for another example of a zany way to try to follow the spirit of the law). I brought it up because this is a viable alternative as a theory for why Kirk helps, as opposed to the more realpolitik interpretation that the Federation was being just like the U.S. in the Cold War.

"But as the episode discusses, it seems likely to lead to escalation and ramped up interference by Starfleet. Maybe in the Star Trek universe, escalation never happens and the Klingons back down, but in the parallel real world conflict *this episode mentions specifically* that wasn't the case."

I agree that the prognosis doesn't look good for paradise on this planet. The bottom line is that the Klingons ruined it, and the only thing left to do is salvage whatever scraps of it remain. The reason I keep mentioning the friendship is that I think it demonstrates that there can be reasons for arming a people other than to manipulate them into your own private conflicts. It might well be possible to do 'cold war type stuff' but in a spirit of friendship, depending on context. The best Kirk could do here to maintain balance was a least of evils choice, no question about that. My only contention is that I don't think it was necessarily an error, nor does it have to be seen as done for the purpose of having a proxy war against the Klingons.
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Chrome
Wed, May 27, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

Yeah, Peter, I don't think there's any doubt Kirk is unhappy arming the people here. He's despoiling what he used to think of as the "Garden of Eden", after all. He even has to give the order twice to Scott at the end who is confused about why Kirk would be asking for a bunch of weapons. The way Kirk's friendship with Tyree plays into this is that he's able to help Tyree man up and be able to defend himself in war. Kirk says this isn't the best life for Tyree, but at least it's a *chance for life* for him and his people.

The PD doesn't apply here because the Klingons already messed with the natural development of the people. Kirk's solution is supposed to correct that interference. But as the episode discusses, it seems likely to lead to escalation and ramped up interference by Starfleet. Maybe in the Star Trek universe, escalation never happens and the Klingons back down, but in the parallel real world conflict *this episode mentions specifically* that wasn't the case.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Like Nibbler from Futurama. His dark matter poop "weighs as much as a thousand suns."
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Peter G.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

@ Jason R.,

Hah! At least with that one I could believe it's a result of false boasting on their part.
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Top Hat
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Little Green Men

And this is a small private craft rather than a heavily armed warship such as TNG initially feautred.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

@Peter as was the door to Central Command headquarters - kind of hilarious.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

I love the absurdity of the sloped wooden table. They could've just shortened two of the legs of the last table, but instead they had a carpenter build this bespoke folly for all of five seconds of screen time. That then led to the even more jarring jump to the metal "table" after it.

I think what would've worked better is to start with the same conference table, then shorten it as shown, then change it to a metal table which would look like a typical stainless steel prep table in a commercial kitchen, then after discussion one of them would say "make this a medical exam table" at which point we get something more like what was shown. That's still kind of over-the-top, but at least the progression is more believable.

It is interesting that they fixated on the sloped part, because the tables we saw in the actual alien lab were flat. That doesn't mean they don't tilt or that some of the experiments that were done on the people didn't make them feel like they were inclined in some way, so I can give that a pass. Still, it led to the weird sloped wood table and crazy jump to the tricked out exam table. I'm glad that the actual tables looked quite a bit different than what they came up with on the holodeck, which helps with the realism.
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Jaxon
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Little Green Men

Elliot said:

"Question: when did the Ferengi go from hostile (if pathetic) foreign power (c.f. “Rascals”) to friendly neighbour that can appear over Earth without incident?"

By this point we've had "The Nagus" and "Prophet Motive".

Sisko's cordial dealings with the Nagus in that interim have likely thawed things at least to a point where questions are asked first.

Also, Starfleet *is* expecting the arrival of their first Ferengi cadet ever.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

@ Jason R.,

The Doomsday device was also made of neutronium!
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Booming
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Omicron
"Is it okay for the current IP owners to just throw all this away as they please?"
Yes. They can slowly walk it off a cliff. The bigger problem is that a company (CBS) can say what Star Trek is and what isn't and a company will always do what it deems to be the most profitable. Even if there were a nice team of talented people somewhere who want to make good Trek, they couldn't.

@Nolan
I think that a cultural product or creation has to have an identity, a micro culture, if you will. If it ceases to be identifiable as that creation then it ceases to be that creation. That is why they throw in Spock, Picard, Riker, Data, the Enterprise and all that because without it, it would be unrecognizable.

About your question concerning super hero franchises. You may be right that DC had it a little harder because everybody knew the Christopher Reeves Superman which is still beloved. They were happy somewhat silly movies, turning this around into dark and gritty was a bad idea, in my opinion, because if Superman isn't just a nice dork with superpowers then he is really scary. I can really recommend "The Boys" (great show,by the way) to highlight what a nightmare a realistic superhero would be.

Marvel's heroes remained silly. They also were really lucky that Downey needed money for actual angel dust. He is a great actor. The Guardians were a bunch of lovable losers. Marvel also understood what comic movies are. Childish. It is pop corn cinema in it's most pure form. They are smartly made, funny and forgettable. I don't remember anything from these movies apart from the celebration of the male body.

" Is there a point where a Bond movie could distance itself from the elements of it's culture where it could be considered "Not James Bond"?"
Is Adam Sandler doing a "movie" right now? I think he would be up to the challenge.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Jeffrey not sure this impacts your discussion but I will remind you the sphere was said to be constructed of neutronium. That is the densest matter in the universe short of whatever a black hole is made of.

Incidentally, the notion of any object (other than a neutron star) being made of neutronium is ludicrous. Such a material would explode the instant it is removed from its native environment.
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Jaxon
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Little Green Men

Chris said:

"The way I always try to rationalise this sort of thing in Star Trek, is to invoke the ancient humanoids from TNG's 'The Chase'. But even if all humanoid life was seeded, the idea that the lifeforms and cultures on each planet developed at the same rate, to within a few hundred years, still doesn't add up. "

It's not impossible that, if not for the Dark Ages, humans might have been at the current technology level of 2020 by, say, 1500.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Omicron I think the only question that really matters is it in any good? Others have fully canvassed the reasons why it isn't.

Perhaps it's my perspective as a TNG era trekkie and child of the 80s, but I never had a problem with DS9's allegedly darker tone or questioned its status as Trek. I don't even agree that it is particularly dark frankly excepting a handful of episodes, In the Pale Moonlight and For the Uniform being the standouts that get everyone's panties in a bunch.

And those episodes were either storytelling blunders best ignored or the consequence of a very specific context driven by the war story being told. But DS9 as a whole was never "dark" overall. And to be clear, I see "dark" as more or less synonymous with nihilism.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

@ Chrome,

I might have to re-watch for tone, but I don't recall ever getting the impression that we're meant to feel that Kirk made a mistake at the end. I don't think he was happy to have to intervene in this manner, but I don't recall anything indicating any awareness that he was making an error.

"It's not until Klingon interference is confirmed that Kirk is forced to get involved as a matter of duty. This makes it look like Kirk's interests are in line with Starfleet's and the burden he has to bear is for Starfleet's cause - i.e. winning or maintaining balance against the Klingons."

But I think this is a Prime Directive thing. He would have let them kill each other under normal circumstances due to the PD. What changes is that the Klingons interfere on one side. Technically that should not alter the Fed position that intervening is a breach of the PD; I don't think the PD has 'unless' clauses. So I suppose it's my interpretation that Kirk's personal friendship is what pushes him over the edge and makes him feel that it's just unacceptable to follow the letter of the law and let his friend's people die due to Klingon interference. Kirk's solution seems to me like the best he can do to re-establish non-interference. In effect, to try to match and therefore undo the Klingon interference in this culture. But I don't think it's to serve Starfleet's agenda in defeating Klingons; I think it's to fix a PD violation, even though technically it was the Klingons who violated it. I think the spirit of arming both sides is something like recognizing that what happened is not fair, and not representative of letting a culture evolve on its own. He needed to arm Tyree's side to give them a chance to settle their cultural dispute on their own terms. I see it as trying to re-establish normal cultural development there.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Peter, it's a tragedy that the tech is so uninteresting because this Dyson Sphere should've been the discovery of the century.

Regarding the amount of material needed to build this shell, it all boils down to how thick it is really. The Wikipedia article on Dyson Spheres (specifically a Dyson Shell) notes a calculation by Anders Sandberg that a shell constructed from our solar system's available materials at Earth's orbit would be roughly 8-20cm thick depending on density. That apparently includes the solid cores of the gas giants, but no idea what happens to their gas or liquid components. Assume we can get some more thickness by converting that mass into something else.

Regarding gravity, apparently the gravitational pull on an object inside a hollow sphere is zero. The stronger forces acting close by are canceled out by the weaker forces acting at a distance because there's so much more of it. Any civilization advanced enough to build this thing could put gravity plating on the whole inside face, so that doesn't bother me too much. I also wonder what sort of effect solar winds might have on pushing gasses towards the shell.

The impression I got from the episode was that Geordi and Scotty were only on the Jenolen for at most a few hours. They'd need to be checking in from time to time, taking a break, getting something to eat. If it was longer, then the Enterprise had that much more time to get out of the star's corona.

Regarding opening the hatch, I meant that Geordi and Scotty could just sit off in the distance, "hail" it so it would open, then just keep doing that as many times as necessary to communicate with the Enterprise and give them time to escape. They acted like the one time they tricked the hatch into opening was the one and only time it would work, but there's no basis in that. For all we know they could stay out of range and keep hailing the portal over and over until it was fully opened, kind of like waving a stick in front of an automatic door sensor.
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Chrome
Wed, May 27, 2020, 11:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

@Peter G

Actually, I don’t have any issue with Nona’s character; in fact I rather like her. I just don’t think her motivations were fleshed out very well. Unfortunately, without more information, the episode makes her a shallow harbinger of evil when, as you described, it should be more complex than that.

The problem with saying that Kirk was "just trying to help" is that Kirk on his own accord would not help the Hill people and the episode addresses that. If the Village tribe (why don't these groups have names?) developed guns on their own, then it's implied Kirk would leave the Hill people to their fate and let them die. It's not until Klingon interference is confirmed that Kirk is forced to get involved as a matter of duty. This makes it look like Kirk's interests are in line with Starfleet's and the burden he has to bear is for Starfleet's cause - i.e. winning or maintaining balance against the Klingons.

One thing the episode gets right, as I mentioned, is that it doesn't look like Kirk wanted to get involved in arms escalation in the first place. The episode also removes Spock from the discussion and therefore logic from Kirk's position and implies he's under some sort of drugged influence that impairs his judgment. So, I don't think the episode really wants to make us to believe Kirk was 100% doing the right thing. It's more like Kirk was in the classic JFK position where his liberal ideals to help the little guy and Democracy sound good in theory, but in hindsight we can see that the Nixon/Bones position of not getting involved in a hopeless fight (even for a just cause) was the stronger position.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, May 27, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Nolan
"(And less of the comments on others comments about comments on comments ;-P)"

I just have to comment on this.

Does this make my comment "a comment about a comment on comments on other comments about comments on comments"? ;-P

"Is a media franchise capable of having a culture? A pop culture sub-culture, if you will? Is adherance to that established culture important? Or does distancing from it allow "This isn't X" to be a valid argument? Or is that merely a fandom practice that has no bearing on a final produce, its success or failure, and something creators should ignore?"

These are indeed interesting questions, and I don't pretend to know the answers.

But I think you're ignoring a very important consideration here: What did the original creator of the franchise want? Should that have relevance as well?

Star Trek was created with a very specific vision in mind: To show us a better humanity and give us hope for the future. This fact isn't the invention of some geek culture. It was mentioned countless of times in Roddenberry's own words.

Leaving everything else aside, doesn't this vision deserve to be protected? At least to some extent?

We should also remember that we aren't just talking about some crazy caprice here. It's not like Roddenberry had an obsession to broccoli and the color purple. We are talking about a genuinely important, hopeful, positive vision for the future.

Is it okay for the current IP owners to just throw all this away as they please? I don't think so. Nor do I think that the fans who feel betrayed and/or angry are "overreacting". This *is* a big deal and it should be treated as such.

@Eamon
"DS9 was vastly different to them both, but again, the changes to the universe and show culture happened because of good storytelling. I mostly blame Ron Moore for this, but hey, he had a vision for a slightly less perfect Federation."

DS9 is really a borderline case.

On the one hand, they made a very real effort to respect everything that came before.

On the other hand, it *did* become increasingly dark and warlike, to the point where the question "is DS9 still Trek?" was a valid one.

I know of some Trekkies who can't accept DS9 as Star Trek because of this. I get where they are coming from, even though I do not share their opinion. This is a grey area where a variety of individual opinions can make sense.

With the new shows, however, the situation is quite clear cut. If you removed the words "Star Trek" from the title and changed a few iconic names, the result would be simply UNRECOGNIZABLE as Star Trek.

Some people don't mind this. Others are positively excited by these changes. Both reactions are perfectly fine. To each his own.

The problem begins when people are denying that these massive changes are even taking place. No, there is no precedent for this kind of complete overhaul in the history of Star Trek. Anybody who says otherwise is either lying or delusional.
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Eamon
Wed, May 27, 2020, 7:39am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@nolan

I think you nailed it here. This doesnt stand on its own EITHER as a stand alone show or as a connection to a past franchise.

On the latter, it fails miserably. There is a backdrop they are working with when you label something Star Trek (barring the 2009 reboots) and then using an iconic character known for wisdom and diplomacy. STP threw all that away but without ever earning it. Why was the federation so far from its utopian ideals? Oh right because the producers said so.

If this show wasn’t as star trek show it would STILL be a failure of a TV show for all the reasons you and others have mentioned. The canned plot lines, the glaring plot holes, the lack of resolution to anything, the making-something-seem-important-only-to-be-dropped-the-next-episode storytelling. And again, the blatant plagiarism of Mass Effect 3’s story endgame that they thought no one would notice.

A show can change it’s culture. Here’s an example.... Star Trek. What? TNG was vastly different from TOS, but the changes felt organic. DS9 was vastly different to them both, but again, the changes to the universe and show culture happened because of good storytelling. I mostly blame Ron Moore for this, but hey, he had a vision for a slightly less perfect Federation. But instead of just having every cursing and having Sisko assassinate a Romulan senator, he allowed the development of the story to lead there. It felt earned and as a result of good storytelling. We could understand the Federation bending and cracking because we could see the factors that caused it.

And STP didnt score in the end. They put the ball in their own goal.
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P'kard
Wed, May 27, 2020, 5:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Meld

This would be a four star for me. Tuvok getting emotions is of course contrived but the route taken to get to this scene is creatively done. I was surprised Voyager even talked about cold blooded murder let alone devote an episode exploring it. The whole episode feels dark and the scenes between Suder and Tuvok have a malicious undercurrent that feels just below the surface. The direction was effective throughout as well.
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Booming
Wed, May 27, 2020, 5:01am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Eamon
You are such a garbage person. If you had a show I would hate watch it. :D

Don't worry about Norris. We went through this five times already. People criticize the show, then Norris rides in to tell the "haters" where they can stick their views #echochambers4everybody.
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Nolan
Wed, May 27, 2020, 4:14am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Gosh darn typos... thats what I get for writing PARAGRAPHS on my phone. In the dead of night no less... >_
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Nolan
Wed, May 27, 2020, 4:08am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Personally, I was on board with Picard through episode one. Not 100% sure about the direction but willing to go along with the story they seemed to be telling. Then the opening of episode two hit and totally turned me around. Not to mention the story I *thought* they were telling got dropped only to essentially be resolved in the last two minutes with a throwaway line of dialogue, while the rest of the season faffed about and meandered for 8 episodes. Putting aside all the "not Trek debates" I found the show a shoddily written, clumsy, jumbled mess with no through line, poor plotting, weak characterization and an over-reliance on trite, meaningless spectacle.

I don't dislike the show because it's new Star Trek and I hate all new Star Trek, (though that is sadly turning out to be the case) I dislike it because it is not a good show, and I stuck around with it as it was serialized and much like a sports fan watching his favorite team lose a game, kept watching because I hoped they'd pull it out of the fire in the second half, or the final minutes. The show did not. It tripped, fumbled the ball and skidded into the endzone with all the grace of an overweight pidgeon, fat on the greasy leavings of a fast food parking lot attempting a water landing in a shallow pool. Splash.

I suppose though, as a piece of entertainment, Picard is doing it's job. It is entertaining me, finding new ways of ripping it to shreds for its mediocrity.

Ahem. Now that THAT cathartic experience is done with, I shall move on to my main point...

A few nights ago I finished "Farscape" for the first time. It was an... interesting show. At the start of every season I found myself thinking what a weird show it was, and there was always a point where I wondered if I should go on, but I always gave it another episode and found myself drawn back in. Invariably by the end of the season I'd be hooked and appreciative of the storytelling I'd experienced. Having finished it I can say I enjoyed it, it may not be my favorite sci-fi show, but it's good.

Looking back on it though, it struck me how much of Farscape's DNA resides in Picard, but not executed nearly as well. Farscape revolves around a ragtag bunch of characters, all of whom start out at their lowest point, all of whom are looking for a form of redemption and all of whom are morally questionable. Much like the characters of Picard. The difference is that these characters have to EARN their way out of where they are. Episodes and arcs devoted to their growth, versus token lines that sometimes don't match up with the action around them as in "Picard".

The storytelling of Farscape is in that semi-serialized sweet-spot but contains seasonal throughlines, much as Picard had a season storyline, but it flowed more organically and felt less like trying to fit a plot point in whereever a space could be found. (Granted 10 eps vs 24)

Then the world of Farscape: Gritty, lived in, morally dubious. Much like Picard's tries to be. But the reason Farscape does this better is because of its blank canvas, while Picard is trying to fit in with the tapestry of a franchise and doesn't quite fit in with it's surroundings. But then Farscape, as with most shows, was attempting to stand apart from the gold standard of TV sci-fi: Star Trek. So, what do you get when Trek tries to distance itself from what it used to be? Every other sci-fi show that's out there, sll of which don't have as strong a legacy.

This last point is of particular interest to me, as It got me thinking about the "culture" of media franchises. There's been a lot of debate about what lies behind ohrases like "This isn't Star Trek" and the like, and whether "Star Trek" is just that which is labelled as such or if it's more than a title. Do media franchises have a "culture"? If so, is such a thing immutable? If it can change, is it possible to change enough that it is no longer that which it claims to be? (Ala, the example of the axe whose handle is first replaced, followed later by the blade - is it the same?)

Lets look at some other franchises, such as James Bond. What is it's culture? Suave, British spy. Womanizing. Attractive women. Bond is an attractive guy. Gadgets. Intrigue. Action. Cars. Evil geniuses, henchmen and nefarious plots. A somewhat, heightened world of international espionage. But, for a time, the newer movies have eschewed some of those elements. Fewer gadgets, more grounded world, grittier action. Less womanizing. Yet still considered "James Bond." Is there a point where a Bond movie could distance itself from the elements of it's culture where it could be considered "Not James Bond"? Or would that just be the whining of an entitled fandom?

What about the franchise of DC comics characters, and the recent attempts at a cinematic unoverse? Did those movies stray too far from the established traits and "culture" of that franchise and its charactersresulting it its lackluster performance? E.g, Superman being too dark and gritty, not enough of s "boy scout", or Batman abandoning the established "no killing rule"

Contrast this with MCU, which was workimg with a far less established "culture" behind it's characters (Marvel characters to me weren't as well established in pop culture as DC's had been, barring a few exceptions) and thus could take more liberties, resulting in a trillion dollar success.

Is a media franchise capable of having a culture? A pop culture sub-culture, if you will? Is adherance to that established culture important? Or does distancing from it allow "This isn't X" to be a valid argument? Or is that merely a fandom practice that has no bearing on a final produce, its success or failure, and something creators should ignore? All interesting questions, I think, and which I cannot answer. At least, not without doing some acafemic research and writting a term paper on. Which I probably won't let's be honest. But I'd be interested in hearing other's thoughts on it...

(And less of the comments on others comments about comments on comments ;-P)

And finally, if you DID find yourself a fan of Picard, then you may also like Farscape, as it does have some of the same themes, but without the Star Trek baggage. And if you were NOT a fan of Picard then I would reccomend Farscape as an example of what Picard was trying to do, but done right, and without the baggage of Trek behind it.
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Eamon
Wed, May 27, 2020, 2:31am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@midsh..norris

You got me. I admit it. I just watch this show so I can trash on it with internet strangers.

Not one part of me wants a good star trek show in keeping with the best it used to have to offer. Nope.

Just want trash fodder for my internet stranger circle jerk of hate.
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