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Old 09-27-2017, 12:13 AM
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Default Star Trek: Discovery Discussion (SPOILERS HERE ONLY)

It's here! Time to talk about it! This is the thread for reviews and comments as each episode comes out. Since discussion is much more fruitful when we can actually say stuff, unmarked spoilers up to the current episode are allowed in this thread -- and ONLY this thread. The "new Trek series" thread will remain a catch-all for news and such, but from now on any news about episodes that haven't aired has to be spoiler-tagged.

Warning: I will not put up with any member questioning whether any other member watched the show legally. That's nobody else's business.

So! The first two episodes, "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars", have now aired. What did you think?
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
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Old 09-27-2017, 02:28 AM
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I quite enjoyed it, actually.

My main takeaways:
  • Burnham seems to be a good character, though that whole psychic link with Sarek thing was cheesy. Also, a human doing a nerve pinch? Come on.
  • The Klingons did take some time to get used to, but the fact that they actually showed a white Klingon surprised me. Was he albino? The uniforms make sense now that we think of them being fanatics, though, since that was never really explained in the marketing materials. T'Kuvma being a cult leader means a lot of continuity things from the Klingon side could be forgiven... though throw us long-time Trek fans a bone, give us one with a smooth forehead, please?
  • I like that the uniforms are ENT-esque, though overdone with the blue and yeah, the department colors are wrong. Still takes some getting used to, but I guess there was a need to make sure sciences stands out against the coloring. But damn, did you really have to give the boots deltas too?!?
  • Michelle Yeoh should have been a series regular and not the "special guest star". My humble opinion.
  • What the Hell was an android doing on the bridge?
  • The bridge being on the bottom of the Shenzhou didn't bother me as much as I thought it might. It seemed... natural for the design of the ship.
  • Why no Constitutions at the battle? You have ample opportunity to give the Trek fans the homage they so much desire, but it was like they actively avoided it at every turn.

Can't wait to see the actual starship this is supposed to be based on.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:46 AM
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Here are a few observations on the first two before I watch tonight's ep. I always find it complicated to review things because I'm worried about stealing from the fiver, but what the heck -- I have no idea how long it'll take to finish that.

I was pleasantly surprised at first that I'd enjoyed the ep enough to make up for a lot of qualms. This was basically my experience with Into Darkness, so (to borrow my Facebook phrasing) I figured DSC was shaping up to be a six-and-a-half-hour Abrams movie. That seemed pretty good, considering! I'd gone in prepared for something much worse.

But I've noticed that most of my Trek friends were less impressed, and I've concluded that I was actually more pessimistic than the fandom at large. I saw all the bad signs Nate chronicled in the other thread and was preparing myself for not just bad Trek, but bad entertainment. That doesn't seem to be typical. Apparently, despite everything, nobody was actually expecting outright garbage. So my legendary easy-to-pleaseness took a new form this time: I lowered my own expectations too far and wound up happily surprised!

Moreover, this week has brought another unexpected realization. See, there are no good transcripts out there for recent Trek (or most TV -- transcript sites these days are laaaazy), so I really have to watch it again for the fiver. And I just keep putting it off. As much fun as I had at the time, there's also a lot here I really don't want to subject myself to again. Number one on the list: the "Klingons". These aren't the complex Klingons of TNG/DS9. They're not the cunning Klingons of TOS. Hell, they're not even the stock-villain Klingons of ENT. These are pure Into Darkness Klingons: a race of boring, savage idiots.

Number two on the list is pretty much anything to do with the main character, Michael Burnham, whose name I find it actually hurts to type. That name says it all about her, really -- they gave her the most traditionally male name they could think of for absolutely no reason. She's just special that way. (At least pretend you named her after Michael Piller, you idiots!) The general theme is that we're supposed to admire and like this person, both in and out of universe, not only without evidence but against the evidence. I was hanging in there for the first episode, remembering that Kirk and Archer had their unearned glories and this could still be going somewhere... but again, the fact that she does what she does at the end of episode 1 and is allowed on another important mission by the same people before the end of episode 2 just says it all. It's one thing to give your characters flaws, and shocking the audience is always fun, but there are limits -- and Burnham sped past them at warp. Somehow we're supposed to be fine with a main character who is basically one of TOS's single-episode "officer who went crazy" villains.

I really did enjoy the show. I just hope there's some real Star Trek in the episodes to come, because so far this is just an entertaining but shallow fanfic with a really big budget.

Huh. Weird -- now that I've got this out of my system, I do kinda feel like watching it again.
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
Here are a few observations on the first two before I watch tonight's ep. I always find it complicated to review things because I'm worried about stealing from the fiver, but what the heck -- I have no idea how long it'll take to finish that.
Only if you ever respond to my draft email, Zeke.

Now that the mid-season break is here, I should take a moment to say that I really enjoy this show. Perhaps it's my attitude that got me there - I try to let optimism reign, but I also prepare for the worst - and I found this was somewhere pleasantly in the middle.

My impressions from the first two episodes were that the pilot two were weaker than the rest of the series. It actually took until "Choose Your Pain" for me to get excited to see this show every week at 5 PM on Monday - CraveTV in Canada has a 24 hour delay for posting their episodes. My notes from earlier still hold true, and my like for Burnham I can address later on.

There are characters I like better than others. On the like list, besides the aforementioned Burnham, are Saru, Staments and Tyler. On the other side, Tilly needs a lot more fleshing out before I can say I like her mostly because she's so damned annoying. I also am not a fan of Dr. Culber, and that redhead on helm whom Burnham served with on the Shenzhou, I can't even remember her name and I want her to reconcile with Burnham to ease each of their's conscience...

Special mentions:

Rainn Wilson makes a fantastic Harry Mudd. And actually seeing Stella before she "drove him to the stars"... that was a treat.

L'Rell. Oh God, L'Rell. First off, she's actually a lot like a TOS Klingon and gives me some hope that they link the portrayals of Klingons through her - the descended through spies touch was nice. Second, does anyone want to talk about the massive plot hole of L'Rell/Tyler and how if he endured seven months of torture, L'Rell was only around for a month and we don't know what he did to survive those first six months?

I miss Voq.

And I think the Discovery herself is fugly. Yes, I know, she's based off of the sketches from Planet of the Titans, but it's bad. Like, Starfleet designers went to work drunk bad. I loved every other design of main ship, but the Discovery could be scrapped tomorrow and I would not shed a tear.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:14 AM
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Do you know how Saru feels in the forests of Pahven early on, when he's desperate to get off the planet, can't appreciate what it has to offer, and can't even sleep because of the infernal, constant noise, tormenting him every second?

That's how I feel about Discovery every week. It is offering something. I can tell it's offering something. There's good in it, and I can occasionally establish enough objective distance from it to identify the good -- although never enough to actually judge whether the good justifies the bad. But, every time I try to just relax and enjoy the show, Discovery resumes its infernal, constant noise of hideous design and shattering continuity.

I watched Enterprise kick over some of Trek's canon idols and made my peace with it, even fell in love. I watched the Abrams movies, which was not as easy, and wrote Eleven Is Prime as a testament to how I forced myself to make peace with it. (I did not fall in love, but that was Into Darkness's own fault for being bad, not mine for being closed-minded.) But it's as though the past twenty years of Star Trek have been all about gradually ramping up the pressure on continuity buffs.

Discovery isn't just determined to ignore canon; if they wanted to do that, they would have just set the darned thing in the 25th century with no problem. No, Discovery has set out to deliberately touch bits of canon and then throw them back in our faces, shouting "nyah nyah look what I can do to your precious TOS!" I can't stop thinking about Discovery's canonical recklessness because every time I try to bracket it they throw some new retcon at me like "Harry Mudd is a mass murderer" or "Sarek is a damned liar" or "these 23rd-century communicators make 24th-century noises because our sound library is garbage." (Seriously, as an audio producer, the sound design of this show makes me want to throat-punch everyone.)

Even in those rare moments when I'm able to get away from wondering where the devil all the TOS Klingons without ridges are hiding or why Kirk was so surprised about cloaking devices in "Balance of Terror" when the KLINGONS had the technology ten years earlier... I then find myself thinking, "Boy, isn't it a shame that the ship, uniform, computer designs, and camera work all look so offensively bad?" People used to joke about the Abramsprise bridge looking like an Apple Store, but I hate the appearance of the bridge so much I would much prefer the bridge be an actual Apple Store.
And... I can't get past it. I just watched "Si Vis Pacis, Para Bellum," and I don't know whether it was good! I suspect it wasn't. For a Saru character episode, we got way too little time with Saru setting the stage, dealing with his crisis, or cleaning up the aftermath, and as a result Saru just seemed mercurial and untrustworthy. Presumably those scenes were all cut to make room for More Klingon Nonsense, in a subplot where I genuinely do not know what happened. Is the Admiral dead? Alive? Escaped? Still jailed? Find out next week, because this week didn't bother telling us!

But I'm too busy sitting here looking at the Gagarin bridge and asking whether there are any ships in the fleet besides the Enterprise that actually look like the Enterprise right now. (The Gagarin has, like, the fourth hideously ugly Starfleet bridge in a row.) Did CBS writers read Eleven Is Prime? Or am I just supposed to accept this?

Call it rigidity, but I cannot convince myself to enjoy this show, although I keep trying every week.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Is the Admiral dead? Alive? Escaped? Still jailed?
They do answer that one. Discovery seems to follow the annoying tendency of modern storytelling structure of coming back to plot threads several episodes later - this one is addressed in "Into The Forest I Go".

I'd reveal more, but...

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