Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Star Trek Discovery: Season 3 – reactions, spoilers?

Thu ,14/01/2021

So finished up watching Season 3 the other night. Here’s some reactions (and yes, the inevitable spoilers if you read far enough – be forewarned!)

positives:
1) This is a **way** more exciting and cohesive long-story than Season 2. One of the best things about Season 1 was the excellent and multi-episode storytelling, including the mysterious reveals as to Capt. Lorca and others – but Season 2 kind of squandered that and went in a lot of different, sometimes meaningless directions. I had heard there were some personnel changes behind the scenes during Season 2, which may have affected things, not sure – but they definitely righted the ship for Season 3, to be sure.

2) They are obviously spending the money on this show, the effects are amazing and they’ve kept them top-notch throughout.

3) There were more ‘overt’ bad guys this season, including aspects of some of the main characters, Georgiou being most notable of course. But Osira later and a few others mid-season stood out too.

4) they spent even more time on character development – while this crew seems to have among the most ‘main characters’ of any Star Trek to date (including DS9) already at the start, they introduced at least 1-3 new ones this year too, depending on your perspective (but more on the downside of that below);

5) Better focus. They stuck to a simpler overall long plot (what caused The Burn) and the various adventures taken to figure it out;

6) good to look back at why people left the Federation, especially Vulcan/Nav’arr – and then the attempt to bring them back, definitely one of the best episodes.

Gripes and spoilers
1) there was a bit too much of Saru’s inner struggles for me. I realize he was ‘growing into his role’ as Captain but it just seemed like he’d have matured faster than they wrote him to over the course of the season.

2) Other than aiding Burnham when she wants to go rogue – what does Georgiou do all day otherwise? Great character but definitely unclear – she’s not ship security, she’s not Empress (save for her series exit late in the season) – so is she just a passenger?

3) Too many main characters – I like that they’ve done far more character development but unless they want to do more episodes per season, they really don’t have the time to share lines with that many main cast members? Especially if they are introducing new characters like Book, Adeira and slightly more minor characters like the Admiral, Osira and similar? yes, going back to Kirk, Spock and McCoy beaming down to every planet is way too simplified but at some point they need to simply focus on who they already have on the ship?

4) Burnham is one of the most interesting and dynamic central characters in any Star Trek series to date, but (as some characters like Book and Georgiou snidely remark from time to time) she can’t resolve EVERY problem they run into (whether within or against regulations).

5) I’m glad they brought back Federation HQ but then they all but never showed us ANY of the latest starships they have? Discovery is literally in nearly every scene – they showed more of Osira’s ship than any other Federation vessel(s) once they found the HQ?

6) Why does Discovery need ‘floating’ nacelles? How is that an advantage for any reason?

7) While it made for decent fight scenes, the ‘infinite turbolift’ scenes in the last couple episodes were simply ridiculous. It felt like something out of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory or the planet-building scene out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

8) there were more than a few key moments sprinkled across the season where there’s obviously a tight deadline, ship about ready to be destroyed, Federation lost, etc. – yet the characters are ‘monologuing‘ a bit too much instead of solving the problem?

9) I liked that they gave Georgiou a two-part farewell, but I felt it wasn’t a tight enough story, despite a cameo from an old friend, which was very cool and I didn’t seem coming, to be sure! I get that she needs to kill ‘bad Burnham’ to move on and grow as a person but the other plotters would have wacked her before the first episode ended if past plots based on the ‘mirror Empire’ are any measure?

10) They are getting way too free with the ability to ‘talk to people instantly’ no matter where they are in the universe (because now with the spore drive they can go anywhere in nearly an instant), yet call up the Admiral and have a chat anytime with full fidelity? At least in the first two seasons they at least pretended there were times where that wasn’t possible. I realize the Federation upgraded a lot of Discovery when they found HQ, but really?

11) Ultimately, the explanation for The Burn was a bit weak in the end. It all made sense and it was far better than the ending of Season 2 which was a huge mish-mash free for all – but just too pat, even though they tried to make it exciting, i’ll give them props for that.

12) the whole ‘sphere data’ thing was definitely way underused and only pulled out as a McGuffin from time to time when convenient (e.g. last two episodes but there were other times too) – if it’s sentient, wouldn’t it be doing more interesting things (possibly like trying to get OFF Discovery, which is being chased by Orion pirates all over the galaxy, not the safest place to be)?

So on balance, a pretty strong season, good bad guys and some great episodes. Looking forward to Season 4 but due to covid, not expecting that for at least another year at this point?

candybowl

Data shows us how it’s done.

Sun ,19/04/2020

Especially in that second episode – awesome!

candybowl

funny…..

Sat ,25/01/2020

Pretty great impression!

candybowl

What We Leave Behind – DS9 documentary

Sat ,21/12/2019

Watched this recent Deep Space Nine documentary this week, by the showrunner Ira Steven Behr and some others. As a huge fan of DS9 (I personally think it’s the best of all the Trek series, albeit Discovery season 1 is right up there too now) it was long overdue for me to see them re-examine the show. Plus, earlier this past year I rewatched the vast majority of the episodes (along with Babylon 5, but more on that in a minute) so was excited to see DS9 finally getting its due.

So I think this is a great documentary. There are some things I would have done differently, and while I know they were trying NOT to do a linear, ‘history of the show’ approach to the series – mission accomplished on that – I think a bit more of it would still have been cool.

One thing I really liked was the ‘writer reunion’ that ends up crafting a rough outline of a proposed Season 8 kickoff episode. Not only did they come up with some very cool and interesting ideas (which I won’t spoil but if you must know – you can read about them here) it was just neat to see the writing/brainstorming process in action, even if we don’t get to see the bulk of it (I think they spent the day doing it, and then included the key highlights in this movie).

It was really good to see them make an effort to connect with most of the cast, even if many of them don’t end up getting a lot of screen time. And while Avery Brooks isn’t ‘in’ the movie per se – I believe the interviews with him were separate from it but not completely sure – they paid him a lot of respect in this, which he definitely deserves in a number of key ways.

A couple bittersweet points for me – the fact that René Auberjonois (Odo) and Aron Eisenberg (Noq) both passed away only in the past couple months this very year, and the film notes that Barry Jenner (Admiral Ross, recurring character) passed away a couple years ago. RIP to all of them.

So while I won’t offer spoilers here as noted before, there are a couple key actual *gripes* I do have with this film:

1) They don’t address the whole Babylon 5 situation. It’s well established by now that the creator of Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski, pitched his ‘space station series’ to Paramount well ahead of DS9’s appearance, and while Ira, Berman and Piller may not have ultimately been in on it at the studio mgmt level, it still looks pretty fishy to this day. While Straczynski has ultimately let it go by now, read and judge for yourself.

2) It’s obvious there were several motivations for telling this story – ‘Give DS9 its due’ (for which it was long overdue if you liked DS9 :)); Showcase all the VERY hard work that went into making it – the quip where Colm Meany talks about time in the makeup chair is a great example, but even if it was just about many of the actors having to get into work around 5am for 3 hours of makeup, EVERY DAY – gives me new respect for their dedication! The pioneering nature of several things DS9 did and did very well (watch the show itself and this documentary for more on that)…..the list goes on. But what I felt was lacking here was getting into the writers’ head (excepting the great ‘proposed Season 8 opener’ mentioned above – they don’t really address it. Moreover, there were a number of turning points in the show (several of them involving Louise Fletcher as Kai Wynn, one of the great all-time bad guys if there ever was one, otherwise known as Nurse Ratchet 🙂 – what was the thinking behind these, where did you think you were going with the story, etc. etc.? Not really discussed. For a series way more detailed-story-heavy than the previous TNG, TOS and the animated series (yes, remember that? great stuff) this is somewhat inexcusable? When they make probably a reference to this (“…the documentary would have been 8 hours or more…?” – BFD. Every fan hates that because it’s an excuse, they ALWAYS say that, and we ALWAYS want more??! Cry me a river. At minimum, there were likely a lot more fan interview extras out there they could have thrown in? Just throw in a DVD of that stuff too? Cost, schmost.

In the end, I’m really glad they did this, it was worth it just for the ‘writer’s room Season 8 opener’ thing alone but I definitely enjoyed it, even with its ‘flaws’. Just like DS9 itself 🙂

candybowl

Other links:
Interview: DS9’s Ira Steven Behr Sees Something Familiar About ‘Star Trek Discovery’
Interview: Ira Steven Behr Talks What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine (Exclusive)

Farewell, Constable Odo….RIP.

Tue ,10/12/2019

Actor René Auberjonois, known for ‘Benson’ and ‘Star Trek,’ has died at 79

candybowl

DC Fontana – a great writer and a true pioneer…RIP.

Thu ,05/12/2019

RIP, science fiction pioneer Dorothy “DC” Fontana

Great tribute here: RIP: Dorothy (”D. C.”) Fontana

candybowl

RIP, Aron Eisenberg….

Sun ,22/09/2019

Nog, you will be missed. Always one of my fave characters on my fave ST series, period.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Aron Eisenberg dies, aged 50

candybowl

Make. It. So.

Sun ,21/07/2019

looks pretty good!

candybowl

Hmm….

Sat ,25/05/2019

is CBS trying to turn Star Trek into their own ‘Star Wars’? Didn’t Paramount already try that (UPN and even earlier in the early 80s)? Time will tell…

candybowl

The Conscience of the King – Star Trek:TOS

Fri ,05/04/2019

So i’ve watched a few original Star Trek episodes here and there over the past few years, despite having seen them all a bazillion times by now. However they may have dated – and definitely many have – there are still some cool aspects of them to watch.

But, since CBS took over several years ago, they reissued all 79 original episodes on DVD. You’d think that was a good thing, and for the most part, it’s fine, BUT, they also took the ‘liberty’ of updating CGI into them. Again, you’d think well, in some cases, the special effects are pretty bad (i’m thinking of The Constellation flying into the Doomsday Machine scene in particular, where it is ridiculously obvious it’s a model on a stand in front of a tv screen showing the effects, right at the very end of this clip:

.

However, I find in watching these ‘redo’ episodes that I mostly dislike the redo of the “CGI”. Maybe it’s just an old man ranting, but I just think in many cases, the original approach with the huge original model lit from within just simply looks better than their attempt at ‘muted’ CGI – naturally they can’t “really” do CGI because that didn’t actually show up until TRON and The Last Starfighter, over 16 years later.

The first YT video below shows the difference side by side (original vs update), from this episode, and you can see what I mean.

As to the episode itself, mixed reviews. Too much Kirk (no Sulu, Scotty at all), the plot is somewhat contradictory of itself (why does Kirk keep the attempt on his life such a big secret and, why does he yell at Spock, twice, for trying to keep him from getting killed, especially when that’s Spock’s JOB?). Also, his attempts at getting laid are simply lame and way too obvious, and like so many ST attempts at including Shakespeare – this probably being among the first given it’s from the first season of TOS – just detracts from the melodrama already in play (literally). And Uhura’s otherwise fine song in the rec room is obviously dubbed, much like the clip I watched of good ol’ Clint Howard in The Corbomite Maneuver as a (literal) kid, playing a scary alien. But i’m probably just jaded….

candybowl