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Old 2015-10-09, 08:55 AM   #21
Brendocon 2.0
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Okay, this was all good and funny in the first place, but I think the joke's run its course.

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Old 2015-10-09, 01:45 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Tetsuro View Post
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting the Abrams Trek movies are good - I just don't think Nemesis is any better. Judging from the comments of Sirtis and Frakes, it's pretty clear the director of that film didn't really seem to care either.
Mind, I think Frakes is directly responsible for Insurrection being so bad. The script is stupid, but so is the script for First Contact (seriously, how many Enterprise crewmembers are assimilated because Data decides to have a blow job rather than smash the poorly designed CANISTERS OF DEATH the second he's first off the table?), it's his grab you by the balls and stare you in the eye and dare you to call it stupid direction that makes it all work.

It's clear from his commentary on Insurrection though he finds the whole moral point the film is trying to make really dumb. He even says when Baku Bloke sets his pacifist stall out that it's "Typical Piller crap". If the director, who sets so much of the tone and feel of the film, doesn't think the story is any good it's no wonder the film winds up no good.

Of course, the ideal would be to have a great script and great direction, but the later can cover a multitude of sins.

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What really grates me is that Star Trek has always (or at least usually) been about big ideas, something even Star Trek V managed to deliver - it's when the fans of the Abrams movies try to defend it by saying it has a message too, but their idea of a "message" is just the usual shallow cliché about friendship, an idea that is neither big or original anymore. In comparison, Star Trek III also dealt with that same message and did it far better - and you might as well argue that Commando is a "deep" film because it values the importance of father/daughter relationships.
So what would you say is the big idea/message behind The Voyage Home? Don't hunt animals to extinction? That's pretty basic, even whale hunters don't want them wiped out as that would destroy their jobs.

Or is it "Use exact change"?

Certainly I'd say the two most recent films are as thematically deep as most of their predecessors, especially Into Darkness which is very concerned with contempoary American politics. Not subtle to be sure, but neither is "The Wall comes down IN SPACE!".

The films don't really do that sort of thing very well anyway, TV Trek can take an idea and knock it about for an hour to produce something like Darnok or In The Pale Moonlight because it's part of a longer season.

The films have to try and service all the characters and tell a big self contained plot all within two hours. Themes tend to be a bit surface level. Which is why The Motion Picture is so annoying, it thinks it has this great big 2001 style revelation, but it basically boils down to the sort of thing the series did so often it should really be a post it note.

I think Khan actually does the layers thing better than any of them. Mainly because it doesn't go for the easy answers, it looks at the effect of ageing on a hero but doesn't come up with the stock "You're never too old for this shit" conclusion. Kirk does make mistakes, and they get people killed. He has to accept he's older and slower and that's no bad thing in and of itself because he also has experience.

Shame the following two films are basically about restoring the status quo of the series and going "No, seriously, Kirk is awesome!".

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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
I'm 90% that her and Wesley's lines all wound up deleted. It's a shame really...with it being the last outing of the TNG era, if it was going to suck anyway they really needed to just say "screw it", go full fanwank mode and cram in every single familiar face that they could. Hell, throw Guinan in as bartender again and have Wesley fly the ship. They didn't bother to explain why Worf was in uniform again, so it's not like those things would have been any more ridiculous.
Guinan's lines are still in the film. I think she might actually have more dialogue than Geordi.

Wesley being back in Star Fleet is bonkers, but hey, so is Worf (IIRC there was a "Being an ambassador did not agree with me" line that was cut, though I don't think it's been on any of the home media extras. There's supposed to be like an hour of deleted scenes, about half of which have been released). Picard must have shared Kirk's "Don't retire" advice about.

In retrospect it's amazing Will Wheaton even showed up for a cameo, he's been very clear in interviews recently he deeply dislikes the way Rick Berman treated him on the show and still bears a grudge there.

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The one time that I watched the deleted scenes, I remembered thinking how much better they were than anything that actually made it into the finished film.
Amussingly the one where he and Data share a drink is introduced on the DVD by Patrick Stewart from an interview from before the final edit had been made where he goes on about how it's a key scene to the film!

Mind, I'd have cut that one myself, it's all basic "Explain this human ritual to me" Data 101 stuff that after 30 odd years he shouldn't really need explaining.


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Fair point. If Nemesis had been the fourth TNG movie out of six I don't think people would hate on it nearly as much. But as the grand finale for the crew that we all grew up with, it's pretty galling.
It's worse than that: it's the grand final to all of the original Star Trek timeline (though if you're watching in production order you've still got two years of Enterprise afterwards. This is not a good thing), indeed, chronologically it's still the final ever Star Trek story (even if various time travelers the different crews run into--including of course Spock Prime--post date it). Suck on them balls.

The staggering thing about Baird as a director is even Paramount didn't think he was any good at it. They desperately wanted him to do the job he's actually talented at and perform an emergency edit on (IIRC) Mission Impossible 2 and Tomb Raider, the deal he struck was to get to direct a film afterwards. They literally looked down their list of projects and put him on the one they gave they least amount of **** about (over Berman's head) as quid pro quo for getting Lara Croft's boobs to bounce in slow motion properly.


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I actually do think at least some of Roddenberry's ideas were good. It's his execution that I have a problem with. By the time TNG rolled around he was a crazy old man who wasn't anywhere near as much of a visionary filmmaker as everyone had told him he was for the previous couple decades. He was much like George Lucas, really...lots and lots of good ideas, but clearly in need of a strong moderating influence that could pull his head out of his ass once in a while.
It seems a lot of the problems were down to his lawyer (who shouldn't have been rewriting scripts but was) misinterpreting a lot of what Roddenberry wanted. So "No petty character conflicts" became "No conflict between characters at all" and so on.

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The biggest problem with the utopian Federation that he'd envisioned was that it was boring if you took it at face value, and he was too idealistic to score points by subverting it like late TNG and DS9 did. The concept really took off once the idea that even paradise wasn't perfect took hold. Seeing Picard or Sisko grapple with hard decisions and figure out how to uphold their morals and save the day is way more interesting than Picard smugly monologuing to aliens about how inferior they were until they got bored and went home.
When written at its worst the Federation is clearly evil, like in that episode with Worf's step brother where he's trying to save some people from an exploding planet and Picard is all "No, helping these people not die would break the Prime Directive, who knows what could happen if we interfer with the natural course of evolution on this planet and these children weren't all dead. Now let us watch the world explode!

Wait, do they have a hot milf who wants to stroke my head? No, just Sheri Palmer from 24? No go. Died planet die!".

Amusingly, considering Picard's drastically different attitude, that episode was a direct influence on Insurrection and it "Trick the villagers into thinking they're on the holodeck" plot.


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After Googling, I'm going to have to disagree on that. Kirk's admiral's outfit does look pretty cool but everyone else looks like they're in pajamas. I do like the variety on display but when everything is awful that's only a small point in its favour.

I think they'd look immeasurably better with the small addition of a dark belt, though, so it's not a total loss.
The basic jumpsuits were actually dyed red and (with some extra bells and whistles stuck on them) worn by the cadets in Wrath of Khan as non speaking extras just have to put up with having their genitals crushed (note that main guest star cadet Saavik isn't wearing one).


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And then the third most prominent female character was axed after her actress was sexually assaulted by one of the show's execs. Sadly not a surprise, since the man in charge set the tone by treating his actresses as sex objects that only existed for his own pleasure (and shit, for all we know he could have been the guy who did it...). Not really surprising that the same attitude was able to flourish during the first season of TNG either.
She was actually assaulted by two different people working on the show (though one was a more distant high up exec). She never named names, but apparently according to her autobiography one gave her some home made jewellery to "Apologise".

Now, guess what Roddenberry liked to make at home as one of his major hobbies?

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What really shocked me, though, is that Mr. Leslie was in more episodes than Chekov or Sulu, and only six fewer than Scotty.
He'd have been there right to the end as well if his health problems hadn't forced him off the series.

Though he's called by at least one other name during the course of the series (I don't know how IMDB/Memory Alpha divy up the roles), so how many times he's Leslie and how many times he's The Other Fellow is open to debate. He could have been playing a different non-speaking character in every episode he's not called by name!


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That wouldn't have been a terrible choice either, since Data in a command position is always interesting. Though honestly, if Shelby wasn't the backup plan then I'm inclined to wonder just what she was there for to begin with.
Well, famously Piller put no thought whatsoever into what would happen in Part 2 as he thought he was leaving the show. It's remarkable it works at all really (little things like how the saucer separation plan is set up in the first part are just luck rather than planning), it's shame it seems to convince them that writing the first part of a cross-season two parter without deciding on what was going to happen in the second was the way to go as none of the others are anywhere like as neat.

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To be honest, as much as I love The Best of Both Worlds (and I love it a lot -- it might just be my favourite Trek story ever, especially if you include Family as a coda) the ending is a bit disappointing for me because it basically kills Riker as a character. I actually think that the title refers to him -- he wanted to be captain but he also wanted to stay with the Enterprise "family", and at the start he's struggling to decide between the two. And then Picard is gone so he gets to have both, and he's left to deal with the guilt of having it all at the cost of another man's life. It's a great character piece for him and he grows so much over the course of those two episodes. But then we need to restore the status quo for the next episode, so they back down from the development that he experienced here and for the next four seasons there's literally nowhere to go with the character. It's just one of those things that I think they would have been able to handle much better in today's TV environment.
The smart thing to do with Riker once he was obviously ready to go off and be his own captain would be to give him the spinoff show. Doing a version of DS9 with Captain Riker would be fairly easy (though the different backstory to Sisko would have created a different dynamic), but by the time they seriously started thinking "Spinoff" they knew TNG films were on the horizon, so I guess even if he'd been offered it, Frakes would have opted for the movie career anyway.

It says a lot they seriously talked about killing Riker in Second Chances, promoting Data to first officer and having Thomas Riker take over ops. Apparently they decided not to shake things up that much with the films coming (I suppose billing would have been an issue as well, Frakes is the show's official second lead. Effectively demoting him to a lower role--even if the character was already in reality the fourth most important behind Data and Worf--would have likely caused issues).

On BoBW in general, what I love about it (and it's actually much more like Khan in this respect than the films that have actually tried to ape that one) is how it's not really a big all out action epic, it's about the tension and growing sense of doom.

Which is lucky as some of the action stuff has dated (Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. It's forcefield has adapted! Shelby: Enterprise, get us out of here!. It's Jones' score that really sells that stuff), but overall it's still an extraordinary piece of TV.

It was nice to at least hear on DS9 that Shelby made captain before Riker (though Ron Moore apparently had to apologise to Peter David as they'd assured him before starting New Frontier they weren't going to do anything with Shelby. I've a feeling officially that's now a different Captain Shelby in deference to him, but screw that).

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To your other point, I've honestly never been able to figure out why Data was so popular. The character is written so inconsistently. Like how he "can't feel any emotions" in spite of curiosity and the desire for self-improvement being the absolute core of the character. I'd be fine with that if there was some room left for us to say "of course he can, he's just so unaware of himself that he doesn't realize" but the script treats it like a factual truth even though we've seen so many times that it's clearly not. I mean, the guy has friends, a desire for self-preservation and self-determination, an insatiable desire to learn, a deep interest in how others' minds work -- none of those things would be true if there wasn't emotion behind them. But yet the show keeps telling us that, no, he's got no feelings just because he doesn't shout at people or get all mushy with members of the opposite sex (except that one time...) The whole thing is a huge middle finger to the core Trek idea that we should respect people's differences...he's clearly got emotions, but they just don't count because they're not the same as ours. As if Data is broken because he's different and he won't be right until what makes him unique is gone and replaced with a cookie-cutter human. And then they don't even have the guts to stick to their guns about that, and after he gains a lot of humanity over the first two films they immediately roll it back for the last two with no explanation given.

Brent Spiner is fantastic and he does a great job with whatever he's given, but what he's given is crap far too often. Its a credit to him really, with a lesser actor in that role Data would have been completely intolerable instead of just likeable-but-disappointing.
I read something a couple of years ago I'd never noticed before: At no point during the first two seasons is it said Data can't feel emotion. Indeed, he generally seems to, even if he doesn't really understand them and mostly has a childlike glee about things. It's Michael Piller in season 3 who decided he can't feel anything at all.

I think Data's big problem comes from the conflice Datalore creates with the backstory in the show bible everyone had been working from: That he'd been built by aliens to study humanity and was presumably relatively new at it. Then when they have to chuck a script out at the last second and come up with somthing on the spot (the evil twin thing was apparently Spiner's idea, and to be fair, he makes that episode however silly the script is in places. Killing Lore when he was obviously fodder for the films--especially when they wound up giving Data a new evil twin anyway--was very short sighted) he's suddenly been living around humans for decades and has the memories of hundreds of them.

It's a bad fudge for how he'd been portrayed so far (he'd gone two decades without hearing the word "Aphrodisiac"?), and worse than that they continue to treat him as a guy who doesn't really understand or get humans as if he's not spent that much time active.

And seriously, how had he not had sex before Tasha? People in the Trek Universe will pay to have sex with holograms so presumably a bit of fun with a "Programmed in multiple techniques" android who is going to be entirely about your pleasure rather than his would appeal in the sexually liberal 24th century? Surely as part of his exploration of humanity he'd try just about every type of position and partner across as many species and genders as he could?

Agreed on what they do to him in the films. I actually like his subplot in Generations (even if it is very much a TV episode structure B plot that doesn't really connect to anything else in the film), I know it annoys a lot of people but I actually find something unsettling about Data's attempts at humour and following breakdown.

If in the following film he'd just come to terms with emotions and was basically how Spock is from Khan onwards (basically at peace with himself and much happier) I think people would have less of a problem with it. But the backtracking that starts with Data's character development in First Contact and that has completely buggered what was once a great character by Nemesis makes it a dead end.


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Totally agreed. I've loved her in everything I've seen her in, no matter how big or small the role. Even though she was only in it for a few episodes, Forbes' Admiral Cain is easily one of my favourite parts of the new BSG.

(And since you were perving on her earlier, I feel obliged to point out that the lady aged like a fine wine...)
Oh yes, though I suppose she was quite young when she did TNG, but ding dong. She seems to like doing random things as well, I'm still not sure how she wound up in that Ken Scott BBC thriller thing from a few years ago (as she was playing a deaf character it hardly needed an American!) but she was great in it.

To be honest, considering her talent and her experiences of being a Trek semi-regular and how that does involve a lot of just sitting there saying "Yes Sir, No Sir", I can see why she wasn't up for more. Though ironically the DS9 role would have given her much more meat if she'd agreed to take Ro over, Kira did very little of the stock Trek stuff.


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Where Shinzon is concerned, though, I'm pretty sure it was on purpose. One of the biggest problems with the movie is that it tries to riff on The Wrath of Khan far, far too much.
Oh yes, and the nicking of the plot points shows how badly they misunderstand the situation.

Khan: Kirk flies into a nebula because the interference it causes with sensors places the damaged Enterprise on a level playing field with the Reliant and allows him to take advantage of Khan's inability to think of space in terms of three dimensions (which neatly forefronts one of the advantages of Kirk's age: His experience).

Nemesis: Picard flies into a nebula that allows Shinzon the ambush the Enterprise because of the way it interferes with sensors (and for some reason stops the Federation fleet waiting on the other side from sending in at least a couple of ships to see where the Enterprise got to when she doesn't come out) for no reason whatsoever other than "This is what happened in Khan".

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Originally Posted by Brendocon 2.0 View Post
Okay, this was all good and funny in the first place, but I think the joke's run its course.

TOPIC LOCKED.
If you'd have just said "Computer end program" I'd have locked the thread for you.
 
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Old 2015-10-09, 01:54 PM   #23
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Old 2015-10-09, 01:58 PM   #24
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Like Star Trek: The Motion Picture I am endless.
 
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Old 2015-10-09, 03:01 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Where Shinzon is concerned, though, I'm pretty sure it was on purpose. One of the biggest problems with the movie is that it tries to riff on The Wrath of Khan far, far too much.
Didn't all last three Trek films try to sell their villains as "the next Khan"? (I wouldn't be surprised if that "tradition" extended further than that either)

It kind of reminds me of what one of the producers of the Bond films said at some point; "Every time we tried to make another Goldfinger, we ended up with another Thunderball" - or something in those lines anyway.

Also I give you that Star Trek IV doesn't present you with any big ideas or deep message apart from the obvious ecological one, but it is essentially a feature-length comedy episode. There's no real villain apart from the alien probe which is more of a convenient plot device than a character in it's own right, and the only real danger the characters get to is when Chekov falls off a ledge. Even in the hospital chase scene we're provided with a humorous musical score emphasizing the lack of seriousness in the situation.

So yes, while the Abrams movies were also copping their ideas from the preceding films, they also didn't do them even half as well.

I'm also dreadfully biased in favour of anything TOS. TMP is also my favourite Star Trek film so that might give you some idea about my tastes
 

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Old 2015-10-09, 03:04 PM   #26
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Like Star Trek: The Motion Picture I am endless.
Pshh. I've read the Sandman. Not even the Endless were endless. Get thee to a recycle bin. DELETE.
 
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Old 2015-10-13, 05:43 PM   #27
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Pshh. I've read the Sandman. Not even the Endless were endless. Get thee to a recycle bin. DELETE.
Any version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture would make The Endless beg for an end.
 



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Old 2015-10-13, 05:58 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
I have! I loved the first...oh, half of them, I'd say. But after he blew up Excalibur and split up the crew I found that the magic was gone, and I just got less and less interested with each ensuing time-skip.
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Oh, and on New Frontier, I read the initial mini-series and the next two full length books, but lost track of it after that and it looks a rather hard series to just jump into.
Seems to be general experience of the series. I'd say you can read the four mini-novels plus #5 and #6 and skip ahead to Stone and Anvil (which is mainly flashback) plus maybe Double Helix #5: Double or Nothing and get the best of it. There's also a short story collection, No Limits, although I don't recall anything particularly memorable. Plus the obligatory short stories in anthologies such as Tales of the Dominion War, which also has a brilliant Scotty/McCoy story.

PAD wanders off into fanfic territory and power level creep a lot of the time. Didn't think he'd pull it back after Blind Man's Bluff, but the first part of The Returned doesn't seem too bad so far in that respect and will hopefully be a better capstone if that's where it wraps up. Overall it's been a neat concept.
 
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Old 2015-10-13, 06:18 PM   #29
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The staggering thing about Baird as a director is even Paramount didn't think he was any good at it. They desperately wanted him to do the job he's actually talented at and perform an emergency edit on (IIRC) Mission Impossible 2 and Tomb Raider, the deal he struck was to get to direct a film afterwards. They literally looked down their list of projects and put him on the one they gave they least amount of **** about (over Berman's head) as quid pro quo for getting Lara Croft's boobs to bounce in slow motion properly.
As editor who has worked a LOT with Richard Donner over the years even Donner said Braid can be a huge pain in the ass to work with just as an editor. Donner said he would walk out of the editing room saying that he would never work with Donner and a hour later they would be back to cutting whatever film they were working on and this went on almost every picture the two worked on (this was especially true on the troubled productions of Superman: The Movie and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut) and they worked on a lot of movies together.
 



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Old 2015-10-13, 06:25 PM   #30
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A friend of mine watched DS9 some time ago and he hated it - or rather, he hated the last two seasons, when the writers suddenly backpedaled on character development just so one of them could re-introduce the Kira/Odo relationship. Or something. I haven't watched the series in like six years, but I am currently in a state of re-watching it. He also hated the more "supernatural" aspects of the show, but so far I've just been able to shrug it off with that Arthur C Clarke quote.

...and I just watched The Storyteller. Bajorans deflect an evil cloud with MIND-BEAMS!!!
 
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Old 2015-10-14, 08:00 PM   #31
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Seems to be general experience of the series. I'd say you can read the four mini-novels plus #5 and #6 and skip ahead to Stone and Anvil (which is mainly flashback) plus maybe Double Helix #5: Double or Nothing and get the best of it. There's also a short story collection, No Limits, although I don't recall anything particularly memorable. Plus the obligatory short stories in anthologies such as Tales of the Dominion War, which also has a brilliant Scotty/McCoy story.
I'd need to reread the early ones first, it's been nearly 20 years! I can remember the miniseries well enough (I used to have the audiobook, I even remember the first one being free with SFX, though I got the little hardback they did for the entire series) but couldn't tell you what happened in 5 and 6 if my life depended on it beyond the covers joining up.

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...and I just watched The Storyteller. Bajorans deflect an evil cloud with MIND-BEAMS!!!
Well, it's not as if super telekinetic mind powers aren't an established part of Trek going back to the second pilot.
 
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Old 2015-10-14, 08:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
It's clear from his commentary on Insurrection though he finds the whole moral point the film is trying to make really dumb. He even says when Baku Bloke sets his pacifist stall out that it's "Typical Piller crap". If the director, who sets so much of the tone and feel of the film, doesn't think the story is any good it's no wonder the film winds up no good.
Fair point. If the director isn't into it, that's going to hurt things a fair bit. It's kind of a shame that they couldn't either find a script the director liked, or find a director that liked the script. I can understand why they didn't want to fire one of the main cast of the film from direction duties, though.

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The films have to try and service all the characters and tell a big self contained plot all within two hours. Themes tend to be a bit surface level. Which is why The Motion Picture is so annoying, it thinks it has this great big 2001 style revelation, but it basically boils down to the sort of thing the series did so often it should really be a post it note.

I think Khan actually does the layers thing better than any of them. Mainly because it doesn't go for the easy answers, it looks at the effect of ageing on a hero but doesn't come up with the stock "You're never too old for this shit" conclusion. Kirk does make mistakes, and they get people killed. He has to accept he's older and slower and that's no bad thing in and of itself because he also has experience.
I think part of why Khan was so good is that it ignored a bunch of the stuff in your first paragraph, though. I honestly can't remember if Sulu and Uhura even have lines, though I'm sure they did. And I only remember Scotty from that stupid "take the dead cadet's body up to the bridge" scene (that was his nephew IIRC, but I don't think the final film mentioned it), with Saavik "stealing" their screen time instead. And the plot wasn't self-contained, instead being built on the foundations of an old TV episode. I think that gave them a whole lot more room to maneuver.

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In retrospect it's amazing Will Wheaton even showed up for a cameo, he's been very clear in interviews recently he deeply dislikes the way Rick Berman treated him on the show and still bears a grudge there.
Apparently it was his idea too. I remember reading that he contacted the producers after one of the other cast members told him that they were making another TNG film and that it'd be the last one.

I always thought that writing the character out with "he's a Traveller now LOL" was silly, because it was such a random about-face for the guy. It's a shame they didn't end his arc differently so that he could have actually, properly been in one of the movies. It would have been cool to see an adult Wesley actually do something.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
When written at its worst the Federation is clearly evil, like in that episode with Worf's step brother where he's trying to save some people from an exploding planet and Picard is all "No, helping these people not die would break the Prime Directive, who knows what could happen if we interfer with the natural course of evolution on this planet and these children weren't all dead. Now let us watch the world explode!
The same general thing happens a few times in the series if memory serves, although they usually find a way to fix things anyway.

In a real-world sense I don't disagree with the "not our problem, warp nine to the next system!" policy towards crises like this. The Federation's mandate is to take care of Federation citizens, not spend their resources fixing problems outside of their borders. Non-interference is the only practical way of dealing with things, because if you help one species you're going to have fifty more banging down your door, and if you don't/can't help them then suddenly you're making yourself new enemies.

It's trying to wrap it up as a moral choice that gets my hackles up. The Prime Directive is usually a good rule, but the almost religious fervour that Picard defends it with is a bit unsettling. There's no valid argument where letting millions of innocents die is morally right, only scenarios where letting it happen is better for Federation interests. The other captains never seemed to have that same devotion to it, thankfully, so it's mostly a "Picard" issue and not a sign of the entire Federation being brainwashed.

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Though he's called by at least one other name during the course of the series (I don't know how IMDB/Memory Alpha divy up the roles), so how many times he's Leslie and how many times he's The Other Fellow is open to debate. He could have been playing a different non-speaking character in every episode he's not called by name!
Memory Alpha pretends that they're all the same guy even when they're called different names, I think.

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Well, famously Piller put no thought whatsoever into what would happen in Part 2 as he thought he was leaving the show. It's remarkable it works at all really (little things like how the saucer separation plan is set up in the first part are just luck rather than planning), it's shame it seems to convince them that writing the first part of a cross-season two parter without deciding on what was going to happen in the second was the way to go as none of the others are anywhere like as neat.
As a kid I always got super-excited for the two-parters whenever they came up, and I still have a soft spot for some of them (the Klingon civil war and that Mark Twain one) but for the most part they are some of the weakest parts of the series.

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The smart thing to do with Riker once he was obviously ready to go off and be his own captain would be to give him the spinoff show. Doing a version of DS9 with Captain Riker would be fairly easy (though the different backstory to Sisko would have created a different dynamic), but by the time they seriously started thinking "Spinoff" they knew TNG films were on the horizon, so I guess even if he'd been offered it, Frakes would have opted for the movie career anyway.
Actually, I would have gone in the opposite direction -- give Riker the Enterprise and move Picard to the spin-off. That way you're leaving the weaker actor (no slight meant to Frakes here, I'm a big fan of his, but Patrick Stewart is a superstar for a reason) on the existing, established show while the bigger name moves over to the new show and gives the existing fanbase a big reason to tune in. In fact, split the crew in half and send Worf and O'Brien and Crusher along with him. Then introduce a few new characters on either show to fill up the roster.

They could make the movies work even with that, though obviously it'd be a huge departure from what they actually did.

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It says a lot they seriously talked about killing Riker in Second Chances, promoting Data to first officer and having Thomas Riker take over ops. Apparently they decided not to shake things up that much with the films coming (I suppose billing would have been an issue as well, Frakes is the show's official second lead. Effectively demoting him to a lower role--even if the character was already in reality the fourth most important behind Data and Worf--would have likely caused issues).
Though at the same time, playing Tom Riker could have given Frakes so much more to do that the billing would have been justified again.

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Which is lucky as some of the action stuff has dated (Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. It's forcefield has adapted! Shelby: Enterprise, get us out of here!. It's Jones' score that really sells that stuff), but overall it's still an extraordinary piece of TV.
The score is great, but the lighting, costumes and set design are a big part of it too. They obviously put a huge amount of work into making the Borg terrifying, and it worked in a way that the later, CGI-driven attempts in Voyager never really did.

Part of why Best of Both Worlds works so well for me is that it was way more character-driven than anything that happened in TNG prior. It handles the crew's loss of a comrade with way more force than any of the one-and-done "Picard/Data/some other guy is missing or presumed dead" episodes that we got, and actually shows how important these people are to one another. It also tells you more about the sort of person that Riker is than the entire series up to that point (or rather, the person he grew into over three years), has one of the first actually good moments of Troi counselling someone, etc, etc. It also shows how much Data has grown, by making an intuitive leap that early Data never could have managed during his chat with Locutus.

(Intuition -- another irrational, emotional response that Data is allegedly incapable of!)

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It was nice to at least hear on DS9 that Shelby made captain before Riker (though Ron Moore apparently had to apologise to Peter David as they'd assured him before starting New Frontier they weren't going to do anything with Shelby. I've a feeling officially that's now a different Captain Shelby in deference to him, but screw that).
Even by the books' timeline I'm pretty sure that's still true. In fact I think she made admiral before Riker made captain.

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I read something a couple of years ago I'd never noticed before: At no point during the first two seasons is it said Data can't feel emotion. Indeed, he generally seems to, even if he doesn't really understand them and mostly has a childlike glee about things. It's Michael Piller in season 3 who decided he can't feel anything at all.]
That makes perfect sense to me, and that's about the time when I noticed that swerve as well. "Childlike glee" is a perfect way to describe early Data. He had flashes of it later on, but he also became a much more mature character as he became comfortable (Comfort! An emotion!) with himself and his life.

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I think Data's big problem comes from the conflice Datalore creates with the backstory in the show bible everyone had been working from: That he'd been built by aliens to study humanity and was presumably relatively new at it.
How new at it could he have been, though? He was already a lieutenant commander in Starfleet, thought highly enough of to be made second officer of the fleet's biggest, newest and most important starship. He would have gone through the academy, plus time as an ensign, lieutenant junior grade and lieutenant before the series started (assuming he was promoted to lieutenant commander when he was chosen for the Enterprise job). Since Starfleet is based on the US Navy I looked up their rules, and apparently you need to have nine years of service before you qualify for promotion to lieutenant commander. Add on four years at the academy and he'd have been in Starfleet for at least thirteen years (indeed, the novels and such say he was around for much longer than that because he wasn't very ambitious and didn't seek out promotions the way a Riker would).

Actually, thinking back on it, the character would have made more sense if he'd started the show as a junior bridge officer like Worf or Geordi.

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And seriously, how had he not had sex before Tasha? People in the Trek Universe will pay to have sex with holograms so presumably a bit of fun with a "Programmed in multiple techniques" android who is going to be entirely about your pleasure rather than his would appeal in the sexually liberal 24th century? Surely as part of his exploration of humanity he'd try just about every type of position and partner across as many species and genders as he could?
Data wasn't exactly a social butterfly at the start of the series. Doesn't he say a few times that Geordi was the first real friend he'd ever had? I wouldn't be at all surprised if, due to a mix of his own awkwardness and the discomfort it caused in other people, nobody had ever offered. And while I could totally see early Data going up and asking someone if they want to bang, the way he'd say it would be more likely to get him slapped than anything else.

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If you'd have just said "Computer end program" I'd have locked the thread for you.


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Seems to be general experience of the series. I'd say you can read the four mini-novels plus #5 and #6 and skip ahead to Stone and Anvil (which is mainly flashback) plus maybe Double Helix #5: Double or Nothing and get the best of it. There's also a short story collection, No Limits, although I don't recall anything particularly memorable. Plus the obligatory short stories in anthologies such as Tales of the Dominion War, which also has a brilliant Scotty/McCoy story.
Double or Nothing is probably the last book in the series that I really enjoyed without any reservations, mainly for the Riker bits. Once Burned was probably my favourite, though, since it really did a great job setting up how Calhoun got to be who he was at the start of the series (sidenote: the Captain Pike space whales story that came right after it in the Captain's Table series was also fantastic).

The next two were okay, but after that he lost me a bit more every time until Blind Man's Bluff had me saying "Enough already!"

(Stone and Anvil would have been great if the linchpin of the whole thing hadn't been the third retelling of Ensign Janos's backstory...)

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PAD wanders off into fanfic territory and power level creep a lot of the time. Didn't think he'd pull it back after Blind Man's Bluff, but the first part of The Returned doesn't seem too bad so far in that respect and will hopefully be a better capstone if that's where it wraps up. Overall it's been a neat concept.
I was actually really surprised to find out that they published a followup at all. Wasn't he on death's door a few years ago? I can't say that any more New Frontier will be high on my to-do list, though. There's already more Star Trek books than I have time to read (the only thing I've been able to keep up with lately has been Vanguard, which was amazing, and its follow-up, Seekers).

I think the thing that annoyed me the most about the later NF books was how little they felt connected to the rest of the Star Trek universe. Initially it was the story of a tight-knit Starfleet crew exploring the unknown, familiar stuff even if the characters were a bit weirder. But then basically everyone left the Excalibur, characters started dropping like flies, every enemy that shows up are basically gods, the events of the universe at large are basically ignored and I can't help but wonder why these books even have Star Trek on the cover anymore.

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A friend of mine watched DS9 some time ago and he hated it - or rather, he hated the last two seasons, when the writers suddenly backpedaled on character development just so one of them could re-introduce the Kira/Odo relationship. Or something. I haven't watched the series in like six years, but I am currently in a state of re-watching it. He also hated the more "supernatural" aspects of the show, but so far I've just been able to shrug it off with that Arthur C Clarke quote.
I'd tend to think that the writers agreed with you. The show itself explained away a lot of its' own supernatural trappings, though. From the beginning the Prophets were just non-linear aliens with weird tech living in a wormhole, and I don't think they ever did anything that we hadn't seen accomplished with normal technology by other aliens in other shows.
 
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Old 2015-10-14, 10:10 PM   #33
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I'd tend to think that the writers agreed with you. The show itself explained away a lot of its' own supernatural trappings, though. From the beginning the Prophets were just non-linear aliens with weird tech living in a wormhole, and I don't think they ever did anything that we hadn't seen accomplished with normal technology by other aliens in other shows.
Well, apart from wiping out the whole Dominion fleet when they entered the wormhole, but considering that was squarely their domain...I guess that's the reason I'm more tolerant towards the idea than he was, because while the Bajorans do treat them as actual gods, they're pretty much still in the same category as all the other non-corporeal lifeforms we'd seen in the past, like the Organians for example.

Plus I liked the whole juxtaposition between them, the closest thing to an actual god-like creature, to the Founders who simply bought into their own propaganda and thought they were gods.

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Well, it's not as if super telekinetic mind powers aren't an established part of Trek going back to the second pilot.
True, but the trouble with that particular story (The Storyteller, not Where No Man Has Gone Before) is that they never bother to actually explain what the hell that cloud thing was, or how exactly the positive emotions of the villagers drive it away. It's just a plot device for getting O'Brien into trouble, and not a very good one at that. WNMHGB at least made an attempt at trying to make the whole thing look scientific.

I could understand it was some kind of an attempt to bond O'Brien and Bashir, but if it was, it still leaves something to be desired. There's that later story with both of them trapped inside a room with a bomb or some kind of a bioweapon set to go off that was much better.
 
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Old 2015-10-14, 10:16 PM   #34
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The same general thing happens a few times in the series if memory serves, although they usually find a way to fix things anyway.

In a real-world sense I don't disagree with the "not our problem, warp nine to the next system!" policy towards crises like this. The Federation's mandate is to take care of Federation citizens, not spend their resources fixing problems outside of their borders. Non-interference is the only practical way of dealing with things, because if you help one species you're going to have fifty more banging down your door, and if you don't/can't help them then suddenly you're making yourself new enemies.

It's trying to wrap it up as a moral choice that gets my hackles up. The Prime Directive is usually a good rule, but the almost religious fervour that Picard defends it with is a bit unsettling. There's no valid argument where letting millions of innocents die is morally right, only scenarios where letting it happen is better for Federation interests. The other captains never seemed to have that same devotion to it, thankfully, so it's mostly a "Picard" issue and not a sign of the entire Federation being brainwashed.
IIRC in that episode Dr. Crusher explains that she realizes that are a million little problems moving that clan to a new planet. Ranging from them finding food to disease to climate to dangerous lifeforms to other intelligent inhabitants. Is that basically the crew are being forced to play God with this clan.

Kirk and company had to deal with it. In Bread and Circus Scotty has to get Kirk, Spock, and McCoy has to get them out an Earth like planet where the Roman Empire never fell and because of the Prime Directive he can't use any of their technology to do it.

Both Sisko and Janeway also had to deal with it.
 



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Old 2015-10-14, 11:21 PM   #35
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True, but the trouble with that particular story (The Storyteller, not Where No Man Has Gone Before) is that they never bother to actually explain what the hell that cloud thing was, or how exactly the positive emotions of the villagers drive it away. It's just a plot device for getting O'Brien into trouble, and not a very good one at that. WNMHGB at least made an attempt at trying to make the whole thing look scientific.
They explained it. The Dal'Rok (the cloud thing) was created by the storyteller using an Orb fragment, with the idea of creating unity among the villagers by pitting them against a common foe.

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I could understand it was some kind of an attempt to bond O'Brien and Bashir, but if it was, it still leaves something to be desired. There's that later story with both of them trapped inside a room with a bomb or some kind of a bioweapon set to go off that was much better.
Pretty sure bonding was the intent of the episode. And yeah, the one where Bashir and O'Brien are helping that week's set of wacky haired aliens dispose of bioweapons was much better.
Plus it made Keiko look like an idiot at the end of the episode
 
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Old 2015-10-15, 02:22 AM   #36
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They explained it. The Dal'Rok (the cloud thing) was created by the storyteller using an Orb fragment, with the idea of creating unity among the villagers by pitting them against a common foe.
I recall something about an orb fragment, but the rest of it must've slipped right past me. I don't know where my head's at.

And I remember like nothing about the other episode beyond what I described, so for all I know it might've been a complete turd.
 

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Old 2015-10-16, 03:56 PM   #37
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Fair point. If the director isn't into it, that's going to hurt things a fair bit. It's kind of a shame that they couldn't either find a script the director liked, or find a director that liked the script. I can understand why they didn't want to fire one of the main cast of the film from direction duties, though.
Siritis is even more scathing of it, which has a degree of irony considering she probably gets more to do overall than in the other three (even if her defining film moment is in FC). IIRC She even says she fell asleep at the premier, much as Jimmy Doohan did during Generations.


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I think part of why Khan was so good is that it ignored a bunch of the stuff in your first paragraph, though. I honestly can't remember if Sulu and Uhura even have lines, though I'm sure they did. And I only remember Scotty from that stupid "take the dead cadet's body up to the bridge" scene (that was his nephew IIRC, but I don't think the final film mentioned it), with Saavik "stealing" their screen time instead. And the plot wasn't self-contained, instead being built on the foundations of an old TV episode. I think that gave them a whole lot more room to maneuver.
I think their their presence (bar Scotty, who as you say had the emotional resonance of him moment cut out. I just assumed the turbo lift was broken and took him to the bridge rather than sickbay by mistake) is roughly right for an average episode of the show. III is the first to really strive to make it a full ensemble, in that case because of no Nimoy creating a whole, but it carries on for the next three. Even if none of them like their moments in V!

I think one of the strengths of Khan (and FC mostly pulls it off as well), if that despite being a sequel it still works as a standalone. It's basically no different from a cop film where the guy they put away years ago comes back to get them.

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Apparently it was his idea too. I remember reading that he contacted the producers after one of the other cast members told him that they were making another TNG film and that it'd be the last one.
IIRC Levar Burton suggested he should try and get in it when they were on the Weakest Link.

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I always thought that writing the character out with "he's a Traveller now LOL" was silly, because it was such a random about-face for the guy. It's a shame they didn't end his arc differently so that he could have actually, properly been in one of the movies. It would have been cool to see an adult Wesley actually do something.
Plus it's a dreary episode as well, part of that 90's American TV thing of "Boy we were racist towards the Indians. Let's make up for it by patronising!" trend.


Quote:
The same general thing happens a few times in the series if memory serves, although they usually find a way to fix things anyway.

In a real-world sense I don't disagree with the "not our problem, warp nine to the next system!" policy towards crises like this. The Federation's mandate is to take care of Federation citizens, not spend their resources fixing problems outside of their borders. Non-interference is the only practical way of dealing with things, because if you help one species you're going to have fifty more banging down your door, and if you don't/can't help them then suddenly you're making yourself new enemies.

It's trying to wrap it up as a moral choice that gets my hackles up. The Prime Directive is usually a good rule, but the almost religious fervour that Picard defends it with is a bit unsettling. There's no valid argument where letting millions of innocents die is morally right, only scenarios where letting it happen is better for Federation interests. The other captains never seemed to have that same devotion to it, thankfully, so it's mostly a "Picard" issue and not a sign of the entire Federation being brainwashed.
Yeah, not trying to save everyone outside their borders is sensible, especially with planet destroying disasters being so common in Trek, but when they go to watch the planet self destruct and put people on the surface to look at the people before they die but don't lift a finger to do anything they're just dicks.


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As a kid I always got super-excited for the two-parters whenever they came up, and I still have a soft spot for some of them (the Klingon civil war and that Mark Twain one) but for the most part they are some of the weakest parts of the series.
Oh yes, there was always something exciting about double length episodes that's been lost in these days of increased serialisation. Kids today, eh?


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Though at the same time, playing Tom Riker could have given Frakes so much more to do that the billing would have been justified again.
Mind, both O'Brien and Harry Kim got replaced by doubles during the course of their series and no one ever noticed or ever mentioned it again, so maybe it wouldn't have made a difference.


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The score is great, but the lighting, costumes and set design are a big part of it too. They obviously put a huge amount of work into making the Borg terrifying, and it worked in a way that the later, CGI-driven attempts in Voyager never really did.
Oh yes. HD has mostly been very kind on TNG. Planet Hell looks even ropier, but for a series that's been so dismissed as being beige and dull to look at, just how bright and colourful the show is and how well the models and costumes (mostly) stand up was a revelation.

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Part of why Best of Both Worlds works so well for me is that it was way more character-driven than anything that happened in TNG prior. It handles the crew's loss of a comrade with way more force than any of the one-and-done "Picard/Data/some other guy is missing or presumed dead" episodes that we got, and actually shows how important these people are to one another. It also tells you more about the sort of person that Riker is than the entire series up to that point (or rather, the person he grew into over three years), has one of the first actually good moments of Troi counselling someone, etc, etc. It also shows how much Data has grown, by making an intuitive leap that early Data never could have managed during his chat with Locutus.
Mostly bang on, though I don't think Troi actually helps Riker with his decision beyond rubbing his face in it about having gotten older.

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Even by the books' timeline I'm pretty sure that's still true. In fact I think she made admiral before Riker made captain.
Oh that's hilarious!

I know one of the big ideas of Trek is that everyone is happy and can live the lives they want. But lots of people want to be first officer on the Enterprise, it's really not fair of Riker to hog it as long as he did.


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How new at it could he have been, though? He was already a lieutenant commander in Starfleet, thought highly enough of to be made second officer of the fleet's biggest, newest and most important starship. He would have gone through the academy, plus time as an ensign, lieutenant junior grade and lieutenant before the series started (assuming he was promoted to lieutenant commander when he was chosen for the Enterprise job). Since Starfleet is based on the US Navy I looked up their rules, and apparently you need to have nine years of service before you qualify for promotion to lieutenant commander. Add on four years at the academy and he'd have been in Starfleet for at least thirteen years (indeed, the novels and such say he was around for much longer than that because he wasn't very ambitious and didn't seek out promotions the way a Riker would).
Star Fleet is actually promotion happy it seems. Nog went from first year cadet to Lt. in four years (yes, there was a war, but there was at least one brutal nasty war prior to the start of TNG. Even if no one ever mentioned the Cardassians until 30 seconds before they first appeared), Wesley got to be an full ensign without going to the academy (presumably if Wheaton had stayed it would have been a permanent position) and thanks to poor continuity there's internal evidence in the original series Kirk was a Lt. before leaving the academy (annoyingly I know one of the episodes that contradic each other is Court Martial but I can't remember the other!).

Plus nu Kirk went from cadet to Captain instantly (and it almost makes sense considering the rest of Star Fleet has virtually be wiped out. It's just a bit too ludicrous a lead. And makes Riker not keeping his promotion in similar circumstances even similar).

I actually really like how Data handles command whenever we see him in a position to do so, he has a nice brisk no-nonsense style that works. He handles that dick in Redemption well (despite the forced drama in him not just going "Data to Enterprise, I have a solution to our problem, please hold") and dealt with Worf's grumpiness well in Gambit.

He's also the only one of the bridge crew to act like a grown up around Jericho (though to be fair, Geordi seems to be coming round by the end). It's actually embarrassing to see Riker throwing his toys out the pram at having to deal with a different command style. Certainl Jericho comes over much better in their big confrontation, allowing ranks to be dropped so Riker can get everything off his chest in one go and making the grovelling apology needed to get Riker to do the job. All whilst Will is insanely smug (I wonder if Geordi was lying about him being the best pilot just to help his mate out?!).

Oddly the Federation have a clear distrust of robots and artificial intelligence in general, neither are as advanced as you'd expect and how often do you get variants on the "Put it on manual, this needs human intuition!" scene? As with genetics, something must have happened there.

Indeed, how often did Data get shown up because he didn't have a "Gut"? Troi beat him at chess! In a scene written by someone who has never played chess (try doing a game just following your gut instinct).

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I'd tend to think that the writers agreed with you. The show itself explained away a lot of its' own supernatural trappings, though. From the beginning the Prophets were just non-linear aliens with weird tech living in a wormhole, and I don't think they ever did anything that we hadn't seen accomplished with normal technology by other aliens in other shows.
Though there is a shift in that Sisko pretty much emphatically comes to believe in them as Prophets/Gods (there's also a shift in how they behave, in the pilot they're accidental gods who just want to be left alone. By series end... well they're basically the Vorlons from Babylon 5).
 
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Old 2015-10-16, 06:06 PM   #38
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Well, apart from wiping out the whole Dominion fleet when they entered the wormhole, but considering that was squarely their domain...I guess that's the reason I'm more tolerant towards the idea than he was, because while the Bajorans do treat them as actual gods, they're pretty much still in the same category as all the other non-corporeal lifeforms we'd seen in the past, like the Organians for example.
More or less. The Dominion fleet isn't exactly the first thing to get lost in the wormhole...IIRC at least one guy gets transported through time by it, and I'm pretty sure other stuff just disappeared or disabled from time to time. They could have sent the Jem'Hadar somewhere else entirely, or maybe they're still in there getting into confusing arguments with ephemeral versions of all the Vorta and Founders that they've met.

In spite of their highly alien nature and extreme power levels, there's a "science" of sorts to what the Prophets can and can't do that makes rational sense, so like you say they fall into the "really advanced aliens" category for me. They can't just snap their fingers and make anything happen the way Q or Apollo did.

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Plus I liked the whole juxtaposition between them, the closest thing to an actual god-like creature, to the Founders who simply bought into their own propaganda and thought they were gods.
The contrast between them was one of my favourite parts of the series as well. Though the argument could be made...the Prophets just sat in their ivory tower and never did shit aside from raping Sisko's mom so that he'd be born and do their busywork. Their "relationship" with Bajor was strictly one-way and they didn't even seem to be aware of it. The Founders actually created life and gave it purpose, elevating the Vorta from simple monkeys to a highly-intelligent sentient race and creating the Jem'Hadar out of nothing. So which of them are the real gods after all?

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IIRC in that episode Dr. Crusher explains that she realizes that are a million little problems moving that clan to a new planet. Ranging from them finding food to disease to climate to dangerous lifeforms to other intelligent inhabitants. Is that basically the crew are being forced to play God with this clan.
That sounds familiar, yeah. Though a lot of the problems are due to the subterfuge rather than the move itself. If the aliens were aware of what was happening they could have worked together with them to solve all of those little issues, but keeping them in the dark about what was actually going on (in order to "preserve their culture", a futile endeavour when you plan to take them away from everything that made that culture possible to begin with) made that impossible.

The problems cut both ways, too -- introducing an alien species to a new environment usually has disastrous consequences for that environment as well, wether or not the new species is intelligent. The aliens could well destroy the local ecosystem just by being there.

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Plus it's a dreary episode as well, part of that 90's American TV thing of "Boy we were racist towards the Indians. Let's make up for it by patronising!" trend.
Ironically, I just watched this episode last night. Holy shit is it awful! And even more racist than the old media portrayals they were trying to make up for. Everyone calls the colonists "Indians" even though that was already an outdated, sorta-offensive term in the 1990s, even the Cardassians (who surely wouldn't care about aliens' ethnic background while trying to evict them). There's absolutely no mention of what their actual tribal background is, and indeed the episode gives them a culture that's basically a mishmash of old, half-understood Hollywood "spiritual injun" tropes (though this is the show that treats France and England as basically the same place, so they've got form for this). Everyone is running around in buckskin vests and other such stereotypical clothing. Tom Jackson's spiritual leader character wanders around spouting empty homilies for 45 minutes before it turns out he's actually a white guy in disguise because god forbid a minority guest star have impact on the plot. Frankly I'm surprised nobody tried to scalp the Cardassians they took hostage. And then the whole thing was resolved off-screen by the colonists agreeing to live on a 24-century Indian Reserve in Cardassian territory.

And yet somehow the Wesley B-plot managed to be even worse.

Admiral Nachayev was always awesome, though, so the episode at least had that going for it.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Mind, both O'Brien and Harry Kim got replaced by doubles during the course of their series and no one ever noticed or ever mentioned it again, so maybe it wouldn't have made a difference.
I was about to say "no, the O'Brien double got killed", until I realized that it happened twice to him, maybe three times.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Mostly bang on, though I don't think Troi actually helps Riker with his decision beyond rubbing his face in it about having gotten older.
I don't know about that. She didn't help him decide per se, but she cut through a lot of the bullshit that he was going in circles about and made him focus on what was actually important. "What do you want, Will Riker?". None of the "oh I'm too comfortable here!" or "I wanted to be captain before I turned 30!" nonsense, but what would actually make him happy.

Even though I wish they'd gone in a different direction with the character, I think that conversation was what made Riker realize that he wasn't as ambitious as he used to be, that he was really happy with the life he had now, and most importantly that it was okay to feel that way. I mean, we all had our dreams when we were kids but how many of us really want to be the boss at work once we're grown up and realize how much extra trouble it is?

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
I know one of the big ideas of Trek is that everyone is happy and can live the lives they want. But lots of people want to be first officer on the Enterprise, it's really not fair of Riker to hog it as long as he did.
Right, but by that logic Picard should have retired so that Riker could be captain. So it was Jean-Luc's fault all along!

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Star Fleet is actually promotion happy it seems. Nog went from first year cadet to Lt. in four years (yes, there was a war, but there was at least one brutal nasty war prior to the start of TNG. Even if no one ever mentioned the Cardassians until 30 seconds before they first appeared), Wesley got to be an full ensign without going to the academy (presumably if Wheaton had stayed it would have been a permanent position) and thanks to poor continuity there's internal evidence in the original series Kirk was a Lt. before leaving the academy (annoyingly I know one of the episodes that contradic each other is Court Martial but I can't remember the other!).
I don't know enough about the original series to really comment on Kirk, but Saavik was definitely a Lieutenant and a cadet at the same time. A lot of the secondary sources at the time (novels and such) made it seem like people went to the Academy for a while, then dicked around as ensigns, then picked a specialty and went back to the academy to train some more (hence Chekov being head of security in TMP in spite of having nothing to do with it in the TV series).

Nog, as you say, was a wartime promotion. Considering the amount of casualties going around I'd imagine there were tons of those. After all, losing 100 ships in a single battle apparently wasn't unusual. On the other hand, I don't think Wesley's rank would have been recognized outside of the Enterprise chain of command, just like all the Maquis that Janeway slapped officers' ranks on probably would have raised some eyebrows once Voyager got home. Obviously they would have handwaved it if the actor hadn't quit, but the way it worked out actually made a lot of sense -- Wesley had an entry-level position on the Enterprise, but to advance his career beyond that he had to give it up and take a step back. But in Nog's case Starfleet had lost so many good officers that they really had no choice but to keep promoting people even if their formal training was cut short.

Re: the Cardassian war, the only thing that makes any sense to me is that it was akin to the first Gulf War -- a big deal to the smaller power that got its' shit kicked in, but much less of a worry for the bigger, more advanced Federation. The Cardies just never seemed to be much of a threat, and their technology (as we saw in DS9) was way behind Federation standard. Just based on what we saw, pre-Dominion I'd guess they were more on par with the technology of Kirk's era than Picard's.

The Klingons curb-stomped them pretty effortlessly too, when it came down to it, even when it seemed like they weren't actually trying that hard to do so.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Plus nu Kirk went from cadet to Captain instantly (and it almost makes sense considering the rest of Star Fleet has virtually be wiped out. It's just a bit too ludicrous a lead. And makes Riker not keeping his promotion in similar circumstances even similar).
And then from captain back down to cadet at the start of the second one, because reasons. The new movies are idiotic on that front though, so I can't take anything they've got to say seriously.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
I actually really like how Data handles command whenever we see him in a position to do so, he has a nice brisk no-nonsense style that works. He handles that dick in Redemption well (despite the forced drama in him not just going "Data to Enterprise, I have a solution to our problem, please hold") and dealt with Worf's grumpiness well in Gambit.
Yeah, if I was in Starfleet I would love to serve under Captain Data.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
He's also the only one of the bridge crew to act like a grown up around Jericho (though to be fair, Geordi seems to be coming round by the end). It's actually embarrassing to see Riker throwing his toys out the pram at having to deal with a different command style. Certainl Jericho comes over much better in their big confrontation, allowing ranks to be dropped so Riker can get everything off his chest in one go and making the grovelling apology needed to get Riker to do the job. All whilst Will is insanely smug (I wonder if Geordi was lying about him being the best pilot just to help his mate out?!).
Worf actually got along pretty well with Jellico too, didn't he? Although the chance to bust Cardassian heads might have had something to do with that.

That whole scenario was hilarious, because Jellico proved to be a better captain than Picard ever would have been in the same situation -- I mean, Picard never would have been ruthless enough to do what Jellico did and resolve the situation without a fight, because Picard never would have been willing to blow up fifty Cardassian warships with hidden bombs if his bluff got called. Riker meanwhile was a petulant child, and spent the whole two-parter pouting because he wasn't chosen to be captain while Picard was away (well gee Will, maybe you shouldn't have turned down all those promotions then if you want to be captain so badly...). Even Geordi was constantly pouting about having some of his staff reassigned, as if security wasn't important and they wouldn't need armed, trained officers if a war broke out. Meanwhile Data and Worf, the only two people on the ship who actually act like they understand how serious the situation is, thrive under him and probably would have loved it if he'd stayed.

It's funny that so much of the fandom (and even the novels, like New Frontier) make Jellico out to be this completely unreasonable tool, when honestly, he seemed like a great guy to work for.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Indeed, how often did Data get shown up because he didn't have a "Gut"? Troi beat him at chess! In a scene written by someone who has never played chess (try doing a game just following your gut instinct).
Kind of ironic, considering how invincible modern chess software is even against grand champions.
 
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Old 2015-10-17, 03:46 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
In spite of their highly alien nature and extreme power levels, there's a "science" of sorts to what the Prophets can and can't do that makes rational sense, so like you say they fall into the "really advanced aliens" category for me. They can't just snap their fingers and make anything happen the way Q or Apollo did.
I always thought it was a shame that for the last season the original "Prophets speak through the appearance of suspiciously appropriate people" idea was dropped for "The Prophets speak through the form of Sisko's played by a bad actress mother".


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The contrast between them was one of my favourite parts of the series as well. Though the argument could be made...the Prophets just sat in their ivory tower and never did shit aside from raping Sisko's mom so that he'd be born and do their busywork. Their "relationship" with Bajor was strictly one-way and they didn't even seem to be aware of it. The Founders actually created life and gave it purpose, elevating the Vorta from simple monkeys to a highly-intelligent sentient race and creating the Jem'Hadar out of nothing. So which of them are the real gods after all?
Thankfully the show never flat out said it, but the general fan assumption used to be that the Prophets were the future evolved form of the Bajorans ("We are of Bajor").



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Ironically, I just watched this episode last night. Holy shit is it awful! And even more racist than the old media portrayals they were trying to make up for. Everyone calls the colonists "Indians" even though that was already an outdated, sorta-offensive term in the 1990s, even the Cardassians (who surely wouldn't care about aliens' ethnic background while trying to evict them). There's absolutely no mention of what their actual tribal background is, and indeed the episode gives them a culture that's basically a mishmash of old, half-understood Hollywood "spiritual injun" tropes (though this is the show that treats France and England as basically the same place, so they've got form for this). Everyone is running around in buckskin vests and other such stereotypical clothing. Tom Jackson's spiritual leader character wanders around spouting empty homilies for 45 minutes before it turns out he's actually a white guy in disguise because god forbid a minority guest star have impact on the plot. Frankly I'm surprised nobody tried to scalp the Cardassians they took hostage. And then the whole thing was resolved off-screen by the colonists agreeing to live on a 24-century Indian Reserve in Cardassian territory.
In slight mitigation, according to The Companion they did consult whatever the representative body of Native American culture is in America (I forget the exact name, King of the Indians? Sadie?) and were assured "Indian" was OK to use, but were asked to change to script so it wasn't a specific tribe featured in the episode.

Maybe they were taking the piss? Or just out of touch with general Native American feeling?

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I was about to say "no, the O'Brien double got killed", until I realized that it happened twice to him, maybe three times.
Yeah, O'Brien from season 3 onwards is a slightly younger replacement from a defunct timeline who watched the original die.


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Right, but by that logic Picard should have retired so that Riker could be captain. So it was Jean-Luc's fault all along!
And if Crusher had put out (that's a suspicious accident Jack had isn't it? Especially as Generations reveals his ideal dream wife looks just like another crewmember who was widowed) Picard would have been relaxed enough to go!


Quote:
I don't know enough about the original series to really comment on Kirk, but Saavik was definitely a Lieutenant and a cadet at the same time. A lot of the secondary sources at the time (novels and such) made it seem like people went to the Academy for a while, then dicked around as ensigns, then picked a specialty and went back to the academy to train some more (hence Chekov being head of security in TMP in spite of having nothing to do with it in the TV series).
That sounds like they're trying to make sense of the Kirk thing.

I picked up the costumes of Star Trek hardback last week, and there's a publicity picture of Saavik in there I'd not seen before where she's managing to work the Mountie uniform very well.

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Re: the Cardassian war, the only thing that makes any sense to me is that it was akin to the first Gulf War -- a big deal to the smaller power that got its' shit kicked in, but much less of a worry for the bigger, more advanced Federation. The Cardies just never seemed to be much of a threat, and their technology (as we saw in DS9) was way behind Federation standard. Just based on what we saw, pre-Dominion I'd guess they were more on par with the technology of Kirk's era than Picard's.
It actually got a bit silly how many species the Enterprise and DS9 crews run into (I don't know if Voyager and Enterprise carried it on, the last example I can think of is The Adversary) the Federation had been at war with in recent memory--sometimes even the life of the series--but hadn't been mentioned before. The Cardassians were the only ones to stick.

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And then from captain back down to cadet at the start of the second one, because reasons. The new movies are idiotic on that front though, so I can't take anything they've got to say seriously.
Yeah, I always found the "He had to be Captain by the end of the film because people wouldn't stand for otherwise" stance odd considering the very obvious Batman Begins influence (oh look, the second film features the drastically reinvented most popular recurring villain. Though one of the things I do like about Into Darkness is it subverts a lot of Ledgerisms everyone has felt compelled to do, it was actually nice to have a villain who doesn't have Every Single Thing Including Their Own Capture planned out in advance and actually has to react to the actions of the heroes and plan on the hoof) where Gordon didn't end the film as Commissioner.

Plus the equally Nolanesque Craig Bond's (they destroyed stately Bond manor!) didn't feel compelled to stick every single thing people expect in there right away.

It would actually make sense for Data to have gone through the academy quickly considering his intelligence, speed and the fact he can study 24 hours a day (and surely they must have courses of different duration for more intelligent species like Vulcans? Or very short lived ones like Kes who would be almost dead by the time she graduated?), though I suppose with the whole "Desire to be human" thing he'd have probably insisted on the long road.

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Yeah, if I was in Starfleet I would love to serve under Captain Data.
Shame really, he probably thought he could just out-wait Riker considering the whole immortal thing.


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Worf actually got along pretty well with Jellico too, didn't he? Although the chance to bust Cardassian heads might have had something to do with that.
I don't recall Worf getting much to do in the second part, once he's rescued he just goes back to duty, we don't hear him moan but he doesn't get chance to (having a lot of inexperienced engineers on his staff all of a sudden would probably be annoying!).

Crusher of course manages to get her oar in though. "I have to get ready for all the casualties you're about to send me", I bet he was already thinking of getting Pulaski back.

Quote:
That whole scenario was hilarious, because Jellico proved to be a better captain than Picard ever would have been in the same situation -- I mean, Picard never would have been ruthless enough to do what Jellico did and resolve the situation without a fight, because Picard never would have been willing to blow up fifty Cardassian warships with hidden bombs if his bluff got called. Riker meanwhile was a petulant child, and spent the whole two-parter pouting because he wasn't chosen to be captain while Picard was away (well gee Will, maybe you shouldn't have turned down all those promotions then if you want to be captain so badly...). Even Geordi was constantly pouting about having some of his staff reassigned, as if security wasn't important and they wouldn't need armed, trained officers if a war broke out. Meanwhile Data and Worf, the only two people on the ship who actually act like they understand how serious the situation is, thrive under him and probably would have loved it if he'd stayed.
Yeah, and to be fair to Geordi, he at least handles his grievance properly (complaining to Riker as the guy who has to deal with personnel issues), he doesn't actually start almost crying in front of the captain. How can Riker not have a handle on the idea of "Plausible deniability" missions?

It basically shows how homogeneous that crew had become, they worked well together but were so wary of outsiders and doing things differently there was no way they were going to move on in their careers.

Data's "Actually we can do that easily" always cracks me up.

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It's funny that so much of the fandom (and even the novels, like New Frontier) make Jellico out to be this completely unreasonable tool, when honestly, he seemed like a great guy to work for.
Yes, now you mention it, I do remember not liking that about those books, he'd suddenly become Mr. Belding. He actually reminded me more of the dick Captain from David's earlier book Vendetta (which is, or at least was as I remember it, generally an awesome Borg book).
 
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Old 2015-10-18, 12:34 PM   #40
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The IDW one-shot about Jellico is worth a look. He's still rather a dick, but much more competent than various other appearances and you can follow his logic.

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Originally Posted by Warcry
I was actually really surprised to find out that they published a followup at all. Wasn't he on death's door a few years ago? I can't say that any more New Frontier will be high on my to-do list, though. There's already more Star Trek books than I have time to read (the only thing I've been able to keep up with lately has been Vanguard, which was amazing, and its follow-up, Seekers).
Yeah, almost didn't make it.

I got through a few books of Vanguard and gave up, TBH... even though I was reading it over an extended period, it seemed to be repeating itself quite a lot.

Of the new stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed DTI, don't mind a bit of Titan, quite enjoyed the Destiny arc putting a lid on a series of increasingly fanfic-ish Borg stories (such as Before Dishonor, which was PAD as well) and the Typhon Pact / DS9 / Voyager stuff hasn't thrown up anything of particular interest from what I've read and can remember. I like that there's some advancement, but would rather have had more of the Nan Bacco era politics than another fill-in entry around Andor going nuts or slipstream technology.
 
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