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A Dedicated Thread For Talking About Star Trek Episodes

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On 29/01/2019 at 12:36 PM, SecretAsianMan said:

The main reason I'm still watching The Orville is because I'm trying to figure out why other people seem to like it.  It's one of those low critic, high public score shows.  I've seen several pieces talking about how people think The Orville is better Trek than Discovery.  Having not seen Discovery yet I can't make the comparison myself but it makes me wonder if either I'm missing something about The Orville or if Discovery is really that bad.

 

As someone who probably prefers the Orville to Discovery, I can give my two cents. While I totally agree that the Orville misses at least as often as it hits, and there are whole parts of the show I just don't like (such as most of the storylines centred on the Captain), I appreciate that it's trying to be about ethics and exploration and diplomacy. I like that most of the people involved are inherently good and trying to make the best of things. I don't always want to watch something basically optimistic and utopian, but sometimes I do and Star Trek was that for me a lot of the time. The most recent episode basically could have been a TOS episode - down to the slightly hamfisted "oh shit this civilisation is secretly a cipher for an issue in the real world" twist. The way the crew acts is pretty TNG. They're super excited about first contact with a new species, because that's why they're in the fleet in the first place. And that's why I'm into Star Trek in the first place!

 

By contrast, Discovery doesn't feel like Star Trek at all. I didn't mind the first season, because it had decent performances (split personality scenes notwithstanding) and incredible production values, but it's not about anything that I care about. It's not even really trying to be Star Trek in any way other than terminology. It's not even borrowing the aesthetic to any great extent. Again, not everything I watch has to be sunshine and daisies (in fact most of what I watch isn't), but I certainly don't award any extra points for dark "grittiness" either, and one of the main ways Discovery appears to be trying to impress us is by simultaneously having Star Trek in the title and swearing in the script.

 

So I guess to sum up; I think the Orville and Discovery both regularly fail at what they set out to do, but I at least prefer the Orville's aspirations.

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I can appreciate that.  I do like that The Orville is trying to appeal to the classic Trek aesthetic and not going for "gritty realism".  I find some of their ideas clever and I even like that many of the situations don't resolve cleanly.  I'm not very into the characters though (except maybe for one who seems to have left the show) which makes it hard for me to feel invested.

 

It sounds like I might hate Discovery based on what I've heard.

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S2 Episode 3 of Disco was yet another good'un! The plot was basically straight out of TOS/TNG (apart from a few obligatory scenes devoted to the overarching story), there was drama and resolution and it pulled at the heartstrings.

 

(The previous episode was, by the by, a giant Klingon-infused angsty mess. This show wildly veers from one to the other right now.)

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I think you're talking about episode 4, because actually episode 3 was heavily about boring Klingon crap. I too enjoyed episode 4 more than I've enjoyed Disco generally. The universal translator shenanigans were fun, and I only wish they'd been dived into more. As I said in Slack, it's an episode that actually fits with the title of the show for once. Captain Pike continues to be a really solid addition, and as someone else said in Slack, he seems to be one of the few people who can really pull off the sometimes dodgy dialogue.

 

I still wish the show were ever about anything that doesn't involve everyone on screen being under threat of death, though. I also wish we ever saw them take any time off or engage in any leisure activities or hobbies. Part of the reason the scene in Saru's quarters this episode was so striking is because we almost never see anyone's quarters or anything about them that isn't being in uniform, about to be blown up, and we almost never see them be friends or lovers unless it's a doomed romance a la last season. The only realistic relationship in season one was

Stamits and the Doctor, who promptly got fridged.

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Ah, it was indeed ep4 then. Luckily we have a more useful way of knowing where we are: counting backwards and forwards from the 'Klingon crap'.

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Discovery's writers seem like they're ADDICTED TO DRAMA because every second of every episode seems like it has to be during a countdown to everyone dying, or someone dying, or something bad happening, and there's never any time, and frankly it's not really my jam. It's like, I know you're trying to make it exciting, but would it kill you if there was ever a plotline that wasn't a ticking time bomb or something? Aside from that I'm enjoying the show, even the Klingon crap. I like it when they speak in Klingon! It's novel. And it's funny how the Klingons all live in overwrought space dungeons for some reason. I guess there's no Klingon word for "cozy." Mostly I feel the same way about Discovery as I did about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is that a lot of the trappings are not really my jam, but its heart is in the right place and all the characters + actors they have are quite good, so there's definitely room to grow.

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I avoided this topic for a few weeks because I had to catch up. So here's my review on the latest two eps: they were both good! Tilly's big space adventure in the spore world was pretty good and Section 31 seems like goofy fun. It's place where Georgiou seems to fit rather well, though for better or worse she has become a little comic book through it.

 

The Saru episode, fresh off Saru's refound sense of non-fear, was straight up golden age science fiction and I loved it. I kept guessing (wrongly) what the Ba'ul would be and it got pretty crazy, in a good way.

 

All in all, Discovery Season 2 is looking pretty positive so far!

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My guess for what the Ba'ul would be:

 

Spoiler

An upper social class of Kelpian who keep most of the resources to themselves and have gradually created this Ba'ul identity to prevent revolution.

 

I'm still holding out a sliver of hope that this is the actual double-twist truth.

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That was my guess as well, and I get the feeling that's the red herring they were going for, to make viewers feel smart and then out-smart them by presenting the more standard reveal. Kind of a double bluff. Still worked in my opinion, and kept me guessing. I expect more slow burn unfolding of the situation between the kelpians and ba'ul.

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Yeah, you're probably right. It definitely feels like more reveals are planned, though - that Ba'ul design seems notably vague..!

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Has anyone watched Picard?  The series premiere is currently free on YouTube.  I watched it and I admit I'm a little intrigued, mostly at the way it both follows and abandons the Abrams films.  I'm still hesitant to get a CBS account to watch the show but it has put me back in a Trek mood. 

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I get it on Prime UK. There's some very clunky writing - the first ep papered over the cracks with good pacing, action and acting. The second ep was mostly serialisation busywork so it didn't fare as well. I suspect ep 3 will be good. 

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After watching the premier of Picard, I did a rewatch of DS9 and Voyager.  I increasingly appreciate DS9 the more I watch it but as a Trek show I still prefer others to it.  I especially hate anything to do with the Prophets and the Pah Wraiths.  That entire storyline goes nowhere and the resolution is almost completely inconsequential to anyone.  My feelings on Voyager are about the same as they were before.  Some serious character missteps but otherwise good sci-fi fun.

 

Afterwards I saw that CBS was doing a month of their streaming service for free so I hopped on that and watched all of Picard.  I've got some mixed feelings on it.  On the one hand I enjoyed watching it and genuinely wanted to know what happened next after each episode.  They kept things moving along without resorting to cliffhangers or surprise twists or a lot of other lazy gimmicks.  The characters have a lot of nuance and some DEEP flaws which makes them far realer than the mostly pure paragons of humanity of previous Trek.

 

On the other hand it's kind of disjointed.  The actual plot is kind of hard to follow because of the way they tell it (lots of flashback type stuff).  There's a lot of reliance on the previous shows, not so much that you'd get nothing out of it if this was your first Trek, but you'd be missing a TON.  And not just fan service stuff, really important and sometimes vital plot info that isn't explained at all.  And there's just a bunch of loose ends and open questions that don't really get addressed.  Maybe in the future but at the end I had more questions than the beginning.

 

Still, I did end up digging it, enough to be looking forward to a second season.

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I gave up on Picard. Very slow, clunky writing, dull story. I got a few minutes into episode 5 when another character pretty much looked into camera and said "this is my backstory and emotional arc", and then I was reminded of the prospect of a 'casino planet' episode and that was it for me.

 

Also, re. this Discovery discussion

 

On 3/2/2019 at 9:00 AM, Ben X said:

Yeah, you're probably right. It definitely feels like more reveals are planned, though - that Ba'ul design seems notably vague..!

 

I gave up on Discovery too, but seems like

Spoiler

they didn't do much more with the Ba'ul/Kelpian thing except use them as factions in the serialised Red Angel stuff.

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I've seen a lot of other complaints about Picard being slow.  I don't entirely disagree, I was probably able to get through it because I binged the entire season so it felt more like one big long episode. 

 

The most jarring thing to me is the rather drastic changes to the personalities of everyone involved.  Maybe it's because I haven't watched any of Discovery but the tone is so very different it's hard to feel comfortable saying it's still the same Jean-Luc.  I'm willing to accept that people change over time but we're talking about a major shift of his core personality and some of the defining traits of the character.  It's such a radical shift that it makes the resulting conflicts feel very manufactured.

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