The Star Trek Thread

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Büge
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Büge » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:15 am

ha ha Trip is suddenly moody and hormonal and acting like the Engineering bay is unsafe for children

ha ha he got violated by an alien and now he's acting like a pregnant lady

ha ha it's funny when it happens to men
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Brentai » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:48 pm

JD wrote:Earth is revealed to be only 80 hours away from the Klingon homeworld at Warp 5 yet they have somehow never gone to war.


Klingons are all about consent.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby JD » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:18 am

Let me tell you about a really dumb Enterprise episode I just watched called Dear Doctor:

So Enterprise is set pre-TOS, meaning it has a great opportunity to establish things like what horrible consequences must have occurred for Starfleet to not only create a strict policy of non-interference in pre-Warp cultures, but make it their literal number one rule, and enforcing that rule even if it means allowing millions of sentient beings to die of preventable disaster.

Now, Voyager actually did this really well in its last season with the episode Friendship One, about a civilization which destroyed itself with antimatter technology acquired from an early unmanned ship sent from Earth in 2067. The thing is, Earth never found out about this until Voyager discovered it over 300 years later.

The writers of Enterprise therefore had a great opportunity to do a great episode establishing the need for the Prime Directive, either where the lack of such a rule leads to disaster, or where refusing to interfere ultimately saves the day. Instead, they wrote an episode called Dear Doctor. It goes like this:

Enterprise encounters a pre-warp race suffering from a mysterious illness. The Prime Directive hasn't been invented yet, so Captain Archer immediately has his doctor start work on a cure. It turns out this race is exploiting another less advanced humanoid species on their planet, something which the humans find distasteful, but Doctor Phlox thinks it's fine by his moral standards.

This is until he discovers that it's a genetic condition: somehow, the entire species has suddenly evolved shitty health, and will probably die out within a few generations. The non-dominant species, the Menk, are suddenly evolving to become more intelligent, so that once the dominant all die out, the Menk will inherit the earth.

Phlox was happy to maintain the status quo when the thought it was a virus or something, but now that it's a genetic illness, he decides it's only natural and right for the dominant aliens to all die painfully, and to cure it would be playing god. Phlox isn't acting on the taboo on genetic engineering we see in chronologically later Star Trek or anything; the Federation doesn't even exist at this point. His bizarre moral argument is that if he does nothing, one race would die out while another thrives; therefore, he must do nothing to avoid changing the fate of an entire species.

Now, in the original script, the episode was going to be about Phlox was disobeying his Captain on moral grounds. However, at the last minute the higher-ups at Paramount put out an edict that the crew needs to be unwaveringly loyal to their Captain. This may have something to do with the fact that they were working on this episode in October 2001, right after 9/11, which may also be why later episodes follow a plotline where alien terrorists attack Earth and Enterprise takes on soldiers.

So in order to avoid this conflict, there's a scene where Archer has a change of heart and decides to agree with Phlox, even though in another episode set about a month earlier he deliberately refused to adopt the Vulcan non-interference policy. His logic is that maybe one day, mankind will adopt a non-interference policy - he literally pauses and says "directive", just so that we the viewer know what he's talking about, and it is one of the dumbest lines in Enterprise - he decides that he's going to have to just ad-hoc adopt a non-interference policy in the meantime, for this one specific case, just to appease Phlox's dumb logic.

According to extended universe material, nobody else ever develops a cure for the disease. Their species join the Federation around the time of Star Trek: Discovery, and by the end of Voyager there are fewer than a million of their species left. This is despite the fact that Phlox actually succeeded at developing a cure; he just refuses to give it to them.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby mharr » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:19 pm

What I'm hearing is the new hyper-capitalist dystopian Federation of Picard isn't really all that new and was gradually retconned into existence over many years and series'.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:36 pm

The decline started with Voyager (well, technically with DS9, but they did it smartly) and has gradually worsened with each new Star Trek they made. I remember when Enterprise was the "This isn't Star Trek" before the new movies weren't, then Discovery was the absolute bottom of the barrel, then Picard just kept digging under the barrel.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby beatbandito » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:54 pm

DS9, Voyager and Enterprise were all a new generation from tos and tng without Roddenberry.

From what I know (mostly from third-hand YouTube lore videos) it seems like the dominion war is pretty directly responsible for the shittier world and starfleet in Picard, and I guess Discovery.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:33 pm

Roddenberry is an interesting influence on Trek, because holy shit antisemite and a bunch of other terrible shit, but also he would never have allowed Trek to degenerate into ninjas decapitating people.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:36 pm

Brentai wrote:
JD wrote:Earth is revealed to be only 80 hours away from the Klingon homeworld at Warp 5 yet they have somehow never gone to war.


Klingons are all about consent.

Look man, you're not fucking Lursa or B'Etor unless they want you to.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Blossom » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:36 am

Watched Discovery. It's bad. Lot of thoughts I don't wanna type back out on the whole "don't you want to embrace fascism" mystery box bullshit in that show, none of which makes any sense, but the biggest thing that jumps out to me?

Season 2 shows us so many scenes of Spock and Michael growing up together. Spock's estranged half-sibling, who did not get along with him as a child, but who was there the entire time.

My question is, where the fuck was Sybok during all this?
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Büge » Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:35 am

Blossom wrote:Watched Discovery. It's bad. Lot of thoughts I don't wanna type back out on the whole "don't you want to embrace fascism" mystery box bullshit in that show, none of which makes any sense, but the biggest thing that jumps out to me?

Season 2 shows us so many scenes of Spock and Michael growing up together. Spock's estranged half-sibling, who did not get along with him as a child, but who was there the entire time.

My question is, where the fuck was Sybok during all this?


I'm fairly certain that Star Trek V has been struck from continuity since Star Trek VI.

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if it had been in Gene Roddenberry's will.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:41 pm

God I... cannot believe they retconned Michael into being Spock's sister. Such an absolutely wild decision with almost zero impact on the show.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:48 pm

Honest question with no judgment, why are you guys still watching this show?

I mean, is it just like morbid curiosity? Is there some sort of redeeming or entertaining value you're getting from it?
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mongrel » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:07 pm

I didn't even know it was still running. I honestly thought it had been received so poorly it had been cancelled.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Blossom » Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:54 pm

I was curious, and have a lot of time to watch things. I basically liveblogged the viewing in a discord.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mothra » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:23 pm

Mothra wrote:God I... cannot believe they retconned Michael into being Spock's sister. Such an absolutely wild decision with almost zero impact on the show.

I have a tendency to hate-watch things to see how bad they'll get. I don't know why. I like super duper duper hated season 2 of Disco. Part of me kept hoping all these great characters and sets would get used for something cool, but nope.

There is no excuse for me watching any of Picard though, ye gods.

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby JD » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:48 pm

Discovery is okay. It's no DS9, but it has its good and bad parts.

You have stupid stuff like "I like science!", time crystals, an overexcited technobabble scene so ridiculous that Red Letter Media did an entire parody of it, the cliched move of killing off a gay character (and then bringing him back to life by implausible means), everyone unnecessarily volunteering to time travel to the 30th century and the mere existence of spore drive, which is somehow never assimilated by any Borg, or discovered by any other race in the galaxy, or kept on hand by Starfleet despite how extremely useful it would be.

But you also had some great moves: excellent use of Klingon language, generally excellent respect for canon aside from a few things (the appearance of Klingons), Lorca being evil explained as him being from the mirror universe all along, more "pretend to be your evil doppelganger in the mirror universe" shenanigans, Harry Mudd making a reappearance, hiding a photon torpedo explosive on an enemy body (a war crime worthy of Janeway), a subtle appearance by what must be Armus' race (the creature which killed Tasha Yar), the Pike flashback to TOS, Pike's vision of the canonically defined scene where he is injured rescuing cadets on an old J class freighter (and the heroism involved in willingly accepting that fate), more exploration of Section 31's history, and excellent use of CG and fight choreography.

I think I like Discovery more than Enterprise. I've lost count of the number of times someone in Enterprise walks away from a table without finishing a meal, just for dramatic effect. At one point a guy is enjoying a steak, which it is established he really loves and hasn't had one in over six months. One mild disagreement later, he stands up and walks out on principle, apparently unaware that he could just move at another table.

Every episode of Enterprise has to have at least one unnecessarily horny moment. Everyone is horny, but nobody has sex. The crew watch 20th century movies just so that the writers can insert old movie references. They keep meeting popular races that Starfleet probably shouldn't have made first contact with yet, including the Borg and the Ferengi. They keep accidentally following the Prime Directive, even though it hasn't been invented yet.

Picard is... less good. They have the entire Beta quadrant to explore, a Borg cube, all of Star Trek lore to draw on, the actors available for some of the most popular Star Trek characters ever, and Discovery-quality CG. By all rights, it should have been the best Star Trek series ever.

In practice, the writing is bad. I put this down to three main problems:

1) Much of the plot is conveyed by having one character tell another what happened. A certain amount of that is unavoidable to start out, since the show has to catch the viewer up on twenty or more years of Picard's past, but it keeps doing it. It's like the show is one third action scenes, one third mystery to keep you watching the series, and one third someone explaining the mystery.

2) The pacing is so slow that it takes three episodes just to get a crew together and leave Earth. In the TNG finale "All Good Things...", a retired Picard managed to get a crew together, board a ship, travel to the former Romulan neutral zone, fight a battle and complete his mission, all within two episodes.

3) Character motivations are ambiguous and vaguely defined. Asha doesn't know why she does anything, or how she knows anything, and neither does the viewer; her character is a maguffin to get Picard into the Neutral Zone because the final showdown happens there. Raffi is there because Picard convinces her the mission is important... or is it because she wanted to move to go live with with her son, who is conveniently located on the way? Her son doesn't want her to stay, because he hates her for being a conspiracy theorist, even though she was right. The captain is there because Picard offered to pay him... money? Jurati is allowed to join the crew for... some reason?

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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:56 pm

In practice, the writing is bad.


It annoys me that this is the overwhelmingly most common reason for why shows suck and if you say it to people they don't understand that that is absolutely enough to make the show bad.

If shows are a building, then writing is the foundation. Bad foundations mean your building is, at best, a sloped and cracked very bad construct.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mongrel » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:00 pm

One thing that repeatedly amazes me is how bad otherwise semi-competent (and even good!) professional writers can be with endings. We know that "the landing is the hardest part", but professional pilots at least, you know, learn how to do it.

Sure we're talking about something creative and more ambiguous, but it's not like "How to write a story ending" is some fucking unknowable mystery that will never be solved by mankind.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Friday » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:18 pm

It's easy as fuck to write a boring epilogue that will satisfy your audience.

Literally just the ending of Harry Potter or a million other things. It's the most mind-numbing, uncreative ending possible to do, but it gets the job done. Just cut to 10 years later or whatever and say what the characters that everyone is super invested in ended up doing.

Now, writing a good ending? Yeah, that's hard. As fuck. But if you can't come up with anything, do your audience a favor and just cop out with a bog standard epilogue.
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Re: The Star Trek Thread

Postby Mongrel » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:26 am

Friday wrote:It's easy as fuck to write a boring epilogue that will satisfy your audience.

Literally just the ending of Harry Potter or a million other things. It's the most mind-numbing, uncreative ending possible to do, but it gets the job done. Just cut to 10 years later or whatever and say what the characters that everyone is super invested in ended up doing.

Now, writing a good ending? Yeah, that's hard. As fuck. But if you can't come up with anything, do your audience a favor and just cop out with a bog standard epilogue.

Yeah. Like, a lot of bad endings certainly come from the M. Night Shymalan school of too-clever-by-half, trying to be cute or "original".

Friday wrote:the ending of Harry Potter

Except maybe not have all your protagonists become cops. :V
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