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ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
Of course it would have to be Threshold.

What bugs me is that every male character looks like idealized cartoon Shatner. I don't remember the artwork in the Filmation series being that generic, but if I went back to it I'd probably notice...
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
It's perfect. The goofy alien crew, the stiff, repetitive animation, the canned music, the smudgy cels... They captured the aesthetic just right.
 
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ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
Also, their version of the Holodoc looks more like Ron Howard than Robert Picardo. They Filmation-ed out his large, weary eyes and his fishy Picardo lips!
 
"Star Trek Day" was today. Another arbitrary (56th anniversary of the franchise's first broadcast) day to celebrate the franchise and announce new stuff. Among it was:

Another trailer of the Final Season of Star Trek: Picard including a wonky USS Titan-A. It's scheduled to start in mid February.

A teaser of an episode to come later this season in Star Trek: Lower Decks

A preview clip of Star Trek: Prodigy and an announcement of when the 2nd part of the first season will begin airing again. (October 27th; which should also be the same day as the Season 3 Finale of Lower Decks)

A preveiw clip of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds featuring what appears to be a Lt Ortegas centric episode.

They also announced a radio-drama style podcast of the Nicholas Meyers pitch for a new Star Trek show about Khan during his exile on Ceti Alpha V.

So all-in-all a fruitful day.
 
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I started watching TOS. The first episode the Man Trap was pretty good.

I like the horror mystery vibe of the TOS. The overly dramatic score is charming in an old school television way.

However, the pacing feels slow compared to modern TV and Trek.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
As I understand it, they picked The Man Trap because they thought the show would do better if it led with a "monster-of-the-week" style episode like The Outer Limits.
 
However, the pacing feels slow compared to modern TV and Trek.

The slower pacing can really cut both ways. Sometimes it's great because it crates a slow boil of tension, and other times it's great because they didn't write enough script and just let the camera roll on Kirk doing like 5 minutes of hilarious languid un- or barely-choreographed wrestling. The best and worst episodes are really enhanced by the pacing. Some of the really average episodes cut stand to lose a few minutes, though.
 
I’ve been slowly, methodically, watching all of Star Trek with a friend of mine who had seen exactly none of Star Trek before, save for the first JJ movie in theaters. We started with TNG, and have been doing a broadcast viewing order watch for the last two plus years. That my friend is still pushing through despite his intention really only being to watch TNG, I consider it a good sign that he actually enjoys the stuff. He’s a pretty progressive guy and really likes the more socially progressive episodes. His #1 favorite episode of TNG was “The Outcast” for example.

We took a few breaks here and there on our journey. At one point we paused to watch the JJ movies out of order, and then we proceeded to watch the TOS movies. We’ve also been watching LD, PRO, and SNW as they’ve aired. After finishing ENT we took a pause from the franchise watch for several months, but a few weeks ago we picked the watch back up again and started watching Discovery. I’ve been a very vocal defender of nuTrek, and so I think he’s been curious to see if my defense of the shows, or the vitriolic, internet rage has any substance. But one of the reasons we took so long to give DIS a go was he hates overuse of Dutch Angles in film, and boy howdy does DIS S1 enjoy those angles.

We’re just about to finish up S1. And for my part, it’s been fun to rewatch and see just how far the show has come/evolved. I remember having criticisms of S1 when it first aired, but mostly enjoying the experience a lot. And so far I haven’t come across anything upon rewatching that’s fundamentally changed my opinions on things. Most of my criticisms come down to matters of taste for fairly superficial aspects of the show. Stuff that I can pretty easily look past because the show has more than enough strengths to balance them out, and often time the show’s weaknesses comes from good intentions. For example, I’m not a fan of the Klingon redesign, but the intentions there were good, the design work/artistry/craftsmanship is stunning, and the attempts at adding additional layers of texture to an otherwise stale monoculture I thought was noble, even if they kind of missed the mark. The definitely did a good job of making the Klingons feel brutal and alien again, which I do appreciate after TNG and especially DS9 sanitized and tamed them. The DIS Klingons feel much more closely in tune and spirit with the Klingons that would inspire Kirk to rage and hatred as his arch nemesis than a bunch of quaint Space-Samurai in TNG/DS9.

More substantive criticisms are that the conclusion of the Mirror Universe Arc feels rushed and like the writers cared more about making a scenario that was emotionally trying for Michael than making sure the scenario itself was inherently interesting. And the final two episodes of the season was very clearly a rush job to wrap up and leave the Klingon War in the dust as quickly as possible. Which, in hindsight, was probably the right choice. I can tell that DIS Klingons we’re originally intended to be a rumination on MAGA extremism during the planning phase, but the writers of the show’s later episodes seemed like they were either not as interested in fully portraying that, or just incapable.

I do though really like the entire Lorca plot line. He stands as this figure that seems to sensibly advocate for the erosion of ethics to meet necessary goals, and his mask-off moment is pretty effective as a cautionary allegory for being led astray by silver tongued, charismatic personalities that advocate for questionable policy. Upon reflection, it’s a really well written arc, as when you look back on all of his command decisions, all of the times he advocated for bending the rules never really got the crew anywhere, and success only ever came because someone more principled beneath him kept doing their thing and bailed everyone else out. All of that hits a lot more effectively in a post-Trump world, versus back when S1 first aired during the very beginning of Trump’s first year as President, when I think a lot of people were in denial at exactly how bad things could get.

I’m low key kind of dreading the start of S2. I think a lot of that season’s pivots were necessary and there is a lot of individually interesting material in it. Pike and Spock were obvious standouts, but the whole Control plot line is kind of boring tbh. Discovery’s MO of exploring and embracing a healthier relationship with our emotions I think is extremely noble, especially considering how much our society is plagued by toxic masculinity that conditions men to be grey rocks (outside of displays of rage), and unduly punishes women for any emotionality at all. But S2 often misses the mark in that exploration I thought. The Ash Tyler/Burnham stuff grows stale in S2 (I thought it was explored fully enough in S1, and S2 just feels redundant). Some of the moments that were played for audience sympathy fell completely flat like Airiam’s demise. Getting Culber back was hamfisted to say the least but was a necessary evil to bring back an incredible character/actor. And Pike’s glowing affection for the USS Discovery and her crew by the finale (where he tearfully says goodbye to his new “family”) didn’t feel fully earned. But I still remember vividly thinking that the Michael and Spock relationship was incredible through and through. The two had instant chemistry, and really did a good job of selling a long, established history between the two that merited the emotional tension and release that was built up and teased prior. And S2 was probably at its best during all of the times it was acting as a stealth pilot for SNW. And probably at its worst when it was being reactionary to fan complaints about S1 and over correcting.

Next up on the watch list, if we’re going by broadcast order, is S1 of the Short Treks, then DIS S2, then Short Trek S2, PIC S1, DIS S3, PIC S2, and finally DIS S4 before we can catch up entirely with the franchise and start watching the currently airing PIC and DIS seasons. I doubt we’ll get through enough of it to watch PIC S3 as it airs, but hopefully we can catch up in time for DIS S5.

And you may be asking yourself, wait, you never mentioned TOS. Yes, I am very much aware lol. My friend has negative interest in TOS, because it’s too old looking, and he expects it to be too hammy and poorly acted to be entertaining. So he’s rejected all of the times I’ve proposed showing it. I don’t really want to press him on it since it’s incredible he’s stuck through things this long. My long term plan is to finish catching up with the new stuff, and once we fully exhaust everything, bringing TOS back up again once we’ve got nowhere else to go.
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
Well, now they'll never understand the deep lore of this;
775px-StarTrekVsTransformersCover.jpg
 

Felicia

Power is fleeting, love is eternal
(She/Her)
The discussion about AI-generated art made me realize something: Could the TNG episode "Elementary, Dear Data" be seen as an analogy for the possibilities of AI art, as represented by the holodeck? At first, Geordi and Data tells the holodeck to create a mystery "in the Sherlock Holmes style", but that only creates a story that is putting together pieces from already existing stories, which seems analogous to where AI art is currently. But when they tell the holodeck to create a character "capable of defeating Data", it creates an actual self-aware artificial intelligence, which seems like a vision of what proponents of AI art think it will ultimately be capable of.

It also made me think about what a remarkable piece of tech the holodeck truly is, in being capable of creating something satisfying even from vague instructions (though it's often portrayed as something of a monkey's paw wishing machine, where your instructions have unforseen consequences), such as when Picard tells it to make a simulation with "less substance, more ambience".

And yet, with this technology that seems to be able to generate just about any kind of complex art, the crew of Starfleet ships are still portrayed as engaging in all kinds of "old" creative expressions, such as music, theatre, painting and writing. I think that that's what makes it truly "Star Trek", an optimistic vision of us being able to still find value in our humanity, even in a future with extremely advanced technology.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
It has been my personal head canon for years that at some point someone at Starfleet came across a for real honest to goodness djinn and as a way to keep them from causing too much trouble, bound it within a ship, and to keep people from getting too suspicious they were just commanded to only respond to the name "Computer." That episode is like the prime example.
 
I think Data himself is a better analogy for AI artwork. Since he's literally an AI who tries repeatedly over the course of the show to explore and understand artistic expression. The guy starts out creating flawless replicas of existing artwork, and then making new paintings in the style of others. But it's always missing a je ne sais quoi because he can't really move past simply copying the inputs he's analyzing. It isn't really until he begins to better emulate the thought process of real humans, by dreaming and experiencing emotions, that his artwork begins to flourish and find a semblance of originality.
 
Star Trek: Picard S3 begins in like 6 hours. I've tried to stay detached and dispassionate, but eff me I might be buying into the hype.

My afore mentioned friend and I have made it through Disco S2, PIC S1, and are now about a third of the way through Disco S3 on our trek through the whole franchise. We don't have that much left before we are caught up entirely and can catch up with PIC S3.

Disco S2 was way better than I remember it being. It's wild what cleansing yourself of anxieties and expectations, and just accepting a thing for what it is can do for your enjoyment of a thing. There's still a few things towards the end of the season that I think are bad (specifically wanting the audience to care about the non-entity that was Airiam; the invincible door window vs the super torpedo) but I thought the entire finale was pretty great. Ethan Peck and Sonequa Martin-Green have really strong chemistry, so it's kind of a shame we won't get to see Burnham and Spock interact anymore. For as much as some people felt connecting Burnham to Spock was a needless shoehorn, they really justified that decision by making that relationship work and there was some real good pathos at the end. The big set piece battle and especially Burnham's wormhole shenanigans are actually visually arresting and creative in a way that evokes Star Trek at its best, IMO. Especially this whole scene: (Big spoilers btw):


Anywas, friend actually enjoyed it. A lot, I think. "Turns out, Star Trek: Discovery -- pretty good show so far. The internet is crazy."

PIC S1 has a few too many plot threads that it never fully follows up on. Some of which, I can tell are probably just seeding ideas to deal with later (like Raffi's estrangement from her son/family) but others are just like, you should have handled that better but didn't (where did Narek go?). But the general thrust of the show I think was pretty ok. It was a bit hamfisted, and nobody likes to see their childhood heroes beaten up, but the idea of someone coming back from being down-and-out and reaffirming their ideals rather than in spite of how hopeless things appear is definitely a message tailored for the current moment we live in, in a way that the best Star Trek tends to do. And I liked how the ending was resolved by good old fashioned appealing to good nature and earnesty rather than beating people up.

DIS S3 is, 4 or so episodes deep, as good as I remember it being. It's going for the same kind of theme that PIC S1 was, but it does a much better job conveying that idea to the audience. I don't even mind the mystery box solution everyone gripes about at the end (I think it's thematically resonant, and it's nice to have a solution to something that tries to be different than they found the macguffin, let's break it now) but for me, so quickly dispatching the Emerald Chain feels like a wasted opportunity to explore an adversary that was actually really really interesting and should have stuck around longer.

All we've got left is the rest of Disco S3, PIC S2, and Disco S4 before we can jump into PIC S3. Also, apparently SNW S2 will start up soon after PIC S3 so that'll be really nice.
 
I gushed about it in the moment, but PIC S3E1 happened today, and man. So far it's really, really good. There's a twist here or there that might take people off-guard, but I think it can all be in service to a good time/a vehicle for great acting. And one episode deep, everyone involved is bringing their acting A-game. Worth watching this season for that alone, IMO. The old coots still got it!

One thing the producers have been stressing really hard in the media build up to this season, is that they wanted this season to feel like the final TNG movie that never got made, and so far it's *bleeding* that energy profusely. The EP Terry Matalas is on record saying the TOS movies are his Star Trek (hey, just like me!) so that vibe permeates through every ounce of the show, for better or worse. I think for better! The TOS movies are fucking rad. Don't believe me? Catch the outro for Episode 1 (no real spoilers in it; probably going to serve as the show's OP going forward if I had to guess):


Why reinvent the wheel, amirite?

Yes, that is the Enterprise-A, USS Excelsior, and the USS Voyager in the Fleet Museum
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
So, there is something about the Q, as a people, bugging me, and I'm curious if there is an in-universe answer (out-of-universe, the answer is extremely obvious).

I always assumed that the Q were this race that would make sure that, when another race would develop far enough, they are ready to explore the Universe, without being jerks about it. Hence Q visiting at Encounter at Farpoint, making sure that Humans (not even the Federation, I think he specifically talks about Humans) would only go further, if they could show some level of wisdom.

How then is the Universe full of other races, that are so godawful and dangerous. Why are these godawful idiots, the Klingons, not sent back to Cronos, with a Q telling them that they should think about what they have done? Why are the Founders and the Borg allowed to wreck havoc throughout the Universe? Why do we have Space Fashists like the Cardassians enslaving other planets?

So, obviously I was wrong, but how does it work? Do the Q just not care, and our Q was just bored, when TNG started? I mean, it's clear that he then crushes hard on Picard, and gets obsessed with him, but is the first time just some fun, where he can dress up in a funny costume and feel all smug about how powerful he is? Is he doing that regularly, just with different species, who just so happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I'm not sure how much the shows answer about this. I don't quite remember, if the TNG episode where Q is punished talks about this, or how much we learn in Voyager. I do remember, that in Voyager, the Q, as a race, feel the emptyness of existence, which leads to their civil war, but is there something about how they actually deal with other, younger races?
 
The Q in general are a very hands-off, passive, god-species. The Continuum itself is portrayed as a place of placid calm where nothing happens and everyone just kind of is. The only Qs we ever encounter that are actively meddling in the mortal realm are *our* Q. He's a statistical outlier because he's so bored that he goes around playing pranks with lesser species to sate his curiosity/boredom. An act that got him excommunicated at one time. Putting humanity on trial was also something he only ever did with Picard. His relationship with Janeway was much more personal and cordial. Sisko was so close-minded and over-his-shit that Q never showed up to bother him again because he was boring. And the USS Cerritos crew are on a level with him where they can tell him to fuckoff without repercussion.

So the way I always read things was:

1) The "Trial" of humanity was just bullshit dramatic pretense to mess with Picard specifically because Q has a big ole crush on him and loved watching him squirm.

2) If the "Trial" of humanity was indeed real, it wasn't just about "you've gone out too far into space, it's time to get your driver's permit" kind of deal. Like you point out, there's plenty of prolific species in the galaxy that don't get Q interactions. I think it's more about testing a species that they see potential in them evolving to a next phase of existence. IIRC Q even mentions it at one point that humanity could someday rival the Q. We know species like the Borg are an evolutionary dead end and that the Q have no real worry about them becoming too powerful so long as nothing interrupts their natural paths so no need to really check in on them in the same way, despite at first glance seeming to be very powerful
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
Was there a reason for the rift between Q and Guinan? He's disliked by a good many people, but it looks like the animosity between these two goes back a ways. (They're both omniscient, so I guess it probably does.)
 
Was there a reason for the rift between Q and Guinan? He's disliked by a good many people, but it looks like the animosity between these two goes back a ways. (They're both omniscient, so I guess it probably does.)

At least in the 90s, they correctly realized that's something much more interesting to vaguely allude to than to explain in detail.

(Of the new stuff, I've only watched the first two seasons of Discovery and one season of Picard, so it's possible that's no longer the case.)
 

John

(he/him)
Season 2 of Picard fleshed it out a bit more without going into too much detail. There was a long cold war between their factions, which ended in an uneasy truce. No details as to the actual war, if it ever switched from cold to hot, etc.
 
Season 2 of Picard fleshed it out a bit more without going into too much detail. There was a long cold war between their factions, which ended in an uneasy truce. No details as to the actual war, if it ever switched from cold to hot, etc.
Also, when 2024-Guinan met Q, she didn't recognize him since at that point in history, their paths hadn't crossed yet. She didn't seem to hold any personal animosity towards the Q when we saw her in present day, so whatever reason she has to hate this specific Q hadn't happened yet in the timeline and they didn't go into it either so we'll never know. (Which I'm more than fine with.)
 
I always resolved her people could detect Qs intuitively and it ruined their chances of blending when desired. I have nothing to base this on.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
The Q in general are a very hands-off, passive, god-species. The Continuum itself is portrayed as a place of placid calm where nothing happens and everyone just kind of is. The only Qs we ever encounter that are actively meddling in the mortal realm are *our* Q. He's a statistical outlier because he's so bored that he goes around playing pranks with lesser species to sate his curiosity/boredom. An act that got him excommunicated at one time. Putting humanity on trial was also something he only ever did with Picard. His relationship with Janeway was much more personal and cordial. Sisko was so close-minded and over-his-shit that Q never showed up to bother him again because he was boring. And the USS Cerritos crew are on a level with him where they can tell him to fuckoff without repercussion.

So the way I always read things was:

1) The "Trial" of humanity was just bullshit dramatic pretense to mess with Picard specifically because Q has a big ole crush on him and loved watching him squirm.

2) If the "Trial" of humanity was indeed real, it wasn't just about "you've gone out too far into space, it's time to get your driver's permit" kind of deal. Like you point out, there's plenty of prolific species in the galaxy that don't get Q interactions. I think it's more about testing a species that they see potential in them evolving to a next phase of existence. IIRC Q even mentions it at one point that humanity could someday rival the Q. We know species like the Borg are an evolutionary dead end and that the Q have no real worry about them becoming too powerful so long as nothing interrupts their natural paths so no need to really check in on them in the same way, despite at first glance seeming to be very powerful
Forgot to answer, sorry. That's a nice interpretation, I think I'll adopt it. Thanks.

I really need to rewatch Voyager, aside from TOS (which feels like it's own thing anyway, apart from the 90s/early 00s Trek), it's the show I haven't seen the longest. But then, it's already a few years since I watched TNG, and I'm itching to watch DS9 again, too. There is just too much stuff, considering that I also want to watch new things, and so on (one of those being nuTrek - I need to give DISCO another chance. I'm sure I'll like it more, now that it isn't carrying the burden of saving Trek from going to sleep again for two decades).
 
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