Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

"A Quality of Mercy"

Review pending

Air date: 7/7/2022
Written by Henry Alonso Myers & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Chris Fisher

Pending my review, the comments section is open.

Previous episode: All Those Who Wander

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347 comments on this post

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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 2:49am (UTC -5)
Well I guess this is going to throw fuel on the "Pike is incompetent" fire some people here are building.

But I don't think it's as simple as all that.

Pike did something to "set" his fate in the Klingon monastery of Borath (in Discovery season two). He chose to. And now this episode shows what happens if he tries to change it: Spock gets it instead. Older Pike tells younger Pike the monks on Borath told him that anytime he tries to change it, it ends the same way: Spock gets it instead. Doesn't matter what he does.

So Pike's approach to the Balance of Terror crisis doesn't work because it cannot. It isn't allowed to. Locking his fate has made it impossible. It's like the Kobayashi Maru. It's the no-win scenario.

If Pike's fate hadn't been locked, maybe his different approach to the Balance of Terror crisis from Kirk's might also have worked. In a different way.

. . .

Pike also gets an answer to a different question he's had here: he CAN change his fate. He is able to. It's just that everytime he does, this or something like this happens, and Spock pays it instead. So Pike does not have "plot armor" as far as time is concerned. He is not immortal simply because he is supposed to be somewhere at a certain place and time in the future. He can still die and not show up there. It's only that, as long as he does everything he otherwise WOULD do if he didn't know his fate, he WILL end up there.

So in a way, he kind of has to keep choosing his fate, by doing his best to ignore his fate, all the while knowing he is ensuring his fate. It's really kind of brutal. Pike is a hell of a hero. I mean this is Greek tragedy level stuff, here.

. . .

I still wonder if the writers would have made this choice to burden Pike with the knowledge of his fate if they'd realized we'd be seeing him ever again after Discovery season 2. If they'd had any inkling at all that one day they would be making SNW.

. . .

When Spock susses out that Pike is carrying this burden because if he lays he down it will fall on him, and that Pike is willing to do that for him . . . you can see the moment when Spock decides his level of indebtedness to him for it. You can see the moment he decides that if there's ever anything he can do to lighten it, no matter what it is, he is going to. Hence the Menagerie.

. . .

Am I the only one picking up some sexual tension between Pike and La'an? This episode isn't the first time I've sensed that. I was more than 50% expecting to find out that in that transporter room scene they were or had been married in the intervening seven years.

. . .

Liked the way they married TOS-era Romulans with rest-of-Star-Trek Romulans. Culturally, I mean, and not aesthetically. Although they did a decent job aesthetically, too.

. . .

Wesley did alright as Kirk. Shatner played him with more . . . presence, though. Shatner's Kirk was the center of any room he was in. Wesley's Kirk didn't have that. Still, not terrible.

. . .

I'm really expecting to hear Scotty has been cast for next season any day now.

. . .

Looks like they'll be starting off next season with some sorely-needed attention to Una's character. We've all made a lot out of how underutilized she is, but let's take this episode as an example: where was there a place for her in it? A place for her somewhere between Pike and Spock, would that have worked? No. No one can occupy that space because the relationship is too important. This is a problem with her character the writers have to solve.

. . .

Someone in the comments-section-to-come is going to make a post comparing this episode to the episode of The Orville that aired tonight (Twice in a Lifetime), which was another four star episode in my opinion, while this episode of SNW. And they are going to use that to tear down SNW by comparison, say "well IF THE ORVILLE CAN DO IT, why can't SNW?" And other adjacent yadda-yadda statements (I'm not going to make them here. You can scroll down and see them for yourself.) All I will say to that is, tonight's episode of The Orville is a third season episode and it only works, and is only a four star episode, because it is a third season episode. It needed the groundwork the other seasons laid to work. Give SNW the same time to lay groundwork before making disingenuous comparisons. For my money, season one of SNW was comfortably better than season one of The Orville, overall.

Okay, that's what I've got to say, for now.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:01am (UTC -5)
If I'm going to make posts at 1 AM in the morning, I really need an edit button. Yikes.

"So Pike's approach to the Balance of Terror crisis doesn't work because it cannot. It isn't allowed to. Locking his fate has made it impossible. It's like the Kobayashi Maru. It's the no-win scenario. Because Spock has to get it, so this or something like this (should Pike choose to change his fate under different circumstances at another time) has to happen. Hence no matter what, his plan here must fail."

"Pike also gets an answer to a different question he's had here: he CAN change his fate. He is able to. It's just that everytime he does, this or something like this happens, and Spock pays it instead. So Pike does not have "plot armor" as far as time is concerned. He is not immortal simply because he is supposed to be somewhere at a certain place and time in the future. He can still die and not show up there (and then Spock will get it). It's only that, as long as he does everything he otherwise WOULD do if he didn't know his fate, he WILL end up there."

^ I hope that's more clear.

"Someone in the comments-section-to-come is going to make a post comparing this episode to the episode of The Orville that aired tonight (Twice in a Lifetime), which was another four star episode in my opinion, while this episode of SNW was not."

^ Fixed.
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NCC 1971
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:44am (UTC -5)
Good episode. I like it a lot. LLAP
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AMA
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 4:44am (UTC -5)
"Well I guess this is going to throw fuel on the "Pike is incompetent" fire some people here are building." I had this same thought, as the episode does little to cast Pike's decision-making in a positive light. I'm also not certain that Pike's approach to the crisis does not work because it cannot: Spock's fate could always be met by some other means, without the greater toll on all the Federation. With that said, the episode does indeed give more weight to what is seen in 'The Menagerie.'

In short, my immediate reaction to the episode is that it paints Pike as a honourable, but not particularly competent, captain. Not a fan of that. Others' views and further contemplation may yet sway my opinion, but that's the immediate sense the episode left me with.

I also could not help but think about critiques related to last week's episode: if fans thought it lifted scenes from another work, wait until they see this. :p

Was not particularly impressed by Paul Wesley. His look and mannerisms reminded me of a toned-down Jim Carrey. The portrayal can likely be explained away, however, by it occurring in a different timeline.

Otherwise, I thought the design of the Romulans and their ships, and the altered uniforms, were generally excellent. This series continues to fit the constructed universe, unlike, most notably, Discovery.

All in all, a very good season. I would rate every episode between 2.5 and 3.5 stars, and, unlike Discovery and Picard, I am likely to come back to/rewatch these episodes time and again in the future.
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Barristan
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 5:29am (UTC -5)
Wow, this one will take a while to process; there's a lot going on. Timey-wimey shenanigans, a straight-up "What If" version of "Balance of Terror" ("What if Pike was still captain when...?"), hints of future changes to character personalities & relationships...

I'd say it was a solid and mostly successful finale overall, brought down a bit by an underwhelming cliffhanger that felt unnecessary and tacked on, and distracted from the thought-provoking story that preceded it. It actually seemed too similar to the season-ending cliffhanger from LOWER DECKS, with a commanding officer being unexpectedly arrested.

I couldn't believe how many direct callbacks to "Balance of Terror" they included, from music and camera cues (those extreme '60s close-ups!) to significant chunks of dialogue. When the Romulan commander said he "tired of endless war," he sounded so exactly like Mark Lenard, I could have sworn they had dubbed in a voice clip from the original episode. I did feel like the scenes on the Romulan ship were much less effective here than in TOS, and could have been left out. There, their purpose was to encourage empathy by humanizing a Cold War adversary for the 1960s audience. Here, it felt strange to cut away from Pike's viewpoint when we were ostensibly meant to be following his "man-out-of-time" storyline.

Overall, I like how the episode directly addressed (and hopefully wrapped up for now) the "Pike's fate" conundrum, and gave him a good reason to willingly accept his future. I feel like the writers were pushed into a bit of a corner by DISCOVERY here, and this was a pretty effective and unexpected way to deal with it. (The idea of him knowng the EXACT TIME of his death always seemed like a mistake to me... speaking of which, why did they say the time of the accident was already "six months ago" seven years in the future, when Pike had previously said it was 10 years away? Was this season supposed to take place over a period of three years or something?? Bit confused by the specifics there.)

Still mulling over the finale, but this is certainly one of the strongest first seasons in the history of TREK, with a wise focus on character development through self-contained stories, and an impressive knack for capturing the spirit of the original series in a new shiny modern package. I hope the second season continues to build on what's been established here, but this is the most optimism I've had for the franchise since DS9 ended 23 years ago... it was so great to actually *LOOK FORWARD* to a new episode of Star Trek each week!
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Skylar
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 7:07am (UTC -5)
I won't lay into Pike too badly. His character has a writing problem, not an acting problem. I hoped this show would reconcile TOS Pike with Disco Pike. Instead, he's a pretty face with great hair and good friendship with the crew, for better or worse (often worse).

This is a different take/what-if of one of Trek's most iconic stories. As poorly written as I feel Pike has been, they nailed writing Kirk in this outing. His own brother admits he got a captaincy through luck and charm. The new actor doesn't have Shatner's presence on the screen, but he's so true to self he steals the scene.

Curious what next season will bring. Hopefully more of Una, tragically underutilized so far. It was almost the end of the season before I even realized where her station was on the bridge.
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Tim C
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 7:10am (UTC -5)
This was a bold and confident move from the SNW writers, and although I don't think the execution was entirely successful, I also thought it was a good episode and a satisfying capper to the first season.

I say bold, because "Balance of Terror" is such an iconic episode for TOS and the franchise as a whole. (Just look at how triggered some commenters were by Jammer's lukewarm capsule review of it!) Choosing to make that scenario your sandbox is walking into a minefield of heightened fan expectation. But they've gone there anyway, and they went into it with something to say about Pike and Kirk's command styles and how sometimes diplomacy is not the answer. (Shades of "The Vulcan Hello" here, as well.)

The problem with the execution was threefold for me. One, since this is an alternate-timeline story, the stakes are not as tangible throughout as they are in an episode like "Memento Mori" or "All Those Who Wander", where we have a lot of new characters to play with whose fates are uncertain.

Two, if you're going to do a time-travel story involving canon we've already seen, then you need to line it up right, and BOT takes place months after Kirk has already taken command of the Enterprise. It also takes place *before* "The Menagerie", which was shortly after Pike's accident. Either the writers didn't know or didn't care, and that lack of attention to detail irritates me when they put in a lot of effort elsewhere.

But bigger than those is Three: I don't think Paul Wellesley is the right actor for Kirk. Shatner's hamminess and shameless scene-stealing is the stuff of legend, but they're also part of what made Kirk so iconic to begin with. Chris Pine also brought a brash energy to the role that suited it (even if I think the Kelvin-Trek writers fundamentally misunderstood the character). But I just wasn't getting the right vibes from Wellesley. Maybe this is just a problem personal to me. Kirk's my childhood hero. Those are big shoes to fill.

(Whoever was playing the Romulan commander also couldn't hold a candle to Mark Lenard.)

Putting those gripes aside, there was a lot to like about this one. Ethan Peck calibrated his performance with precision to become the more stoic future-Spock. The effects work was absolutely stellar (although why are we using bolt rather than beam phasers again? Annoying). There was a grim and tense atmosphere that suited the subject, and if I wasn't on the edge of my seat, I at least never got bored and stopped paying attention to what was unfolding on screen.

A good, not great episode, to close out a very good, not great, first season of a new Trek show. Three stars, I think.

SNW season one as a whole? Well like I just said... very good. The only episode of the season that didn't land for me was "Ghosts of Illyria". Otherwise, we have nine episodes that tackled a variety of space-adventure genres and all with at least some degree of success. The casting is absolutely superb. There's not an actor I think could be swapped out.

Almost every major character had some degree of fleshing-out and character development, with the notable exception of Ortegas, who I hope gets to be more than the Tom Paris "Ace Pilot Quip Machine" in season 2. And Una felt shortchanged by a number of the stories told, which I think is just a consequence of having a short season. When you've only got ten stories to tell and a large ensemble, characters are going to miss out. But she needs more development, and I hope the cliffhanger ending to this finale is a sign that we're going to get it.

SNW's most notable weakness is the same one that plagued the last couple seasons of TNG, pretty much all of VOY, and the first two seasons of ENT. Episodic TV sci-fi is a genre that has been hugely expanded on since TOS pioneered it. An original plot can be very difficult to come by. SNW has dealt with this issue by making most of its stories character-driven rather than plot-driven, but the "been there, done that" feeling is very difficult to shake.

They've made it all the more difficult for themselves by basically reusing the TOS premise - right down to the opening narration! The best episodes of VOY and ENT were those that successfully employed the show's different premises and settings to world-build and character develop. But SNW is very limited in what it can accomplish here: it takes place far too closely to TOS to change or develop much of what we already know. Witness how fine a line they have to walk with using the Gorn as a primary adversary. A lot of fans think they've already crossed it and it can be hard to disagree, even if I've enjoyed the episodes they've been used in.

So what do we need from season 2? In short, we need more original creations. "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" may have been one of the weaker episodes of the season, but it's also the way forward. New settings, new societies, new cultures and new characters are what we need for this show to remain fresh. It's hard not to notice just how many episodes (seven!) in season 1 took place almost entirely onboard the Enterprise.

I have enjoyed the modern spin the showrunners have put on familiar elements of TOS (they've certainly taken a great deal more care with the prequel concept than Discovery ever did), but it's time for them to branch out and create their own Star Trek.

I really, really like this show. I think it has the potential to be the best new Trek show since DS9. There's already episodes in this first season I think I'm going to be happy to rewatch for years to come, just as I do with the legacy shows. I genuinely cannot say that about Discovery or Picard.

I sincerely hope they don't squander that potential. But we're off to a good start.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Excellent episode. There was a lot riding on this one for me because as I said last week, I was going to be out on the show if they had a third consecutive weak episode to close the season.

I actually think this was the best episode of the series, but I dock it a half point because like @Tim C, this actor just doesn't seem like James T. Kirk to me. I know it's hard to fill William Shatner's shoes, but I thought Chris Pine did an admirable job. This guy, not so much.

Still, very well written episode with good VFX (and really good old age makeup on Anson Mount, playing the older Pike). 3.5 stars.
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Booming
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Seems my prediction has come true. A few good episodes at the start, weak ones in the middle and one strong last episode to get everybody to tune in for season 2. Smart.
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Joseph B
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Just Viewed It!

OMG … It’s a 5 Star out of 4 Star Trek “Tour De Force” !!!!!!!!!!!! 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩

There is literally a new twist EVERY FIVE MINUTES !!!!!

I only have two complaints with this first season:
* The “Fairy Tale” episode.
* The Season was just TOO SHORT! I’m ready for another 10 eps NOW !!!
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Ilsat
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Was there figuratively a new twist every 4 seconds? If so, perhaps you should give it 17 stars out of 4!!!!!!!!!
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Mal
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Fantastic episode! I’ll be watching this again (and again and again…).

3 1/2 stars

Not quite up to Yesterday’s Enterprise. Not quite up to Balance of Terror. But not, oh boy, about as good as it gets for a season 1 finale.

The best episode 10 of any Start Trek series ever?
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StarMan
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Well here we are, the end.

I preferred Jim Carrey's take on Kirk in SNL - infused with 1000% Shatner ham. The mellow, uncharismatic take this time round was pretty underwhelming.

We need a count of lines ripped / amended from BoT. One or two lines would have been a nice nod, but they sure didn't hold back peppering them throughout. "You and I are of a kind" - 'member? 'member?

I really am not a fan of Pike having the inside track on his future on tap. Make the wrong move and hey presto, time crystals to the rescue.

The Romulans looked good, I must say. Although I was surprised to see the Praetor herself rock up to TNZ - seems more a Klingon Chancellor sort of move. But hey, where there are political points to be gained. . .

Not much to say on this episode. Lots of 'memberberries. Not a fan of Kirk v3.0. As for the season overall - strong- ish start. First half of the season front-loaded with the quality. Episodes 6-9 were a mix of mediocre to nearly unwatchable (you earn the fairy tale outing once you're well-established and have a good track record, thank you very much). It's the writing. It's always the damned writing with NuTrek. Great actors, production values, VFX and so on.

Anyway, that's going to be it for me. 30 years a Trek fan - watched everything Trek in all its various iterations since the mid-90s. I just cannot keep going with Kurtzman's brand. You can put a different spin on it, change the format; it all has the same shallow, uninspired and all-too-frequently dull bearing across it.

SNW is far from the worst, all that said. Discovery and Picard (S2 - Sweet Jesus) can keep that dubious honour. If you're content with something that doesn't punch above some mid-tier CW-like product (which I am not), then have at it. I'm just a greedy SOB and want to feel inspired again.

In the meantime, keep up the good work, Orville!
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:22am (UTC -5)
I'm really torn on this episode, because in isolation, it's a great episode of Strange New Worlds that showcases all of the strengths of the series, and provides continued development to Pike's arc.

On the other hand, it's an episode that absolutely did NOT need to be made.

I have little niggles, like how this episode did the same thing that Enterprise did in These Are the Voyages... having a time skip with everyone having the exact same haircuts and no apparent character development over a long period of time. But the big issues with the episode are basically:

1. Paul Wesley is just a generic white guy captain - he doesn't give off Kirk vibes at all. Indeed, I sort of feel like the Sam Kirk scene was added because Wesley didn't sell it enough with his performance.

2. There was absolutely no need to remake Balance of Terror, one of the best, if not the absolute best, episodes of TOS (Personally I like The Doomsday Machine more, but it's arguable). Anything SNW did was not going to look quite as good in comparison, and there were some line-for-line lifts from that script here.

3. Related to point 2, the plot basically requires Pike to look like a chump, since we know that Kirk is supposed to be the one to save the day here. The episode is supposed to be a tragedy of course, but by setting us up in an alternate version of a story we already knew, it almost turns Christopher Pike into Jonathan Archer - someone bumbling his way into disaster, despite his best intentions.

All of this is unfortunate, because the episode gets a good deal of things right as well. I think the brief depiction of the Romulans here was better than what we saw in PIC Season 1, and the Romulan Commander was if anything improved slightly from Balance of Terror. The episode was well shot, directed, acted, had a good character arc for Pike...but ultimately it's just a nostalgia trip, which seems the wrong way to end Season 1, which has been careful to tell new stories centered on the cast.
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theBgt
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:42am (UTC -5)
Oh dear... did they search a lot to cast this completely un-charismatic actor as Kirk? He was awfully awful. He made me hate this episode.
And why introduce Kirk anyway? Shouldn't they keep him for the last episode of the series? Like passing the torch to him?
So they copied Balance of Terror. These writers always copy something, don't they?
This is what a TOS prequel means to them: plenty of stories to copy and characters to borrow. And when TOS is not enough there are plenty of other sources to steal from. Didn't they still their finale from Lower Decks? (btw still the best new ST).
This is a waste of a very good crew casting.
Except from the new Kirk, Geez, he is so bad, so bad.
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Marc
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:46am (UTC -5)
I didn’t come into this with much knowledge of Balance of Terror (watched all the movies and TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT multiple times back in the day, but never got into TOS). Without knowing how many details carried over from BoT to here, I thought it was a very well done episode on it’s own merit. Even so with my wariness of time travel episodes and outright dislike of “fate” in science fiction. This is not the first time I’ve had to say “despite not liking these kind of episodes, I really enjoyed this” throughout the season. SNW always seems to add just enough of its own touch to make up for such deficiencies. It speaks to the cast, writers, and crew of this show.

Not sure Kirk really looked or acted the part, but it’s nevertheless fun to see him on screen. Glad La’an got to make a brief appearance.

Overall, this is one of the strongest seasons of Star Trek ever. A pleasant surprise after all of Paramount’s recent attempts. I think I’d rate much of the season a bit higher than Jammer has overall.

Strange New Worlds - 3*
Children of the Comet - 3.5*
Ghosts of Illyria - 3*
Memento Mori - 4*
Spock Amok - 3*
Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach - 2.5*
The Serene Squall - 1*
The Elysian Kingdom - 2.5*
All Those Who Wander - 3*
A Quality of Mercy - 3.5*
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Undesirable Element
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 10:49am (UTC -5)
What I love about this episode is that it fully takes advantage of everything that Strange New Worlds offers as its own series. Pike's destiny being a foregone conclusion is a major premise of the show, so it certainly makes sense to focus on it here. It also highlights the strength of Pike's characterization from the very beginning: he's the best of Starfleet and represents the epitome of its ideals. I think what they're going for is not that Pike is a bad captain, but that part of what makes Kirk unique is his ability to bend those ideals without breaking them when the situation calls for it. Kirk himself just happens to be particularly unique and well suited to the specific challenges that await him.

I was a bit thrown at first by the performance of this new Kirk as well because Shatner and Pine have such iconic and different performances of the character, but then I wondered if we're meant to see this as an incomplete version of the captain we know - that Kirk isn't the same as he will be because he hasn't had his interactions with Spock and others aboard the Enterprise that will change him. I think we're going to see more of this next season. (Side Note: I appreciated the nice touches in his briefly-seen personnel file: he has the same awards listed that were given in TOS and it mentions that he was a witness to the massacre on Tarsus IV.)

One thing I found odd (that I thought would be explained at some point in the episode) was the way Ortegas was characterized. Clearly, she was meant to stand in for Stiles from the original episode, but that character's general dickishness was explained by his family history in the Romulan Wars. Ortegas just seems to be particularly antagonistic for no reason. Now, it's been 7 years, and who knows what's happened to her in that time, but I expected to get some hint that the change was at least acknowledged. La'an's personality was also different (much more chipper and personable), so maybe this was one of those little hints that we're not fully meant to understand just yet.

I quite like the way that the show is visually handling its prequel nature. Trying to to fully imitate the sets, makeup, props, and lighting of the 60s show might work for something comedic like "Trials and Tribble-ations" or a pulpy comic book one-off like "In a Mirror Darkly," but that's not really going to fly for a serious show. They recreate the aesthetic and feel of the moment without imitating it exactly. It's similar to what Doctor Who has done when they've revisited things from the classic series.

It's interesting that the changes affected the Romulans as well prior to the events of the episode. I think the Romulan commander is meant to be the same one from "Balance of Terror," but his second-in-command is clearly supposed to be someone else. In that episode, it was an older guy. I'm wondering if the reference to that character's uncle being killed in the Reman campaigns is supposed to imply that the original Romulan XO died earlier than he was supposed to.

Why would the Praetor of the entire Romulan Empire show up on the front lines? (Though I guess Shinzon pulled that crap too, but that might not be the best precedent to cite)

The voice of Scotty was a fun little tidbit.

Absolute perfect exchange with Spock that made me laugh out loud:
"Would you like some coffee?"
"I don't drink coffee. But I do drink tea."
"Okay, can I get you some tea?"
"No."

Putting future Pike in a movie-era uniform was a very nice touch, but the little shoulder strap thing looked very weird to me. I don't mind it being altered to fit this show's style, it just looked objectively wonky in some shots.
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Dahj's Digital Ghost
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Ortegas as a stand in for Stiles was a mistake. Stiles himself should have appeared on Enterprise as a new transfer. I thought this was an okay episode, better than the last few, but it felt off to me. The Romulans, though, were designed in a way that I really approve of.
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Walding
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
Overall I liked the episode, despite feeling the execution was not being able to do what might have been possible with the story.

Most importantly the episode answered two question that I think needed to be answered:
- Can Pikes future be changed? Yes.
- Should it be changed? No.

This should not only settle those real-world suspicions that the writers might change it, it also gives Pikes character a good reason for not wanting change it when he realistically should be looking for a way out. I didn't find the reasons he had been given so far for him "staying the course" and accepting his fate that convincing. Because he should indeed have been able to alter the future in a way that the accident simply doesn't happen and then why wouldn't he?

I agree that deciding to use the legendary Balance of Terror as the future was a bold move. The actors playing Jim Kirk and the romulan commander had very difficult tasks, because if you have to copy another actors performance, especially one as good as that of Mark Lenard in BoT, you always tend to be seen as the copy, regardless how good you are. I would say the actor (Matthew MacFadzean?) playing the romulan commander did a good job portraying the character that Mark Lenard played. Unfortunately Paul Wesley never managed to convince me that he was James T. Kirk.

Also that the Romulans should not be able to tell mining ships from warships bugged me a bit, I understand it was a desperate bluff and given the paranoid nature of the Romulans the chances of convincing them that warships had been masked as mining ships would have a higher chance of working then against another species. But then again the Federation is not supposed to know that much about the Romulans, something this episode reaffirms (also cleaning up some confusion on this point from „Spock Amok“).
But overall still a good episode that I enjoyed very much.
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Norvo
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
That was a lot to take in :-)

Got very strong 'Yesterday's Enterprise' vibes from the season finale. They managed to pack a feature's length of thrills, visual effects and story in an hour of television. Excellent work all around and what a way to set up season 2.

Speaking of the future... Unlike captain Pike, I'm not as convinced the future is set in stone. If anything, the time crystal trip showed him what *not* to do. He can still prevent the death of the cadets and keep himself safe. All he needs to do now is step down around the time the incident would have have taken place. The Enterprise gets a new captain, maybe Kirk, Spock is still there and the war with the Romulans is averted.

;-) Nahh, temporal matters are never that straightforward.

Loved the little touches: Ethan Peck's attempt to mimic Nimoy's performance, right down to the raised eyebrow at the reveal of the Romulans, the off camera sound of a familiar Scottish engineer, the musical cues reminiscent of the original Quality of Mercy... It's service this fan enjoys. More please!

One little tribblin-quibble: Why would the Klingons offer up a time crystal so Pike can prevent the Federation - Romulan war? Better to let two bitter enemies of the empire exhaust themselves so the Klingons can easily conquer them all?
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Walding
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
@Tim C
"If you're going to do a time-travel story involving canon we've already seen, then you need to line it up right, and BOT takes place months after Kirk has already taken command of the Enterprise. It also takes place *before* "The Menagerie", which was shortly after Pike's accident. Either the writers didn't know or didn't care, and that lack of attention to detail irritates me when they put in a lot of effort elsewhere."

Yes, clearly writers wanted to have Pike on the Enterprise which the original timeline would not have allowed. But I think that this is one of those instances where they can pull it of as it has been established that Pike has changed the timeline. And clinging to the command of the Enterprise instead of accepting the assignment to the academy where the accident happened would be one of those things I could see him changing.
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C.T Phipps
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Getting off Pike and Time Travel for a bit, I think the episode is much more interesting in its aversion of typical Star Trek politics.

Its a tough argument that "appeasement of fascists leads to war." Its not necessarily a wrong one, though. The biggest lesson of this episode is that Pike is a Picard-esque man willing to overlook mass murder because he believes in preventing more mass murder and that people are inherently good. Yes, overlooking ALL the time travel stuff. However, as we see with the "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas" episode and underscored here, there are a decent chunk of people who are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and choose to kill and terrify anyway.

Evil is not just a word. It is a state of mistaking virtue for weakness and cruelty for strength. Kirk is a savage by his own words in TOS and sadly was the savage they needed. A very un-Roddenberry idea but perhaps a Fontana or Schneider one they would have approved of.

What DOES one do with enemies who simply do not negotiate in good faith or value the lives of their people over power and wealth?

Its something the writers of the TOS era had familiarity with and sadly we have familiarity with now.
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Booming
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
@C.T. Phipps
"What DOES one do with enemies who simply do not negotiate in good faith or value the lives of their people over power and wealth?"
We have entered International Relations
read this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism_(international_relations)
also this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_dilemma
Then "Theory of International Politics" by Waltz
then this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(international_relations)
after that "Social Theory of International Politics" by Wendt
and finally this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_peace_theory

If you want to do a very deep dive why the world is such a nice place :)

Very short overview. In Neorealism (the most dominant realism branch) it doesn't matter if a state is an enemy or a friend. It only matter that your interests align or not align and what capabilities states have (military, economy). The security dilemma means that states can never be sure that the other state has peaceful intentions and therefor have to treat anybody as a potential opponent. Constructivism posits that states in general behave along neorealistic lines but that democracies acknowledge each other and can solve conflicts peacefully. One of the main differences between both schools is that in Neorealism there are only relative gains (If I get something, somebody has to lose something) while in Contructivism there can be absolute gains (If my economy grows, yours could grow because of that). That's the reason that there never was a war between democracies in modern times. The intentions of individuals are not that important. So when the Federation deals with an undemocratic opponent then the security dilemma should dominate because if that opponent thinks that it can get what it wants through war then it probably will. The relations the Federation had with the Romulans in DS9 was a classical example of neorealism.

(There is also another important school called neoliberalism or liberal institutionalism; Keohane and Nye are brilliant authors)
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Quincy
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
This episode was so good. But I lol when I saw "Captain Kirk" step on stage. This episode should've been named either "The Law of Unintended Consequences" or "Discount Chris Pine Strikes Back."

After I stopped laughing over bootleg Chris Pine, who was BEYOND miscast, I really enjoyed the episode, DESPITE the fact that it completely and utterly $#!%s all over Christopher Pike. I mean Pike got the bottom of the bottle on this one. Some "enterprising" young writer took Pike's namesake and shoved it where the sun wasn't welcome. I don't know how much of the season's script Anson Mount got to read or how desperate he was for a job before he accepted this one, but if I were him and I knew how this season was going to go, I would have told Paramount to go Pike itself.

I mean, Jesus Christ, let's hope Pike does something worthwhile before the end of the series, otherwise, his one true purpose is to save a few cadets and crewmen and then go and get deep fried extra-crispy @$$ cheeks for the remainder of his natural life. And the absolute best he can hope for is to get out of the way of a much better captain and go live in a lucid dream where at least he gets to bang a fellow deep fried female consort courtesy of a whole race of Professor X brand Liquid Braino aliens. And if he even attempts to deviate from that fate then his friend, his confidant, his home boy, Spock, gets the rotisserie gold treatment in his stead. Looks like the writers have Pike's balls sandwiched between a vise and a jigsaw.

The scenes with the Romulans were excellent. They really captured the essence of serving aboard a Romulan vessel. It also captured the importance of the right type of adversaries meeting at a pivotal point in history.

A few nits and picks. I was only slightly annoyed by Ortegas up till now, but after this episode I want her gone. I can't stand her behind. My level of irritation with her just kept escalating as the episode went on. I think my natural annoyance with the actress combined with my dislike of this particular role in the scene to create a particularly toxic sludge assaulting my senses. Can't believe they got rid of Hemmer and kept Ortegas. Please, kill her off as soon as humanly possible in an exceptionally grisly fashion.

The way La'an Noonien-Singh hugged Pike was kind of suspect. Were they implying that they have some sort of intimate relationship? Pike's reaction was interesting. Also, I thought Vulcan Mind Melds gave you the whole shebang right up front? Shouldn't Pike have a lot of Spock's memories or are some melds more limited? He didn't seem to get any information from Spock at all. I thought it was supposed to be a two-way transfer.
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Willy Lovington
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
What a marvellous episode! And a cameo from a dashing young James Tiffany Kirk. I was in his fanclub, you know, until I was removed under mysterious circumstances. Why, my monocle fell right off when he appeared and I missed the rest of the episode searching for it. What I heard sounded like jolly good fun, though. Lot's of explosions like in the good old days.
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C.T Phipps
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

Interestingly, one of the more fascinating counter-arguments to the realpolitic of Kissenger and the Cold War was that it was based on the flawed premise of attempting to pursue entirely self-serving temporary alliances undermined the foundation for long term national alliances as well as mutual ideological interests like a commitment to democracy. Basically, the guiding principle of the Cold War for many years was, "it doesn't matter if they're assholes as long as they're our assholes."

Which had a long term effect of dramatically undermining trust in US intentions and belief in their ability to honor their promises. It also fed directly into the propaganda and efforts of hostile powers.

Here, notably, Pike is making a unilateral decision not to punish the Romulans for an unprovoked act of war and Ortegas correctly points out that they can't PREVENT a war since one has already started. I actually really liked the nuance added to her character here because everyone else was advocating for "forgive and forget" while she was correctly pointing out to forgive you need someone to be sorry first.

You could say she's filling the Stiles role but being far more serious and pragmatic makes a more rounded character for as a whole.
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Descent
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Hate to be a downer but this episode was more or less everything I feared SNW as a whole would be. We've already lifted so many concepts and characters - Sybok, the Gorn, T'Pring, etc - but now we're literally recreating a TOS episode, and throwing Jim Kirk in for good measure.

I liked some things about the episode but its existence is such a bad sign. This show is hopelessly tied to Star Trek's past* and seems to perpetually run the risk of becoming a fanfiction-y nostalgia piece, in the way that Star Trek: Picard so abysmally was. They've been leaning on existing concepts all season, with very very mixed results, and now they've gone ahead and done a rethink of an actual existing episode.

*which is really weird, considering the franchise's past is this show's future, which should give it quite a bit of freedom in doing its own thing

I don't want to go back to "Balance of Terror", I want a new, fresh, original episode of equivalent quality. I am so puzzled as to why they keep doing this, with every single show they develop. Discovery, Picard, SNW, they all rely on the franchise's past, none of them stand alone and carve their own identity out (well, I suppose Discovery gave it a shot after a certain point). Every show from TOS through to VOY succeeded because they knew that they needed to come up with something new. Of course, the occasional callback or little continuity nod is very welcome, but all of those series knew that if they wanted to survive for the long run, they'd need to define themselves outside of existing Star Trek series.

Can you imagine if TNG plundered TOS as hard as SNW does? The 10th episode of TNG was "Hide and Q" - by no means a great episode, but it featured TNG's all-original crew in an all-original adventure with an all-original adversary. Imagine if episode 10 of TNG had actually been a time travel story where Picard is inserted into, like, The Doomsday Machine or something. Or if Q had just been Trelane. And imagine if this came after two previous episodes involving, I dunno, the Horta. And if over half the bridge crew were TOS characters. Would TNG have survived for longer than one season?

I've enjoyed SNW overall, especially the first half, as my comments throughout these reviews will attest to. But I hope to god they shake off the typical NuTrek nostalgia crap in the next season, because the show really needs to stand on its own if its going to be a long runner.

Now that I've said that, I've probably jinxed it, and S2E1 will be about Pike meeting Richard Daystrom to build a prototype of the Doomsday Machine to save Una form Rura Penthe (which is being run by Kor), with a sideplot where Uhura has to solve a diplomatic crisis between the Horta and the Tellarites (mediated by the Metrons) over the rights to Sherman's Planet, which somehow leads to the creation of the Borg.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Descent,

This is a problem endemic across media right now. Witness how many big movies are sequels or remakes, or how basically everything Disney is making in Star Wars is based not on some writer having an original cool idea, but just thinking using an established character as a lead is enough to justify a miniseries.

The studios have figured out that while derivative content might not totally succeed, it seldom totally fails either, so that's what we get.
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Sigh2000
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
@Descent
"Now that I've said that, I've probably jinxed it, and S2E1 will be about Pike meeting Richard Daystrom to build a prototype of the Doomsday Machine to save Una form Rura Penthe (which is being run by Kor), with a sideplot where Uhura has to solve a diplomatic crisis between the Horta and the Tellarites (mediated by the Metrons) over the rights to Sherman's Planet, which somehow leads to the creation of the Borg."

Excellent. I can almost visualize a Borg Queen emerging from a stray silicon nodule. :)
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theBgt
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
@Descent
Amen!

They showrunners play it "safe" or they have some secret researches/surveys numbers that reveal ST fans want nostalgia fan fiction series. Or they have no vision and they are just bad writers. Maybe the latter, judging from Disco that went to the far future and the stories weren't really improved.

Lower Decks is the only new ST I really enjoy. I thought I would love Picard, it did have some strong moments, but now I find myself hoping that when is over we will have spin of with 7 of 9. Honestly, that's the only thing I expect from Picard right now, to end!
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
This is a prequel, so of course it will seem "nostalgic". Strange new worlds being like TOS is seriously a good thing, considering... it is a PREQUEL.
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Descent
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
@Eric
The problem isn't that it's "like" TOS, though, it's that it transplants ideas, characters, and now entire episodes from TOS directly. On occasion, this has worked - I like their version of T'Pring and her relationship with Spock, for example - but this is all very frustrating if, like me, your ultimate hope is a new Star Trek series that matches the quality, inventiveness and cultural impact of the previous shows.

I can handle that most of the crew are existing TOS characters, especially since I think it's probably fairly uncontroversial to say that SNW's Uhura, Chapel and Pike are all much more interesting characters than their TOS counterparts. But I'd like to see this crew go on their own new, original adventures, rather than constantly be bumping into regurgitated ideas from 60 years ago. The episodes I've enjoyed the most have been the ones that allow the characters to shine on their own, without forcing them to interact with ideas that a different group of writers came up with decades ago. "Children of the Comet" was an absolutely wonderful piece of television, I just wish they'd had that energy for the whole season.
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Jimmy
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Season Finale of the USS Emote! 3 out of 4. Not a perfect outing, but scored enough points to get well into 3 star territory. Quick hits:

It took me an entire season, but finally figured out who Ethan Peck’s delivery reminds me of: Rodrigo Santoro’s Xerxes in 300. That sort of bouncy, fully annunciated monotone. Peck has done a good job, but I think they over-Spocked the first season.

I’m going to wink at Jeffrey’s Tube’s kind and generous setup for a Pike rant, but not this time. Although Pike’s vapidity was present throughout, also present were the two greatest words Pike has ever uttered. Two fucking words with beauty that defies all verbal expression: S T A N D D O W N ! ! !

That roar you hear is from us in the anti-Ortegas corner: A M E N ! ! !

“Our ships will drift together as the Romulans remain unaware.”
Well, at least they didn’t forget about Euron Greyjoy’s fleet.

Really surprised to see complaints about Kirk. Looked like good casting to me. Not over the top Shatner to distract from your leads, but competent enough to give the character some backbone. Job well done.

Even forewarned by reading the forum, I didn’t see anything romantic in the La’an - Pike hug. Could be the lingering on it, but I attributed that to Pike’s surprise at her hug. Who knows!
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C.T Phipps
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
The episode is about discussing the differences in Kirk and Pike's command style as well as examining the political ramifications of "Balance of Terror." It's not my favorite of the stories but the vast majority of SNW has been extremely good in my opinion.

Its a prequel series and that means it's destined to deal with similar stuff.

I think of it as "The Clone Wars" of Star Trek, which had its own appeal.
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Jimmy
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Judging the overall season on a binary up/down scale gives me a 6/4 split with two close calls, roughly where I’d place myself if it were a continuum.

Up:

Strange New Worlds
Children of the Comet
Ghosts of Illyria
Memento Mori (lean)
Lift Us Up Where I’m Tired of These Long Titles
Quality of Mercy

Down:

Spock Amok
Serene Squall
Elysian Kingdom
All Those Who Wander (lean)

Does your episode split match your overall impressions?
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Descent
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
@Jimmy

Up:
Strange New Worlds
Children of the Comet
Ghosts of Illyria
Memento Mori
Where Suffering Cannot Reach
The Elysian Kingdom (sort of mixed feelings about this one but I liked it overall)

Down:
Spock Amok (hard to place, I quite liked it but overall it's more down than up)
The Serene Squall
All Those Who Wander
A Quality of Mercy

Matches my overall impression, started out strong and then wavered substantially in the second half. I wonder if there was any way for the showrunners to shake up the episode order to spread the pain out a little, but I suppose they wanted to front-load the best stuff to win over skeptics and hook people into the show, then use that goodwill to cushion the blow of some of the lesser material.
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Shannon
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
Strong finish to SNW's debut season! This was definitely in the mold of TNG's "Tapestry", but from a different POV. Picard was allowed to change his past, and here we see Pike altering his future. Both showed that when you screw with the timeline (i.e. fate), nothing good comes of it. I also love that the critical turning point is the events of "Balance of Terror", one of my favorite TOS episodes. And it makes perfect sense. Not that Pike's approach is a bad one, as we should always strive for peace. But as Neville Chamberlain found out just prior to WWII, sometimes peace is simply not on option (reminds me of "City on the Edge of Forever")... So much more to unpack in this episode. But for now, absolutely loved it! 4 stars!
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Latex Zebra
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
So, yeah. I've never seen Balance of Terror (I will change that soon) but I thought that was a good episode, 3.5 for me. Yeah, Kirk wasn't Kirky but then he's not Captain on the flagship, maybe that reduced his swagger a bit. If he is back next season be interesting to see how they address that.

Overall, a good first season. Nothing mind blowing but enough to get me back for season 2.
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Jimmy
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
@Latez Zebra

My sense was that Kirk had to be muted, or he would overshadow Pike. Plus I’m not sure the actor they chose could actually pull a Shatner very well. Then he really would resemble Jim Carrey in behavior as well as appearance.

@Descent

It is interesting to thing about how our own opinions evolved each week. Research on human calibration says we aren’t very accurate, and adjust on the fly based on new data expanding or restricting the scale’s range (some argue it is variance). I liked the early season, but also nitpicked it to death. These episodes positively shine compared to what followed, because the scale anchor bottomed out.

Although I’ve been very critical at times, I don’t envy their task of maximizing appeal to a fragmented (^H^H^H diverse?) fanbase.
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John
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

"I have little niggles, like how this episode did the same thing that Enterprise did in These Are the Voyages... having a time skip with everyone having the exact same haircuts and no apparent character development over a long period of time."

Seriously? OK, the hair was the same, but Spock, La'an, Uhura, and Ortegas were noticeably different from their present day selves. Spock was much more stoic (i.e. Nimoy's version), the current La'an would never have hugged Pike like that, Ortegas became an aggressive dick, and Uhura was full of self confidence. Sure, there was no discernible difference with M'Benga and Chapel, but they were barely in the episode.

Pike would have been much happier in the TNG era. I could see Picard doing the exact same thing, and we even know Starfleet was happy to overlook various Romulan violations (brainwashing Geordi, violating the Neutral Zone, sending an invasion fleet to Vulcan, etc.) in the name of peace without worrying about looking weak and emboldening them.
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Yanks
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
When I saw older Pike in that TWoK uniform I said to myself ... NOOOOOOO!!!!! not Khan again... Thank god they didn't go there.

Trials and Tribble-ations move over. You are no longer the standard for a crossover episode!

Wow, just wow.

I hear the criticism concerning Paul Wesley. I think they could have sold him better by using the same lighting they used on Shatner. I thought his conversations were just fine. His portrayal didn't bother me really, I was just thinking he was a much younger Kirk than we got in TOS.


I'm getting ready to watch it again... just fantastic. Boy, they REALLY could have screwed this up but they didn't. This is almost universally in the top 3 of all Star Trek TOS episode rankings... Top TOS episode in my book.

I love how this episode didn't make Pike out to be inferior or an idiot or something like that. He was impressive just not right for that moment. Kirk was the right man in the right position and time to avert war. The difference was that he listened to Spock, Pike did not.

I could blabber much more and maybe I will later but damn... impressive work comes to mind.

EASY 4 of 4 stars here.

Note: Did I hear something about the Kelvin at the end from Kirk's mouth?
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Norman Lee
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
There is a problem with this episode which invalidates this episode which namely Christopher Pike according to canon, was promoted to Fleet Captain. JTK was named captain of the Enterprise after Pike's promotion and there is no reason why Pike would have stayed on as captain, when he's the fleet captain.

In order for this episode to be valid, Pike would have had to do something to not get promoted which we do not know.

Glad to hear Scotty's voice as Engineer and was puzzled we don't get to see Sulu. Hated the cliffhanger with Number One. Interesting to see Pike looking over JTK's personnel file
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Lt. Broccoli
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

"I was just thinking he was a much younger Kirk than we got in TOS."

That's funny, since Shatner was 35 in 1966, and Paul Wesley is 40! He does still look super young though.
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Mal01
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
No one cares, Starman. You won’t be missed. Go watch your garbage Orville nostalgia. Seeya.
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Trek fan
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Two stars, which is also my assessment of the season. But I won’t beat a dead horse by repeating my review of last week’s episode. Nothing has changed.

I don’t like that this series is trying to be a transition into TOS because it terrifies me to think it’s going to morph into a full out remake of the Kirk adventures. This show already has precious little creativity and storytelling room. Here we have a literal remake of Balance of Terror, a television episode from more than 50 years ago, as the season finale. Seriously? To paraphrase V’Ger, is this all that SNW is? Is there nothing more?

Please allow me the conceit of saying, “Boo. Hiss.”

I especially hate that this show has sidelined Number One and replaced the original “Cage” crew with TOS characters M’Benga, Uhura, Kyle (whose race has changed?), Sam Kirk, and now James Kirk. Why couldn’t this show just be a story about the original Cage crew? I kind of liked Colt, Piper, and the others. And why is Spock so much more important than Number One?

That’s not really how The Cage set things up, and it also does a disservice to the strongest female character by sidelining her for most of this season. It also stinks because Rebecca Romijn is a far better actress with more range than most of this cast. Seriously, why is she even in so few scenes in this season finale, including the briefing room debate? Is she only getting paid part time or something? I’m not asking for a plot justification; I’m asking for an explanation for why this series is wasting one of its top characters.

Finally, an observation: the new James Kirk sucks. The actor is terrible and wooden, lacking the flair of both Shatner and Pine. And the “rule breaker” thing is way overstated several times in this episode; I think it was Jammer who once made the keen observation that the JJ Abrams films exaggerated this aspect of Kirk in dialing every scene up to 11.

This idea of Kirk as someone who “always” bends the rules and takes risks fits the reboot movies’ alternate universe version of Kirk, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t fit the character as essayed by Shatner. The other odd thing in this SNW episode is that it tells rather than shows Kirk’s character, as if verbal allusions to him as a maverick substitute for real character develop. Frankly, that sucks, even though I understand it’s because this new Kirk actor is truly terrible at conveying any sort of screen presence.
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The River Temarc
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

You should add Robert Jervis' "The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution" to your list, since he very convincingly demonstrates that nuclear weapons change the "only relative advantages count" calculus.

I've not heard any takes by Nye or Keohane on the Ukraine crisis; I'd like to hear them.
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The River Temarc
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
@CT

"Which had a long term effect of dramatically undermining trust in US intentions and belief in their ability to honor their promises. It also fed directly into the propaganda and efforts of hostile powers."

Perhaps in various peripheral conflicts. But playing the China card worked brilliantly as a move to contain the USSR.
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Leif
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
@NCC 1971 What the is LLAP? Oh is it Live Long and Perspire?
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Del_Duio
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was really great, though like some others I wasn’t really feeling the new Kirk actor at all. The whole ending scene with Una seemed out of place with everything else, to create a cliffhanger when none was needed. But oh well.

But this new Kirk guy.. really makes you appreciate what Shatner brought to the screen even more.
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Trek fan
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
PS — On further reflection, I might give this episode a high 2.5 stars for the tight focus on Pike embracing a melancholy personal fate for the sake of universal peace. Anson Mount plays it well.

Bear in mind it still feels contrived, it doesn’t erase any of my criticisms of the season, and it still doesn’t fit the more virile (and willing to fight) Pike of Jeffrey Hunter. Also, how humorous is it that this episode asserts Spock dies in every version of the universe if Pike lives, since the Kelvinverse literally shows both Spock and Bruce Greenwood’s Pike alive after Kirk becomes captain, without any mainstream Romulan invasion ?

Finally, the arrest of Number One feels like a mechanical and obligatory cliffhanger for season 2.

But I like Mount as an actor. It’s a shame he’s in such a weak series. I’d like him better if he was playing anyone other than a character who passes as Capt. Pike.
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nacho Picard
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
I don't want to get too far into the weeds to miss the big picture.

Zooming out and looking at his episode as a whole, I think it was amazing. It was a fantastic high concept idea and the first twenty minutes or so had me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.

When the red alert happened during the wedding, I immediately thought "hey, it's just like balance of terror" and then, within two minutes I was practically jumping up and down with excitement.

Once things settled down and the episode became "Balance of Terror but with Pike in command instead of Kirk" then it went from amazing to just really good, but it was still really good. I loved watching the show examine the different approaches the two men had/have as commanders. I get annoyed when Kirk is oversimplified as a perpetual rule breaker when, if you watch TOS, he's anything but. He's more of a decisive leader, not a navel gazer, and that can sometimes come off as being a maverick or a rogue, but rarely did he ever disobey commands (at least until you get to Star Trek III).

Still, as said, I don't want to get too into the weeds that I miss the overall idea of the episode. I don't know if we've ever seen anything like this except for maybe Voyager's "Flashback," which saw Tuvok and Janeway relive the events just preceding Star Trek VI. That was more of a spectator sport compared to this. Here, Pike is an active participant in future-history, acting with the full knowledge that his decisions will create a terrible, war-torn future, but without the understanding of how. He's forced, therefore, to act based on his own instincts, despite knowing that doing so is certainly going to cause a terrible war between the Federation and the Romulans.

I thought the episode was an amazing high-concept sci-fi idea and it serves as a great capper to a fantastic first season. THIS is the Star Trek show I wanted when the franchise was revived five or so years ago. It's not perfect. It does things I wish it didn't, and it doesn't do things I wish it did, but it hearkens back to the shows of old offers enough new to keep me intrigued, offers stories that keep me asking questions and contemplating answers, and offers enough great character work to keep me engaged the whole episode long, every week.

As far as I'm concerned, you can cancel Discovery and give me a twenty-episode season every year for the next six or so years and I'll be happy as a clam.

Here's to season two!
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
@ Norman Lee

"There is a problem with this episode which invalidates this episode which namely Christopher Pike according to canon, was promoted to Fleet Captain. JTK was named captain of the Enterprise after Pike's promotion and there is no reason why Pike would have stayed on as captain, when he's the fleet captain.

In order for this episode to be valid, Pike would have had to do something to not get promoted which we do not know."

You answered it yourself (Pike declined the promotion to avoid the accident). But I highlighted your comment to point out, it's never entirely clear in The Menagerie if Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain before or AFTER the accident. There's some indication that "Fleet Captain" is a title, not a rank, and that it was given to him as an honorific following the accident. The same way he is technically kept on as an active duty officer, even though he's obviously incapable of serving in any meaningful capacity.

@ Trek fan ( . . . allegedly . . . )

"Also, how humorous is it that this episode asserts Spock dies in every version of the universe if Pike lives, since the Kelvinverse literally shows both Spock and Bruce Greenwood’s Pike alive after Kirk becomes captain, without any mainstream Romulan invasion ?"

1) The Kelvin timeline divergence is from before Pike locked his fate to assist Discovery.

2) No one cares about the Kelvin universe or timeline.
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Leif
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
NO FUCK REHASHED ROTTING ROMULAMS AND GORN NO WWHY!! I WANTED STRANGE NEW ALIENA AND ANOMALIES OR WORLDS AT LEAST FROM THE FINALE..WASN'T ANYONE ELSE DISAPPOINTED BY THAIS..BAD ENOUGH LAST WEEKNWE DIDNT GET ANY NEW ALEINS OR WOLDS BESIDES BUCKLEY..AND WHY ISNT HEMMER BACK LIKE STARBUCK??
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Leif
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Were there any ORIGINAL SCI FI IDEAS here at all?
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Derek
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
I'm on record a couple weeks ago saying I wasn't sure if this show would ever get to 4 stars, but that I was happy with a show that would always be a fun and entertaining 3 - 3.5. But this was really REALLY close!

Other than the tacked on cliffhanger that we know won't be a long term issue, and no reference to Hemmer, RIP :-(, this all worked for me. And would it killed the producers to have dyed Paul Wesley's hair a little lighter? Kirk almost worked for me, but as superficial as this dumb complaint is, his black hair was distracting.

I will say after seeing future Pike show up in the movie uniform, I half wanted the episode to skip ahead after every act break and show various time periods. But the deep dive into "Balance of Terror" worked overall. I gather that some hated it, but I loved the gratuitously cribbed-from-the-60s-script dialogue they gave the to the Commander towards the end. He wasn't Mark Lenard, but nonetheless he sold the character.

I give it a 3.75, if that was a choice on the Jammer scale. I love this show. I'd take 26 episodes per season if I could.
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Ensign Deathbound
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
Brilliant episode. The last few episodes were so-so, but man did they stick the landing.

Hard to know where to begin. I’ll say seeing future pike in a TWOK-era uniform – aside from the nice nostalgia touch – really summoned that alternate timeline feel.

But then, to jump ahead to Balance of Terror, arguably the first TOS episode that really pulled the gloves off, arguably in the top 10 of Trek as a whole… and then to give us a replay of it, an alternate timeline version… they were swinging for the fences.

I get the sense there are not a lot of Ortegas fans around here. I’m not as hard on her as most, but I kind of liked her as Style’s stand-in. Agreeing with

@Barristan here – so, so many callbacks to Balance of Terror, (the wedding, the outpost destruction, Enterprise picking up on the Romulan vessel’s bridge visual). Music, lighting, camera shots, dialogue… wow.

Don’t count me among the “Pike is incompetent” crowd. For one thing, we are looking at alternate-timeline shenanigans, in which all kinds of things turn out different. While Pike did not resolve Balance of Terror the way Kirk did, Kirk might have been the wrong man at the wrong time in any number of others situations – past, present or future. And from the looks of it, seems like Kirk might not have made it through his five-year mission if Pike had not handed over such a dedicated crew. To think Pike’s a lesser Captain because his actions in “Balance of Terror” played out different is silly.

Agreed with @Tim C on the Paul Wellesley criticism. The actor tries his best, but he’s too… laid back? Chris Pine channeled Kirk better, even though the Kelvin Timeline is problematic as heck to me (I’m being polite). And yes, I will also grant, those are very big shoes to fill.

I’m kind of annoyed they didn’t get James Frain to play the Romulan commander. Matthew MacFadzean did an OK job, but going with Frain would have been a nice echo to Mark Lenard playing both Sarek and the BOT commander.

@Undesirable Element: I think the mustached “second-in-command” is actually the guy that got knocked back two steps in rank in BOT. Could be he’s second in command in this timeline (while we suppose there is no direct connection between the Feds and the Romulans at this time, it’s possible that an alternate timeline on the Fed side also results in a alternate changes on the Romulan side).

And yes, the Scotty voice was a nice touch.

I notice how, in this timeline, Tomlinson is the one who survives, while Ensign Martine is the one who dies. Mind you, it’s entirely possible we can chuck that up to this version of BOT turning out worse (more casualties), and Spock taking the full brunt of what Tomlinson might otherwise have suffered.
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Ensign Deathbound
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Also: I expect the second season opener will be Pike mounting a full-throated defense of Una, in a courtroom drama not unlike Picard facing off against Norah Satie in "The Drumhead."

Also #2: still expecting one of those S2 episodes to be about Spock and Chapel crash landing the Gallileo on some distant moon, all alone by their lonesome. Got a hundred Quatloos riding on that tone...
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Rahul
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Happy that SNW could end its S1 on a very strong note with the best episode of the season. As someone who loves "Balance of Terror" and sees it as one of the all-time best Trek episodes, I greatly appreciated the attention to most details / canon in the re-imagination of that episode and an alternate version of Pike's future.

I think there's a reasonable amount of depth here in Pike's lesson that he'd be trading his fate for Spock's in all alternate timelines and the bond that the two share in a very nice scene near the end where Spock says he owes Pike a debt of gratitude. Pike getting to meet Kirk was pretty cool too.

It's pretty clever how the writers make it so that if the Romulan warship isn't destroyed, then all hell breaks loose. As for Kirk, the portrayal was OK I thought. The bluff tactic was farfetched though -- to round up a bunch of drone ships and count on the Romulans not knowing what Federation ships look like etc. That's just a small knock on this episode.

So many details of BT were reproduced well, including the Romulan theme music (even if all too briefly) and the star chart showing the neutral zone and the Romulan Star Empire. Ortegas as Stiles (the bigot, if you will) didn't have the weight that the TOS actor portrayed as Navas can't provide the same calibre of line delivery. Also loved the Romulan commander spouting the same words Mark Lenard did on BT about creatures of duty etc. Those are classic lines.

One thing that did bug me was that Hansen was not an older white guy -- like why go through so much trouble to get so many other details spot-on but deliberately mess this one up? Because nu-Trek will always have wokeness in its DNA, and it can't have too many white guys -- Pike, Kirk, Sam, Spock (basically).

Overall, this was a very well conceived story and there isn't too much not to like. The part about Una being arrested was a bit abrupt as a cliffhanger to end the season but I think it's right that Star Fleet should do this. Respect for rules. Did it have to be Pike's woman to be the one to do it? Well, this is television after all.

3.5 stars for "A Quality of Mercy" -- from the moment it started to be clear this would lean heavily on BT, it had me. Folks who know BT inside out will really appreciate this episode. Alternate timeline episodes generally work very well. Overall S1 of SNW has been very uneven but it's clear the potential is there and it doesn't have to lean heavily on TOS to come up with a solid episode. But saving the best episode for last was very much needed as it might help folks forget how bad SNW got during the 2nd half of the season.
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The Queen
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
Workmanlike, that's what I'm calling this episode. It answers a lot of questions, but it never made me go WOW the way some of the earlier episodes did. And a lot of that is due to the Jim Kirk actor, who didn't impress me at all even though the script desperately tried to puff up his resourcefulness and maturity. He didn't really look mature, and he didn't really look like Kirk. Makes me appreciate Chris Pine a lot more.

I did wonder how Kirk in his little shuttle got all those drones together in just two hours.

The other reason for the non-WOWness, of course, was the fact that it was all a pre-known alternate timeline. I suppose it was the best way to address the issue of Una's pressuring Pike to change his future.

One of the best things, to me, was the scene toward the end where Pike, back in the real timeline, is making a point of focusing on his current life under the "Making Memories" music. This isn't the first time I've been impressed by the ability of these writers to employ subtlety, a technique unknown to Discovery and Picard writers.

I also liked the arrest of Una at the end as it seems like an appropriate direction for her character and promises better scripts for her next season.

For those who complain about the number of bottle episodes, remember this was filmed during the height of Covid. I'm hoping next season, which has been filming this year, will have more latitude, because yeah I want to see some new planets too.
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Troy G
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
Gripping stuff. Both The Orville and SNW delivering four-star episodes at the same time
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Troy G
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 12:06am (UTC -5)
Also, perhaps the actor playing James Kirk didn’t resemble previous portrayals but he does look like the brother of the actor playing Sam Kirk, so there is that.
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Dustin Hatchett
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 12:50am (UTC -5)
This episode and the entire season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a renewal for the 60 year-old tapestry crossing generations. This is the best Star Trek has been since 1991 - 1996.
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ned the hyena
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:24am (UTC -5)
This time on Star Trek, we see if Chef Pike can freshen up stale leftover Balance of Terror with some eggs and parmesan cheese. It looks great since they saved a lil somethin for ExPLOSTIONs in their budget, but how does it really taste?

Maybe it be sacrilege but this hyena is happy to know there a timeline where Pike not gets melted. But why is Pike free to do whatever he wants within Time Crystal Channel? Shouldn't it be watch-only like when the ghosts visit Scrooge or else what is the point? If not, the ghost of Christmas Future be like "n-noo don't do THAT thing, you were supposed to do the OTHER thing so that Tiny Tim would die and then you would feel really bad and stuff."

And maybe yenas are dumb but I don't see how any of this future is Pike's fault. Why didn't things happen the same way or worse under Kirk's more reckless "kill them all" leadership? The Romulan armada has no good reason to declare full-out war especially since Pike plays it safe. They even destroyed the one ship for going rogue or getting caught or whatever. But everything else, they do just to be dicks. I also wonder if the subcommander was really dumb to call on the armada since he must have known they might blow him up. It's really a wonder that the Romulans are can function in society and in everyday life at all, let alone be this supreme powerful force that can take on the federation.


- It's young James T! But why he look like my deadbeat landlord? I guess Chris Pine was busy.

- "Interesting" you say, Spock? After the Romulans blow up the base and you watch that poor guy die terribly on the viewscreen... You cold-blooded, point-eared....

- Wow, Kirk is captaining circles around Pike, showing him who's boss. Even when he on Pike's ship. Pike is a great Listener-- I mean Deferer. But Kirk is the Idea Man. And Man of Action too. He's everything you want in a man, and more.

- Imagine how jealous Pike must feel about this instant camaraderie between Kirk an Spock.. and meanwhile with Pike, Spock is still like "Just give me my tea, Captain" after all these years. It's almost enough to want to kill him....

- Can someone explain why teh Romulans no longer use powerful base-destroying plasma weapon after TOS? Was the Balance of Terror ship a one-of-a-kind prototype and someone misplaced the schematics after it got blown up? Okay, I can no longer hide the truth: I never seen Balance of Terror.

- Maybe Romulan sensor technology not advanced enough yet to detect that federation mining ships are 90% empty cargo hold and no weapons?

- M'Benga and his one enigmatic expression. Is it not really hard to tell what he's feeling just by looking at him when he has no lines. Is he happy? Angry? Amused? Confused? Who can say?

- A penal colony for Una, really?! That seem awful draconian to me. The crime should fit the punishment. If I pretend to be a human with a business degree and made the company lots of money, but then they found out that I have no degree and am just a hyena in a suit, would they be like "WE WILL THROW YOU JAIL FOR THIS!!!" No, I think they would just fire me and maybe send me back to Africa in a crate.

- And does anyone care that much that Una's fate is the big CLIFFHANGER of the season? Most would prolly not even notice if she disappeared without any comment. Seems like she not had much to do, except that time when she was goofing off with Camina.

WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOO--!

(Two and a half whoops out of four)


"Spock, you are a.... you are a mind-reader, apparently."
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:43am (UTC -5)
I can't imagine seeing this episode without having ever seen BoT. I don't think it's designed to be digested that way.

@Booming: "Seems my prediction has come true. A few good episodes at the start, weak ones in the middle and one strong last episode to get everybody to tune in for season 2. Smart."

I see what you're saying, but...why not just make them all good?

@C.T Phipps: Really thoughtful discussion of Star Trek politics and how it was kind of upended here.

@Karl Zimmerman: "The studios have figured out that while derivative content might not totally succeed, it seldom totally fails either, so that's what we get."

What a depressing sentence that was to read!

@Rahul, I co-sign most of your thoughts there.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 3:23am (UTC -5)
@C.T. Phipps
Empires are normally the elephant in the China shop. They are also fairly unreliable because they for the most part do what is in their own interest. The Afghanistan retreat was a nice example.
The problem you are describing fairly well captures the debates between the neorealist (oldest (relevant) school; the very oldest is idealism) on one side and the neoliberal and constructivist school on the other (I'm a constructivist). Neorealists don't believe that the political system of a country is important for how it behaves on the world stage. It's just great powers competing. Soft power is fairly unimportant. An example is Mearsheimer (probably the most prominent neorealist; quite entertaining too)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mCzbiF5TmQ

He is a great opponent of neoliberalism (the middle child of the big IR schools) which believes that it's all about rights and treaties. Constructivists (the youngest school) believe that perception is often the most important factor, especially for democracies. An example would be that a French A bomb has a different meaning to the US than a Russian A bomb, even though both are great powers. Realism has lost a lot of influence over the last 30 years because many things happened that their models could not predict.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/20097320?seq=1

The Ukraine war can be seen through the realist lens or the liberal lens. The realists argue that Russia warned time and time again that they would not accept Ukraine or Georgia joining Nato. That's why they invaded both countries (Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014) already before the current crisis. When Nato not long before the War started said that Ukraine joining Nato was a definite maybe Russia acted.

Liberals argue that Ukraine is a sovereign state and has every right to join whatever alliance it wants and Russia has no right to interfere.

Constructivists argue that Russia feels that Nato, their old adversary, is slowly surrounding them and perceives Nato therefor more and more as an existential threat to it's sovereignty and is now acting out.

The Taiwan situation is somewhat similar. Taiwan, or as they call themselves, the Republic of China, is remnant of the losing side of the Chinese civil war. They only exist because when the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan the US Navy blocked the Taiwan straits. China, or the People's Republic of China, considers them a breakaway state and therefor illegitimate. The US in all it's wisdom is pursuing the strategy of "strategic ambiguity", which is a clear as it sounds. China, the new superpower, is seeing US support for Taiwan as an interference in internal affairs. It has great potential for conflict.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy_of_deliberate_ambiguity

Ok sorry, I end it here. This is already far too long and I could write another 50 pages about it.

@The River Termac
Sure, Jervis. Still influential. Star Trek always ignored super weapons and even if a Trek movie or a show featured them, they essentially ignored the wider implications. In a security dilemma scenario with the capabilities of the future any state should have a doomsday machine with an automatic trigger. Nicely explained here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yfXgu37iyI :)

Galactic wars in which one side could loses all make no sense. But post Roddenberry Trek loves huge, all-threatening wars which means that superweapons have to be ignored so that you can have lots of pew pew pew.

@SlackerInc
"I see what you're saying, but...why not just make them all good?"
Sure, if you could write several seasons of great stories you would but because of streaming you want to stretch things out. Even great shows barely have more than three or four good seasons. If your writers come up with seven great scripts per season, then you only use 4-5 five and save the rest for later. That way you can add maybe two entire seasons to the run of the show. Just speculation of course. Maybe they just write their ten episodes, noticed that only around half are actually good and then arrange them in a way (Good ones at the start and the end) to maximize the potential for audiences to stay subscribed or at least to come back. What would have happened if they had 3 good episodes at the beginning, then another good one somewhere in the middle and two or three bad ones at the end? Nobody would come back for season 2. As I said, it's smart. I could be completely wrong of course.
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Jimmy
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 4:27am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Viewer response to expected episode quality is interesting to think about. If we call viewing the show as reinforced behavior, and a quality episode as reward, then I would guess that most viewers shift from a variable ratio schedule at start, and either drop out or move to a fixed ratio schedule as the show’s quality distribution declines or improves, respectively.

Following this line of reasoning, the best schedule for maximizing and then retaining viewers would be putting your best episode last and spreading the remainder out uniformly. That way, viewers reach and respond to a stable quality expectation, and the finale can only trend that expectation upward.
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Alienatbar
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 5:23am (UTC -5)
@Leif
No. Not a creative bone amongst them.
I watched 10 minutes, fast forwarded to see a uninspired representation of Kirk and that’s that. Not just poor Trek but poor tv.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 5:38am (UTC -5)
@Jimmy
Ok, visual impressions and audio impressions differ in how we remember them. With visual impressions, the first impression leaves the strongest mark, with audio it's the last. A show or movie counts as visual. But it has been a while since I looked that up. It could be the other way round and I don't want to pick up my methodology handbook to check (Injured my leg a while ago and I now slowly getting cabin fever). But I'm 72% sure that I'm right, 17% sure that I'm wrong, 9% undecided and 2% refuse to answer.

One could also argue that people get a strong positive priming by having a few good ones at the start. Your general impression is set (it's good) and a few weak episodes won't influence that immediately. People started to grumble around episode 7-8 and then one ok and one good episode to finish it off.

I'm not sure if variable ratio applies here as you see it. Technically any episode could be called reinforcement. The difference would be between strong and weaker reinforcements. Given enough positive stimuli at the beginning the viewer will salivate, good treat or bad treat. :)
Oh, one moment. I'm getting a phone call
"Hello?" "Yes, that's me." "Ethics board inquiry?!" "Ok, yes, ok, aha , yeah that is true but, ok, but let, I guess, no, but, but let me just tell you that I'm mostly innocent. Some of them wanted to participate so, you know, who is really to blame here?!"

Oh and sorry with cabin fever and all, when I read you nick I always think of this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoskJPDbXR0
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Sigh2000
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 6:56am (UTC -5)
@Ned the hyena

"- Can someone explain why teh Romulans no longer use powerful base-destroying plasma weapon after TOS? Was the Balance of Terror ship a one-of-a-kind prototype and someone misplaced the schematics after it got blown up? Okay, I can no longer hide the truth: I never seen Balance of Terror."

Brings up an aesthetic point:

When CGI came in, was there a change in the way warfare in Trek was portrayed? With CGI we enter the era of pew-pew-pew.

Pre-cgi, transparent gels were being used in edited animations. Therefore we get lots of vaporous clouds in TOS (Romulan plasma; Kirk's gaseous vampire in Obession, and even the Companion). Then there are loads of angular light beams (phazers) projected for long periods if time to destroy stationary targets like Vaal and Apollo's Temple. I also offer the idea that much of the weapons fire and sound effects used in TOS was borrowed from the older film War of the Worlds (1953).

IMO, it is the relatively slow photon torpedo animation from TOS days that seems to have given rise to the pew-pew-pew aesthetic of the CGI-era space warfare since doing those kinds of animations (and showing vessels maneuvering too) became so much easier in the 1990's. The behavior of the Defiant on DS9 is possibly the watershed moment. Messaging is now like automatic weapons fire slowed down a tad to permit the visual double dots of light to thrill the viewer. Pure pew-pew-pew era is now in effect. That old photon torpedo animation never got beyond semi-automatic single click levels of excitement.
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SC
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 7:05am (UTC -5)
@Mal01 You can't really say go back to your The Orville nostalgia rubbish when Strange New Worlds is basically the Original Series. I have to say from what I've seen from SNW I much prefer The Orville. And if Jammer keeps giving the show 3 to 4 stars, maybe he will too... not putting words in his mouth, I have no idea.
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Yanks
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 7:22am (UTC -5)
Couple more points.

My first thought when I saw the older Pike all gizzied up in the TWoK era uniform was Janeway from 'Endgame'. Then we learn they are linking this with BOT and 'Flashback' came to mind, then we learn that Pike is still the Captain IN BOT and the Trials and Tribble-ations entered the fold. All the whCouple more points.

My first thought when I saw the older Pike all gizzied up in the TWoK era uniform was Janeway from 'Endgame'. Then we learn they are linking this with BOT and 'Flashback' came to mind, then we learn that Pike is still the Captain IN BOT and the Trials and Tribble-ations entered the fold. All the while 'Tapestry' engulfs the entire episode. What a brilliant concept. We ding the writers all the time, they nee to be given credit here.

To me, what's most impressive about this episode is that if you hadn't ever seen BOT you're fine. The SNW story carries it. The BOT part is just icing on the cake for us trekkies.

I will say that Una being arrested at the end really didn't phase me because we barely ever get to see the ships first officer. I guess we are to assume that Pike's "I'll handle Star Fleet" didn't go well? Hell, I felt more for CAPT Freeman at the end of STLD's season closer. My biggest gripe concerning this outstanding Star Trek series is the seemingly deliberate sidelining of Number One.

My overall impression of this series?

Visually off the charts. SNW's Enterprise is awesome. Not sure what to think about Pike's cabin.

Not a dud in the bunch. 10 for 10 IMO. A couple average episodes, but no stinkers.

Love the entire cast. My only ding is the casting of Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M'Benga. I struggle to understand him. The sharp accent would be hard enough and totally acceptable, but adding his raspy/whispery voice just ruins the experience for me. I still enjoy the character. I thought the story thread concerning his daughter was a good one.

Mount kills it. He's made Pike a unique Captain in the Star Trek Universe.
Romijn is awesome as #1 but grossly underutilized.
Peck is outstanding. He just keeps getting better and better with the character since we first saw him in STD S2.
Bush plays Nurse Chapel well.
Otegas and Signh have grown on me as characters and Navia and Chong do really well with their parts.
Gooding is great as Cadet Uhura.
Sandhu is outstanding as T'Pring.

I love the Spock/Chapel dynamic.

The best live action Trek since Enterprise. I know some of you might say Yoyager or DS9, but I'm an Enterprise fan so...

Best Star Trek season since STLD.

Bravo! Can't wait for season 2!ile 'Tapestry' engulfs the entire episode. What a brilliant concept. We ding the writers all the time, they nee to be given credit here.

To me, what's most impressive about this episode is that if you hadn't ever seen BOT you're fine. The SNW story more than carries it. The BOT part is just icing on the cake for us trekkies.

I will say that Una being arrested at the end really didn't phase me because we barely ever get to see the ships first officer. I guess we are to assume that Pike's "I'll handle Star Fleet" didn't go well? Hell, I felt more for CAPT Freeman at the end of STLD's season closer. My biggest gripe concerning this outstanding Star Trek series is the seemingly deliberate sidelining of Number One. I can only assume Pike will fight for her in season 2. We might be set up for a "Court episode" here.

My overall impression of this series?

Visually off the charts. SNW's Enterprise is awesome. Not sure what to think about Pike's cabin.

Not a dud in the bunch. A couple average episodes, but no stinkers.

Love the entire cast. My only ding is Babs Olusanmokun as M'Benga. I struggle to understand him. The sharp accent would be hard enough and totally acceptable, but adding his raspy voice just ruins the experience for me. I still enjoy the character. I thought the story thread concerning his daughter was a good one.

Mount kills it.
Romijn is awesome as #1 but grossly underutilized.
Peck is outstanding. He just keeps getting better and better with the character since we first saw him in STD S2.
Bush plays Nurse Chapel well.
Otegas and Signh have grown on me as characters and Navia and Chong do really well with their parts.
Gooding is great as Cadet Uhura.
Sandhu is outstanding as T'Pring.

The children actors used so far were outstanding.

I love the Spock/Chapel dynamic.

The best live action Trek since Enterprise. I know some of you might say Yoyager or DS9, but I'm an Enterprise fan so...

Best Star Trek season since STLD.

Bravo! Can't wait for season 2!
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Walding
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 7:37am (UTC -5)
@Sigh2000

Concerning the phasers becoming pew-pew-pew instead of a continous beam: this actually starts in Star Trek II Wrath of Khan, where phasers are being shown firing long "bolts" instead of beams. The following TOS movies circumvent the problem by only using photon-torpedoes. Tactically it would have been better in ST VI to target the explosion with instantaneously arriving phasers instead torpedoes that take their time to get there, but dramatically and visually the impacting torpedoes are a lot more satisfying.

In the TNG-era movies they switch back to continous beams. IIRC The current "red-ball" phasers are first seen in the 2009 movie.
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Marlboro
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Booming: " Empires are normally the elephant in the China shop."

That's bull.
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Andy in VA
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Good episode, but troubling in this way: it suggests that Kirk only took command of the Enterprise after, and as a result of, Pike's cadet-rescue accident.

The Menagerie established that Kirk was already in command when Pike was injured and didn't even know about the accident until arriving at Starbase 11 and being shown to Pike by Commodore Mendez.

They worked so hard to get everything else right, even repeating verbatim lines from Balance of Terror.

How did they not get that right?
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Yanks
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:00am (UTC -5)
My SNW S1 ratings:

Strange New Worlds - 3*
Children of the Comet - 4*
Ghosts of Illyria - 3.5*
Memento Mori - 4*
Spock Amok - 3*
Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach - 2.5*
The Serene Squall - 3*
The Elysian Kingdom - 3.*
All Those Who Wander - 3*
A Quality of Mercy - 4*

Average: 3.3 stars per episode.
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Walding
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:11am (UTC -5)
@Andy in VA

In this changed timeline Pike stays in command of the Enterprise. As this command is not available Kirk get command of the Farragut instead. Why Pike doesn't transfer to the academy like he does in the original timeline is not explained, but then they don't have to. It doesn't stretch credibility that Pike might want to avoid the posting where he would suffer his accident.
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Richard James
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:22am (UTC -5)
I thought this was pretty good stuff, and a much stronger finale than anything we'd seen for DSC or Picard - perhaps it was more character based.

I didn't mind the re-tread of Balance of Terror too much, considering as it basically redid that episode with a 'What if?' scenario which is reasonably compelling.

I guess the issue with showing the process of how Pike ended up making the wrong call is that we never see the consequences of that decision and the impact on the Federation. Yesterdays Enterprise did a far better job of showing what happens when one action (or inaction) can butterfly effect into a catastrophic alternate future. It would have been interesting to see future Pike in a full-on Federation vs Romulan war and have him actually experience the consequences of him dodging his own fate, rather than just the build up.

Still, this is decent stuff from SNW and still cements itself as the spiritual successor to 'golden age' 90s Trek that we all remember.
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Richard James
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Also, I think I'm the last person to be part of the 'Continuity Police' of Star Trek but........ I did note : Romulan forehead ridges are back!
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Spock Jenkins
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:42am (UTC -5)
As a lifelong Trek fan, I’ve come to the conclusion that TOS is kind of an albatross to the entire franchise. I loved it as a kid when it was the only thing, but now I recognize it was a product of its era. They had low budgets, primitive tv quality special effects, flawed scripts, and a bunch of theater actors playing things way over the top.

I think SNW is stellar. I love the crew and it’s easily the best ensemble since DS9. Yeah, the show rips from other Trek episodes and things like Alien, but Voyager and Ent were doing the same thing and often clumsily. Even at its most derivative, I love this show because of the cast and the well drawn characters and I would love to have a Pike crafted meal on the Enterprise.

But yeah- Discovery and Picard are pretty bad.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:57am (UTC -5)
@Marlboro
"That's bull. "
I guess you want to say something? Or do you come from a country where "That's bull!" means something like "That's a strong statement"/"Super cool"??
I always like creative points and I would really like to hear your thoughts on the matter are.
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Sigh2000
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:58am (UTC -5)
@Walding

Thanks for the TWOK lead.... I checked it out. Definitely shows early instances of rapid tempo phasers at work.

Time to go back to the drawing-board to check out the 'dash and gap' differences in the treatment of phaser beams in the various shows and battles.

In TWOK the dash length (length of beam shown between intervals, or i.e., gaps without beam) is pretty long (estimate 6x the length of the gaps). Whereas DS9's Defiant fires off ordinance which is much shorter (i.e., beam-dash length is almost the same as the gaps separating them).

Way too much detail. In any case...cheers. :)
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Paul Vogel
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 10:20am (UTC -5)
On a lighter note I enjoyed the lack of commercials!
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nacho Picard
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 11:48am (UTC -5)
I'm not sure how the timeline matches up with TOS2's Amok Time, but if Spock's pon farr is coming up, I can see a Spock/Chapel body-meld coming up next season.
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F
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Oh boy, I don't know about you guys, (seriously, I just finnished the episode now, and I didn't read any comments), but I think those writers really pulled something special with Strange New Worlds here. Season 1 was kinda meh..., but all worth it for what it led us with "A Quality Of Mercy".

So, I was complaining about PIke being this "High Emotional IQ" guy just a couple of days ago, and SNW delivers us exactly a direct conflit between Kirk and Pike styles. Awesome. We are shown how Pike's (pretty decent and in character) decisions as Captain will have dire consequences, and although we may conclude his failure as Captain, he still ends this season being absolutely heroic, in a very tragic way.

So I guess we can start season 2 appreciating Pike as himself, instead of being in the shadow of Kirk.
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F
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
This episode worked because they shown us Pike giving his best shot at "Balance of Terror" and, despite of even the romulan captain motivation's being very favorable for Pike's approach, things still don't work. Shit happens, I guess. It's not even about Kirk being "right" or "strong" or Pike being "wrong" or "weak": it is just that, in that particular situation, each one being the best they are, things develop such way. Brillant. Very well done.

Now, one thing botters me: M'Benga giving McCoy's argument. I mean, either have McCoy there or have M'Benga saying something of his own.
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Walding
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I think what he was trying to tell you is that while in most languages (like my own) its "an elephant in the china shop" the proper english idiom is "a bull in china shop."

The elephant is "The elephant in the room" (that nobody wants to talk about).
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
I just realized something.

Pike's approach with the Romulan Commander would have worked here. It only doesn't work because the Romulan Commander's second-in-command "tells on him" to the Romulan High Command. They show up to make sure the Commander cannot do what he is otherwise inclined to do.

The second-in-command is not the same one the Romulan Commander has in Balance of Terror.

Someone upthread pointed out that in Balance of Terror the original second-in-command is demoted during the course of the episode, and that does not happen here.

The different, un-demoted second-in-command is the mechanism by which the timeline adjusts to ensure Pike's approach won't work so that Spock can be injured.

Pike's different approach from Kirk would also have worked, if it wasn't sabotaged by him having locked his fate in the monastery on Borath in Discovery season 2.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
@Walding

Haha, oh. I did not know that. Yeah, here it is elephant as well.
Thanks for clearing that up. :)
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Ilsat
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
Alright, I haven't seen it but it seems the consensus is the finale is spectacular. I swear if you people revert to your Polyannish insanity, I will sic our Supreme Court on you.
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Trek fan
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey’s Tube: Ouch, allegedly. Clearly my depth of nerdy knowledge of the Trek franchise qualifies me as a fan lol. I’m just not a fan of these prequel series: Enterprise, Discovery, and Strange New Worlds all have similar problems by trying to reinvigorate the original TOS premise of a ship on the frontiers that had starting wearing thin after Voyager and the last TNG films. They limit themselves dramatically to rehashing the same old plots.

My advice to Trek: Let it go. The TOS era was great for its time, but the best series that followed — Ron Moore’s DS9 — kicked butt precisely because it innovated with a new setting (space station) and premise in the same universe. We’ve beaten the exploration theme to death and it’s not improving.

Even in those season finale of SNW, there’s no time to marvel at the Romulans’ reveal, because it’s been done before (better) in their first episode. Show me something really new, not a rehash of something that was new once a long time ago.

I do care about the Kelvinverse—and you’re right that that timeline diverged earlier. But while you don’t care about it, the current producers of Star Trek clearly do: The new Treks have mostly been prequels precisely because JJ made so much money with his reboot films. Paramount obviously thinks nostalgia is more lucrative than creativity.

After TNG, Ronald Moore did DS9 and later BSG. His TNG producing partner Brannon Braga did Voyager. Is there any real question which one was better? Sadly, Star Trek is still stuck in a Braga mindset of hewing close to formula. I prefer the Moore approach.
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Descent
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
I don't think the episodic exploration, planet-of-the-week format is worn out. With a bit of talent, a writer can do just about anything with it. Comedy, courtroom drama, psychological horror, character study, high-concept shit, social commentary, classic pulp adventure, romance, horror, time travel, having the cast turn into 20s gangsters, pretty much anything. Have the crew turn into velociraptors after they get hit with a weird space ray. Why not.

The problem is that the creativity which the concept lends itself to is rarely there. TOS was suitably off-the-wall (albeit with mixed results) but TNG, Voyager and early Enterprise had an unfortunate tendency to play it safe and give us stock been-there-done-that plots laden with cliches and with predictable outcomes. There are many standout episodes of each series, of course, and they're typically the ones that either have something to say or manage to embrace the full diversity available in the episodic adventure model.
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Mal
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
season 1 episode 10

A Quality of Mercy


“How do you plan to fix our supply chain problems?"

- Commander Al-Salah


* * * 1/2 (out of 4)

There are moments in Trek, like The Menagerie (TOS), Hide and Q (TNG), and Vortex (DS9), when you think, huh, this show really is something special. Those moments may not come in the best episodes of the series. They may not even be 4 star episodes. But they are that point - not quite a dozen episodes in - when something finally clicks.

The Menagerie was about loyalty. Spock’s loyalty to his old captain. And how their loyalty to each other conflicted with their loyalty to Star Fleet. Again and again the loyalty that crew had for each other was tested, all the way through the movies. Hide and Q was about Riker’s loyalty to Picard versus the temptation of absolute power. The Vortex was the start of the biggest test of loyalty in perhaps all of Trek, Odo’s loyalty to his friends versus his family.

What is A Quality of Mercy about?

Destiny?

I love how SNW has treated Destiny! As @Norvo says in another way, these aren’t time paradoxes that either result in a Greek Tragedy or a Brannon Braga-esque deus ex machina. This is far more Babylon 5-esque. JMS felt that we made our destiny through our choices.

When Sinclair prepares to go back in time to became Valen, he says,

"I'm like the arrow that springs from the bow. No hesitation, no doubts. The path is clear.”

A Quality of Mercy is Balance of Terror if Pike was captain instead of Kirk. It would be like watching a Babylon 5 where Sinclair stays on, and we never get Sheridan.

And what we learn about Pike here, is that in The Menagerie, Pike had actually chosen to take a promotion and chosen to suffer a crippling accident - knowing fully well that he had the option to keep his comfortable chair aboard the Enterprise. He chose that living death.

Babylon 5 had an episode with almost the same title “The Quality of Mercy” (instead of “A Quality”). But the B5 episode most like this one was “Passing through Gethsemane,” in which Brother Theo says,

"I always wanted to know if I would have the courage to stay at the garden of Gethsemane.”

That’s the question Pike must answer every day from here on out.

Will Pike succumb to weakness and let the cup pass, or will be bear his cross? And he has to answer that question the “right way” every day for 7 years. At any point Pike can bail. He can write letters to the kids and warn them. He can refuse a promotion and duck responsibility. And the consequence of saving those kids and himself, is a horrific galactic war, one that otherwise could have been avoided.

Pike choses every day to be the First Servant boy from "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”.

There are so many wonderful beats here it is almost too much to list. So instead, a few final points,

- There is an almost throw away scene that I’m sure @Rahul loved and which I hope @Peter G., @Skeptical, and everyone else gets a chance to watch. It is during the famous wedding in Balance of Terror. It is recreated here in an almost “All Good Things…” way, with Pike presiding instead of Kirk. Like Picard in “All Good Things…”, Pike is scrambling to catch up. He is stumbling through the ceremony, when a red-alert gets triggered. “Thank God,” Pike exhales. I actually laughed out loud.

- Like Captain Phillipa with Data in “Measure of a Man”, it is Pike’s girl friend, Captain Batel, that holds Number One’s fate in her hands.

- Commander La’an is really wonderful. I want a hug too.

- Uhura is the Harry Kim of alternate future SNW.

- The Bride - um, does Canada just have an endless supply of hot Sandhu actresses?

- No Kirk/Kirk scene??

- I agree with @Ensign Deathbound that it would have been cool to use James Frain as the Romulan Commander.

- Yeah @Paul Vogel, no commercials was really a nice treat!

I really hope @Jammer gets around to a season recap. This is one season of Star Trek that would really benefit from a more wholistic review.
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Walding
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
@Trek Fan

I agree that Ron D. Moore is a superb writer and was one, if not the best Star Trek has had in the 90ies. I also have to note that the reboot of BSG gave him more freedom than the well established trek-universe.

I am not sure if you are aware, but he is currently one of the creatior and writers of "For All Mankind", a scifi-series that plays in an alternate timeline (somehow fitting for this thread) where the spacerace between the USA and Soviet Union lasted longer and with more ressources thrown in by both sides led to accelerated technological advances compared to our "prime" timeline.
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Eric Jensen
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Is pike a better captain? Maybe kirk was the better captain in this scenario.
Romulans aren't exactly friendly anyway. Pike was not the right captain if it comes to the romulans. He tried and failed. Would picard, sisko or janeway act differently?
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Trek fan

"I do care about the Kelvinverse—and you’re right that that timeline diverged earlier. But while you don’t care about it, the current producers of Star Trek clearly do: The new Treks have mostly been prequels precisely because JJ made so much money with his reboot films."

Picard is a sequel to TNG and Voyager
Lower Decks is a sequel to the TNG era
Prodigy is a sequel to Voyager
Discovery was a prequel to TOS. It isn't anymore as of season 3.
SNW is a prequel to TOS.

So that's 2/5 of the new Treks. I agree that Discovery was probably originally set in the era for the reasons you describe--low confidence by the people in charge toward how Trek's return to television would fare otherwise, so a hedged bet SNW, on the other hand, is a show the producers never intended to make. They lucked into it. A happy accident. It exists only because fans demanded it after season 2 of Discovery, so we can't fairly say it's due to the producers' fixation on the era. Couple that Discovery leaving the era behind after season two . . . I don't think your assertion holds.

I am curious why you say you care about the Kelvin timeline when your every issue with "Nu-Trek" you complain about every week is dialed up to eleven . . . hell, one hundred and eleven . . . in those films, while they simultaneously possess none of the qualities you profess to want from Trek.
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lizzzi
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
An excellent episode and a fine ending to an entertaining first season. This series has had a little of everything, from drama to comedy to romance to prejudice to horror to fairy tales to cool science fiction (the solar sails!).The ensemble of actors pretty much hit it out of the park, and the writing, while occasionally bringing an eye-roll, at least gives us an interesting mix of stories that hang together and make sense. I wait all week for the next episode, and turn on the TV as soon as I decently can on Thursday mornings--trust me, something I Never do. I hope Jammer has good things to say, but I've learned by now that he is pickier than I am.

My minor criticisms are similar to what others have posted, so I won't get repetitive here. (Yeah, why are Pike's quarters so big? He could host a roller-skating party in there.) Some of the really negative and major criticisms just leave me scratching my head. Take a chill pill, folks. Hey, we'll just stick you in the pattern buffer for awhile. That will settle you down!

I want to recommend (with reservations) Margaret Wander Bonanno's 2006 Christopher Pike novel Burning Dreams. It is a great read that fills in the beginning through the end of his life, and gives a plausible look at his role in helping the Talosians after he joins Vina to spend the rest of his life on Talos IV. Bonanno, (who died last year), plagiarizes the movie Crimson Tide (1995) in the mutiny story line earlier in Pike's career. Look up the movie on Wikipedia: she steals the mutiny plot completely, 100%, total, whole cloth. Unbelievable, and I don't know how she evaded a lawsuit. Anyway, fans of Pike should close their eyes while reading that part, and just enjoy her take on the rest of his story.
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Dirk
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
Well I liked it a lot. I was expecting complete shit, and it seemed like a pretty fulfilling mini movie for me. My only nitpic is that I really don't see Jim Kirk as being played by Jim Carrey, or whoever that actor was. I hope they don't continue with that actor because Kirk was really a stud, and that guy looks more like a fitting McCoy.
And... I'm glad that I didn't watch Discovery, and many people yell me I'm lucky I didn't watch Discovery. So for me it's just a single episode win. I'm concurrently watching a lot of TOS, and I'll concede it was extremely derivative at times. Maybe even overt fan service, but not shite.
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mosley
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
excellent. ive been rather harsh on SNW the last few episodes, but this, i like.

i am of the "yeah, seen balance of terror several times" trekkie type. sure, theres some inconsistencies. but i dont care. this is bold storytelling, high stakes, classic trek politics executed by a believable cast with motivations that make sense.

thats all i need. this gets four stars from me. its easily the best episode of nutrek in years for me. correction: very likely the best nutrek episode overall. cannot think of anything at the moment that i liked even nearly as much as this at least.

now, if they manage to stay away from the failed attempts at all out comedy and manage to have their budget saving bottle shows be more scifi a la, i dunno, "remember me" and less like "Q makes crew play robin hood" type episodes, i am a fan.

regarding the pike "competence" discussion, i dont think this displayed him as incompetent at all. this actually was a nice "what if" comparison where pikes choices were more of the picard school of thought while kirk (who i didnt find breathtakingly great, but good enough and somehow nicely sober and serious in the portrayal) was, well, more kirk school of thought.

both approaches could be argued for equally well, and the episode smartly made the choice to point out that pikes approach almost worked and could have led to a much more desirable result. also, the cooperative spirit, kirks acknowledgement of pikes approach, and the refusal to turn this into some cheap "youre wrong!" "no, youre wrong" forced antagonism was a nice touch.

so, yes, overall, this was good writing. as said several times before, i like this cast well enough that i am able to sit through an episode with a weak plot and still get my enjoyment out of it, but man, given a good plot, this of course is so much better.

please pretty please put more efforts into the plots next season. allow complex nuance, be bold, and be aware that pikes general charm not only also works in serious plots but actually works even better in those, because you get an effective way to play with opposites of an emotional spectrum.
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mosley
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
since ron moore came up again: i agree that i would LOVE to see him return to trek and apply his will to actually go where no trek writer has gone before to actual trek. BSG is, to this day, my reference. certainly not perfect by any means, B5 might have been better as far as long term arc reveals go - BSG wrote itself a bit into a corner there, but boy, was it fun to be along for the ride, also precisely for the bold "watch me write myself into a corner" moments, some of which did not get resolved while others had an absolutely brilliant resolution (i.e. that they managed to ultimately make sense of the "watchtower" moment was so so so much fun). the expanse might be a bit more complex overall, but also has a lot more "meh" moments than BSG ever had.

so, moore at the helm of a trek show again, oh my, i would love it.

having said all of that though, DS9 is certainly not "Moores DS9". that credit belongs to a lot more people than just him.
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Alienatbar
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks
‘Not a dud in the bunch. A couple average episodes, but no stinkers.’

No stinkers? Perhaps your sense of smell is suffering from long COVID.

@IIsat
Don’t be fooled.

This the same Discovery and Picard elephant, and bull shit served up which plays like a soap opera. Mount is ridiculous in the first 10, in one instance comically shuffling backwards around a bench like a scared child after hearing a voice. They completed this characters fall in to pussydom episodes ago but it’s just not funny anymore. Mount has gone right along with it. Shite indeed.
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RobSolf
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
Making the final episode about something that doesn't actually happen was pretty risky, but at least it wasn't a clip show? And it was about as thrilling as you can get for a scenario in which there are no stakes. Kirk, castingwise, seemed like a stand-in, but he was written well, IMO. Did lots of cool stuff without stealing Pike's thunder.

Season 1 is now out the door... pretty happy with the show. Not my favorite show on TV, but very solid. I very much prefer this level of serial continuity in comparison to Disco Picard. Those shows are like having The Elysian Kingdom be the whole season; though on Picard, they'd interrupt that theme halfway through to have an episode where cops show up and beat the crap out of them for no reason. Then just let them go.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks: "Not a dud in the bunch. 10 for 10 IMO. A couple average episodes, but no stinkers."

@Alienatbar: "No stinkers? Perhaps your sense of smell is suffering from long COVID."

LOL, yeah. I guess I land in between you two, as you seem to dislike the whole season. I thought there were three episodes that rated lower than three stars, but two of them were just barely so. The other one, the storybook costume drama, was execrable, zero stars. So "no stinkers" is just as much a WTF to me as your hating every episode.

@Trek fan: "After TNG, Ronald Moore did DS9 and later BSG. His TNG producing partner Brannon Braga did Voyager. Is there any real question which one was better?"

The first roughly one-third of BSG was brilliant, and if it ended there it would be the best SF series of all time. The last two-thirds (after "Resurrection Ship, Part II") was of variable quality episode by episode but overall took the story in terrible directions and tarnished the legacy of the series.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
@RobSolf: "Kirk, castingwise, seemed like a stand-in, but he was written well, IMO. Did lots of cool stuff without stealing Pike's thunder."

Agree 100% on both counts. We talk about it being tricky for an actor to play these legacy characters, but it's also tricky to write them. The writers did a bang-up job and were let down by the actor (and the casting director).
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Alienatbar
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 12:57am (UTC -5)
@Slacker
I liked the first two with the comet episode showing some signs of promise to come but during that and from there it began also showing the same horrible traits as the previous Star Trek series. Those attempted comedy episodes were a disgrace.

Booming noted that this last episode is of course just a ruse to get people back for next season. I agree. I don’t appreciate the attempted duping. I think we deserve better as long term fans and other shows are testimony that it can be done.
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F
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 6:05am (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube

"Someone upthread pointed out that in Balance of Terror the original second-in-command is demoted during the course of the episode, and that does not happen here."

Yes, and a quite arbitrary change. The second-in-command got demoted for transmiting a message for what he, unware of being pursuited by the Enterprise, tought had been a glorious mission. Pike's presence didn't altered anything related to this, so there was no reason for the second-in-command to not send the message and don't get demoted as in TOS.

So I'm gonna have to demote a little my compliments on the episode. But just a little, because it is a minor and easily adjustable detail: for example, maybe having now TWO "shadows" (Pike's and Kirk's ships) made the Romulans more certain (instead of dismissive) of being followed, so the second-in-command didn't rush in to send a message, thus not getting demoted.
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Rahul
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 9:14am (UTC -5)
I don't agree at all that this episode is just a ruse to get people back for next season. That makes no sense. People will tune in for SNW S2 regardless -- I think it's pretty clear SNW generated enough positive sentiments despite going pear-shaped in the 2nd half of the season and is surely better regarded than DSC and PIC at the moment. With SNW's 1st 5 episodes, it had already earned the right for a 2nd season. But it is important to finish on a strong note with a couple of truly awful outings still fresh in viewers' memory banks. And having a bit of a cliff-hanger ending with Una's arrest is a bit of a hook for next season, not to mention the introduction of James T. Kirk.

This episode is classic Trek along the lines of "The City on the Edge of Forever" with the alternate timeline aspect and of course "Balance of Terror". I don't think SNW's success needs to hinge on some of the better elements of TOS as the writers proved they can come up with their own quality episodes like "Children of the Comet" or "Ghosts of Illyria". But the lack of consistency over just 10 episodes is worrisome.

Just one other point re. the new James T. Kirk. Like I said before, I thought the portrayal was OK. I wasn't pleased with Chris Pine's portrayal but the best portrayal of Kirk has to be Vic Mignogna in Star Trek Continues. I'm quite sure Vic spent the most amount of time studying Shatner's portrayal and he also just looks far more like Shatner did than any other actor. That being said, these are massive shoes to fill to not just portray a character but also having to bear in mind how Shatner did it and trying to stay true to that as well.
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The Chronek
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Very, very good finale. 3.5 stars out of 4. Very strong first season for me, perhaps the strongest first season of any Trek show since TOS.

Loved the callbacks to other moments in Trek history. Nice to see a variant of the beloved TOS film maroon uniforms on future Pike. Nice to again hear the Romulan theme music first heard in Errand of Mercy, and later heard in the first episode of Picard. Very cool to see the Romulan plasma weapon with modern special effects. As for inconsistencies between this and Errand of Mercy, I just chalk it up as this episode being a variation on a theme. How Pike handled this and how Kirk handled this was clearly different.

I liked Paul Wesley's performance as James T. Kirk. There was the gambling, there was the risk, there was the instinct, there was the aggression, but there was a very good reason for that, and it certainly draws from what we've seen of Kirk in past Trek.

I liked the influence of past Trek on this. Tapestry was a big influence on this episode, Yesterday's Enterprise (as an astute commenter above noticed) was as well, and I think even The Search for Spock came through in this. Pike still has a difficult decision to make to face his fate. He could try to run from it, or he can accept it. I think Pike knows deep down that, if he doesn't accept his fate, that like Kirk in TSFS if he hadn't tried to rescue Spock, the cost would have been his soul.

Very much looking forward to season 2.
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The Chronek
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Dangit. Balance of Terror, not Errand of Mercy.
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Marlboro
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
So is this episode legitimately good, or is it just good because it reminds people of TOS?
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Dirk
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Yesterday's Enterprise was very much in my mind as I watched this. That episode sealed the deal for me as far as TNG. It was genuinely serious.

Paramount Plus doesn't have anything to keep me around as a subscriber before the next season of SNW. I'm certainly not going to attempt to watch another season of Picard (one was too many, sadly). I'm not interested in Disco, enough said. I have a smidgen of hope that the people in charge of SNW really want to retain fans past certain season, and a certain age. I guess we'll see.
~
Alsø: I don't care to say anything negative about the actor portraying Ortegas, but the writing has been very poor for that character. A Quality of Mercy was a thrilling script in many ways, and a success to me. But if the captain really has to shout down a bridge officer, well... something has been wrong for a long time. Everyone on the bridge should have been embarrassed. It's NOT dramatic, it just undermines the competency of the crew. If Ortega's character is truly being used for some kind of political agenda (I don't know and don't care), then I would think that the representation should be distinguished. At the moment, she seems like a wise cracking kid. I would very much like to see her grow more reserved and professional.

Alsø alsø: Many really great comments in this thread!! Too many to mention. Just want to say a big thanks to everyone, you've made my post-show reading a real treat. And as always, thank you Jammer for the best Trek website on the net!
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The Chronek
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
@Dirk,

I was fine with Ortegas in this episode, and I was fine with Pike shouting her down. It was a tense, dangerous episode. Pike was out of sorts for the entire hour, seeing just how badly things would go if he didn't accept his fate. Kirk told an officer that his bigotry had no place on the bridge in Balance of Terror. Data was harsh with Hobson (and rightly so) in TNG's Redemption Part 2. Even the most seasoned professionals can lose their professionalism at times.

Ortegas gets her own episode in season 2, from what I've seen on the actress's Twitter feed. It was jarring to see her as a hardened, kill them before they kill us sort, when previously, we've seen her as a competent, professional, get-the-job-done smart aleck. To me, it was a good way to show the heightened stakes, to see how she's changed.

I agree with you, as Pike goes, that something has been wrong for a long time. He knows his fate, since Discovery Season 2. He isn't exactly eager to accept it. It's why he was hiding out in his Kirk-Generations Nexus Style cabin when SNW started. And I think that seeing how badly things go for people he cares about after he successfully avoided the accident was very disturbing for him. Pike's demeanor change, to me, was another good way to show the heightened stakes.

As to whether it's legitimately good on its own? Even films, TV, whatever entertainment that has seemingly universal acclaim will have detractors. You like it or you don't, and you have your reasons.
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Tim
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
It’s interesting that the New Trek writers who get so much criticism (some deserved, some not, IMHO) for being overly woke penned an episode which distills down to the premise that violence is occasionally necessary and justified to prevent worse outcomes.

I wonder if that occurred to anyone in the writer’s room or if any grander meaning was lost with the focus on Pike’s fate and cloning BoT?

+1 to the laments that they didn’t/couldn’t cast James Frain as the Commander. If you’re going to rip the dialogue line for line (shouldn’t butterflies have changed a few lines at least?) why not toss that homage in too?
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Marlboro
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
"It’s interesting that the New Trek writers who get so much criticism (some deserved, some not, IMHO) for being overly woke"

Please, Mysterious Being at the Center of the Galaxy, don't let this turn into another dumbass political discussion.
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Maq
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
A very good and philosphical episode. I genuinly like Pikes approach. It does unfortunately seems to be unsufficent in the Trek universe.

I also felt that Captain Kirk had lost hos charm. Very strange casting. Scotty's voice was quite fun.

Do I need this cliff hanger in order no watch next serie? No. But that One's Illrian background would cause problem was to expect.
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Marlboro
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
My memory is terrible, but I have a question about the Time Crystals. My memory of the scene from Discovery is that a Klingon monk told Pike that the Crystals would extract a price from him for giving him knowledge of the future. Is that how that scene went down?

My impression at the time was that that felt more like a Fantasy concept than science fiction, but now I'm wondering if I misinterpreted the scene.
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Idolwild
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Can someone explain to me what “woke” or “overly woke” even is supposed to mean? I live in the US and it’s become a trigger word and I don’t understand what the people saying it mean by it.
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Bryan
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
@Idolwild

https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-picard/s2/watcher.php#comment-92760
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Trek fan
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey’s Tube, I meant the new live action Star Treks. Two out of three are prequels. The third is a limited continuation of TNG, not quite a full blown new show and concept. I do like that Discovery jumped ahead to a new century, but it’s really running out of ideas.

I like JJ’s Trek films, especially the first one, because they got me excited about Star Trek again for the first time in years. They brought the franchise back in a fresh way and were mostly fun, although I didn’t like the lack of originality in returning to Khan in Into Darkness.

@SlackerInc agreed on BSG. I was more comparing DS9 to Voyager. I think Moore gave us the best of TNG and I liked his vision of Trek in DS9.
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StarMan
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
@Marlboro "So is this episode legitimately good, or is it just good because it reminds people of TOS?"

I think the latter is the crux of it. There was strong bias to begin with. I've seen an uptick of positive sentiment in a section of fandom that happily shit on Discovery and Picard, yet herald this as the Second Coming of Roddenberry.

I will say in terms of the bare essentials, it achieves watchability; it is tolerable. All too frequently, Discovery and Picard were both genuinely tough to sit through. SNW is lightweight, inoffensive & unchallenging; built on references, call backs, cameos and nostalgia bait, utilizing TOS's setting and characters such that maximum 'memberberries can be extracted.

The question of objective goodness is always a no-win argument. But, we can at least quantify some aspects of it. I think my above comments are fair. If you enjoy it, you enjoy it. For me, I wanted more from Trek and didn't get it. While I know recapturing the thrill of discovering Trek cannot be replicated, I know that what I DID like in the past had a lot more substance to it than the latest offerings.

At the end of my NuTrek experiment, I find myself looking back at S1 of Discovery and thinking they were on to something - a genuinely different take on the tried and true Trek format. Unfortunately it went off the tracks with behind the scenes shenanigans and to my mind, never recovered. The newer creatives were left holding the bath water and stripped out what nuance and depth Fuller might have had prepared for generic action schlock.

And generic really is the keyword with NuTrek. There's no creative zest or fierce writing talent behind the scenes - no Michael Piller, Ira Steven Behr, RDM, Brannon Braga (< Odo voice > even Braga) - just producers. If you just want 'memberberries, that's fine. But I respectfully (?) disagree with anyone suggesting the writing in any live-action NuTrek has punched above mediocre / average.
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modulum
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
S1 of Discovery was genuinely great - or, had all the ingredients to be great at least. I think if it had been marketed as "Bryan Fuller's experimental dark reimagining of the Star Trek universe" rather than a new flagship series it might have avoided a lot of the initial backlash it got. At the same time, it probably was a mistake either way to make it the first new Trek series in more than 10 years - like, you don't reboot your franchise with a surreal polarizing passion project from a famously auteur writer! In the end, I guess they realized that early on and killed that initial concept to try and make it as easily sellable as possible.
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Skyelord
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 2:23am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this. A comfortable 3 star episode after the rather poor previous 2 or 3.

Kirk wad inoffensive although I didn't really get any actual Kirl vibes from the actor. I mean I didn't from Chris pine either but at least he looked the part.

I feel like I want to add half a star for Pike finally telling Ortegas to STFU. I guess every show needs a Neelix/Wesley/Tilly or something but man she really is the most annoying character possibly ever.

I hear she's getting a whole episode season 2. I may have to skip that one.

Hopefully they make use of Una in season 2 because there doesn't seem any point in using a known actress then giving her barely 3 lines an episode.

Overall a very decent s1. Not really fair to compare it to old trek since they had vastly different budgets and number for episodes but its safely the best s1 of modern trek.

They said they're "raising the stakes" for s2 which I don't see the point of. All they really need are more good original stories. We don't need a galaxy wide impending doom threat for 10 episodes.

It definetly has higher rewatch values than DSC or PIC but time will tell if I actually rewatch it.
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Skyelord
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 2:41am (UTC -5)
It's also mentioned that there will be more focus on Kirk in s2. Why? I don't really see any reason to include him at all except maybe the odd cameo.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 4:57am (UTC -5)
I would have been down, in theory, for more Kirk in S2. He's a great classic character, why not? But he has to be cast well and written well. Not just one of the two.

@The Chronek: "I liked Paul Wesley's performance as James T. Kirk. There was the gambling, there was the risk, there was the instinct, there was the aggression, but there was a very good reason for that, and it certainly draws from what we've seen of Kirk in past Trek."

I feel like what you are saying is that James T. Kirk was well WRITTEN in this episode. And I completely agree with that. And I don't think Paul Wesley seems like a bad actor. I just think he was miscast: he's not right for this part.

@Tim: "It’s interesting that the New Trek writers who get so much criticism (some deserved, some not, IMHO) for being overly woke penned an episode which distills down to the premise that violence is occasionally necessary and justified to prevent worse outcomes."

I thought about that too. A pleasant surprise--good for them.
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Maq
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 6:01am (UTC -5)
It was a very good time travel episode. Some similarities with both TNG Yesterday's Enterprise and ENT Twilight but a new touch. Countrary to Picard and Archer Pike is still aware.

In DS9 Trials and Tribble-actions was very funny and silly homage to the Trouble With Tribbles. Here they manged to do a very serious and dark homage to Balance of Terror.

They succeded in keeping some very good graphical simimalrites as well as using the same phrases. Still it was new. You do not need to know anything about the TOS episode to enjoy this.

Although Kirk felt strange, the Kirky solution/contribution was excellent. Everyting was fine until the ending. Could someone please edit out the cliffanger.
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Dennis Bailey
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 6:28am (UTC -5)
@Descent 'I've enjoyed SNW overall, especially the first half, as my comments throughout these reviews will attest to. But I hope to god they shake off the typical NuTrek nostalgia crap in the next season, because the show really needs to stand on its own if its going to be a long runner.'

- - - - - - -

aka 'Star Trek lite'.

I think that, after five or six years of trying to reject this reality, CBS and the studio have decided to adopt the path of least resistance where Star Trek is concerned: their approach to SNW, as well as the declaration that season 3 of PIC will be a shadow TNG reunion, are both indications that the franchise has become little more than a collection of aesthetic objects to them. It's not quite Star Trek as pastiche, but it definitely is Star Trek reduced to kitsch, a shallow and roundly inferior re-production of something that was once considered high art, once admired for its quality and ideals. SNW is attempting to resurrect the feel and appearance of TOS (I suspect they would re-make it if they could), but in reality, its ends and motivations are indistinguishable from those of VOY, early ENT, or even Abrams' first film: to generate content whose identity as Star Trek is never in dispute, content that simply re-affirms everyone's pre-conceptions (often stereotypes) of what Star Trek is, content that respects the franchise's natural horizon.

From the perspective of CBS, Star Trek's primary -- only -- purpose is to exhibit the symbols that are associated with the franchise and have made their way into our popular culture. SNW is Star Trek, but not because it fulfills the standards that every show since TNG has been expected to live up to: it does not have any insights about our present that are worth sharing, it is not expanding the reach of the established universe, and its voice is entirely unoriginal. SNW is Star Trek because it includes yet another version of the Enterprise, and Starfleet, and a litany of characters that we have encountered before, and stories that are being repeated for the fourth or fifth time now and are increasingly trite and threadbare. Indeed, it's actually beneficial to the studio if the material isn't burdened by any intellectual ambitions or real meaning, because that will ensure that Star Trek's identity remains simple, uncomplicated, and accessible to all -- it projects Star Trek, nothing else.

It's similar to the retreat -- creative, intellectual, and commercial -- that Star Trek suffered after it transitioned to UPN: Berman and Paramount set out to assemble a product that was almost perfectly self-contained, that could only refer to itself, and that featured as many recognizable elements as possible, even when their inclusion was harmful to the series in question. Both UPN and Berman wanted to avoid repeating the experience of Deep Space Nine, which had managed to alienate a substantial segment of the TNG faithful for committing the unpardonable sin of pursuing its own vision and issuing a challenge to its predecessor. Paradoxically, once Star Trek started down this path, it steadily disintegrated, because a Star Trek that has no discernable purpose aside from perpetuating the franchise in an aesthetic sense cannot create, innovate, or achieve anything of legitimate value; it cannot even combine the elements that it is appropriating from itself in an novel or unusual way. It is utterly sterile. And as that condition manifested, the franchise found it far easier to overcome its internal exhaustion by crudely incorporating concepts from other shows and properties into its matrix, some of which had no place in Star Trek, because fashioning an identity at that stage would have been too challenging; while the franchise's ornamentation remained the same, the vessel was empty, and almost anything could be poured into it.

For me, the most disheartening aspect of the response to SNW is that it appears that the vast majority of Star Trek followers have no reservations about this. I'm actually frustrated that so many people, in their enthusiasm for SNW, have embraced the notion that SNW exemplifies all that Star Trek is or can be; and that anyone who continues to hold out for a mature, sophisticated, elevated or cerebral Star Trek, Star Trek even better than what we received during the golden age, is laboring under a great illusion, because Star Trek has never been that. Fundamentally, they would rather have a Star Trek that is formulaic, predictable, and re-assuring -- a franchise that can only imitate itself or other source material, a franchise that is designed to reward everything but critical engagement -- than a Star Trek that aspires to the same level of achievement as TOS, TNG, or Deep Space Nine. They will be completely satisfied if SNW represents the outer boundary of the franchise, as they would rather not be inconvenienced by a Star Trek that diverges from this underlying template in any fashion.

Of course, most of the critics of DSC and PIC that I have interacted with over the years repeatedly claimed that all they wanted from Star Trek was another VOY or another TNG, a conventional show set in the twenty-fourth century that would employ the same methods as golden age Star Trek and carry on with the general story. While its guide is TOS rather than TNG or VOY, that is clearly what SNW is aspiring to be. Having recognized that fact, maybe I shouldn't be surprised that so many people have been enraptured by SNW and, as a result, are exceedingly reluctant to expose it to the same scrutiny as DSC or PIC. The problem was never with them, since they repeatedly informed the studio of their demands; it was with a studio that could never commit to any serious definition of Star Trek, that was uncertain whether to thoroughly modernize the property or permit it to wallow in self-indulgence, that wanted the acclaim that is due prestige television but was unwilling or unable to put the effort in to create work of real quality.

The positive reaction to SNW from both within and outside of the Star Trek community might, at last, resolve that incongruity. There can be no confusion now about what the most appealing form of Star Trek is, and it is almost identical to VOY in its essential attributes: Star Trek that is largely formulaic, that has little to contribute to the wider constellation, and that can only re-iterate and celebrate itself; or, Star Trek that is captured by the franchise's historical memory. To be honest, even if I was charmed by SNW -- I am decidedly cold to it --- I would be extremely apprehensive about what it reveals regarding Star Trek's direction and its future viability, because I do not believe that this is positive, constructive, or sustainable over the long term.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 6:45am (UTC -5)
Yawn.

Did somebody say something?
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Before I read any of the other comments...

I really don't know what to make of that. Obviously it was SNW channelling 'All Good Things...' and it had the goal of bringing some form of closure to Pike's awareness of his own fate.

But did it work? Yes and no. The last five minutes clarified a lot but I spent most of the episode confused as to what was really happening - or indeed if it was happening at all. As such it was hard to be fully invested, as I wasn't sure if it was an alternate timeline, a vision, a soft reboot, or what. There were distracting continuity issues and I didn't know if there was meant to be some bigger plan at play or if these were simply a mistake.

Nevertheless, Anson Mount put in a strong performance, as always. The juxtaposition between his Pike and the frankly awful Nu Kirk was particularly striking. And did the writers and producers *really* have to shoehorn Kirk into the episode? And an ADHD pew pew space battle *again*?

The only thing I liked - and that felt somewhat original - was the way in which the Romulans turned on their own ship. That clearly showed the difference in basic attitudes between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire.

So, overall, this episode simply left me confused and flabbergasted. I don't know what the writers and producers are going for here.
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Maq
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 7:24am (UTC -5)
@Skyelord

"I feel like I want to add half a star for Pike finally telling Ortegas to STFU. I guess every show needs a Neelix/Wesley/Tilly or something but man she really is the most annoying character possibly ever."

I am generally not so negative to Ortegas. I think the character works quite well.

But in this episode I did found her much to irritating and annoying. Why this?
I reawatched "Balance of Terror". My opinion switched, I must say that her irritating approach was really magnificent. Well done.
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theBgt
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 7:48am (UTC -5)
@Marlboro
"So is this episode legitimately good, or is it just good because it reminds people of TOS?"

It is better than the other two (with actors, LD is still the best of all), it has good casting, especially the lead, so in comparison it makes ST fans pleased.

It was a pleasant 1st season for sure.
For me it suffers in the whole TOS thingy. I do not care rebooting/rethinking/re-whatever around TOS. It is a classic, leave it alone!
But the showrunners, so far, are incompetent to write anything that doesn't borrows (lol) elements from characters, stories and aliens we already know. Well, they did one good on their own (the Comet episode) but that was 1 episode in 10.

ORTEGAS is a promising character and I like the actress. Problem is they seem to just have her there for the "witty" one liners, which after a while is repetitive and ends up boring. She is underused, as much as Una is. Because of course we have to focus to the beloved TOS characters of Pike, Spock and Uhura.

I think the more this show manages to stay away from TOS (as possible as this can be) the better it will get.

P.S.
They should had left Kirk alone, and only keep him for the very last scene of the series. Maybe even use those CGI-make-you-younger effects and have Shatner for the role.
But instead they managed to achieve the worst casting choice in TV history.
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Ilsat
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Jeffrey's Tube - Dennis had a fantastic and insightful take on what is happening with nu-Trek. Yours is a trite and dismissive comment. Typical.

It's also a bit puzzling that you have the very first comment for just about every episode of SNW here. And it's almost always over-the-top praise. Except for Elysian Kingdom where you waited 7-8 comments, assessed everyone's complaints and had a prepared litany of responses and excuses to most everything.

Now along comes Dennis, bringing a compelling assessment of the intrinsic flaws in Kurtzman's overall tenure. With the greatest sin that he's incapable of moving the creative or philosophical needle beyond the horizons of Trek's predecessors.

And your response is simply, "Yawn"? One thing is for certain - Dennis got his assessment of some of the Trek fans on this site correct. Congrats for proving his point.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 10:00am (UTC -5)
@Ilsat

'It's also a bit puzzling that you have the very first comment for just about every episode of SNW here. And it's almost always over-the-top praise. Except for Elysian Kingdom where you waited 7-8 comments, assessed everyone's complaints and had a prepared litany of responses and excuses to most everything.'

I have noticed this as well. I don't wish to impugn @Jeffrey's Tube's motives, but my presumption has always been that he either absolutely uncritically adores SNW (fair play if so, more power to him), or he's employed by the marketing departement of Paramount+.

Joking, joking!

Kind of.
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Alienatbar
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 10:16am (UTC -5)
@Dennis
It seems if we’re not gushing we shouldn’t have a voice or are in need of a chill pill. Well written view and how I see it.
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Alienatbar
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 10:34am (UTC -5)
@Jeffreys
‘If I'm going to make posts at 1 AM in the morning, I really need an edit button. Yikes.’
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Booming
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 11:37am (UTC -5)
In my opinion you are all employed by Paramount+!
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Timmy The Tribble
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
@AMA "Was not particularly impressed by Paul Wesley. His look and mannerisms reminded me of a toned-down Jim Carrey."

Exactly! The actor took me right out of the story and left me with a deep desire to watch Fire Marshall Bill and "Wrath of Farrakhan" skits from "In Living Color".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52o1d7XPni0
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Gary
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
Two things:
The scene with Pike and Spock at the end was one of my favorites of the season. Spock is allowed to be smart and insightful - Pike's behaviour was obviously triggered by the commander's son, Spock works out that this is one of the future cadet/casualties, and even more importantly, he realizes that Pike has seen the consequences of changing his destiny... and works out, from what Pike doesn't say, that Spock himself has reason to be glad of the status quo. He owes Pike a debt of gratitude, without knowing precisely why ... and this plays so perfectly into Spock's own seemingly uncharacteristic actions in The Menagerie.
Now, in TOS: The Menagerie, we see that Spock wasn't merely acting out of general loyalty and friendship... instead, he knows just what suffering Pike has willingly chosen, for the greater good - including Spock's own good. What is sacrificing his career compared to that? It's a very logical choice.

The other thing is a nitpick: I hate what they're doing with rank insignia. The thin stripes are almost indistinguishable from the thick ones - very hard to read at a glance unlike TOS stripes. And by their current stripes, half the regulars must be full commanders (assuming two thick stripes = commander, since 2 thick + 1 thin is clearly captain). One thick and one thin for Lt. Cmdr then, and one thick for lieutenant, that makes sense, but is not what we're seeing.
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Gary
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, neglected to actually say why the scene was so perfect IMO: 1. they showed a little trust in their audience to catch things without points being explicitly hammered into us, and 2. it added new nuance and layers to future actions, for me at least.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
I also agree that @Dennis Bailey's post was exceptionally well-written and well-argued, eloquently presenting important observations on the state of Trek.
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John
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
@Gary

What really hurts about the rank stripes is that they're the same color as their uniforms. It's OK for the gold ones, but the red/blue ones blend in too well. TOS got it right with gold stripes for everyone.

I also agree with the ranks in general missing a step. Una has the two thick stripes and Pike explicitly introduced her as a lieutenant commander a few episodes ago (perhaps all of the blood was flowing away from his head and he made a mistake?). Ortegas, Spock, and La'an all have one thick+one thin, and are called lieutenants. Sam has one thick, and is also called a lieutenant, so presumably he's a junior grade one.
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Paul M.
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
Rank stripes are all over the place. Someone definitely bungled this one. Spock, La'an and Ortegas have one thick and one thin stripes denoting lieutenant commander, although they've all been called lieutenant. Hemmer has two thick stripes of a commander yet he also was on one occasion referred to as lieutenant. None of this makes sense.
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Maq
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
@John take a look in memory-alfa.

two thick stripes = Commander
thick and thin = Liutenant Commander
one thick = Liutenant

For me it is puzzeling that a Liutenant Comader is adressed with Liutenant, but
as I am not so familiar with Military conventions I remain confused.
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The Chronek
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Another compliment to this episode that I saw on Twitter was the added emotional heft it gives to The Menagerie. Spock knows what Pike is giving up, and he knows that Pike's acceptance of his fate allows him to live long and prosper. It shows why Spock would be willing to give up everything to help Pike.
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John
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
@Maq

I know what the stripes are supposed to represent, but the point is that in the show what the various officers have been called has not been consistent with that. Like I said, Pike has explicitly called Una a lieutenant commander despite her having two thick stripes.

It's also disrespectful to call lieutenant commanders lieutenant (you shouldn't use the lower rank). That's true in the real military and also consistent with what we've seen in Trek. For example, no one ever referred to Data as just a lieutenant.
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Maq
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
@Dennis Bailey and @Descent etc
Good thougts, I partly agrea.

Somehow the name of the show do not live up to itself. It is not really strange its not really new.

I have enjoyed SNW for wat it was. A well made TOS with nostaliga to itself. I do see a risk with continuing in the same steps but I much rarher have this than PIC or DISC.
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Alienatbar
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
Would that make you the +? :)
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Elise
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
@Maq there's a scene in Best of Both Worlds II where Riker calls Shelby "Lt." despite her being a Lt. Cmdr., but I think it's a blooper.
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Peregrinus Tyss
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
I just want to clarify something: I am the author of the Dennis Bailey post. Although I've never contributed here, I do read this website and its wonderful comments section from time to time. When I saw someone earlier this afternoon praising Dennis Bailey for composing a comprehensive critique of SNW and new Star Trek more broadly, I was intrigued, because Dennis Bailey is an individual with an established reputation within the Star Trek community -- he wrote at least one TNG episode, and was active on trekbbs when that forum was at its height. I was rather amused (gratified, perhaps) to find that Dennis Bailey's observations were my own, repeated word for word, with only the first line changed slightly. I authored that post several nights ago on the alternate Star Trek site on reddit, in response to a rather detailed, somewhat ambivalent review of SNW's first season: https://www.reddit.com/r/Star_Trek/comments/vui0rm/my_thoughts_on_season_one_of_strange_new_worlds/iffxy3r/?context=3. The post could also be considered an extension of a scathing critique of late Berman-era Star Trek that I offered on the same reddit site around Memorial Day, and can be read here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Star_Trek/comments/uzi2k5/rick_berman_i_loved_star_trek_from_beginning_to/iae86yj/?context=3.

I think that everyone will immediately recognize that both posts, and this one, came from the same pen.

Happily, I am not possessive about anything that I prepare and release for an online discussion; if it's being shown around the Star Trek community, I'm grateful. I also think that professional reviewers such as Darren Mooney and Ed Whitfield, who have been reading from the same hymn sheet as me with regard to SNW, deserve far more attention. I simply don't want there to be any confusion about my identity -- being an ordinary male in his early 30's from New England, with no artistic pretensions, no involvement in the franchise, and no status within the community whatsoever -- or for my insights, such as they are, to be attributed to someone else, given how sensitive people can be today. If you loathed the post, be angry with me, not Dennis Bailey! Unfortunately, the most recent post has now been repeated on that reddit site, credited to Dennis Bailey, creating a rather bizarre circle; it originated there with me, and has returned there belonging to someone else! Most important of all, it would also be unfair to place undue expectations on the actual Dennis Bailey, who wrote at least one episode for TNG and was active on trekbbs at its height. However, if he found something of value in my comment and wanted to set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons here, then I'm rather flattered; and even if that was not the real Dennis Bailey, I know that there was no harm or ill-intent behind the gesture. I'm glad that the post's audience has been increased -- I only wish that the source had been properly recognized (i.e. 'From Peregrinus Tyss on reddit' as the first line").

To try to return to the topic at hand, it's all rather ironic: one insight that I removed from the original post due to reddit's length requirements was that Star Trek had arrived a stage where it finds it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between its authentic self and the popular perception, the stereotype of it. There was also a fragment -- somewhat incoherent and unformulated -- regarding the constraints that the franchise's underlying model, which is very much a projection of the future as seen from the 1960's, has imposed on it, and how difficult it is to reconcile that model with the the demands of science fiction, leading to serious confusion about Star Trek's underlying purpose and sense of self. I also wanted to emphasize that the sort of individuals who could do something interesting with the franchise, artists with real inspiration and real desire, are not going to want to be constrained by the legacy of fourteen seasons of Deep Space Nine and VOY, or the combination of DSC, SNW, and TOS: it is far more plausible that they will want to establish their own corner of the Star Trek universe, will want to escape from content that is ten, thirty, or fifty years out of date, and will want to ensure that their Star Trek can reflect on events or issues that Star Trek, as currently constituted, might not be a suitable vehicle for.

In effect, there was supposed to be a second part, but it remains to be written. If I ever do attend to that task, I will certainly post it here as well.

- Sean O'Brien (I did not want to author this under an alias, but felt obligated to, otherwise I would have added yet another layer of confusion to the matter.)
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B-Boy
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
@Peregrinus Tyss

While I agree with your comments in relation to ENT and beyond, I simply can't abide by this prevailing notion that Voyager was a 'failure' that 'floundered' and represented a decline in the 'creative' or 'intellectual' scope of the franchise. Voyager has its shortcomings (as any Trek or, indeed, any show does), but it continued to push the envelope in many ways and on many occasions. More than a few of its episodes represent the very best of Trek. Indeed, it's fifth season is among the greatest of the entire franchise.

Your assessment of the cast as "discount versions of characters already encountered before" (Janeway and the Doctor notwithstanding) does a disservice to Torres in particular (whose stories, though irregular, were routinely excellent and very much divergent from those of Worf).

One day, I'm sure I'll write a book challenging the egregious orthodoxy that DS9 was the 'bold'' and 'daring' Trek while VOY was the 'safe' and 'sterile' one. Complete hogwash.
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Ilsat
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
I really don't care about attribution within a diffuse community of anonymous Trek fans. I do care about intellectual honesty. Your name could be Honey Fuckpig for all I care. Just so long as you make a good point.
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Elliott
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
@B-Boy 👍
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STeve
Sun, Jul 10, 2022, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed it. I agree with many others that the new Kirk does nothing for me though, he seems very stiff. Honestly his brother seems more James Kirk (minus the incompetence).

3 stars, would have given it 3.5 if they had a better Kirk. Gee I hope he shows more charisma next season.
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Quincy
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 12:59am (UTC -5)
@Trek fan
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
"Also, how humorous is it that this episode asserts Spock dies in every version of the universe if Pike lives, since the Kelvinverse literally shows both Spock and Bruce Greenwood’s Pike alive after Kirk becomes captain, without any mainstream Romulan invasion ?"

The quote was "every time WE change the path he dies." This means every time Pike tries to change his own future Spock dies. Clearly he's only talking about the timelines which branch off from the one where Pike was fated to meet this end and he tries to do something about it.

The Kelvin timeline radically diverged from the Prime timeline long before the confrontation with the Romulans. That's not Pike changing anything. Not to mention, Pike does indeed die in the Kelvin timeline. He just dies at a later date due to no fault of his own.
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Bok R'Mor
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 1:15am (UTC -5)
@Peregrinus Tyss

Thanks for the clarification. Personally I don't like people swiping other people's output and passing it off as their own, but if you're fine with it to spread your points to a wider audience, then fair enough.

@B-Boy

Unashamed and unrepentant fan of VOY here as well. I agree with some of the criticism VOY is subject to on a case-by-case basis, not with other criticism. Overall its hits outweigh its misses.
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 3:48am (UTC -5)
@B-Boy
"One day, I'm sure I'll write a book challenging the egregious orthodoxy that DS9 was the 'bold'' and 'daring' Trek while VOY was the 'safe' and 'sterile' one. Complete hogwash."

Yeah brother....Please Write that book!
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Maq
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 6:01am (UTC -5)
Elise

" @Maq there's a scene in Best of Both Worlds II where Riker calls Shelby "Lt." despite her being a Lt. Cmdr., but I think it's a blooper. "

Happens in the best families. I somteimes mix up the names of my daughters, and I only have two ;-).

This mit the grades is in one way really nitpicking but it is puzzling that they do not get it consistent. One would think that they would not have to invent a new standard regarding ranks.

As I understand there is a "Technobible" to get the quibberich correct. Why not include this quite small and simple subject?




There is also the habit of adressing female officers as Sir and even Mister.
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Ilsat
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Maq, it could be Riker was belittling her because she was getting the best of him. Calling a Lt Commander a "lieutenant" is a real no-no, especially if you are a subordinate (which obviously Riker is not).

As for addressing a female officer (or even a higher ranked enlisted woman) as "sir", it is generally not meant as disrespect. Many soldiers look at the rank first and often are not thinking about gender. It's not an acute sign of disrespect. However, many women do correct soldiers who use the term. Some don't. Some really don't care. As women become an increasing force within the military, the hope is the issue fades as soldiers adapt and call women, "ma'am."
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Yanks
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 10:10am (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube

"I just realized something.

Pike's approach with the Romulan Commander would have worked here. It only doesn't work because the Romulan Commander's second-in-command "tells on him" to the Romulan High Command. They show up to make sure the Commander cannot do what he is otherwise inclined to do."

I don't think you can assume that. Even if the Romulan Fleet wasn't there, if the Romulan ship limps home after successfully blowing up 2 bases, 1 star ship and almost defeating the flag ship that gives the Romulans all the fuel they need to start their war. Also, what happens when Star Fleet/Federation gets word from Pike that is WAS the Romulans that blew all those bases (outposts) to hell?

IMO, the only way war isn't the result is if their new weapon and their most experienced commander don't make it back home.
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Descent
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 10:22am (UTC -5)
@Dennis/Peregrinus

"From the perspective of CBS, Star Trek's primary -- only -- purpose is to exhibit the symbols that are associated with the franchise and have made their way into our popular culture. SNW is Star Trek, but not because it fulfills the standards that every show since TNG has been expected to live up to: it does not have any insights about our present that are worth sharing, it is not expanding the reach of the established universe, and its voice is entirely unoriginal. SNW is Star Trek because it includes yet another version of the Enterprise, and Starfleet, and a litany of characters that we have encountered before, and stories that are being repeated for the fourth or fifth time now and are increasingly trite and threadbare. Indeed, it's actually beneficial to the studio if the material isn't burdened by any intellectual ambitions or real meaning, because that will ensure that Star Trek's identity remains simple, uncomplicated, and accessible to all -- it projects Star Trek, nothing else."

----

This is the key passage from your post, I think, and it's applicable to so many franchises over the past decade or so. I don't know if anyone here plays Fallout, but this strikes me as a perfect description of Bethesda's vision for the Fallout series, too - dredge up symbols and aesthetics from the original Fallout games, stripped of meaning and context, shove them together in a nonsensical hodgepodge, and then sit there wondering why people don't like the games any more. I'm not a Star Wars fan, but from hearing others talk about it, I understand it's experiencing a similar treatment these days.

What confuses me though is that, in SNW, these symbols are repeatedly misrepresented. The writers choose to include the Gorn because the Gorn are something people remember from Star Trek, sure. But the pop culture impression of the Gorn is a guy in a rubber suit who moves comically slowly and goes "grrr". But in SNW, the Gorn are lightning quick, burst out of people's chests like Xenomorphs (?!), and are absolutely lethal.

I really don't get it - if they'd made Pike fight an exact replica of the original Gorn, it'd be terrible, but at least we could understand the writer's intention of regurgitating something from popular culture and repeating it back to us in the hopes we'll nod and go "oh, yeah, I remember that". But instead they lift the concept of the Gorn while also writing them as essentially an entirely new race. It's puzzling.

I agree with B-Boy's excellent post above, though - the idea that Voyager represented creative stagnation is often repeated but doesn't feel true to me. Personally, I prefer the show to TNG on the whole, and while it did deliberately echo aspects of both TOS and TNG in its storytelling and style, I think it was very successful at carving out its own tone and intepretation of the Star Trek setting - pulpier, more prone to comedy, not ashamed to dabble in metafiction.

The only real issue with Voyager is that several members of the main cast didn't develop properly over the course of the series, but the same is true of TNG, perhaps even moreso - Chakotay is dull but we know more about him than, say, Beverly Crusher - and personally I'd place Voyager's strongest characters (Janeway, Seven, the Doctor, Torres) above TNG's strongest (Picard, Worf, Data, Troi). The show might have flagged in its final season, but definitely not moreso than TNG.

"Year of Hell", "Counterpoint", "Eye of the Needle", "Living Witness", many others we could list... what are these if not clever, creative, energetic pieces of sci-fi television? If SNW was producing content of that quality and originality, I'd have no complaints.
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Data's Lawyer
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 10:50am (UTC -5)
@Gary: Yeah, it's really great how the end of this episode sets up Spock's actions in "The Menagerie."

Too often nowadays, with things like Star Trek and Star Wars setting stories in the "past" relative to what we've already seen, people say things like "x thing from 'Obi-Wan' puts y thing from 'A New Hope' in a different light," but it feels totally unearned. As in, yeah, you could think of it like that, but obviously the writers of "A New Hope" weren't thinking about it, and the writers of "Obi-Wan" probably weren't either. Fans are just drawing a tenuous connection that the creators of the respective shows/movies almost certainly didn't intend.

Whereas here, it actually feels like the writers *were* thinking about "The Menagerie," and consciously incorporating it into the fabric of this episode. They were giving Spock an organic motivation that would pay off "later on" in TOS. Really good stuff.

Plus an excellently written and performed scene. Star Trek at its best.
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JSylvester
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Unoriginal, derivative, purely decadent ripoff of a cultural milestone. There is no reason for this entire series to be made other than for Paramount to once again monetize "the Franchise." There's not so much as an ounce of originality in this effort.

Sorry kids, but that is not the Enterprise, NCC-1701. That ship was the one that Scotty so nostalgically remembered and that was so painstakingly recreated for "Relics" in TNG. That is not Uhura, nor is it Chapel, nor is it Spock. Those characters are irrevocably linked to a specific set of actors who became strongly associated with their roles over decades. And in the latest offering from this ongoing travesty of malign cultural grafitti, Paul Wesley is most certainly NOT James Tiberius Kirk, not even close. "Oh my" indeed.

What's the moral of this immediate story? That one doesn't mess with the timeline? That some events are just fated to be? How many times have we seen that before in the context of Star Trek? First time I can think of is "City on The Edge of Forever" from 1966! The idea is echoed in "Assignment Earth." In TNG we have, at a minimum, "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "Tapestry." There are lots more. Every Trek show has gone there.

It is cheap and lazy to go back to "Stardate low number" and leech off characters and stories that passed into legend long ago. I wince when I see the Romulan captain mouthing words Mark Lenard uttered in 1966. To this day, I remember seeing and hearing "He is a sorcerer that one. He reads the thoughts in my brain" when there was only one "Star Trek" and it was unique and new. Balance of Terror is a classic. It did not need to be remade.

I figure this guy Alex Kurtzman is largely responsible. Rework, redo, ripoff, borrow, borrow, steal .. after all his whole introduction to the Trek franchise was "Let's remake the original series with an implausible alternate time line premise. Who gives a shit about continuity when we can make money!"

It's not coincidental that those efforts have included redoing the unmatchable scene at the end of "Wrath of Khan" ("Ship out of danger? ..... I have been and always shall be your friend.") but only with the roles reversed. It's diminishing, it's irresponsible. It's total crap to think a rework of a scene like that is anything but cynical exploitation. ("But it's REVERSED, see how poignant that is??" Bah, humbug.)

There have been a couple efforts over the years that have dealt well with the legacy of the Original Series (even though that title came much later). The aforementioned "Relics" is one. DS9's "Blood Oath" did a nice twist in picking up three aging Klingons from the original series. But even more to the point is the magical "Trials and Tribble-ations" (again of DS9). By contrast, simply driving an insensitive "let's make money" plow through the field of what has come before as what the creators of "Strange New Worlds" (even the title is a ripoff) are doing doesn't qualify.

You want a prequel. One that maintains respect for the original material? Look to "Rogue One" in the Star Wars franchise. This mediocre half-baked trash of a show isn't it. It's just a scabrous mercenary parasite on a legend. 0 stars everywhere.
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Maq
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
@Ilsat, Riker belitteling a female officer? He ? Really? Never would have thought that.

I have also no real problem with starfleet or any other organsation having peculiar traditions. I can see a logic both in using Sir for female Officers and a transformation to ma'am. Why change? An adaptive and dynamic culture. Why keep? Traditions, even if idiosyncratic and strange, can have a bonding component within an organisation.

Observing these inconsistencies (read nitpicking) is quite fun. It is also possible because some of us, more or less seriously, take star trek for some sort of possible true mirror of the future. Although I pity them taking it too serious.
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dahj's Digital Ghost
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
I just wanted to make it clear that my earlier comments should not be taken as anti-Ortegas, as I think subsequent commenters might have mistakenly believed.

I happen to like the character of Ortegas, and have enjoyed Melissa Navia's portrayal of the character. The snarky one-liners she's made haven't annoyed me like Discovery's "yay, math," or "I like science," or "shitshow is Earth for bad," or any of the other late 20th, early 21st century-isms. These take me right of it, breaking the suspension of disbelief. One-liners or not, I am looking forward to the inevitable Ortegas-centered episode.

No, what got to me in the episode wasn't Ortegas, the character, but that she should be the mouthpiece for Stiles' lines. What is it, is the Navigators' chair on the Enterprise an ancient, cursed artifact, and that anyone who should be so unlucky as to sit it in becomes possessed by a nasty xenophobic dibuq that makes them spout anti-Vulcanian species bigotry? Stiles was an interesting character, and he should have been in this episode. In fact, Stiles was central to Balance of Terror! He carried on the family's hatred for the Romulans for a century after the Earth-Romulus war because a Captain Stiles of the United Earth Stellar Navy was killed during that conflict. He gave key pieces of information about the Romulans, establishing them well. I would have loved to hear more about that in this episode, something about Captain Archer and the NX-01, perhaps, something more to tie TOS and ENT.

James Blish wrote adaptations of the TOS episodes to short story format from the teleplays and their earlier drafts. From his Balance of Terror adaptation, we learn:

1. Spock isn't terribly surprised to learn that he Romulans are of the Vulcanian species, saying that it was known that they had colonized "this section of the Galaxy" in ancient times.

2. Star Fleet is an agency separate of the Federation Space Navy, which Kirk believed should have called to deal with destruction of the outposts, instead of a Star Fleet vessel, the Enterprise, as the Navy would have been better prepared to deal with it.

3. Romulan spies had, indeed, infiltrated Federation and United Earth institutions, as the Romulan warship was a near copy of the Constitution class.

4. Dr. McCoy feared war with the Romulans might trigger civil war within the Federation itself.
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Descent
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
What really winds me up about Ortegas being transplanted into Stiles' role isn't just that it doesn't feel fitting for the character, but also that it transparently comes as a result of the writers' desire to remake "Balance of Terror" at the expense of everything else.

We've got some great new characters - Uhura, Chapel and M'Benga are all based on TOS characters, but let's be honest, they're essentially new (and much better, more vivid) characters. We've also got La'an, Number One, and Ortegas. If we really have to do "Balance of Terror", why not explore just how differently things might play out? Why not explore what might have changed if Stiles wasn't in the chair that day, but instead Ortegas? Why not take a look at the influence that Uhura and Chapel might have over events? What if M'Benga, who's apparently still the CMO, took a different stance to McCoy's? What if La'an was the security officer that day? Spock was Kirk's first officer, but Una is Pike's - what might that change?

Instead, Ortegas is very unfittingly forced into the role of Stiles, and M'Benga essentially just echoes McCoy's argument from BoT. Uhura doesn't do much, and Number One, Chapel and La'an are all but absent. The writers put their own new characters in BoT and then awkwardly forced them into roles written for different characters from the original episode, and ignored or minimised the presence of anyone inconvenient to that goal, like Una and La'an. I can only assume that's because they wanted everything to play out similarly enough that they could keep lifting dialogue and scenes from BoT and, of course, treat themselves to a remake the Romulan Commander's speech at the end. Big disservice to the new characters and pretty unimaginative.
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Dirk
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
I watched it again and enjoyed it even more. And I found myself really enjoying Ortegas in a few scenes. One scene I didn't enjoy was when she kept interrupting Pike and Kirk while they were having their first conversation. Maybe I'm old school but I believe in the chain of command. (Still, she's not as bad as Jadzia Dax in that regard.)

I am a born again Voyager fan, and I say that totally seriously. I loved deep space nine, but I was a teenager when I saw Voyager and Janeway really rubbed me the wrong way. Much later, as an old fart, I did a rewatch and was shocked at how much I love it.

If memory serves, Riker physically threatened Shelby in that TNG episode.
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Tim
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

“I thought about that too. A pleasant surprise--good for them.”

I’m actually meh on it to be honest. TNG would have been brave enough to say violence isn’t always the answer. Even Voyager managed to write this into an episode (Flashback) vis-à-vis TOS:

JANEWAY: It would seem that Captain Sulu decided not to enter that journey into his official log. The day's entry makes some cryptic remark about the ship being damaged in a gaseous anomaly and needing repairs, but nothing else. 
KIM: You mean he falsified his logs? 
JANEWAY: It was a very different time, Mister Kim. Captain Sulu, Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy. They all belonged to a different breed of Starfleet officer. Imagine the era they lived in. The Alpha Quadrant still largely unexplored. Humanity on verge of war with Klingons. Romulans hiding behind every nebula. Even the technology we take for granted was still in its early stages. No plasma weapons, no multiphasic shields. Their ships were half as fast. 
KIM: No replicators, no holodecks. You know, ever since I took Starfleet history at the academy, I always wondered what it would be like to live in those days. 
JANEWAY: Space must have seemed a whole lot bigger back then. It's not surprising they had to bend the rules a little. They were a little slower to invoke the Prime Directive, and a little quicker to pull their phasers. Of course, the whole bunch of them would be booted out of Starfleet today. But I have to admit, I would have loved to ride shotgun at least once with a group of officers like that.

Not saying Kirk was wrong in BoT, just that I don’t think the writers actually meant to say violence was the answer; I think they were too busy copying BoT and arriving at their predetermined outcome (Pike can’t escape his fate) to notice any larger message.
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HarryM
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Have watched this one 3x, I like it better each time. I love how it connects Spock/Menagerie and the "debt" he owes to Pike. Anson Mount gets a chance to really shine here and he doesn't disappoint. His future Pike was subtlety different, not as a too obviously "old" Pike but in his attitude and outlook. The tie in to BoT was well done. Loved Pike's "thank God!" when the red alert went off. I thought Kirk was OK, in that this is a Kirk not in command of a Constitution class ship, but a smaller cruiser, so maybe some bitterness in being held back from command of the most prestigious class of Federation ships. My favorite of the season. 4 stars.
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modulum
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, this is absolutely the best of the season, if you can take the meta elements in stride (which I can).
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Maq
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 1:56am (UTC -5)
@Dirk
"I am a born again Voyager fan, and I say that totally seriously. I loved deep space nine, but I was a teenager when I saw Voyager and Janeway really rubbed me the wrong way. Much later, as an old fart, I did a rewatch and was shocked at how much I love it."

I first watched TOS around 45 years ago. Of cource I was facinated. I was not enthusiastic of TNG, DS9 and VOY when they was aired. Perhaps ENT, I accepted slightly more.

Now I like them all. Well not all episodes.

It definetly has to do with my family situation. During some years was impossible get into a trek mode.
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Akom
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 7:13am (UTC -5)
I liked some punctual things about the episode, but overall, I did not.

Things that I wasn't convinced:

* The time travel logic applied. Instead of a butterfly effect (in the sense that a small change can have big effects in the web of the continuity, like in The Orville) here we have here that time is episodic or punctual, like one scene link to another scene, and the only thing that can stop a cataclysmic event that is that Pike need to be injured badly for some reason.

* I did not was very fond to "Jesus-Burnham" on Discovery, and now we have "Jesus-Pike". Before, he was a stoic character: he knew that something dangerous will happen and tried to deal with it, but now, THE FUTURE OF THE GALAXY depends of him suffering, he was externally coerced to accept his fate. How his personal situation is different to the previous episode were one child was sacrificed for the "general good" of a planet?.

* We already knew that some characters have "plot armor" (Like Pike -with expiration date-, Uhura or Spock). But now we know that Ortegas, Noonien, Una and some other secondary people of the crew are totally OK in the future. Is curious that the writers cornered themselves like that.

* So, "On each alteration of events posible Spock dies"? The Time Klingons are Dr. Strange now? haha.

Things that I liked:

* The scene when the kid is introduced to Pike, it felt like that was a really heavy punch in the guts for him but was not over-dramatic (like later when he enter in the medical bay after the battle in the end).

* A more vulcan-y Spock.

* The ambiance of the Romulan ships.

***

Let's see what happen in the second season. Overall I liked the cast and the episodic format.
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Walding
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 8:17am (UTC -5)
@Akom

"We already knew that some characters have "plot armor" (Like Pike -with expiration date-, Uhura or Spock). But now we know that Ortegas, Noonien, Una and some other secondary people of the crew are totally OK in the future. Is curious that the writers cornered themselves like that."

I don't think so, because we don't get a glimps at the "real" (original timeline) future. In "Yesterdays Enterprise" Tasha Yar was alive and well, despite having died in the "real" timeline. The branching from the original timeline was Pike starting to write that letter, symbolyzing he had decided to change his fate. With that now being prevented the timelines are already diverging.

Best indication for that is Una. In the alternative timeline Una is said to be spending time in a penal colony. Given that she is arrested at the end of the episode this would indicate that she has been in prison for several years. Given Pikes reaction ("this isn't over") I don't think that this is what will happen in this timeline (unless they want to write Una out, but Rebecca Romijn appears to be part of the cast of season 2).

Also we know that neither Ortegas, Noonien or any of the others minor characters are on Enterprise in the TOS era. So any of these characters could die or depart the show for other reasons.
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Jimmy
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Wow, step away for a day and I miss a lot! Especially some good long-form posts.

@Booming

Ha! I wish the name had such a clever origin story. I was thinking of a generic sounding name and chanced upon “Jimmy”. I should get a new one, as I’ve also noticed there’s another “Jimmy” around these parts.

I was valuing parsimony above all in my logic. To the extent that memory affects quality perceptions, and audio/visual memories diverge in some way, that could affect things. I was perhaps too conservative in the assumption that we wouldn’t know when opinion would stabilize. If we have no knowledge of this, the optimal distribution is uniform then best. However, if it is like you describe, and we know that people form a relatively final opinion after 4-5, then any allocation of good episodes beyond that point are wasteful.

And to further complicate it, we’d probably also have some sort of estimate of opinion “resilence”, or how many bad episodes it takes to damage a stable positive opinion. If the number remaining in a season is less than this value, then putting the best episode at the end is also unnecessary. It would probably then go first.

The funny chatter about Jeffery’s Tube being a Paramount insider brought to mind the old Usenet group for Chris Carter’s “Millennium”. Half of the writing staff were forum regulars, most vocally Kay Reindl / “Ruefrex”. I always held that up as an ideal of how insiders can deal with fans intelligently. But 1998 Usenet =/= 2022 Internet.

As far as SNW’s role in greater Trek, I’ve often wondered how much the Trek runners have learned from events over at Lucasfilm. They certainly can’t be ignorant of them. The smash success of the Mandalorian was almost exclusively an appeal to nostalgia, dribbling it out over a season while padding out napkin-thin plots with overlong theme, recap, and credit sequences. Contrast this with K Kennedy’s focus in the films on diverse audiences, progressive themes, and near disdain for any canon that served neither. Nostalgia, of course, won that day by a large margin. SNW could be Paramount’s attempt at a cost-conscious Mandalorian model, especially after seeing DSC and PIC struggle.
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Ilsat
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Quality won't stabilize until people accept the mediocrity of the showrunners and writing staff. SNW riffing Mandalorian's nostalgic model is yet another example of this. Either SNW finds its Ronald Moore or it doesn't. The sad thing is they're probably not looking.

But I agree with your insights into the qualitative model employed, Jimmy, with the "best" episodes bookending the season. Good post.
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Ilsat
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 10:47am (UTC -5)
I should say perceived quality
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Akom
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
@Walding :

"I don't think so, because we don't get a glimps at the "real" (original timeline) future. In "Yesterdays Enterprise" Tasha Yar was alive and well, despite having died in the "real" timeline. The branching from the original timeline was Pike starting to write that letter, symbolyzing he had decided to change his fate. With that now being prevented the timelines are already diverging."

As Hemmer would say, point taken.
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Bok R'Mor
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
Excellent post, @Jimmy.
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Ilsat
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Finally watched this. Maybe the best of the season. Clever in a number of ways. Meeting Kirk in the future which, in turn, gives Pike some sense of Kirk's capabilities. Of his future potential and perhaps, intuitively, a sense that Kirk (not Pike) should ultimately command the Enterprise at that future juncture.

Pike's growing bond with Spock which I think is earned by his understanding of his intertwined fate with Spock. But more than that, a recognition of Spock's importance to him as a friend and close confidante.

Finally, Pike's own sense of his specific qualities -- he comes to realize he's wired to act a certain way, and that his specific tendencies may be an impediment to not only his dearest friends but the Federation as well. More potent than just a recognition of one's limitations, Pike realizes that his very nature may be misaligned with the best "path" for all that he cares for. That's one hell of an insight.

Also, while this tracked with Balance of Terror, it did so not to "lift" the storyline outright but to leverage it as a mechanism to raise the stakes of Pike's future fate. And it did so in a clever manner. Whether Wesley is perfectly cast as Kirk is beside the point. He burrows into the role, showcasing the brash, brilliant, out-of-the-box thinking of the Federation's future badges.

Solid episode all the way through. First nu-Trek episode I'll give 3.5 stars to. Opens a great deal of story space for the future of SNW as well.
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Ilsat
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
**Badass. Jammer's G rated auto-correct should be spaced. Jammer get on that.
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Defor
Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 3:44am (UTC -5)
Well, this was a 4-star closer. The moments and dialogues between Spock and Pike, thanks to the potent line deliveries by both Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, are gripping, and completely validate Pike's reconciliation (at least temporarily) with his fate. There is also great camera work. For example, when the camera is on Pike as he walks throught the sick bay with all the dead and injured, I really felt Pike's shock and pain.
Best introductory 10-episode season of Trek. I hope not to wait a year before season 2. This was a fun, compelling ride.
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RockvillePike
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 12:03am (UTC -5)
As a longtime fan, I couldn’t be happier with SNW. It gives me the rush that Season 1 of TOS did, which is in my assessment the best season in the history of the franchise. These producers and writers are showing great care about canon but also building a whole new backstory to Pike’s Enterprise. The way the season finale syncs with both Balance of Terror and the Menagerie shows real respect for the origin series. I’m not sure what the naysayers want. This is the best Trek show since TNG.
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RockvillePike
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Just a small example but just noticed there is an Asian transport tech who beams down the landing party in The Cage. You can fault the franchise for not looking forward enough ( although Discovery gets a ton of hate) but SNW does a great job of recreating the TOS vibe.
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Ilsat
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 4:38am (UTC -5)
RockvillePike, do you honestly believe SNW is "showing great care with canon" in its handling of the Gorn?
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lizzzi
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
It looks like Jammer is spending a lot more energy on The Orville than on SNW. I am re-watching all the SNW episodes, and really enjoying them. I guess I am more focused on the strengths than the weaknesses, but I am really loving this series, even watching an episode for the 2nd (or in some cases 3rd) time. It feels like Trek. It isn't stupid and cringeworthy like so much of DISCO or PIC. Even the weaker characters are growing on me, and I think I can see why they were casted. The ensemble works. I think I am even coming to terms with Kirk (Wesley) who does not seem like Kirk. William Shatner can't be equaled, of course. Chris Pine never resonated much with me, and while Vic Mignogna is excellent--really does channel Shatner in ST Continues--I suppose his sexual harassment issues have taken him out of the game. I'm thinking that Wesley as Kirk can be kind of refreshing--I don't know...like buying a new pair of shoes that are similar but not identical to your old favorites. Ya gotta give it a chance--break them (him) in--and you might have a new favorite. So I'm interested to see how Kirk (Wesley) does in Season 2. I am really looking forward to Season 2, and hope we don't have to wait too long.

Hey Jammer, looking forward to you coming back to SNW. (No disrespect intended to The Orville.)
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Walding
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
I wouldn't necessarily say that Jammer is spending more energy on The Orville than on SNW. It could simply be that he currently finds it easier to write a review for the Orville episodes than for "A Quality of Mercy". Ater all that is the season finale for SNW which might justify a look on the season as a whole. And given its incorporation of Balance of Terror Jammer might have descided that rewatching that in its entirety might be useful. He has stated that he has to do a lot of researching for the review to get the details right and I could easily see this episode requiring a lot a more of that.
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lizzzi
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
Yes, Walding, I suspect you are right. Good points there.
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RedD
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 5:48am (UTC -5)
Very good episode but then again that should be expected since it's almost a carbon copy of a classic.
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Alienatbar
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 7:26am (UTC -5)
Realistically, as you have begun to say, if Jammer is taking this much time to review a season over one last episode, where the season has been in a global sense, catering for all episodes of all possible shows this year, absolute fucking pish, then I understand the predicament. Realistically, for a full season, you have been fucked over by a company wanting to suck your dollars with a last episode that pulls on your lust for nostalgia, a tie into your longing for good Trek that you forsake every other piece of shit they have delivered to you. Your on your own people. You watch this 3 or 4 times. WTF!!?!? We used to have standards. I still have them. Fuck Season 2 of this junk. I seriously don’t know why you would line the pockets of these fucks. I’ve spent time there where these so called creatives lurk. Fucking trash.
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Pikes Hair
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 11:23am (UTC -5)
First time commenter. As someone who has genuinely hated 99% of all Star Trek content from 2009-now, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this show, and look forward to next season. In particular, fan service is something I see right through and can tell whether or not the story behind it is worth any merit. Fan service can be cool, as long as a solid serviceable story with well written characters are there as your foundation. It should just be like the spices or seasoning you put on an already delicious dish, not cover up something that isn’t very good on its own. Ever since Mandalorian season 1 knocked it out of the park for Star Wars, that’s a franchise that has become more and more reliant on fan service at the expense of good characters and storytelling. Boba Fett and Obi-Wan were particularly awful in this regard.

I think the perfect way to juxtapose what I’m talking about on NuTrek’s own merits however is by simply comparing this series finale directly to Into Darkness. Both “A Quality of Mercy” and that film feature direct callbacks and “member berries” moments, but there’s a key distinction. Strange New Worlds earns its moments for its own characters, whereas the second reboot film uses these callbacks whether they’ve earned it or not at the expense of their characters.

For example in the case of Into Darkness, when our villain reveals his true name to be Khan to Kirk and Spock, the audience is supposed to be like “oooh ahhh wow! Such a twist!” but for our heroes, they have never met this man before. His name holds no significance to him. Unlike Wrath of Khan, Into Darkness doesn’t have the history of Space Seed behind it. It’s a plot twist for the audience, not the characters at hand. Nothing changes if Cumberbatch’s character had remained Harrison for the whole film or was openly referred to as Khan from the get go. AQOM, however, while recreating a lot from a famous and beloved Star Trek story much like Into Darkness, was built towards with Pike’s internal struggle all season long. A lot of people liked to pick on the Elysian Kingdom too, but something I find interesting about the ending of that episode is it mirrors what happens to Pike later down the line. M’Benga’s daughter could lose her life or be happily ever after in the fantasy of a powerful being. This is basically what happens to Pike in the Menagerie. Pike altering the future and causing Spock to be the one who suffers also adds deeper insight and meaning to Spock’s mission in The Menagerie as well. In SNW’s case with this episode (and most of the season), the fan service feels like that extra pinch of pepper. We don’t just get Kirk because “OMG ITS KIRK YOU REMEMBER KIRK”, our TOS Captain functions as a serviceable juxtaposition for Pike and accentuates why sometimes peace isn’t always an option.

If I were to rate episodes from this season on Jammer’s scale I’d go as follows:

1. Strange New Worlds 3/4
2. Children of the Comet 3/4
3. Ghosts of Illyria 2.5/4
4. Memento Mori 3.5/4
5. Spock Amok 3/4
6. Life Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach 3/4
7. The Serene Squall 2/4
8. The Elysian Kingdom 3/4
9. All Those Who Wander 3/4
10. A Quality of Mercy 4/4
Overall I’d give the season as a working whole a solid 3/4 stars

Pros
•The cast is mostly excellent
•The crew is mostly likeable, and I’m excited to see more of them. The only two I don’t feel like have found their place yet are Ortegas and Number One to a lesser extent.
•The production quality is absolutely top notch.
•The episodes cover a wide range of very serviceable Trek tropes, with enough of its own spin to make it feel too derivative.
•The fan service doesn’t come at the expense of other likable story elements.
•A character being killed shows the story isn’t afraid to take risks.
•The crew mostly works together to solve problems and generally acts professional.
•The show wasn’t afraid to be optimistic and campy at times.

Cons
•some of the weekly problems get solved a bit too easily. In the future I’d like for some of the solutions to situations to feel a bit more earned.
•While I don’t think the show was too derivative, it certainly still could find it’s own voice moving forward. Don’t get me wrong, the “greatest hits” model worked well as an introductory season, but if we could get an absolute banger episode or two next season that truly uses it’s own content and ideas, it will go great lengths in helping Strange New Worlds becoming a classic addition to the franchise instead of merely “decent”.
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Marlboro
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
On one hand the show says that the future can be changed, but on the other it must be played out in a certain way. Why? What if Pike just used his newfound knowledge of the future to make sure the Romulan standoff played out the "right" way now?

And who gets to say what the "right" way is anyway? Future Pike says the future is terrible, but history doesn't end with Captain Pike. Maybe a bleak future of a prolonged Romulan/Federation war will ultimately result in a "better" future in a thousand years than the one where Pike did the "right" thing. Or maybe in a hundred thousand years. I wish they would explore things like this a little more.


I skipped ahead after watching the first 3 and a half episodes. I don't think this episode is terrible, but it isn't great either. I think you really would need to watch Balance of Terror before watching this episode, but I simultaneously think that this episode would suffer in comparison if you do. Mark Lenard, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy just have more gravitas, or charisma, or whatever that indefinable "it" is that some actors have and other actors don't, and sadly their modern counterparts just don't have "it." If the character hadn't been explicitly called Kirk, would you have had any idea who the actor was playing?

And Pike continues to be a non-entity to me. I don't dislike the character or actor, but Mount's performance is, I don't know - maybe "listless" would be a good way to describe it. I heard a line in a movie recently along the lines of "The only thing worse than awkward silences is small talk." The way Pike is written reminds me of small talk. I know that's an odd way to describe it, but his dialog and delivery just seem...inconsequential. Like his performance would be better if he didn't even talk. Particularly the frequent intentionally lame jokes.

Other minor complaints:

Many of the actors seem to rush through their dialog.

The Making Memories song was not good. Let Mount sell the scene - you don't need a (bad) a song to underscore the fact that Pike is making memories.

The cliffhanger ending. Guys, you don't need a space Nazi cameo at the end of the Xindi arc, ok?
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AntonioE1778
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 10:13am (UTC -5)
My guess is that jammer hated this episode so much that he just cannot yet find the energy himself to review it, having already reviewed the newest episode of Orville that released a week later.
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Marlboro
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Or maybe his original review set off an unstoppable cascade of terrible events that doomed humanity and he's waiting for some Klingon monks to hook him up with some magic rocks so he can set things right?
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Ilsat
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 11:50am (UTC -5)
My ratings for the first season:

1. Strange New Worlds 2.5/4
2. Children of the Comet 2.5/4
3. Ghosts of Illyria 2/4
4. Memento Mori 3/4
5. Spock Amok 2/4
6. Life Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach 2.5/4
7. The Serene Squall 2/4
8. The Elysian Kingdom 1/4
9. All Those Who Wander 1/4
10. A Quality of Mercy 3.5/4

Average of 2.2 out of 4. Better than DSC and PIC but a lot of room for improvement.
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Quinton
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 10:59am (UTC -5)
1. Strange New Worlds 2.5/4
2. Children of the Comet 3/4
3. Ghosts of Illyria 2/4
4. Memento Mori 3.5/4
5. Spock Amok 2.5/4
6. Life Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach 3.5/4
7. The Serene Squall 3/4
8. The Elysian Kingdom 2.5/4
9. All Those Who Wander 2.5/4
10. A Quality of Mercy 3.5/4

I enjoyed the season more than Jammer, it seems.
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Token
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 11:05am (UTC -5)
People really do love having the same crap recycled for them again and again. What a depressing time to be a Star Trek fan.
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Token
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 11:54am (UTC -5)
1. Strange New Worlds 1.5/4 - The central conflict of this episode is so shallow the writers don't bother explaining what the aliens are fighting over. As a blatant metaphor for the 2020 election and the January 6th riots it's disturbing how the message here is that 'both sides are wrong and need to sort out their differences.' Pike's lame, finger-wagging speech reminds me of the condescending monologues you find throughout the first season of TNG. Boring and morally dubious.

2. Children of the Comet 3/4 - For all its faults, this episode presents an interesting dilemma for the crew that escalates in an exciting and logical way. The Shepards have a memorable look and, in a first for modern trek, an actual ETHOS that can be reasoned with. A one-of-a-kind episode.

3. Ghosts of Illyria 2/4 - Narratively, this episode is a mess, but at least they tried to do something new with the light plague.

4. Memento Mori 2/4 - Ortegas is extremely annoying. The B plot with Hemmer and Uhura in the hangar is dull and overly contrived. The Gorn are stupidly, comically evil in a way that isn't appropriate for Star Trek. The "alien morse code that translates directly to the english alphabet" was dumb. The only bright spot are Pike's clever tactics. I don't get the hype.

5. Spock Amok 2/4 - Spock and T'Pring's relationship is way too human to me. Nothing about it feels logical, even in an ironic way. It's like something out of Friends. The side show with the aliens who want their allies to see things from their perspective is ridiculous--who DOESN'T want that?

6. Life Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach 1/4 - All the "aliens" had to do was contact the Enterprise and warn them about the child sacrifice. All the Enterprise had to do was travel to the "alien" planet and talk to them. Instead, Pike gets lead around by his dick for 50 minutes and NO ONE on the crew calls him out on it. Garbage.

7. The Serene Squall 2/4 - This episode missed a golden opportunity to SHOW us Pike cooking for a crew of space pirates. Instead, we only see the pot of soup after the fact. I didn't hate this episode as much as some, but it's a good example of how the writing in SNW fails on a basic, grade-school level. Show, don't tell.

8. The Elysian Kingdom 1.5/4 - 50 minutes of M'Benga explaining the plot of a generic YA fantasy novel until the dim light bulb floating above his head finally flickers on.

9. All Those Who Wander 1/4 - Crap on every conceivable level. Terrible dialogue. Lame character deaths, including Hemmer, the only groundbreaking character on the show so far. A shameless Alien/Predator rip-off sold as an 'homage.'

10. 10. A Quality of Mercy 2/4 - Pure fan service, with half the brains and none of the heart of BoT.
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StarMan
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 6:16am (UTC -5)
@Token - good overview. My rankings for each episode would differ here and there, but my average grade would be inline with yours.

I was more forgiving over the first 5 episodes. I'd say the turning point / red flag was 'The Serene Squall' - not that I thought all the prior entries were great, but we only had 3 episodes remaining and I felt the balance between good and mediocre / undercooked decisively swung in favor of undercooked. Unless at least one of the remaining episodes knocked it out of the park, I felt it unlikely I'd be sold on the season as a whole. Of course, what followed was The Elysium Kingdom (which I found borderline unwatchable - took 3 attempts to finish).

The season finale was Star Trek: Karaoke.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 7:21am (UTC -5)
I’m sorry but when someone says a major flaw of The Serene Squall was that they didn’t show Pike making the food this time, when there is a much more important A plot about non-binary/transgender identity going on, I don’t consider that a “good overview”. It’s not even like Serene Squall was one of my favorites of the season (probably the one I enjoyed the least), but that’s hardly valid criticism. More like a very, very arbitrary nitpick. Perhaps it was meant more as a joke critique, which is fine, but over text it doesn’t clearly come off that way. Maybe elaborate more about other things going on in the episode that didn’t work?

In my opinion there is way, way more to the finale than fan service. You take all that stuff out, and it’s still a compelling narrative. I generally think the second half of the season wasn’t as consistent as the first half, and if it turned some people off of returning to the show next season that’s fair. I’m not going to argue against that. What I will say though is that nothing from this first season was as bad as episodes like Spock’s Brain, Justice, Code of Honor, Shades of Grey, etc, etc. I think people need to realize that maybe some of their expectations are a bit wonky if you’re going as far as to say some of this first season was unwatchable. I’ll take Elysian Kingdom and Serene Squall over those episodes any day of the week, and maybe that’s just me, but I’m okay with that.
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Odan's Razor
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:11am (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

'I’m sorry but when someone says a major flaw of The Serene Squall was that they didn’t show Pike making the food this time, when there is a much more important A plot about non-binary/transgender identity going on, I don’t consider that a “good overview”.'

I'm sorry but what? (I'm not actually sorry. So: what?)

'a much more important A plot about non-binary/transgender identity going on'?

This 'much more important A plot' that was so important virtually everyone apart from you missed. Having a purportedly 'non-binary' actor in the villain role (that most of us didn't even realise/clock was 'non-binary') isn't the same as having 'a much more important A plot' about the the same, or about 'transgender' either.

Your criticism here is baseless and bizarre. Yet another thread hijacked.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:22am (UTC -5)
If you missed that in literally all of Spock and Angel’s conversations that’s on you, not me. It was quite obvious in all of their dialogue that that was the metaphor going on. I don’t even know what you mean by “hijacking”. I didn’t even know that Angel’s actor was that until just now, further proving how blatant it is in the episode.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:25am (UTC -5)
But again, saying that it wasn’t clear enough is more of a valid criticism than “no show soup”. You proved my point inadvertently with your response. I’d like to hear why you thought it wasn’t clear enough or why it wasn’t picked up on.
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Odan's Razor
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:28am (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

No, it's very much not 'on me'. You have made a presposterous statement about a 'much more important' A plot that you claim is 'about non-binary/transgender identity'. Provide specific evidence, not general allusion based on a performer's (private) 'non-binary' identity that wasn't even explicitly referred to in the episode.

At no point did Spock or Angel discuss 'non-binary/transgender identity', much less have repeated conversations about it. To paraphrase you, that's on you.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Alrighty, I’ll rewatch the episode today and I’ll definitely be able to point out multiple specific examples for you in direct quotes. IIRC, in every conversation Angel is telling Spock he doesn’t have to conform to just his human (boy) or Vulcan (girl) identities and that he should accept himself as “neither.” Will update later today on exact quotations.
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Odan's Razor
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:32am (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

'You proved my point inadvertently with your response. I’d like to hear why you thought it wasn’t clear enough or why it wasn’t picked up on.'

What? No, I won't be arguing your baseless points for you. And I haven't proven your baseless point either, inadvertently or directly.

Not content with making up "much more important A plots about non-binary/transgender identity" you're now making up my arguments for me, apparently.

Everyone can read what you wrote and I wrote, no need to tell lies about it.
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Odan's Razor
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 8:34am (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

"Alrighty, I’ll rewatch the episode today and I’ll definitely be able to point out multiple specific examples for you in direct quotes....Will update later today on exact quotations."

Excellent. Thanks for taking the effort to follow up with some substance.
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John
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 9:22am (UTC -5)
@Marlboro

Admiral Pike says that he has seen multiple attempts at trying to change history and it always ends the same way because apparently the universe has decided that either Pike or Spock has to get fried to a crisp. Heck, we know Spock DOES get a fatal dose of radiation later on, but thanks to a one in a million sequence of events he gets to be reborn.

In any case, I think once Pike realized that it was always going to be him or Spock then he decided that he'd take the bullet. Kirk would have done the same in this situation.
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Marlboro
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 10:03am (UTC -5)
You were obviously paying more attention than I was John. :)

It would have been interesting to see a Groundhog Day type scene showing Future Pike trying multiple ways to solve the problem.


On a related note, I'm still not a fan of "fate" in a sci-fi show. Those time crystal things are just too Fantasy to me.
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Jimmy
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
@Marlboro

In an earlier post, I described Captain Pike as being a trophy husband who reads business leadership books in hopes of impressing his wife’s friends. He has this passive, barely engaged mood about him that is off-putting and borderline needy.

I recently read an article, forget where, that said Pike’s personality on SNW is a deliberate attempt at a “new masculinity” from the writers, rather than simply the actor’s take on it. He had some of that in DSC, but its all been turned up to 11 in SNW. I’m not sure if creating this abomination is better than it happening by accident, but it at least speaks to some agency behind it.

A cynical take on this — not necessarily an accurate one — might be that Captain Pike is the canonical equivalent of a human appendix. A white male in a leadership position at a time when the production winds would rather blow in a very different direction. What’s most interesting is that they’ve simply given more of the angry, exclamatory “masculine” scenes to female crew members and left Pike a strange central blob of blandness, who occasionally winks and finger guns the crew to cheer them up.
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Narissa’s Bath Water
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
(this is Jimmy, btw - remembered to finally change my name)

@Pikes Hair

For what its worth, I think the identity/trans metaphor was less forced in Squall than you recall. I knew the Angel actor was trans, so expected far more preaching than was present. I mean, it WAS there, I’d agree with you over someone who said it wasn’t, but not to a degree that it stilted the episode at all.

Far more damaging to both the story and trans subtext was everything post-reveal of Angel descending into pure camp. I half-expected Angel to break into a song about Transylvania.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
@Narissa

I wasn’t saying it was forced or stilted. I agree with your criticism about the camp to a degree, but also don’t want them to stray away from camp entirely. Star Trek should be allowed to be campy. Like I said, it wasn’t my favorite episode, but the A plot was objectively a commentary on non-binary and trans identity. I’m rewatching it right now actually, and I have a litany of evidence to prove that Odan’s Razor is being intellectually dishonest about the topic and towards me.
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Kyle
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Wow, more white male fragility, transphobia and replacement propaganda. Pike is well played by Mount and Angel’s non-binary conversation with Spock fit in well with both our current times and issues and Spock’s canonical ambivalence over his human/Vulcan heritage. Trek has always pushed the envelope on social and political issues and SNW is reimagining the 23rd century in a way that makes sense for early 21st century viewers, not mid 20th century viewers 60 years ago. Back in 1968 people like yourselves probably wigged out when Kirk and Uhura kissed onscreen but there weren’t any internet forums like this one to vent your reactionary views.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
@Odan’s Razor

Serene definition: calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil.

Squall definition: a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet OR (of a baby or small child) cry noisily and continuously.

Serene and squall together sort of sound like an oxymoron, kind of like the idea of being both male and female at the same time, no?

This is the very first conversation two characters have in the episode:

T’Pring: “In Tropic of Cancer, the human author, Henry Miller, has a very specific idea about sexuality, which strikes me as very male.”

Spock: “I have not read it.”

T’Pring: “Meanwhile, Erica Jong’s Fear of of Flying presents a female point of view, while still tied to the 20th century conception of…”

Spock: *Interrupting* “I am not familiar with that book either.”

T’Pring “Hmm, well, I found the Argonauts by Maggie Nelson to be more interesting.”

(The Argonauts is a book detailing the authors relationship with transgender artist Harry Dodge leading to her pregnancy as well as topics of transgender embodiment and the limitations of language)

T’Pring “as a study of the transformations some humans go through in the process of-“

Spock interrupts again. T’Pring then says the following: “Since you are half human, I thought it my responsibility as full Vulcan to better understand the culture that makes you, you.”

The episode at face value tells you to your face that they are going to use Spock’s Vulcan and human characteristics to address issues of non-binary/transgender thinking. T’Pring, representing someone who doesn’t understand Spock’s struggle, but wants to learn more and help as someone who loves him.

First convo with Angel and Spock, Angel says many things that fit the theme, but this one in particular stands out: “You know, all species put things into boxes. It's like you're either this, or you're that. And... sometimes we act a certain way to fit people's expectations, but that's not necessarily who we are.”

What do you THINK they meant here?^

I also went back and read Jammer’s review for the first time in preparation for my response to you. Many of the commenters on that review noted these themes were present as well, and Jammer as well in the review cited a specific example from the episode. It’s worth noting that even some publications (slashfilm, thespool) wrote articles on the episode and how it dealt with these themes further illustrating that me bringing it up was NOT “baseless”. I also see that you historically only comment on threads about this topic. So for you to not only say that I’m the only one who picked up on this, accuse me of hijacking the thread when historically (and in this instance) it is solely YOU that does this to numerous threads is really ridiculous. Perhaps you didn’t notice these things in Serene Squall because you are willfully ignorant. Either way, I don’t care for this conversation anymore.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
@Kyle

Thank you!!!! Very well said.
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Marlboro
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
O.K. I've caught up on the episodes that I initially skipped. This show fucking sucks. Every damn time one of these shows premiers I get sucked in by these three star ratings and "best first season since TOS!" comments and it always ends up the same. I never learn.

FWIW: Discovery Season 1 > SNW Season 1 > Picard Season 1

I won't be re-watching any of them.
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Walding
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

"The episode at face value tells you to your face that they are going to use Spock’s Vulcan and human characteristics to address issues of non-binary/transgender thinking."

Maybe it does but then it does so in a language I can't understand. Because I've not read "the Argonauts" , nor "Tropic of Cancer" or "Fear of of Flying", so all that stuff went way over my head.

I did notice the dialog with the boxes, it stand out from the rest that its hard to overlook. But that part then depends heavily on context because nowadays there are so many areas where people would like to put you into boxes and are surprised when you refuse to choose either camp.

- you are supposed to like either The Orville or NuTrek, but not both.
- you are supposed to be either conservative or liberal, you can't be against both abortion and the death penalty
- you either go to church or you are an atheist, believing in God but not in religion confuses the heck out of people.

My point here is if you don't know the actor is trans then there is nothing in the epsiode that makes it a transgender-argument. I completely missed any such spoilers and I didn't notice anything in the episode itself. Yes, that doctor Aspen didn't look that female to me but then neither does Trinity in the Matrix and Carrie-Ann Moss is a woman ("not that female" = flat chested and a bit muscular). I ticked of Aspens somewhat strange look as the writers hinting that she is a pirate and given that she was that closed the case for me.

And then I started reading reviews complaining about "Transgender propaganda with the subtlety of sledgehammer".

Only when rewatching it (not that I really want to, that cartonish behaviour later makes it the weakest episode for me) I can see what those people were talking about.
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Pikes Hair
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
@Walding

I see where you’re coming from, but then again you didn’t dismiss me as baseless, or strawman the topic away from my initial comment. I think the cartoonish behavior was less severe on the rewatch, but definitely agreed at first very much so. I actually think my issue with the episode now after the fact is the setup being implausible for me, and until they do anything with Sybok of note, as it stands now the ending was just fan service. I don’t like episodes that make feel like I have to wait much later down the line for it to mean anything at all. Could it payoff in an interesting way later? Probably, and I hope to see more of Angel.

I would argue though, you don’t need to be familiar with those books for it to be clearly stated that it’s the episodes intent. T’Pring very clearly gives examples of male, female, and then was in the process of saying “transformation”. Context clues about her statement make it known what she would have concluded with had Spock not cut her off.

For the record I’m not complaining about the metaphor at all. I in fact welcome it, and wish the episode focused more on it. That’s why I initially remarked that complaining about Pike’s soup was missing the point in such a way that almost seems deliberate.
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Bryan
Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Regarding Serene Squall, it seems to me that both the positive receptions and negative backlash to its trans-specific narratives have been somewhat overplayed by both camps. If there is some metaphor in there, it's quite brief and subtle and can be either spotlighted as a nice little nod to trans issues, or completely ignored without one necessarily being "intellectually dishonest" about its existence. And one can certainly choose to overlook it without being obtuse or willfully ignorant to the 'central message' of the episode, because I don't believe it is that.

By the same logic, those who complain about a trans narrative being shoved down their throats are also overemphasizing how overt and central it is and are likely just choosing to take offense at the mere inclusion of a trans character. I don't think that's happening much on this forum, but it has been pointed out that many negative reviews unduly hone in on that specifically. It's a bit surprising to me, because there have certainly been times in Star Trek, especially Nu-Trek, where they are a bit on the nose and preachy about its politics, but this isn't one of those times.

Also, when I say that some people overemphasize the trans narrative in a positive light, I don't mean that they shouldn't celebrate the mere inclusion of a trans actor/character as if it's no big deal, because that does seem like a pretty important facet of the episode that can't really be ignored.
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Pikes Hair
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 6:50am (UTC -5)
@Bryan

You make valid points about the extremes of both ends of the spectrum. The only disagreement I have, again, is with the idea that the metaphor is brief or not the episodes primary focus. Let’s examine the moment when Spock is forced to choose between two asteroids. Pike says to go with your gut. Spock makes the choice and saves the Enterprise. The point of this, as examined by Angel in a conversation with Spock after this scene is that choosing between two instances with no guarantee either would be correct here made Spock uncomfortable. A non-binary individual having to choose one gender, is an uncomfortable situation for them to be in. It’s emphasized in many moments of the episode that “logic” dictates that there are only two options. ‘Logic’, here, being the history of a binary gender belief system. Sybok, has been described as the Vulcan who rejected logic. Angel playing to Spock’s pathos that ‘to heck with logic’ you are who you are not what logic says you are. There’s also something to be said about the idea that people that dismiss these concepts as “emotional” or “not based in real science/ie not logical” in real life. I don’t think this is brief in the episode. My only issue with this metaphor is that the inclusion of Sybok to this end is undercooked, and as it stands now hasn’t amounted to anything. I think one would be hard pressed to argue against this episode being a Spock centered episode. Since he is the central character, he is the A plot of the episode. I don’t think the episode was beating anyone over the head with it either, but maybe you could argue that it isn’t as important or well done as the people that are throwing heaps of praise to the episode make it out to be either. I think the fact that you have those sides however, is proof enough that the episode does have the commentary on display, and that it’s the primary reason for the story at hand.
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Narissa's Bath Water
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 9:50am (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

Ah, now I remember that scene better and see where you are on this. Thanks for typing all that in!

My only reaction when watching it live was wondering if the books mentioned were already established by scholars in the field, recent releases, or fictional. A mix of the three would seem best to avoid dating the episode.

@Kyle

I'm not sure if this "white male fragility" and transphobia stuff was directed at me, but you won't find any of that in my comments about Pike or SNW. I have no quarrel with progressive themes or social issues presented on screen, but I also don't think they necessarily raise the quality of an episode. A high quality episode might call greater attention to a social issue raised in the process, but that's about it.

More specific to Pike, I'm not suggesting that any particular definition of "masculinity" is correct or desired. I'm saying that Pike's behavior seems off for someone in his position of responsibility, be they male, female, or on a continuum. When I read that producers intentionally chose to write him this way, it created two questions instead of only one: what were they writing away from? what were they writing toward?

The first question is easier, and we can all conjure images of Kirk smirking at Bones while saying "on top of". There was a smarmy undertone to any scene with an attractive woman in it. TNG had largely done away with it, relegating it to Riker, where it was still cheesy. Picard was relatively asexual in comparison, or at the very least kept his sexuality far, far away from his command behavior.

So already, we can partly argue that the reconception of masculinity via Pike is addressing a problem that is partly solved in prior Treks, reasonable people can disagree on the degree. But even so, what are they working TOWARD becomes the more important question. What defines Pike's new masculinity, except the absence of the old? From the reactions here (and I'm not alone in my criticism), I would venture that some of the command/leadership traits cast aside in Pike might not have been as masculine-traditional as the writers thought, and simply represented behaviors of anyone in a command role, regardless of gender dynamics.

Anticipating a point, it is certainly possible that producers are making a bigger bet, and trying to say that traditional notions of command and leadership are also problematic, in addition to masculinity. This clashes a bit with their reliance on nostalgia, but is a possible disagreement within a writing team.

In the end, my reaction to Pike is a visceral sense of something not being realistic. The comment he made on greeting the Romulan Praetor. The distant, low-key chill that makes him seem to be someone who wouldn't even seek a career in command. His reliance on saccharine team-speak in moments of crisis. It has nothing to do with "white male" this or that. Contrast Pike with Janeway.
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Bryan
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair

I still think your calls to see a trans narrative as the primary focus, particularly with the asteroid scene, are a bit of a stretch but I won't argue against it because it's just an interpretation. I don't see how it isn't just another instance of focusing upon the ramifications of Spock being half human and half Vulcan, which has been done many times. It's just that this time the episode happens to have a trans person in it. The asteroid scene could be viewed, without adding extra layers to it, as simply having to choose between intuition (a distinctly human attribute that isn't Spock's first go-to and why it's uncomfortable for him) and logic (his Vulcan side which he is more comfortable with, but won't help him in this situation since it demands more knowledge and certainty than is possible).

I think the episode does contain a gendered metaphor in the conversation about putting people in boxes, and that's about it. The literary allusions that T'Pring brings up, are just that -- allusions or references. Just a nice little nod that will perk up the ears of a certain subset of the audience, without adding a substantive narrative or message to the plot or theme.

Why am I pushing back against these seemingly harmless attempts to read additional Good Things into the episode? Because I think we should only give credit where credit is due. If we're completely satisfied when the showrunners do the bare minimum, then there isn't any impetus or reason for them to do more and to do even better. Which is not to say that what they did was bad, or that there isn't some value to subtle metaphors and tangential nods that aren't central to the episode. I'd just like there to be some contrast in our reception between that, and when they actually do something more significant.

Furthermore, I believe because we're so used to seeing ONLY allegory and metaphor when it comes to non-binary and trans people in science fiction, some of haven't learned how to appreciate the inclusion of an actual non-binary/trans person more directly in their own right, and not merely a vehicle for some deeper message. I'm not sure if that's what is happening in this particular instance, but in general, I believe it does a disservice to the actor and a fuller appreciation of the character if their reception is flattened to the characteristics of their group-identity or their metaphorical value. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just have gay/trans/non-binary doctors, engineers, or even captains whose words and actions are seen to proceed primarily from their deeper characterizations such as personality and competencies, rather than just their group-identity?
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Alienatbar
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
@Pikes Hair
I saw it as you saw it and noted the subtext of the first 20 - 25 minutes was mostly about the trans subject. That was all I watched as the actual execution of the medium was just sub-standard regardless of who was in the scene.

‘Wouldn't it be nice if we could just have gay/trans/non-binary doctors, engineers, or even captains whose words and actions are seen to proceed primarily from their deeper characterizations such as personality and competencies, rather than just their group-identity?’

Absolutely.
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ThatERguy
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
Guys maybe it’s ok if we don’t all have the same takeaways from a single episode. That’s what makes SNW so much better than discovery. In disco they lose all subtlety and leave nothing to interpretation. The best science fiction presents allegories that can be interpreted many both possible and unexcpected ways. Over time in 20 years this episode may have a new significance we don’t yet appreciate. But if they beat us over the head that it’s trans then it’s harder to use it to convert universals to timeless truths.

In a way it’s the debate of originalism being bulksbit. Because why should we be held to the standards of what people thought in the 1700s.

I think it’s ok to allow people to have various interpretations of this.
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ThatERguy
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Guys maybe it’s ok if we don’t all have the same takeaways from a single episode. That’s what makes SNW so much better than discovery. In disco they lose all subtlety and leave nothing to interpretation. The best science fiction presents allegories that can be interpreted many both possible and unexcpected ways. Over time in 20 years this episode may have a new significance we don’t yet appreciate. But if they beat us over the head that it’s trans then it’s harder to use it to convert universals to timeless truths.

In a way it’s the debate of originalism being bulksbit. Because why should we be held to the standards of what people thought in the 1700s.

I think it’s ok to allow people to have various interpretations of this.
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Skyelord
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
@Token nice summary.

Here's mine:

1. Strange New Worlds: 2.5
Pretty good pilot. Jan 6th (or whatever, I'm not American) seemed rather unsubtle but at least it felt like ToS/TNG with the moralising speech at the end.

2. Children of the Comet 3.5
I really enjoyed this one. It actually felt like a semi fresh idea and well executed.

3. Ghosts of Illyria 2
A light virus was an interesting enough idea. Poorly executed. The dr's plot should have been an episode in itself since it made the pacing a bit of a mess.

4. Memento Mori 2 - Ortegas is annoying in all episodes but Uhura decided to join in. Not terrible but nothing great either.

5. Spock Amok 2 - kinda ok again. Nor really that funny. Chapel looked hot.

6. Life Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach 3.5 - Nice moral play. Mount did some nice subtle acting. Dark ending. Seemed original to me since ive never heard of the ursa leguin story it copied. Really enjoyed it anyway.

7. The Serene Squall 0.5 - Dogshit. Utter. Hire someone because they can act rather than they are non-binary or trans. Not quite dsc level of woke crap but close. Definitely gives dsc a run for it's money in bad acting.

8. The Elysian Kingdom 1 - Thoroughly boring. Struggled to get through it. Had some fun moments I guess.

9. All Those Who Wander 1 - Hemmer is great but i felt nothing. Stupid Alien rip off. Why rip off a great classic?

10. A Quality of Mercy 3 - nice finale if not amazing. Not keen on time crystals at all and Pike has steadily looked weaker and weaker. Anson is great but wtf are the writers doing?

Overall: a long long way better than dsc and mostly better than pic. Not amazing but then even my beloved ds9 wasnt great in s1.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 3:25am (UTC -5)
@Jimmy: "The smash success of the Mandalorian was almost exclusively an appeal to nostalgia, dribbling it out over a season while padding out napkin-thin plots with overlong theme, recap, and credit sequences. Contrast this with K Kennedy’s focus in the films on diverse audiences, progressive themes, and near disdain for any canon that served neither."

Wait, you're claiming the most recent trilogy of Star Wars films was not about nostalgia?!? WTF, that's pretty much all it was! Playing the hits, reheating the leftovers. I saw much less of this in Mando, until a certain classic character showed up at least.


@Marlboro: "And who gets to say what the 'right' way is anyway? Future Pike says the future is terrible, but history doesn't end with Captain Pike. Maybe a bleak future of a prolonged Romulan/Federation war will ultimately result in a 'better' future in a thousand years than the one where Pike did the 'right' thing. Or maybe in a hundred thousand years. I wish they would explore things like this a little more."

I really like this. Do you know the parable about the Chinese farmer?

"Mark Lenard, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy just have more gravitas, or charisma, or whatever that indefinable 'it' is that some actors have and other actors don't, and sadly their modern counterparts just don't have 'it.' If the character hadn't been explicitly called Kirk, would you have had any idea who the actor was playing?"

I might, only because he was really written well as Kirk. Possibly the best writing for a non-Shatner Kirk? I agree with you though about the poor casting (not necessarily poor acting per se) wasting the good writing. Ethan Peck is no Nimoy, but he's a little closer. The replacement for Mark Lenard, I actually thought was quite good.

@AntonioE1778: "My guess is that jammer hated this episode so much that he just cannot yet find the energy himself to review it, having already reviewed the newest episode of Orville that released a week later."

I was steeling myself for this to be the explanation for why it took him so long to review "Tale of Two Topas", but then it turned out he loved it.

I was going to remind you that he is traveling and warned us that reviews would take a while, but I guess that doesn't explain reviewing a week-more-recent Orville before this.

@Ilsat: Wow, you really only liked two episodes and you liked the finale the best. Interesting.

My ratings (these may not match up perfectly with what I said in the episode threads as I'm converting as best I can from the five-point scale on my TVTIME app):

1. Strange New Worlds 3.5/4
2. Children of the Comet 3/4
3. Ghosts of Illyria 2.5/4
4. Memento Mori 3/4
5. Spock Amok 3/4
6. Life Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach 3/4
7. The Serene Squall 3/4
8. The Elysian Kingdom 0/4
9. All Those Who Wander 1.5/4
10. A Quality of Mercy 3.5/4

Mean 2.6; median 3.0. ("The Elysian Kingdom" really skews the average: the arithmetic mean of the other nine episodes is 2.9, while the median in that subset is still 3.0.)

@Pikes Hair: "I think people need to realize that maybe some of their expectations are a bit wonky if you’re going as far as to say some of this first season was unwatchable. I’ll take Elysian Kingdom and Serene Squall over those episodes any day of the week, and maybe that’s just me, but I’m okay with that."

I think (if you look at my ratings) I'm somewhere between you and the people you're calling out. I actually liked "The Serene Squall" (I wouldn't have minded seeing Pike cook, but it was funny to see him jump to being in control). But "Elysian Kingdom" was far worse than any of the episodes you mentioned, and "All Those Who Wander" was about on par with them (though in a totally different way: I can't remember any other Trek episode that was such a shameless ripoff of an iconic--though IMO overrated--sci-fi flick).

Still, I liked or loved seven of the ten episodes, and another was very borderline, a near miss. A median rating of 3.0/4 is very solid, even if I still want to pour acid into my brain to burn out the taint of "Elysian Kingdom".

"If you missed that in literally all of Spock and Angel’s conversations that’s on you, not me. It was quite obvious in all of their dialogue that that was the metaphor going on."

::raising hand:: Not to me. I liked the episode, as I said; but I was completely confused as to why Pike used the pronoun "they" at the end. I did not see it coming at all.

@Marlboro: "On a related note, I'm still not a fan of 'fate' in a sci-fi show. Those time crystal things are just too Fantasy to me."

100%.

@Jimmy: "I described Captain Pike as being a trophy husband who reads business leadership books in hopes of impressing his wife’s friends. He has this passive, barely engaged mood about him that is off-putting and borderline needy."

I like Pike, but this is pretty funny.

"Captain Pike is the canonical equivalent of a human appendix. A white male in a leadership position at a time when the production winds would rather blow in a very different direction."

Nice. Yeah, if it weren't for the established canon of Picard and Pike, and probably marching orders from higher-ups, there's no way we would have had two white (non-evil) captains on nu-Trek.

"I half-expected Angel to break into a song about Transylvania."

Haha, true dat.

@Kyle: "white male fragility"

It's amazing to me that for being so supposedly "fragile", white males:

(1) Conquered the world

(2) Decided to voluntarily "un-conquer" it because it was the right thing to do (Enlightenment values, invented by, yup, white males).

@Pikes Hair: "The Argonauts is a book detailing the authors relationship with transgender artist Harry Dodge leading to her pregnancy as well as topics of transgender embodiment and the limitations of language"

I was familiar with the other two books, but not this one--so this went right over my head. It's interesting that T'Pring hints at what the other two books are about, but not this one, suggesting to me it was intended as an "Easter egg" for those already in the know.

Overall, I would liken your comment to an exegesis. It's an interesting framing, well supported by your analysis, but it doesn't leap off the screen as "obvious" without your accompanying apologetics.

Also: what @Bryan said. In particular:

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could just have gay/trans/non-binary doctors, engineers, or even captains whose words and actions are seen to proceed primarily from their deeper characterizations such as personality and competencies, rather than just their group-identity?"

PREACH! I really hope by the 23rd century, some of the nu-Trek style writing is seen as cringey. Not in the way a FOX News viewer would cringe, but just in the sense that it's all too hamfisted, totally lacking in subtlety of nuance. Kind of like the movie I tried to watch this past weekend but gave up on because I got tired of being pounded with a polemical sledgehammer. It's the original 1930 Oscar-winning film "All Quiet on the Western Front", and here's what I posted about it, under the subject heading "Hamfisted antiwar propaganda":

https://moviechat.org/tt0020629/All-Quiet-on-the-Western-Front/62d66f4f7a5e7547be4b22d8/Hamfisted-antiwar-propaganda
--------
Don't get me wrong: the screenwriter had his heart in the right place. No sane person would defend World War I as an honorable war, or anything other than a horrific meat grinder that swallowed up a whole generation of young men. But I would have loved to see a bit more subtlety in the lines he wrote for the actors to recite.

As an example, here are three consecutive unedited lines of didactic dialogue from the film:

"You see, when you jumped in here you were my enemy and I was afraid of you. But you're just a man like me, and I killed you. Forgive me, comrade." 🤦‍♂️

Like, yeah: we GET it. We're all brothers under the different-colored uniforms, and war is bad, mmkay?
--------

When idealistic writers are dying to shoehorn their political crusade into fiction, it almost never works out well (and that is just as true for right wing propaganda like Ayn Rand's novels, FWIW). The Orville has pulled it off a couple times, but that's in part because they don't try to bludgeon the viewer with the One True Way.
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Booming
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 4:54am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"When idealistic writers are dying to shoehorn their political crusade into fiction,"
In case of Remarque, he actually was a soldier in the first world war and was so severely injured that he spent more than a year in a hospital. He was drafted when he was 18 and saw several of his classmates die. It may sound weird to you but a 18 year old growing up in imperial Germany had to learn that the propaganda about the enemy was a lie. WW1 was the first war in which states systematically used atrocity propaganda. You might find it hamfisted but it actually just highlights a process many teenagers who fought in the war went through.
I get your general point, may even agree with it to some degree, but you are dead wrong about "All Quiet on the western front."
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SlackerInc
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 10:38am (UTC -5)
@Booming: What, pray tell, am I "dead wrong" about? I didn't say anything about the novel or its author. I don't even read German. The movie is an American production using almost exclusively American actors, and the screenplay is in English, written by a guy named George Abbott (who per Wikipedia lived to the age of 107).

As far as I can tell, Abbott never served in the military, not that it really matters since a veteran can be just as bad a writer as anyone else. It is Abbott's dialogue I'm criticizing, and I watched over an hour of the movie so I absolutely stand by my criticism.
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Booming
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 10:54am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
The scene you are complaining about is in the book.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 11:22am (UTC -5)
@Booming: i'm complaining about the dialogue, not the "scene". (If you go look at my fuller post, I complimented other aspects of the film's production, including specifically the realism; it's just the corny dialogue that made me cringe.) That exact dialogue, in English, was definitely not in the book. And the whole movie is full of really cheesy dialogue.

Maybe it's cheesy in the original German too, I wouldn't know. But it very well might not be. This is why I charge so much for my literary translations of French novels into English, because there's a huge difference between just conveying the basic meaning and writing prose that isn't tin-eared.
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Booming
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 11:59am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
There is a longer version of this monologue in the book.
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Kyle
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
@ Narissa: No, my earlier comment was not directed at you, I apologize if you thought so. It wasn’t my intent. Rather it was directed at a general trend I have seen in many of the nu Trek comments here. Whenever nu Trek shows (PIC, SNW, DIS) have a plot element that touches on or resonates with today’s political or social issues, lots of transphobic white fragility seems comes out in the comments. The rancorous social divisions that plague our country and planet are finding their way into these forums, and the purveyors of reactionary bigotry, weather human or bot, are hijacking these forums and have nothing to do with Jammers excellent and insightful reviews. There are a lot of reasons to not to like the quality or writing of the nu Trek shows, and you can even argue that the writers do a poor job of addressing current social and political issues, but the mere fact of addressing them at all is not a reason to object to or dis like the new Trek shows. To say that the current writers only got their job to check off some diversity boxes or that we are having trans propaganda forced down our throats, as many comments do, signals to me an extreme right wing, intolerant, reactionary, retrograde, ultra nationalist agenda that is either ignorant of or doesn’t really care about Trek and its half century of a positive vision of the future where we have addressed our current divisions together and moved on to a better world.
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Marlboro
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
I have a theory that no one actually enjoys watching tv anymore. They just watch stuff so they can have something new to be enraged about online.
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Kyle
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
Come on Jammer, I know you’re busy, but please review the final episode of SNW. I’m sure I peak for many who are eagerly looking forward to your thoughts and insights on the last episode and maybe the whole first season?
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Marlboro
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
I like to think it's because he's busy writing reviews for TAS.
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Kyle
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
@Marlboro: we can only hope:)
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Kyle
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
@Narissa: I think your issues with Pike”s characterization and portrayal by the writers is interesting and totally legit, even if I don’t totally agree with them. Your suggestion for a comparison between Pike and Janeway’s command styles and implications of such is dead on and would make an interesting essay. Perhaps the hard ass, firm, authoritative style of Trek captains has been wrongly labeled as “masculine” but should rightly be labeled as legitimate traits of command, necessary to do the job. Is that non binary?
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Trek fan
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
@Walding I didn’t know about that other Ronald Moore series, thanks.

@Quincy you are surely right about changing the timeline and evidently understood more of the plot than me. I must confess I felt lost and mildly disinterested in how and what was happening in this episode, as the exposition felt rushed and unconvincing to me.

@JSylvester yes, yes, and yes. Totally agree with your assessment of this series. The whole thing feels curiously hollow, like it’s assembled out of spare Star Trek parts as a marketing ploy, rather than a fresh take in its own right. This is the first series in Star Trek history that reuses past characters for its main cast and that kinda sucks; it’s like I’m watching cardboard cutouts more than fully sketched roles.

@Jammer time to pony up the review. Will it be an opportunity for you to finally re-review Balance of Terror and revise your underrating of it? Or will you try to convince us that this muddled remix is somehow better? I look forward to your thoughts!
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SlackerInc
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
C'mon guys, stop hassling Jammer for his review! We don't want to make him feel like this site is a grind. Let's just enjoy it as it is and not look a gift horse in the mouth. Remember, it took him literally years to write a review of STID.
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Ilsat
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I would love it if you never reviewed this. Just to dick with these needy little people.
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J.B.
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
I think you should lock the finale review to Patreon, Jammer. Make them pay for it.
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DexterMorgan
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
The chick with the shaved head talks way way too much and interjects her opinion way too often for a lowly Navigator.
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bebop
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 3:08am (UTC -5)
Where's Star Trek: The Animated Series reviewa, Jammer?
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Alienatbar
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 4:18am (UTC -5)
All Quiet on the Jammer Front.
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RedD
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 6:35am (UTC -5)
Err, where's the review? Wake up Jammer!
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Booming
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 6:46am (UTC -5)
Jammer, the crowd is getting unruly...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHbzSif78qQ
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Andrew
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 6:59am (UTC -5)
This is kinda laughable. Sometimes idk how he’s been able to keep this long of a following as a critic. I wonder how many hits he loses due to not posting a day or two after airing
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Jammer
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:28am (UTC -5)
The review will be posted when it's posted. I figure it will be in the next week or so, but if it's not, it's not.

If you must know, the reason the Orville reviews were posted first was because there's more of a clock on those, where if I don't post one before the next one airs, I'm further behind. So with SNW done for the season, I'm prioritizing keeping pace with Orville. If you're reading anything more into it than that, you're simply wrong. People do this all the time, and I never understand why. "It's taking him so long, he must've hated/loved the episode so much!" LOL. That's *never* the reason why. The reasons why are always rooted in the boring real world that is life and my schedule.

If you must know, I was on an ill-fated vacation last week where my two kids and I somehow got COVID. We had to cancel all plans for our trip after only three of seven planned days. I had to call up and beg for refunds for the water park and the sunset cruise, had to cancel plans for the pool, the beach, all restaurants, mini-golf, arcade, shopping in small tourist towns, catching up with local-area friends, and basically anything known as "fun" for the last four days of our trip, which we had meticulously planned out in June, when we were originally going to go before my wife got COVID, causing us to postpone the trip to July (last week), where it then ended up canceled halfway through for good. We sat in the rented condo and watched six MCU movies with our kids instead, so they could get caught up through "Endgame" as the only mitigation to the Most Disappointing Vacation Ever, and that was all before having to drive the 17 hours home over two days (after having driven 17 hours over two days to get there).

In fact, the only reason the Orville reviews got written at all last week is because we were sitting around the condo for three days, which gave me time to stay up and watch the show and write -- which was never part of the original plan since I was going to be in bed early so I could be up early and, you know, out doing things, not sitting at a keyboard like most weeks of my life. I wasn't going to do any writing until I got home and back on a regular schedule this week. So us getting COVID actually accelerated the review schedule, hilariously. Our loss is your gain.

So excuse me if I don't care whether anyone is waiting for this review and thinks two weeks is too long. No one is holding a gun to your head and asking you to wait. You're free to do other things. When it's posted, it will be posted. Anyone who has been with this site for the long haul knows that delays are kind of my thing, and my streak this year of having almost everything posted within a few days of airing is damn near unprecedented.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:39am (UTC -5)
@Andrew, it's undeniable that he doesn't maximize his reach and revenue. But he also has another job. He could easily say "screw it, not worth the hassle" and stop reviewing shows altogether. Maybe you'd say the justice of the marketplace would argue for such an outcome, with someone else rising to take his place. But I am skeptical this putative prompt person's prose would be of as high quality as is Jammer's, so I personally prefer the tradeoff of tardiness.
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Rahul
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@Jammer -- sorry to hear about your vacation/COVID frustrations. I think many can commiserate. But I think one thing you can take away is that plenty of folks are eager to hear your thoughts on this episode. I must say I'm surprised at how many have been whining about you not getting your review done "on time" -- they really need to get a life.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Oops, got nina'd by Jammer.

Jammer, my sympathies, that's a huge bummer to have your family vacation repeatedly stymied like that.

One thing you wrote really made me perk up my ears unexpectedly though. Over the past year or so, I have rewatched all the MCU movies with my wife (first time through for her) and daughter (who had seen some of them previously). My sister and her kids are fans of the whole series, so we mentioned something about it on a video call with my mom (something we started doing during the height of the pandemic, but ultimately realized it's a great thing to do monthly just to keep far-flung extended family in touch between holidays). We had just finished "Endgame" and I said something like "now we've all seen the highest-grossing movie of all time".

But my octogenarian mom hadn't seen it. I think the only superhero movie she's seen is when we took her to "Wonder Woman" on a previous visit (she's a big second wave feminist, so we thought she might like to get in on the cultural phenomenon of supporting it on the opening weekend--she seemed to like it fine). Anyway, she now wants to see what all the fuss is about, but I feel like she's got to see not only "Infinity War" first, but probably some others, right? What do you (or anyone else) think are the absolutely essential prerequisites before seeing Endgame? (I was thinking of including just the very end of "Ant-Man & the Wasp" for obvious reasons, but the rest of the movie could be skipped without missing anything IMO.)
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Booming
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Having gone through my own trip from hell I can sympathize. For me it was eastern europe where I only got a few hours until I tore several ligaments, emergency room, back in a packed train, almost fainted several times, two month on crutches, money down the drain. Though having your children get covid, that must be terrible... hopefully they weren't really sick!
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:14am (UTC -5)
@ SlackerInc, (and sorry to Trek fans, this is off-topic)

My wife and I are just finishing a MASSIVE catch-up of the MCU films, which we began to prepare for Dr. Strange 2. My wife had only seen a handful of MCU films prior and it seemed like Multiverse of Madness was going to be referencing all kinds of stuff. My review of that: Strange 2 wasn't worth the work, but the work was enjoyable for its own sake, so I'm happy we did it. I caught a few I had never seen, such as Ant-Man 1 & 2, Black Panther, and Iron Man 3.

My advice is that if you want to maximize Infinity War + Endgame, every single movie will add something to it. If you want a more restricted list, I would say these matter most:

-Iron Man 2 (if you have to pick only one: it introduces Natasha)
-Thor 1 & 3 (Ragnarok is especially important)
-Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 (skipping # 2 leaves a plot-critical issue unexplained)
-Captain America 2 + 3 (the plot of #1 can be intuited)
-Dr. Strange
-Avengers 1 + 2

This is a reasonable minimum, unless you want major story points to make you scratch your head. I would watch these in release date order. But if the situation is that 2-3 films max are on the table, then just watch Avengers 1 + 2 and Thor Ragnarok.

I personally think you can skip Black Panther, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, and even Dr. Strange, and still figure out what's happening.

Sorry about your trip, Jammer. My family had covid in January and it was a DISASTER.
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Emad
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:14am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

WRT Infinity War/Endgame, I’d say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2), Avengers & Age of Ultron (1 & 2), Black Panther, and Thor: Ragnarok (3) should be viewed in full as prerequisites, while Iron Man 1, Captain America 1, GotG 1, and Thor 2 can be summarized via 5 minute YouTube clips, along with the relevant portion of A&W (after Infinity War, though). I think Spider-Man Homecoming is worth watching as one of Marvel’s best, but it isn’t a prereq for Infinity War/Endgame beyond establishing Stark as Parker’s mentor.
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Yanks
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:55am (UTC -5)
@Jammer

"The review will be posted when it's posted. I figure it will be in the next week or so, but if it's not, it's not."

Don't let these whiners get to you boss. Family first.

I hope everyone came out of your ordeal fine.

Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Now go on vacation!! lol
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Yanks
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

@Yanks: "Not a dud in the bunch. 10 for 10 IMO. A couple average episodes, but no stinkers."

"LOL, yeah. I guess I land in between you two, as you seem to dislike the whole season. I thought there were three episodes that rated lower than three stars, but two of them were just barely so. The other one, the storybook costume drama, was execrable, zero stars. So "no stinkers" is just as much a WTF to me as your hating every episode."

I've "reviewed" a ton of trek episodes here and I can't remember giving any of them a "zero" and there are many I'd consider much lower than the worst episode in SNW for far. Hell, I didn't give ENT: TATV a 0.

"The first roughly one-third of BSG was brilliant, and if it ended there it would be the best SF series of all time. The last two-thirds (after "Resurrection Ship, Part II") was of variable quality episode by episode but overall took the story in terrible directions and tarnished the legacy of the series."

Up to and including Razor it was truly outstanding. Once they landed on the planet, it just went down hill. One of the worst closers ever.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Why are you guys putting Ragnarok so high in importance among the prereqs? Higher than Civil War or Ultron, really?
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
SPOILERS for Infinity War

Because Ragnarok is the literal scenic drop-off point for the first scene of Infinity War, and explains why Hulk and the Asgardians are there, and why things are the way they are for them in Endgame. It's also the stylistic prequel in terms of comedy technique.
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Steve
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
So… did Jammer let his Paramount+ subscription expire, or what??
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Steve
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
So… did Jammer let his Paramount+ sub expire, or what?
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Rimmit
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Jammer,
I can totally synthesize with your flight on vacation. My last three vacations have ended very poorly. One in Jan 20321 due to Covid in Ecuador after a Galapagos Expedition, one I had to leave the Inca Trail early for a family Emergency in April 2021 and June 2021 (last month) in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe my wife was run over by a car 1.5 days into a 14 day trip to Vic falls, botswana, Namibia, and Cape Town. We were stuck in Vic Falls with her heal ripped of her foot with minimal medical care for over a day. It was absolutely crazy and would take way too long to explain succinctly, but even with travel insurance, the med evac companies in Zimbabwe refused to transfer her without a 17k USD payment, and they wanted cash or wire transfer and this happened on a Sunday. I am just grateful she is alive.

http://thesmallworldfamily.com/2022/06/24/so-what-exactly-happened/

(Not monetized)

For anyone that wants to read about it the link is above. It is a long 30 minute read, but per most people it is a gripping and eye opening story. Dealing with a cash based medical system in a third world country is nothing short of a nightmare, and anyone that takes the time to read it will have a new appreciation for the US healthcare system. As inefficent and quirky as it is, I would take it any day over the system in Zimbabwe and South Africa. There is a reason people illegally immigrate here and it’s not for the McDonald’s. Also really stresses the importance of travel insurance.

Hope you and your family are recovering. Ironically to add insult to injury, upon admission to the hospital in Joburg , South Africa my wife was asymptotically positive for covid. Just adds insult to injury.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
"If you must know, I was on an ill-fated vacation last week where my two kids and I somehow got COVID. We had to cancel all plans for our trip after only three of seven planned days. I had to call up and beg for refunds for the water park and the sunset cruise, had to cancel plans for the pool, the beach, all restaurants, mini-golf, arcade, shopping in small tourist towns, catching up with local-area friends, and basically anything known as "fun" for the last four days of our trip, which we had meticulously planned out in June, when we were originally going to go before my wife got COVID, causing us to postpone the trip to July (last week), where it then ended up canceled halfway through for good. We sat in the rented condo and watched six MCU movies with our kids instead, so they could get caught up through "Endgame" as the only mitigation to the Most Disappointing Vacation Ever, and that was all before having to drive the 17 hours home over two days (after having driven 17 hours over two days to get there)."

Hmmm I still think 8 hours on a red eye with an angry 18 month old is worse. But we didn't have covid while we did it so my hats off to you.
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David
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R. - did you really have to quote almost his entire reply??
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William B
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
Best to you and yours Jammer! Speedy recovery.
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John Harmon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer sorry about the rotten luck with your vacation. I hope you get over covid quickly. Obviously take as long as you need.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 7:16am (UTC -5)
"@Jason R. - did you really have to quote almost his entire reply??"

Yes.
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Dirk
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 7:42am (UTC -5)
Buy Jammer a coffee! He's obviously had a very unpleasant time, and for decades he's been selflessly providing this awesome website. One of the best on the web, imo.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/jammer
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Ilsat
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Haha, Jammer made fun of you for being too needy.
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Marlboro
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 9:19am (UTC -5)
John Candy voice: "Sorry folks, pandemic's ongoing. Moose out front shoulda told ya."
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Marlboro
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 11:05am (UTC -5)
"For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. *That* is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence."

^ This is what I wish Strange New Worlds had been. A series that provides an in-depth examination of Pike's character while simultaneously exploring larger ontological questions of existence and reality. Imagine a TOS type show with an undercurrent of TNG's Frame of Mind and a dash of the old Prisoner tv series. Set it post-Menagerie where a miraculously cured Pike continues on with his life in the Trek universe, but is plagued by doubts. He desperately wants to believe, but he can never quite be sure he isn't still on Talos IV. Would he become bold? Timid? Would he he be happy? Or would he despair? Is his new life real? Was his old life for that matter? And does it matter?

It would still be an adventure series, but one that explores the spiritual as well as the mundane.

Gene Roddenberry said the studio execs passed on The Cage in 1965 because it was "too intellectual." It's 2022 - can we please have an intellectual Star Trek series?
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lizzzi
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Oh no, Jammer. So very sorry to hear about the vacation problems. Wishing you and your family all the best. Be well and don't worry about this website. Just take care of yourselves--I'm sure we will all still be here when you get back.
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Ilsat
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
Marlboro, are you even remotely aware of the SNW showrunners and writers? You thought they would do that. Good God, man.
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Macca
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Ha ha. Jammer clowned you all but good. SNW is a winner.
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Lodged Torpedo
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Hope you and yours are feeling well, Jammer 🖖
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The River Temarc
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 12:01am (UTC -5)
"It's 2022 - can we please have an intellectual Star Trek series?"

No, but apparently we can get a Crossover Event (TM) between animated comedy and Stranger New Worlds.

I've pegged this as the moment when all of Star Trek jumps the shark.
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skyelord
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Now some time has passed I'm musing the rewatchability of these new shows..

Even with the episodic nature of SNW I'm still not sure I will rewatch it but I guess it's not been long

DSC? Maybe the season.. maybe.. nah probably not. Shame Lorca wasn't the captain and not an evil version. I kinda liked him.

PIC doesn't really have rewatchability at all. I preferred it to DSC but it's too serialized.

Lower Decks.. nah.. it's just too "meh". Vaguely amusing but that was it.

For some reaosn I can still regularly have a complete rewatch of TNG, DS9 , VOY (and SG1/Atlantis and X-Files). I'm wondering if its just those are just shows of "my time" or that they were far superior.
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Ilsat
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 10:21am (UTC -5)
They were far superior.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
I will never understand people considering Stargate Atlantis superior to anything. I watched at least 30 or 40 episodes of SG1 and liked it. I watched all of SGU and loved it. But I couldn’t take SGA at all. Super cheesy!
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Ensign Deathbound
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Hope you recover from the ill-fated vacation soon, Jammer. It's gotta suck big time.

I've been checking the site regularly, and did notice the latest SNW review is not up, but I don't pay for access to the site so I figure it would be odd for me to demand a review that I'm not paying for to read.

(Flip side: perhaps the insistent demands of some are an indicator of the extent to which said reviews are appreciated?). I for one like a second opinion. Which is why I also look at the comments. Or try to. There's a lot of them.

Anyhow, I may have made this point before (?): We have 10 episodes of SNW. It's bloody early to make grand statements about what the show is and stands for, what it amounts to, whether is glorious or as tasteless as microwaved Gagh. If we judged TOS or TNG by their first 10 episodes, most of us might have walked.

True, productions are more sophisticated nowadays. It's a tighter, leaner approach. The writers and producers also benefit from all the past experience, and have loads of backstory to draw inspiration from/play with, which may make it easier than starting from scratch (though not necessarily, as said material can also be a bit of a prison).

I guess my main point is that it's early days, and we should wait until the end of season 2 before we make categorical statements.

Could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time), but I think the show has yet to grow into its own.
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Marlboro
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
"If we judged TOS or TNG by their first 10 episodes, most of us might have walked.

TOS? What? When has one of these new Trek shows had a ten episode stretch 1/10 as good as The Cage, Where No Man Has Gone Before, Charlie X, Dagger of the Mind, and What are Little Girls Made of?



"I guess my main point is that it's early days, and we should wait until the end of season 2 before we make categorical statements."


We've had 4 seasons of Discovery, two of Picard, and one of SNW. Call me crazy, but I think 7 seasons gives us enough data to draw some conclusions about what to expect going forward.

Trek fans are eternal optimists. Half-way into every new season of these modern Trek shows and we start getting "Best season since x!" comments. By the end of every season it's "I've got a good feeling about next year, guys!"
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Marlboro
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
That sounds a bit harsh. I mean it's cool if you like these shows. For me though it's over 20 years since there was Trek show on that I was really excited about. 20 years of Janeway lizard babies, decon gel scenes, and mindless JJ Abrams action flicks. And yet the new shows are so bad that they make me miss the halcyon days of ENT and VOY. As terrible as they frequently were they did sometimes produce great episodes. Is there any indication that the new shows are capable of producing episodes as good as Blink of an Eye, The Forgotten, Living Witness, or Similitude?


It's like living in some kind of nerd Hell where the torment of watching each previous Trek series seems like Heaven in hindsight while experiencing the pain of the subsequent series.
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David Staum
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Marlboro, I'm pretty happy with SNW so far, but I stopped watching Picard (season 2 is just awful) and Discovery (endless scenes of cringeworthy endless contrived dialogue with totally unearned emotional tones). And I'm mostly with you on the JJ Abrams movies.

But Trek isn't the only game in town. Or shouldn't be. But aside from some surprisingly good episodes from Orville this year, I'm finding a lack of good, non-dyatopian sci-fi out there. I want intriguing and fascinating sci-fi plots, characters I can like, and a generally uplifting message. Why is that so hard to find?
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skyelord
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc At the time SG:A felt like a poor copy of SG1 but I've grown to enjoy it.

SGU however I hated at the time. Just no likeable characters (except Robert Carlyle's character as kind of an anti-hero). I thought it had some great ideas in there though just rather buried in melodrama.

Looking back I'd probably still say SGU was more enjoyable than DSC.

@Ensign Deathbound I'm not making any grand statements about SNW. I enjoyed it enough. I was just pondering the rewatchability.

Incidently I've rewatched the first JJ movie a few times - actually quite enjoy that as "action Star Trek" - the others are dire though.

I got the VHS tapes of TNG s1 and DS9 s1 as they came out and even though many consider those to be pretty bad I thoroughly enjoyed rewatching those but as I said: These are different times with so much more content available and maybe I wouldn't have now.

2 seasons of PIC and 4 of DSC is probably enough to form such an opinion though. I have only rewatched "New Eden" in S2 of DSC and I started to rewatch S1 of PIC and got bored after about an episode and a half.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
The SGA fans hated SGU with a passion and constantly slagged it online, which I found very frustrating because I considered SGU of much higher quality.
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Ilsat
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 12:13am (UTC -5)
God, you people are blind. Star Trek was far better 30 years ago because there were far fewer shows on. The talent was better because it was consolidated.
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 2:35am (UTC -5)
SG-1: could tell that it largely was developing into an interdimensional harem kind'uv show. Each episode put the characters into situations where their bodily and psychological well-being was threatened constantly by aliens indifferent to human suffering. Wasn't able to do it.

So, I'm guessing that SGA was all about Atlanteans who were indifferent to all manner of human suffering?
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skyelord
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 9:25am (UTC -5)
@Ilsat There was plenty of garbage on 30 years ago too. Not sure why you feel the need to be so aggressive though.
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Marlboro
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 10:43am (UTC -5)
David Staum asked: "I want intriguing and fascinating sci-fi plots, characters I can like, and a generally uplifting message. Why is that so hard to find?"


I don't have any tv recommendations, but I did read a pretty good book a few years ago that you might like. It's Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Not Space Opera like Trek but still good sci-fi with a Trek like message.

There is a (inferior, imo) sequel, but the first book is completely stand-alone.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Seconded on Children of Time. A fantastic scifi story with a Trekkian message.
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 11:50am (UTC -5)
Regarding why Trek was better 30 years ago and (for me) even better still 50 years ago is not as simple as just having fewer shows on TV. That just reduces the available comparisons of the day but what I'd say is classic Trek (TOS in particular) stands the test of time when compared with the multitude of shows over all these decades.

TOS, TNG, DS9 were shows that were influencing other shows it seems to me. And that's a noteworthy quality. Whereas now nu-Trek is drawing its inspiration from other non-Trek shows (though it obviously relies on classic Trek canon). And that's not good.

So nu-Trek has developed all kinds of undesirable qualities to varying extents, whether it be the virtue signalling, a preponderance of forcedly flawed characters, excessive emotionalism, the need to tell instead of show etc. etc. That's not to say nu-Trek can't come up with a stellar episode, but what's disappointing is that given how few episodes have been produced since late 2017 when DSC got started, the stellar episodes are too few and far between.

Re. talent -- I'm taking this to be writing/acting primarily, I think the only series that broadly excelled were TOS, DS9 (barring those damn Ferengi episodes). With TNG, it was just very uneven and I can't say that with the concentration available from having fewer shows (in terms of acting) that it clearly did a better job than nu-Trek, where I think the acting talent overall is decent. (It's the writing that sucks with nu-Trek).

Just to touch on VOY, ENT -- these just followed the path laid down by TNG and were largely able to avoid external influences, hence they feel (for me) much better than nu-Trek.
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Marlboro
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Another aspect that I dislike about a lot of modern shows is that they are over plotted. The Americans is a good example. The premise has tons of potential, but I gave up on the show after a half-dozen episodes. There is just too much stuff crammed into each episode. Every character seems to have a mysterious past, they are all having affairs, they all have hidden connections to this that and the other. None of these things are bad, but you can't tall that many stories at once and do any of them justice. It's like planting a garden by dumping a wheelbarrow full of random seeds in your backyard.
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SlackerInc
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
Wow, @Marlboro, hard disagree. "The Americans" Is one of my top five favorite shows of all time. In my view they made one major misstep, but that was in the second season. (My #1 favorite show of all time, "Breaking Bad", also made one major misstep. Nobody's perfect.)

@Ilsat: "God you people are blind"

Is that kind of rhetoric necessary? Can't you get your point across without just blanket-insulting a bunch of people?

You do pose an interesting hypothesis about the large number of scripted programs today diluting the talent pool. However, I feel that the very best shows today are better than anything that was on 30 years ago (and virtually all critics agree). That is probably due to a competing dynamic that if you try a lot of different things, you have a better chance of getting at least a few that hit the bullseye. Also that they don't have to try to aim everything at the broadest possible audience anymore.
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Marlboro
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
Breaking Bad was awesome. The only episode of the entire series that I disliked was Fly.
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Hat
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Do I have some problems with SNW? Yes. But it is firmly in the watchable camp for me, as every now and again they do something awesome... and I put this episode in the awesome territory. Sure, the Kirk actor could have been better, and the Klingon Monk crystal deal introduced in Discovery raises a lot of questions... But, this was a very fun way to close out some bad ideas introduced in Discovery, and I'm very excited for Season 2. If it gets better from here, we are in for one hell of a treat!
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David Staum
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
@Marlboro
Thanks for the recommendation, I actually already read Children of Time last year, and wow, that is some remarkable world-building! Engrossing and fascinating and just a fantastic novel. (I read the sequel as well, still amazing world building, but the octopi aren't as sympathetic or relatable as the arachnids, and the 2nd book is way too long).

I'll return the favor and recommend Metaplanetary by Tony Daniel. The level of imagination involved is off the charts. Unfortunately he never finished the trilogy due to poor sales.
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Marlboro
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
I've got a "to read" list a mile long, but I'll definitely add it to the queue. Thanks!
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SlackerInc
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 12:57am (UTC -5)
@Marlboro, we are kindred spirits! So many people go gaga for that episode, but I don't get it. That's not the major misstep, though, which had to do with a flowering plant. (IYKYK)
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A. Franco
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 6:50am (UTC -5)
For a 70's kid like me, this take on TOS was the next best thing to perfection. This is the only episode that made me willing to rewatch immediately. I didn't like this Kirk much though, but emulating TOS Kirk proves to be much harder than TOS Spock, or Scotty's accent lol.
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SlackerInc
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 7:12am (UTC -5)
I always thought Chris Pine did a great job without doing a Shatner impression. This latest James Kirk actor just reinforces my appreciation for Pine (and the casting director for ST 2009). But Pine still provides an example to follow that proves it can be done (IMO).
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Yanks
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 7:41am (UTC -5)
Agree Slackerinc. Pine never seems to get credit for his outstanding acting skills. He did especially well in ST2009, ID, and Beyond but he has a ton of other work that is outstanding as well. (Wonder Woman for one)

I didn't think the new guy was bad at all. I thought his lines were well thought out and delivered. Missing Shatners "it", sure - but he didn't stink it up and respected the character I thought.
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AntonioE1778
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
I feel like I should say that my previous comment was meant in jest. I've been following Jammer's Reviews religiously since I watched Voyager in 2001. If Jammer locked reviews behind a Patreon subscription I would subscribe in a heartbeat no questions asked. I don't really comment that often so it sucks that my first comment in a while seems to have unintentionally started an unfortunate trend.

I'm loving the Orville reviews and loving that the show has generally been very good this season. It's given me something to read while I wait patiently for this review.
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AntonioE1778
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
And I hope you and your family are doing well, Jammer!
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Ensign Deathbound
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
@Malboro

"TOS? What? When has one of these new Trek shows had a ten episode stretch 1/10 as good as The Cage, Where No Man Has Gone Before, Charlie X, Dagger of the Mind, and What are Little Girls Made of?"

I wouldn't count The Cage. It never aired as part of the original lineup. The Menagerie aired as the 11th/12th episode of season 1, and that for me is when trek really took off. The first 10 episodes are historically significant, and set the stage for what was to come, but they are a bit too quirky, and I doubt many fans would list any of them on their top 10 out of 3 seasons of TOS. "Charlie X", What are "Little Girls Made of?", Mudd's Women, and "The Man Trap," aren't exactly TOS at its best.

"We've had 4 seasons of Discovery, two of Picard, and one of SNW."

Sorry, but all three are completely different shows. And I would also argue Discovery and Picard suck for different reasons.

For the record, I gave up on Discovery after season 3, and I got that far out of sheer stubbornness (Pike and Spock carried me though season 2). Picard was a huge -- and quite inexplicable -- letdown considering TNG had a pretty great run, with solid characters and lots of background/storylines to draw from. The writers massively screwed the pooch on that one.

In a more general, soapbox-type address:

I get that some might feel like SNW should suffer from guilt by association because it's (somewhat) the same creative team running things, but the show is clearly better from my perspective. I'm not shaking my head every five minutes, or muttering "wtf Picard?" Also, I don't freak out as much as some others because the show is a bit more "PC" or "woke" than its ancestors, especially when you consider Trek has a history of doing just that.

SNW may not be perfect, but for my money, it's the most solid entry of the NuTrek wave. Or the less worse, for the half-glass empty folks out there.
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Ensign Deathbound
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Hey! I think I just clocked in at message 300!! :-D

SPARTANS! WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION??
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Midshipman Norris
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Yknow it took a lot of gall to make this episode. It’s got all the worst trappings of Star Trek’s old bag of plot excuse tricks…time travel shenanigans, obstructive arsehole harrying the captain (TOS does this more than any other trek, tbh), nostalgia pandering, unlikely travel speed scenarios (the whole romulan fleet shows up in 2 hours, wut), but…

It just has Star Trek brains and its heart too in the right place to matter. It presumes that I have watched Star Trek, and it respects that I have watched Star Trek. A lot of the implications of this plot have a lot to do with what I know of how Spock, Pike and Kirk’s futures play out.

Add into that, that it’s colorful, actiony but not so action packed as to be grotesque (I don’t miss the jump cut action scenes of NuTrek or Enterprise), and it is paced well; Pike just straight up asking Spock to mind meld with him is a testament to that and a bit of a cheat, but it gets the plot moving away from the Cassandra Truth cliche.

…I dunno. With how much it ties into what comes later in Star Trek…

If feels like finding an old bomber jacket you thought you’d lost years ago and trying it on and seeing that it still fits pretty good and looks great. Sure it’s a bit dingy and smells kinda funny, but its intact.

I’ll give it 3.75 stars. Very not bad.
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Marlboro
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
I enjoy things I remember.
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StarMan
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
@Marlboro "I enjoy things I remember."

All Paramount needed to do was serve up Star Trek: Karaoke and they nixed a good chunk of detractors. We now have a fanbase awash with memberberry addicts; all other metrics are by-the-by so long as their reference quota is met.
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Jammer
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. I appreciate it. Just to update, we all are fine and have been back to normal activities for the past week. The illness was mild for all of us. I had a cold back in May that was worse, honestly. Yeah, we were looking forward to that vacation and it was really annoying to have it canceled after all that driving and after having postponed it once already. But that's the way it goes. In the scheme of things, it's minor, considering a million people have died from COVID in the U.S. alone. As trips from hell go, it doesn't rank, as I was reminded when reading the harrowing account that @Rimmit posted. (Truly awful. Makes me never want to risk traveling abroad again.)

Anyway, I have no promises for when this review will be posted. At this point I need to go back and watch the episode again, but I won't drag this out forever like some other notoriously delayed reviews. As Sisko said: Maybe a year. Maybe yesterday. Haha. I'll just keep everyone in suspense.
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Andy G
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 10:12am (UTC -5)
@Jammer,

This isn't your day job. As a reader going back to the beginning, I look forward to your reviews, but I never expect them. Anyone who expects them is out of line.
Keep up the great work and get better soon.
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JSylvester
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
@Ensign Deathbound "it's the most solid entry of the NuTrek wave" -- I read that as damning with very faint praise.

I do not understand why this show is being made other than to put "content" on Paramount+. I also see that this guy Kurtzman (a creative midget compared to Roddenberry, Berman, or Pillar) has announced not one, but TWO new Star Trek shows. The effort to milk what's left of the integrity of the franchise for every last dime has become ridiculous. "The Star Trek Universe" (as Kurtzman referred to it in 2019) -- I mean, please, come on.

"Star Trek" as a creative force peaked in the late 90s and -- apart from the mercenary effort to enhance the market value of Paramount Global ($PARA), formerly known as ViacomCBS, Inc. ($VIAC) -- has been sliding into irrelevance ever since.

Meanwhile the effort to bolster stock values is meeting with failure. Over the last 5 years (from well before the pandemic), the stock is down 62%. No wonder they're looking to put out shiny looking mediocrity for people to subscribe to.
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Marlboro
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
All these new shows and we still can't get DS9 in HD? You would think that would be a profitable addition to their streaming service.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
@ Marlboro,

"All these new shows and we still can't get DS9 in HD? You would think that would be a profitable addition to their streaming service."

Apparently, as a result of how DS9 was filmed, it's actually impossible to just do an HD translation of the original as they did with TNG. I'd have to refresh myself on the technical reasons, but basically it would be involve actually redo-ing the show in a sense, which is a much larger project than just a restoration or enhancement project.
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Marlboro
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Well, that sucks.

I would love to play around in Photoshop with some DS9 scenes, but it's no fun working with screengrabs the size of a postage stamp.
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Jammer
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
TNG, DS9, and VOY were all mastered in a standard-definition video format that does not survive an HD transfer without looking sub-par. (ENT was mastered in HD from the beginning.) TNG was remastered in HD by going back to the original 35mm film, and many of the visual effects were remastered or completely redone. It was expensive. DS9 would have to undergo the same remastering, only to a greater degree because of the greater number of standard-definition VFX shots, many of them done in 1990s-era CGI. The producers decided it wasn't worth the expense for what meager return they would get on Blu-ray sales, which are certainly nonexistent now, and it's unlikely to affect their streaming bottom line.
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Marlboro
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Maybe someday technology will advance enough that it will become cost effective. Doubtful, but who knows.
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Jammer
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Maybe. I don't know that it's necessarily cost-prohibitive even now. It's a matter of profit. Ira Behr had one of the big sequences in "Sacrifice of Angels" remastered in HD for his DS9 documentary, and it looks fantastic. But to do that on a large scale requires a reason for Paramount that probably doesn't exist because they simply won't see that money -- at least nothing that wasn't already coming to them with the standard-definition version out there -- come back to them.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
I expect that one day a fan project will get done a lot of what big studios won't do at present. Just an example of this is all the fan-project restorations of the original Star Wars trilogy to eliminate the (many) iterations Lucas put on top of the originals over the years. Access to the original film may be a bottleneck somewhere in there, but someone working at a studio will probably care enough sooner or later to just do it. As Jammer mentions, the cost and FX capabilities would have to be advanced enough to let a small group do it without a significant budget.

That being said I bet you could crowdsource a fair amount of money for a project like this with a niche fan-base. It's a shame that major film studios don't turn to such means of both funding and PR-outreach. It seems to have gone decently well in the video-game arena.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 5:17am (UTC -5)
@JSylvester: "I do not understand why this show is being made other than to put 'content' on Paramount+."

How is that different from why any other show is made (substitute "Netflix" or "Hulu" etc. for "Paramount+")?
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Midshipman Norris
Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 7:23am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc @JSylvester

>@JSylvester: "I do not understand why this show is being made other than to put 'content' on Paramount+."

>How is that different from why any other show is made (substitute "Netflix" or "Hulu" etc. for "Paramount+")?

Indeed, it makes me do a VulcanBrow whenever someone puts a word in quotation marks without saying why they’re doing it. It’s clear that the speaker feels the reason for the quote marks is obvious to everyone, due to the fact that the speaker presumes agreement from everyone about the reason for the quotation marks. In all, I would consider it a questionably thought-out writing choice, likely due to a human emotional outburst of some sort. 🤨🧝🏻‍♂️👽
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Ilsat
Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Yes, JSylvester must have been sobbing uncontrollably as his shaking fingers hit the quotations button not once but TWICE.

Well done to you both not judging this person on race but rather on the "content" of his character.
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Ilsat
Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
[chirp, chirp, chirp] Pussies
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StarMan
Fri, Jul 29, 2022, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz is a well-known CGI artist who worked as a supervisor for Foundation Imaging back in the Voyager / DS9 days. A couple of years ago he budgeted for a remaster of both series and said it worked out to *roughly* the same as TNG. As he put it, the CGI work was just different to what TNG's remaster required, challenging the oft-repeated line that remastering either show would break the bank.

And get this: his budget for a full remaster of DS9 AND Voyager came to . . . drum roll please . . . the equivalent of SIX episodes of Discovery.

Half a season of NuTrek for 14 remastered seasons? And you're telling me those 14 seasons wouldn't act as a drawcard for their platform? Paramount+ isn't available where I am; I wouldn't spend a cent on it to watch any of the new stuff, but I'd happily pony up for The Berman Era remastered.
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Dirk
Fri, Jul 29, 2022, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

"I expect that one day a fan project will get done a lot of what big studios won't do at present."

I think that's inevitable, although certain studios seem to be pushing for it harder than others. I find myself going farther and farther away from common sites like YouTube, there's so many spaces for creativity now.
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Marlboro
Sat, Jul 30, 2022, 11:14am (UTC -5)
"I find myself going farther and farther away from common sites like YouTube, there's so many spaces for creativity now."

On a related note, I'm kind of surprised that with such a large fanbase that there isn't a lot more Trek fan art online. Yeah, there's plenty of the creepy fetish shit and slash fiction, but you would expect there to be a lot of photoshop stuff, gifs, ship designs, fanedits of episodes etc. out there.
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Fan
Sun, Jul 31, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, i've been a fan for 2 years. Not 10, not 20, but 2. I've been waiting for this review like a giant poop when im constipated. Come on man
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Fan
Sun, Jul 31, 2022, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
And Im just kidding jammer. Your reviews helped me find the best of star trek, the best episodes, and eventually I watched all of them. You're a big man bro, spend time with your family and take time on this review. Really want to see your opinion.
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Midshipman Norris
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
@Ilsat

Throwing out insults meant to denigrate the perceived “toughness” of people you disagree with online, in an effort to provoke them into an argument with you, sure proves how “tough” you are

Just love to see people so obsessed with proving how tough they are that they have to go around trying to start fights…

(You don’t sound tough, you sound like a person so afraid of their own shadow that you’re constantly trying to prove to everyone you can get the attention of that you’re tough, so that YOU can think that you’re tough. Grow up. You sound like an infant.)
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Marlboro
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Jammer should just nuke the comments section. Any small value they add to the site is vastly overshadowed by all the crap that gets spewed.
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Booming
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
The negative tends to stick out more. I would say 90% are positive posts often with very insightful opinions. Plus an active forum means engagement and engagement means coffee.
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Bryan
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Are you kidding? The reviews are a real treat, but it can only be enjoyed once. Whereas the comments section is a gift that keeps on giving, and insights across vast periods of time and space can be built upon each other, while ongoing public criticism and feedback serves to keep us mostly honest and get to the core of the matters under discussion. It would be a shame if we lost that because a few individuals haven't learned how to debate properly without the personal attacks while others haven't learned how to grow thicker skins and take the bad with the good, which is a basic principle required to navigate the internet and just generally live one's life without falling to pieces.
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EventualZen
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
@Marlboro

I have to disagree. The comments section has enriched my life for the last two and a half years that I've been using it. If anything I think it needs expanding to incorporate additional chat sections to stop the episode comments going off topic.

I donated 5 coffees to Jammer and 4 of those were due to the comments section.
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Del_Duio
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
RE: Nuke the comments section

I haven’t seen it in years but I remember the comments for Who Watches the Watchers was like 400 comments of mostly B.S. haha
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Caloceptri
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
The insults and bickering have returned. And the people who complain about the insults and bickering are the ones engaging in these activities, for the most part.

@Bryan, I respectfully disagree that “ongoing public criticism and feedback serves to keep us mostly honest.” Some people are taking advantage of jammer’s decision, made at his discretion and grace, to open his forum up for comment, to NOT follow the rules for posting of comments, which he has made prominently available for all to see.

This humiliates and can leave a person who tries to follow the rules reluctant to speak for fear or simple dislike of gratuitous insult. I wouldn’t presume to tell Jammer how to run his site, but if people disengaged with the petty insults, discourse would not be inhibited. Following reasonable rules set forth by the creator of the forum does not chill speech. Vindictive, petty, bickering, lecturing, etc., comments do.

Plus, such speech literally drains the air out of the room. The people who engage in the speech drive others away (one person driven away is one person too many), leading to a kimd or self-selection of toxicity. Compare the comments made in 2008 comments to those made now; people had not yet fully discovered that broadcasting their personal petty hatreds could scratch an itch. A comment, even if it has nothing to do with the bickering, is an invitation for the bickerers, who watch these threads, to continue their Let That Be Your Last Battlefield grudges. Of course, as a whole, the discourse on this site is of a higher quality than average. But consider the possibility if not probability that who abuse the comments rules know that they are bringing that quality average down, because they like doing so and believe they can get away with it (or because they just plain don’t care).

If someone came into my bar or saloon or shop and asked me to follow some simple rules of etiquette like wearing shoes and refraining from fighting, I would have the decency to respect the rules. If someone did not like a rule, I would engage in civil conversation with the person and always keep an open mind about whether the use is worth retaining. I would not whine ne throw spitballs at customers who already asked me to stop doing that.

Rulebreakers flaunt their pride in breaking the rules, while laughing at the poor sap who tries to follow them because it is the courteous and respectful thing to do.
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Marlboro
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
"Whereas the comments section is a gift that keeps on giving,"


Jammer's reviews are the hot one night stand in Vegas. The comments are the painful and embarrassing venereal disease that results.
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StarMan
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
For those clamouring for Jammer's review / rating, I'll take a punt.

My rating would be . . . perhaps 2 stars - couldn't go higher than 2.5.

I would like Jammer to be aligned with my rating, but he can be frustratingly considered and even-handed next to my shoot-from-the-hip approach.

Therefore, if 2.5 is my max possible rating, history tells me I should anticipate a rating of 2.5 to 3 stars.

Easy.
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Alienatbar
Tue, Aug 2, 2022, 12:22am (UTC -5)
@Jammer
‘At this point I need to go back and watch the episode again’

Ah, I think I see the problem.

As for the bickering, there have been some direct comments but we all need to find a way to get through these hard times between reviews and find peace and harmony. That’s why I’ve invited Gal to sing a little song…

Yeah, hell no.

I can sense Jammer is just about to post in 5 4 3 2…
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Alienatbar
Tue, Aug 2, 2022, 1:38am (UTC -5)
Not sure this is the right forum but very sad news about Nichelle Nichols. A true groundbreaker.
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Narissa’s Bath Water
Tue, Aug 2, 2022, 7:46am (UTC -5)
It seems Ilsat is getting some flak. I went back and forth a few times with Ilsat under my old username, “Jimmy”, but he isn’t someone who posts solely to be abusive. He pretty much consistently has a point, whether we agree with it or not. I can say the same for SlackerInc, by the way. I don’t see any ill intent with either of them.

In this case, Ilsat was calling out the over-analysis of JSylvester’s use of a single word in quotes. JSylvester very likely knows that the word “content” is used to describe all streaming services. We can all agree on that, right? So his use of the quotes probably falls under one of the common cases. Let’s see… directly quoting someone? Nah. Designating something masquerading or pretending to be the quoted word? Ding ding ding! That took me all of 3 seconds.

I’m quite sure it took longer to construct this odd causal chain that begins with JSylvester’s unforgivable presumption that he is communicating in a way common to his audience. And further, this presumption was such a “questionable writing choice” that it likely (!) was due to a “human emotional outburst” of some kind. (Note: In case we are now auditing quote usage without explanation, my latter two usages fall under direct quotation usage.)

One wonders if such investment in making the point was indicative of the value placed on the final conclusion, i.e., that someone you disagree with is also something much more important for you to say: they are your LESSER. It is a message sent loud and clear to all the whispering corners of the forum: “I am better than them.” If the bullied party is particularly wrong or holds a minority opinion, and a second person is feeling especially unloved that day, they will promptly chime in with “No, WE are better than them.”

My guess is that this mobbing tendency grew with our tendencies to project self-esteem online and the rise of political tribalism. Look in the old-timey forums on here, and it is very rare. At most you will find spittle-filled ragefests between two nerds arguing about canon minutae (the way it should be done!) But nowadays, if a new forum contributor dares express something politically incorrect, and worse, do so inelegantly, watch the waters churn.

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the interested reader whether these situations have perpetrators in common.

BTW, RIP Nichelle!
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Gunslinger
Tue, Aug 2, 2022, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
I usually lurk. I don’t usually post, but it seems we need to get this thread back on track.

I watched the episode the first night it dropped. I liked it. I really wanted to love it, but I couldn’t get there. Nu-nuKirk was fine, I guess. Didn’t love him. His body and mannerisms were a little too close to the Jim Carey parody. I’d rather not see this iteration of Kirk, but know he’ll be a part of next season. I hope the writers consider Pike’s struggle with knowing his future resolved for now and that they table the issue for a season or two.

Overall, I enjoyed SNW immensely. There were three or four episodes that were just OK. I think this first season stacks up well against any other first season of Trek and I’m looking forward to more.
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Brandon Adams
Tue, Aug 2, 2022, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Y'all think this is bad, wait until you hear what year it was when Jammer finally reviewed TNG Season 5.
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Ilsat
Wed, Aug 3, 2022, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
About time you timid souls showed some backbone. You should try it in the real world.
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Species 10-Forward
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
Sometimes a few weeks can do a lot of good for perspective. I haven't thought about SNW much, though I do look forward to Season 2.

For the episode, it had been so long since I saw Balance of Terror that I intuited but didn't fully register the detail of all the parallels being drawn. I thought the finale was an interesting, even insightful way to resolve the issue of Pike's fate. Pike is meant to be the hero in the way that he will be, on a personal, compassionate level, just as he has taken care of his crew all season. He is a good captain, but he is not the mastermind that Kirk will become.

That said, their Kirk, jeesh, no bueno. Forget the no-ham factor - he was drained of all Kirk charisma. If you can't give me some ham, at least give Pike a suave run for his money. I just caught Shatner on Bill Maher's podcast, looking plump as a Christmas, well, you know, and he was 1000x more captivating. This does not bode well for Season 2's expanded Kirk presence.

For the season, SNW was much more enjoyable than any nuTrek I've seen so far. It's a little lightweight, and sometimes I would multi-task as the more paint-by-numbers plots played out. But the characters are captivating, and it feels like something that can grow and deepen with time.

I wish they would let go of the overreliance on mythology and all the references and the Noonien-Singh's and the Spock too human's and just, you know, explore strange new worlds. We'll see what happens.

Thanks in advance, Jammer, for your review and for all your hard work.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
"I just caught Shatner on Bill Maher's podcast"

thought Shatner said he never does podcasts... At least that's what his Twitter bio says.
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Midshipman Norris
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
@Ilsat

>About time you timid souls showed some backbone. You should try it in the real world.

This is as real as your so-called life gets, compadre. We are really talking to each other on real computers on the real internet. And I will take the compliment whatever passive-aggressive toppings of vinegar you wanna put on it, pah’tak.
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Midshipman Norris
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 1:01am (UTC -5)
To be clear without sarcasm; yea I do have a backbone, and I don’t like it when people sully this comment section with slurs and vulgarities.

Try to remember that this forum is based on a show where the bad guy often was shown to be wrong because Kirk drop kicked him/beat him into submission with a hyperspanner/double fist clubbed him over the head/kicked him off a cliff into lava/got them phasered into non existence with a bit of quick thinking.

It’s hard to resist the urge to punch a bully.
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Gunslinger
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@Species 10-Forward. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m right there with you regarding Kirk and an over reliance on past Trek references.
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lizzzi
Sat, Aug 6, 2022, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
I didn't realize until I went back and watched Balance of Terror--(great Trek--probably one of the ten best classic episodes)--that Jammer did not like it, and gave it a bad review. Two or two and a half stars...I don't remember which. Most of the comments disagreed with him, and I just can't fathom sometimes where Jammer is coming from. But anyway, I bet he won't be in any hurry to review Quality of Mercy--if he reviews it at all. It is a wonderful tribute to Balance of Terror, but goes on to become its own deeper, richer story. Pike comes to realize he can't change his fate without ruining the future of the galaxy, and he accepts the sacrifice he's going to have to make. In the alternate future, we see him attempting diplomacy with the Romulans--a commendable effort, although futile. I don't think it makes him weaker than Kirk--he is just different. I don't think these lookbacks to TOS weaken the show. In this case, I think it strengthened and deepened it. I do agree though, as many have said, that to be really great, SNW needs to get out there and and deal with...well...strange new worlds. The ending with Number One was jarringly out of place, but I can see why they did it--just wanting to crack the door open a bit into the next series. They should have finished Quality of Mercy completely, flashed a "The End" or something...and then added some little sneak-peek trailer of Una being arrested.

Anyway, I'm not holding my breath for Jammer's review.
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Mortus
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 9:45am (UTC -5)
Question, shouldn't the Farragut have been a constitution class ship in the SNW episode 10 "A Quality of Mercy"? It was a constitution class ship in TOS. Am I missing something?
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SlackerInc
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 12:36am (UTC -5)
It's really too bad this and The Orville were on at the same time. Now we've got a lull.
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Walding
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 4:00am (UTC -5)
@Mortus
According to Memory-Beta(1) the Constitution-class Farragut was wrecked beyond repair in 2257.

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