Star Trek: Discovery

"That Hope Is You, Part 2"

1.5 stars

Air date: 1/7/2021
Written by Michelle Paradise
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Discovery's third-season finale is an episode that alternates excessive, choppy, overwrought, and interminable action sequences with a Trekkian plot that would be perfectly fine if not for all the arbitrary technobabble and junk-science extras that are bolted onto it to explain other things. This is a mess for 50 minutes, and then exceedingly tidy for 10.

This is also an episode that cements (although it was pretty clear by the time "Su'Kal" got here) that this season is barely about anything it seemed to be when it started. The season started as "Rebuild the Fallen Federation!" (The cover art had Burnham holding a tattered Federation flag on a barren planet.) But then a few episodes later, in "Die Trying" (the season's best episode) it became "Rediscover the Current Diminished Federation!" Now, at the end of the season, it's "Kill Osyraa!" The season gradually went from potentially grand to painfully reductive and unambitious.

Meanwhile, we have the whole arc with the Burn, which suffers from taking a subject of galactic import and making it about one guy's unwitting sci-fi properties and emotional problems. If the message of the Burn is supposed to be "shit happens" — even on a cataclysmic galactic scale because of some random child — then ... mission accomplished, I guess? But that, again, feels reductive and unambitious for such a big mystery. Hell, making Ni'Var be the cause of the Burn, as the Vulcans believed, because of scientific experiments gone bad would've at least offered some sort of lesson about caution or responsibility or fallibility or some such. Here, there's nothing anyone could've done to prevent such a concocted freak occurrence, so I guess all those people died and societies collapsed so we could learn the universe can just blow up whenever because of whatever. Um, yay?

It's too bad Su'Kal's plight is tethered to this baggage, because his story is actually a reasonable one — albeit played out too long and not something I could get too emotionally worked up about. (This would've been better as a one-off, and not stretched across three episodes with a presence in two of them, and needing to serve the dual purpose of explaining the season-long mystery.) Saru's attempts to connect with Su'Kal are the best and most human parts of the episode, done in the true spirit of Trekkian communication and understanding. Doug Jones' performance continues to allow the series to prove that Saru is the most traditionally classic Star Trek character on this series.

Other things don't work. Similar to how the whole explanation around the Burn (officially explained as something about Su'Kal and the dilithium channeling energy through subspace, the most flexible and murky — and thus capable of anything — pillar of Trek science) relies on technobabble hand-waves, the whole revelation about Gray is conjured from thin air. We've never really been told what exactly Gray is, but I'd assumed him to be a personality only in Adira's mind, on the account of a Trill's past lives being merged with the host. But here the writers take things in a wild direction, and somehow whatever "Gray" is is able to be interpreted by the holo-program and assembled as a hologram that Culber and Saru can see.

This is one of those reveals that falls flat and lacks credibility because the writers haven't laid the necessary groundwork; we had no reason to believe there was anything special about Gray that wasn't solely in Adira's head. Now we have to accept him as a magical lifeform that somehow exists in the real world and in a way computers can detect and assemble on cue. It's arbitrary, magical, and unearned. This is something that maybe could've worked had the writers put in the time to build toward it, but they didn't. Honestly, they didn't really do anything except make Gray keep pointlessly appearing and vanishing without bothering to further advance his purpose. (Maybe if Gray had been telling Adira all season that he was somehow "real" in a way that transcended the memories in the symbiont, this wouldn't feel like the incredulous invention it is.)

But never mind all that; most of the episode is the crew's fight to retake the ship, and it's an endless pummeling of graceless, chaotic, off-the-shelf shoot-em-up action. The editing is overly aggressive, with excessive cuts and obnoxious camera work. (Director Olatunde Osunsanmi must've asked himself, "How many needless 180-degree camera rotations can we fit into one episode?") The gunfights are the sort that belong in Star Wars, and which The Mandalorian does far better (and even there it can become tiresome). Meanwhile, in keeping with the visual template of this series, the digital effects for any of the starship shots are overly busy and inadequately detailed, looking like chaotic video game footage rather than an intelligible arrangement of real physical objects. Discovery has great visuals when it comes to sets and computer readouts that the characters interact with, but the starship battle footage is frequently inferior to stuff DS9 was cranking out more than 20 years ago, simply in their lack of weight, dimension, and decent composition (resolution be damned). Space battles should look like ships engaging each other, not the light show at the Disney Main Street Electrical Parade.

In terms of excessive action concepts, take, for example, the extended turbolift fight sequence, which takes us inside the bowels of the turbolift tubes. But now I've already made a mistake, because I said "bowels" and "tubes" as if the corridors of a turbolift were a limited, crowded space designed to allow a turbolift to travel where it needs to go and no more, as opposed to what we see here, which is a cavernous void that looks like it's about the size of the inside of a Borg cube. I don't usually nitpick the technical details, but this scene cries out for attention because it's so ridiculous. Based on the looks of this, 80 percent of Discovery must be a hollow, uncrewed space in order to make room for these elevator canyons (which perhaps double as the ship's indoor football arena). It takes you right out of the show, because you're aware of the writers and VFX wizards going out of their way to jettison any sense of plausibility in order to give us some Kewl Graphx.

We also get the big wannabe-badass fight scene between Burnham and Osyraa in the data core, which is a cool set for something that mostly ends up being boringly derivative — and ultimately prompts unintended laughter when Burnham appears to meet her supposed demise when she gets stuffed into a big gel-like megaprocessor array (or whatever the hell it is), only to shoot her way out. We as viewers have no sense of whether we're supposed to believe this is potentially deadly other than taking cues from Osyraa's satisfied reaction. But that could simply be Osyraa being an idiot; who knows. Like much of Discovery's action, we are asked merely to experience, not understand.

That especially goes for Osyraa as a character, who seemed in "There Is a Tide" to be a more layered and sensible villain interested in making deals, but goes back to being merely an evil cartoon here. With such whiplash, it's almost like "There Is a Tide" was farmed out to a different writing staff. What was the point? Similarly, is the Emerald Chain a real system-spanning economic organization, or a band of random thugs with one leader who was the head of the snake? "There Is a Tide" seemed like it was building the Chain up to be a power to be reckoned with, but that's completely undone by this episode, in which the entire Chain collapses (per the overly tidy last-minute voiceover) with the death of Osyraa and the destruction of her ship. As usual, Small Universe Syndrome on this show pervades.

The protracted nature of the action may play as awesome for some, but for me it was just exhaustingly boring. We've long since reached the point with this series where sustained action feels like it's being done because a certain segment of the audience expects a certain quota to be met, especially in a season finale. Last season's finale was far better at generating excitement, because it at least featured some innovation; this one just sits there passively while endlessly going pew-pew-pew.

At the very least, they give one of the minor characters (Owosekun) a key showcase to help save the day, but watching everyone gasping for air for what seemed like forever just felt like over-the-top manipulation. Obviously the day will be saved before everyone suffocates, so why be so ham-handed about it?

If this review feels grumpier than usual, it could be end-of-year exhaustion with these elements that fail to entertain after their cumulative mental drubbing. What happens here isn't all terrible, and I suppose this episode does what it has to in the broad strokes: Osyraa and the bad guys are dead, the Federation is affirmed, the cause of the Burn is discovered, a second Burn is averted, Su'Kal is rescued from his isolation, and the away team is saved. It's a tidy package, made all the tidier by an ending montage that simplifies everything beyond reason. The devil is in the details, but they skip over the details.

Originally titled "Outside," which would've made sense for what happens in the Su'Kal plot, the story was renamed "That Hope Is You, Part 2" at the eleventh hour in order to … I dunno, prove that it's the companion bookend to the season premiere that it has thematically almost nothing in common with aside from Burnham being the central hope of the universe? I get that Burnham is the star of the show, but when every episode becomes a testament to how great she is, it just feels forced and, again, unearned. Her struggle earlier in the season in trying to figure out her place — leading her to disobey direct orders — ends here with her being named the new captain of Discovery, while Saru returns to Kaminar to help Su'Kal reintegrate into society.

It's a swift move that makes a certain amount of narrative sense given clues we've been fed throughout the season (like Georgiou mentioning that Michael was always meant for the captain's chair), but it doesn't track from the events of her betrayal of Saru and her constant questioning of Vance. Vance tells her, basically, that results are what matter, and she ultimately produced results, even if she used some unorthodox means of producing them. But wouldn't this have worked better if it had really laid the groundwork to show how Burnham overcame her obstacles and proved herself rather than just making it so with a few hasty lines of dialogue?

It's ironic that Discovery, the most serialized of all the Trek series, is one that somehow fails to lay enough groundwork for itself to make sense. Narrative gaps abound, year after year, and it feels like the writers spend time on the wrong things (Georgiou, the Mirror Universe, Gray's disappearing act) rather than things that might help its main narrative work better (Burnham's leadership role, Tilly's leadership role, a detailed state of the Federation). The Burn mystery was actually the most consistently and serialized investigation all season, which was good. But those morsels and clues we followed were purely procedural and could've been consolidated into one or two episodes. And, of course, the destination was a disappointment.

Will season four make better efforts to explore the Federation and the 32nd century? I sure hope so, but that's what I hoped for this season. Maybe this season was simply to get us here and next season will be committed to living here. One can hope, I guess.

"It's got dots. Deputy loves dots." "Fuck you and your dots.":

  • My wife liked this episode, and thought it did all the necessary things, which made me think that maybe this show is better for newer Trek audience members versus the fuddy-duddies in the audience like me who bring all their baggage and feel a need to compare it to the glory days.
  • The DOT-23 drones and the sphere data are completely irrelevant to the plot, except to provide assistance in the action sequences as a cool, gee-whiz idea. The story doesn't care that we now have the starship's intelligence essentially personified in robot form, which is actually a very intriguing idea that screams out for future episodes.
  • Burnham's distress call to her mom in last week's episode has zero payoff here. Not only does Gabrielle Burnham not make an appearance, but the Vulcans/Romulans, whom she sends on her behalf and who arrive at the beginning of the episode, are completely inconsequential to the plot.
  • Vance's speech for promoting Burnham and Burnham's voiceover at the end just paper over too much with such brief snippets of dialogue. It's too much of a heavy lift to tie this all up so pat.
  • If Saru returns to Discovery, it won't be as captain. Dislike.
  • Su'Kal's isolation and reintegration into society, and the discussions around the importance of personal connections, which can be restored in a Federation where dilithium supplies are restored, make for an apt message for our COVID times — but a few sentimental voiceovers aren't enough to save this episode.
  • Rhys and Bryce. Those are the other two bridge officers, and I don't think I've ever typed their names before. That probably says something.
  • Book is able to jump the spore drive, thanks to his empathic abilities — yet another arbitrary plot point this episode conveniently pulls from the air. I hope they explore what this means next season, and also explore the possibility of Aurellio cracking the spore drive.
  • At the very least, this is not a cliffhanger. It ends with resolution of most of what's gone on this season, even if some of those things were arguably the wrong things.
  • Seriously. Give me a schematic of Discovery that shows where the turbolift trainyard fits in. Maybe Discovery is huger than I ever figured.
  • Unless I missed it, which is possible, the mystery of the music that accompanied the Burn distress call is a dead-end red herring. No explanation is given for why so many people know the song.
  • My prescriptions for season four: the same as after every season, so I won't bother repeating them. Discovery either must not want to learn, or thinks it's doing exactly what it wants to be doing.
  • I still have some things to wrap up, including reviews of the first season of The Mandalorian (several of which are already written, so look for them soon), as well as my long-delayed review of The Rise of Skywalker, which I haven't forgotten about, but had put on the back burner. Stay tuned.

Previous episode: There Is a Tide...

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493 comments on this post

Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 2:05am (UTC -6)
Haven't seen this episode and no one who reads this site has either but when they do, I guarantee the assessment of this episode will be that it is awful. Why can't it be like Star Trek was and what it always should stay? WHY? Can't stand this show but can't....stop....paying to watch it and drive ad revenue to a site about how it all sucks...We want the best for Trek, its just that reasons...etc...blah...fmrffff....!!!
Daniel S.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 3:25am (UTC -6)
PM, are you sure you haven't seen this episode? Because I just finished watching it and it is indeed awful. Discovery is the first Star Trek show I have ever watched, so I actually only want it not to suck on it's own terms, not compared to previous Star Treks that have not sucked, but compared to all things that do not suck. Discovery, however does not belong in the category of things that do not suck.
(Actually the show looks beautiful and I guess it does action ok. But yeah, it still sucks. But I am not paying for it, and it led me to check out other Trek like TNG and VOY--which I love. So there's that I guess)
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 3:26am (UTC -6)
A very good episode. Better than expected. The finale offered some captivating action sequences; neatly wrapped up all the constructed story lines; and had a message to send, albeit one that was made incredibly overt. However, said message could have been conveyed and/or better served without either the Emerald Chain or the cause of the burn being tied to Su'Kal. Those two story elements were ultimately superfluous. The season could have just as well involved exploring the statuses of former Federation members and focused on Discovery rebuilding trust, communication, and connection with distant peoples.

Although I would describe the season as a whole as mediocre, I also found it to be considerably better than either of the first two. This would have made for a very good first season for the series.

Some final, random thoughts:

I found it incredibly bizarre that the series introduced a Lt. Ina in Episode 11 this season, seemingly in the place of Lt. Nilsson, only to bring the latter back for the closing scene. Bizarre move.

It was nice to see that the series did come back to Sahil and let the audience know that the Federation actually made contact with him. I was worried he was going to be stuck all alone for another few decades.

Osyraa ultimately turned out to be an incredibly weak villain. Same goes for Zareh. Both were uninteresting.

And the turbolift system in the Discovery is nonsensical. Based on what this and other episodes have shown of the system, one would be led to think that the inside of the Discovery is as massive and hollow as a Borg cube. I'm not usually one to nitpick matters of ship design, but this bit was so blatantly outlandish I could not help but do so.

Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 3:41am (UTC -6)

I liked the episode overall, but I have some problems. First off, how big is the Discovery? It doesn't feel like that turbolift room could fit on the ship. Is it bigger on the inside?

Second, I feel it was too early to make Burnham a captain. I felt that's where the show was eventually going, but I don't feel like that's where her character should be right now. She's made the wrong decisions the entire season and things have happened to work out favorably, but I don't think she should be rewarded yet. Also, I really think they could have done more with Saru as captain, so I hope this isn't the end of that, but it probably is.

Third, I don't understand how Su'Kal didn't blow up the dilithium planet. Maybe I missed something, but I don't think they explained how he could destroy most of the dilithium in the galaxy (or maybe it was just the quadrant) but the planet of dilithium he was on didn't blow up.

Fourth, what was accomplished by the Ni'Var fleet showing up? They did nothing. I guess it just showed that Ni'Var is now willing to cooperate with the Federation.

Something I'm really excited about is to see how Stamets and Burnham's relationship will be from here on out. I'd like to see how their dynamic.

I love thag the bridge crew not named Michael finally got something to do. That was pretty cool.

Overall, I've liked this season a lot. The characters have really grown on me this year, and I'm excited to see them again next season.
Tim C
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 4:22am (UTC -6)
Well, that was shit.

Not 100% shit. As in "Su'Kal", the material with Saru and the Su'Kal was decent enough. I'm fine with The Burn being a result of his bizarre technobabble link to dilithium (which itself is usually just a story macguffin that is surpisingly unexamined given Trek's long history). In fact, I think I even prefer it to yet another vast conspiracy or convoluted plot.

Burnham continues to Die Hard her way into taking back the ship, with some just-fine fight scenes and shootouts. This was entertaining enough.

And Oded Fehr as Vance was, as always, excellent.

Everything else... well. Hooboy.

* The flashy spinning cameras felt particularly obnoxious and pointless this episode, even for this show.

* No further story for Stamets, who has no agency and is unceremoniously railroaded out of the finale. Guess they just didn't know what to do with him, because they were too busy with so many other great script ideas, like...

* Osyra reverts from being a more complex character than we thought, back to Discount Seska.

* How can the computer on the crashed, creaking Kelpien ship read Adira's mind and project Grey, who also apparently exists independently of her? Because shut up, the script said so, that's why, aren't you touched by their now-repetitive scenes? Don't you understand this is a plot they brought into existence without knowing where it was going, or what arc it was taking Adira along, and now they need to wrap it up 'cause there's only thirty minutes of the season left?

* The stupendously vast, cavernous interior space of the Discovery as presented on screen in previous seasons in those brief VFX shots was *so* jarringly ridiculous and stupid that I honestly cannot believe that the producers have doubled down on it by setting an entire action climax within it. Like, I don't usually like having to resort to all-caps, but here goes: THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE AND INSULTS THE INTELLIGENCE OF YOUR AUDIENCE TO A SHAMELESS DEGREE.

It is completely divorced from the reality of the show, and exists purely because the writers were too unimaginative to think of something that actually did work within the bounds of that reality. It's the kind of thing that *cannot* have escaped notice while they were writing and producing it, and they went "Eh, fuck it, who cares".

Well, congratulations, show, I stopped caring about your story from basically that second onwards, because once again the episode was not being driven by the characters or the setting, but because the script said so, so shut up and eat your popcorn, idiot.

* Burnham is finally Captain of the ship. I'm actually okay with that part; it will finally address the glaring structural problem this show has always had from day one by making its primary protagonist a subordinate who nevertheless has to drive events.

No, my problem is that this is done with zero screentime shared between her and Saru and no explanation throughout the entire season of how she went from believing that "It's always been you" (to Saru in episode 2!) to it now being her. Yes, we saw Burnham reaffirm her belief in Starfleet back in "Unification III", but there was no development at all of why she suddenly thought she was leadership material.

* Saru just gave away the captain's chair for no reason other than the writers deemed it so. I actually quite liked him in the hot seat and thought the lessons being learned the whole season might have been going somewhere. Well turns out they were, and that place was "some people just can't grow into being good leaders ever and would be better off standing aside for insubordinate mutineers with extremely checkered service records". What an inspiring message!

"That Hope Is You, Part 2": 1 star

Star Trek Discovery season 3: 2 stars. What I wanted from the show from the get go was some episodic Star Trek goodness that didn't completely forget what happened last week. Season 1 didn't satisfy that desire, although the batshit-insane super fast-paced master plot kept me very entertained for the most part. Season 2 upped the quality of the standalones and kept that breathless pace, but had a far less interesting season arc (oo, evil AI, never seen that before).

Season 3, on the other hand, served up a number of very generic and unambitious action adventure tales that wouldn't have felt out of place alongside some of the Berman era's most forgettable stories, and barely had a master plot at all beyond the mystery of the Burn. The pieces were all there for interesting world building and character development; the new future setting gave the show permission to truly start from a clean slate.

Instead, we got "That Hope Is You, Part 1" (snooze), "People of Earth" (how's Earth? Who cares, we're only spending five minutes there!), "Scavengers" (meh), "The Sanctuary" (zzzzzzz), and "Terra Firma" (which I actually really liked, but also wasted two entire episodes of the season in literally a different universe on a character who was being written out). If you're keeping score, that is half of the season's episodes wasted on irrelevant schlock.

Character development? Well, at least Detmer got a little bit. Otherwise: Burnham is still Jesus, Saru gave up on leadership, Stamets was literally ejected from the final story, and Tilly was not promoted despite being an obviously capable junior officer and everyone singing her praises. The rest of the bridge crew are bland ciphers. You could almost make an argument that *Osyra*, the villain of the season who appeared in a grand total of three episodes, had more character development in "There Is A Tide" than the main cast.

Gergiou actually had the best character development of the season... and was then written off the show.

Was I entertained by Discovery this year? Yeah, kinda, sorta. I didn't feel the need to switch it off in disgust. But neither was I ever really excited or energised by it as I was previously. Of the five seasons of Trek we've had since it returned to TV, Disco season 3 is by *far* the weakest.

See you all around for whatever the next one is! (Picard season 2? Lower Decks - actually not that since Jammer doesn't review it. Strange New Worlds? Section 31?")
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:11am (UTC -6)
Sigh, this season started quite well compared to the terrible first 2 seasons and it ended with this schlock.
I cannot understand the obsession this show has with Michael Burnham. This is some deranged writing from them. Terrible terrible stuff . Although I did enjoy the die hard Burnham last episode. That is where they should've stopped with her arc in the finale.
The Su Kal arc was quite nice, I enjoyed that.

They had all this magical sphere data and it ended being less useful than r2d2. Might as well be a roomba.

If they shaft Saru for Burnham being Captain, I will be very cross. So much potential for good stuff and they took the easy way out spending shit loads of money on effects barely anybody will appreciate or remember.

Maybe it really is my fault for thinking kurtzman trek could be anything but this.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:14am (UTC -6)
So starting off with the good, the FX on this show is absolutely stunning. I liked all the exterior shots of the ship and I also liked the sets of the ships interior, though as others have pointed out, having the turbo lifts flying around in this wide open space doesn't seem like a very efficient ship design. Discovery must be a lot bigger on the inside than the exterior view would suggest.

I was also fine with Burnham being captain at the end, I mean, the show is already all about Burnham, she may as well be captain. I still wish they would de-emphasize her character.

I also appreciated that they tried to give a little more detail on how Su'Kal caused the burn, but I'm not sure it really makes that much sense. Based on their explanation all the dilithium on the planet should have also been rendered inert, but I guess that dilithium is OK? I also wasn't entirely clear on how diltium has a "sub space component". Maybe it does, I don't know, I've never heard of that before.

Now for some things that didn't make much sense:

- How did Discount Seska know about the disguised shield emitter thing? The only possible way is if there was a mole in Starfleet, maybe they are saving that plot point for a future season? I doubt it though, as the writing doesn't seem that sophisticated.

- So the Vulcan fleet comes, somehow "blocks" Discovery's escape routes (I guess space isn't that big or 3 dimensional) and then just let's them go? What was the point of that from a plot standpoint, shouldn't Discovery have just escaped?

- Burnham's plan was then to have the bridge crew make the ship drop out of warp so the Vulcan fleet can catch back up, what's the point here? Isn't this the same situation as the beginning of the episode? I didn't really get the point of that.

- Discount Seska shuts off life support, but slowly, so the bridge crew will die, but still have enough time to cause trouble? Again, doesn't make sense.

- I'm not sure I really understand the data core room and how it works, I've never seen this concept in Star Trek before. Why was the bridge crew trying to go to the bridge if the data core room is all powerful? What was that weird moving wall that Burnham got pushed into and then came back out of?

- Burnham was able to beam all the regulators off Discovery immediately, but Discount Seska couldn't do the same with the Discovery crew?

- How did Burnham and Wheelchair Guy have enough time to come up with that plan to have Book use the spore drive? Were they talking before? It didn't seem like they even met before that scene. Also, it felt like a dangerous plan, nobody seemed to even know if it would work. I did like the idea of Book being able to use the spore drive, it's pretty consistent with what we know about it and with Book's character.

- It's kind of weird that the Emerald Chain ship is big enough to hold Discovery (which is also pretty big based on the turbo lift scenes) and can also fire its weapons at something inside its cargo hold.

- Why did Discovery have to dump their warp core and blow up the Emerald Chain ship, couldn't they have just jumped away? Seemed unnecessary.

- How was Grey visible to everyone on the holo deck? So the ship's computer can read Adira's mind and basically project her thoughts as a physical manifestation on the holodeck. What's weird is that this wasn't even needed to advance the plot, they just threw it in for some reason.

- I also didn't really like how they glossed over all the world building stuff at the end. So the Emerald Chain just "fractured" without Discount Seska? Seems kind of odd for an organization that large. I guess this means we are done with them, they will never be mentioned again?

- I didn't like the Su'Kal character, he came across as a whiny, annoying child, which I guess was the point. Not very interesting for me.

- It seemed really weird to place all this emphasis on the Dot robot saving the Lt. It's just a robot? Also, what was the point of the Dot robots, they didn't seem necessary to advance the plot.

Overall I was bored by this episode, nothing about it was thought provoking or entertaining. I did like the FX, but that's it.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:46am (UTC -6)
That Hope is You part 2

Star Trek: Discovery
Season 3 episode 13

Mal’s Review before Jammer’s

“I was holding my breath for at least 10 minutes by the time I was 8 years old.”

- Owo

“I didn’t know that”

- Detmer

1 1/2 stars (out of 4)

The first 10 minutes of this week's Discovery - the long intro before we go to the intro-credits - is actually pretty damn good. I was impressed. To wit,

- the holo gives Adira some pretty cool facial-tats,
- through the miracle of zero-technobale Gray gets a hug,
- David Cronenberg makes his very brief appearance in the episode,
- there is some cool first-person shooter camera work with our team and those Wall-e bots,
- Stamets is put into cold storage for most of the rest of the season,
- the Navar show up, and
- Michael even has a pretty decent speech for Vance (yes, really!?!)

And then it all went to shit.

The rest of this hour (and it is an extra-special hour-long episode) is essentially a waste of time. Worse, the episode destroys what small bit of interesting story Discovery had managed to build up over this season.

What a shame.

The biggest lost opportunity is Osyraa. Why did Discovery bother building her up, especially with her fascinating negotiations with Admiral Vance, only to return her to a cartoon villain in the finale? When she is fighting Michael at the end of this episode, did anyone (anyone??) think there was any outcome possible other than Osyraa dying and Michael winning.

Pro-tip, if you have an extended fight-scene between the season’s big baddie and the hero of the show, people know how it is going to turn out, so don’t drag it out forever. I hate to say it, but I was actually hoping Osyraa won. That, at least would be interesting.

Next lost opportunity is David Cronenberg. The guy has like two lines this episode - both before the opening credits - and neither of the lines matter. Anyone could have said them. Why bother?

Next lost opportunity is the Navar. Why bother calling these people if we never see them? We get a half second flash of the Navar leader right at the end of the episode. If you blink, you’ll actually miss her.

Next lost opportunity is Jet Reno. Same deal. No lines (just a chuckle). A brief flash on the screen - blink and you’ll miss her too.

The Trill. Evidently telling us they have rejoined in a throw-away line is way more important that showing us the rejoining process. Because showing us might take away from the 30 minutes of utter crap “action” with which they inflate the episode to 60 minutes.

The Burn. The level of let down here just leaves me speechless.

And the greatest lost opportunity is Saru. Here is just about the only good Trekkian character that Discovery has produced. And if they are going to use him to make Michael captain, then - and let me see if I got this right - the writers think the best way to do that is in yet another throw-away line in Michael’s season-closing speech??

God forbid you actually show, not tell.

It's not like Saru and Michael have a long history together spanning a couple ships and a couple captains that, you know, the audience might actually want to see. Oh wait. Jesus Christ, even Baby Yoda got more of an opportunity to say goodbye to the Mandalorian in a very touching (face-touching) scene.

We end the season with a quote from Gene. And then the original series music. Because reasons.

At least the new uniforms are an improvement.

There have been times in the last few decades when I wondered if it was worth spending time on Star Trek. But even then, I didn’t think the show was a waste of time. It is now. How can that be? Star Trek, even bad Trek (even TNG’s Shades of Gray) was never a poor way to spend your time.

In an era when Trek alumni are making such incredible shows as The Expanse, and when that other deep space franchise - Star Wars - has given us some of the best TV of the year, why is Discovery so bad?

I have no idea. What’s worse. I’m starting not to care.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 6:11am (UTC -6)
Watching this episode frustrated me. Everyone else here will give you the details; I'll just do a hot take, cuz I'm due in at work in an hour.

If this show is renewed for a fourth season, I'm not watching it.

Your time is up, Disco. Save your profound Gene Roddenberry quote at the end. You have no idea how to make a good Star Trek show. That's my takeaway from watching these 3 seasons. They don't have any idea what they're doing.

I don't want to watch that.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 6:29am (UTC -6)
Star Trek used to fill me with hope and aspiration. Watching earlier Star Trek shows still induces these thoughts and feelings, but they somehow feel tarnished by the hot mess that is Star Trek Discovery. I kept hoping that the show would improve and that perhaps the intention of the management was to get younger viewers onboard with meaningless action and woke messaging but then return to more traditional Trek over time; the signs were certainly there at the start of the season, but it ended up following the same illogical trajectory as season one and two.

I just don't understand this. Why do the writers seem intent on alienating their core fans?

I refuse to watch what is essentially 'Star Trek: Burnham'. What is the obsession and messaging with her character - that it's okay to be emotional, self-centered, rebellious and rash? That was never the message of Star Trek.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 7:51am (UTC -6)
It was...fine...much like the season as a whole. Not great, not awful. Acceptable.

Breaking up the episode into two parts:

I liked the quieter side of the episode with Saru and Su'Kal much, much better. The explanation for the Burn is still idiotic technobabble. But you know what - the idea of a childlike entity completely accidentally causing huge levels of destruction is very TOS. Doug Jones was fantastic in all of his scenes, and really elevated this section of the episose.

The stuff on Discovery was just a big dumb action movie. Everything was one plot contrivance after the next to save the day. Any sort of nuance to Osyraa's character went completely out the window. It was also a weirdly consequence free session, with no one on Team Good making the ultimate sacrifice. I suppose that was the one part of the finale that sort of subverted my expectations, because I had expected someone (Book, Ina, Vance, just somebody) to die - and no one did.

I don't mind seeing Michael in the captain's chair at all, because as I have said before, there's always been this weird dynamic to the show, because the writers want her (as the protagonist) to always be right, yet she isn't the one calling the shots, hence they have had to do things like having captains defer to her. At least they can write Season 4 in a more typically Trek fashion now.

I'm really not feeling Saru's probable exit from the show (at least as a main character). I am glad that he seemingly took a leave of absence of his own accord, rather than getting chewed out by Vance for being a fuck up and getting demoted. But why did they drop all those breadcrumbs about Vance doubting his choices and not follow up on them? Was it just to show us he's unfit for command?

Tilly didn't do much of use to redeem herself during the episode, as I expected, since she had to make way for the great Michael. I really hate how the show feels the need to sabotage the agency of secondary characters to make Michael seem more badass. Hell, you could argue Stamets' end-season descent into irrationality was pretty much the same thing.

Anyway, hopefully next season is better? Seems every season of Discovery is a soft reboot anyway.
Colin Lindsly
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 8:12am (UTC -6)

Discovery has a fourth season, with two episodes having been filmed already. Filming will probably be done by the fall, so it might air in 2022.

Having binged myself on the Expanse the past few days, it is very difficult to return to Star Trek. I began my viewing with this episode, as I have done for the past few episodes, by going to the end and seeing that. Then, I cherry picked what I wanted to see in the rest of the episode.

The Expanse shows how to do everything well and they stay within the rules of the world they have created. When something breaks those rules, they make it a point to say that this is happening and to show how the characters adapt to the situation. There are no easy fixes and there are long term consequences.

In the movie "Airplane", every time someone hears the story of the male lead, they inevitably want to kill themselves. I am at that point with Burnham's moralizing. The monologue at the end infuriated me.

Everything about Discovery reeks of incompetency, laziness, and complacency. It does not feel that the crew are striving to be at their best when making a quality product.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 8:30am (UTC -6)
Wow RedLetterMedia already made a season review
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 8:45am (UTC -6)
This episode's title is the perfect encapsulation of what's wrong with Discovery: it's cute to separate a two-parter by a entire season, but it makes no sense.

This series values spectacle and empty platitudes over plotting and logic. It wants to look interesting without doing the work of being interesting. It wants to be deep and say something, but does so without substance. It's depiction of Emperor Georgiou (a mass murdering dictator whose accepted as a member of the crew) suggests a show with an immature sense of morality. It mistakes forced Trek references for a worthwhile continuation of the franchise's legacy.

Discovery Season 3 is my last as a regular viewer. Maybe I'll binge season 4 after the fact, but I won't be paying CBS a monthly subscription to watch the episodes as they drop.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 8:55am (UTC -6)
The number one flaw with Discovery this season is...there's basically no ideas any longer. Certainly no SF ideas worth mentioning. The scriptwriting itself is better than previous seasons, and the characterization is much, much better. But the writers can't for the life of them think of anything interesting to do with the characters. They just lazily throw them into scenarios that anyone who has watched Trek has seen done before 5-10 times - and in many of those cases quite better.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 9:04am (UTC -6)
Simply put, none of what I've seen since the start of this series leads me to believe any of the people responsible for what it has become gave one feather or one fig about the reasons why Star Trek was originally a hit.

Because it was. After its short lived Network Run, it went into Syndication and the Early 70s were all about Star Trek Star Trek Star Trek. My dad came of age in this era, and yeah, it was everywhere on TV.

Fandom exploded at that point. Why?

Cuz the episodes that were good, were better than anything else on TV.

Discovery has not had an episode, yet, that made me feel like "This is the best show on TV." It has lots of computer generated special effects. Boy did we notice that this show has lots of computer generated special effects! It's too bad computers can't generate a story or a likeable character. Disco might've turned out to be a better show for it.

But it isn't a very good show, and I've known this since Michael uttered a line a long time ago:

"Shit, that worked!"

Not only the profanity, not only the unusual turn of phrase (nobody says this), but also the way she inflects in the take they used, are all way off. This line should have been rewritten.

It wasn't. And the whole show has been like that, leaning heavy into the VFX and throwing the story in as an afterthought.

The people behind this, have mistakenly thought that I originally watched Star Trek for the VFX.

Chris L.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 10:36am (UTC -6)
And with that, it’s over.

The inside of the ship is mostly hollow space filled with turbo lifts. Who knew?

Is the sphere data gone now with the DOT dying? It rebooted, but did it retain all of the data? I hope not, because it was basically a deus ex machina and only served to remind me of the dumb decisions in Season 2.

I think I am done with Disco now. It has had its moments, but all in all it isn’t worth the time investment. There are better shows on television. I love ST, but this is just skating by on the name and I am tired of waiting for CBS to clue in and hire some writers that respect the franchise enough to at least try and understand it some.

Is Saru gone then? Like, not going to be in the next season because he’s gone back to Caminar? I hope not. It would be fitting for this show to get rid of anyone that dares take the spotlight off of Burnham from time to time.

I will wait until Season 4 is over and some season reviews are in before I decide to continue watching. I do like the uniforms though.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 10:36am (UTC -6)
Just checked Rotten Tomatoes out of curiosity. 93% fresh for critics for Disc S3. Amazing.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 10:40am (UTC -6)
Obviously spoilers ahead...
First thoughts...

It was ok... meh. Not good. Not terrible. Ok.
The new uniforms look good, but I prefer the older one.
Saru had better be on the bridge/captain next season
Did they have to kill Osyraa? I know she was an awful antagonist, but at least make her stick around... Glad it was not deus ex machina ending... of course Michael saves the day and not the DOTs.
They kinda explained the Su'Kal phenomenon but I was not convinced...
What happened to the music? Resonance frequency? They did not explain that! So many unanswered questions. Maybe I missed the explanation...
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 10:40am (UTC -6)
@Jason R.
Keep in mind that reviews are normally written based on the first 3-4 episodes. That is probably one of the reasons while this show is often a little stronger in the first half.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 10:50am (UTC -6)
Yeah I was confused.
The turbolifts going horizontally and vertically. All good visually. But was that inside discovery? Was that inside the Headquarters of the Federation? Maybe it was clear but I did not find that clear. Only because afterward, when Michael was fighting Osyraa, they ended up somewhere similar to where Vance was...
Eric Jensen
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 11:17am (UTC -6)
Oh and spoilers again... of course...
They "showed" us Ni'Var possibly re-joining the Federation again... because of no Osyraa... Surely there will be a power struggle now... It feels like everything was rushed... Yep, so the burn was explained because of Su'Kal. Will they expand on this new stellar propulsion the Ni'Var was working on? Now that they have worked out the cause and Su'Kal is safely on Kaminar. Su'Kal needs to make amends. Of course, it was not his choice, but these have consequences. Will he stay away from dilithium? They really need to expand on other characters. Yeah we know Michael is the main character, but DS9, Voyager, TNG all expanded on other characters...
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
@Chris L.

"I will wait until Season 4 is over and some season reviews are in before I decide to continue watching."

I said the same thing after season 2, and I have no doubt in my mind I made the right choice. And I will be passing on PIC S2 as well. Pointing out the numerous flaws of these shows is like kicking a dead horse. I give up. Kurtzman broke me.
Colin Lindsly
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 12:33pm (UTC -6)

What about LD S1 and SNW S1? Will you be watching those?

We definitely have one series this year to look forward to - Star Trek: Progeny.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Kurtzman or whoever didn't break you. He broke Star Trek. You are now at a point where you can accept that.

Personally I'm done with Star Trek, not only NuTrek. Maybe in a few years I can enjoy Star Trek again but for the time being...

Oh well, what am I saying. I haven't even seen the last episode, maybe I will love it more than anything in the world. :D
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
So, list of weapons that star ships use:

- Phasers
- Torpedoes
- And the most powerful ... pesticides (but only if you target a ship's "intakes").
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
@Colin Lindsly

I did watch a couple of LD, and thought it was nice for what it was, but it just wasn't for me, and that's OK. As for SNW... it's from the same people that made DIS and PIC. I think it's a bit naive to expect something different, but we'll see.


It's kind of sad. I really want a Trek show that I can look forward to watching, with well-crafted sci-fi stories, ethical dilemmas, and reasonable people working together to solve it. A show that makes me believe that the world can be a better place. But I guess things are what they are.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
If you've given up on modern Trek, you might want to give some of the novels a shot. A lot of them are crap but there's some worthwhile stuff to be found if you are willing to do a little digging.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
A baffling hour of television for many reasons already pointed out.

I skipped through the action parts. They looked great, but the outcome was never in doubt. This is Discovery, Michael always wins.

Gray appearing in the Kaminar simulation made 0 sense. Him stepping outside the holodeck even more so. After Fungal Entity May I so hoped we were done with semi imaginary friends.

So, Su'Kal is over 120 years old... wouldn't that mean he underwent and lived through the vaharai? I would have found that a more acceptable reason for The Burn than the saccharine/sad cliche of seeing his mother die.

Book can use the Spore Drive because he's an empath who can communicate with other species? I sense horse hockey. The spore cube only reacts to Stamets because of his tartigrade dna. Book doesn't have that, so what is there to empathically link up to? The spores? Such nonsense, much wow.

It was never in doubt that the season would end with Michael in the captain's chair. It took Sisko til the end of season 3 to get promoted to Captain, so I guess the creators felt it was time. She'll probably still get to go on all the away missions next season anyway.

Speaking of season 4: Discovery is now a dilithium transport barge? Do you remember when we used to be explorers?
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
Micheal is a boy's name.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
There was an interview with Michael Chabon, I believe, back when Picard was airing and he said something like "Picard is slow-paced show that challenges the viewer on a philosophical level versus Discovery which is more of a space adventure show." The more I watch of this, the more realize how all the hokey action shlock is really part of Discovery's DNA and this season finale here is Exhibit A. Every moment in this episode is a tense, nerve-grinding beat the clock scenario where the characters often need to punch their way out of a problem. Admittedly, it's similar to the Abrams movies, but at least the Abrams movies were written with just the right level of thoughtful dialogue to make sense out of the high-octane and high-budget action that accompanied it.

Anyhow, I think I've made my opinion of this season clear in previous comments. I'll try to give some positive notes about this episode:

1. The last five minutes were some of the most thoughtful and I'm glad they finally realized Burnham's rightful place on this show was the captain's chair.

2. Everyone in new uniforms looked good! And on that I'm glad they're going to stick around in this time period and finally work on world building. Season 4 could be similar to DS9's season 4 or TNG's season 3 if you will. DSC has a long way to go before it can be considered anywhere near as good as those shows, though.

3. The Roddenberry quote was awesome and it's nice to know the writers at least give his philosophical views lip service even if they can't quite capture them in stories.

Tim C wrote:
"Georgiou actually had the best character development of the season... and was then written off the show."

I know! And it seems like the writers prefer to write Mirror Universe episodes anyway. I don't know why they didn't just make a show about it to begin with.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
@aby, You don't understand the show runner's obsession with Michael Burnham? Gee, could it be that Paradise and Osunnsanmi consider themselves massively "woke", and feel a moral imperative to ram "wokeness" down our throats? [That was a rhetorical question. ] Such a mindset unequivocally requires that an African-American woman must be the Center of All Things, even when it makes no character or story sense to do so. That's all Discovery is to them, a vehicle for woke propaganda using Michael Burnham (and SMG) as the vehicles. Things will not change without a wholesale removal of Paradise and Osunnsanmi as well as the other producers. So you might as well accept that is what Discovery will always be without such changes. They are sure as hell not going to change.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
"but at least the Abrams movies were written with just the right level of thoughtful dialogue"

Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 4:39pm (UTC -6)
If you'd like to make a more intelligent rebuttal, I'd happily discuss it with you.
grey cat
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
Good riddance DSC.

1 star for the Episode. 1.5 for the season. Not wasting my time on s4. So many better shows out there. This is barely even sci-fi anyway - just drivel.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:07pm (UTC -6)
I just cancelled my CBS All Access subscription. For good.

I have no desire to watch “The Chronicles of the Crying Captain”, who managed to cry twice in this episode.

I have no desire to watch the resurrection of Grey so I can see the absolute bottom rung of acting talent.

I have to desire to play “Representation Bingo” and watch woke agendas being pushed at the expense of actual story telling.

I have no desire to see a 3-month Galaxy-threatening McGuffin strung along towards an ultimately underwhelming resolution.

I also have no desire to see cyber-Picard, Futurama-lite, or an insufferable Georgiou spinoff.

Now mind you, I am a completionist, so I’ll probably watch new episodes to keep my OCD at bay, but I definitely won’t be paying for it. These shows are not worth the subscription, and nothing else one CBSAA is remotely entertaining.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:11pm (UTC -6)

Be back later...
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:37pm (UTC -6)
(@Austin agreed with most of your points, although the classic shows and movies on All Access are good.)

A lackluster ending to a lackluster season. Burnham is already such a focal point , why not have her be Captain? ( Rhetorical .)

The Roddenberry quote was jarring, as this season
really didn’t have many Roddenberry elements, m more Michael Bay style cuts (but worse) and dull and generic action.

The two new characters , the Two Wesley’s, aren’t very good actors.

The uniforms at the end and the Admiral uniform are , in a word, woof; just very drab and dull, look they are from Galaxy Quest. The last scene seemed like it was from Galaxy Quest as well.
Skye Francis-maidstone
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
I can't even be bothered to write a mini review.

This whole series was a waste of potential. I'm not even sure what you could salvage from this mess if you were to do a soft reboot in s4.

None of this season tied together to form anything remotely coherent.

I defended DSC for quite a while from the moaners and the "this isn't Star Trek" people through possibly rose tinted glasses. I wanted this to be good Star Trek. It's not good Star Trek. It's not even good TV. It's shit - to quote Admiral Vance (one of the rare good things about s3).

I'll give PIC s2 a go since I mostly enjoyed s1 and the cast can at least act but my journey with DSC has sadly come to an end.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
How dare you besmirch the good name of Galaxy Quest like that? Just kidding. Also, I can watch the classics on Netflix.

I know I sounded negative earlier, and there were some good parts, but not enough to win me over. The final scene where all the starships formed an aisle for Discovery to fly through? Awesome. Doug Jones’ performance? Stellar, as always. Seeing the innards of a turbolift? Pretty dang cool. But nothing in the plot made me think. Nothing would inspire debate. Nothing made me feel anything for any of the cast. I felt more for that little EVE bot. Oh well, I just didn’t want to sound too much like a stereotypical “this ain’t Trek!” guy. I’m not mad that it isn’t Trek. I’m upset that it isn’t good.
grey cat
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
I guess the further up the ranks she goes the harder and harder it's going to be to disobey orders.

At least there won't be another mutiny.

Hey maybe Burnham will run Star Fleet by the end of s6. I mean she only caused a war, got her captain and many others killed. Disobeyed almost every order. Got demoted. Then disobeyed some more orders. Then got promoted. So it makes sense if you (don't) think about it (at all).

Maybe s4 will be all about the characterless bridge officers constantly disobeying her every order. I'd watch that.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
Sigh...always with the excruciatingly painful torture scenes...
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
Didbt people mostly think that season 2 was good mostly original science fiction with episodes likenobol for charon with rhe sphere and the dark matter spore asteroids in the premier and the episode in tve network with the jasepp and the Kaminar and Ba'ul episode and Talos and time crystal Boreth and even her highess from Zahia..the only disappointment last season inthought was the red angel not being a unique alien life form instead being a suit with a Mom and maybe some ofnthe Control AI stuff..but bedsides thst didbt people like season 2 and some of the sci fi here? Hope to hear from you tou
The Queen
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
I'm stealing a comment from Jammer's review of the previous episode for my opinion of this one: "The competence of the construction [of the plot] doesn't add up to more than the sum of all the parts."

The first thing I thought of this one was, talk about checking all the boxes. I'm sure Michelle Paradise feels like she's got rid of all the problematic threads from earlier episodes. Goodbye Osyra and Zehar, hello Sahil. Cause of the Burn, taken care of, won't happen again. Incompetent captains Saru and Tilly removed from contention. Gray is promised that he can become a real boy. Book can replace Stamets if needed.

But wow, it's all so clunky. It didn't flow for me. The fight scenes, as usual, dragged. The camera was incredibly obnoxious - I mean, at least two completely upside-down shots for NO reason at all. When they said the Discovery was inside the Viridian, I was stunned: it was??

Problems for me:
- How did the DOTs help, exactly? Why did Rhys shoot them?
- Ni’Var sent a fleet in response to Burnham’s call, but then she didn't let them do anything?? I’d be pissed.
- I hate the ugly new uniforms.
- If you eject your warp core, does it automatically blow up? I wasn't aware of that.
- I agree with everyone else about the apparently miles-long insides of Disco.
- I was annoyed at the ending where we were told about the fall of the Emerald Chain and about Trill and Ni'Var. Why couldn't those elements have been SHOWN to us in small scenes from next season?

There were things I liked, though:
- Adira's Trill makeup was stunningly beautiful.
- The Owo backstory and heroics were fantastic.
- I liked that Burnham continued to limp from her injury throughout this episode.
- The SuKal actor was good.
- The idea of Disco delivering dilithium to needy planets is a good structure for a more episodic season 4. (Yeah, turning it into a barge, though, LOL.)
- Hopefully making Burnham captain at last will actually strengthen the show.

I usually rate episodes for myself by only a plus or a minus. This one I had to give a +/-. See the competence quote at the beginning.

For those who don't know, yes Saru will be back. From the Ready Room for this episode, the word "ambassador" emerged. Also, in case anyone was wondering, it was always the intention, from the very beginning, to make Burnham captain.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
Season 3 finale thoughts: I'll start with the good.

1. Owosekun had something useful to do. I like her. And see? I remember her name because they actually spent a bit of time on the bridge crew this season.

2. The show looks pretty good. Great visuals.

3. Hmmm… I’ll get back to you on number two because I really can’t think of anything else at the moment. Looks like Aurellio might be sticking around so that’s cool, I guess.

Now for the crap:

1. Aurellio sticking around. How did the computer know not to beam Aurellio off the ship when Burnham commanded it to beam off all the Emerald Chain?

2. The show doesn’t actually look all that good. There must have been a dozen ships chasing the Discovery and we didn’t get a good look at one of them. The Viridian and Booker’s ship are the only other ships we’ve really seen this season. Also I wanted to scream with how frequently a camera shot began upside down and then turned upright in this episode. It was at least four times.

3. The “fleet” from Ni’Var. Of course this was to be expected to an extent. Why did they waste time showing us Michael sending a message to her mom if that didn’t somehow lead to Ni’Var helping out. But the problem is we don’t actually get to see the fleet, and they aren’t actually all that helpful or necessary. This is not even bringing up how it shouldn’t be realistically possible for Ni’Var to receive that message and then arrive at Federation HQ so quickly. Unless Ni’Var was just a star system away this whole time? Also, why do they care? The Qomat Milat may be inclined to help a lost cause, but not all of Ni’Var.

4. The fights just aren’t interesting. I can’t see what the heck is going on. Whatever happened to firing on their weapons systems? Or disabling their engines? That should have been what Starfleet did as soon as the Discovery entered their space. But no! The Discovery survived ALL the ships firing on it and escaped the bubble unscathed!

5. I’ve been watching Buffy/Angel for the first time this past year and, despite those shows being cheesy and cheap, they have some really entertaining fighting sequences. I found all of the action on the ship very boring. And that leads to the issue of the turbolift scene.

6. What the heck is all that? I think everyone agrees that the way they depict the workings of the turbolifts make no sense. It’s like a vast underground city in there. Also, why are all the other turbolifts moving around? Who is using them? The ship is practically empty aside from the bridge crew and the regulators. That sequence was profoundly stupid.

7. Admiral Vance has been mostly enjoyable this season but every episode with him seems to invent new ways in which Michael Burnham sways his mind. This time Michael’s plea was just dumb. “Trust me!” followed by crying. Her emotions are her argument and this is supposed to be someone who graduated from the Vulcan science academy. Then at the end, Vance just says “Never mind that you’re an insubordinate mutineer. Please be the captain! You’re the best!”

8. Michael Burnham is the captain now. What was the point of Saru’s arc throughout this season? I haven’t heard a single person say they want Burnham over Saru as the captain.

9. This episode somehow made all the episodes that came before it worse.

10. There’s much more: So there wasn’t a mole feeding the Chain information? They just found out everything somehow? All the bridge crew is human now? The cause of the Burn is still trash. Better possible explanations already exist within Trek canon. What is the point of Grey? That story leads nowhere. Osyraa was just a comic book villain after all! Her story also leads nowhere. The ending wraps up too suddenly. I got worried when it was past the 50 minute mark and nothing had been resolved.

11. The Roddenberry quote and TOS music at the end is just pouring salt in the wound.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
PM, nobody's keeping you here.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
DSC certainly doesn't hold back when it comes to a season finale and I think it tied up most loose ends, though there's plenty that is overly farfetched and it really hammers home the point (if you had any doubts) that the star of the show is Michael Fucking Burnham and whatever she does is right.

For me the best part was Saru with Su'Kal -- Doug Jones' acting is terrific here in trying to be caring/compassionate with the kid, trying to make him face his fears etc. That Su'Kal's flipping out caused the Burn was a bit hard to accept but my initial reaction in "Su'Kal" was more of a wait-and-see. In a way I'm disappointed that that's all there was to it but at least Culber/Adira gave some subspace dilithium technobabble explanation and we got to see how it happened when he realized his mother is dead.

The downside is just way too many action scenes that don't feel like Trek at all. Of course MFB and the Wicked Witch of the West would have a long fight -- that was to be expected. Certainly everybody had a role (with the exception of Stamets -- maybe his role was to do nothing). Book being able to run the spore drive perfectly while the warp core blows is a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me -- give me a break.

With MFB as captain now (where the DSC writers would feel she rightly belongs) I sure hope Saru is still a part of the series. Also, would expect Adm. Vance to continue -- probably the best part of the season for me was getting the fine actor that Oded Fehr is. Can't think of 1 weak scene with Adm. Vance.

The Adira/Grey bit didn't work -- like what are we supposed to take out of it all? There was a song Grey played and I thought it was supposed to be something related to the Burn -- but I must have missed what it meant (unless it is a loose end).

If one of the points of the season was about the connection between 2 people, I can see something with MFB/Book as well as Saru/Su'kal. They even throw in a Gene Roddenberry quote about connections (and play a better version of the TOS theme -- why?) But this whole notion just pops up at the end and is supposed to be another take-away along with everything else?

2.5 stars for "That Hope Is You, Part 2" -- just way over the top - a bit like "Zero Hour" but with a lot of MFB glorification. DSC had its cake and ate it too but I think looking at it critically, there's not a lot of substance here -- the writers try to force it on you rather than have it develop organically from the episode. So the Federation is on the right track, worlds are rejoining, which is what I thought would be the ultimate goal and ships will start warping all over the place again.

I'd say DSC's 2nd season was overall better than this 3rd season. A few too many weaker episodes in S3 and an overall arc that wasn't very compelling but it did give us "Forget Me Not" which is clearly the best thing DSC/PIC have done so far.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
I just want to add to my previous post that this season of the series addressed some engaging elements and ideas (e.g., loss, disconnection, trust), but it all seemed to be arranged rather haphazardly. It's a shame. Too many episodes left me asking, 'why didn't the writers spend more time developing and/or exploring this element/notion?' The pieces for a great season were there. The writers simply committed to shallower pursuits.

With that said, what led me to prefer this season to the previous two was that these engaging ideas were not lost in grossly overstuffed and messy story lines (e.g., a multi-episode trip to the mirror universe in the midst of a war; and a simultaneous chase for a time-travelling angel and fight against artificial intelligence for the survival of the universe).

Star Trek has often succeeded with 'small' stories, of the narrow and deep variety. The Discovery writers have stumbled upon some issues and ideas worthy of further exploration; I just hope they actually go the next step, and as the franchise has long done, explored as much.
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 11:13pm (UTC -6)
I predict that by the end of this show (however many seasons it inflicts on us) it will be Admiral Burnham, either that or she'll be made President of the Federation. Not that I'll be watching it, I can't even face watching this episode and am leaving the DISCO early. My engines cannae take nah more.
Chris W
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:26am (UTC -6)
The comments so far are amazing! Consistently on point and very entertaining! Thanks so much everyone!
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:26am (UTC -6)
I just don't understand people hating a show, but continuing to watch it...


Go and watch something you do enjoy!
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 3:00am (UTC -6)
I watched TOS (rerun) as a child more than 40 years ago. Then over the years I saw a few movies with the original TOS characters and watched maybe 10 TNG episodes. Now this year because of the stay-home I started watching Star Trek in earnest. I noticed there's this modern version called DSC and, because this is a prequel of the TOS and it has its own prequel ENT, I started with ENT. After finishing ENT, I watched PIC and DSC. But because there are so few episodes for both, I also started TNG from season 1 and have almost finished the whole series. I also recently started on DS9 and now finished S1.

Having watched all these shows, I like the ENT best, followed by DSC and PIC. TNG? I like the characters but the story is too slow and feels as if nothing happens. DS9, likewise. My only complaint about DSC and PIC is there are so few episodes.

So it's really hard for me to understand many point of views in this forum. The point is that the average episodes are just that, average. There are a few good ones and a few bad ones. But the extent of complaints in this forum seems a little excessive. Visually there is no comparison between the 20th century and 21st century Treks. DSC is so much better than TNG. Characters? Stories? There don't seem to be so much difference. TNG might have good episodes, but maybe 10 good episodes out of what, 200 episodes? I like the characters in ENT best.

Overall, I daresay that this season of DSC is better than most Trek seasons, I would say, though I haven't watched any VOY.
grey cat
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 5:52am (UTC -6)
@Rahul I preferred S2 to this one too.

"New Eden" (my personal favourite) and "If Memory Serves" are probably the only 2 episodes I'd rewatch. Nothing from S3 was memorable enough for me. Way too much mindless action (and annoying Burnham).

Basically if Burnham annoys you then this show is going to be a tough watch.

Someone mentioned Buffy/Angel. DSC isn't fit to lick the boots of those 2 shows. Cheap and cheesy they may be but they're vastly superior in writing and acting to anything DSC has produced.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 6:51am (UTC -6)
It's really sad because this season started out with a lot of promise and some of the episodes early on were pretty good, then it all turned to crap at the end. I'm going to go on another one of my anti-Michelle Paradise rants and say she needs to be fired. It's clear she has no understanding of what it means to make a good sci-fi show. There's also no consistency in anything this season. Discount Seska goes from cartoon, to more sophisticated, back to cartoon. Plot points are introduced that go nowhere (Adira and Gray) or are just dropped (the music thing). Central premises of the season (the burn making travel hard) are waived away at a whim (oh, there's a trans warp tunnel between the Federation HQ and the dilitium planet). Big things like the Emerald Chain are introduced and not really fleshed out. In one episode, the Emerald Chain seems like Discount Seska's personal gang of thugs. In another, it seems like they are a larger organization. In the final episode, there's one line about how it just collapsed. Ridiculous. It's like the writers aren't talking to each other. Either that or that every hairbrained idea is just thrown into the script and jumbled together. Nobody is checking for quality or consistency. In my mind this is the fault of the showrunner.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 7:10am (UTC -6)
"What can I say, we are Starfleet."
God, Burnham did we really need more of these cringe lines...

- Well no reason to point out all the endless stuff that made no sense in this episode. Others have done that. I must admit though that I was laughing when Burnham was flying through the ship. OMG hahaha.
I mean look at this. How big is the ship on the inside!

I'm done with NuTrek. All of it.
This is the Transformer version of Star Trek. They just switched out the sexism, flag cult and hate for politics with inclusion and vapid appeals to faith and family. It is for people who like dumb action drama. When this whole NuTrek thing started three years ago I could not have imagined a more disappointing version.

These shows will never be smart, interested in science, have a thoughtful look at the human condition or god forbid be thought provoking.

People never forget to mention that at least the visuals are good and that is always a warning sign. It is an indicator for what people notice the most. I never actually found the visuals that great, to me Discovery always had a very artificial quality. The camera work is often distracting.

The world building is so shallow, considering how much money they spend on VFX I'm amazed that we never actually saw the worlds they visited. It is two, sometimes up to six people in a room. In TNG or DS9 they always had several scenes were we could see people, normal people going about their business. I have no idea how living on earth or vulcan actually is.

The villains are one dimensional. This is an indicator for the shabby writing. In season 1 it was the Klingons who wanted to conquer everything because Klingon. In season 2 it was control who wanted to conquer everything and afterwards calculate pi for a million years, I guess. In season 3 we got our most multi layered villain: Ossyra. She is a brutal, torturing, mass murdering, family murdering, slaver overlord but is also interested in peace and cooperation with the Federation for one episode until that doesn't work, then it is back murdering torturing and trying to destroy the Federation. What an interesting villain.
And what is it with villain henchmen being in black suits with black helmets, we had that in PIC, too?! I guess it makes it easier to gun those faceless people down by the dozen.

The message. Discovery spells everything out for it's audience. The whole Saru Su'kal dialogue could be interesting but then it becomes so literal that one wonders if the writers think the audience to be either dumb or disinterested. It seems to be aimed at people who rather feel than think.

The science. The writers do not care about science. Being a scientist myself this is especially appalling. They just make up stuff to fit the plot. How does somebody know something? Unimportant. How does this work? One off hand comment. They had technobabble on TNG and DS9 but they also had advisors who gave them an understanding how the scientific community viewed this or that and they also often showed people really struggling to solve a scientific problem. On Discovery it always goes like this: new Problem 1, that is how we solve it, done; new problem 2, that is how we solve that, done.
Here is a good example for how science works on this show

So yeah. I gave this show another season against my better judgement. Would they do something interesting with the new setting. No. Did they write better stories. No.

I'm done.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:03am (UTC -6)
“Known for their gelato” (made of shit)

Going into this episode, I had hopes for it to be at least pretty decent after how much I loved the previous one. But then when the “previously on...” started, I was reminded that we would have to revisit the stupid plot about the Kelpien who caused the Burn, ugh. (I don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me before.)

Unfortunately, the plot back on Discovery also got stupider. That’s true in a number of ways, and the inevitable rise of Michael to command was annoying. But what bothered me most, what might even be the most irksome thing they have ever had on this show, is that ridiculous vast space inside the turbolift, which appears even larger now. Maybe the VFX people took some basic directions and ran wild with them, without really understanding or caring about what kind of space they were working with, but ultimately the people running the show should have nipped that in the bud as soon as they saw how it was being rendered. I can suspend disbelief fairly far, but this goes way beyond that. And although I would be really annoyed by this regardless, it seems especially contemptuous of the Trek audience that has always been into schematics and such (although I personally have never bothered with any of that).

Sadly, all of this retroactively taints the episode preceding it. So in the end I had about five glorious days of actually being wowed by a DISCOVERY episode, but now I’m completely disgusted and not planning to continue with the show. I’m out on PICARD and LOWER DECKS as well, and not interested in a Section 31 show, so maybe we’ll see if the Captain Pike show is any good (the Short Treks seemed promising, so fingers crossed).
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:04am (UTC -6)
@Booming as a scientist I am also appalled.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:22am (UTC -6)
To echo other people's comments, I'm done with Discovery too. I might come back if there's a big shake up of the writers and show runners. Booming nailed it when saying this show is aimed at making people feel instead of think. There is absolutely nothing in this show that is thought provoking.

I'll give Picard another season and I actually like Lower Decks, and I'll give S31 and Strange New Worlds a chance, but I'm done with Discovery.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:29am (UTC -6)
Rahul wrote:

"I'd say DSC's 2nd season was overall better than this 3rd season. A few too many weaker episodes in S3 and an overall arc that wasn't very compelling"

Yes, I'd say even season one was better. This season lacked both an interesting central mystery and good episodic content. The only thing praiseworthy about it is that it finally sets up a series reboot in an established universe for season 4.

On another note, did this season successfully break Trent? I haven't seen him since that Mirror Universe two-parter that (predictably) went down in flames.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:39am (UTC -6)
@Nick: “And the most powerful ... pesticides (but only if you target a ship's ‘intakes’“

OMG, that’s right! I just let that pass but it makes no sense. What are they taking in from the vacuum of space?

@Austin: “These shows are not worth the subscription, and nothing else one CBSAA is remotely entertaining.”

THE GOOD FIGHT is actually great.

@MossBoss: “The Discovery survived ALL the ships firing on it and escaped the bubble unscathed! “

Right? Starfleet has major problems if their entire fleet cannot take out a single thousand year old ship.

“Also, why are all the other turbolifts moving around? Who is using them?”

Another great question! I mean, I myself roll my eyes a bit if someone objects that the sickbay is actually on deck 23 rather than deck 24 or whatever. But this kind of nonsense goes 1,000,000 light years beyond that sort of nitpickery.

@water, hot take! I do feel that ENT is much better than people give it credit for. But I can’t agree with you about much else that you wrote.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:47am (UTC -6)
Daniel S. ROTFL
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:48am (UTC -6)
"Booming nailed it when saying this show is aimed at making people feel instead of think. There is absolutely nothing in this show that is thought provoking. "

Darmok and Tapestry and The Inner Light and It's Only a Paper Moon were also aimed at making people feel. I don't see anything wrong with that. It's just that the most that those same attempts by Discovery has elicited from me so far has been eye-rolls.
Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:56am (UTC -6)
Discovery is not getting better. It's different, sure. Every season feels like it belongs to a totally different show, but it's not improving. It's doing different things okay and different things wrong, but it's not getting any better.

For fun I went back to look at the number of 3.5 or higher ratings that Jammer gave in the first three seasons of past Star Trek shows, and compared them to Disco.

A few caveats: Star ratings are subjective, but since these ratings are all by the same person it's good for seeing trends. Also, past Star Trek shows had more episodes per season, but that's actually a handicap in Disco's favor since the whole reason TV shows have fewer seasons is to increase the quality per episode.

That being said:

The Original Series had seventeen episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
The Next Generation had fourteen episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
DS9 had a whopping twenty-three episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
Voyager had twelve episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
Enterprise had twelve episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars

Discovery has had four episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars

21% of TOS is rated 3.5 or higher
19% of TNG's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher
32% of DS9's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher
18% of VOY's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher
16% of ENT's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher

.09% of DISCO's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher. That's not counting the last episode which, as of writing, is not yet rated.

Tastes vary and everyone is different, I know, but I think the trend is clear that Discovery is not improving nor is it all in all a better show in terms of quality episodes than its predecessors.

For the record

TOS had nine episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower
TNG had fourteen episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower
DS9 had one episode rate 1.5 stars or lower
VOY had nine episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower
ENT had six episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower

DISCO has had zero episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower

So I guess Disco's best is nowhere close as good as the previous shows, but it's also not as bad as those shows could be, either. But when there are fewer episodes per season, that's hardly worth crowing about.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:05am (UTC -6)
I'm having trouble recovering from this. I just don't know how to react anymore. So much of the conversation over the past few years has been over whether this is a good Star Trek show, and later whether this is a good sci fi show. At this point, I can't understand how anyone can think this is a decent show, period, of any sort. Even as brainless action entertainment, I can't see anything compelling about it. Yet I can see online that some people do like it, which reveals my own faults at failing to perceive any virtue in this show. I can see that some people even liked this episode, which in my mind is close to the worst thing I've ever seen (in terms of plotting, payoffs, choreography etc). I need to reflect on that.

I'll only say, in reference to those here that mentioned Galaxy Quest. Even the GC catchphrase is in this episode: "Never give up, never surrender!".
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:11am (UTC -6)

A problem with that sort of barometer is that your conclusion can vary wildly by where you're setting the bar. For example, if a season of Star Trek got 3 stars consistently we could probably call it the most successful season in Star Trek history even if it never reached 3.5 stars.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:00am (UTC -6)
"Having watched all these shows, I like the ENT best, followed by DSC and PIC. TNG? I like the characters but the story is too slow and feels as if nothing happens. DS9, likewise. My only complaint about DSC and PIC is there are so few episodes."

...this is the kind of answer that a replicant would give during a Voight-Kampff test.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:01am (UTC -6)
I think that the analysis ought to include a bit of bias, based on which show we are talking about. Each Star Trek show, I will grant, tries a unique concept. It's not like Next Generation was in any way the same idea as TOS... by virtue of how much times had changed between them, TNG stands on its own as a different type of concept from TOS. Instead of "Wagon Train To The Stars" it's more like "Mission: Impossible...IN SPACE!", if you will. And DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, Picard, ...(sighs)... Lower Decks...They've all attempted some kind of unique spin. That, I will give Disco; this is a different idea.

However, it doesn't work. It's heating the ..."writerly aspects"... of the show up to lukewarm when I want them at a nice, rolling boil.

"This is the Enterprise. We set a different standard, here." File it under "Experiments with Middling-to-Unacceptable Results."
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:10am (UTC -6)
Yup, I'd say this is the worst season thus far. And after such a promising start. All three seasons had rubbish overarching plots, complete nonsense. However, Seasons 1 and 2 at least had quite a few solid to good individual episodes and I, on balance, liked those seasons. Season 3 though... ugh, after midpoint, it's been going from bad to worse on one long uninterrupted spiral to oblivion.

Discovery is simply an utterly mediocre show. Not a mediocre Star Trek show. Not a mediocre science fiction show. Just an all around forgettable action-adventure drivel punctuated with the most insufferably melodramatic self-centered bullshit I've seen in a long time. Normal people don't behave this way. Teenagers on an ego trip behave this way, making grand proclamations and reveling in their special specialness all the while daydreaming how one day everyone alive will recognize their awesomeness and congratulate them on just how unique a human being they are.

Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:20am (UTC -6)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding,

but if next season of Discovery was fifteen episodes all rated 3 stars I would not consider that the best season ever. Not by a long shot. I'd call it the most cromulent season ever.

How could I call it the best when previous seasons had episodes that reached so much higher than 3 stars? In fact I'd rather have a season that had, say, five 3.5 or better episodes even if it also had five that were rated 1.5 or worse. I'd rather have that than one that never reaches the next level of greatness, even if it also never dips below what is considered acceptable.

But that's just me
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:22am (UTC -6)
I mean in terms of pure math, of course.
Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:23am (UTC -6)
I don't think it's fair to call Star Trek Discovery a science fiction show. It's more like a melodramatic action show masquerading as a sci-fi show. It's as much a sci-fi show as Community is educational television because it's set at a school.

Discovery doesn't challenge the viewer. It doesn't examine big questions about the human condition. It doesn't examine the role of technology in the lives of the people who use it. It doesn't do any of the things we expect a sci-fi show to do.

It's not about anything.
Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:25am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome,

well I added the math in just to clarify the results of the poll.

The fact is Discovery has failed to reach a standard expected of past shows. It's had three years to do it (considered the barometer by most fans) and all it has to show for it are three wildly different half-baked ideas in three wildly, tonally different seasons.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Let's say Lower Decks has an average of a rating of 3 in season 2. It would mathematically be the best season of Star Trek. Do you not see the logical fallacy here?
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:43am (UTC -6)
My advice: ignore the star ratings and just enjoy the well written reviews.

"Balance of Terror" only has a two and a half star rating and I wouldn't trade it for all the post ENT Trek content combined.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:44am (UTC -6)
"It would mathematically be the best season of Star Trek."
That is not correct. It would be the season with the highest average.
Checking which show has the highest amount of episodes in the upper quartile would probably be more informative. (in other words 3 stars and more)
Or we admit that it is just Jammer's personal rating which has really no scientific meaning whatsoever. :)
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:48am (UTC -6)
Well, we either admit the stars are entirely subjective or our mathematical goal is subjective. A scale that only assess upper quartile episodes would ignore the lower quarter episodes we had to tolerate to get there.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:52am (UTC -6)
then count both upper and lower quartile :)
Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:52am (UTC -6)

That's for sure true.

I only used the star ratings as a quick and easy barometer to show one man's trend.
Everyone is free to do their own honest evaluation of past shows. A few of us have, I'm sure.

I know that the shows with the most 3.5/4 star ratings for me are DS9, TNG, TOS, VOY, ENT, and DISCO.

Only two episodes of Discovery are rated 3.5 or better in my view, both from season two: New Eden and If Memory Serves.

But, like Booming said, picking out ratings is not about determining which season was better. It was used to show if a series is putting out high quality content at least some of the time.

And even when looking at seasons as a whole, as I said I'd rather have a season that had a few total stinkers but also a few 4 star gems, as opposed to one that flatlined with every episode being "just good."
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -6)

"And even when looking at seasons as a whole, as I said I'd rather have a season that had a few total stinkers but also a few 4 star gems, as opposed to one that flatlined with every episode being "just good.""

Right, but that's ultimately your opinion. I'm not sure how many 2 - 1.5 star episodes of Voyager I put up with before I quit the show. Maybe if on average the show were higher quality, I would've stuck with it.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:02am (UTC -6)
I think you have to make adjustments when rating an episodic show vs one that is serialized. There are a lot of shows that I say I "love" when in fact half the episodes are kinda crappy, The thing is that they are episodic and I can just ignore them without losing anything. Serialized shows are a lot trickier. A show can have a string of great episodes only to have it all come undone with a terrible ending. You also have the "well, I didn't like this episode but there are hints that it could lead to something cool" that leads people to rate them more highly than they properly deserve.

I just don't think a star rating system works very well with a highly serialized show.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:03am (UTC -6)
I forgot my count for good NuTrek episodes

Season 1: one episode: Magic to make the sanest man go mad
Season 2: two episodes: New Eden; Sound of Thunder
Season 3: one episode: Die Trying

Season 1: -

After 52 episodes of NuTrek
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:07am (UTC -6)
"I'm not sure how many 2 - 1.5 star episodes of Voyager I put up with before I quit the show. Maybe if on average the show were higher quality, I would've stuck with it."

VOY wasn't available in my area when it was new, but I did manage to catch ENT. I gave up on ENT early in season two and I'm sure I would have done the same with VOY. Years later I finished both series, and while I don't love them, there are some good episodes in both series, imo.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:20am (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. Action packed. What let it down was the usual Discovery thing of now filling out characters before they make major decisions.

Voyager FFS managed this with Anorax in The Year of Hell and that was two episodes!

Imagine wed seen Osyraa in earlier episodes mulling joining the Federation, being kind to her Doctor/Scientist etc rather than the seasons Big Bad suddenly negotiating. And now she's gone.

Or Georgiou being nice in earlier episodes before she was written out.

I liked the fleshed out explanation for The Burn which made sense.

But all in all, I thought it was terrific.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:24am (UTC -6)
Can someone tell my why do I keep coming back to this? Do I feel just that fondly about the franchise that I’ll watch even though I know I wont enjoy it, and then see something that MAYBE could turn into something, but then it just falls flat like always.

What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said? This show takes a promising idea and then finds ways to dumb it down and move on without ever exploring it. More unearned payoffs than a republican senate seat.

Post-federation universe? Nah is all tied up and things are looking promising again. I was ALMOST looking forward to what a smart Trekkian take on what Andromeda could have been.

The burn? A kid screamed. Brought down half the galaxy.

Spore drive? Umm....Book can do it cuz he feeeeeeels stuff. And cuz we need to have an excuse to keep him on next season.

And Burnham. Ugh. This was the year I finally gave in and came round to it. She’s awful. Just awful. Every episode doesn’t need 20%nof its screen time devoted to heavy emoting about just how great she is. She’s not. Shoving it down our throats isn’t helping. Every star fleet captain skirted rules when it suited them. Burnham does it in such a way that it’s hard to ever root for her. If she was effective, ok. But its not just enough for her to be effective. She’s also messiah. To be fair, when Cisco became the messiah that also go pretty tiresome. And clearly there’s only room for one messiah in the Trekkiverse and his name is Patrick Picard.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:30am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome et al,

"Right, but that's ultimately your opinion. I'm not sure how many 2 - 1.5 star episodes of Voyager I put up with before I quit the show. Maybe if on average the show were higher quality, I would've stuck with it."

I have a good example of this on two related shows not from Trek: I'm a big Buffy fan, and just watched the entire series with my wife. We avoided Angel, the spinoff, because I mostly think it's not very good. But it's not just because Buffy happened to have more really good episodes; in fact the chief difference between the shows is that the cast of Buffy is just light years better. Every main cast member on Buffy is better than any cast member on Angel, IMO, and no matter how good or bad the scripts, there is no getting past the fact that I enjoy any Buffy scene more than any Angel scene. And note it's the same showrunner, with both shows running at the same time. The shows do also have a slight tonal difference, with Angel also being less quirky and fun, and darker, but that didn't have to damn it out of the gate. Firefly, for instance, has dark moments but it's a lot more fun than Angel pretty much on a constant basis. Somehow the ensemble on the Angel show never quite gels for me, and in the writer's process the characters just don't write themselves they way they do on a show where the writing is really driven by the performers and their great energy.

In Trek terms it is very easy for me to say that average rating is not quite the whole story, because I easily prefer a 2.5 star TNG episode to a 3 star ENT episode, because I simply like the cast and show's general feel a lot better. In fact there are almost no TNG episode I dislike watching, even in S1, because I just like everything about it. There is almost no way for me to care about Mayweather or Hoshi in any scene, or Archer for that matter, doesn't matter how it's written. It just so happens to spiral downward because boring actors breed boring by-the-numbers writing, that's just inevitable. I think some of the writing problems in VOY and ENT stem from the audition process. If everyone on VOY was as engaging as Janeway and Doc we'd have had a different show, and on ENT...well I like Dr. Phlox a lot, let's just leave it at that. In DSC S1, from start to finish I liked precisely no one, was actively aggravated by a few characters, and generally did not imagine wanting to know any of them personally. I would not walk up to Stamets IRL and ask to shake his hand, whereas it would be super-cool to meet Worf and have him tell me to begone :)
Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:46am (UTC -6)
Man, I loved Angel more than Buffy. I might be the only person on earth who did.

Angel was darker, yes, but that just made it's goofier moments more hilarious. Shame it never got the finale it deserved.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -6)
@Peter, I'm a big Buffy fan too. Nice to see.

I think Wesley in particular really elevates Angel, and I think the recurring guest cast in Angel is particularly strong (eg Darla, Lilah). I think Amy Acker is very talented but Fred was not very well executed much of the time. I think Angel takes a real hit because its first season is such a slog, but I do still like it. There are many who strongly prefer Angel to Buffy, and I respect the reasons why though I don't agree (don't want to get into that here). I do feel you: I do prefer weak Buffy episodes to good Angel episodes in terms of enjoyment (though there are some Angel eps I really love).

As far as both having the same showrunner, I think it's clear that Angel was a bit of a curiosity project for Whedon, who maybe never felt comfortable with the character or show, as compared to what I think was clarity in what he was trying to do with Buffy and Firefly. Even when Buffy episodes don't make literal sense there's a sense that the show knows knows what it's attempting to do, and Firefly seems to me to be a fairly completely realized world that is chopped up. Less so with Angel. That leads to interesting tonal changes when the co-showrunners change over and the show reinvents itself. At best, Angel's identity crisis is taken up by the character himself, who is often a little uncertain what he's fighting for and what he's about.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:54am (UTC -6)
@Matthew, you are definitely not alone! Angel fans are a very dedicated group.
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G. it is noteworthy that several main cast members on Angel (including of course the titular character) were transplanted from Buffy so calling it poor casting can't really be right entirely. It didn't help that the two initial transplants (Angel and Cordelia) were always secondary recurring characters on Buffy who served niche roles on that series. Neither character was ever intended to or capable of properly carrying a series. If it's casting then only in the sense that the showrunners tried to put too much on the shoulders of actors and characters who couldn't bare the weight.

Buffy's main cast actually wasn't that fantastic individually when you think about it. Sarah Michelle Geller let's face it was always a mediocre actress but she was perfectly casted and the story was perfectly written to her strengths. The cast just had chemistry plus fantastic writing behind them. B5 was another example of a show that was more than the sum of its parts. I mean Claudia Chrostian can't act her way out of a wet paper bag let's be honest.

I mean if someone tried to make a DS9 spinoff starring Andrew Robinson as Garak that would probably be great. Not so much if they picked, I don't know, Bashir or Jake Sisko even if those characters might work well enough in their specific context.

Regarding TNG that cast was jam packed with talent. Season 1's failings were about overarching stories; the characters themselves were bang on from the get go.

Discovery is an example of a show that has pretty much nothing going for it except really high production values and consistent low-risk storytelling. It can never be "bad" in the sense of Code of Honour or Shades of Grey but it's ceiling is so low that the characters are hitting their heads before you even get to 3 stars.

I'm with you that I will take an inconsistent product that reaches great heights (and depths) over something manufactured to never fail but also never really succeed. It is like going to McDonalds versus some brand new high end restaurant. The former will never disappoint but will never surprise or elate either. The new restaurant is a risk no doubt but no risk, no reward.
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
Incidentally regarding SMG, while I haven't seen the Walking Dead I suspect she was a strong secondary character who worked well in that specific context but the showrunners made the same mistake as Angel's; failing to understand the limitations of their actors. Except with Discovery they were doubly stupid because for some insane reason they decided to forego the traditional ensemble approach for Trek and just shovel the entire weight of the show on the head of one incredibly mediocre actress playing a poorly written nonsensical character.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
Bob wrote:

"VOY wasn't available in my area when it was new, but I did manage to catch ENT. I gave up on ENT early in season two and I'm sure I would have done the same with VOY. Years later I finished both series, and while I don't love them, there are some good episodes in both series, imo."

Yeah, I eventually did go back (15 years later!) and watched Voyager episodes Jammer rated 3.5 or higher and there are some good ones. "Timeless" is probably one of my favorite Star Trek episodes. Anyway, that's probably what I'll end up doing with Discovery.

@Peter G.

That's a great comment and really gets to the heart of numeric quality being an inaccurate description of fiction. For example, I like the cast of DS9 so much that I can watch "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." and just have fun with it despite it being "zero stars". Conversely, I tried some of higher rated ST: ENT episodes and could hardly stomach them. There's a lot more that goes into a show than just structural elements that can be analyzed by critics.
Luis Dantas
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
I complained a few episodes ago that Dietmer suddenly had become a X-Wing pilot.

Now I get the sense that Discovery has been trying to be a Star Wars show ever since.

This episode is a particularly serious offender, with lots of faceless pursuers that somehow consistently fail to catch up with our heroes despite a serious numerical and tactical advantage, personality cults aplenty, and even jumps and falls from great heights. Even Book is all but told that he, too, is an unique "chosen one", perhaps displacing Stamets in that capacity somewhat.

That goes a long way towards explaining the persistent expectations that Starfleet or the Federation would be found out to be "evil" despite no evidence pointing to that. We mistrust these institutions because we have never learned enough about them to truly trust them. We are too busy with all the implausible action and artificial, often spelled out drama.

This was a serious misstep, IMO. Michael's fate sounds so undeserved that she herself falls just short of pointing out that it is indeed unearned. This Starfleet may well be idealistic, but it is shown to be too lenient with serious breaches of discipline and protocol. Which, again, makes it look a lot more like a Rebel Alliance than a Starfleet proper. At this point I can't help but wonder which ulterior motives Vance might have to go to such implausible lengths while attempting to protect Michael's ego. The final scenes remind me of a Harry Potter story, where nothing of real significance happens without taking a moment to reach out for the protagonist and assuring him (or her) that it would not have been possible were the protagonist Just So Special.

I also wish this episode and the previous one were not meshed into a two-parter. The storylines do not work to each other's advantage except perhaps by providing reasons for Discovery not to be more helpful to Su'Kal and his helpers. There is a definite tone mismatch, and it works to neither plot's advantage.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
@Jason, Discovery also squandered Yeoh and Isaacs by sticking them with one dimensional MU crazies. They at least seem to kind of know that they have something special in Doug Jones though I haven't watched much of the show.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:33pm (UTC -6)
"Incidentally regarding SMG, while I haven't seen the Walking Dead I suspect she was a strong secondary character"
She was not. She was a no nonsense sniper. Not bad but also not remarkable. Her brother was the more compelling character played by Chad Coleman (Fred Johnson on the Expanse)
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R.

There are multiple headscratchers when it comes to the way Discovery was initially designed:

1. Setting the show in the TOS prequel era was a stone around their necks from the very start and for no good narrative reason at all. Seeing as how it turned out, why not start in the future?

2. As you point out, why abandon the successful ensemble setup and go for this silly Burnham as the center of the universe thing they're attempting? Even Star Trek: Picard, with *PICARD* in the title is much more of an ensemble that Discovery is.

3. Why focus the show on a character that isn't captain and then still pursue earth-shattering plots? I am all for a more "lower decks" theme, but then you have to approach it from a different angle and not have your mutineer / science officer / solve every single problem the ship encounters.

It's interesting how so many of the problems this show faces are actually self-imposed for reasons that I can't really fathom, and that, as far as I know, were never satisfactorily explained by any of the (trillion) execs.
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:43pm (UTC -6)

I love how sooner or later someone inevitably brings up The Expanse. And for good reason. I've said it a million times already, but that thing is just marvelous. Go watch it, everybody and then come back and despair at the state of Trek. ;)
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
So a lot of criticism on the plot and plot holes here, and I agree with them:

- The turbolift areas are just ridiculous big
- The Ni'Var come to help but then don't do anything except chasing the Veridian
- Discount Seska going back to be a cardboard villain (love that meme by the way!)
- Mortal peril scenes for Michael, Book and the bridge crew that we of course know they will survive (BORING!)
- The cute Sphere robots being shot down (does that mean the Sphere data is lost forever?)
- What was the need to displace the nacell to make Discovery drop out of warp, other than that the plot demands it? (So that the plot can blow up the Veridian later.)
- A simple reboot of the Discovery computer after changing 4 chip plates/whatever things (?) solves all ship issues. Plus at that point Michael could have transported herself and the bridge crew back to the bridge in an instant.

And does it seem that they re-used the actor who played Ryn until he was killed in the last episode to play a nameless Andorian in this episode? The Andorian on the bridge when Osyraa and Discovery escaped the Federation hub looks exactly like Ryn, except that he still has his antennas. (First I thought it WAS Ryn and a plot mistake, until I saw the intact antennas.)

Having said this though, I still find Star Trek DIscovery highly entertaining. The visuals (FX) and the action scenes are great, there are some great actors in the show, and it has it's (Starfleet) heart in the right place, striving for it's Starfleet / Federation ideals of safety, inclusiveness and justice.

And this episode with it's theme of connection was right on, especially in these pandemic times.

So while there are definitely flaws with this show, I am highly entertained, looking forward to new episodes, and will definitely be back for season 4, with Michael in the captain chair. And since Discovery was renewed despite all negativity here, no doubt many subscribers to CBS All Access agree, or it would not have been renewed. Money is money.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
@William B

"Discovery also squandered Yeoh and Isaacs by sticking them with one dimensional MU crazies. They at least seem to kind of know that they have something special in Doug Jones though I haven't watched much of the show."

Those actors really did the best with what they we're given though. I've gone back and watched some of the MU episodes where Isaacs Face-Heel-Turns, and damn if he doesn't sell the Donald Trump persona ("Join me and Let's make the Empire Great Again!") the writers were going for. You can see by Jammer's reviews at the time he was really digging the Lorca character; a lot of us were.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
So the 4th season will be what the show should had been in the first place, with Burham as the captain. And why oh why we had to endure 3 seasons of BAD tv?
Because this is a random show, with random generic writing and I honestly still believe all the episodes are a result of a random computer algorithm where the "writers" only have to check options.

This show is a big mediocre nothing.
It's characters vary from slightly interesting to ultra annoying.
Problem is in the latter category belongs the lead.
Which I am sorry to say, I think she only exists and promoted so the creators feel ok with their social consciousness. She is woman and she is black and she is a superhero.
And everyone who doesn't like the lead must be a chauvinistic racist sexist pig.
That is their simplistic take on tοday's issues like racism and sexism. Cause the writers of DSC are simpletons or at least they think their target group is. Could be both.

This show is a combination of brainless action series full of cliches, some very confused versions of elements of peak tv era top shows , garnished with aesthetics and special effects that make no sense (like the ultra ridiculous scene with the turbo lifts on "planet Discovery").

Zero character development and use of constant over-melodramatic reactions to force feelings, since the story by itself fails to do so.
Saru was the only relatively interesting character you might care about, but at the end he was just a plot tool for Burnham to became a captain.
And there is absolutely no logic on Burnham remaining a Star Fleet officer, let alone being a captain.
Not that any other of the crew seems like Star Fleet material.
They work and behave more like college students on fraternities and not like a professional crew of a starship (or any ship really).
The writers have confused "people have feelings so they can cry when they feel like it" with how a ship captain/officer must behave like.
I mean imagine Admiral Vance being over-emotional showing all of his feelings constantly while on duty.
I can only guess they gonna tone it down now that Burnham is a captain.

Anyway, won't watch season 4 till I read positive Jammer's reviews.
Enough is enough, I love Star Trek but DSC is unbearable. And I don't even have to pay for the damn thing, I mean ok I pay Netflix, but not only for this stupid show.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
(at the risk of ceasing to pretend I'm talking about Trek anymore)

@ Jason R,

"it is noteworthy that several main cast members on Angel (including of course the titular character) were transplanted from Buffy so calling it poor casting can't really be right entirely. It didn't help that the two initial transplants (Angel and Cordelia) were always secondary recurring characters on Buffy who served niche roles on that series."

Yes, although I think the casting of Angel was problematic from the start. They clearly wanted someone with a model look but he couldn't carry his scenes at all, maybe until he (SPOILERS) became Angelis, and even then he was pushing. To his credit his 5 years on Angel gave him room to improve, and even my wife noted how much better he was in Angel S5 (which we actually did watch, because I consider it to be the show's best season) than he was in Buffy S1-3. Why they would pick him to lead his own show is beyond me. Charisma Carpenter, on the other hand, was excellently cast, but like Willow was particularly apt at playing a particular character in a particular niche. I don't really know how much range Hannigan has, for instance, but was perfect as Willow, which is more than I can say for Doyle who is a totally forgettable character (case in point: I forgot him until now). Also as a side point I think Sarah Michelle Gellar is really talented, but did fall into pitfalls in falling into vocal rhythms and other tricks to get through scenes. But she was also incredibly fun and bounced off the others really well.

More to the point, I'm not really critiquing the actors themselves per se, although I do think in ENT Bakula was unsalvageable. He's just not really that charismatic or exciting. No twinkle in his eye like Mulgrew or Shatner had, no command authority like Stewart or Brooks. It's more the casting process insofar as they need to know what will make the show exciting and create sparks, which can include a limited actor but who is perfect for a role. No one on ENT sparks off each other significantly, although there is ironically the occasional T'Pol scene where 'something' happens. On VOY they seemed to deliberately avoid letting the cast energy run away with itself, instead confining each person to their own little role or grouping (Tom with Harry, Tuvok with Neelix, Chakotay with Janeway, etc). It would have been neat for Tuvok to have an actual relationship with Chakotay - you know, the guy he was previously betraying, or with B'Elanna, who likewise I would imagine wanted to kick his ass but where nothing comes of that. And of Tom the renegade Starfleet member he's not very renegadish (renegedey?). It's hard for scenes to write themselves when you don't have (a) the fun talent that inspires you and (b) the will to let them breathe rather than making them pawns in some overarching "plot" (if I could put more quotation marks on that I would).
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:04pm (UTC -6)

Oh yeah nothing against Isaacs or Yeoh's performances (though I haven't seen that much of Discovery - season 1 only). They do a great job but the show's hampered by the most effective acting being of sort of dead end characters.


LOL I thought you were still talking about Sarah Michelle Gellar when you said SMG and I kept wondering when she was on TWD.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:34pm (UTC -6)
Something occurs to me as I am reading about Burnham being the center of the universe on this thread.

That is the thing that none of the other Star Trek Shows did.

Even TOS (where reportedly William Shatner most assuredly got the *star treatment), tended to focus plots on minor-ish characters from time to time.

This show, absolutely never takes the focus off Burnham.

That's it; that's the connection. That's what's bugging me about this show. Star Trek doesn't do that!
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:36pm (UTC -6)

Could this be the result of an overzealous Agent?
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Count me among those who liked Lorca in S1. Issacs is a good actor and at least they worked at it from a story standpoint. They planted the seeds for that early in the season and portrayed him pretty consistently throughout as a pretty ruthless guy. At first you think it's cause they are in a war, but nope, he was just biding his time until he could figure out how to use the spore drive to get him home. So the underlying story made sense (unlike the Voq thing).

In general I liked S1 of Discovery right until they got back from the mirror universe and made the Federation on the verge of losing the war. I think that was a poor decision and the way they wrapped it up made no sense at all. But up until that point it was a good season.
peter swinkels
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 2:09pm (UTC -6)
This was a unexpectedly above average episode of Discovery with good action, morals and execution. I don’t know when this episode was written and how much later it was filmed. While Discovery’s beginnings lie well before the current Corona and political events the story’s morals and dilemma’s fit fairly well. Admittedly you have look for parallels and not apply them to strictly. At its best Star Trek always managed to be provide relevant insight into the society of the time a story was written. On a more specific note, I really loved the message about communicating and the TOS ending music was a nice touch. And say what you will about the magical DNA and Burk, poor Su’kal! That must have been a horrible shock, his family and then his mother dying possibly due to his childlike urge to explore the ship’s controls. And that dilithium planet looked like Hell itself. No wonder he didn’t want to leave his safe and comfy virtual world.
peter swinkels
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
“ First off, how big is the Discovery? It doesn't feel like that turbolift room could fit on the ship. Is it bigger on the inside?”

It could handwaved with subspace and warp bubbles inside the ship itself. It would also explain how a world inside a holosimulation could be bigger than the holodeck it’s in. Personally I would find that a creepy notion being on a ship with warp bubbles in it... and magnetically sealed bottles of antimatter. (warp core)
peter swinkels
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
(it could be)
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
I want to add my voice to the chorus of despair and say that this was the deserved conclusion to an appalling season of television.

Like in the previous two seasons, once the writers climb a self made mountain of nonsense, and find themselves 60 minutes from the end not knowing how to get down from it, all restraints come off, and we get to witness some stupefying idiocy.

I am off to greener pastures. This other German scientist has also had enough.

Can someone explain me why they had to eject the core before jumping away from inside the Viridian? Just to "Kill 'em All"? That would be mighty evil.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
1, The Harry Potter tent charm was clearly recognised. It has alway been irritating but I try not let this visual abnormity ruin my day.
2. Too much talking (thread Saru) and too much fighting shooting (thread Burnham). But Crew thread was not to bad.
3. I liked the ending. Especially the reconnecting to Lt Sahil was great.

Conclusion. Somehow this triple a slight waste of episodes.

I all a decent serie. And my whish for the next season is as always more free standing episodes and usage of the crew actors.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
Random thought: now that we know empaths can pilot the spore drive, why not build a fleet with Betazoid navigators?

I don’t know.. I think to make sense of this show in my own head, I just have to assume this is taking place in a separate universe, not Prime, Mirror or Kelvin. So in the BU (Burnham Universe), maybe more of this plot makes sense.

This is a universe where Spock had a sister, heterosexuals are the minority, sexist Klingons choose a female leader, look and sound more like monsters and say “Kahlesssshhh and Kronosshhh”, Section 31 has more government oversight, repeated insubordination is rewarded, and most problems are resolved with phaser fights instead of diplomacy.

It’s essentially a “What if...?” universe.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 3:28pm (UTC -6)
Jammer’s reviews and the comments section has been a saving grace for this season. Will be back for Discovery: Dilithium Freighter :D
Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Just finished the episode. Haven’t read the comments yet. For now, I’m just going to go with ugh.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

" I do think in ENT Bakula was unsalvageable."

I don't agree with this at all. Bakula is a terrific actor, better for Star Trek than Brooks and at least on par with Mulgrew. In Season 1, he's a bit too happy-go-lucky as a character but the actor delivers in that role. Check out the change in Bakula/Archer in Season 3 -- much more pragmatic, almost ruthless. Bakula displays a good range of acting and responded when the writing improved. Some of his scenes like in "Damage" or "Dear Doctor" or "Cogenitor" are outstanding.

Overall, I think the ENT cast is better than TNG's in terms of overall acting ability. It's just that TNG, when it got it right, came up with stronger episodes, but it also had way too many terrible episodes. I've always enjoyed watching the character interactions on ENT like the Trip/Reed friendship, and even the few moments of Travis/Hoshi about being junior. I think ENT wanted to be a character-centric series and to some extent it achieved that. I think Bakula as an actor is a proven commodity and the Archer character was one I quite appreciated by the end of the series' run.
Peter Swinkels
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
@austin - I felt like that too when saw the first season and nearly gave up on Discovery. You do realize TNG did the same to TOS, don't you? TNG didn't just update TOS. Some of its updates contradict TOS too. Bumpy vs non bumpy Klingons. Or what about warp scale? It changed too. Personally I liked TNG, DS9 and VOY. Not surprising as the where all late 80's to late 90's series which didn't have huge updates from incarnation to incarnation. When I watched TOS on Netflix in full I was surprised at how silly, boring, dated, and cheap it could be. Most episodes were watchable if only because I could forgive many of those short comings due to the series being at least 20 years older than TNG. And 40 years old when I watched it. Oh, and it helped I saw few eps when I was younger. Even then I noticed the differences.
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 5:35pm (UTC -6)
"LOL I thought you were still talking about Sarah Michelle Gellar when you said SMG and I kept wondering when she was on TWD."

Haha I didn't even notice the initials were the same.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 5:55pm (UTC -6)
Oh, Michael, you scamp. You were disobedient to every captain you ever served, repeatedly put your crew at danger, started a war with the Klingon Empire, and have murdered so, SO many people. True emblem of Starfleet, this one. Let's give every single extra on the bridge a close-up to see them just OOZING with love and respect for Michael Burnham.


You could cut literally every scene of the Tilly/Detmer/Owo/Book storylines from these last two episodes and NOTHING would change. Owo's sole character trait is that she has Guybrush Threepwood's lung capacity? What the fuck is this show? The kelpian kid is going to be a Starfleet recruit onboard Discovery in two seasons, and I'm sure he'll feel as useless as every other secondary character on the show. Adira should've been cut from this season, Book should've been cut from this season, Mirror Georgiou should've been cut from the second season, they're all so BAD.

Really, though, what was the point of Book? He didn't give us an interesting insight into life in the future, he didn't have an interesting dynamic with Michael, he didn't have interesting conflicts with Starfleet, so why is he there?
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
I have to imagine them sidelining the best character off the show is down to one of three things:
- Doug Jones is the only white, straight, male actor in the main cast, and they want the "First star trek show with no white, straight, male leads!" clickbait headlines to drum up buzz
- They're resentful that Saru gets the most praise of any of their characters, and want to shove him out of the spotlight so fans won't keep ignoring Michael F'n Burnham
- They just want Michael F'n Burnham to be the ones calling the shots from now on, and don't realize that they've removed their only good character in the process

I hope he's not totally gone from next season, but knowing these producers, who knows. Hell, maybe Doug Jones just realized that being in DIS is not worth the paycheck and didn't renew his contract. If so, good for him.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 6:14pm (UTC -6)
A few more things.

Like Star Trek Picard this show strings everything together at the end with a few scenes which are almost like "and they lived happily ever after". In Picard it was one or two sentences about how androids are no longer banned. I guess the galaxy was so impressed to hear that the androids mere seconds before almost annihilating the entire galaxy decided not to annihilate the entire galaxy. Be gone galactic treaty banning androids!

Here it is not as idiotic but still incredible. I mean why not show in season 4 what happened after season 3? Will they jump ahead a few years. They already told us that the Emerald chain collapsed. Why? Because! Oh and worlds are joining again the Federation. I would imagine joining takes a little while but who cares. All these things that would be interesting in an actual star trek show, glossed over at the end of the season.

subplots that were dropped.
- Why did Burnham and Booker not hook up but waited a year?
- What made Burnham change so much during her year in the future?
Anything else?
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
What? No group hug when St. Michael entered as Captain? No tears?
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
@Booming it reminds me of that X-Men movie where a mutant assassinating a weapons scientist nobody has ever heard of supposedly causes an anti mutant backlash- not apparently the dropping a football stadium on the White House lawn lol.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
A fitting end to an atrocious season. The finale was the worst episode of them all, perhaps the worst episode ever seen on Discovery. It's hard to explain in words just why and how bad this episode was, so I won't even try. If you don't want to take my word for it, unfortunately you will need to watch it just to believe how ridiculous this trash truly is. Truly a low point in Star Trek, I really hope there isn't a season 4 of this garbage and instead CBS just focus on the new Pike series.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
@Luis Dantas "Michael's fate sounds so undeserved that she herself falls just short of pointing out that it is indeed unearned. This Starfleet may well be idealistic, but it is shown to be too lenient with serious breaches of discipline and protocol. Which, again, makes it look a lot more like a Rebel Alliance than a Starfleet proper."

Even more surprising: it isn't just that Michael disobeyed orders and protocol but somehow she was proven right. All of her actions in the finale are wrong:

- Her initial plan to take over the ship fails.

- She then endangers the entire Federation by asking Vance to let Discovery go. Let us emphasize that she does this without having a plan to get back the ship, even though she suggests to the admiral that she does. Vance is still completely incompetent and reckless for agreeing with her, but she still does something completely improper of a Starfleet officer just to save her skin and her friends'. The fact that Booker can later interact with the Spore Drive actually emphasizes this point: The idea that simply ejecting Stamets from the ship makes the Spore Drive inoperable is a hubristic, missguided tactical assumption in a century in which many beings could have the ability to activate it (including her boyfriend).

- She ejects the warp core unnecessarily before doing an untested spore jump, thus putting all of her crew at risk for no reason other than murdering a bunch of people on the enemy ship (sure, Emerald Chain people, but still people).

The only reason she is victorious is because the plot yields that necessary result after a series of nonsensical action developments. But her actual actions would suggest that a demotion, not a promotion, was the right decision here. So the issue isn't just that the Federation is lax when it comes to the chain of command, it is also deeply reckless in the actions it takes and how they could affect billions of lives.
grey cat
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:27pm (UTC -6)
give me X-Men: Days of Futures Past over DSC any day.

I was mulling over Boomings list of forgotten/dropped plot threads.

Did they explain the music thing?
I maybe switched off or mercifully lost consciousness but what was the point of Grey again? That plot seemed to go nowhere.
Terralisium - was it ever mentioned again?
Earth - any reason the Starfleet didn't use Discovery to message them or float the soap bubble back there? I mean most of the staff looked human.

I also agree with what someone said about the visuals. The might have a massive budget but someone look cheap this season at times.

The Expanse s2 "Doors and Corners" has an incredible sequence of the 2 pods boarding a secret station while the Roci battles a stealth ship. To me this looks amazing and I don't this it was a big budget show back then.

I was watching Westworld S3 the other day. That's a mega budget show and it really does look stunning (and real).
grey cat
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
SMG (Buffy) acts circles around SMG (DSC).

When Sarah acts in heartbroken scenes you actually feel it.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
After watching this season I have just one question: "How is it this bad?"
Seriously it looks like the writers made a conscious effort to make the whole story as dumb as possible to attract new viewers. It's the only explanation. Someone who gets paid to write cannot possibly make something this bad.
Like there are glimpses of what the show could be, with world building, with NiVar, Trill, Saru, there are stories there to tell, yet all we get is Discount Seska with a throwaway "empire", some ridiculous macguffin, and 0 character development.
Oh and the actress playing Micheal, that is some next level... apples acting. She is one of the worst if not THE worst actor to star in a ST show, and that is saying something. At least the old shows had an ensemble cast that could pull the less talented among them, in Discovery however she is given 70% of screen time and it. is. not. good.

This episode is on another level writing wise, even with the insanely low bar set by the previous ones. It's like they shot every suggestion from the writers room, and glued it all together with CGI:
- NiVar comes! Great what do they do? - Nothing at all - Sold
- We eject the warp core! Why? No reason other to put ourselves in unnecessary danger - Sold
- We nearly die trying to blow up a nacelle! Why? Who cares! - Sold
- Michel gets put into a moving wall! What's the wall? Dunno -How does she get out? Dunno - Sold, I'll take two of those
And there are many many many more.

As usual I should have given up on this show on episode 3 but somehow I keep thinking this band of semi-conscious monkeys that write and produce this pile of... apples will make something watchable. But now I am certain they won't.
I will of course keep on watching because I'm a masochist who can't help but watch anything remotely scifi (I mean I watched the ENTIRE S5 of Andromeda), but at least I will be calm knowing that it simply cannot get better.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
This was a disappointing final. I strongly dislike Burnham, making her Captain does not do much for me.

The action part of the episode also was a step down from last episode. I sure was rooting for the green women to kill Burnham though.

General musings about the season:

The world-building this season was just poor. Accept for the Admiral we no nothing about the current federation.

The season started interesting, and some action episode worked, but in general it was just mediocre. I rate it about the same level Picard. Patrick Stewart's poor acting did not help that season either and the main story line was a mess.

The few positive points of the season is that the crew got some screen time and we get to know them better. Book also was a positive, but did not get much to do except being supportive of Saint Burnham, the worthless space Jesus.

The whole transgender angle was superfluous and went nowhere, just woke signalling.

Discovery suffers from bad writing, without a major shakeup I expect not much from next season.

The final gets 1 1/2 Stars from me.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:07pm (UTC -6)

To sum up:

Lt. Commander Data: "I believe you will also de-evolve into an earlier form of primate - possibly similar to a lemur or pygmy-marmoset."

That's how I feel about this show. Star Trek has de-evolved, and it no longer has any rhyme or reason to it, just lots of chutzpah and energy. It's like a painting of a fireworks display. Sure, it's nice and colorful, but you take one step to the side and you'll notice that it's entirely two-dimensional.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
@Matthew L. Martin said, "Man, I loved Angel more than Buffy. I might be the only person on earth who did.”

Me too, buddy. Me too!

@William B, "I think Amy Acker is very talented but Fred was not very well executed much of the time.”

Maybe, but I thought Amy Acker killed it as Illyria. She was a goddess!

@William B said, "I think the recurring guest cast in Angel is particularly strong"



@William B said, "I think Angel takes a real hit because its first season is such a slog, but I do still like it.”

Let’s not forget that Season 1 had the incredible Elisabeth Röhm playing Angel’s girl friend. I’ll be honest, she’s what got me hooked onto the show.

@Jason R. said, "B5 was another example of a show that was more than the sum of its parts. I mean Claudia Chrostian can't act her way out of a wet paper bag let's be honest.”

LOL. So true!

Babylon 5 had terrible production values, JMS couldn’t write dialogue to save his life, and the actors were mostly third rate (except Londo Mollari - who was epic, G’kar - who people seem to recognize more as Ambassador Tomolok, and Delenn - of course she was a star back in her home country).

And yet, Babylon 5 was one of the best scifi shows ever made. On par (and sometimes even better than) DS9.

How can that be? Because of the grand ideas that Babylon 5 explored.

@Karl Zimmerman said, "The number one flaw with Discovery this season is...there's basically no ideas any longer. Certainly no SF ideas worth mentioning.”

Yup. Discovery is an empty show with nothing to say. Which is the saddest possible thing that could have ever happened to Star Trek.

Empty calories, or as @Jason R. put it, "It is like going to McDonalds versus some brand new high end restaurant. The former will never disappoint but will never surprise or elate either.”

@Chrome said, "Yeah, I eventually did go back (15 years later!) and watched Voyager episodes Jammer rated 3.5 or higher and there are some good ones. … That's ... really gets to the heart of numeric quality being an inaccurate description of fiction.”

That reminds me of the exact point in Voyager where the show stared to lose a lot of us long-time fans. It was Season 3, back in 1997, and DS9 was right smack in the middle of its incredible Season 5.

And that’s when VOY’s “Fortunate Son” aired. @Jammer’s review of that episode starts with these damning words:

"I want to extend my congratulations to the Voyager staff. They have come up with yet another claim to fame: They have created perhaps the longest streak of consecutive bottom-of-barrel episodes”

That, @Chrome, is how I’ve always thought of bad seasons of Star Trek. How many 2 1/2 star or lower episodes are there in a row?

A single one-off 1-star episode (or even zero-star episode) doesn’t kill a show. Even two such episodes in a row, while not ideal, can be tolerated. But when you have three or more 2 1/2 star episodes in a row, it drags the entire enterprise down.

Per @Jammer's count, Voyager writers did that as early as Season 3, and so, despite adding Seven of Nine, VOY never fully recovered from that fall.

Babylon 5 had that long mediocre streak in Season 5 with the telepath arc, and never fully recovered either.

ENT had a string of three mediocre episodes in a row in Season 1, but this is Star Trek, and we always forgive season 1 it’s transgressions ;)

But when it happened again in Season 2 of ENT, @Jammer was not so kind. Here’s what he wrote at the top of his review for ENT S2’s “Cease Fire”,

"Lukewarm indifference can be an awful feeling when experienced for a prolonged period. I look at my last four reviews in a row now: 2.5 stars, 2.5 stars, 2.5 stars, 2.5 stars. I tell myself that at least it means competently constructed television, but somehow that's cold comfort. I want a spark of life and ingenuity in my entertainment, and not simply responsible messages inside bland containers.”

That’s what spelled doom for ENT.

Many of us stuck around with ENT for the start of Season 3.

But the next time we got a string of mediocrity, starting with "North Star”, and on for 4 episodes in a row, through “Carbon Creek” and “Chosen Realm”, we bailed (or at least I bailed).

It wasn’t till now - 16 years later, and forced into an extended stretch of inactivity by this global pandemic, that I finally got around to watching the rest of Enterprise. Such has been the miracle of 2020.

The thing is, “Chosen Realm” wasn’t god awful ENT. That’s not what made people turn off ENT. It was, in @Jammer’s words,

“… as Star Trek message shows go, "Chosen Realm" is ultimately a mediocre one.”

Star Trek is not where we go for extended stretches of mediocrity.

We have all of television for that.

It might seem harsh that three strikes in a row means you’re out. But it is also human nature. Our time and attention is limited. Why would we spend it on a show that fails to deliver, when we have other shows like The Expanse or The Mandalorian that show us much, much, much more is possible.

@Luis Dantas said, "Michael's fate sounds so undeserved that she herself falls just short of pointing out that it is indeed unearned. This Starfleet may well be idealistic, but it is shown to be too lenient with serious breaches of discipline and protocol.”

True. I was remembering what happened with Worf on DS9 with Jadzia. It was a DS9 episode called “Change of Heart."

There, Worf abandoned his mission and his Cardassian contact died, because his love for Jadzia meant he couldn’t just leave her injured and alone. A permanent record went into his Star Fleet file.

As Sisko explained:

SISKO: As your captain, it is my duty to tell you that you made the wrong choice. I don't think Starfleet will file any formal charges. Even a secret court martial would run the risk of revealing too much about their intelligence operations. But this will go into your service record, and to be completely honest, you probably won't be offered a command on your own after this.

WORF: I understand.

That’s what it means to be in command. Sisko knows. He was dragged away from his wife who was dead or dying at Wolf 359.

He made Captain. Sisko knows what sacrifice means, and how hard it is to get over a loss. And he’s the right person to tell Worf that from a Star Fleet officer’s perspective, the choice Worf made was the wrong one - for his career. Not wrong as a person. Wrong for his career.

SISKO: And one last thing. As a man who had a wife, if Jennifer had been lying in that clearing I wouldn't have left her either.

Had Sisko not been dragged away at Wolf 359, he wouldn’t have made Captain either. And he would have accepted that. It was his choice to make.

In the end, Worf decides to take up a post as Ambassador to Kronos, since his Star Fleet career will now be stalled for good. In later TNG movies, we see the best Worf can really hope for is his old post back on the Enterprise. He’s not being offered a commander’s promotion. Ever. He chose love over duty. Most of us would do the same. But great drama requires that such choices have consequences.

Discovery is not great drama. Choices have no consequences.

Which brings us back to Michael.


Just a few weeks ago on “Scavengers”, Burnham disobeys direct orders, abandons her post, to go save her boyfriend. As a result, she was removed from her post as First Officer. Because command officers cannot have that failing. It might be the human thing to do (it is!), but it is not the trait of a command officer.

But now you’re making her Captain??

Has Star Fleet really devolved (@MidshipmanNorris) so far in the centuries after Worf, that a failing that should be a court-martial offense, is now just a tiny blip on your way to the Captain’s chair?

What morons are writing this stuff?
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:25pm (UTC -6)
I just watched this again.

I'm really all over the place with this one. I'll list some headscratchers then some good stuff. All not in episode order.

Culber has to be the only Star Fleet medical officer in history to go on an away mission without a hypospray. How easy would it have been to knock out Su'Kal and beam right back to Discovery?

When Adira beamed down from Book's ship, why didn't she take the whole case of meds with her? (I think I saw a hypospray in there :-) )

Why did the holo-program change Saru into a human? Wouldn't a Kelpian be a much friendlier face to Su'Kal?

How does the holo-program even know about Grey?

While I liked the functional depiction of the turbo lifts in season 1(?), do the set designers have no concept of size here? My god, Discovery must be 100 levels high! It's like the ship in Enterprises' 'Future Tense'. The inside is bigger than the outside.

What happened to elephant head bridge crew person?

How many stupid Burnham lines can they shove in one episode? "What can I say, we are Star Fleet", "I take it you saw Stamets escape pod", "up here you son of a bitch", "yeah well, unlike you, I never quit" ... good lord, I was ready for "Yippee-Ki-Yay, Motherf**ker".

Stamets pleading with Vance because Saru is trapped in the nebula?

Once Discovery is inside the Veridian ship, why do they need to eject the Warp core? They didn't need to "make a hole" because Michael ordered the jump before the core exploded. Wouldn't it have been better to jump and let the Na'Var fleet finish off the Veridian's? As it stood, the Na'Var fleet might as well not even been there.

Why didn't Book's forhead lights light up when he was jumping the ship?

Initiate warp core overload??? What the hell is that?

What were there, nine star fleet ships firing on Discovery? I guess those 32nd-century upgrades are pretty tough.

When our crew is suffocating, why not just cut a hole in the bulkhead and let the O2 in from the spacious world that is turbo-lifts?

I was about over the twisting camera thing every time we when back to the holo-deck... I was starting to get dizzy.

Saru, Culber, Adira, Grey and Su'Kal are all huddled together with everything falling down around them, death staring them in the eyes... and all Saru can say is "we're together"... really?

No Orion pheromones.

When the holo is shut off, Saru, Culber and Adira have no radiation burns.

Why is Jett seemingly an afterthought this year?

Stamets attitude towards Michael at the end.

Michael tilting her head when speaking and draaawing out woooords...

"I got choo"

Michael narrating... it NEVER adds to the show.

Good stuff:

All the holo-deck stuff, Saru and Su'Kal, visuals, pace. Culber, Adria and Grey... all was very good. Doug Jones and Wilson Cruz are great.

I'm fine with the burn explanation... trek-nobabble yes, but Culber and Adira sold it pretty well.

Vance is spot on with everything. So glad he didn't turn out to be another Star Fleet Bad-ADM. Love it when he put Whiny Stamets in the ship to get him away from everything. I liked his story about his daughter at the end.

We learn more about Owosekun!! I thought sure she was going to die... the last time we learned about a secondary character she ended up getting spaced. I really felt for her as she struggled to place the bomb.

Osyraa was impressive as was Janet Kidder's performance. I'm not one that needed all the backstory or more development. There is no question she WAS the Emerald Chain, and she was a badass. I'm actually sorry to see her go, knowing she did want peace, she could have been a good nemesis during season 4.

I think I like the new uniforms. Much better than the blue ones. They still need to brighten up the bridge a bit.

My guess is, that the level you like Michael Burnham sets the level of enjoyment for the episode. For me, I'll go 2.5 stars? Way too many headscratchers. If I really embraced the "story of Michael" then I'm sure this could have been a 4-star episode, grand canyon turbo-lift area and all. But I don't think she should be captain. She's done too much wrong and all for the wrong reasons. IMO they should insert a 32nd century Captain until Saru returns and put Michael as #1. I remember my chief telling me, "one ah-shit takes away 3 adda-boys". Michael has had more than her fair share of "ah-shits".

The Discovery writers should take a cue from old trek, when tears were few and far between. They all meant more back then. The tear ducts are on seeminly every episode here... so they don't hit home like they could or should. They also need to bring someone in with a better understanding of military structure and rank.

The most emotional moment for me was when Michael met Sahil. Brought me back to the potential we all saw at the begining of the season. I really hope he plays a part next year.

I think the stage is set for a more episodic season 4. We'll see.

Now onto our NuTrek void for awhile.
Thiago Santos
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
Wondered how many people died from that warp core explosion. Not a very Federation thing to do since they could have just jumped away and Osyra was already dead. I don't get why bother setting tasers to stun if the plan is to mass murder everyone later.
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:36pm (UTC -6)
Yes, one really wonders how many slaves and forced laborers were killed by the core explosion, hundreds, thousands? That ship was gigantic and what was the space the Discovery was in? Like a ship capture cavern? What could go wrong? Oh...
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:08am (UTC -6)
So it wasn't just me imagining it, Burnam's escape plan did indeed include the gratuitous murder of thousands.

How far has Trek come from the days when a Starfleet captain would be shaken to his soul by accidentally killing a single lifeforms (Picard, Galaxy's Child), or question the morality of alll his actions for being indirectly involved in the murder of half a dozen Rumulans (Sisko, In the Pale Moonlight)
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:13am (UTC -6)
I haven't been watching any of these shows since the end of "Picard" S1. That was MY third strike. Which is apparently not leinient enough for Kurtzman's Star Trek. So I'm just reading a bit of what happened this year.

What?!? They made her Captain?! Like, great for the first female black Captain protagonist, that's one Trek's been lacking. But couldn't they have gotten a non-awful character instead? Everything I've seen and read of Micheal Burnham has shown her to be an abject failure when it comes to Starfleet protocol. Prople have been barred from captaincy for less. Yet somehow she's failed upwards.


Failed upwards... OOHHH. It all makes sense now. Kurtzman is writing what he knows. The man has made a career of failing up into positions of power while doing sub-par, poor quality work that somehow taps into something that higher ups abitrarily deemed worthwhile and rewarded him for even if he didn't really deserve the honor. So of course that's how he think Starfleet command works. Lucking your way up the totem pole via incompetence until you gain a position of power where the judgement of others is beneath you, but who's critisizing because everyone *must* love you in order for you have to gotten to this point of control. Nevermind the string of failures and botched projects behind you. They don't matter so long as you give the important people with bureaucratic power what they want, nevermind if you're actually *capable* of doing the job.

No wonder it seems Kurtzman doesn't understand Trek. He doesn't. He doesn't understand a merit-based heirarchy where consistent, consecutive strings of successes and exemplarairy works are what will elevate you into higher positions. No, what he understands is that shallow appeals to the blinded by valued commodities of the decision-makers is what'll get you places. In his case, shallow appeals to money desired by studio execs. In Burnham's case shallow appeals to ideologies of the inncorrectly-viewed purely ideologically driven Starfleet (or what ever bs reason they promoted her) and in Discovery's case, shallow appeals to the ideologies of the fans it has.

Manipulative garbage. But I'm beginning to think not intentionally so. I don't think Kurtzman knows that that is not how the world realistically or ideally works for everyone else. No wonder every character he's written are vapid caracatures that succeed despite themselves. That's Kurtzman. It's also an incredibly narrow appeal, and I can see why it appeals to those who just wish all the hardships they faced would magically be solved after having to fight and strain against systems that seem to keep them down when the reality is that Starfleet, as originally designed, was a system where the excellent are rewarded and highlighted and the consistent screw ups drowned out, a system that is NOT for everybody, but that's okay, because the world of Star Trek doesn't hold that against anybody, but instead frees them to find the work they love and excel at with no cost to anybody or judgement from anyone.

Star Trek Discovery is made to appeal to the Norvo's, Richard Bashir's, Nikolai Rozhenko's and Alexander Rozhenko's of that world. Dreamers who haven't found their place, have vague awareness of what they want to do in life, but feel constrained by the workings of the society they find themselves in. If only they could fail their way to success. Just like Kurtzman's cleverly disguised self-insert character. You'd never tell it was him by looking at her!

At least I know why this all seems like fanfic by a barely comprehending fan of the source material. It is.

What a damn shame. Star Trek deserves better.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:50am (UTC -6)
Due to this other thing called “life,” I got sidetracked and was only able to get around to watching the last three episodes in a row, earlier today. Out of these, the best was “There is a Tide…” and the worst, the finale. Some thoughts on the finale and the season.


- DSC writing room struggles with villains. In all three seasons villains are botched. Even Lorca in Season 1 who was a fascinating character for several episodes turned into a comical one in his last episode. Osyraa joins that hapless ensemble, Janet Kidder is a fina actor but was only given one episode worth of notable material and made the best of it in “There is a Tide…” before going back to the land of one dimension and was eliminated with little fanfare. Season 4 needs to correct that, whomever they choose as the villain.

- DSC also has a spatial problem; someone articulated this well few episodes ago and it showed again here. The gigantic space in the turbolift is too much for handwaving and distracts from an otherwise entertaining sequence. Same with ships traveling vast distances in short time. I am also not sold on the practicality of the Federation “bubble” in space though I admit that it looks cool.

- Jett Reno was barely seen in the last three episodes. I enjoy Tig Notaro’s deadpan humor, therefore wanted to see her more. Nilsson barely visible in the finale (except in the final scene), replaced on screen by Ina (?) That was bizarre. I wonder what the reason was behind that. I doubt it was for no reason.

- 13 episodes were not enough for how much ground the writing room tried to cover this season. 15 episodes at least would have given a chance to flesh out Osyraa’s character, give more on-screen time to Reno. It would have also helped to give less screen time to snarky Georgiou prior to the two-parter.

- Somewhat tied to the point above, this show unfortunately seems incapable of slowing down and marinating small-scale character stories bottled in one or two episodes. They are there, and they have potential for genuine storytelling, but often get tossed aside with brief remarks or other xyz plot developments, and never get picked up again.


- Scenes with Su’Kal, Saru, and co. were good and the way Discovery’s crew attempted to find ways to support Su’Kal’s reentry into the “real” world was nice to watch, in the spirit of Trek. The actor playing Su’Kal sold his turmoil well. I also thought dialogues were well-written between him, Culber, and Saru.

- Visuals are a constant delight. The warp-speed chase of Osyraa in space was a short but stunning sight in my view, as well as the holodeck scenes in the finale and in “Su’Kal.”

- This season did not suffer from the overbloated guest-character cast like the first two seasons, thus allowing more on-screen time (much needed) to the Discovery crew. This is the first season at the end of which I feel like we know the crew and sense that they form a tight family together. I will actually start the fourth season genuinely caring for them, something I could not say at the beginning of the 2nd and 3rd seasons.

- Tied to the point above, the main two guest recurring characters of this season were Book and Vance, both fine additions, and both played meaningful roles at various times throughout the season. I am also glad they were not written off. It looks like they’ll be back.

- Various plots were neatly tied up at the end of the season. How they did it can be subject to well-deserved criticism, but it does set up an opportunity for further world-building in Season 4.

- Sharp new uniforms. Never been a fan of the Disco uniforms of the first three seasons.

- I’m glad Michael is finally the captain (I’m not anti-Burnham as some seem to be, nor a huge fan of the character either), and that topic can now be left behind. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Better sooner than later. The crew seems to be fine with it, the writers consciously sold that point over the series, I buy it. All that was needed is a dialog with someone in a position of authority to give the green light and Vance took care of that. I also think there is something to be said about a black woman as a lead and captain on a Star Trek show, I’d recommend watching The Ready Room for the episode for a worthy discussion on that between Wil Wheaton, Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Paradise, and Olatunde Osunsanmi, and their thoughts on this subject are echoed through many fans of Discovery in social media or articles. There is a portion of population to whom Michael’s portrayal in DSC means more than just nuts and bolts of episode machinations.

Overall thought:

I am looking forward to Season 4, I am one of those who enjoy DSC and feel that each season was better than the previous one. I also read that “There is a Tide…” was the 800th installment of Star Trek which makes me happy, in the sense that the show that I have grown to love all my life (5+ decades, started in early 70s with TOS reruns in black and white, in a different dubbed language, and caught each subsequent series with original airings) is still going strong with more to come, and will probably live longer than I ever will. I have enjoyed some series more than others, only one that I really did not care for much, but at the end of the day, with three series currently running and more to come, I am far happier on the state of Trek than how I felt a little over a decade ago.
Paul G
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 2:30am (UTC -6)
Burnham doesn't work as a character for me. Making her captain makes no sense.
The burn makes no sense either. If dilithium is so unstable, it should all have disapeared a long while ago. The writers came up with the burn for shock value, so that the federation is crippled and vulcan and earth have left the srarfeet, who is now a legend. No one knows if it exists anymore. Ten minutes later, the federation is still a great power in the galaxy, everyone rejoins, back to square one. The burn is explained (?) and handwaved, it will have no more consequences. You can do this in episodic series, like old trek, but no in a show with season arcs. If nothing has consequences, why bother watching the whole season?

I'm still watching this because I think Saru is a great character and I like jammer's blog so I try to keep up with the episodes. But maybe it's time to cancel my Netflix account and switch to disney and look at the Mandalorian. I like shows with tigh writing like Babylon 5, or lots of humor like Stargate, Firefly and Farscape. I'll try the expanse when it's availlable somewhere in France, if anyone has other suggestions, tell me!
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 2:47am (UTC -6)
I also liked the subtle nod at the end that Stamets is not OK with Burnham...
The Queen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:11am (UTC -6)
Matt: “Darmok and Tapestry and The Inner Light and It’s Only a Paper Moon were also aimed at making people feel.” I would put it a different way, because to me, those episodes (except I don’t specifically remember Paper Moon) FIRST got me thinking; then the emotion was in service of that. I remember vividly with “Darmok” how excited I was that they’d come up with a new approach to language, and how well they elucidated it. And the exceptional acting allowed the ending to be really tragic. And “Tapestry” was one of the best “magical second chance” stories I’ve ever seen. So yes, those episodes made me feel, but they made me think even more.

Discovery can’t do that. The writers don’t have the talent.

Booming, regarding the science: I always watch the Ready Room after the episode, and in this one Michelle Paradise went on about how she’s a science geek and always reading “that stuff,” I think she called it, and how grateful she was that they had actual physicists advising them so that their science didn’t get too far out of hand. I’m pretty sure my mouth actually dropped open. I’m not a science nitpicker at all, I’m good with suspension of disbelief, but I do want to feel like it might be possible to understand. A lot of times this show leaves me flailing about that.

Here’s one thing apparently everyone missed, but I thought was funny in a stupid way: Early on, Kelpian SuKal gives the ailing Kelpian Saru a healing piece of kelp. (Yes, really.)

Yanks: Elephant head’s proper description, according to the Ready Room interviewees this time, is Octopus Head.

I’m still fond of this show and eager to watch the next episode, next season. Why? Well, partly the nostalgia factor. I'm not at all fond of Burnham but have gotten used to her, and hope that her being captain will work better for the show. The visual effects that others rave about are never going to be my cup of tea, and those actually bother me more than Burnham at this point. But I actually do see quite an improvement in quality each season. In season 1 I rated 10 out of the 15 shows negatively. In season 2 it was 6 out of 14, and this season it was only 2 out of the 13. All the others were either positive or at least had enough good points that I didn’t consider them a waste of time. Even despite the nitpicks, the positive episodes have been enjoyable enough to keep me hooked. If only Frakes could direct them all!

What I wish for in Season 4:
- A more episodic format, with visits to different planets and peoples.
- More character episodes, including the ship AI as a character. I want to really meet Zora.
- NO mirror universe.
- Book needs to be used better.
- Make Burnham stop whispering.
- Make the camera behave.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:20am (UTC -6)
On, the reviewer pointed out that although the idea of a quarantine force field in sickbay is clever, it makes no sense that the doorway would be accessible from inside the field! D'oh.

@theBgt: "She is woman and she is black and she is a superhero.
And everyone who doesn't like the lead must be a chauvinistic racist sexist pig."

The most pernicious problem, in my view (and this played out with the Star Wars movies as well), is that there really are some "deplorable" "bad fans" who have some very ugly attitudes which quickly become apparent in the toxic language they use. This implicitly tarnishes everyone else who complains about Michael on this show, or Rose in Star Wars--when in fact there are IMO perfectly valid, non-sexist and non-racist critiques to make about those characters. But the presence of the "bad fans" makes it much easier for the writers to simply brush off ALL the criticisms as coming from that toxic, bad faith place. It's frustrating all around.

@Chrome: "Right, but that's ultimately your opinion. I'm not sure how many 2 - 1.5 star episodes of Voyager I put up with before I quit the show. Maybe if on average the show were higher quality, I would've stuck with it."

I have been slowly going through VOY with my wife and daughters, but in a curated form, only watching about half the episodes. Because of our ability to do this with content now (not just watching week to week, seeing what we get), and the ability to find lists online rating the best episodes, I think it shifts the balance to what @Matthew described, making it more important to judge a series based on the best episodes rather than its consistency. (@Bob also makes valid points about how this is trickier for a serialized show.)

Here's my proposal for evaluating seasons (with the caveat that Jammer is not only subjective but has cautioned against comparing seasons), just spitballing:

Make set H of the top five highest rated episodes.

Make set L of the lowest five rated episodes.

Find median rated episode M.

For every four star episode in set H, award five points. For every 3.5 star episode, two points.

For every zero star episode in set L, subtract three points. for every one star episode, subtract two points. For every 1.5 star episode, subtract one point.

If M > 2.5, award five bonus points. If M < 2.5, subtract three points.

This seems intuitively right to me and would probably give you a pretty good ranking of all Trek seasons if anyone wants to try it.

@Dreubarik: "She ejects the warp core unnecessarily before doing an untested spore jump, thus putting all of her crew at risk for no reason other than murdering a bunch of people on the enemy ship (sure, Emerald Chain people, but still people)."

Yeah, several people have pointed this out and it didn't jump out at me while watching but I do have trouble seeing what the purpose of that was (or, as others have pointed out, blowing up the nacelle).

@Paul G: "The writers came up with the burn for shock value, so that the federation is crippled and vulcan and earth have left the srarfeet, who is now a legend. No one knows if it exists anymore. Ten minutes later, the federation is still a great power in the galaxy, everyone rejoins, back to square one."

Yeah, this bugs me too. I really have to wonder if the people writing those early season episodes when it was a murky, distant legend really intended on it becoming this great power in the back half of the season.

Also, Paul, my recommendations for recent high quality sci fi (stuff that aired new episodes in the last year) are:


The last two are the best if you're looking for humor.
Peter Swinkels
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:29am (UTC -6)

"Starfleet, as originally designed, was a system where the excellent are rewarded and highlighted and the consistent screw ups drowned out, " watch Tapestry again. Some of Star Fleet's best wouldn't have gotten where they got without f*cking up and learning from it.
Richard Webb
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:45am (UTC -6)
I'm not really sure how to feel about this - I mean, it wasn't a terrible episode. No episode from this season was truly terrible. It's just than none were particularly good either.

Star Trek series are notorious for slow starts, but I don't think DSC is going change. By this point in TNG or VOY they had already hit their stride, while DSC seems to neither have the shocking, borderline unwatchable first season episodes of TNG nor the absolute gems. It's always just meh.

DSC always touches on interesting concepts, ideas (trans identity discovery, resource scarcity, diplomacy with an enemy) but it's always so superficial with its execution and ramps up the sentimentality and action, which makes every episode feel rather empty. Compare this to the Expanse (which delves much deeper into socio-political issues) or the Mandalorian (which was more honest about just being a Space western - and embraced it). At the end of the day I'm not really sure what DSC is about. It seems like a show run by committee.

The ending? Contrived would be the best word. The fact that Burham is captain defies belief (mutiny after mutiny......) and that the best character Saru is now apparently off the ship doesn't fill me confidence.

I don't think it's the car crash many people think it is - for that it would have to challenge its ideas and push something forward in order to fail. You can't truly be that terrible if you're always middle of the road.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 4:14am (UTC -6)

Loved your take on Burnham being Kurtzman insert character. It all makes sense now.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 4:23am (UTC -6)
A farwell to season 1 2 and 3.

To me there is quite senseless to look for logic in most Sci-Fi. Why did Culber not take and use a hypo spry? Why is Discovery constructed with normal spaces, Tight Jefferies tubes and an enormous empty inside ten times larger than the outside? Do not help me to make the list longer. It is a saga inspiring our thoughts to fly and dream. As much as possible I try to skip the details and enjoy the story.

In the discussion here there is a very wide polarisation. Was it awful, was it good or perhaps just enjoyable? I can answer yes on all these questions.

Parallel there is a big variety in opinion regarding the characters, acting, gender, race and sexual identification / orientation seems to be the most important topics. To me Sci-Fi is very much of trying to explore and speculate of a future in reflection of the current time. I like this as ling as it does not get to much in the centre.

Many of us are old enough to have watched and re-watched the earlier Treks in different ages and in my case, I have seen it with different perspective. I was honestly not fond of TNG, Voyager, DS9 and ENT when first aired. But I did start to enjoy them later. DIS is in fact the first that I have watched fresh.

I did enjoy much of it but I do really dislike the hard focus on the main theme presented in each season. It takes to much time away from the sometimes-fantastic story telling that can be made otherwise.

Burnham character and acting. I was quite pleased but not overwhelmed. Some said that she was more in the centre of the universe than any other character so far. I agree and less would have been better.

Saru, very good acting but his character was sometimes to talkative. Some real pearls but also some very annoying scenes, in fact a sort of Neelix.

Stammets, I believe his acting was OK, character interesting but it has an annoying flaw.

Tilly, some scenes were poor and awful. Her enormous talent as scientist and leader was to much fairy tale in my taste. Having said that, I also liked very much of her role. It was a character the dared to question the official façade and get people to reflect over their own behaviour.

Culber, between good and great.

Detmer, underused cool.

Owosekun, underused cool.

Ariam, what a waste to not have used her more.

Rhys and Bryce, unfortunately I cannot really judge them, but I would have liked to.

Linus was a poor idea.

Georgiou, some very good acting but her role did not really fit in and was sometimes very annoying.

Reno, well I liked her but also good that she did not always appear.

I will watch the next season and I hope to see more of the crew.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 5:47am (UTC -6)
@Peter Swinkels

Nice cherry-picking. However, as I was talking about Starfleet as an organization, it would follow that, a) personal screw ups such as a barroom brawl with significant personal consequences while not on assignment and without the risk of operational failiure does not fall under the umbrella of Starfleet's purview for disciplinary action to the extent of permenently damaging career advancement, and;

B) you're argument is to point out the examination of *one* incident in deference to my point about *consistent* screw-ups. Picard eludes to other potential loose threads, yes. But Tapestry was about personal choices affecting all areas of life, including professional development, but it was not, I should point out, about bad professional calls. You want episodes about that, then let's look at "Court Martial," obviously, "Pegasus," "Rules of Engagement," and "Change of Heart" all involving bad professional choices and the shadows they (potentially) cast over the career of their characters. That none of them are drummed out of Starfleet is due to the extent of their exempilary careers bolstering them through, although Worf still pretty much had his chances for captaincy blackballed. Kirk nearly lost the Enterprise for seeming to push. The. Wrong. Button. Fer crying outloud.

Personal screw ups that don't endanger the mission, the ship or the lives of the crew beyond your own? Yes, learning experience. *Professional* screw ups that infringe on any of those, require professional consequences. And any officer that has a track record of numerous professional failings would never sit in that chair. Especially without a stellar track record to prove growth or change and understanding of the awesome responsibility of command since the last failiure.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:00am (UTC -6)
@The Queen
"Booming, regarding the science: I always watch the Ready Room after the episode, and in this one Michelle Paradise went on about how she’s a science geek and always reading “that stuff,” I think she called it, and how grateful she was that they had actual physicists advising them so that their science didn’t get too far out of hand."
I don't believe that. The Ready Room is a show that is completely financed by CBS, if I'm not mistaken. It is basically advertisement. The interviews of the Stars and showrunner are as hard hitting as a Trump interview on Fox and Friends.

Full disclosure, I'm not a physicist but the limited amount I know about that subject makes me question something like dark matter asteroids. Even more laughable is stuff like time crystals. If we want to limit ourselves to tech from this season. There was the programmable matter that can do anything and combatches that are transporter, holoprojector and communicator in one. In both cases I wonder were the energy for these processes is created/comes from.
Latex Zebra
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:05am (UTC -6)
TPTB for years seem intent on telling us the story of how the Federation was formed. Failing pretty miserably with Enterprise it seems like the producers of NuTrek decided the best way to do was to send a ship far into the future where the Federation is fucked and then rebuild it.
OK, certainly not the worst idea. Sadly they were saddled down with the baggage of earlier seasons. Mirror Georgiou and having to work around the fact that the lead character is not the captain. It feels like the burn was a convoluted way to mess up the Federation and get Saru off the bridge. Then we have the wasted portion of the season getting rid of Mirror Georgiou as they decide to give her a series that might not actually happen and can't just kill her off. When you step back from that, IMO, there was some half decent Trekking to be had. Not amazing but good. Not enough to get me excited for the next episode but enough to make me want to see what happened next.
So now we're in the perfect position for the writers. They have the captain they want and the setting they want. I really hope that they reign Burnham in a bit next season, allow the bridge crew to shine. Give us lots of Vance because he is just brilliant and let us see the rebuilding of a galaxy. It would be nice not to have a specific season long arc. I don't think it is needed. We know where the story needs to go now.
So I'll be back for the next series. I just hope they can use the blank canvass they have creatively now.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:10am (UTC -6)
Really enjoyed this season and thought it was an improvement on season 2 in the same way season 2 Improved on season 1. I actually really enjoyed Season 2 until the end and the whole control storyline.

My only problem with Discovery is the writing isn't very good and this can sometimes spoil the enjoyment.

The move to almost 1000 years into the future has paid off and I think the show is better for it having shrugged of the baggage and constraints of the TOS era. Something I find frustrating is, as Jammer has highlighted, the universe is microscopic. Discovery is the only Starfleet ship we ever see in detail and I would really like to know more about the state of the galaxy. Who are the major powers? Although diminished, Federation Headquarters feels more like a small starbase than the headquarters of an interstellar government and fleet of Starships.

I have really enjoyed the character development in this series and feel like we have got to know the bridge crew better. Ryn, Book, Adira, Grey, Admiral Hance, have been great additions to the cast.

I feel Osyraa was an OK villain. Star Trek is crying out for a new bad which we haven't seen since the likes of Dukat and the Borg/Borg Queen and lasts longer than a single season. I had quite high hopes for this new season to introduce us to a villain, either a race or individual that presented a real threat, interesting, and exciting but this never materialised. In terms of the Emerald Chain, Im still not sure what it is other than an evolved Orion Syndicate and alliance between Orions and Andorians. We only saw one large ship. I got the impression that perhaps the Chain is a capitalist and immoral version of the Federation by the end of the episode but would like to know more.

I was not really surprised at Burnham becoming captain, I think given that she is the focus of Discovery this makes sense.

I thought the Su'kal story was very emotional and interesting. It was heartbreaking that the mother had created this world to protect her child knowing that she would not be around to do so herself. It will be interesting how this impacts on Saru. Will he feel responsibility for Su'kal now and prioritise him over Starfleet.

Overall I though it was an enjoyable season and looking forward to where they go next with Season 4.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:48am (UTC -6)
"The most pernicious problem, in my view (and this played out with the Star Wars movies as well), is that there really are some "deplorable" "bad fans" who have some very ugly attitudes which quickly become apparent in the toxic language they use. This implicitly tarnishes everyone else who complains about Michael on this show..."
I thoroughly agree. And isn't ironic that, while the writers intended to show that a black woman can sit in the chair, be a badass, and have no fear of showing her emotions, what I see is a mutineering, emotionally unstable murderer (who graduated to mass murderer in this last episode)?
They would have been better off with Harvey Weinstein as lead, at least we could have then hated him with a clear conscience.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:49am (UTC -6)
If Discovery wants to try to make a Star Trek show, there's going to have to be significant changes.

If I were going to write it, I think my first choice would be to flash forward a few years.

Let's just say that the dilithium logistics play out, it's boring, stuff happens that doesn't change anybody's life, they just go to work for two or three years.

Then, we pick the story back up; Burnham is Captain of Discovery, these two crew members hooked up, these two crew members had a date recently or something, they're testing out new equipment they recently picked up at a Starbase, and Michael is busy reading up on past Starfleet Captains in her quarters.

This gives the freedom to reinterpret the character dynamics and framing of the show, while being able to quickly and arbitrarily (more or less) make adjustments to how you're going to approach each character.

Star Trek is, among other things, an Ensemble Show. It always has been. If this Ensemble is gonna... ensemble, or whatever, they'd better get to ensembling, fast.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 7:45am (UTC -6)
"time crystals" actually exist
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 7:47am (UTC -6)
@Eric Jensen
Please elaborate
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 7:56am (UTC -6)
“ Why did Culber not take and use a hypo spry?”

They did take some I think but the holo-environment magically removed all objects they had on them.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 7:57am (UTC -6)
I actually like Michael. It's just that there is no exploration of other characters in Discovery. I know basically nothing about many of the "main" cast.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:04am (UTC -6)
LINKS to "time crystals" in this comment
Here is a link about time crystals.
Quote: //Alfred Shapere at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and Frank Wilczek at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge [2], provide the theoretical demonstration that classical time crystals can exist and, in a separate paper, Wilczek [3] extends these ideas to quantum time crystals. Tongcang Li at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues [4] propose an experimental realization of quantum time crystals with cold ions trapped in a cylindrical potential.//

//Time crystals are different from a standard crystal—like metals or rocks—which is composed of atoms arranged in a regularly repeating pattern in space. First theorized in 2012 by Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek and identified in 2016, time crystals exhibit the bizarre property of being in constant, repeating motion in time despite no external input. Their atoms are constantly oscillating, spinning, or moving first in one direction, and then the other.//
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:10am (UTC -6)
Came across a good review of Season 3. I particularly like this discussion of why Disco is only questionably "Star Trek" :

One question that I have been grappling with across this third season is a tried and tested one: is Discovery really and truly Star Trek?

Now, on a factual basis, the answer is of course yes. Discovery is just as much Star Trek as any of the other shows mentioned above. It is canon. It is set in the Prime timeline (despite some hilarious nerds trying to prove otherwise in places online) and it certainly aspires to the core principles of Gene Roddenberry’s series. It is progressive. It is human. It believes in aspiration and equality. It believes in representation. All of these factors are evident, particularly in Season 3 which front-loads POC, LGBTQ and non-binary characters as clearly defined heroes. Discovery considers itself a true heir to the legacy of TOS, perhaps even more so than any Star Trek series since TNG. It carries that belief with passion.

There are two reasons that, for me, Discovery does not, however, feel like Star Trek.

Firstly, it is the only Star Trek show to date which has almost a meta-awareness of the universe it lives in. One might argue Lower Decks has this but the rules are different with that series, one expressly designed as an animated parody of Star Trek’s core tropes. Discovery considers itself a straight-up ‘legacy’ show in the vein of the well-known series of yore, and the carrier of the flame even more than Picard (a project baked in nostalgia designed more as a personal vehicle for Patrick Stewart). Yet Discovery’s characters regularly exist in awe of their surroundings, buoyant with a sense of their own adventure, and almost cult-like about their existence as a crew. Consider how they canonise Michael Burnham, for one thing (more on this later) and how vehemently they resist being parted once they arrive in the 32nd century. They might declare “we are Starfleet” but they don’t often act like it. They act like characters who know they’re in a Star Trek show.

Secondly, the show frequently seems to avoid anything close to the layered interpretation or measured storytelling we saw in previous eras. The standard defence of this is to suggest Discovery cannot be measured in these terms because television has changed, and audiences digest media at lightning, breakneck speed, but it’s a lazy excuse. TV drama has never been stronger, all told, with the cable glory days of The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad et al… priming audiences for television which can balance serialisation and nuanced, detailed narrative and character development over fifty minutes. It can be done with science-fiction or fantasy. Just look at Watchmen, a nine-episode masterpiece of storytelling. Game of Thrones, at its height, Westworld when firing on all cylinders. These are just a few examples of shows Discovery, even at its best, isn’t even in the same league with. The writing covers a lack of depth with forced emotion and sentimentality from characters who rarely earn the connection us, as an audience, are meant to invest.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:11am (UTC -6)
It's funny reading the comments that say Burnham isn't qualified to be captain. In this show's universe, Michael has in chronological order:

1) Saved the multiverse(!)
2) Saved the Federation
3) Saved all biological life in the universe
4) Solved the universe's energy crisis

Forget captain, she's basically a demigod.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:13am (UTC -6)
@MarkG @ Maq,

The weird thing about that is, there was no need for that ridiculous idea of the holodeck taking the hypospray away since they ended up staying there a lot longer than they originally planned. That's what I don't get about the writing sometimes. I understand why the writers might throw in something that doesn't make sense if it's needed to advance the plot. But many times they throw in these non-sensical things for no reason at all (as far as I can tell). It just feels lazy and sloppy. It really feel like nobody is QCing the final product.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:19am (UTC -6)
Showrunners, explicit statement multiple times before the first episode was even written much less produced and aired:

"This show is going to focus more on one character, namely that of Michael Burnham."

The Usual Arseholes:

"Why is the focus always on Burnham?"
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:21am (UTC -6)
For example, who is Rhys? What does he do in his spare time? What is he good at?
We learn Owosekun can hold her breath... what else do we know about her?
Bryce? What is his history? It is not in my mind, it is not notable or note-worthy.
We know a lot about Stamets, Adira, Saru, Michael... which is fair enough. But where are the characterizations or Rhys, Bryce or Owosekun? We do learn bits about them but it is not enough... I feel anyway. Even a scene about what they do in their spare time. All we see is in the "mess hall".

Compare with Voyager, we know about Tom Paris Maquis history and as a "criminal" - he can play billiards. I remember Faces in Voyager and explored Torres Klingon-ness... Kim - he can play the clarinet. Kes's journey... Chakotay's spiritual journey, though we lost that later on (LOL) Tuvok was more gradual...
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:23am (UTC -6)
"Why is the focus always on Burnham?"

There is NO problem with this. But if you are going to put a crew with a main cast, show something about the main cast...
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:34am (UTC -6)
Yeah, I mean when Burnham is spouting lines like "I don't believe in no-win scenarios" it's pretty obvious the showrunners are trying to make her the black female James Kirk. If that doesn't appeal to you, you should back out now.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:43am (UTC -6)
"Ryn, Book, Adira, Grey, Admiral [Vance], have been great additions to the cast."

Basically, we know more about these characters that are NOT the original crew of Discovery! What does that tell you about the writers?
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 9:26am (UTC -6)
@Eric Jensen
Ok, this seems to be like the space fungus. There are huge fungi systems on earth but there is absolutely zero indication that the entire galaxy is kept together by giant mushroom.
The time crystals you mentioned have absolutely nothing in common with the time crystals in Discovery. It is almost science tokenism.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 9:46am (UTC -6)
Right. My point is, the term "time crystals" exist in the real world and it is not necessarily science fiction.

Time crystals in star trek fiction:
From memory-alpha://A time crystal (or poH qut in Klingonese) was a rare mineral with a non-equilibrium matter state. Time crystals could be identified by their orthogonal indices. To Klingons, at least those outside of Boreth, time crystals were a myth, a symbol of Kahless, and the namesake of Qo'noS. (DIS: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad", "Through the Valley of Shadows") By the mid-23rd century, the Vulcan Academy taught its students about time crystals. No Federation-aligned species had been able to stabilize them as the decay rate of the lattice was too unpredictable, and it was thought that any technology based on time crystals must have been perfected by a four-dimensional race. (DIS: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad") Nonetheless, time crystals were encountered a number of times.//

Just like the Orb of Time etc, it is fictional. Just like Warp Drive is fictional, but Alcubierre found a solution that can allow for warping space. And as you mentioned, the mycelial network is fiction but it has real significance on Earth. Obviously this is fiction but it has "borrowed" some terms from real physics.
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 9:53am (UTC -6)
@ cHrome

Demigod or no, why should she get credit for solving problems SHE CREATED?
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:02am (UTC -6)

This right here! “ Discovery, even at its best, isn’t even in the same league with. The writing covers a lack of depth with forced emotion and sentimentality from characters who rarely earn the connection us, as an audience, are meant to invest.”

DIS characters may well be in awe of their universe, but they’re often so busy trying to solve the Big Bad Universe Destroying Mystery of the Season they dont get to explore...or universe.

The time jump to the 32nd century case in point. We’re told of a bleak galaxy, a broken federation, and some space syndicate filling the vacuum left behind. When did we actually explore it? Quick jump to earth, quick jump to Vulcan, one set for the federation....and two episodes in the mirror universe. Oh and it was all cuz a kid got sad and destroyed all the dilithium. End mystery. We never get to explore on this show - not the characters or the world.

Burn ham, we are told, is the glue to this world. This ship. This crew. Ok...I’m fine with that if is earned. But its rarely earned. If you have to spend 5-10 minutes every episode having characters tell us she’s great, then you’ve failed at showing us she’s great. Makes it hard to invest or care in her, or the world she inhabits but are never shown.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:28am (UTC -6)
@Eric Jensen
"Just like the Orb of Time etc, it is fictional."
All the Orbs are a lame concept. I was never a big fan of these aspects of DS9. It all more or less lead to JesusSisko pushing Dukatsatan off a cliff into hell.

" Just like Warp Drive is fictional, but Alcubierre found a solution that can allow for warping space."
That is really different for two reasons. First, the foundation of both concepts is not that far apart. Manipulating space to fly faster than light. Both are drive systems. Second, you need a way to break the light speed barrier because without there would be no show. Same goes for the universal translator. I can accept a few shaky soft sci fi stuff when they are needed for the world to function.

The great galaxy wide space mushroom which enables Discovery to reach any point instantaneously on the other hand is just plain nonsense. There is no indication that anything like that exists and even less that it could be used for travailing everywhere.

The "time crystals" in Discovery make you see the future and can be used for time travel or rapid aging. The so far hypothetical concept of the actual time crystal doesn't go past some interesting structural features in relation to spacetime.
No scientist will tell you that these crystal will ever be used for time travel or anything the show indicates. It is fantasy. A Macguffin to get Discovery from a to b and then the idea is tossed. Never heard of again.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:48am (UTC -6)
I'm sure all of you have heard or read the old quote "any science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic" right?

I don't have a problem with the Orbs of the Prophets because the writers of DS9 took the time to establish that the wormhole beings were extremely alien and that their concepts of space ant time were very different from what we perceived.

In contrast, the time crystals in Discovery just came across as magic rocks to me. Because there's no real effort made to explain what they are, why they work, and why the heck they seem to demand a price for making use of them, they feel like something that would be found in a sword & sorcery story than in sci-fi.

p.s. FWIW, I think the balance of science vs mysticism on DS9 tilted too far towards the mystical by the show's end but that's a discussion for another time.
Chris L.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -6)
What I find most galling and emblematic of the poor choices this season:

This season was ostensibly about rebuilding a floundering Federation. What planets are actually still members? Do we know of any for sure? I don’t recall them ever telling us or showing us anything about who remains in the Federation. The only planet we know for sure at the end is Trill, who has rejoined apparently.

And why, if Earth is no longer a member, are all the people at Starfleet command apparently human? Nobody on Earth even seemed to know where the HQ was, so how do they get these recruits? And why is the President (I am assuming Cronenburg is the President, which is another poor storytelling choice. Just who is that guy?) human as well?
Frank A. Booze
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 11:09am (UTC -6)

That line with Burnham saying “I don’t believe in no-win scenarios” really bothered me. Saru also said it at the end of season 1, which was also inappropriate then. It’s a famous Kirk line, and should stick only to Kirk.

More importantly though, the writers of the show don’t seem to understand the significance of Kirk saying those words in The Wrath of Khan. Kirk has to realize and accept that no win scenarios do exist. Spock dies at the end of the movie, which is a “no win”. And although Spock is brought back in the next film, it is ultimately at the cost of his son, and the Enterprise. Again, both “no wins”.

Discovery writers have Burnham say those words to make her sound bad ass. But unlike Kirk, she wins in every possible regard. She saves Discovery, defeats Discount Seska, saves the away team on the planet, and then gets promoted to Captain.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed seasons 1 and 2, but am lukewarm on 3. The writing needs to be better. BUT, just because the writing isn’t good that doesn’t mean this show is not Star Trek. Those arguments are just silly. There’s no rule that says to be Star Trek you must have good writing or the show must feature an ensemble cast. Simply put, it’s Star Trek because the powers that be say so. You might not like this iteration, but that’s irrelevant to whether the show is canon and in the prime timeline.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
I don't know why people think it's perfectly fine to make Discovery ALL about Burnham. That's all this show is - about Michael Burnham. Then these same people complain when others say Discovery isn't real Star Trek. How many other Star Trek series do you know that were centred around a single character? How many Star Trek series made the senior bridge crew nothing more than background characters who barely get 2 minutes of screen time between them?
And who is this person that the show revolves around? An insubordinate Mary-Sue who figures out everything, is always the hero and despite being put in mortal danger every time, we all know she's never going to get hurt much less die so there is zero tension in any of the danger scenes she's involved in. I could tolerate a Star Trek series that focussed on one character IF that character was interesting, relatable and well acted. That's not what we get with Burnham.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
"Simply put, it’s Star Trek because the powers that be say so."

Margarine doesn't suddenly become butter if the Country Crock commercial says it is.

Some Star Trek fans have gone to such lengths to be "open minded" and "non judgemental" that they can't seem to remember that some things are objectively true.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
@Frank A. Booze

No arguments here. It's because the writers either only have a vague pop culture notion of TOS, or they refuse to make a deep TOS reference and alienate a young millennial demographic. The Kirk "no-win scenario" idea was brought up in Star Trek 2009 as well in the context that Kirk lost his father in a no-win scenario, so Kirk is motivated by the pain of that loss not to let such an event happen again. This episode doesn't even get that far; it's just a trailer soundbite for Burnham with no logical reference to the circumstances of the episode.
grey cat
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
i don't think DSC really even needs a discussion on whether or not it's Star Trek.

It's not good Star Trek.
It's not good Sci-fi.
It's not even good TV.

On another note. Burnham. She seems to have needlessly murdered a lot of people. I'm not aware of any of the other "Captains" (yeah I realise she's only just a Captain) killing so many people.

Certainly not Picard.
Kirk? a few but only if it was life-or-death.
Sisko? hmm killed Dukat in a fight to the death. Of course got drawn into an assassination.
Janeway. Nah.
Archer. Only well really necessary to save lives.

Burnham just kills people for the hell of it it seems. Her death count this season alone is up there with an 80s Arnie movie.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 12:58pm (UTC -6)

Poor analogy. Country Crock isn’t permitted to call it’s margarine butter.

Discovery is Star Trek. It’s just not good Star Trek.

Also, where is it in Star Trek “law” that says a show cannot focus on a single character rather than an ensemble?

Does her character suck? Yes. But again, that doesn’t mean the show isn’t Star Trek.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:08pm (UTC -6)
Well, if the powers that be say it is Star Trek then it is Star Trek. Good job.

Define Star Trek: A name that belongs to a company.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
@grey cat

Sisko poisons an entire world in "For the Uniform." And then there's "In the Pale Moonlight" where he's an accessory to 2 murders.

Whether a captain has to kill people or not or has done so should not be a consideration for if they should be a captain or not.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
@ The Queen

"Yanks: Elephant head’s proper description, according to the Ready Room interviewees this time, is Octopus Head."

Ah, thank you. I guess I was thinking of 'The Orville' ... haha It would have been cool to see that character running around with the bridge crew in these last 2 episodes.

Here is my Discovery season 3 ratings...

That Hope Is You / 3.00
Far from Home / 2.50
People of Earth / 4.00
Forget Me Not / 3.50
Die Trying / 4.00
Scavengers / 2.50
Unification III / 2.50
The Sanctuary / 2.00
Terra Firma Part 1 / 3.00
Terra Firma Part 2 / 4.00
Su'Kal / 2.50
There is a Tide / 3.50
Outside / 2.50

Average: - 3.04
Nothing below a 2.

I used SlackerInc's system and got these results for a couple season 3's that I've rated: (why not? ... lol)

DIS: 24
VOY: 23
DS9: 18 (My Median was 2.5 so using this guidance “If M > 2.5, award five bonus points. If M < 2.5, subtract three points.”, I gave DS9 four points here.

So there you have it. Is Discovery’s season 3 better than Voyager’s IMO? I don’t think so.

I don’t think I can trust my numbers when applying an overall grade to this season of Discovery. Making Burnham Captain just really brings the whole thing down, but there is some really great stuff leading up to that.

Did Saru have 4 pips on his com badge? Michael did.

Thoughts folks?
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks

You rate this show too highly, perhaps?
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
Gunslinger: "Poor analogy. Country Crock isn’t permitted to call it’s margarine butter."

Every once in a while I chuckle loud when I read something, this is one right here. Thanks Gunslinger :)) It sounds like a line Jett Reno would deliver at the most unexpected moment.

Maq's above mentioning of Culber "good to great" reminded me: I think Wilson Cruz getting significant character growth and screen time simultaneously was one of the better developments of this season. I hope he plays a major role in whatever's to come in Season 4.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
Did the camera movement hurt anyone else's brain? Disco always has odd camera work, but this episode was off-the-charts unviewable for me. I was cringing in agony till they finally found a tripod in the final 8 minutes of the show. Other people have grumbled about camerawork before, but it usually does not affect me. This episode's did. The tight frames with the camera making needless movements throughout was very distracting. I was wondering if any one else had the same experience.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:46pm (UTC -6)

"So while there are definitely flaws with this show, I am highly entertained, looking forward to new episodes, and will definitely be back for season 4, with Michael in the captain chair. And since Discovery was renewed despite all negativity here, no doubt many subscribers to CBS All Access agree, or it would not have been renewed. Money is money."

Yeah, if you tune into any of the "Kurtsman hate" YouTube channels and took what they say as gospel, Discovery was canceled 10 years ago.

Good to hear from you Robert. Hope you had a great holiday season!
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
I agree with most of your episode ratings. Only slight variances on some of them, I copy/pasted yours and added mine in parentheses.

That Hope Is You / 3.00
Far from Home / 2.50 (for me: 3.5)
People of Earth / 4.00 (for me: 3.0)
Forget Me Not / 3.50
Die Trying / 4.00 (for me , 3.5)
Scavengers / 2.50 (for me, 3.0)
Unification III / 2.50 (for me, 3.0)
The Sanctuary / 2.00
Terra Firma Part 1 / 3.00
Terra Firma Part 2 / 4.00 (for me, 3.0)
Su'Kal / 2.50 (for me, 3.0)
There is a Tide / 3.50
Outside / 2.50

No thoughts on across series star-number-based comparisons, Jammer himself noted many times that it's a futile endeavor.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"@ Yanks

You rate this show too highly, perhaps?"

I had the same thought, but did I rate the others too low? I think my ratings are my ratings. I think I'm pretty consistent with myself.

@grey cat

"On another note. Burnham. She seems to have needlessly murdered a lot of people. I'm not aware of any of the other "Captains" (yeah I realise she's only just a Captain) killing so many people."

Yup. As mentioned above, she was quick to kill everyone on that Veridian ship... how many slaves might have been aboard? What threat did this ship pose and to whom with the Federation and Na'Var fleets at the ready? Why did her solution include destroying the ship when it didn't need to? For one that has been all gung-ho Star Fleet/Federation to the point of tears and questionable actions many times during this season... where is that "All life is important" mind-set? Definitely not Captain material.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 2:59pm (UTC -6)

Jammer's TOS reviews are capsule reviews that were written hastily over a weekend so Jammer's site would have some reviews to read for a TOS marathon on Sci-Fi.

The TNG reviews on this site are also revised reviews redone after DS9 completed, I believe? Thus, they're written with a bit more perspective on what was good TNG or not. I remember reading that Jammer originally rated TNG much higher. The rest of the Trek reviews were made concurrently at the time of broadcast.

TL;DR - This is another reason why cross-series comparisons of Jammer stars aren't very informative or accurate.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
About Burnham killing people without reason in the last escape scene with the warp core: Starfleet is basically at war with EC, Discovery is trapped *inside* another ship and heavily fired upon. Not sure what people are expecting in such a situation.

(The above point ignores the question of the warp core had to be ejected - it was not explained why it was necessary since they were going to do a jump)
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:55pm (UTC -6)

"Jammer's TOS reviews are capsule reviews that were written hastily over a weekend so Jammer's site would have some reviews to read for a TOS marathon on Sci-Fi."

So all the more reason not to give much credence to Jammer's TOS ratings -- certainly as a factor in deciding upon a series-defining episode. That being said, I love his reviews when he's able to give it his full attention like in later DS9 seasons and VOY, ENT. Would love for him to re-review / re-rate TOS, but I realize that ain't happenin'
It's me
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
And so, like Saru, I now sign off from the Star Trek: Burnham show. It's not for me...
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
[Yeah, I mean when Burnham is spouting lines like "I don't believe in no-win scenarios" it's pretty obvious the showrunners are trying to make her the black female James Kirk. If that doesn't appeal to you, you should back out now.]

It was actually someone else saying "You're in a no-win scenario" and Burnham replies with "Idon'tbelieveinthose." Not only a poorly written line (thanks for playing the pronoun game with us Michael), but the take they used was rushed and the delivery didn't land.

The thing is, no, of course I don't have a problem with a Black Female James Kirk. I have a problem with James Kirk having had an ensemble cast around him that made the show more fun to watch instead of being living breathing interchangeable props.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:48pm (UTC -6)

"It was actually someone else saying "You're in a no-win scenario" and Burnham replies with "Idon'tbelieveinthose." Not only a poorly written line (thanks for playing the pronoun game with us Michael), but the take they used was rushed and the delivery didn't land."

What makes this horrible, like Spock screaming "Kahn" in STID is, all the Trek fans know what they are trying to accomplish here... but it's delivered so horribly bad by SMG that it just made me pissed. She hasn't earned the right to muddle in Kirk lore.
grey cat
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 7:05pm (UTC -6)
@Rahul If you recall in "For the Uniform" (The planet poisoning episode) Sisko didn't needlessly kill anyone. He made the planet uninhabitable for humans (who are seeing rushing to escape craft etc).

"In The Pale Moonlight" killing wasn't his original intention (he was manipulated by the superb Garak). I realise he doesn't regret it afterwards (since they were losing the war without the Romulans).

Compare this to Burnham. In one episode she flushes a bad guy out into space when a few minutes earlier she used the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

Same season.. that dreadful prison planet Running Man Rip-off.. she blows up the whole ship for no good reason (since they've already escaped).

And this episode coldly beams everyone off presumably into space again.

There are loads of other examples in this season alone of her being a cold-blooded killer.

I'm not sure why we're supposed to root for her and not being a psychopath should surely be a requirement of a captain (although I rather enjoyed Lorca).

On the subject of Burnham being Kirk 2.0 (I see no relevance of sex or skin colour). She lacks any of the wisdom or charm of Kirk that Shatner brought to the role. He seemed like someone people would follow anywhere. Sure he disobeyed orders too on a few occasions but you felt he'd actually earn it with a glowing career of command leadership. Say what you will about Shatner's acting but personally I prefer it to SMG by quite a way.

Sure she's saved the universe/all life/multiverse/galaxy/the federation which is probably more than Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway did combined but it just so ridiculously written it feels like random chance that she did. It just kinda happend cos she's awesome etc.

I can't think of a single time in 3 seasons of DSC that she's done anything that's made me think "Wow yeah that was awesome. Yeah she's cool". I can think of at least a few examples from any of the other series' lead characters.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 7:25pm (UTC -6)
Can we all agree we want to see more Jett?!?!
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:45pm (UTC -6)
@Nolan, LOL. Love it! If Burnham can be Captain, anyone can be a captain. Star Trek for the Norvo's of the world - amazing :-)

I'm reminded of something Londo Mollari said when he learned that Vir was to be Emperor after him, back on Babylon 5,

"Now, pfttt, anyone can be Emperor. I can be emperor. Vir can be Emperor! If Vir can be emperor, a small Earth cat can be Emperor."
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 11:38pm (UTC -6)
@Gunslinger: "Poor analogy. Country Crock isn’t permitted to call it’s margarine butter"

But the company that makes vegan "Just Mayo" was sued by Unilever because it's not actually mayonnaise (given that it doesn't have eggs in it), and Unilever ultimately lost. I still think they should have won: if it's not mayonnaise, you shouldn't be able to call it "mayo".

@Booming: "Define Star Trek: A name that belongs to a company.

Yeah, it reminds me of Deadspin. For those not familiar, Deadspin was a site with a devoted following that had a uniquely snarky tone/POV, and a clear left wing bent. Some rich suit bought it and started sending around memos telling the staff to stop expressing their political views. So the ENTIRE staff of writers and editors quit, en masse, in the same week. The rich guy kept the URL active and kept writing content himself (or maybe hired new writers after a bit, it's not clear), although he disabled commenting which had been a hallmark of the site's culture. So technically, it's still Deadspin. But is it really? Think about if this site got bought out by a new owner who had a very different sensibility than the Jammer we know. Would it really still be "Jammer's Reviews" just because it can be found at

@Yanks: "My Median was 2.5 so using this guidance 'If M > 2.5, award five bonus points. If M < 2.5, subtract three points.', I gave DS9 four points here."

No, my intention there is that if the median is exactly 2.5 (which I think is going to be pretty common), you don't add OR subtract anything. So I guess you could say it's zero points. So I guess DS9's S3 would be only 14 points. Sounds like you didn't like it too well! I assume Jammer has it higher. (Maybe if we're just comparing S3's, I'll give it a whirl here in a bit.)
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 11:52pm (UTC -6)
"Jammer's TOS reviews are capsule reviews that were written hastily over a weekend..."

Maybe this was meant to be exaggeration, but let's be clear: they were written over several months. If I could turn out 79 reviews (even short ones) in a weekend, I would be a machine. You couldn't even watch TOS in a weekend.
Frank A. Booze
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 12:44am (UTC -6)

Yes, I found the rotating camera work to be absolutely atrocious. I am unclear as to why the directors feel as though this is necessary.

I was thinking more about Admiral Vance justifying Burnham’s promotion because “she gets results”, despite her methods. She gets results because of blind luck.

It reminds me of one of the few good scenes from Star Trek Into Darkness where Pike chews out Kirk for breaking the prime directive, and for Kirk being successful due to blind luck. Except in that scene, Kirk gets demoted. How scary is it that Star Trek Into Darkness makes more logical sense than Stat Trek: Discovery (The Adventures of Michael Burnham)?
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 1:13am (UTC -6)
The only reason I don't cancel my CBS all Access subscription is that i actually liked Lower Decks to my surprise. Why? It is not run by Michelle Paradise and Alex Kurtzman. The Nu trek team have no idea what Star Trek means to it's core fans or the 50 years of world building that have gone into it. They quote Roddenberry but they don;t understand him. Or care. Now LD by contrast is made by the Rick and Morty guy, who I don't know much about and I have never seen Rick and Morty. But you can tell that he has grown up watching TNG and DS9 and TOS and loves and respects the trek canon. Now you can argue he has his own vision and does his own thing with the franchise, which is to make a snarky spoof, and you may not like it, but at least this guy knows and respects Trek. Hence, LD feels like Star Trek, where as there is nothing Star Trek about DISCO. If it didn't have Star Trek in the title it would be a dumb action adventure show set in space and I wouldn't be watching it. I am willing to give SNW and PIC and 31 a chance, but they are done by the same Paradise/Kurtzman team so I am expecting more of the same. And PIC season 1 really let me down.
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 1:20am (UTC -6)
The other reason I don't cancel CBSAA is that I have started watching the original Hawaii 5o. Surprisingly intelligent cop show, has aged well in my opinion. Not a lot of shoot outs and car chases. I have seen the modern reboot and thought it was ridiculous action adventure and violent. And look! Kurtzman i part of the team on the new 50!
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 1:21am (UTC -6)

Yeah sorry, I was misremembering a comment you made though I knew you were extremely crunched for time when writing the TOS reviews. Just for posterity (and because we’re on the subject) I’ll repost what you wrote:

“The TOS reviews were very much a product of the specific circumstances under which they were written. It was the fall of 1998, which was my last semester of college before graduating that December. The Sci-Fi Channel (later SciFi; now Syfy) aired all of TOS in order five days a week, along with special interviews with the writers and cast. For me, it was a good opportunity to expand the coverage of this site -- and I didn't know when I might have another chance. (Keep in mind that there were no binge-watching options like TV DVD box sets or Netflix yet.)

I settled on capsule reviews as a matter of that or nothing. Not only was I finishing school, I was reviewing both DS9 and Voyager weekly (in full-length mode) and working about 25 hours a week at the student newspaper. It's kind of amazing that the TOS reviews happened at all.

So, yes, brevity and a lack of depth were imposed upon the enterprise. Of everything on this site, it's probably hardest for me to go back and read those.”

I second Rahul’s suggestion you review TOS again, by the way. I do like your current reviews for what they are, but well, I wouldn’t mind hearing more of your thoughts on TOS. :-)
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 1:53am (UTC -6)
Jammer, glad to learn you didn't actually churn out reviews over a weekend! I had assumed when I read that, that you had maybe done a paragraph on each episode, going from memory and not actually rewatching.

Acknowledging that you have cautioned about the inadvisability of comparing ratings across different series, but also acknowledging that you have invited the comparison by using the same rating scale across series, here's what I came up with using my formula and comparing the third seasons of each Trek series that has gone that far.

(NB: I failed to reckon with the existence of 0.5 star episodes. I will subtract 2.5 points for those, to be consistent with the methodology.)

1. TNG (25 points)

2. DS9 (22 points)

3. ENT (16 points)

4. VOY (12 points)

5. DSC (2 points)

6. TOS (-2 points, ouch)
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 1:58am (UTC -6)
Yeah, it was pretty obnoxious. Luckily I was rolling my eyes so much that it often lined up with the camera movement.

In film studies it is mostly about authorial intent or death of the author. Saying that a cultural product is just what the company says it is, seems like an extreme idea.
But on the other hand I'm fairly sure that if you ask 1000 people

Do you think
a) cannibalism is always wrong
b) cannibalism is wrong most of the time
c) cannibalism is wrong sometimes
d) do you have some fava beans and a nice chianti

a few people will choose d.
I really shouldn't be surprised by these kind of answers considering what I'm doing. So yeah if that person wants to think that Star Trek is just a name that can be used by a company for anything it wants then my reaction to that is.
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 5:42am (UTC -6)

I can't comment on the TOS points, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't watched most of those episodes. But the points seem pretty accurate for all the other series. I would personally but VOY ahead of ENT but they are similar in points which I think is fair. As a high level gauge it makes sense with TNG and DS9 in the top tier, VOY and ENT in the second tier, and DIS significantly below.
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 6:47am (UTC -6)
Jammer has become so embittered and ritualistically angry, I wouldn’t want him to review America’s funniest home videos.
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 7:32am (UTC -6)
I think so, as well. Yesterday I saw Jammer walk down a street and a really cute puppy walked passed him and he did NOT react at all. It made me so sad that when an equally cute but different puppy walked passed me a few minutes later I barely noticed. :(
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 7:34am (UTC -6)
Walked past... sooooooooorry
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
So ‘the burn’ was caused by an orphaned kid on a dilithium-rich planet who sees his dead mother and screams? That has to be one of the biggest letdowns in Star Trek history since Star Trek: The Final Frontier... C’mon, show runners, you put the ship 900 years into the future and THIS is the best story arc you can come up with? Ugh.
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Where to start. I have been watching Star Trek since its debut September, 1966. I have seen every series and movie, except for Lower Decks.

Ranking them

I really wanted to enjoy Picard and Disco. Disco is not Star Trek. It's had it's good moments but this season has done me in. Too contrived, too fast, no character development. The Burn, solved in 5 easy steps. Ludicrous. Grey? Please, no one should be able to see him. Now Saru might be gone? He's one of the best characters. Burnham is no Kirk, Sisko, Archer etc. As I said, this is not Star Trek.
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
For those of you who don't understand "Virtue Signaling," Discovery has provided us with a cast study.

Tell me, do you expect that at some point during Star Trek (viewed as an over arching series')'s story at some point would have acknowledged the unrest that happened during the 1960's in America, when Black People were marching on Washington and there were riots and people died, and then four students were shot at Kent State University?

So... why not?

Star Trek ought to be culturally above offending its fanbase by now right? So just... tell us how all that turned out in this imagined future history?

Or do you not have the cajones? Oh you don't have the cajones. Of course you don't. That's why you took up the job writing for Star Trek, cuz you like to play it safe I guess, and you don't give a damn if anything you write is good as long as you get paid

Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
These point systems confuse me ! :D

I pretty much enjoyed most of the ST series. Except DSC of course.
I cannot think a single episode of DSC that I really enjoyed and would like to watch again. The closest was the 3rd season premiere.

-TOS is.. TOS. I haven't watched since I was a kid and I do not remember much to be honest. I will correct this.
-TNG has my favorite crew. A family, like in most of the series (except one, you know which).
-DS9 the serious sibling of the franchise.
-VOY with my favorite ST character, Seven of Nine. Even if I hated the catsuit.
-ENT was a tad boring for me, plus I can't say I liked Bakula much.
-PIC I loved it, ok not the finale much, but I loved it. I liked the new crew, and having my two fav ST characters together, 7 and Picard, was Nerdgasmic.
-LD, such a pleasant surprise, full with love for the franchise.

-ORVILLE. Not officially ST, but let's be honest here, that's just a formality.
I never expected to like it so much.

Suffers in every area, except the special effects.
Bad writers who have messed up completely, trapped in their own efforts to present a "new Star Trek" while forgetting wth Star Trek is in the first place.
They are trying so much to feel trendy in the Peak TV era that, among other unfortunate things, they write like if DSC takes place in 21th century and not in the world the previous series have build.
Worst crew ever. I doubt a crew like this could even run a fishing boat.
The Queen
Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 11:29pm (UTC -6)
Booming, my point about about the physicists was the same as yours, actually - that if there really are actual physicists advising the writers, they are either terribly incompetent, greedy suckups, or totally ignored. Remember I said my jaw dropped open? I just couldn't believe she said that. You make it sound like she's just plain lying, but I didn't get that feeling. She seemed to believe herself.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:15am (UTC -6) reported that the season was inspired, in part, by Ursula K. Le Guin's short story, 'The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.'

I wish the season offered some sort of adaptation of the story (with permission, of course). The moral/ethical conundrum at its centre is well suited to the Star Trek universe, and I can imagine a similar story tied to either Next Generation's Force of Nature or what this series itself initially established, that use of the spore drive would come at the risk of individual life. It's a shame that such a rich and heady story inspired so much less.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:30am (UTC -6)
@WineVQA. I invite you to list reasons why Disco is not Star Trek.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 1:29am (UTC -6)
Hi @Gunslinger, since you seem to have created your handle two days ago to convince us that Discovery is Star Trek, why don't you tell us what Star Trek is for you?
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 1:44am (UTC -6)
@The Queen
Of course I don't know if she is lying but I try to remember that these people get payed probably millions certainly a lot to write this stuff. If CBS tells her, come on our little podcast for and tell them that the science is totally real, would she refuse? I'm not even sure that I would.
But you could be right, maybe the scientists they hired are the ones who are told to lie. I don't believe that anybody with any degree could be so incompetent as to present any of this as inspired by science. Maybe they have a system? She asks the scientist always like this:"Could it be possible that feeling too much could make a crystal explode?" to which the scientist always says:"It could be possible but..." She then always cuts the scientist off:" Ok, that is all we need to know."

By the way people. The last two episode were rated on imdb
ep12: 6.9
ep13: 6.6

Only 4 episodes this season made it past 7.0 ep1,2,3,5 while season 1 and 2 only had one episode below 7.0 each. At least on imdb season 3 is by far the weakest with an average of 6.6 (The shows average stands at 7.2)
For context the current season of the Expanse with six episodes in has an average of 8.85. Two of the episodes are rated above 9 and none below 8 and the series average is 8.5.

(DS9 has a series average of 8.0 and TNG 8.6)
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 1:52am (UTC -6)
ok I will give you a few pointers.
Roddenberry's vision was that in Star Trek humanity had made it. We were past greed, poverty, intolerance. Basically humanity was living in paradise. People would spent their lives doing what they love not what they have to because of financial needs. Also no real interpersonal conflicts. And because humanity had made it, problems that bother us today only occur in other species, so that this more evolved humanity can be an inspirational tale about how great the future could be if we have grown out of our infancy. One could name other aspects like a real appreciation for science.

None of that is in NuTrek.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 9:41am (UTC -6)
AMA said:

" reported that the season was inspired, in part, by Ursula K. Le Guin's short story, 'The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.'"

"The moral/ethical conundrum at its centre is well suited to the Star Trek universe"


I would hate to see how this issue would be addressed by post TOS Trek writers. We would either get a technobabble cheat or a "sorry kid - needs of the many" resolution.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Lorca: "If things are going so great with one kid in a cellar just imagine how awesome things would get with TEN kids a cellar."
Undesirable Element
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 11:24am (UTC -6)
Every time I reflect on an episode of Discovery after watching it, I find that I rarely have any problem with the specifics of WHAT happens. My qualms with the show always stem from HOW it happens - the execution. After all, Trek has certainly had its fair share of philosophical stories that somehow end up resolving with a meaningless action sequence or an unsatisfying action ending. So I'm not incredibly distressed in theory at the showdown of the season coming down to Burnham and Ossyra duking it out in a random room on Discovery.

It's all just in the WAY it happens. Having a big hammy villain can be fun, but Osyrra just isn't much fun as a hammy villain. She worked really well in the last episode as someone who would do ruthless things but still wanted to be taken seriously as a respected leader. When she plays it over-the-top though, she comes off like a second-rate Power Rangers villain.

The same thing happens with the character development of Tilly. In theory, I like the idea of Tilly taking a command role. That's been an established part of the character from the beginning. But then they just plunk it down here in this season with little or no reason. I actually feel bad for Mary Wiseman because she looks like she has no idea how to play it. Is she an experienced leader or a kid who's in over her head? The script doesn't seem to know, so why should she?

Adira - great character concept that ended up going absolutely nowhere. The show DESPERATELY wants her storyline to MEAN SOMETHING, and *I* really wanted it to too, but it just seemed to drift aimlessly after her introductory episode.

Burnham being the captain at the end should make all kinds of sense. It's where her character arc should have gradually been going all season, and yet, it hasn't. It's just plopped here out of nowhere. Again, in theory, showing the story of a character making a huge mistake and overcoming huge obstacles to finally take command is a great story. This show just can't seem to find a natural way to present any of it.

This show owes its life this season to Oded Fehr as Admiral Vance who can make almost any ridiculous plot point or character development seem almost credible. The man can deliver sincere in a mighty impressive way. He sold a lot of the nonsense this season that should have completely fallen flat on its face.

Of all things, the thing I liked most about this season is the thing I thought I wouldn't - the stuff with Su'Kal on the dilithium planet. The growing bond between Su'Kal and Saru turned out to be surprisingly interesting. Having Saru come to re-appreciate his Kelpien heritage through teaching another Kelpien about it was actually really well done. Doug Jones, of course, sells the hell out of it. Honestly, I think this show works best when it tries to tackle the characters' real emotional truths. It just can't handle the big action stuff with anything other than complete clumsiness.

I give credit to this show for trying to be bold and to take big swings. I just wish that it connected more often than not.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:22pm (UTC -6)

"Ursula K. Le Guin's short story, 'The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.'"

I actually read this in Sophomore English, in College. I really don't see how they worked the moral conundrum from it into this story, other than that there is a child who is suffering, and they act to relieve that suffering. If the person writing this did it based on "Omelas," then I think they missed the point of it.

Those who walk away, reject the suffering of the child and the Utopia (the titular country of Omelas) that results from it, on the grounds that it is the only moral choice which is available to them, and are never seen again.

What does any of that have to do with the rest of this story? Nothing, they just want to sound like they're well-read.

Remember, I read this short story in Sophomore English Class. Woo hoo, you attended my sophomore english class Trek Runners. So did I. You don't know the first darn thing about Star Trek, though, which is a bigger problem than "are you paying worthy tribute to Ursula K. LeGuin," I would say.

Their heads are stuck 50 kilometers up their shuttle bay. Good lord. No wonder this show is so badly written. Next they'll make a season out of hallucinations and flashbacks and dream sequences and call it inspired by 100 Years of Solitude* cuz it's "Surreal." Oof.

*Also covered in my Sophomore English Class.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
Discovery is NOT Star Trek. Lots of reasons why. My biggest bugbear is that Trek has never been about one damn individual at the heart of a series like Discovery is. Star Trek was about teamwork, not one single superstar who comes up with all the answers and saves the day every single time.

Who the hell are the bridge crew on Discovery? Does anyone know anything about them? I can't even name them without looking it up. On TOS, TNG, DS9 and ENT we all knew the bridge crew, they were all key characters. That familiarity made you actually care about the wider crew. Does anyone care about the Disco crew? If the black woman at the con, or the white woman with a thing on her eye, the oriental or black dude died, would anyone care? Would anyone notice?
While we're talking about the crew, I've never seen a Starfleet crew as unprofessional as this one. All the CRYING, HUGGING and emotional nonsense is not how a Starfleet crew should act. I cringed when the black woman said "I love you all!" when she left them to die. I don't think I ever heard Janeway ever say that about her Voyager crew and she was basically a mother figure to them.

Another pet peeve is the profanity. Star Trek was a family show. Nu Trek is a disgrace in this regards with its casual and totally unnecessary use of profanity. I have a potty mouth in real life so I'm not averse to swearing in general but I don't expect to hear people effing and blinding on Star Trek.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
Time will tell the tale. I'm pretty sure the lion's share of the Hardcore Trek audience is gonna feel this way about Disco, and Season 4 is gonna be ... interesting.

This reminds me a lot of when ENT had finished it's third season. It was already on the chopping block, but they renewed it for a fourth, and look what happened. They ended up cancelling it anyway, largely due to the missteps in Seasons 1-3. It didn't matter that it was marginally better than the first three seasons; fans had had enough.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 5:03pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 5:28pm (UTC -6)
Great Review!

Completely forgot that they dropped the music thing. There were several long scenes about it and it lead to nothing...

"so I guess all those people died and societies collapsed so we could learn the universe can just blow up whenever because of whatever. Um, yay?"
Hahaha Words to live by. :D

I very disappointed that Jammer didn't mention crazy desk guy from the second episode. He is now a LT.. Maybe he went to online starfleet academy? Nice that they got him back and then probably told him that they are sorry that he, his father and grandfather had live on this forgotten station doing what a simple beacon could have done. I still wonder where the mothers went... Crazy desk guy never mentioned them.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
The first time I loudly said "do these people know what Star Trek is?" was at the end of the pilot... with that horrible scene at what it was supposed to be a Federation courtroom.
A dark background, judges that you can't see their faces and the spotlight at the accused Burnham. What the frak this "cheap kafkaesque theatrical for juveniles" has to do with Federation? Judges with no visible faces? WTF?

And what about how easily Burnham keeps killing. She is "Dirty Harry" in space, trigger happy. How many lives she killed only in this finale? Where did she beam the regulators to? Why she had to explode that huge Chain ship which probably had many innocent workers/slaves on it?
No respect for life from the lead of your series. Very Star Trek.

Having a genocidal sadist serial killer running free around Star Fleet.
This is not WWII human history where the winners were sheltering Nazi monsters because they appreciated their horrible experiments on living ppl.
This is the advanced society of Star Trek. Why MU Georgiou had a place in it? For her witty jokes? And on top of that DSC crew seemed to really like and appreciate her.

Because DSC creators just confuse our times with the ST ones. There are not the same and borrowing elements from our current civilization doesn't make Star Trek relevant. It makes it less Star Trek.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer, fantastic review. I had no idea that the episode title was a last minute change. Yeah, "Outside" would have been much more appropriate. Both for Su'Kal, and also, in an ironic way, for the turbo lifts too :-)

I wonder if that title-change is why the scene with Aditya Sahil seemed like it was just randomly shoehorned in?

They should have saved "Part 2" for a summer mid-season special - the kind nBSG was very good at, and even Discovery tries to do with its Shorts. Giving Sahil his own Short in which he is brought back into the fold, could have been a nice touch.

The more I think about this season, the more I think the real disappointment was what they did, or rather failed to do, with Osyraa.

@Jammer writes, "That especially goes for Osyraa as a character, who seemed in "There Is a Tide" to be a more layered and sensible villain interested in making deals, but goes back to being merely an evil cartoon here."

I recently rewatched an old TOS episode called "The Enterprise Incident". The Romulan Commander there is off the charts! She is ever bit the worthy adversary of Kirk and Spock. Osyraa could have been that for Vance and Burnham. The actress Janet Kidder certainly seemed like she would have been capable of carrying that kind of weight. Even though Osyraa was nothing like the Orions we have come to know, I actually really respected the work Kidder put into to her - she refused to play a victim of her people's history of enslavement. Not once did she use her wiles to get her way. She did it all through sheer force of will.

But as usual with Discovery, the writers let us down.

They turned Osyraa, who could have been one of the most interesting characters ever - maybe even a regular political adversary to Vance and Burnham for season 4, like Kai Winn was on DS9 - they turned her into a comic book villain.

It's too bad.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Nice review, Jammer.

"My prescriptions for season four: the same as after every season, so I won't bother repeating them. Discovery either must not want to learn, or thinks it's doing exactly what it wants to be doing."

I'm pretty darn sure it's doing exactly what it wants to be doing. If the show is filled with-onscreen congratulations and admiration for its characters I think it's a sure bet that exactly the same is going on in the conference room. It's everyone high-fiving each other all the way home.

One thing to bear in mind regarding the science and futurism of the show - be it the interior shots of the ship (the "turbolift trainyard"), the nature of the burn, how dilithium works, what the nature of the Federation is at this point - all of these things have never mattered to the Abrahms/Kurtzman/Akiva crew. This is not always a bad thing. Some of their shows, LOST for instance, give just enough of a hint of what's going on that you might think they are science fiction, before it becomes clear that these elements are there to create window dressing for the character stories. There was a period during LOST's run when I really thought it was a sci-fi show masquerading as a survivor show, and as they began to peel back the layers I thought it was going to be more and more techno-oriented. That was, until I realized that tech was just a stand-in for [insert weird stuff so that our heroes have a mind-bending experience]. In LOST the weird stuff included the black smoke monster (which later seemed like a technological marvel, and later again just magic), Desmond's countdown timer, the scientific experiments on the island, and other devices that in the end served only to be jumping off points for character melodrama. I should note carefully as I say this that I actually liked the character melodrama on that show, for the most part, so I did not begrudge it what turned out to be soft deceptions. The showrunners themselves lied outright IMO that it was all headed somewhere, when it became clear a few seasons in they were making it all up as they went along. By the end it was pure fantastical nonsense, and if one was still watching there was no longer concern about it 'making sense'. If you liked the characters and their power struggle it was enough, plus it had that element of adventuring and discovering random stuff each week, which is fun albeit a tad childish.

Fringe turned out to be no different, at first a hardcore X-Files type show, actually migrating itself more toward straight-out sci-fi, and finally settling on being more like Narnia and idolizing its female lead and making her the center of the world (ring a bell?). Any semblance of it being actual sci-fi was made moot towards the end of the series. I wouldn't even call it science fantasy, it was more like just throwing in any crazy idea so that the story could take insane twists and turns, often involving the reversal of fortune motif taken to clownish levels. In the end it was a goofy and uneven series, fun for me, but also annoying in how the stakes became totally arbitrary. Some of the plot twists were fun, some were plain stupid. Most are almost impossible to remember. If not for a few characters that were a lot of fun (Walter, most notably) I'm not sure it would have been nearly so watchable.

Between LOST and Fringe I feel both shows banked so hard on their stars that the weight must have given them back pains. Maybe their contracts came with physical therapy as back-payment. I am mentioning all of this because DISC has been playing out in exactly the same way, and it's not so much that it's fruitless to nitpick "science ideas" like a spore drive or time crystals; it's that this was never a science fiction show and was never intended to be. Sure, the marketing would insist that it was, a pure continuation of the Trek tradition, but come on, we know these showrunners. And they were apparently not going to pick someone new For S3 who was diametrically opposite. This was always another in the LOST/Fringe tradition of scientific fantasy, more in the C.S. Lewis camp than Isaac Asimov, and its focus was always going to be the zany twists and turns of its characters. From that standpoint the show would stand or fall on whether you were in love with the characters or not. I'm willing to bet that the majority of the show's problems from this standpoint rest on two issues:

1) It is actually a big deal for a Trek fan to be told that it's science fiction, when it's really not. For LOST fans, sure, they were misled time and again, but they were ok with a new property doing its own thing and mixing genres. But when someone wants sci-fi they WANT SCI-FI. There is really zero room for negotiation there.

2) Many people don't like Michael as a character. That is pretty much the start and finish of any review they would need to write: it's the Michael show, they don't like the Michael, so they don't like the show. If every word out of her mouth is poetry to you, you will be entertained. I'm not saying this is bad, it's just what the deal is. And not every show must be damned if this is so. For instance if you found Muldur annoying on X-Files I'm not sure how you'd ever enjoy the show (admittedly even that show is a duo, not a solo act). Fringe similarly became a veritable one-woman show. The reason I think LOST fared so well was that it, shall we say, diversified its interests in a vast array of characters, leaving it open to dispose of characters they had no further use for. There was something for everyone on that show.

Beyond the sci-fi issue and the Michael issue there is more fundamental technical stuff, like bad plotting, at times incompetent editing, story red herrings, lines that are so derivative you wonder if it's some kind of postmodern statement, and character beats that are awkward and forced. All of these quality control issues matter and will affect how professional it all looks, but even so I feel like these will qualitatively affect how well the story plays for you. More visible flaws and the more you have to work to suspend disbelief. A plot point lurches ahead suddenly, you go "huh?", and it takes some pains to get back into it. But individually these are not gamebreaking problems, even though cumulatively they add up. But the sci-fi and Burnham issues are really a point of no return if you're on the wrong side of them. Nothing else could really salvage a scientific fantasy show about one person you dislike, when what they want is a scientific ensemble show. It's just game over.
Frank A. Booze
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
One of the few things I liked about this episode was Stamets looking away from Burnham at the end, which lets us know he is not okay with her (as he sees her as the hypocrite that she is).

I can only hope that season 4 is about Stamets organizing a mutiny to take over Discovery, and reinstate Saru as the rightful captain. And because the Discovery crew would have “gotten a result” in displacing Michael, Admiral Vance would be okay with the mutiny.

More seriously though...

@Peter G

You are right. If you dislike Burnham, and with her being the center of attention, then it is almost impossible to enjoy the show, and therefore shouldn’t watch it. It’s frustrating though, because the supporting cast is all good. Saru, Stamets, Culber, Tilly (prior to this season), Book, Adira, are all good characters. Reno could be good if she was on more frequently, and did more than make sassy comments. And who knows? Develop the bridge crew and one of the actors might surprise you (look what happened with O’Brien in TNG).

Alas, this isn’t going to happen. As people have said, this is Star Trek: Burnham.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
By this point, I wonder if monetizing an intellectual property in this day and age is something akin to a Ponzi Scheme or Pyramid Scheme, and the fact of the matter is that they can mathematically determine how bad a show they can make, and still get the profit margin they want out of it.

Because it definitely gives off a vibe of "I literally don't care about any of this Star Trek nonsense or if the story is good."

I'm sensing that it gives off that vibe, because that is how they feel, making it.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
"Space battles should look like ships engaging each other, not the light show at the Disney Main Street Electrical Parade." YES. THANK YOU.
Tim C
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 10:06pm (UTC -6)
Great review Jammer, and I find myself agreeing on nearly everything. Particularly the egregious turbolift fight; the episode was never going to win me back after that.
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, you're no fuddy-duddy. You know what the hell good entertainment is and is not. Discovery is not even bad entertainment-- it's terrible, incoherent and nonsensical fantasy. It's made by children, for children. It's also pretty hateful for a show called Star Trek. Yum yum. Just ask that guy Gene who got swept up off the floor. All the tears for fake promotions, but no tears for an officer who lived his dream in Starfleet and tried his best in life.

That baggage you mentioned comprises all the past examples--and there are numerous, even uploaded on YouTube for FREE (hint hint, Hollywood)--of Star Trek done right. In 50+ years, the franchise hasn't always been great. There are terrible examples even amongst the first 3 seasons of it (Spock's Brain)! But the GREAT examples are there--have been there--for DECADES now. Doing your homework is boring. But doing your homework actually does matter sometimes. Is it so wrong at this point to say: "Hey writers, go check out those all-timer examples and take some notes on 'em" hahaha? These creatives don't seem to care about making timeless art that will stand strong for generations to come. It's about making a few dollars off of already-uber distracted audiences. SO glad marketing departments are in charge of writing rooms these days.

Personally speaking, my hope is that some young hotshot college student out there, who perhaps appreciates retro and is inspired by the great, timeless stories of yesteryear (ya know, ones that contain real poignant allegories that make you think, universal themes, deep character growth that's earned), watches these modern day video game programs and says FUCK THIS. Someone, someday, will be inspired to do better when they're in the Hollywood captain's chair, right? You're telling me there's a chance??
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
"Discovery either must not want to learn, or thinks it's doing exactly what it wants to be doing."

Yeah, given the way I see people fawning over the show and its creators (which, you know, you do you), I don't see them feeling the need to course-correct any time soon.

Don't think I hated this as much as the last season finale, but that's likely due to how often I tend to just zone out watching the show now. The season was basically nonsense (I don't even want to think about how the big mystery plot comes together) and full of missed opportunities in terms of character arcs (hey, remember Nhan?) and world-building. Not without its moments, but overall predictably disappointing, as ever. Will probably keep watching because it's Star Trek and I basically feel cursed to stick with it at this point.
The Queen
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 12:07am (UTC -6)
Booming: "Maybe they have a system? She asks the scientist always like this: "Could it be possible that feeling too much could make a crystal explode?" to which the scientist always says: "It could be possible but..." She then always cuts the scientist off: "Ok, that is all we need to know."

I think you've got it!
grey cat
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 9:17am (UTC -6)
I see many review sites and forums seem to quite like DSC. Certainly not the general loathing (which I personally share) or dislike that you see here.

So perhaps they ARE doing what they set out to do: Make a whole audience for Star Trek which is nothing like that old one. Get away from the "geeky/nerdy" cerebral Star Trek of old and go for a kind of "whatever, it looks good who cares if it make sense?". More of an action Star Trek with not much characterization or plot that makes any sense.

They certainly succeeded in that. It's not for me but perhaps it will be liked by a broader audience than Star Trek of old.

Maybe the next big screen Star Trek movie will have Captain Burnham at the helm. If there even are big screen movies anymore.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 9:34am (UTC -6)
I guess this does follow in Andromeda’s footsteps more than it would care to admit.

Starts out with a decent premise > ignores it in favor of action hour nonsense and silly, over the top emoting about the importance of our main character.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 10:06am (UTC -6)
When you hire the writer of Transformers 1 and 2 aka Kurtzman then you know what you want. Maybe that is the reason for Burnham as a character. Kurtzman making amends for the horribly sexist and pretty racist Transformer movies.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:15am (UTC -6)
That Jammer's wife enjoyed this says it all to me. There's a demographic CBS is catering to and it may not be us but it's working for them, I guess.

I really do hope that the showrunners get wind of the negative feedback for this season and make some serious changes to improve the writing. After all, I think whether we hate or like the show a little, ideally we'd all want to see a more successful and stimulating Star Trek show on the air, right?

On another note, CBS All Access has been glitched for a couple days and wouldn't let me cancel my subscription. It's probably an amazing coincidence but the timing is still pretty amusing...
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Jammer's review is spot on. Extremely anticlimactic episode.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:36am (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN
By the way I will soon start counting down. You said that before his first year is over Kamala (not the drug from nBSG) will 25ing Biden. If that doesn't come true then you will have to give back your crystal ball to the clairvoyance society! :)
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:55am (UTC -6)
''The editing is overly aggressive, with excessive cuts and obnoxious camera work. (Director Olatunde Osunsanmi must've asked himself, "How many needless 180-degree camera rotations can we fit into one episode?") ''

Not just in this episode, as the season went on this semi-rotation camera technique, literally had to make me press pause because it was nauseating.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Ok but the these specific camera rotations were unusual. Could it be that they realized that if they don't confuse the audience on every level then the audience would realize that this is all garbage?!!
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer, great review! Agree with pretty much everything. I am curious what types of shows your wife likes? Is she a science fiction fan? I'm curious how many people out there (if any) like serious sci fi shows such as BSG and the Expanse and also like Discovery.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 12:57pm (UTC -6)
@ Jammer,

"Unless I missed it, which is possible, the mystery of the music that accompanied the Burn distress call is a dead-end red herring. No explanation is given for why so many people know the song."

Good catch, I - and apparently the writers, completely forgot about that.

Great review, I summarily change my rating to 2.0 stars.
John Harmon
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 1:00pm (UTC -6)
“Will season four make better efforts to explore the Federation and the 32nd century? I sure hope so, but that's what I hoped for this season. Maybe this season was simply to get us here and next season will be committed to living here. One can hope, I guess.”

It feels like we all keep saying this every season. Like, maybe next season will be better and more developed. But it never happens. At some point it’s our own fault.
John Harmon
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 1:03pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, I think you’d love The Expanse. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s genuinely great modern sci-fi. It would be amazing to get reviews on it from you, but even if you didn’t do that I think you’d enjoy the show. The characters make sense and feel like real people, the motivations make sense, the world building is extremely thought out, it doesn’t rely on mystery boxes and ridiculous narrative twists. I can’t recommend it enough.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
ok ok NO, don't tell Jammer to watch the Expanse!

1. Jammer is a German noun meaning misery (unrelated point)
2. In these times the only thing I would recommend to an American is Xanax or hugging your loved ones, whatever is closer.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
The Expanse is a great show, it actually gets better form season to season but starting it now... man it's not very uplifting.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming

I never said she'd be 25ing him by the the end of the year.

It makes more sense for her to have questions of his cognizance come to a head at two years and a day into his term. Then she can run for two more elections.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
But if she gets rid of him quickly then she could be President for 11 years!!! Maybe you haven't heard but she is a radical leftist. The Soviet Union of America is coming, comrade!
Paulus Marius Rex
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 3:38pm (UTC -6)
Bang on Jammer. You expressed it all just as I wish I could have had I not been blubbering to myself incoherently at the end of that mess. At least this season had a string of three good episodes in a row. (3-4-5? I can't remember exactly which ones.) My wish for Season 4 or any other future iteration of Star Trek: please can we stop with so much action, fisticuffs, gunfights? We've seen it all before. Boooooring. Yawn. I would like some intelligent, thoughtful writing instead please pretty please
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
@philadlj I KNOW RIGHT..was I the only one who thought those scenes were INSIDE THE FEDERATION HEADQUARTERS OR INSIDE THE EMERALD CHAIN SHIP THE VIRUBIN?? It looked to massive and elaborate to be Discovery..

Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
It has been a pleasure.
This is goodby
I wish you all the best.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
grey cat said:

"I see many review sites and forums seem to quite like DSC. Certainly not the general loathing (which I personally share) or dislike that you see here.

So perhaps they ARE doing what they set out to do: Make a whole audience for Star Trek which is nothing like that old one. Get away from the "geeky/nerdy" cerebral Star Trek of old and go for a kind of "whatever, it looks good who cares if it make sense?". More of an action Star Trek with not much characterization or plot that makes any sense."

^ I think there is a lot of truth in this. It's mindboggling to me that traditional Trek fans can think that these modern shows are well written. What really gets me is that there is a subset of fans who will concoct 3,000 word essays to explain away a minor flub while simultaneously being unable to detect a plot hole a mile wide.
John Harmon
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:58pm (UTC -6)
@Booming I don’t know if Expanse is all that depressing. It’s dreary and bleak, but the main characters are good people trying to do the right thing which gives the series the hope and humanity it needs. Of course I’m only early into season 2.

Watching the pilot, I feel like Discovery tried to rip off The Expanse in its first season. Both shows start off with a first officer undermining their captain to do what they feel is right and getting almost everyone killed. The difference is this was well done in The Expanse. Both main characters frequently put the weight of the world on their shoulders, but the difference is in The Expanse it makes sense and feels earned. And in that show, other characters call Holden out for this.
grey cat
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
The Expanse isn't uplifting no, but it does at least fill me with a sense of wonder at the amazing things that could be in the vastness of space (like TOS and TNG did and VOY/ENT to a lesser extent)
Nothing but the Tears
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 5:29pm (UTC -6)
I think that’s a great point about “The Expanse”. It csn get pretty bleak at time. But there’s always hope and there’s a sense of wonder.
John Harmon
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
nBSG was bleak, but at its core there was a real hopefulness about the resiliency of humans. And you had those main characters that at their core were just good people. That’s what you need in bleak sci-fi, characters that feel like real, good people to ground it and keep people interested.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
what a letdown.

i really liked the concept of the burn and its consequences. and then the big reveal is: it was all because a kid got its emotions hurt, plus technobabble worth of two geordie laforge supercuts?

are you kidding me? youre kidding me, right?

dear god, this is truly lazy as F. absolutely horrible. and again, burnam saves the universe, which at this point is an event that triggers nothing more than an eye roll for me. oh and shes so very emotional about it!

i dont want to blame the actor. but its done so so so so wrong. you cannot have a character getting all emotional over her own importance. it screams narcissism where it should not. it completely sabotages the character, and it has now done so so often that the burnam character is almost pure cringe for me. not a good starting point for next season, which i still intend to watch because im just too much into star trek to not watch it. and i never belonged to those who by principle detested new trek. always want to give it a chance. and sometimes, discovery managed to entertain.

but this "burnam saves the universe, part X" needs to stop. at this point, she must have saved the universe as often as archer has been thrown to jail or something :-D

make it stop!

and pleeeeease do some universe building. i really dont know what it is with this show, but despite all the CGI orgies, absolutely never has this show managed to establish anything that even closely resembles the depth of previous shows scale. this continues to look like the biggest waste of potential for me. trek with its complex universe where millions of viewers know all the details about klingons, vulcans, romulans (and their complicated history), caradassians, bajorans (and their complicated history), parts of the delta and gamma quadrant...soooo much stuff to work with. its basically a complex canvas like game of thrones, minus having to first explain who is who for 4 seasons. what more could you ask for as starting point for telling an engaging series in todays stream-binging world?

but no - what we really need is burnam this, burnam that, burnam sad bout this, burnam crying tears of joy bout that (funny how much they overcompensated for their initial mistake of making the main lead a somewhat emotionless quasi vulcan, eh?) while after 3 (three!!!) seasons i still know next to nothing about pretty much everyone on the bridge that im supposed to care about.

well, i now know that whateverhernameis can....hold her breath for very very long. i guess that must count for something.

oh man. please, discovery, learn a few lessons for season 4. pretty pretty please. take some cues from the mandalorian: listening to the fans and getting a feel for whats important in the die hard fans minds is NOT a waste of time.

Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
I stopped watching this garbage mid-way through this season, but I still come back for the joy of seeing Jammer slate it in the reviews. Thanks, Jammer. If anything will get me watching again it would be a really positive review ... I'll not hold my breath.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 9:51pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, great review, and I especially want to vigorously cosign this part:

"I don't usually nitpick the technical details, but this scene cries out for attention because it's so ridiculous. Based on the looks of this, 80 percent of Discovery must be a hollow, uncrewed space in order to make room for these elevator canyons (which perhaps double as the ship's indoor football arena). It takes you right out of the show, because you're aware of the writers and VFX wizards going out of their way to jettison any sense of plausibility in order to give us some Kewl Graphx."

This OTOH was a depressing thought:

"My wife liked this episode, and thought it did all the necessary things, which made me think that maybe this show is better for newer Trek audience members versus the fuddy-duddies in the audience like me who bring all their baggage and feel a need to compare it to the glory days."

@Nick: "I can't comment on the TOS points, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't watched most of those episodes. But the points seem pretty accurate for all the other series. I would personally but VOY ahead of ENT but they are similar in points which I think is fair. As a high level gauge it makes sense with TNG and DS9 in the top tier, VOY and ENT in the second tier, and DIS significantly below."

No need to be ashamed: I myself as of a year or two ago had probably not watched more than a half dozen TNG episodes (just in the past few months I have increased that number to three or four times as many, but I still have not seen the vast majority of the series). But I would definitely recommend watching it! Still my favorite Trek series.

Don't forget BTW that those points only compare the third season of each series, and TOS is known for having taken a dip (not sure if it's that much though).

@TJ: "So ‘the burn’ was caused by an orphaned kid on a dilithium-rich planet who sees his dead mother and screams?"

When you put it that way, it sounds kind of dumb!

Does anyone think they had this explanation figured out when they introduced the Burn? I don't. They had to come up with something and they apparently couldn't think of anything good.

@Booming: "At least on imdb season 3 is by far the weakest with an average of 6.6"

Which is actually even more damning than it appears. Typically ratings go up on a series, at least for a while, as viewers who don't like it drop out and stop rating episodes. This can sometimes change after many seasons as longtime, diehard fans become disappointed by a drop in quality; but S3 is a bit early for that.

For me, this season had two or three of the best episodes of the series (and they were later in the season than many people like Jammer are saying). But it also had some awful ones and a very disappointing throughline (like the other seasons, but possibly worse).

@Bob: "Lorca: 'If things are going so great with one kid in a cellar just imagine how awesome things would get with TEN kids a cellar.'"

LOL, well observed.

I agree BTW with @MidshipmanNorris that it's pretty hard to see any parallels between this season and the LeGuin story.

@RedD: "I have a potty mouth in real life so I'm not averse to swearing in general but I don't expect to hear people effing and blinding on Star Trek."

Personally, this is not one of my issues with the show. It brought us one of the best moments, when the admiral talks about how the food is made from shit.

@Peter G: "Fringe turned out to be no different, at first a hardcore X-Files type show, actually migrating itself more toward straight-out sci-fi, and finally settling on being more like Narnia and idolizing its female lead and making her the center of the world (ring a bell?)."

I'd agree except that the shark-jump for me was when it (spoiler alert) made the fates of two universes dependent on which version of his girlfriend the main *male* lead lurved the most. Blech.

Good analysis of the three-pronged fatal flaws of Discovery though.

@John Harmon: "It feels like we all keep saying this every season. Like, maybe next season will be better and more developed. But it never happens. At some point it’s our own fault."

Yeah, it's supposed to be "Fool me twice, shame on me." I've been fooled three times now, and I'm determined not to make it a fourth (like someone else said, if I see a whole season of mostly 3+ star reviews from Jammer, I will go back and check it out). I feel the same about Westworld BTW, although I still think the first season of that show was pretty good.

BTW, with all the criticism I should give credit where it is due. I was ready to say it's impossible to hold your breath for ten minutes. But a little Googling taught me that it is not! Fair enough, TIL something.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
To whomever said this in the thread somewhere..

Yes, an old Kelpian with a beard looks like Lorien. I had a chuckle when I first saw him :)
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:32am (UTC -6)
Why does everyone seem to like Jet Reno? To me she is just an annoying woman. Does it come from you guys knowing her from other sources? I hear she is a comedian.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 2:01am (UTC -6)
I think grey cat and H are right. To the mainstream audience the show is not as bad as many of you think. I know it isn’t that bad to me. Also it seems you guys seem to get much pleasure bad mouthing it. From the perspective of the show’s creators, you old fans are few in number and you would watch it anyway just to condemn it. No wonder they make it tailored to the audience who would just leave if they don’t like the show. This site thrives catering to old fans having fun that way. I think it is not a bad hobby.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 5:04am (UTC -6)
@water, I don’t think the public at large likes Discovery.

When you look at all 42 episodes of Discovery ranked at IMDB, there are no Season 3 episodes in the top 10. None. Zero.,desc&count=250&view=advanced

Even the public at large thinks the quality of Discovery has dropped off for episodes 30 to 42.

When I contrast Discovery with TNG, the difference is shocking.

For episodes 30 to 42 of TNG, the ranking at IMDB gives us,

# 5 Measure of a Man (episode 35)
# 8 Q Who (episode 42)
# 44 Matter of Honor (episode 34)
# 66 Contagion (episode 37)
# 78 Time Squared (episode 39)

That’s right, 5 episodes from episodes 30 to 42 of TNG make it to the top half. That Includes two top-10 episodes!,desc&st_dt=&mode=detail&page=1

And remember, the competition to get into the top 10 for TNG is 4 times greater than for Discovery - because there are 4 times more episodes.

By contrast, only 3 episodes from episodes 30 to 42 of Discovery make it to the top half, meaning 9 episodes are below average. And the highest Season 3 Discovery episode is ranked #15. None are in the top 10.


The quality of this season of Discovery has fallen dramatically, as is obvious to the public at large - far beyond @Jammer’s website.

That is in sharp contrast to where we were by episode 42 in TNG.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 7:24am (UTC -6)
Well the show has been renewed. It must be an expensive show to make. I just said the show is not as bad as many of you think.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 10:54am (UTC -6)
"To the mainstream audience the show is not as bad as many of you think"

This is totally anecdotal, but of the few people I know who watch the show who aren't massive Trek nerds, I don't think any of them have had been very happy with the it. I have read comments by people who thought the show improved during season 2 and some who said nice things about some of the episodes of season three, but by the end it seemed like the opinions were negative or the people had just stopped watching altogether.

Like I said that isn't exactly a scientific poll so take that with a grain (or ton) of salt.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
Discovery has a logistical problem that I don't think I've thought about up until now.

It is trying to be more serialized, in less time per season, than previous Trek shows had to be.

Doesn't anyone else see why that would be a bad idea? You are basically forced to boil down the plot to a "Digest Version" of what would constitute an actual story. I don't want to watch a show written like it's the Cliff Notes. I want to see the story.

Going light on tech, I don't mind. You will notice that the technical scientific stuff doesn't bother me a lot, I hope. I am willing to let that all be handwaved away. Characterization and plot consistency, I am not willing to give up ground on. 45 minute episodes, 20-24 times per season, with less serialization, compared with 1 hour episodes 12-15 times per season, is too much to have to cut, and I feel it hurts the show in terms of it being able to give actual weight to the story.

Think about it. If you could watch back through Discovery, with an episode added every two episodes, that fleshes out the story and goes into the side characters' lives a bit more, wouldn't that fix a lot of the problems that we're having with it?

Sure give them Megaman guns, whatever guys, but what's it *about?*
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:21pm (UTC -6)

"Discovery has a logistical problem that I don't think I've thought about up until now. It is trying to be more serialized, in less time per season, than previous Trek shows had to be. Doesn't anyone else see why that would be a bad idea? You are basically forced to boil down the plot to a "Digest Version" of what would constitute an actual story. I don't want to watch a show written like it's the Cliff Notes. I want to see the story."

There's nothing inherently wrong with a serialized model. It's been around for ages, it's only relatively new to Star Trek. Serialized shows can also be very episodic while spending only a small amount of time on the larger seasonal story per episode. DS9 operates on a seasonal plotline that is addressed intermittently throughout otherwise episodic content.

This season actually shifted more towards being episodic and less on the series mystery compared to prior seasons. However, all this means nothing if the writers can't make a good episodic *or* serialized story. Unlike other successful shows I've watched, Discovery relies way too much on gimmicks to make one keep watching, Mysteries are rarely explained or if they are explained it's in a one-minute scene at the end of the episode which only makes it feel perfunctory.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
Semi-serialized is the way to go, imo. Nothing wrong with a nice mix of standalone and serialized stories. And who says each season has to have one major storyline that is wrapped up in the last episode?
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
I think 12-13 episodes is plenty for a serialized storyline. I mean, people used to make 2 hour films with a complete story, I don't see why 13 hours isn't enough...
Paul M.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
Absolutely. There are countless examples of well-crafted serialized season of TV than span 10-13 episodes. It's been a cable TV standard for many years now. If anything, the opposite is true. It's hard to sustain an engaging and well-paced storyline over 20+ episodes.
Paul M.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
Ugh, am I always so lazy to spellcheck before I post?
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 2:24pm (UTC -6)
I must point out that the Orville has managed to lay the groundwork for an entire scifi universe and juggle several arcs while also telling a bunch of standalone Trekkish stories and they managed to do that in only 26 episodes (2 seasons).

Discovery has failed. It's as simple as that.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 2:26pm (UTC -6)
"I don't see why 13 hours isn't enough..."

Should the Dominion War arc been wrapped up in one season?

All I'm saying is that a storyline shouldn't have an arbitrary deadline other than the last episode of a series. If the best way to tell a story is over multiple seasons, do so. If you can best tell a story in 1 episode, do so.
Mayor of Utopia Planetia
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
Perfect account of all the shortcomings of this series, especially the forced effort of showing how "awesome" Burnham is - enough, we get it.

And after all that awesomeness on display, her mission as captain of the Discovery is that of Star Fleet Dithiium delivery driver. Awesome!

My hope is that the story line tacks to show how Star Fleet rebuilds itself, through the experiences of Discovery. Most of the season long arcs - The Burn, Section 31 - have not been really well executed. It may be better to move toward the TOS anthology type of story telling for Season 4.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
You just know that by the end of season 5 Burnham is going to be the new president of the Federation.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
“I must point out that the Orville has managed to lay the groundwork for an entire scifi universe and juggle several arcs while also telling a bunch of standalone Trekkish stories and they managed to do that in only 26 episodes (2 seasons).”

The Orville couldn’t maintain its network audience and has no production schedule for a third season with somewhere else yet. I wouldn’t call that a success.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
I don't think there's anything wrong with doing a serialized season in 13 episodes. Enterprise did some micro serialization with a bunch of stories in 2-3 episode arcs and I thought it worked quite well.

I often wonder if the people who like Discovery are not really science fiction fans, or if there's something about the show I'm just missing. It kind of reminds me of the Arrow or Flash TV shows. They aren't bad shows, but it's basically mindless action and the plots don't make any sense for the most part. Absolutely nothing of any substance and certainly nothing thought provoking. It's entertaining enough if you go into it with the right expectations.

I think the reviews of the end of season three were mixed or negative but there do seem to be a decent amount of people who liked it which leads me to believe I'm missing something.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 5:29pm (UTC -6)
"I think the reviews of the end of season three were mixed or negative but there do seem to be a decent amount of people who liked it which leads me to believe I'm missing something."

occam's razor: you have good taste.
Troy G
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
I think it’s time to cut your losses with this show. Losses being, your time investment. Under Star Trek’s current leadership Discovery has no hope of getting better. However you define “better” in this context it is apparent that Star Trek Discovery will not be good Star Trek not good television.

In addition to Canon violations that permeate the whole show, the first season had plots that went no where, two plot resets, and a lack of confidence which is apparent in the “explanations “ in season two ,which wasn’t much better with its overwrought and convoluted story.

To be fair, I only watched the first episode of season three so I can’t comment on the rest of the season. But by then I’ve had enough.

I’ve read all your discovery reviews and believe you are being too kind. When I saw your One Star rating I just knew you were about to make an announcement that you were finished reviewing Discovery. Alas, you didn’t. But I just don’t see why you would want to continue.

Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 6:24pm (UTC -6)
The vibe I get from people who like this show on Twitter and Reddit is that they love how "emotional" it is, they love their superhero Burnham, and the college brochure-style corporate box-checking is just, like, so incredible and important.

I think the STD creators are making exactly what they want: a superhero show thickly layered with bombast and emotion (mostly crying). The dynamic between Saru and Micheal this season is like a microcosm of the show in general; Saru is the most Trek character they have, so he must be pushed aside to make room for the superhero Burnham. Micheal will always save the day, she will always be the center of everything because that is how superhero stories work. Melodrama, bombast, and platitudes: these are the hallmarks of superhero media, and it's also what makes them so insipid and boring- er, I mean, so obscenely popular.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 7:15pm (UTC -6)
@ Patrick


Sorry to burst your bubble, but they are finishing filming the third season of The Orville right now (after Corona delays) and it should be coming out on Hulu in a few months. They have a bigger budget than ever before and every episode will be almost an hour in length, if not longer.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
I wasn't too disappointed with the explanation for the Burn given in this episode, nor was I when it was hinted at in "Su'Kal" -- found this moderately interesting:
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 7:33pm (UTC -6)
“but they are finishing filming the third season of The Orville right now”

They’re delayed due to corona and haven’t started production which means there’s at least six months of work left on it:

Shows can get canceled at this stage. My point was only that you shouldn’t be bragging about its success. Discovery has been greenlighted for a Fifth season.
John Harmon
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
“The Orville couldn’t maintain its network audience and has no production schedule for a third season with somewhere else yet. I wouldn’t call that a success.”

The Orville shifting to Hulu was a result of Disney buying Fox. Everything got shifted around. Their production delays have been due to COVID. Also it’s just straight up a better show than Discovery.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 8:01pm (UTC -6)
@ Patrick

They filmed six episodes before the first lockdown and came back and filmed another month before the XMas shutdown (which has been delayed by a week).

Despite your protestations of doom and gloom, it'll be back on screens by summer.
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
Great review Jammer!
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
I have said I'm out after this season finale (unless I see a bunch of good Jammer star ratings by the time next season ends), but I actually don't know if this season was really any worse than the others. It was very disappointing as a whole, but it also contained the two or three best individual episodes of the series. (shrug)

@Patrick: The Orville went back into production over a month ago:

As for the link you posted, here's a quote from it: "The Orville and 15 other shows like This Is Us, Black-ish, and Last Man Standing will remain on holiday hiatus instead of their previous production start dates of Monday, January 11th. The current plan is for these shows to be back in production the following week of January 18th, so the delay isn't much longer than planned."

A week's delay, after they already filmed some episodes in December, does not line up with your repeated claim that they "haven’t started production".
grey cat
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 5:27am (UTC -6)
I certainly don't enjoy bad mouthing DSC. I find it utterly depressing that this is what Star Trek is now and I don't enjoy it at all.

Although I did mostly enjoy PIC and Strange New World's has Anson Mount so it can't be all bad.

IMDB is a weird one on DSC. All the most recent reviews absolutely hate it (S3). And it's not like people only leave reviews when they hate something (look at Mr Robot's reviews for example - pretty much all gave 10/10). Yet the rating remains 7.2. Which is pretty decent.
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 7:42am (UTC -6)
I don't enjoy bad mouthing DSC either. I actually thought this season started out with a lot of promise and had some decent episodes at the beginning. I wasn't overly critical of the show until the Su'Kal episode. Season 3 really crashed and burned at the end IMO. The writing got worse and more lazy as the season went on. By the finale it felt like they didn't even care anymore.
Paul M.
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 8:24am (UTC -6)
Despite some reservations, I thought the season was going along just fine until around mid-point when it started going downhill and fast. Unification III was the last episode I enjoyed. After that... shudder...
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 9:01am (UTC -6)

Several of the comments on this review use the wrong pronouns for Adira. Leaving this unchallenged sends a message that you're OK with this.
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 10:04am (UTC -6)
No, me not challenging something is not my approval of anything. There's all kinds of stuff posted in the comments I'm not "OK with," but that's not the bar for my action here. As I've made clear, the only things that get moderated, edited, or removed are those that blatantly break the rules (and sometimes not even those).
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 10:08am (UTC -6)
@Grey you realize Adira is not a real person right?
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 11:26am (UTC -6)
"Several of the comments on this review use the wrong pronouns for Adira. Leaving this unchallenged sends a message that you're OK with this."

Oh no Jammer is officially CANCELLED
Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 11:42am (UTC -6)
@ Gray

Why is censoring other's thoughts considered okay nowadays?

Your personal offense is not the barometer by which everyone else must be judged.
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 12:23pm (UTC -6)

@Yanks: "My Median was 2.5 so using this guidance 'If M > 2.5, award five bonus points. If M < 2.5, subtract three points.', I gave DS9 four points here."

"No, my intention there is that if the median is exactly 2.5 (which I think is going to be pretty common), you don't add OR subtract anything. So I guess you could say it's zero points. So I guess DS9's S3 would be only 14 points. Sounds like you didn't like it too well! I assume Jammer has it higher. (Maybe if we're just comparing S3's, I'll give it a whirl here in a bit.)"

Thanks. Sorry I misinterpreted your process.

I didn't think DS9 got good-to-great until the Dominion entered the picture.
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Grey is just trolling or joking surely.

I always liked DS9 but I don't think it was truly awesome until the Jem'hdar did the suicide run on the galaxy class ship and destroyed it. It was a "shit just got real" moment.

Is that s4? The Visitor is somewhere around there. One of my all time faves.

As for DSC I got too bored to finish this season. No likeable enough characters for me. Saru was slowly being destroyed.

The comments section here is way more interesting.
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 12:12am (UTC -6)
Has anyone listened to the season 3 review on Wired's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast? I was disappointed that the kinds of criticisms we have levelled at the show were generally not represented among any of the four panelists. Maybe I should say three panelists, because one of them, Sara Lynn Michener, is an uber-woke fangirl who has never been able to see the slightest flaw in anything the show does. Which is not just wrongheaded but boring, unless maybe you set up a drinking game to chug every time she answers "I loved it" when asked about any specific character or plot point (just watch out for alcohol poisoning, lol).

But the host, David Barr Kirtley, is a talented science fiction writer who has been willing in the past to excoriate SF that doesn't ring true for him (the recent Star Wars movies for example). He has a few criticisms, but they are mostly muted and complaining about things I don't think any of us minded (like Detmer's brutal haiku at the dinner table).

@Nick: "Season 3 really crashed and burned at the end IMO. The writing got worse and more lazy as the season went on. By the finale it felt like they didn't even care anymore."

The finale was terrible, but the penultimate episode was IMO easily the best of the series. It was retrospectively tarnished by the conclusion being so botched, but as a weekly episode of TV it was shockingly great. And although it didn't get as rapturous a reception from others here, if you go back and look at the comments there was a lot of "that was surprisingly not that bad".
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 3:34am (UTC -6)
Hang on, my bad: Sara Lynn Michener did actually have two criticisms of the season! (I had not finished the podcast when I posted.)

She thinks Kira should have talked about her pronouns earlier; and she is very disappointed that they did not include a scene of “Saru admitting that Michael is the better leader” (verbatim quote!) followed by Michael reassuring him not to worry, he tried his best. (eyeroll, gag)
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 9:07am (UTC -6)
I rarely ever post on here, but Disco has gotten so absurd I don’t even know where to start.

Throughout the season I have never seen more unearned moments than what I have seen on this show.

The crew could have cared less about gorgiou yet when she dies she gets a better send off and tribute than DATA!!!’ (At least before Picard). That is ridiculous.

Tilly as ensign???? Don’t even get me started! How about some basic chain of command.

The crew is crying constantly. I have never seen a more unprofessional crew in my life.

One word. Turbo lift shafts. Enough said about that.

The burn being caused by some emotional child’s outburst.... omg.

This show is a disaster. I wish they would just call it non canon and cancel it and start over. It’s the laziest writing I have ever seen.
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 9:08am (UTC -6)
My autocorrect spaced out turbolift. And I meant to put two words. I am well aware turbo lift shafts is three words. My emotions and rage got the better of me.
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 9:29am (UTC -6)
“Tilly as ensign???? Don’t even get me started!”

Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 9:33am (UTC -6)
Somewhat on topic, I watched the Ready Room for the season finale which had SMG, Olatunde Osunsanmi, and Michelle Paradise and during the interview each one of them started crying at one point when talking about how amazing the show is. It gave me insight into why the characters act like they do on the show (frequent outbursts, constant crying, etc.) and also made me realize that my criticism that "nobody acts like that in real life" might be unfair. Some people really DO act like that in real life.
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 9:55am (UTC -6)
Anybody have any recommendations for someone looking for shows or books similar to Star Trek?
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
Some people definitely do act like that in real life.

You wouldn't to serve with them on a military vessel in life of death situations though.
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
The fact that Voyager's Threshold got ZERO stars and this steaming pile of sh*te has got 1.5 stars tells me Jammer has really mellowed over the years LOL. Personally I think this episode is Threshold-level bad.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 5:46pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming

She can't be President for 11 years.

The maximum time a President is allowed to serve is 9 years and 364 days (and that's only if a VP takes over with less than 2 years to go into the end of the term and then wins two more times).
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
Dave is correct.
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
Correct, that is, about the maximum time a president can possibly serve (and only if they started as vice president, taking over from a president who dies, resigns, or is incapacitated). I *don't* believe he is correct that Harris is plotting to use the 25th Amendment. I think she intends to do it the standard way, running in the Democratic primaries in 2024 (assuming Biden announces he won't seek reelection, which I think is likely).
grey cat
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 7:32pm (UTC -6)
@RedD It's all subjective of course but Jammer has given them all around a star more than I would for pretty much every episode and I think is far too lenient on this series in general.

I'd rather watch Threshold 13 times than this season again.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 5:58am (UTC -6)
@grey cat. Totally agree. Jammer's been overly generous towards Discovery this season. Personally I would not give any episode over 2 stars this season.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 10:48am (UTC -6)
I'm almost positive that this has been asked before, but is there any chance of seeing some reviews of the old 70s cartoon series?
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 11:10am (UTC -6)

I watched Yesteryear for the first time in a decade and it's shocking how much more depth and narrative cohesion the 70's cartoon has in comparison to Nu-Trek.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Yeah, if anyone is going to watch just one episode of TAS "Yesteryear" should be it. It's not "City On the Edge of Forever" but I'd rank it higher than about 40 episodes of TOS and pretty much all of the last 15 years of Trek.

The Survivor, Eye of the Beholder, and One of Our Planets Is Missing also hold up very well, imo.

There are several crappy episodes too of course.
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 11:39am (UTC -6)
@ Bob

The episode where time runs backwards is pretty good too. The science doesn't make 100% sense, but it's still more realistic than the Spore Drive.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
"Is there any chance of seeing some reviews of the old 70s cartoon series?"

I mean, if he's not going to review a current animated Trek series that could get him hundreds of thousands more hits, what are the chances he'd review TAS? I came to the conclusion that Jammer doesn't really like comedies in general, or he doesn't like reviewing them. He even got a little peeved when he had to review the funny episodes of DS9. :-)
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
The people who liked these 3 seasons of Discovery, within 3 months of it being off the air, will have stopped talking about it altogether and moved on to the next 'trendy' thing.

However, none of the things they say about it have anything critical in them. Gush Bombing a show for funsies is as much a thing as Review Bombing it out of anger.

I myself, try to keep my criticisms objective and based on how much I enjoyed the story. I did not, btw. But that's beside the point.

These concrete details of how to make a story good, are still going to be true, after Star Trek Discovery has gone the way of the dodo bird. They really don't change much, even between wildly varying times and cultures. There's questions of what is and isn't interesting, and then there are basic underpinnings of a plot structure that can't be neglected, full stop. Discovery doesn't have that underpinning. I'm already tossing it on the pile that contains most of Star Trek: Voyager and all of Enterprise. Picard is getting the stinkeye too, if it doesn't shape up.

At this rate, I'm going to really have to pick up that there Foundation Trilogy my dad keeps going on about. Star Trek, as far as I'm concerned, is over.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
I'm holding out hope that Picard can turn it around. I didn't think the first season was great, but it wasn't terrible either. The acting talent is better, the series has more of a "sci fi" feel to it, and the themes and issues they explored had more substance compared to Discovery (though admittedly, that is a VERY low bar).

While I wouldn't say the writing was excellent, it was at least more cohesive throughout the season. I didn't get the sense (like I do with Discovery) that every hair brained idea the writers had got thrown into the script. Somebody was at least trying to check for quality control and consistently. Most importantly, the season didn't crash and burn at the end. I did have issues with the finale, but the scene with Picard and Data was the best scene in NuTrek by a mile, so it had redeeming qualities. Whereas the season finale of Discovery was just a massive disappointment from every possible angle.

The nicest thing about STP is people aren't having unprofessional outbursts all the time or breaking down sobbing while screaming "YOUR MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION, WHAAAA".
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
Also, Riker coming in to save the day was awesome. Frakes stole that scene. I'll admit I re-watched that about 5 times.
Paul M.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Eh, I didn't like the Riker-to-the-Rescue scene all that much, to be honest. Too manipulative for my tastes. The show also didn't follow through on it in any significant way, as Riker just goes away five minutes later like nothing happened. And of course I simply can't get over the hideousness of the copy-paste low-res fleet. That shot is a CGI embarrassment for year 2000 let alone 2020.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
"I'm almost positive that this has been asked before, but is there any chance of seeing some reviews of the old 70s cartoon series?"

TAS has been a back-burner would-be review project for nearly 15 years (ever since I got the DVD box set, still unwatched), but I was never able to motivate myself to start with everything else going on. Eventually.
grey cat
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
Must admit I've never seen any TAS or Lower Decks. I'm just not that into animated things for some reason. And I dare to call myself a Star Trek fan!?!?

@Nick wrote "The acting talent is better, the series has more of a "sci fi" feel to it"
"The nicest thing about STP is people aren't having unprofessional outbursts all the time or breaking down sobbing while screaming "YOU'RE MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION, WHAAAA".

This and 100% this. I could easily enjoy Picard if it kept at a similar level of quality (I mean ideally improve and get somewhere near The Expanse but I don't think the writing team have that in them realistically). I've actually rewatched the whole season of Picard already and enjoy it.

With DSC, I've only ever rewatched s2's "New Eden" and the s1 premier (to show a friend - they weren't impressed).
The Queen
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 6:49pm (UTC -6)
Midshipman Norris -

I practically teethed on the Foundation trilogy and consider it a "must read" for real science fiction, but I'm not sure how much it would appeal to modern tastes. It may read as a bit dated, and of course Asimov went very deep into characterization (although personally I think he did better than some people claim). If you've read other Golden Age SF, then you should be okay with that aspect. But if writers like Le Guin and Bujold and Robinson are more your style, you may be disappointed. IMHO you can't be a serious SF devotee without knowing Asimov, but I just wanted to warn you.

Don't take this as meaning that the books are no good. They're classics for a reason. But if you like a lot of "personal drama" in your SF, Asimov isn't the best source. He's all about science, and mysteries that can be solved.

One thing that is great about Asimov is that he isn't heavy on technologic explanations. He knew how to give you the background without getting lost in it. Good storytelling.

By the way, look up "The Ugly Little Boy" by him.
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
I agree with The Queen that the original trilogy is a bit quaint, but most of it holds up really well (I reread it about two years ago and enjoyed it immensely). Asimov had a eidetic memory and his books are extremely consistent in both terms of science and storytelling. Anyway, @Midshipman Norris you should definitely read it before Apple releases the TV Series because the show looks, how do I put this diplomatically... underwhelming? Plus, the books are ~250 pages which makes them a very light read.

If you want like a small taste of his robot books I'd also recommend the short story "Bicentennial Man" as well.
Dave in MN
Sun, Jan 17, 2021, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
For realistic interpersonal drama in Golden Age Scifi, I'm most partial to Frederick Pohl and James Tiptree, Jr.
John Harmon
Sun, Jan 17, 2021, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
“ TAS has been a back-burner would-be review project for nearly 15 years (ever since I got the DVD box set, still unwatched), but I was never able to motivate myself to start with everything else going on. Eventually.”

It would be great to get reviews on TAS. I genuinely love it. I mean there’s an episode of a kids cartoon from the 70’s where the heroes meet the actual Satan and it turns out he’s actually the good guy and the chilled dude around. I love it.

@Jammer, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Star Trek Continues as well. I know it’s a fan project, but it’s easily the best Star Trek fan product ever made. The TOS ship recreation is impeccable, its full of actual professional actors, there’s even Star Trek and other sci-fi tv cameos. In my head it is TOS season 4, it’s that well made.
Sun, Jan 17, 2021, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
I have only seen one episode of Star Trek Continues, but it featured an actor reprising his role from TOS (I think there was supposed to be some kind of temporal anomaly that made him age really quickly?), and it was excellent other than one or two actors that didn't quite seem up to professional par.
Sun, Jan 17, 2021, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
@Paul M, the CGI copy and paste was lazy for sure, but didn't ruin the scene for me. A bunch of identical ships may not be as visually appealing but at least it makes sense in-universe. If you build a fleet of ships at the same time for the same purpose, there's no reason to think you wouldn't build a bunch of identical ships assembly line style. Its the most efficient approach.

@greycat, I agree. The writing is definitely uneven though. Jammer said it in his review, it's hard to believe the writers who gave us that Picard and Data scene (which was excellent) gave us those stupid space tentacles minutes earlier (which was unbelievably dumb).

That was my biggest gripe. It would have been way more interesting if nothing came out and you are left to wonder what would have happened or maybe you see something but it's not clear what their intentions are. Instead, we got space tentacles (to reinforce to the five year olds in the audience that what they are looking at is EVIL). So dumb.
Sun, Jan 17, 2021, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
I waited until today to build up the courage to binge the last 4 episodes. Fearing well that this show could not redeem itself from it's mid season cliff dive.

This was so much worse then I expected, just beyond face palms. Completely incoherent plot. Discovery has a mile wide storage area. Just backwards writing. Backwards show.

If Doug Jones is gone, I'm gone. Fire everyone at CBS. Sell the rights to Disney for fuck sake.
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 12:54am (UTC -6)
Up until now, Arthur C. Clarke has been my hard sci-fi jam. I remember reading 2001 and Songs of Distant Earth. What struck me about them is that there were no moustache twirlers... No Khan, no Borg Queen, no Zareh, no Osyrra. The stories had danger, death, and tense situations, but they didn't have a scenery-chewing villain.

You can only do the same gimmick so many times, before it gets old. Leonard Nimoy knew that. Star Trek IV hasn't got a villain like this.

The thing about over the top villains is, they can't be built on shifting sands. Voq came out of nowhere, then evaporated into nothing. Harry Mudd went nowhere. Lorca, same difference (once it was revealed that he was a villain). Mirror Georgiou similarly went nowhere. Control went nowhere. Zareh and Osyrra went nowhere.

Khan worked as a villain, because Nick Meyer framed him properly, with historical context within the series, and there was some ceremony to his return, too (the "taking off the gloves and helmet" thing). In addition to that, Ricardo Montalban and Nick Meyer really sat down and did work on the way Khan was portrayed by Montalban.

You can't just churn out whatever drivel survived your little Survivor-esque vote in the writing room. The show loses its direction if you do that. If you can't write a decent villain, don't write a half assed one.

The question really becomes, at that point, why Star Trek seems addicted to beating this dead horse over and over. But like the detective in the police procedural who advises against probing too deeply into the mindset of the serial killer, it's probably best not to overanalyze what seems to merely be sloppy, ham-handed writing that got approved by a bunch of money grubbing ass kissers.
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Hot Take - Jammer's time would've been better spent watching Lower Decks than S3 of Discovery. At least LD has heart :/
Ensign Sisko
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 6:12pm (UTC -6)
Well, I wanted to be positive about this. I enjoyed more than a few episodes this season. But this was not a great episode. I agree with all the dropped story threads and plot developments that should have been set up better. The mystery box aspects of this series have long since gotten old. I'm hesitant about the 4th season. I'm looking forward to Strange New Worlds and Picard season 2, but this finale just didn't stick the landing for me. I have no issues with Burnham as Captain (I don't really have an issue with the main character taking center stage, and previous Trek series with the exception of DS9, have had issues with supporting characters being underused), but...I don't know. Something was missing. Not sure I'm making any sense. Oh well.
Peter Swinkels
Tue, Jan 19, 2021, 4:49am (UTC -6)
You are entirely right, I used one specific example about a screw up on more personal than professional level. I don't believe in perfect people who never screw up or situations where you aren't forced to do something not by the books. Having said that, I does sometimes look as though writers make a character screw up only get the away with it in an implausible matter. I guess some writers can't figure out a better way to write a story than to pull a story out of their butt-hole at times. Then again no one is perfect.
Tue, Jan 19, 2021, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
I’m not sure what target audience is, but I watched the first two episodes of Lower Decks and it’s quite fun. I’m 45.
Tue, Jan 19, 2021, 4:50pm (UTC -6)

"I’m not sure what target audience is, but I watched the first two episodes of Lower Decks and it’s quite fun. I’m 45."

It only gets better Mark. Enjoy!!
The Queen
Tue, Jan 19, 2021, 11:45pm (UTC -6)
Slackerinc, it sounds like you saw the first episode. The Kirk and Spock actors got better with every episode, and they replaced the McCoy actor with someone who was much better. James Doohan's son Chris played Scotty and was terrific. The next three episodes after the first all impressed me very much. You might want to try those.

Also, in the 9th episode, JOHN DE LANCIE guest stars (not as Q, but still.)
Ramon Ymalay
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 2:56pm (UTC -6)
Lower Decks is the best of all the new star trek series by far. It actually has heart. It has a cohesive story. It has relatable characters. It pays homage to canon. It has awesome and appropriate use of throwback characters and references. Most importantly, IT HAS REALISTIC TURBOLIFT SHAFTS!!!

It's a true travesty that this website is devoting it's time to Discovery, when Lower Decks is the best of all the nuTrek by a mile.

I enjoy LD more than ENT, DISCO, or Picard. It is shockingly good. I am not sure how much I'd enjoy it without having watched TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT, but it truly is a show made for the fans.
Ensign Sisko
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
I never thought I'd be agreeing, but yeah, Lower Decks was a lot of fun, and it even has a break the rules kind of character who I was worried would be annoying, but really wasn't. Maybe because it is animated and humor-based, they have more freedom, but either way, I look forward to more of it. I wonder if there will ever be a live action version of it, the same way we got live action versions of previously animated characters in the Star Wars universe?
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 5:41pm (UTC -6)
I found LD to be tedious and childish. (Case in point: the Blast Shield song). The CalArts character animation style doesn't help either, it looks like a 90s cartoon ad for Geico.

If the only Trek we're going to get from here out are subversive-imaginings that depend on gross-out humor and/or mindless action and/or gore, then why even call it Trek? I mean, I get that the franchise name has some cachet, but nonetheless, why make sequels so at odds with what came before? Why would they trade in a preexisting audience for chasing after a new one? It makes no sense, business-wise.

I do find it interesting that, with the acdvent of nu-Trek, market penetration for the franchise has gone in a negative direction. Through mismanagement, Trek is no longer considered a top franchise:

Remember when Trek vs Star Wars was one of the big cultural divide questions? Remember when 15% of all Americans tuned into TNG every week? So much for that.

Getting beat by The Witcher, Hamilton and Coco is pathetic.
Colin Lindsly
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 7:28pm (UTC -6)
Star Trek is a niche franchise. It has more cultural resonance in its country of origin than in the international markets. One of the reasons that the franchise changed so much was that it had be marketed overseas, to make it more palatable for those who did not understand it. It was seen as the talky franchise, so the deep discussions which dominated the earlier films were largely abandoned, and the plots become simplistic revenge porn.

Though late to the party on the last episode of Picard, for myself, the copy-and-paste fleet of the Federation was one issue. The Romulans sent hundreds of ships to destroy an android colony with a very small population. This is like taking a nuclear bomb to an ant. After scouting the colony with long-range sensors and probes, I would expect the Romulans to send no more than one ship to do the action and, maybe as protection, one or two more ships to act as escorts. The Federation would send a squadron of three or four ships to protect the planet.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 1:48am (UTC -6)
I recently went back and re-watched a lot of the DS9 Episodes that I missed back when Final Fantasy VII was out and captured my attention away.

I really was not expecting Sisko's Orb Visions to cast him as a sci-fi writer in the 40's, facing racist cops and racist editors.

It's what you would call "a bold move" for a television show to make... or "a big step," hehe. And the current crop of Star Trek shows seems afraid to put its feet in the water.

Grow a pair. You're Star Trek, you already have this baked into your lore. That's what bugs me the most about all these NuTrek writings... yes they feature progressive moves, but they don't devote the kind of incisive writing decisions to them that would really make them sizzle.

Contribute to the replicator rations, or get off the pot, as it were.
Peter Swinkels
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 2:41am (UTC -6)
Ramon Ymalay wrote:


Could it be the Discovery's turbolift shafts are inside a warp bubble inside the ship? Such interior bubbles would also explain how holodecks can contain a space larger than the holodeck itself.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 8:40am (UTC -6)
The holodecks are explained in detail in the tech manuals.

If the turbo lift issue was only a season 3 phenomenon I could live with the “it’s crazy 32nd century tech and they can somehow create insane cavernous spaces inside a ship via warp bubbles.” The issue is that the turbo lift shafts were an issue in an episode in the prior season as well back when they were in the 23rd century.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
"Could it be the Discovery's turbolift shafts are inside a warp bubble inside the ship? Such interior bubbles would also explain how holodecks can contain a space larger than the holodeck itself."

Whenever I read a fan's clever explanation for a sloppy bit of writing in a Trek episode it always makes me think of the classic scene from the Simpsons:

[At Homer's barbecue, Lisa steals the pig, using the riding lawnmower to push the grill out of the yard and up a steep slope, while Homer and Bart chase after her. When Lisa gets to the top of the slope, the grill starts rolling downhill, building up speed. Homer and Bart now chase after the grill, while it rolls into a street and through a hedge]

Homer: It's just a little dirty. It's still good, it's still good!

[Homer and Bart keep running after the grill. The grill rolls into traffic (miraculously missing every car) and crashes into a bridge railing. The pig keeps going and ends up splashing into the river.]

Homer: It's just a little slimy. It's still good, it's still good!

[The pig floats downstream to a dam where it gets caught in the spillway, blocking it. Water builds up behind the pig until the pressure pushes the pig the rest of the way through the spillway, blasting it into the sky. Homer and Bart watch from on top of the dam.]

Homer: It's just a little airborne. It's still good, it's still good!

Bart: [crestfallen] It's gone.

Homer: [even more crestfallen] I know.

Folks, the Nu-Trek pig has achieved escape velocity.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Alex Kurtzman: "You know Michelle, I think I'd like to change the direction of Star Trek to be more like what made TNG-DS9 great... WHEN PIGS FLY!!"

AK+MP: (Laugh hysterically, see the Pig Flying)

Michelle Paradise: "Will you be ordering those scripts now sir?"

Alex Kurtzman: "No, I'd still prefer not."
Ensign Sisko
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
It's frustrating because Picard had the best chance to do something like that. You had a planet full of androids, and we saw androids become a big part of life in the Federation...we could've addressed Guinan's analysis in Measure of a Man. There are so many modern day issues to be addressed in that series alone. And we got surface level touches that hinted at more...and Picard's righteous indignation at the Federation's isolationism was definitely a parallel to things going on everywhere...but maybe they're afraid to offend viewers? I really thought this season of Discovery might be that moment Bashir mentioned in Past Tense...with the Federation in its worst possible situation, but again, they pulled away from it. Frustrating.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
I think the turboshaft is in a warp bubble to make it bigger because the bridge crew needs a large open space to play "turbolift quiddich" (instead of flying on brooms you stand on top of a turbolift car). It's always Michael Burham vs. the entire bridge crew and Michael always wins. The bridge crew tries their best but they are always so tired from the games that they don't even have the energy to speak one line. After the games, Michael can be found in the corner sobbing uncontrollability over her guilt at being so much better at the game than everyone else.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 7:26pm (UTC -6)
Phillipa gone I like it. Micheal captain WTF and telegraphed. Saru gone. The best character gone, what a joke.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 3:04am (UTC -6)
I have watched three episodes of LOWER DECKS, and I find it passably entertaining. It certainly doesn't contain content that irritates to the extent DISCOVERY or even sometimes PICARD does. I just don't find it enjoyable enough to justify watching it over the nearly countless number of other, better shows I'm behind on (for instance, I am still on season 5 of MAD MEN).

@The Queen: I will definitely have to check out more of STAR TREK CONTINUES. Thanks.

@Dave in MN: "Remember when 15% of all Americans tuned into TNG every week?"

I'm gonna need a cite on that. For the time, that would be, what, 40 million people?

"Getting beat by The Witcher, Hamilton and Coco is pathetic."

Hamilton, seriously? That was a massive cultural sensation!

"Could it be the Discovery's turbolift shafts are inside a warp bubble inside the ship?"

That is some blackbelt level fanwanking, but I'd ask the simple question: why? Why do something like that to begin with? And if you did do it, why make them so big? Just because you can?

@Nick: "After the games, Michael can be found in the corner sobbing uncontrollability over her guilt at being so much better at the game than everyone else."

LOL, this is perfect!
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 4:50am (UTC -6)
Discovery is a mess. Trek, for me, was always about a sense of wonder and interesting social and ethical dilemma's, solved by an engaging cast of characters. Discovery is only obsessed with Burnham.

Discovery keeps pretending there is something special about Burnham and adjusts the plot to fit that pretense. But it's like TNG or TOS would try to tell every story from the perspective of Geordi or Sulu.

The main thing that seems to be wrong with it, is that the writers are trying to be too clever. First season disco wanted to 'play with our expectations' and delivered a depressing dystopian trek. Second season at the very least had Pike, but kept forcing Burnham to the foreground. And this third season? What was the point of it all? What was the actual drive? Why did they want to show us these events? Why do I care about all this?

It's. Just. Not. Star Trek.

You know, it's easy to dismiss this. I can already hear the argument "they are just trying something new, Trek can be something new"

But if you drift too far of what made Trek work, my question is: why bother. Why call it Star Trek when you obviously wanted to make something else?

Discovery is a mess. And if this was its final season, I can't say I will be sad about it.
Peter Swinkels
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 5:08am (UTC -6)
@ramon - which of a bazillion manuals official or fan made are you talking about? I have read about optical illusions and segmenting a simulation and treadmills. To me those explanations sound even more half-assed than somehow warping the space inside a holodeck. Warping space and warp bubbles are something known to possible in Star Trek's universe.
Colin Lindsly
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 6:54am (UTC -6)
For myself, I remember what it was like to see older Trek. When the season ended, I was excited to see what the next season would bring and frustrated that I had to wait. I haven't felt that way in a long time with Trek.

I have that feeling with other shows now, like The Umbrella Academy, The Boys, The Witcher, The Expanse, The Mandalorian, and Camp Cretaceous. On the last, it's amazing how they kept the pace of the show up throughout 8 20-minute episodes and how the characters evolved individually and as a group.

After watching the last episode of the third season of Discovery, I felt relieved the season had ended and felt no excitement about a new season. In the shows I like, I am noticing that they build layers to their storytelling, plots, and characterization. Discovery seems to like to build the layers only to then tear them down at the end of the season, so it feels like each season is restarting at the beginning. In another show, they would have kept Osyraa as an antagonist and develop her and her organization in a meaningful way. They showed they could do that with the penultimate episode. Sadly, they took a sharp turn, brought her character down quite a few pegs, and disposed of her and her organization quickly.

It feels like Picard took a similar tack with the Romulan secret society and their desire to eradicate synthetics. The next season will probably have a new villain for our characters to go against.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 7:28am (UTC -6)
I'm sure many people here are Babylon 5 fans. I just heard that Mira Furlan passed away. It's tragic news for those of us who are fans of B5 and have already lost so many people affiliated with that show when they were so young.

And for those of you who have never watched B5... it's still worth checking out. It will probably scratch the same itch that DS9 scratched all those years ago.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 7:32am (UTC -6)
@HarryH, "But if you drift too far of what made Trek work, my question is: why bother. Why call it Star Trek when you obviously wanted to make something else?"

I agree 100%. I understand why corporate marketing at CBS might want to try something new to expand Trek's audience - which among major sci-fi fandoms is still pretty niche. But why are so many fans going along with it? If I want a gritty sci-fi drama, I've got other options like BSG and Expanse. Star Trek used to scratch the optimisitic, liberal humanism itch. If it doesn't, then what's the point? Other franchises exist. Star Trek doesn't need to be everything to everyone.
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 7:46am (UTC -6)
Babylon 5 is an unpolished gem. Frequently awesome, sometimes solid, on quite a few occasions dire. But for all its flaws, B5 was a fascinating experience, a show like no other. So sad to hear about Mira Furlan. What is it with actors from Bablyon 5? Why are they all dying so young?
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 7:56am (UTC -6)
@Paul M., that's a great way to put it. Viewers watching it now need to understand that B5 was a bold new attempt at serialized sci-fi storytelling on a meager budget. There's so much that didn't work, from losing main actors to down-scaled CGI to almost being canceled after four seasons. Some episodes aren't great.

And yet... it remains perhaps the most ambitious, serialized, epic story ever put to TV, perhaps outside Game of Thrones. Even DS9 and Farscape were mostly episodic shows with some continuous plot threads. The Expanse is great, but rarely reaches that operatic level of B5.

I sincerely hope B5 isn't lost to time because its production values aren't up to the standards of the 21st century.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 8:05am (UTC -6)
OMG @Paul M., I had not heard that we've lost Mira Furlan :(

G'Kar (first to go). Doctor Franklin (who we lost in his 40's!). Commander Sinclair (how tragic!). Mr. Garibaldi (too soon!). Vir (Vir....)

And now Mira?!?!

You are so right, Babylon 5 was truly a gem. And perhaps one of the best follow ups to TOS.

I'm just wrapping up my watch of the original Star Trek series. But I think it is time for another Babylon 5 viewing.

I only wish @Jammer would open a thread for those who wish to comment on B5. That would be a great memorial.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 8:59am (UTC -6)
very sad to hear we lost Mira Furlan -- just watched "Confessions and Lamentations" last night as well ...
She was so good as Delenn -- really brought the aspect of another culture into the character.
Yes, would be cool to have a B5 section on this site -- a wonderful series indeed.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 9:35am (UTC -6)
There's a lot of discussion about whether things are truly Trek or not Trek. Personally I'm fine with the franchise trying something different as long as the quality is there. That's my problem with Discovery, the quality isn't there. Burnham as a character isn't interesting or dynamic enough to lead the series, but the writers seem hellbent on forcing her into that role. The writing is shallow, sloppy, and inconsistent and yet they continue to do serialized season long arcs despite clearly not being up to the task. The character development has gotten better recently but is still below average. You have one showrunner (Kurtzman) who is more of an action guy which I think translates better into movies and another showrunner (Paradise) who previously worked on teen-fantasy soap operas. The result? A teen-fantasy soap opera with a lot of action sequences mixed in.
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 9:39am (UTC -6)
"And yet... it remains perhaps the most ambitious, serialized, epic story ever put to TV, perhaps outside Game of Thrones. Even DS9 and Farscape were mostly episodic shows with some continuous plot threads. The Expanse is great, but rarely reaches that operatic level of B5."

I am trying to think of shows in the vein of Babylon 5 and I keep coming short. I think you are right: there isn't anything out there except Game of Thrones that operates on such an epic, serialized, character-driven, and mythic level. Straczynski always said he was writing a novel for television.

As it stands right now -- though I'll have to see how it ends before I pass my final judgment -- The Expanse is next to Battlestar Galactica my favorite sci-fi TV show of all times. Babylon 5 and various Trek incarnations are monumental achievements, no doubt, and they probably rise just as high, if not higher, in certain episodes, but are too inconsistent hour-to-hour to definitively crown them as the best of the best.

That said, I don't think The Expanse should be directly compared to Babylon 5. Both are heavily serialized, character-driven, and directly tackle political and socioeconomic issues. But whereas The Expanse operates more in the sphere of hard-ish (well, to an extent) SF with characters that exhibit correspondingly grounded, easy to relate to motivations and behavior, Babylon 5 is, as you say, operatic, its themes and plots going thousands of years to the past and future, its characters often feeling like players in a grand drama that engage in theatrical monologues and ruminate on their place in the cosmos.

Speaking of re-watches, I am currently engaged in three, and enjoying all of them immensely! I am on DS9's fourth season right now, Babylon 5's third, and Fringe's second. Fringe is also one of my favorite shows, but for whatever inexplicable reason I have never actually seen its fifth and final season, so in the process of remedying that, I opted to start from the beginning. Good times!
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 9:43am (UTC -6)
I've never been able to get into B5. I've attempted it a few times but I've never made it past the first season.

Everyone says that it gets a lot better, but they also say that the last season is kind of disappointing. Since the show is heavily serialized I think it's essential to "stick the landing" so to speak.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 10:15am (UTC -6)
@Bob, I totally feel you on Babylon 5.

The show was trying something new - something that had never been done before - writing a novel for American TV. It was bound to be hit-or-miss for a bit (and sometimes, downright terrible).

But if you get into it, it is a show unlike any other. And I have to include Star Trek in that too. B5 is incredible.

Fortunately, people have put into a lot of thought into exactly how much of B5 you really should watch in order to get the most out of it. And it turns out, you only need to watch and handful of episodes in all of season 1!!!

Those episodes are:

1 Midnight on the Firing Line
5 The Parliament of Dreams
6 Mind War
8 And The Sky Full Of Stars
9 Deathwalker
13 Signs and Portents
16 Eyes
20 Babylon Squared
22 Chrysalis

How did I get that list? Easy. There is a website called Lurker's Guide, that has a score for each episode. Here's a full spreadsheet with all the scores:

Just watch anything with a score of 8 or higher.

And don't worry about the "landing" for Season 5. Basically the show was supposed to get cancelled at the end of S4, so they wrapped everything up in S4 itself. If you get into B5, you'll be very grateful to have a season 5 - as a bonus. And if you don't get into B5, you can stop at the end of S4.

But you won't stop.

The secret that no one will tell you (but I might as well), is that no one who gets to Season 3 Episode 9 ever turns back. Cause if you made it that far, you're hooked for life!
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 10:42am (UTC -6)
@Peter- any of the tech manuals provide a better explanation than any “sub space” turbolift.

The fact that there are manuals that can at least provide a half hazard explanation proves my point. Furthermore, the tech has some basic explanations given in actual episodes throughout the use of the holodeck.

The turbo lifts would have been remotely acceptable if they had explained during the refit that discovery or they briefly addressed the insanity of the turbolift shafts. They could have said that discovery now transcends normal limits of space due to retrofitting some sub space bubbles on the ship or some other technobabble. The fact that the turbo lifts were an issue back in the 23rd century (just not as insanely cavernous) does not bode well for that explanation.

Heck we are getting closer and closer to holodeck technology already. Not sure how much VR you do, but the Virtuix Omni is a VERY rudimentary idea of the treadmill in place concept and they are even producing a second version. Combine that with replicated matter and transporter tech and it’s really not hard to
Imagine a holodeck.

The fact that we are having to come up with endless explanations for the lazy writing just further reinforces just how bad the writing for Disco truly is. A truly great show shouldn’t have fans trying to justify every thing for the sake of the writers.

Game of Thrones was amazing....up until the end... as the ending did not feel earned. Not wanting to give spoilers for anyone that hadn’t seen it, but that was controversial because despite some characters showing some tendencies, they did not allow the actions to happen organically at the end. It was rushed. Breaking bad however allowed everything to happen organically and it felt “right.” Hence the complete lack of controversy regarding the ending of breaking bad.

The same thing that happened to GoT is the same thing people are doing for Discovery. Fans trying to endlessly justify the lazy writing, when if fact it is what it is. Lazy writing with unearned moments. I do not believe GoT had the plot of the ending wrong, it was just the execution of it and the rushing of the character arc that was the issue.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 10:49am (UTC -6)
Hell, I'll give it another shot. Thanks for the info!
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 11:14am (UTC -6)
@Paul M., BSG is still my favorite. It's got the perfect blend of character drama, action, socio-political commentary, and mystery. I adore the quasi-serialized format of late 90s/early 2000s TV.

I've enjoyed Expanse a lot, but it's a tier below BSG. It doesn't feel as relevant to our times in the way that BSG and even DS9 did. It doesn't seem to say anything about the human condition, politics, or philosophy. Also, it's a bit too serialized for my tastes. It's a very high 3.5/4 stars though.

TNG and DS9 are still two of my top 5 favorite shows. Some of that's certainly nostalgia. Some of that's certainly recognition of the fact that the echos of those shows helped shape my worldview as a young man. Like B5, I have no interest in watching many - possibly most in the case of TNG - episodes again in my life. And yet, because of the episodic format of TV back then, it's possible to rewatch some of my favorite Trek episodes and get something meaningful out of them. I doubt I'd ever just watch a single episode of Game of Thrones or The Expanse out of context.

I mostly agree about not comparing B5 and the Expanse, but there are some ways in which Expanse gets into that operatic territory. The subplot with the protomolecule hasn't been the focus this season, but surely hints at ancient empires and things beyond the human imagining. I haven't finished the Expanse books, but I could see it turning more into a grand drama. Also, don't forget, B5 was praised at the time for its realistic science, such as a rotating space station, non-aerodynamic star fighters, etc.

I second calls for Jammer to open forums for Babylon 5 (and I'd add Farscape too). It would be great to have a place to share our love for shows we like, as opposed to just bemoaning the fate of Trek.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
While we sort of are on the topic of BAB5...

Truly sad news today. Mira Furlan has passed away (65). Cause of death unknown (or unpublished at this point)
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 1:03pm (UTC -6)
@Dom, right you are. The semi-serialization that was in vogue in those years sometimes feels like a lost art. We need more of that.

I also agree that, for now, BSG is the better show. Much rides on how The Expanse bows out next year. Let's wait and see. However, I don't agree that The Expanse has nothing to say on politics or the human condition. Quite the contrary! It's intensely political and engages in socially grounded worldbuilding to an extent rarely seen in televised speculative fiction. It examines and deals with colonialism and imperialism, class issues, resource scarcity, ecology, terraforming, physical and social effects of generational life in space, the way old prejudices inform current political climate and how the changing political landscape (courtesy of the discovery of the ring gates) has far-reaching consequences, social and psychological alike.

It isn't allegorical or symbolical the way Trek (at its best) is. Even BSG, for all its "realism", is also to a great extent influenced by that kind of allegorical storytelling tradition. The Expanse, I feel, more closely follows the "old school" speculative fiction tradition of literary sci-fi where authors set up certain worldbuilding and societal parameters in advance, extrapolate from there and see where it leads them. From this standpoint, I can understand why someone would call The Expanse "not as relevant" since it lacks the aforementioned generality and mythic qualities of, say, Star Trek. I appreciate it in the same way I appreciate The Wire, because the two shows share a fascinating sense of time and place, the characters rooted in the specifics of their respective worlds to an extent their more dramatically archetypal counterparts by definition can't be (nor should they).
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 1:06pm (UTC -6)

From what I've heard, Mira died of complications after contracting West Nile fever... which is just utterly random.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
@Paul M., I agree with that distinction. The Expanse is certainly political, and the political subplots with Avasarala are some of my favorites. But the politics is part of the world-building and not, for the most part, as a commentary on our own world. It's not, as you say, allegorical. I prefer the allegory. In that sense, Black Mirror is more like the modern heir to Star Trek rather than The Expanse.

I admit I'm a bit worried that The Expanse won't be able to tie up all of the loose ends in just one more season. The implications of the protomolecule have barely been explored. Then again, I'm glad to hear the show is ending on the writers' terms and not because it was canceled.
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
Well, The Expanse was and it wasn't cancelled. It wasn't in the sense that the writing team, which includes the writers of the novel series, was operating for a while now on the assumption that six seasons is all they get...

SPOILERS: There is a pretty massive time jump after Book 6 which makes for a pretty convenient place to wrap it up in a somewhat logical and natural fashion. END SPOILERS

It *is* cancelled in the sense that the guys surely hoped to be able to adapt the entire 9-book-long series and, as it seems, they won't have the opportunity. I am still not exactly clear why Amazon and Alcon Entertainment didn't reach the deal to continue producing the show. The Expanse is allegedly in the TOP10 streamed show in the US in 2019/20.
Steve McCullagh
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 3:22pm (UTC -6)
I will happily watch These Are The Voyages or the one where Beverly gets jiggy with ghosts, on a loop for all eternity, before I watch one second of Discovery ever again.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
@Paul M., the authors seem pretty adamant that the show "wasn't" canceled by Amazon and that they chose to stop at 6 seasons. Now, that could mean many things. They also seem to be open to The Expanse continuing on TV in some capacity. I suspect that they saw the time jump as a natural place to pause the story. Maybe - hopefully - we'll get a sequel series someday.
Paul M.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
Sure, they "chose" to stop at six seasons because after negotiations and consultations and what not they knew they couldn't get more. Therefore they planned seasons 5 and 6 with that in mind, and are hopefully able to provide a satisfying conclusion to the story. Were they hoping for a chance to adapt the whole damn thing? Of course they were! There are still three books worth of story to tell after Season/Book 6. Naren Shankar, the showrunner, and his team are outright saying that they hope that The Expanse will continue in some form or fashion. Talking about that possibility, Shankar said in an interview: "You know, honestly, that would be more of a question for our studio, for Alcon, they control the property. What I will say is that there's definitely more to tell and I'm sure Ty and Daniel would say exactly the same thing. But yeah, that's probably about as much as I can say at this point."

So yeah, depends on how you define "cancelled".
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 2:59am (UTC -6)
I saw someone on Twitter make a point I haven't seen addressed here. Namely: what happened to the SOCIAL science fiction we always used to associate with Star Trek? That is, you fly around and investigate "strange new worlds" where civilizations are oriented around some bizarre principle we wouldn't expect. Then you play out the logical implications of that. I miss that kind of thing, and I can't think of any episode of DISCO that explores anything like that.

@Ramon: "Breaking bad however allowed everything to happen organically and it felt 'right.' Hence the complete lack of controversy regarding the ending of breaking bad."

[vague spoilers follow]BB is my #1 favorite show of all time (although BETTER CALL SAUL might be just as good--we'll see how they stick the landing), but even Vince Gilligan screwed up in this regard at least once IMO (the berries). He also found it very frustrating to have to write his way out of the box he put himself in with the machine gun in the trunk, although I think he did pretty well with that one.

And there is actually controversy about the ending of BB. Quite a number of people thought Walt got off too easy, and have even proposed that everything after he got in the car in New Hampshire was a dream. (I personally liked the way it concluded, but there were in a sense three different endings to the story, four if you count EL CAMINO.)

@Dom: "BSG is still my favorite"

I STRONGLY advise anyone who hasn't seen that series (and we're presumably talking about the early-21st century version here, not the original and obviously not the Sam Esmail BSG series coming soon on Peacock) to watch the two-part miniseries and then exactly 25 episodes of the series proper, culminating in "Resurrection Ship, Part II". There's a nice end point there, and if you do that you will have seen a cohesive 27-episode series that ranks as one of the greatest achievements in television.

If you disregard this advice, you will first of all get the widely acknowledged worst episode of the series two episodes later, but even the episode before that you will get a lame and hackneyed deus ex machina we've seen a billion times before. And as you continue, you'll get heaps of ludicrous and incoherent retcons, various reversals that don't make any sense, and reversals of those reversals, plus plenty of woo-woo mystical mumbo-jumbo. And then in the final episode you will get the most ludicrous and disappointing conclusion of any series ever, even worse than LOST and GAME OF THRONES.

You were warned!
Nothing but the Tears
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 3:10am (UTC -6)
Having read the books and as others have mentioned, ending The Expanse after S6 makes sense. And I definitely see opportunities to revisit that universe. Personally, I’m just excited. Like the ones before, this season has been terrific. So I’m hoping S6 will be no different.

On a different note, sad news about Furlan indeed. That came completely out of the blue for me.

As for B5 itself, I struggled with it back in the day, purely because I used to think you needed to be in one camp vs the other (I was on team DS9). However, I’ve come to really appreciate it. For all its flaws and, again, as others have mentioned, I think it’s a fantastic show. Much like DS9 I’d love to see an HD remaster, as unlikely as that seems to be.

Some of the work in the realm of AI technology does give me hope, mind you. Even if you could, at some point, run a software that does most of the heavily lifting, then just go in and brush it up, thereby greatly reducing cost, that could go a long way.
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 3:28am (UTC -6)
@slackerinc I think saying complete lack was too strong of wording. Any show when it ends always will have some minor quibbles from fans about the ending.

However, I think we can both agree it stuck the ending a million fold better than Lost, BSG, dexter (worst ever for me, hope the revival can fix that) or GoT. I want to watch breaking bad again to get to that last season. I avoid BSG, Lost and GoT specifically because of the endings.

While not Sci Fi, I felt Friday Night Lights and The office along with TNG are some of my favorite endings. The office probably being my all time favorite. Perfect resolution on all fronts practically. DS9 when it first aired, I was underwhelmed with “What you leave behind”, but having watched through the series multiple times since the era of DVDs and now Netflix, being able to binge it, the ending seems to flow much better and I love the ending now.
John Harmon
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -6)
“the Expanse doesn’t say anything about the human condition.”

@Dom are you sure you watched the same show?
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 7:40am (UTC -6)
@John Harmon, yes I watched the show. Notice I didn't say The Expanse doesn't have politics or character drama. It's got a lot of that. But, as Paul M. explained, it's not allegorical in the manner of Trek or BSG. It's not trying to be a commentary on current events or make statements about human nature. To some extent, I get that the show has an undercurrent of "human nature remains the same" - a counterpoint to Trek's optimism about the future - but that's more part of the world-building and less a theme.
Peter Swinkels
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 10:40am (UTC -6)
ramon wrote: "Heck we are getting closer and closer to holodeck technology already. Not sure how much VR you do, but the Virtuix Omni is a VERY rudimentary idea of the treadmill in place concept and they are even producing a second version. Combine that with replicated matter and transporter tech and it’s really not hard to
Imagine a holodeck."

Vr is similar to a holodeck? Us getting closer to holodeck tech? And you think transporters and matter replication are even remotely plausible? Especially in the near future as you appear to think? Don't make me laugh.

As far as I know vr involves putting contraptions on your body, a holodeck does not. It is doubtful matter replication and transporters are even possible within known physics.
Ramon Ymalay
Sat, Jan 23, 2021, 2:00pm (UTC -6)
If you truly believe that I believe we are actually "close" to holodeck level tech, I don't even know what to say. LOL. I am definitely laughing.

My point is that given the insane jumps in technology it would take to create that turbolift chasm or the holodeck, we are lightyears closer to a holodeck than making subspace bubbles inside a starship that encapsulate turbolifts.

We have already "transported" one photon.

Couple billion years (if humans can avoid self destruction) maybe we can transport someone... then move on to the turbolift dilemma.
grey cat
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 6:46am (UTC -6)
Lower Decks seems ok. I kinda like the TNG styling of it all but I just didn't find it funny. I got bored after a couple of episodes.

The crew are about as professional as the DSC crew.
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
“The crew are about as professional as the DSC crew.”

Lower Decks is a comedy though, Disco is supposed to be serious drama.
Roga Danar
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
I've noticed that the most hardcore Discovery fans are those who claim to have watched Star Trek from the very beginning. People who have been consuming Trek for 55 years and refuse to admit to themselves that it may have turned rotten.
There's also forums like TrekBBS and TrekMovie where you have those "I've been watching since '66!" folks, except trashing 1966-2005 Star Trek is acceptable, even highly encouraged, while the tiniest criticism of post-2009 Star Trek sends ravenous hordes against you!
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
@Roga Danar

I've completely abandoned the TrekBBS for that exact reason. Too many attack dog fans who jump down your throat for disliking whatever the Trek Du Jour is doing. I experienced it as far back as the first JJ reboot, where even the mildest statement going against the grain was piled on mercilessly, and it's never abated. Just smug, condescending crap masquerading as enlightenment, and rigid conformity as intelligent discussion. It's a shame; I used to spend a lot of time there.
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Yes, I used to go to Trek BBS too. Gave up on it years ago.

For all my criticisms of some posts here, Jammers is still the gold standard for Trek discussion with good people who are passionate about it.
peter swinkels
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 4:09am (UTC -6)
@ramon ymalay
Transporting a photon is a far cry from a human. And you don’t believe we’re close to holodeck tech? Wonderful!
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
I came by to say thanks for recommendations to view The Expanse. I'm just halfway through the first season but I can see it's an A+ show. The tech is believable, the war between Inner and Outer planets is timeless, the characters are dark and interesting. Cheers!
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
+1 on the thanks for everyone mentioning The Expanse. This is real Science Fiction.
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
@ MarkG

"+1 on the thanks for everyone mentioning The Expanse. This is real Science Fiction."

Not so much this year though... they are falling into the war trope. While I've watched and enjoyed this season, I think it's the series weakest.
grey cat
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
@MarkG yeah that was my point.
Colin Lindsly
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 10:58am (UTC -6)
How do people feel about Farscape? I have vague memories of watching this show and enjoying it.

I, too, am spending less time at TrekBBS. It feels that NuTrek has divided the fan base. I am sticking in with NuTrek for the ships, if I can see them that is. This is one thing going for Lower Decks. They don't hide their ships in darkness. I don't have an emotional attachment for or an investment in the characters.
Roga Danar
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 12:00pm (UTC -6)
I just don't understand people who call themselves longtime Star Trek fans (seriously, the average age of TBBS must be 65), but they say how much they absolutely hate 90% of TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT... yet they get on their knees and worship at the feet of Abrams, Kurtzman, etc... some even say they never enjoyed Star Trek as much as they did after 2009? That Discovery is the first "actually good" series?
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
I come back for one last post. Saw this and considering we had the debate here. This might be insightful.

Bye Bye :)
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
Speaking of Babylon 5, there's apparently a remastered version out now on HBO Max, Amazon, and iTunes!
grey cat
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 7:19pm (UTC -6)
@Roga Danar People actually say that? "That Discovery is the first "actually good" series"

You'd think that someone who visits an actual Star Trek forum (rather than just tweets about it etc) would have to be a pretty big Star Trek fan and I just don't see how you could think that DSC is remotely on the same level as TNG/DS9.

I was never a big VOY fan but I was happy enough to watch it. Same with ENT until it became too dull. Neither of them filled me with such loathing as DSC has ended up doing. I actively can't stand it now.

I hate the stupid crying, the ridiculous meandering plots, the total unprofessionalism of the "crew", the utter lack of any character development at all, the humour is so unfunny it's awkward, the acting is dire, the "look at us we were the first to have..." without bothering to make them characters...and even the action sequences which used to look great are now somehow looking like bad CGI. And the crying. I hate the crying. Michael sucks as a character for the many reasons listed above.

I was thinking DSC probably has broader appeal than say TNG did at the time (A lot of my friends thought it was boring and just some bald guy talking a lot). So many DSC is ticking more general appeal boxes than DS9 or TNG style Star Trek.
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 11:16pm (UTC -6)
@Colin Lindsly, @Roga Danar and @Episodenull,

The community over at TrekBBS used to be very good back in the late 90's and through the 00's. There were forums for every major scifi show at the time - Doctor Who, nBSG, Whedon-verse, Andromeda, Farscape, and of course for Trek (VOY, the ENT, was running at the time of TrekBBS' peak, if I recall correctly).

Then there were miscellaneous forums where you could discuss the less popular shows, like Space Above & Beyond, Lexx, Earth: Final Conflict.

This was also a great time for scifi movies like The Matrix and its sequels, The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (wait, was Jim Carrey in two great scifi movies?!?).

The bottom line is, during scifi's high point, TrekBBS had a thriving community, including some great moderators. But when I go back now and check, many of those personalities haven't posted in almost a decade!

@Temis the Vorta hasn't posted since 2013.

I just logged in (evidently I'm a Commodore, whatever that means?!), and poor Mal there hasn't posted since 2017 - 1 post, 2016 - 1 post, and then we go back again to 2013 to find high-volume activity. I guess those two posts (2016, 2017) were just tests to see if TrekBBS had come back to life. It had not.

So something fundamental happened in 2013 that killed TrekBBS. I wonder what that was?

Many of the folks who have been on @Jammer's website for 20+ years (back then, we knew it as st-hypertext!), actually found this website through TrekBBS.

It is a testament to Jam Man that his website has thrived - his community here as thrived - when all the others have long since descended into a sad sort of corporate-shill irrelevancy.

That's why I have many times suggested that @Jammer that he put up a tip jar. But I guess he does this for the love of scifi, and not the love of money. Which of course is why this website is full of love and good feelings.
Jason R.
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 7:36am (UTC -6)
"Speaking of Babylon 5, there's apparently a remastered version out now on HBO Max, Amazon, and iTunes!"

Uggh just checked and of course it is not available in Canada. No HBO in Canada.
Roga Danar
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 11:58am (UTC -6)
Hmm, yes, what a funny... coincidence... that Into Darkness coincided with the fandom further dividing into "camps" and effectively killing off some of the oldest discussion forums.
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
@Roga Danar

IMO, the rise of omnipresent online politics also played a role in things. TrekBBS has had a minimally-moderated, opt-in forum called The Neutral Zone (TNZ) for many, many years; due to its nature of allowing discussion that's off limits elsewhere on the site, it's effectively become a high school clique of people talking smack about other members behind their backs and engaging in politics-related infighting. As a result the rest of the form has slowly turned into a place where seemingly non-political topics become proxy battles over who doesn't like who for having the wrong opinion of whatever. It's nasty, exhausting, and drives away people like me who don't want to see or participate in any of that.
Roga Danar
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 2:31pm (UTC -6)
So the lesson learned is, don't let your grandpa have internet access?
Because, seriously, most forums where the average age of the users is older than the forum itself have become the same sort of shitholes.
Roga Danar
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 7:14pm (UTC -6)
Oh yeah, as for my thoughts on Discovery?
I... I just don't know what to say anymore. You can "It's Not For You!!!!" me all you like, but who is it really for? Hmm? Does it have a dedicated fan following? Not really. Are casual viewers who simply move from one thing to the next interested in it? Sort of, but they forget they watched it five minutes later.
I don't know why Star Trek had to drop its "geeky", charming identity to cater to the "general audience" who couldn't give a rat's ass about the franchise. It's part of what made it unique and memorable.
Roga Danar
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 7:36pm (UTC -6)
Also, seasons limited to 10-13-15 episodes with a "super serious event television serialized mystery!" plot has harmed new Star Trek, which always used 20-26 episode seasons with one-offs and the occasional two-parter to flesh out its characters and setting.
Frank A. Booze
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 8:23pm (UTC -6)
I also wanted to thank the community here for recommending The Expanse. I started watching it a few days ago and am hooked. I have two episodes left in season 1. I find it amusing how one of the main characters also played the lady admiral from Star Trek Beyond (which in my opinion, is the only decent new Star Trek movie).

On another note, I have been listening to The Greatest Generation and The Greatest Discovery podcasts for a few years now. Very funny Star Trek reviews for those who have not listened. However, I am completely baffled with their attitude towards Discovery. They think that Discovery is a good Star Trek show, and seem to really like the Burnham character. Therefore, I haven’t been enjoying their podcasts as much lately. So it’s nice to come to this website where Jammer’s reviews are always on the spot, and the community calls out Discovery and Picard for being crappy shows.
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
Blech. You know what would be a good pallet cleanser after this, Jammer? Reviewing Lower Decks! 😉
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 9:46am (UTC -6)
@Mal: "That's why I have many times suggested that @Jammer that he put up a tip jar. But I guess he does this for the love of scifi, and not the love of money. Which of course is why this website is full of love and good feelings."

That's not why I do this, but, sure, I like money. ("Everybody needs money. That's why they call it money.") I just haven't adequately explored monetizing opportunities, which has long been an oversight of mine, probably to my own personal detriment. If I put out a tip jar, how many would actually contribute, and more to the point, how many would actually contribute without expecting something extra in return? That's what I wonder. I've considered setting up a Patreon page, but haven't fully researched it. But it might be time, especially since this site has been going through a bit of a renaissance the past few years and has been taking up more of my time.

If I did do some sort of Patreon, the one thing I can't promise is extras for paid users. And the one thing I don't want to do is change how things work around here. The content all gets put on the site, and I won't have time to create exclusives and I certainly won't want to shut off parts of the site for paid members only, or change how interactions go between patrons versus non-patrons. Would people really donate without the incentive of extras?

I don't know. What do people think? I certainly wouldn't mind getting a little something for my efforts. I'm not against that. In about 10 years I'm going to have to start putting my kids through college, after all. :)
William B
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 9:50am (UTC -6)
Yeah I think some kind of tip jar/Patreon sounds like a good idea, but I wouldn't know the best way to do it.
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 10:47am (UTC -6)
It could be as simple as a Paypal/credit card payment system like on Ebay, or a Patreon page with more personal info on it. Either works. I think it's a good idea.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 11:08am (UTC -6)
I pay money for newspaper subscriptions that provide me with less entertainment value than this site. For me $10 a month would be fine as is.
James White
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 11:23am (UTC -6)
Jammer, how can you love Star Trek this much and be a capitalist? :)
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 12:06pm (UTC -6)

Would money from a Patreon or a tip jar make it viable for you to cover other shows like Lower Decks, TAS, or even the Stargate shows? If so, I'd be all for it. Doesn't need to be a Patreon exclusive, just put it up and we'll pay you for it.

(I would personally prefer a tip jar as I've never done a Patreon and don't know or care how any of that works.)
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
"If I put out a tip jar, how many would actually contribute, and more to the point, how many would actually contribute without expecting something extra in return?"

Look, if you ain't willing to post nudes don't even bother, ok?
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
"Look, if you ain't willing to post nudes don't even bother, ok?"

That's a premium feature.
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer maybe consider testing the waters with something like believe you can embed it pretty quickly on sites and is a bit less pressured than Patreon, as it seems more friendly.

With that, I would contribute a regular fee if we could get you to review Bablyon 5 or The Expanse on some sort of schedule :)
Chris Lopes
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 2:31pm (UTC -6)
"Jammer, how can you love Star Trek this much and be a capitalist? :)"

The Great Bird himself was quite enamored with the capitalist system. So are the current owners (looks at CBS All Access item on bank statement) of Trek. Such is the difference between fantasy and reality. :)
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
Count me in for the premium section with nudes. I will pay.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 4:09am (UTC -6)
@Jammer, so glad you are considering a tip jar!

I'd be happy to throw in a couple bucks every now and then just as a thank you for all the hours of the joy this website has given me over the decades. I certainly am not looking for anything in return, except maybe the feeling that we've somehow contributed to the ongoing success (and survival!) of this website.

But I understand what you mean by wondering if people will want something in return. The last thing you want to do is turn a fun hobby into a job - when you already have a job!

I've seen other websites use a PayPal tip jar. People send along some money whenever the mood hits them. At most, the website owner sends back a thank you note, which I suppose is more a courtesy than an obligation, and it is probably also just polite.

As others have mentioned, Patreon is the more fashionable tip jar these days. But I don't think it would be much different from PayPal. Except, Patreon has a few more functions that you might find useful.

For example, if there are two shows you would like to review, why don't you let your Patreon contributors vote:

Since you want to review both shows anyway, it is not a burden, and everyone who has contributed feels like they got a voice.

Same if you are thinking of reviewing two movies - you can ask your Patreon supporters which you should do first.

For example, I see reviews of both The Cage (TOS pilot) and The Rise of Skywalker (SW finale) are missing from st-hypertext. Maybe you poll those who contribute as to which you should do first.

There are obviously a million other ways to monetize this site (Amazon affiliation, Substack, etc.). But a tip jar seems to be the easiest and least burdensome for you.

So as the kids say: shut up and take my money ;)
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 4:15am (UTC -6)
@Z, that thing looks great! Has anyone here used it?
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 9:34am (UTC -6)
Back in 2005, I used PayPal to fund the TNG reviews (when I had to shell out more than $500 to buy all the DVDs, before streaming was a thing; my how times have changed). That was pretty straightforward. I'm just trying to figure out if one of these newer services that are centered on content creators (Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee) might be a better fit for potentially creating a space for bonuses of some kind, not that I'm necessarily going to offer that up. Also, transaction fees would be a consideration.

Philosophically, it gets dicey, as I already see people saying they'd gladly chip in if I were to pick up or go back and do X or Y show. Unfortunately, it's just not going to work that way. (This really would be tips for services already rendered, not pressures for future work.) I can tell you I do not have the time or will to go back and review something that's already 50 or 100 episodes backlogged. It took me eight years to retroactively review TNG. Never again.

Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming!
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 10:12am (UTC -6)
I think you should do the tip jar. I would pay for services already rendered and not expect anything extra.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
I can't afford to do a monthly thing, but I would definitely chip in a few bucks as a one-time token of appreciation (then maybe again in a couple years).
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
this is the end of the road for me. season one was bad but whatever. season 2 was even worse but i figured they tot the message and were rebooting. I cant b bothered to watch this show anymore. self righteous meaningless garbage. good actors, great effects..... Horrible writing
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer said, "Back in 2005, I used PayPal to fund the TNG reviews (when I had to shell out more than $500 to buy all the DVDs, before streaming was a thing; my how times have changed)."

That's great! Pop one of those PayPal buttons back up, and maybe use it to pay for whatever new streaming services strikes your fancy. Those college savings accounts can totally wait till after Apple TV+ has made a new Asimov Foundation series ;)

@Jammer said, "I can tell you I do not have the time or will to go back and review something that's already 50 or 100 episodes backlogged. It took me eight years to retroactively review TNG. Never again."

Please let requests for reviews stop you from putting up a tip jar.

The thing is, people genuinely enjoy re-reading your reviews after they've gone back and re-watched an old Star Trek or nBSG episode. So naturally people who have a some other favorite old show that they rewatch again and again, think their rewatch will be even more enjoyable if they had your reviews. Take that as a compliment, not as pressure.

In addition to reviews, what this site has that others do not, are great folks who have interesting ideas about the shows and about life, and who can express them in a thoughtful, engaging, and civil manner. It's almost like an oasis in the middle of the desert that the internet as become.

That said, one reason that the discussions below @Jammer's reviews are high quality, might be because the review is high quality. If that's the case, take my next suggestion with a grain of salt.

Given that it took 8 years for the TNG reviews, I will never propose reviews for old shows - Farscape, Space: Above & Beyond - none. I can't speak for anyone else here, but honestly, I think everyone appreciates that life is short, and it ain't gonna happen.

I only want to make suggestions that require almost no effort on @Jammer's part.

There is a miscellaneous section of this website:

@Jammer, perhaps consider creating an open thread for people to discuss some of the classic scifi shows. You wouldn't have to make a separate thread for each of the 100's of episodes, because you are not planning to review the episodes.

Just open 1 thread per season. Maybe open a new thread once every few months, depending on the volume of tips.

No fancy graphic posted to the front page. No new links on the first page. Not even a blurb at the top of the thread saying "review pending" - because there is none pending! And there never will be.

Now I have never seen any spam comments on st-hypertext. I don't know if that is because your super secret answer to the spam question works wonders, or if you actually have to go through culling them out. If it involves your manual effort - then by all means, opening a new thread is not a viable suggestion, and feel free to ignore it.

But if there is a relatively painless way for you to open up, say 1 new thread every few months for some season of some scifi show (maybe a show you are watching at the time!), I think that would be hugely welcome.

In a year, we'd get maybe 4 open threads?

A show like Farscape - if you opened a thread on a season once a year - would be done in 3 or 4 years. Hopefully that would be almost no effort from @Jammer, since it would only involve opening a thread, not actually writing the reviews.

For example, HBO Max has just put out a remastered Babylon 5. If the volume of tips justifies it, open a thread for season 1, and see if anyone else has any thoughts.

Reading the epic take downs of B5 season 1 from hardcore fans and newbies alike will probably entertain everyone, you included :-)

If you enjoy the feedback from the community, and the tips keep flowing in, maybe open a thread for season 2 the following year.

But if it descends into some epic flame war between Vorlon and Shadow partisans, with insane amounts of spam from the Psi Corp, by all means, feel free to abandon the experiment.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 10:32pm (UTC -6)
I agree, comment threads would be cool.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
My only concern about a lot of alterations is it might take away from what makes this place special, but then again, Jammer and the users are really the reason this website shines and that wouldn't change.

Since everyone is openly dreaming, I'd love for a space to cover famous genre films.

I just KNOW Jammer's review of 2001: A Space Odyssey would trigger a shitstorm. 🤣
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 1:47am (UTC -6)
I have come here for, I cant believe this, TWENTY FIVE YEARS. Jesus, that is something.

So , yeah, get a Patreon Jammer. Ill sign up at the 5 dollar level without hesitation.

If the extra money helps you pay for a streaming service or take a day off work once in a while to do some watching and reviews, I am all for it.

Or, even just a thank you for 25 years of a place to go whenever I run through some Trek or see a new series, its worth it.
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 7:49am (UTC -6)
@Mal, I like your suggestion. And I agree that I hope Jammer doesn't take our recommending other sci-fi shows as pressure. I think part of the reason we mention these shows is that we see Jammer's clearly not as thrilled by Kurtzman-era Trek, and so we're giving recommendations for shows that are worth his time. As you say, life is short. Just because Discovery has "Star Trek" in the name doesn't mean Jammer has to review it. Even if Jammer never reviews B5, Farscape, or Expanse, I hope he gets the chance to watch them because I think he'd enjoy them.
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
I say, put the tip jar up in a prominent spot where no one's bound to miss it, make it unobtrusive, and refrain from comment on it except perhaps a blurb at the end of whatever articles you end up posting.

"If you enjoy Jammer's Reviews, feel free to leave a tip. Your contribution will be used to keep the site running on Full Impulse Power. Thank you!"

And if anyone raises any kind of stink about "I paid xx dollars because I want to see blah blah on the site," pull a Captain Picard "Ensigns of Command" on them*.

Certainly, providing such a valuable site full of great content entitles you to some form of compensation. That seems... logical.

*that is, ignore them completely
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
>@Jammer, perhaps consider creating an open thread for people to discuss some of the classic scifi shows.

I've been meaning to e-mail Jammer about this. I think there should be a general chat thread on Jammer's Reviews and also a general sci-fi thread. Now you might say you don't have time to moderate it, well I'm sure you can find volunteers, hell I will volunteer myself as I have a lot of free time.

If you find someone needs moderating on a review thread you can move their post(s) to the general chat thread.
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 7:54pm (UTC -6)

The current system works just fine.

We're all adults here, we don't need multiple people sanitizing the conversation. I think the world already has enough of that.
Frank A. Booze
Sat, Jan 30, 2021, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
I don’t know if there are any wrestling fans on this website, but if so, then I kind of think of Michael Burnham as being equivalent to John Cena or Roman Reigns. They have been force fed to us so badly that the audience turns on them. If Star Trek Discovery episodes were a live event, then people would be booing Michael Burnham even though she is supposed to be the good guy.
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 1:53am (UTC -6)
@MidshipmanNorris: "I say, put the tip jar up in a prominent spot where no one's bound to miss it, make it unobtrusive"

Next, you'll be asking him to make water that isn't wet! LOL
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 8:55am (UTC -6)
A pretty good video illustrating why I don't think Michael Burnham has earned the Captain's chair. (let alone the rank of Captain)
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 10:24am (UTC -6)
@Yanks, I can just hear Vance and the other admirals debating promotions: "well, Burnham did needlessly murder thousands of people on the Veridian, but have you heard her new catch phrase when they go to warp??? We have to promote her!"
John Harmon
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 12:25pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer I’d be down for some kind of patreon or tip jar service. These reviews have provided invaluable entertainment for nearly 30 years. And I love that you are enjoying getting back into regular reviewing. There’s a lot of shows I’d love to read your thoughts on and I know others would too.
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 2:37pm (UTC -6)

"Next, you'll be asking him to make water that isn't wet! LOL"

That's called ice
Roga Danar
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
The fact that every new Trek now (with the exception of the cartoons) follows the same formula where it's essentially a movie plot stretched out to 10 or 15 episodes. It's become so tiresome and cliched.
People will say "yeah, well, television has moved on from the BORING 90s episodic format!"
I don't like this crap. I PREFER episodic shows that have the occasional two-parter or feature recurring characters and themes. You get to know the characters and see them grow. You get to see the universe expand. Not every story arc gets neatly wrapped up by the season finale. Some of them continue for the rest of the series.
This whole, "It's like a movie but on the small screen" trend is garbage.
Hopefully with The Mandalorian showing that episodic Sci-Fi still has life in it changes a lot of minds.
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
@Roga Danar, three cheers for episodic TV! I do hope the success of Mandalorian convinces studios to stop treating serialization as the default. Serialized storytelling has advantages, but it's not always the better way to tell a story. BSG and B5 probably took the best approach, with episodic stories early on to expand the setting and flesh out characters, and then more serialization once viewers were invested.
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
A general chat thread separate from any single episode or series would solve the issue of those types of miscellaneous comments being posted in the most recent review thread instead. Most of the comments in this thread from the past two weeks haven't really been related to Discovery. It'd work towards keeping the review threads relatively clean from unrelated discussions.

That alone probably wouldn't increase the amount of moderation required because these are comments that would likely be posted regardless. Not that I recognize the need for or presence of moderation.

But at the end of the day, it's Jammer's site and he can do what he feels works for him. These are just some thoughts that people put forth because we see real quality in this space.
grey cat
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 6:41am (UTC -6)
@Yanks that video is superb.

Amusing and really shows the writing and/or producers aren't making anything resembling Star Trek. They've utterly missed Roddenberry's core concepts. While some may argue that DS9 did that already, as you can see from that clip, Sisko understood them perfectly well - it just wasn't always possible to follow them exactly on a remote space station in the middle of a war.

As one of the You Tube comments says "DSC is disgusting. It’s characters, message, tone and ethos is evil. For all the flair, money and special effects, it is ugly to its very core.
Roga Danar
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 7:19am (UTC -6)
Discovery has no real purpose, no real trajectory. The entire series is made up of random crap thrown at a wall until something sticks. Every plot leads nowhere until it is quickly abandoned. They'll probably even change the entire setting after Season 4.
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 10:54am (UTC -6)

"@Yanks, I can just hear Vance and the other admirals debating promotions: "well, Burnham did needlessly murder thousands of people on the Veridian, but have you heard her new catch phrase when they go to warp??? We have to promote her!""

@grey cat

"@Yanks that video is superb.

Amusing and really shows the writing and/or producers aren't making anything resembling Star Trek. They've utterly missed Roddenberry's core concepts. While some may argue that DS9 did that already, as you can see from that clip, Sisko understood them perfectly well - it just wasn't always possible to follow them exactly on a remote space station in the middle of a war.

As one of the You Tube comments says "DSC is disgusting. It’s characters, message, tone and ethos is evil. For all the flair, money and special effects, it is ugly to its very core."

Agree with both of you, but dare you make any intelligent/informed comments about her promotion on FB... good lord, the SJW nuts come out of the woodwork... black woman, blah, blah - hater, why are you here, blah, blah... of course they can't provide one logical reason for her to get the Captain's chair...

Did you guys notice that on top of her ascension to the Captain's seat, she was also PROMOTED to Captain? (4 pips on her com-badge/transporter thingy)
Colin Lindsly
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 11:32am (UTC -6)
I read a synopsis of Alex Kurtzman's interview at TrekMovie. Two quotes caught my attention:

"We’re actually exploring – we’re diving deep into science – in the fourth season, in a kind of new and interesting way."

"There have been many kinds of villains over the course of Star Trek. What happens when the villain is not actually any kind of living, breathing entity, but something else? How do you solve that problem?"

My reaction upon reading this mirrors Data's from Generations:
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 11:40am (UTC -6)
@Rogar Danar

"Discovery has no real purpose, no real trajectory. The entire series is made up of random crap thrown at a wall until something sticks."

Which is why the premium cable, heavily-sterilized style is a bad look on modern Trek. That kind of thing is fine -- an advantage even -- on an episodic, procedural show like Trek used to be. Kurtzman et al are just making it harder on themselves trying to ape GoT or whatever show they want to be. Just let Star Trek be Star Trek.
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: Facebook
grey cat
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
@Colin Lindsly

So Control again? Hopefully they'll go discover something. Probably not boldly since they'll end up crying.. and then Burnham will slaughter a bunch of aliens.

I haven't been able to get Burnham's smug look out of my head since watching that clip again. Shudder.
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
Given the relative size of Discovery's turboshafts to the Viridian, I'm guessing millions, if not billions, of people were on that ship that Burnham needlessly slaughtered. That dialogue at the end saying the chain "fell apart" without Osyrra? No, it was because its entire population on that ship! Kinda weird Burnham didn't shed a tear in that scene.

Personally I think the scene was there so the show could meet its season finale VFX quota, and the writers weren't really thinking too hard about it (i.e. same old lazy writing we have seen). When I brought this up on another forum, the superfans were like "no it's not lazy writing, the scene was there for more than just VFX" not really realizing the implications of what they were saying. It's like, you want to see a casual disregard for life? So much for the ideals of the Federation...
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 9:39am (UTC -6)

HAHAHA!!!! Thank you, I needed a belly laugh today!!
Roga Danar
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Oh no no no, you can't let Star Trek be Star Trek. That turns the "casual viewer" off. Remember Bermaga era where it was too much Star Trek? It's like you want the franchise to die again!!! Star Trek being Star Trek KILLS it.
Star Trek being Transformers/GoT/Marvel, however? Literally prints money!
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks, you're welcome. I will just add that the voiceover at the end of the episode being done by Burnham makes it all the more suspicious. "The Emerald Chain fell apart, because, ummm, well.... OSYRRA! Yes, that's it! It was definitely because of her. Amazing how much the organization relied on her to function. Everyone in the chain is gone now, don't bother trying to find them..."
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Star Dreck: Disco Sucks.
Colin Lindsly
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
The video from Major Grin focused on Berman-era Trek for showing how Discovery has deviated from the core values of Trek. It is an incomplete picture, as from the beginning the franchise has shown Starfleet officers believing that it was their duty and obligation to find peaceful solutions and using violence as a last resort.

In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk attempted to help his former friend Gary Mitchell, who was being transformed, until he had to make the choice to kill him as there was no other choice.

And, in "A Taste of Armageddon", there is this piece of dialog:

ANAN: There can be no peace. Don't you see? We've admitted it to ourselves. We're a killer species. It's instinctive. It's the same with you. Your General Order Twenty Four.
KIRK: All right. It's instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands, but we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes. Knowing that we won't kill today. Contact Vendikar. I think you'll find that they're just as terrified, appalled, horrified as you are, that they'll do anything to avoid the alternative I've given you. Peace or utter destruction. It's up to you.
Wed, Feb 3, 2021, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
For anybody watching the Expanse and who hasn't finished the last episode of season 5, do not read this. Stay away from any article about the Expanse until you have watched the last episode. Just enjoy a few more days of innocence.


For anybody else

Well, I guess the Expanse is a show I can never rewatch in a relaxed way. When he died I thought "wow that was sudden, was he a rapist or something"... sadly I was closer to the truth than I thought. 2021... Not off to a great start.
Wed, Feb 3, 2021, 6:02pm (UTC -6)
Before we turn this thread into a huge tangent on The Expanse (or other shows), let me say that I'm hoping to provide somewhere else on this site where you can do that soon. (I'm also going to launch the tip jar shortly!) For now, if you can hold off, please refrain from discussing that show in this thread.
Wed, Feb 3, 2021, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
Great news. I've got some strong feelings about Airwolf that I've been wanting to get off my chest for 30 years.
Wed, Feb 3, 2021, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
A general chat thread? Cool!
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 7:58am (UTC -6)

"Well, I guess the Expanse is a show I can never rewatch in a relaxed way. When he died I thought "wow that was sudden, was he a rapist or something"... sadly I was closer to the truth than I thought. 2021... Not off to a great start."

Not sure how to feel about this. "Alledged" is different than "guilty". Nothing has been proven yet, correct? Does everyone now risk losing a job over simple allegations?
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 10:21am (UTC -6)
Spoiler debate about the Expanse. Very spoiler.

I believe the dozens of women that have come forward. Some of them as young as 15. Crew members, too. There are mountains of evidence. They hired an independent firm to investigate and after that let him go. I don't know about trails if/when that is going to start.

"Does everyone now risk losing a job over simple allegations?"
Some innocent soul here said that I should not always assume the worst. So I will not assume that you are trying to divert attention away from this specific case to push some anti feminist narrative. Away from the suffering of dozens of women (more than 400.000 rapes and sexual assaults of women and more than 50.000 rapes and sexual assaults of men in 2019 in the USA) and just have the fear that innocent people could lose their jobs for which I have no numbers. Is this actually a significant problem? So to answer your question. No, there are contracts. If they broke the contract then he can sue. If all these women accused him wrongly, he can sue them as well. And if he is guilty then let us hope that he burns in hell until the end of time.
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 4:56pm (UTC -6)

"Does everyone now risk losing a job over simple allegations?"
Some innocent soul here said that I should not always assume the worst. So I will not assume that you are trying to divert attention away from this specific case to push some anti feminist narrative."

This certainly isn't anti-feminist... it does come from someone falsely accused. Albeit it not in a sexual nature like this.

"Away from the suffering of dozens of women (more than 400.000 rapes and sexual assaults of women and more than 50.000 rapes and sexual assaults of men in 2019 in the USA) and just have the fear that innocent people could lose their jobs for which I have no numbers. Is this actually a significant problem? So to answer your question. No, there are contracts. If they broke the contract then he can sue. If all these women accused him wrongly, he can sue them as well. And if he is guilty then let us hope that he burns in hell until the end of time."

If he's guilty, I'll light the match. While I can understand the studios' decision to save face, or maybe more appropriately error on the side "what if it's true", maybe this should just go to court? Will they resurrect the character if he's found innocent? Will he ever work again in the industry if he's found innocent? It's not like this hasn't happened before... ever play Lacrosse at Duke? I guess I'm an "innocent until proven guilty" kind of guy. If the studio could have had him stay off-screen to try and fix his relationship with his family until he's done in court. While the punishment should be severe if he's found guilty, he shouldn't be hung until his guilt is proven.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 8:28pm (UTC -6)
This is slightly off topic (tangential anyways), but why don't these companies turn over their evidence to the police in harassment situations?

If they've found enough justification to fire someone and their behavior could be criminal, shouldn't they obligated to give that information to the authorities to determine what laws may have been broken?

There must bd a legal reason why they don't cooperate fully in such situations (protection from liability perhaps?). I'm sure a legal eagle here can tell me why.
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 4:29am (UTC -6)
Spoiler still for the Expanse. Do not read this if you haven't finished season 5

I think the police has seized his social media accounts and a trial will happen at some point. I haven't really looked into judicial side of things. It's weekend and there a better things to do then that.

"This certainly isn't anti-feminist..."
For me it sounded like that. In a "The women are out to get you, be careful men, one wrong word and you are gone" kind of way.

"Albeit it not in a sexual nature like this."
I have looked into the subreddit. It's not all sexual. He was also banned from conventions because of incidents. But he is rich and he is a celebrity, we all know how these things are swept under the rug as long as possible. Bad for business.

" I guess I'm an "innocent until proven guilty" kind of guy."
While sounding nice, that statement has lots of problems. If you are filmed robbing a bank and also seen by the customers and bank tellers I would say that you are guilty even before the judicial part starts. That is why people are in prison even before their trial.

Stalin and Hitler were never proven guilty by a court of law but they are certainly not innocent.

When it comes to sexual violence, there are normally only two people present and if a rape victim doesn't go to the doctor immediately or if the rape didn't leave any evidence like bruises or ejaculate then a rape is almost impossible to prove, so personally, if the number of accusers reaches a certain number, I tend to believe the accusers. Several of the women in this case said, that they feared the backlash and that nobody would believe them. Only when the number of women who came forward became so great they mustered the courage and accepted the possible numerous negative side effects. For example the fans of the guy harassed the accusers who came out first. He actually organized it.

I don't know a single women who wasn't sexually assaulted. I will not say anything about my personal experiences but let me just tell you, nobody ever went to the police because of a sexual assault. If you as a women step into a full subway car then things are going to happen. These things happen on a scale that you would find unimaginable.

Sorry, I didn't want to drag this out. I only wanted to help people enjoy the show by warning them to stay away from articles.
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 4:50am (UTC -6)
I've read all your comments Boomer about the show and can't find any spoilers. I doubt I'll finish season 4 anyway. The decline since around season 2 has been rather dramatic. It started with some interesting ideas and presentation, notably in a way that made you believe this could be an actual possible future of humanity, and turned into a "hero main characters vs everyone" show, simplistic and cheap.
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 7:19am (UTC -6)
There are spoilers and then there are other things that can lessen your viewing experience.

I think it is a really good show. Sure, reality will be more complex than this but this show is entertainment and not a political science course. But hey tastes differ. Sometimes I really dislike good stuff and sometimes I love terribly bad stuff.

Season 4 was a little weaker if I remember correctly, season 5 was a significant step up. At least for me.
Peter G.
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -6)
So Booming,

You've come back here just to violate the one thing Jammer has asked of us, not to discuss other shows in this thread?
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 11:25am (UTC -6)

I was hoping no one would point this out, simply because the resulting give-and-take will be tiresomely predictable.

Also, I wish there was a more universally accepted method about how to post spoilers. Booming did a better job than previously, but when one paragraph is directly next to another, it's still incredibly easy to inadvertently read something.

Wouldn't something like ....

Then spoilery statements

.... be more apropos?
The Chronek
Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 4:26am (UTC -6)

Jammer's wife and I must agree on this episode, because I thought the season finale was better than you did, sir. For the record, I watched TNG in first-run from start to finish. I can see why some of the old fogies like us don't care for Discovery, the reboot films, etc., but I'm enjoying Discovery.

I like Trek for its continued dedication to showing that everyone has a place and for reflecting current events. I don't think it's that much of a stretch to say that the fractured Federation depicted in Discovery's third season very much mirrors a fractured US and a fractured world in current time. Some people probably didn't like it. I thought it was apt.

I think it was in the second to last episode that had the discussion between Osyrra and Vance about the Chain joining the Federation. I liked how that discussion was portrayed. Vance was willing to listen and be reasonable, but he was justifiably cautious about Osyrra. I like that he wanted to hold her to account for her crimes. To compare her with another criminal in another franchise, she's no Tom Zarek. Zarek, I could at least sympathize with more. I ultimately found him to be self-serving and out for power, but he had flashes of decency and practicality. Osyrra struck me as someone who would only do whatever serves her and not what's right.

As long as I'm comparing Discovery to BSG, I'm ok with the music not being fully explained at the end of this season, just like I'm ok with Kara Thrace not being fully explained by the end of BSG. For me, the bigger questions were answered with Discovery. Does the crew survive? Will they fit in with the current Federation? Will they resolve the conflict with the Chain?

I'm not fully onboard with how emotional everyone seems to be on Discovery. I can buy it a bit, though. They left everything and everyone they knew behind. At the start of the season, they didn't even know if they'd fit in with the Federation during this time, let alone if there even was a Federation. It was, and is, a traumatic shared experience. That kind of thing shakes you. Takes a while to find a new normal and steady yourself emotionally after that.

I could take or leave Mirror Georgiou. I can kind of see why Discovery's crew was attached to her, thanks to the whole time-jump all-alone-out-here thing. Sure, she was a pain, but she was their pain, and she was good in a fight.

I'm also ok with Burnham getting promoted. She, too, had to find her place. Burnham's background aside, it's clear that in this season of Discovery, the Federation isn't what it used to be, so it makes sense that highly qualified, experienced officers would rise the ranks quickly. But, "hey, we've been decimated and we need every warm body we can get" doesn't make for an inspirational season-ending speech from an admiral.

Not sure if I'll sign up again for CBS All Access in time for Discovery's fourth season, but I'll get around to it. Picard? I'll subscribe in time for the season 2 premiere.

Side note: the Lower Decks series was a lot of fun, too.
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
@The Chronek: I don't think you have to worry about spoilers for this episode--as you say, what would one expect? What other commenters are talking about is spoiling different shows (THE EXPANSE, BUFFY, etc.). Jammer said he's going to put up a general discussion thread of some kind (I don't see it yet, unless I'm missing something), which should alleviate that issue to a fair degree except when people are directly comparing something to the episode being reviewed.

(Although it doesn't apply in this case, spoiling a later episode in a season should also involve warnings, since people are working their way through series at their own pace.)
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
Yes, the spoiler guidelines are written very clearly in the commenting rules (last bullet point). Please try to follow them. Thanks.
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
@The Chronek

Regarding the music, I agree that it didn't really need to be explained, but it was just odd to include from a storytelling standpoint. The Kara thing was different because that was the foundation of the entire S4 plot. By contrast, the music was completely unnecessary. If they removed it from the plot it wouldn't have changed anything. So what was the reason to include it? The only reason is if there was some kind of payoff when the mystery is revealed, but there wasn't anything.

As far I as I understand it, the Kelpian ship sent a distress call, which the nebula distorted into music (what?), which then was transmitted across the galaxy. Then multiple civilizations somehow picked that one signal out of the trillions upon trillions of signals in subspace, listened to it, and each made the music so popular it permeated the cultures of all these civilizations to the point that almost everyone in the galaxy knows it. It makes no sense on almost every level. The only thing that it makes me think about as a viewer is if the writers know what the hell they are doing.
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 5:33am (UTC -6)
I can't get into much detail, because I sadly can't spend enough time on it, but I'm disappointed in this season. It started pretty well, with a few truly Trekkian episodes, but towards the end I was profoundly bored. Discovery always feels rushed, except when it's not, when it feels like it lingers. I find it to be very unbalanced, visually overwrought and flashy (CGI is impressingly unimpressive, I never get excited over them, because they come and quickly go, without time to take them in). It looks like seasons have to end in a shipwide combat/shoot out situation, as if that's the only way to create high stakes. I've seen four seasons of new Trek (3x DIS, 1x PIC), not counting three episodes of Lower Decks so far, and I really can't say I'm fond of it. If it gets cancelled, I'd be sad for Trek, because I love Trek. As for Discovery, I like that it's there, I look forward to watching it with my family on friday nights (a tradition for more than a decade) but honestly, the series simply does not invest enough in its characters to really get me to care for them. I think it did one memorable character episode in three seasons, which they ended by jettisoning said character into space. Besides Burnham (and Saru in one of the Short Treks maybe), no one else on the show feels fleshed out beyond ‘the gimmick’. Character are only being fleshed out when it serves the plot. To me good writing does the opposite.
Like Jammer, I too hope that we’ll get there one day, but I honestly think we’re fooling ourselves into believing that, because we all WANT to love this show. It’s Trek. Initially I was sceptic about all the people who talked about how good ‘The Expanse’ was. Surely it’s darker than Trek, as was BSG, but at least it gets me to care for (most of) the characters. It has the right pacing, the right amount of awe inspiring visuals. Translate that kind of storytelling and pacing to the Star Trek Universe, oh, the wonders that could happen.
NOTE: my wife liked this season. From the both of us, I was the original Trekkie, she tagged along a bit (as do our children). It’s funny how I seem to moving away from it now and she still likes it. So it’s not an age thing, we’re practically the same age. It just seems that new Trek hasn’t got that much vintage Trek in it for me (for lack of a better description). Very unscientific and anecdotal, but not entirely uninteresting in the ‘When is something Trek?’ discussion. Another reason why I don’t expect much will change in the coming season(s).
(Looks I spent more time on this than I intended 😊 )
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Yep Sven, there's just not much there. What makes this whole nuTrek v. Classic Trek thing more frusterating isn't JUST the departures from the old shows, but that the shows themselves aren't actually that good on their own. It's not like the people who don't like them are saying they'd be good if they weren't identified under the "Star Trek" label (although I think they'd be viewed BETTER) but that they're just not overly well thought out or constructed either way. And yet, people are gobbling them up. I have to wonder if the Star Trek brand and the identity politics of representation are blinding people from critical analysis and giving them bias. On the other hand, as you said, your wife likes it.

I think perhaps what really frusterates me is that usually with most things, I can see the otherside, see where people are coming from. Trek TAUGHT me that. But with this, I have no idea how people how people can't see the flaws that are glaringly obvious to me. I can't understand it, or see what they see that elevates this spate of new Trek.

You've given it 4 seasons so far, S1 of Picard was my Strike three. I only come back here to keep abreast of the decisions the writers have made so I can figure out ways to write them away. Otherwise I'm done watching Star Trek: Dilution, Star Trek: Picked Apart and Star Trek: Lower Brow.
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
"... they're just not overly well thought out or constructed either way. And yet, people are gobbling them up. I have to wonder if the Star Trek brand and the identity politics of representation are blinding people from critical analysis and giving them bias."

Agreed! The regular debates about whether something is "not Star Trek" are beside the larger point that it's often just "not very good". I would forgive a lot of playing fast and loose with canon if these people could write good sci fi.

And yes, the identity politics is definitely part of it for some fans of NuTrek. It doesn't make much sense to me: it's been over 50 years since Uhura appeared - black, believable, likeable. It's been over 30 years since Geordie appeared - black, believable, likeable. We had a black, believable and likeable Captain nearly 30 years ago in Sisko. We even had a black, believable and likeable Vulcan around the same time.

So why the excitement about characters like Burnham and Mariner who aren't remotely believable or likeable but happen to be black? In what way is it progress of any sort?
Roga Danar
Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
A lot of it is the modern news media, which is unavoidable thanks to social media platforms, pushing gender/race identity politics because they know it generates controversy. Controversy = clicks/views = profit.
Like those articles claiming how "powerful" it was that Michael Burnham was the first black woman in Star Trek (??? Excuse me????). It attracts people who genuinely have nothing to say but hate for people of different colors, because the internet brings the worst out of us. But then the enlightened "good boy" fans feel they need to "stick it" to the racists by watching the new show.
It works every time.
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 4:17am (UTC -6)
Still looking forward to the general discussion thread...
Wed, Feb 24, 2021, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
CBS just released a first look at Star Trek: Prodigy, a new Trek show aimed at kids. It looks very much like the CBS marketing department's attempt to make Trek relevant to the kiddies.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 1:12am (UTC -6)

Why can't CBS just make a normal Trek series?! It's like they want people to be hooked on a brand name instead of a franchise. It's so weird to me.

They don't know what they're doing.

However, looking at the bright side of things, I am glad Kate Mulgrew has a new revenue stream.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 10:19am (UTC -6)
I would like to see an R rated Klingon-centric show. Really flesh out their society while keeping the violence and political intrigue.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 10:22am (UTC -6)
Prodigy is off to a great start:
William B
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 10:31am (UTC -6)
omg haha amazing.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
@ Different Bob

Good God, what?! 🤣😂😅

This show is doomed!
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
"This show is doomed!"

i know almost nothing about the show, but after browsing online for a while it looks like a lot of Trek fans are very excited about it. This is a show that is going to be aimed at kids so maybe Trek parents are excited about watching the show with their children, but my impression is that their is just a large section of the base that automatically LOVES anything that bears the Star Trek name.

I really don't understand the Trek fan base. But then again, I don't like comic book movies either so maybe I'm just out of step with our current culture.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
I don't look at those characters and think "Trek", I see a hodgepodge that looks more like the toy shelf at Target. or Guardians of the Galaxy.

Bringing smarmy forgettable Okona (of all people) back is tone deaf .... that was one of TNG's lamest episodes.

I think this falils as a gateway to Trek and it wi'll bomb big time.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
They're bringing Janeway back, too:

Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman said, “Captain Janeway was held to a different standard than her predecessors. She was asked to embody an inhuman level of perfection in order to be accepted as ‘good enough’ by the doubters, but showed them all what it means to be truly outstanding. We can think of no better captain to inspire the next generation of dreamers on Nickelodeon, than she.”
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:17pm (UTC -6)
"I don't look at those characters and think "Trek", I see a hodgepodge that looks more like the toy shelf at Target. or Guardians of the Galaxy."

This show is for children Dave, not for you or me. Children don't care about what you see and what conclusions you draw about the show without seeing second of footage. They don't care about Okona's TNG episode or what adults deem worthy of watching. They certainly don't care about declarations of doom (like the ones that were had been declared in the past for the current ones who, without an exception, are headed full-steam for their next seasons). They don't care about the profound definitions of Trek according to you or me. As long as they like the show, chances are they will become future Trekkies. They will thankfully begin watching Prodigy without any preconceived hatred toward the show just from seeing a single image.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
Trek isn't supposed to be for toddlers.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
And I don't "hate" Prodigy. (The fact I could barely muster a few paragraphs should tell you how much I care about the franchise nowadays).

But it will most likely be another nu-Trek desecration, and the only emotion that stirs in me anymore is sadness.

Oh well, thankfully there's new Orville episodes in just a few months.
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
"Trek isn't supposed to be for toddlers."

Says who?
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 9:09pm (UTC -6)
I'm one of those people who draw conclusions on previous evidence.

I actually recall seeing Trek when I was 3 or 4 and thinking it was interesting, but I also was testing 5 years ahead of the curve. I didn't really start watching it until TNG premiered and Nick reran the animated series.

Setting aside my personal anecdote, you'd have to be willingly obtuse to watch TNG or DS9 and conclude that preschoolers are the target audience.

Frankly, there is a lot in Trek that isn't appropriate for a child that age. And it's not SUPPOSED to be.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
If Trek is just a skin that can be draped over any frame, at least give me something entertaining like Sex and the Single Klingon.
Sat, Feb 27, 2021, 3:07am (UTC -6)
There we go again. There are now 9? shows with the Trek label and I liked 2. I'm happy that I can see these debates and are only mildly amused about all of this. Kurtzman and CBS have ended my emotional relationship to Star Trek. I even have Lower Decks on Amazon but didn't watch a single episode. When I see debates about this or that auldTrek episode I think:"Interesting how much these people care about thirty year old shows."

@Bob (the other one)
"I really don't understand the Trek fan base. But then again, I don't like comic book movies either so maybe I'm just out of step with our current culture."
In times of uncertainty and crisis the USA gets a hankering for strongman. These movies are about a good guy punching the bad guys until all is well again. It is a simplistic desire for a singular human (looking) being to solve societal problems. It lives somewhere between childish power fantasy and adult desire for dictators. Apart from that these movies are well made. Then there is Thor and Captain America *sigh*... so I guess there is something for everybody. :)
Jean Michel
Sat, Mar 6, 2021, 5:48am (UTC -6)
I'm awfully bit late to the party, first post here, although I've been visiting this page for ages.

I thought I'd chime in with regards to people trying explain away the ginormous turbolift shafts with "warp bubbles" and how the ship might be "bigger inside than outside".

This might be only my impression and a biased one, but I feel that Star Trek has always been about practicality. We know what purpose the holodeck serves. Or the transporters. Or the replicators/food synthesizers. Or how the warp drive works. Discovery is on the opposite side - they invent things that are supposed to look cool without serving much purpose:

- floors at the Starfleet HQ made from programmable matter: WHY
- detachable nacelles. Yeah, "greater maneuverability". In space. No. They just look cool, but they make no sense.
- all the ship at Starfleet HQ sustaining the field or whatever. So basically they can't move?
- ginormous turbolift shafts. What's the PURPOSE of all that EMPTY SPACE? And even IF that space is needed and the ship is indeed using a "warp bubble" to be "bigger on the inside", it still begs the question: WHY. Why would one want to make the ship smaller on the outside? Why would the size of a *starship* matter? Is it easier for parallel parking or what? It makes zero sense in this universe/franchise.
Michael Darwin
Sun, Mar 7, 2021, 12:03am (UTC -6)
Just finished binge watching season 3 after taking the 50% off deal for a year of Paramount Plus. And the verdict is... eh.

In many ways Discovery moved Trek in the right direction, and this season moved Discovery the right way too. Showed flaws in the Federation, and took away some of their invincibility. We have brought in new crew and said good bye to familiar faces every season. They actually jumped into the future. Perhaps too far, IMO, but it was a necessary move for a series that was mired in the past.

On the other hand, the schmaltzy science grates me to no end. If TOS relied to heavily on radiation of the week, Discovery is all about the materialization of bad feelings. Bleh.

I am also unsettled by Gray's character. I know the actor is currently 19, but he comes across MUCH younger to me, while Blu de Barrio does not. I get Gray is probably supposed to look the age he was when he died, but still it feels a bit creepy to me. No offense to the actor, but I would like them to just resolve this story and move on from Gray.

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