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The Human Adventure Continues: Talking About Star Trek

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I mean, they kinda did, in Up The Long Ladder...
I had forgotten about this episode, but it's pretty different from how it plays out in Enterprise. The big factor is that Archer chooses to create a clone that he knows will have a short life-span, despite the ethical considerations that this clone will be a fully sentient being (he admits that much in the beginning, even). And then it gets further messed up once it's revealed that clone won't even survive the transplant procedure. So Archer and Phlox basically condemned this person to live an accelerated existence as a self-aware clone that only lasted like 8 days, and whose only purpose was to provide "neural matter" for the real Trip.
 
Similitude - Enterprise, Season 3, Episode 10

...Like just, that plot would never get filmed in TNG imo. Mayyyybe Voyager?
It's a very similar scenario to Tuvix. Honestly it feels like a refinement and better execution. They're not exactly the same, but they're close enough in the feelings and ethical dilemmas evoked that it's a good comp. It also helps that ENT S3 offers a better context for why the Captain has to basically hand out a death sentence. You can't ever forget the stakes in S3 of ENT, but Voyager's TNG2.0 formula makes it easy to forget that they're a starship stranded in hostile space in the middle of nowhere and urgently needs all hands on deck. (Especially easy to forget when the show itself forgets frequently. 😂 ) I think Tuvix's biggest flaw (besides the fact that they obviously weren't going to write-off two main characters in an episodic show, and that the two men Tuvix replaced were better characters and actors) is that it happened so early in the show's life. In Season 2, the characters hadn't really grown all that much, nor did we get the same sense of camaraderie that would help inform a decision to get their friends back. In Season 3 on ENT, Trip is demonstrably Archer's best friend/closest confidant and you can tell it kills him to have to condemn an identical clone of him to death, in order to save his best friend.

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.
Tempers but not alleviates. For the most part, those scenes read to me that it's not like Spock was intentionally being snarky, he was just stating facts and being Vulcan. Spock and Vulcans in general weren't intended as much, but you can do a really good reading of them as being on the spectrum. And Spock comes off to me as more not understanding that what he's doing is being a snarky ass that would rub some people the wrong way. So it's not like he's getting his revenge on Bones on purpose or willingly participating in friendly mutual ribbing, but it does help that Bones usually loses those back-and-forths regardless of intent, since it feels like Spock can take care of himself and doesn't need someone to interject on his behalf.

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.
Last night's episode was pretty good. Not as good as episode 4, but still plenty of fun. It was a lot of fun to watch Mariner act like someone who has watched too much Star Trek/is too genre savy inform her borderline neurotic behavior. Tendi and Rutherford continue to be precious precious people I love them so much. Also I like how the bridge officers basically didn't even interact with the main characters this episode, but it was fun to watch them deal with their own (very classic Trek) problem as a C-plot and how it set the stage for the main characters to do their thing as a backdrop (and also look competent in the process). All around good stuff. Also, no cold open. I wonder if that was planned from the beginning or cut out at the last minute, because I won't really miss the show's cold openings as they were previously done. Also also wik DS9 cameo squeeeeeeeeEEEE!!!!
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
DS9 watch

Favors the Bold/Sacrifice of Angels - This is definitely what I wanted out of this. Even the limitations of the ship battle stuff where I generally tune out in DS9 and TNG is made up for by acting and the way it is clear what the strategy is, simple as it is. And while I wasn't completely sold on the way Odo becomes a non-participant for a while, I do like the emotional fall-out and hope the show spends some times picking up the pieces rather than "Water under the bridge" it. While I also suspect there will be more Gul Dukat, I almost wouldn't mind if the show basically left him where he is (I mean, not in that specific cell, but...).

As for the arc as a whole... I wish Jake got to do the specific thing he was intended to do, even if it was something like an underground paper. And I wasn't super into the Worf episode. Not bad but I wasn't into Alexander's arc and I feel like Kira's echoed the previous episode too much. But apart from that, it did basically everything I wanted to do: pay off long gestating story arcs, take characters out of their comfort zones, some feeling of closure to certain elements of the show. And its funny, this is despite the fact that the status quo in the macro sense is restored: Ben is back in the driver's seat. As far as we know, the Dominion is still controlling the Cardassians. The wormhole is held (though the specifics of the arrangements with the prophets are vague. Are they going to just zap anything that tries to get through? They seem hazy on specifics.). The only major element is long time villain and occasionally uneasy ally Gul Dukat is neutralized, for now, in a significant way. I assume he'll return and while I'm not expecting any sort of redemption in any capacity (the show has been clear that isn't on the table), I feel like this is the end of him as "capital b" baddie.

But as an adventure, this one was really strong and very tense and exciting. I mean, it did rely on "big moment" cliches (OF COURSE THE KLINGONS WERE GOING TO SWING IN AT THE LAST MINUTE) but it didn't make it any less satisfying,
Joke I would have killed for:
Gul Dukat: "The white apple Sisko left for me in his office tasted terrible!"
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
For the most part, those scenes read to me that it's not like Spock was intentionally being snarky, he was just stating facts and being Vulcan. Spock and Vulcans in general weren't intended as much, but you can do a really good reading of them as being on the spectrum. And Spock comes off to me as more not understanding that what he's doing is being a snarky ass that would rub some people the wrong way. So it's not like he's getting his revenge on Bones on purpose or willingly participating in friendly mutual ribbing, but it does help that Bones usually loses those back-and-forths regardless of intent, since it feels like Spock can take care of himself and doesn't need someone to interject on his behalf.
That's interesting, because it appears to me that Spock does have some sense of ego, inasmuch as he knows that he has a superior intellect. I think he finds great satisfaction in showing just how much more knowledgeable and analytical he is than humans are. Being around them means he can feel "Vulcan", because he knows that full-blooded Vulcans can only see human qualities in him. His emotions are there, because we know how much he tries to bury them, but they bubble up sometimes. And I don't mean when he gets high on spores or anything, either. I've seen him get annoyed at Dr. McCoy comparing him to Norman the Android in "I, Mudd", and I've seen him get sarcastic at Kirk after Kirk was able to defeat the Nomad probe with logic in "The Changeling".
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
The show continues to keep Mariner/Boimler and Tendi/Rutherford away from the other pair, which is a shame. Enjoyed the episode otherwise, the references keep coming fast and furious too.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
When you watch TNG in high-definition, you really notice just how much acne Wil Wheaton had.
 

ThricebornPhoenix

involved in mankind
(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.
Spock also disdains what Bones considers the core of humanity. Bones sometimes goes over the line, but the friction between them is both mutual and understandable.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
My Deep Space Nine watch got to "Our Man Bashir" this afternoon. That's a fun episode. Garak and Bashir make a cute couple.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
My Deep Space Nine watch got to "Our Man Bashir" this afternoon. That's a fun episode. Garak and Bashir make a cute couple.
Its not my favorite but I'm glad that it allows James Avery to go into hyper-ham mode and really chew all the scenery. And any time Garak plays a significant role in an episode, there's a good chance its going to help it a lot.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I'm getting close to the end of Enterprise Season 3 and I feel confident in saying that the show is at least as good as Voyager. In fact I see a lot of parallels with this season in particular and Voyager in general: to what lengths will Archer/Janeway go to in order to complete their mission? How much will they bend Federation ideals and ethics when faced with tough situations? Of course, a lot of Star Trek is about this theme as well, but season 3 of Enterprise is About That specifically, and so far it's been better than I anticipated. It's also a bit heavier on serialization/continuity, but mostly in the way where the show actually remembers that certain things have happened to characters, unlike a lot of "fire and forget" episodes you'd see in the other Trek shows.
 
"Midseason trailer" for Lower Decks:


Whoever cuts these trailers don't do their shows justice. There's some small and some big spoilers in that there video, so you've been warned. But the big takeaway is OMG Q PARDON ME AS I HYPERVENTILATE
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
For the international folks.

Would that be the first guest appearance by a Star Trek alum in the series? Or is it a soundalike? Hard to tell from a single word. I admit, I'm a bit shocked they got John de Lancie for this series and not Star Trek: Picard, but I'm not exactly complaining.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I admit, I'm a bit shocked they got John de Lancie for this series and not Star Trek: Picard, but I'm not exactly complaining.
Voice over work is much faster and less intense than in-person work. The actor in question may not have even had to leave their home to do the VO, which makes it much more appealing from a ROI perspective.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
My new favorite thing is someone editing outtakes and bloopers into the final cut so they look like they’re part of the episode:


 
Would that be the first guest appearance by a Star Trek alum in the series? Or is it a soundalike? Hard to tell from a single word. I admit, I'm a bit shocked they got John de Lancie for this series and not Star Trek: Picard, but I'm not exactly complaining.
My guess is it was already a bit of a stretch on Voyager for this all-powerful entity to clearly be aging, and another 20 years' worth would suspend that disbelief even further.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
My guess is it was already a bit of a stretch on Voyager for this all-powerful entity to clearly be aging, and another 20 years' worth would suspend that disbelief even further.
The way I see it, Q is an omnipotent being that can look like anything, and I think it would totally be in Q's nature to appear to Picard as an older version just tease him about the whole mortal concept of 'aging'. Yeah it might be a kinda hacky way to handwave away Q's appearance, but right now as far as indulgent fan service Star Trek Picard could provide I want nothing more than to see those two snipe at each other one last time.
 
For the international folks.

Would that be the first guest appearance by a Star Trek alum in the series? Or is it a soundalike? Hard to tell from a single word. I admit, I'm a bit shocked they got John de Lancie for this series and not Star Trek: Picard, but I'm not exactly complaining.
It's definitely him. The trailer came out of Star Trek's Comic-Con replacement: "Star Trek Day" and was discussed during their Lower Decks panel:


There were also panels on the following topics, each one being ~20-30 mins each:

1) Discovery
2) DS9
3) Strange New Worlds
4) TOS
5) Voyager - 25th Anniversary (!!!)
6) Enterprise
7) Lower Decks
8) Picard/TNG

Video of which you can probably easily find on youtube or startrek.com or wherever
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Behind on my DS9 reviews.

You Are Cordially Invited - After the big arc ends, we have some breather episodes. A big thing happens in this one but really it's forgettable. Some cute gags and such but this isn't a relationship I've had any investment in.

Resurrection - Also kind of ho-hum-ish. Not necessarily bad for a set up but it felt like the tone was to be more intimate so having evil Kira's over the top scenery chewing and a diamond stealing plan is less interesting than the story of an interdimensional refugee. It doesn't help that I never warmed to Bariel and I didn't even recognize him when he popped in his alternate form.

Statistical Probabilities - A kind of fun episode but I was 100% positive that the big reveal was going to be that all of the overacting broad quirky characters were going to be revealed to be holodeck representations of the combating personalities within the head of that one quiet girl. Also, I feel the conclusion the characters come to is kind of silly, as if there are no possible unpredictable variables when a few weeks ago, Sisko got space prophets to whisk away a fucking army and guard it.

So some kind of also-ran episodes. But then we hit a pretty strong run in the middle of the season here.

The Magnificent Ferengi - A great comedic episode and I kind of like them taking a previously established character from a darker episode and giving him a deservedly ignoble fate. While Quark episodes aren't always great, I think the writing staff has a good handle on what makes an episode centered around him fun: he gets in way over his head but he's usually smart enough to pull himself out of it after being humbled. And a lot of the good ones are folktale-esque with silly but clever solutions to their problems. Also, I accidentally called that the characters would pull a Weekend at Bernie's to get them through the mission. What I didn't expect was Iggy Pop as a Vorta. And he fucking kills it. He's silver tongued like many of them but even more than any we've seen, he's kind of fucking over this.

Waltz - A great episode but I'm a little disappointed its setting us up for Dukat: Independent Terrorist/Super-Villain. I kind of was hoping we were reaching the end of this character's arc, great character though he is. Still, I liked it a lot, focusing on a man so obsessed with his own superiority and so deeply insecure about the fact that he might be wrong, that even getting into his headspace reveals while there's richness in the character, very little of it reveals much more than a piece of shit.

Who Mourns for Morn? - Hey, another Quark episode. And another strong one. The reveal at the end isn't so surprising but that doesn't stop the episode from being a rollicking ride of double crosses and lies. Extra points for the episode title referencing an OST episode. I feel like this is an episode that the writing room has been wanting to do in some form or another for a long time.

Far Beyond the Stars - This is one of the episodes I've heard of prior to watching DS9 but had yet to see and not only does it live up to the praise, its actually more hauntingly relevant than ever. I'm sure there are people who felt while watching in the mid-90s "Man, I'm glad we've moved past this shit", ignorant that there are still forms of it going on and that more than ever, representation in fiction for people who are underrepresented and/or poorly represented is important. I also found it affecting because Benny's situation reminds me of a famous issue of one of the EC Comic's sci-fi stories in the 50s that had a similar experience (though in that case, the writer and artist were white men). This is definitely among the series strongest episodes. As for the other actors, some go a little too broad but Rene and Armin are top notch in this episode, playing characters with some shadow dynamics to their original characters but also very different in most ways. Rene is still someone who lays down the law and is revealed to be complicit with an injustice because he feels he has duties and there's nothing he can do that wouldn't just cost him his job. Meanwhile Armin plays someone more human and is offended by Rene's coldness. And he also doesn't care much for preconceived rules as long as they get him what he wants but instead of it being a lust for profit, its seeing good art in the world. I also like the touch that he gets REALLY offended by being called a "red".) Such a good episode.

Then...

One Little Ship - Oof, the steak ends here. This is not by a long shot the worst episode but it is pretty dumb, taking a Saturday Morning Cartoon premise and putting in the most predictable beats and making the bad guys incompetent.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
Waltz - A great episode but I'm a little disappointed its setting us up for Dukat: Independent Terrorist/Super-Villain. I kind of was hoping we were reaching the end of this character's arc, great character though he is. Still, I liked it a lot, focusing on a man so obsessed with his own superiority and so deeply insecure about the fact that he might be wrong, that even getting into his headspace reveals while there's richness in the character, very little of it reveals much more than a piece of shit.
It's all downhill from here. Post-Waltz Dukat lacks the subtlety and slimy charm of his earlier self.
 

John

(he/him)
We're midway through TNG Season 4, and it's a mix of fun and weird episodes.

Clues - Starts out like a holodeck episode, but then switches to 20 questions with Data to solve the whodunit. It ends with Picard very out of character, by agreeing to wipe everyone's short term memory for the second time in a couple weeks. Like, we know that everything is reset at the end of most episodes anyway, but Picard shouldn't be so flippant with lost knowledge or side effects.

First Contact - All that stood out was Bebe Neuwirth really lusting for Riker's Trombone, and when he gives it to her, it does nothing to help his case. Oh, and the sets for the alien hospital looked really cheap on the Blu-Ray.

Galaxy's Child - Geordi is super creepy whenever he's around a lady. This episode gives him a full pass at the end, but he should be held to task. Stop being a jerk, La Forge!

Night Terrors - Another Ooh, creepy whodunit like Clues, but the ending was a little blah. Here's another one where the Blu-Ray's showing more than was intended, as Troi wakes from a nightmare and her nipples are pretty visible in her nightgown. I bet Rick Berman picked costumes for this one.

Identity Crisis - Some pretty impressive makeup/lighting on this one, and only a little bit of Geordi being weird. We were wondering if it actually was LeVar Burton in the bodysuit. Whoever it was, it was pretty revealing, thanks Blu-ray!

So yeah, my wife and I mostly watch to comment on the sexism, while also checking out the wardrobe malfunctions that pop out in high definition. Double Standard!
 
This week on Lower Decks:

Yeap, I love this show. Like, a LOT.

This week's episode was a mix of a few different TNG plots, and also... The Expanse??

The main A-plot was a riff on Chain of Command, where the bridge crew get a super top secret mission (to do something boring/lame befitting the USS Cerritos crew) which requires Starfleet to bring in a "Substitute Captain". Mariner is worried about the new captain being a "lame Jelico" who wants to mess everything up, but the new captain is Mariner's BFF from Starfleet Academy. The whole thing is an exercise in having Mariner being forced to face what her life choices has led her to, in contrast to her friend who is a badass and has gained tons of success in her career. I really liked it, and it also hit home a little too.

The B-Plot had to do with Boimler getting transporter-accidented, and being shipped off to "The Farm" - via a creepy secretive "Section 14" of Starfleet. Which was a fun side plot, mostly because it starred an alien that was the same species as Arex from TAS. That was great.

Also, this episode had the BEST doggo
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Honor Among Thieves - A sort of disappointingly generic undercover crime story. Its not like the show seemed interested before in making the Orion Syndicate anything more than a utilitarian and generally off-screen threat, but still its disappointing that the show didn't find a way to use the sci-fi setting of Star Trek to maybe make crime look or behave differently, even if the heart is the same. Its not a bad episode but its more of a competent space filler for the season.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
Honor Among Thieves - A sort of disappointingly generic undercover crime story. Its not like the show seemed interested before in making the Orion Syndicate anything more than a utilitarian and generally off-screen threat, but still its disappointing that the show didn't find a way to use the sci-fi setting of Star Trek to maybe make crime look or behave differently, even if the heart is the same. Its not a bad episode but its more of a competent space filler for the season.
That episode kinda bugs me, because it implies "bad guys will always work with bad guys". Gimme a story about the Federation having to do an Operation Underworld and cut a deal with the Orion Syndicate instead.
 
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