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The Human Adventure Continues: Talking About Star Trek

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
JBear wanted me to know that I missed reviewing some DS9 episodes. Allow me to rectify. Note that I may have already forgotten a lot of what happens in the episode.

Ferengi Love Songs - A decently funny Quark episode. Very much in sitcom meets folktale mode. Decent enough.

Soldiers of the Empire - I love Klingon politics episodes, whether it be about the empire or interpersonal politics, so this was a solid one.

Children of Time - I was worrying that this was going to be an episode that undoes the timeline and doesn't give the proper weight to the horror of deleting an entire timeline of people. This one does and I'm really grateful for it. I plays Odo's decision as somewhat romantic but ultimately abominable, despite any good intentions.

As for more recent viewings...

Empok Nor - This was a solid episode that gets a lot of help from having Garak in it and there's good O'Brien stuff too. I also appreciate that it adds some weight (though not quite kind of much as Children of Time), to a character's actions, even if they were under the influence of a murder drug. I guess my one complaint is that the one off characters for the episode are more utilitarian to the plot than strong characters, meaning their deaths only matter as much as it effects the regular characters.

In the Cards - Star Trek comedy episodes. When done well, they can be a delight. Done badly, they can be cringe inducing. In the Cards feels down the middle; no painfully bad comedy but not particularly strong. That said, it is a fun cool down episode that does a little table setting for the next episode and both reminds us of the looming threat and bringing a little sweetness and happiness to the characters. Also, Nog steals his stepmom-to-be's teddy bear. I'm really weirded out by Bashir wanting it.

Call to Arms - This is one of the best ones I've seen. I mean, I wouldn't put it exactly at the top, I feel there are some more low key episodes I like more, but as an adventure, its got all the good stuff: strong characters, very good build up and when we FINALLY begin the war against the Dominion (via the Cardassians). In all honesty, I was getting tired of promises it was going to be a thing that would happen. Not because I'm like "Boy, I want to see war scenes" because I tend to find the space dogfights the least interesting part of this series, but rather I just wanted a pay off to all the build up. And this episode does pay off. Not only that, it does the kind of thing I like to see in my favourite adventure fiction like superhero comics: blowing up the status quo. And like superhero comics, we know that it will return mostly to normal, though our characters will grow through it, but its exciting to see Sisko not playing around with diplomacy and Kira just blow up DS9's control center and hand it over to the enemy. I feel like most of the season finales so far were just set ups with a pay off happening next season (particularly the end of season four). This feels complete to itself while still setting up an exciting new situation for our characters, who are somewhat stratified and have each chosen their own way to fight. Even though our heroes lose the battle, it feels a little more triumphant than your usual Empire Strikes Back-type moment as our characters have already set plans in motion to work towards a comeback. It doesn't feel like the "moment of despair" part in an arc, but rather a shake up that promises more fun adventures to come while still retaining the weight of what was lost in the battle and what needs to be fought for.

I know that the next six episodes are a big arc so I'm pretty jazzed for that and hope the new status quo lasts for it. Rom as a spy is easily my favourite choice. Speaking of, Max Grodénchik kills the line "I've got to go to waste extraction" far better than the line deserves.
 
Hello friends, I would like to introduce you to Dr. T'Ana.



She is the Chief Medical Officer onboard the USS Cerritos. She is a Caitain, a Federation race of furry cat people introduced in Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS). She is what if Leonard McCoy was a grumpy cat. The showrunner likened her to "an alley cat". She is EVERYTHING and a very good kitty. I love her to bits! There's a moment in the third episode where she flying dropkicked some aliens and it was the greatest thing. Star Trek: Lower Decks is worth it just for her alone.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
She is one of the best things about the show, yeah. Easily the most likeable of the senior officers, but that's not a high bar because they all suuuuuuuck. (well, security chief Buff Bajoran is alright I guess)

Honestly? Ditch Mariner and Boimler and make the show about Dr. Grumpy Cat, Chief Buff Bajoran, and Ensigns Tendi and Rutherford and it would probably be way better.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
A few months back, Jbear shared an episode of the Mission Log podcast on TT2.0, and the interviews with David Gerrold and Wil Wheaton got me interested in the podcast proper. I blitzed through all of their episodes on The Original Series and the TOS movies (skipping the Animated Series), because I know TOS inside and out, but when it came to TNG, I felt like I'd lost touch with it.

So lately, I've been rewatching TNG. No skipping episodes. I'm most of the way through the first season, and it's... okay? Like I wasn't expecting a lot of stinkers (hoo boy, Code of Honor was awful, even in its time), but I thought it would be much more boring than it is. It's not fantastic, and some episodes have pacing issues, but overall it's competently-produced sci-fi.

Being older, more media-savvy, and having HD remasters means I get to see a lot of the seams in the effects, so to speak, but that hasn't really diminished my appreciation of the series. In fact, it's only made me enjoy it more, because now I can understand how it's made and acknowledge the work that went into all the movie magic. The same goes with the acting: you can tell that the actors are still feeling out their characters, for the most part. And there's little bits of business that I've never noticed before, like how Dr. Crusher is always putting her hands in her coat pockets, or how Troi's irises are actually all black, or how sometimes there's a model of the Stargazer in Picard's ready room and sometimes it's a model of the movie Enterprise spray-painted silver (which was actually an AMT/Ertl model kit).

In summation, so far it's decent. I'm looking forward to rediscovering the series as it goes on.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Star Trek is good. I never watched any of it when I was young. After college one of my friends convinced me to watch a few of the older movies. I liked the Abrams/Lin movies well enough too, but the series wasn't a big deal for me.

I started watching TNG about a year ago, and now I'm most of the way through DS9. Both are excellent, and I'm looking forward to Voyager (even though I understand that it doesn't quite reach the heights of those two). At some point I want to go back to watch the original series as well. It's just a fun setting for little adventure stories.
 
Voyager never quite reaches the same sustained heights that TNG and DS9 do, like how Seasons 3-5 of TNG are just a sustained high level of excellence with hardly a lemon in sight. But it definitely has quite a lot of individual high points that match or surpass anything else in the franchise, and on average is quite good/entertaining.
 
It's just a fun setting for little adventure stories.

This is my general feeling about the various Star Trek shows as well, and I think if you are watching with that approach you might find that Voyager is just as good as the other 90s Star Trek shows. I expected it to be a slog but found that I ended up liking it significantly more than TNG but not as much as DS9.

I wonder to some extent if the experience of watching it all decades after the fact is a factor. When the consensus around the show was forming, it was yet another episode of the same type of show that had been on for years. But starting Voyager now, you're inevitably watching it with the realization that you're nearing the end of the finite resource that is 90s Star Trek. So it's not just more of the same, but instead all that's left, and when it's done you've run out.

(I like Enterprise as well and honestly Enterpise Seasons 1 and 2 are also basically just more 90s Star Trek, but it's a transitional show so I think it's a bit different.)
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
As it happens, I finally resumed my Enterprise watch-through last night, resuming at the start of season 3. This is gonna be a 9/11 and Iraq War thing isn't it? Can't wait for the Federation to start being terrorists! Also looks like they're finally gonna push T'Pol and Trip into a real romance instead of skirting around it.
 
As it happens, I finally resumed my Enterprise watch-through last night, resuming at the start of season 3. This is gonna be a 9/11 and Iraq War thing isn't it? Can't wait for the Federation to start being terrorists! Also looks like they're finally gonna push T'Pol and Trip into a real romance instead of skirting around it.
What if I told you that Enterprise is the single best post-9/11 show that's been made and it's honestly shocking that a show as responsible and ethical as ENT was even made while literally all of its contemporaries were doing gross shit like 24.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
What if I told you that Enterprise is the single best post-9/11 show that's been made and it's honestly shocking that a show as responsible and ethical as ENT was even made while literally all of its contemporaries were doing gross shit like 24.

I need to see Enterprise, but I'd point you to the New Caprica arc in Battlestar Galactica.
 
We have two general ST threads in addition to the original series thread
Did it get pruned? I'm not seeing the third one. I'm all for specific Star Trek threads for specific causes. I feel kinda bad for Johnny who is slowly going through DS9 and getting his posts buried amid other people's banter and also getting spoiled on some stuff tangentially. I also proooobably should make a dedicated Lower Decks thread, but I also kinda want to advocate for it in a thread that people generally interested in Star Trek will read it. It's a pickle.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
It's frustrating, watching Tasha Yar get so little in the way of character development. The writers missed an opportunity, in the episode "Coming of Age", when that Admiral comes aboard to do an audit of the ship and crew, to have Remmick interrogating Tasha.

My headcanon is that she got frustrated with his invasive questions and smug attitude, reached over the table, and slugged him one.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
She is one of the best things about the show, yeah. Easily the most likeable of the senior officers, but that's not a high bar because they all suuuuuuuck. (well, security chief Buff Bajoran is alright I guess)

Honestly? Ditch Mariner and Boimler and make the show about Dr. Grumpy Cat, Chief Buff Bajoran, and Ensigns Tendi and Rutherford and it would probably be way better.

Episode 4 and my thoughts are still pretty much the same. My thoughts on Mariner went on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, the opening scene with her gratuitously yawning at the senior officer's meeting was honestly more cringeworthy than funny (like I know they're all assholes and you have a particular beef with Captain Mom but yikes girl) but then we see what it really takes to make her miserable and all that stuff was actually kinda funny, and then Mariner has a team-up with Captain Mom to save the day and I start to think she's finally moving beyond being one (very loud) note, but then the penultimate scene has to re-establish the status quo. Oh well!

I did get a chuckle out of the 'sen-sores' gag though.

And Boimler is still Boimler. I dunno. He feels like he really ought to be a secondary character in this show as well. Both Tendi and Rutherford feel like better realized versions of Mariner and Boimler anyway. Tendi has Mariner's energy and gets under people's skin as well but in a totally earnest way, and Rutherford is also a stickler for rules and structure but not obsessively so. It's like Mariner and Boimler were the first draft of the two main characters, which were then refined into Tendi and Rutherford, but then the writers decided to keep Mariner and Boimler as characters anyway.
 
I love all of the characters in Lower Decks, even the shitty bridge crew. They're all adorable and lovable to me. Mariner's whole arc in Episode 4 you narrate Spoony is exactly as you say and all of it just kinda worked for me. I think she's supposed to be cringey in her flaunting of authority, but then through the episode we kinda see exactly why she is the way she is. She had a tigermom run her life, and is still trying to run her life, so she's acting out in ways she knows will piss her mom off. That's not quite a dynamic we've seen in Star Trek before, but it's a very human dynamic that feels pretty real to life and earnest. Even minus that, her character is still empathetic to me and I don't find her annoying. She plays like a Captain Kirk fangirl who grew up reading stories about him and idolizing the wild crazy adventures people in Starfleet had. But when she joined up, we find that she was born in the wrong era, because what she finds is Picard's Starfleet, not Kirk's, and it's all stuff that's painfully boring. That kind of disillusionment with your job that you built your whole life up to is yet another Extremely Human Experience kinda thing that the show is really good at talking to that a lot of NuTrek doesn't really understand how to do.

Boimler is like the opposite. Like reads like he grew up a Picard fanboy, and is a big stickler for the rules, and feels right at home in Starfleet. But he has career aspersions, and what he doesn't realize is that Picard was a renegade in his youth. And without that wild streak, he never would have taken the risks to standout in the crowd and get noticed. (See: the TNG episode "Tapestry")

I like the captain and the first officer, even if they are total dbags. Captain Freeman is like a parody of the dickhead Starfleet Captain. Or at least, would be a parody if we hadn't seen captains like her all over Star Trek previously. You can tell that she cares, but she's so lost in the rat race and chasing glory/promotions that she doesn't really appreciate the things yet that other Star Trek captains realized only when it's too late. (Kirk had to learn that lesson twice!) She might learn eventually to lighten up and to care for her crew more, but she's not there yet. And Commander Ransom is just an apex Riker character, but the vulnerable way he reacted to Mariner questioning the inherent value of rank killed me. Because in his own way, he's just so pure and believes in the Starfleet way with all his heart that questioning those priorities gives him a mini existential crisis. It's adorable. The command crew very much feel like they're B-tier crew stuck on a B-tier ship, and the junior officers are hitting all the right notes that the original Lower Decks hit with regards to young officers trying to make a name for themselves and how to make it through this major change in their lives.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
A bit behind on this...

A Time to Stand - A promising start to the new status quo of the series, and a solid thriller. Unfortunately, while I remember liking it, I don't remember any one element really sticking out to me, even in rereading the synopsis. I think what likely spoke to me was the character chemistry as they worked together to navigate the new situations, both on the Centaur and behind enemy lines.
Rocks and Shoals - This is the episode I REALLY liked from the arc, though. Messy morality with the crew having to accept a shitty and dishonorable situation to survive: murdering cannon fodder to save themselves with the help of a manipulative little creep. Yet it also shows the scenes with both the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta and they are both accepting of the situation in a way that is tragic and human. In addition, I love Kira's story as she's been put in place for strategic reasons but in doing so finding herself in bed with the enemy in a way that she realizes is more unsettling than she realizes (and recontextualizes Quark's "this isn't as bad as before" speech, showing how a totalitarian enterprise might be eerily easier to accept with the right branding and marketing.
Daughters and Sons - This one is a bit of a letdown following the previous two eps. It isn't so bad, but on the a-plot, I'm not quite invested in Alexander enough to make it work for me, as much as I love episodes set on a Klingon ship. Kira's story is good but I feel like her revelation, while technically different than the previous episode, is a little too similar an arc to the Rocks and Shoals one for me to be as invested. I also think in theory Kira could get used to her one time most hated enemy via the effects of the situation but this one didn't quite sell me on it.
Behind the Lines - Though wikipedia lists this the next two eps as a two-parter, this one feels like a prologue to that, setting a lot in motion. And in that, its a fun thriller and its good to see the DS9 remainders finally getting their butts in gear to fight back, despite the tragic failure of their initiative. Odo's heel turn (or neutrality pivot) is interesting but I feel like despite a lot of talk about the great link, I guess I don't feel the show ever conveys to me in a way that I find effective that it would completely turn Odo's mindset. He talks about "you wouldn't understand" but I would love for the writers to POV to him and help the viewers understand, making us sympathetic to Odo a bit more, even as he turns his back on everyone he once cared for.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
So I'm in the first few episodes of Season 2 of TNG and I'm wondering... what is the appeal of Dr. Pulaski? In "The Child", she pretty much brushed off Picard when he was explaining ship's protocol, and thus far she's treated Data rather poorly. She mispronounces his name and acts like he's at fault for correcting her, and in a later episode, refers to him as "it". It's honestly unpleasant to watch.

Strangely, though, in the episode "Elementary, My Dear Data", she treats Moriarty with much more respect, even though he is also a product of technology, and far less "real" than Data is.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I think over the course of the season they do a decent job of developing her, but nobody was upset when she left and Crusher came back.
 

Vaeran

yeah yeah yeah yeah
(he/him)
I think the TNG writers wanted to recapture some of the old Spock/Bones rivalry dynamic, but Data seems so innocent and childlike at times that it just makes Pulaski look like an asshole for picking on him.
 
I think the TNG writers wanted to recapture some of the old Spock/Bones rivalry dynamic, but Data seems so innocent and childlike at times that it just makes Pulaski look like an asshole for picking on him.

Watching it for the first time not that long ago, I honestly thought Bones mostly just came across as an asshole too. He's clearly supposed to be sympathetic but I can't stand him. The over the top way Anti-Space Elf Racism is treated in TOS versus the way various prejudices against fictional beings are treated in later shows is one of those things that feels just as dated about TOS as the way the whole show is just dripping with misogyny.

Pulaski's interactions with Data are a throwback to a TOS mode of socially acceptable bigotry, and it feels out of place relative to the rest of the cast of TNG.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I think the TNG writers wanted to recapture some of the old Spock/Bones rivalry dynamic, but Data seems so innocent and childlike at times that it just makes Pulaski look like an asshole for picking on him.

I think you nailed it on the head. Data is guileless, respectful, and full of curiosity about humanity, whereas Spock was aloof and disdainful of human qualities. They even say as much when they meet in "Unification, part II".

I'm just glad that Pulaski didn't appear in "The Outrageous Okona". That episode is limp enough without her criticizing Data's attempts at humour.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Device
(He/Him)
Been watching Lower Decks, and, by gar, I likes it.

Show does feel like if Rick & Morty didn’t actively hate all its characters and the people who want to watch it. Or else like if Galaxy Quest was actually allowed to use the license (and dropped the meta commentary). And Tawny Newsome is always a delight.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
What tempers Bones/Spock for me is that Spock is a huge smart-ass, at least early on before they refine the Vulcan personality a bit.

Also, while I don't defend any bigotry, even of the fictional space variety, TNG/DS9 is full of characters making negative blanket statements about Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi, etc. without any self-reflection or pushback.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Similitude - Enterprise, Season 3, Episode 10

This was really good and highlights some of what Enterprise can get away with that probably wouldn't come up in shows later in the chronology (in this case, ethical dilemmas). I'll just paste the episode description:

Dr. Phlox clones Trip after he is severely injured in an accident that disables the ship inside a hazardous space cloud; Archer faces an ethical dilemma as the clone gains sentience and does not want to die so his organs may be harvested.

Like just, that plot would never get filmed in TNG imo. Mayyyybe Voyager? But anyway, it's an incredibly strong character- and morality-driven episode that doesn't even have much of a B-plot to distract from the main conflict, so it feels very focused and gives it plenty of room to breathe.
 
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