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Suffering Through TNG: It's time for your oral exam, Wesley!

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The most recent episode deals with the fallout of the Klingon War. It's a call back to TOS dealing with Vietnam, Enterprise dealing with the war on terror, and DS9 incorporating all of that into their own forever war. It's, simply, beautiful. It's what Star Trek was and should be about

God... I wish these showrunners would take command of Star Wars and Doctor Who. They get it. They can do fan service, original content, social commentary, and runs sci-fi seemingly effortlessly.

I need to watch it. Behind on everything.

Have they righted the Star Trek ship finally? Instead of trying to be everything else that was popular in sci-fi, the producers realized that Star Trek is it's own thing?


--- Quote from: RottingCorpse on August 02, 2023, 01:58:30 PM ---I need to watch it. Behind on everything.

Have they righted the Star Trek ship finally? Instead of trying to be everything else that was popular in sci-fi, the producers realized that Star Trek is it's own thing?

--- End quote ---

Man, it took a while. Discovery is terrible, Picard was an embarrassment. Strange New Worlds, though, seems like, yes, they've finally understood that we just want fucking Star Trek. And there are modern day storytelling concessions, but they're all handled well. Except for some personal through-lines (from the obvious, like Pike's inevitable destiny, to more drilled down like the struggle of veterans of the Klingon War) the episodes are self-contained Star trek adventures.

The Enterprise isn't destroyed in every episode, there's no vast seasonal/series arc that requires you to watch every single minute AND the web shorts, and the legacy characters are handled well. Uhura is perfectly cast, young Spock's journey pairs well with the original Spock we saw in the trashed pilot (before they made him more logical). Anson Mount's Captain Pike is simply sublime.

The Khan references are, at first, a bit of an eyeroll (his great great granddaughter is on the crew, or whatever). After the first mention, this is pretty much ignored. It becomes a much larger plot point in season two and -- fucking stunningly -- it's handled well and I'm perfectly happy with it. How often do you get to say that about a self-referential reboot, eh?

They took vast liberties with Nurse Chapel and, initially, that presented a problem for me. But Jess Bush is so, so good in the role that I very quickly forgot about the (way underused) OG Chapel. By season two, Jess Bush is the ONLY Nurse Chapel in my mind.

The hardest pill to swallow is this iteration of Jim Kirk. He's almost an open sore in season one, and the Great Shadow of Kirk blots out their attempts to give elder brother Sam Kirk a proper role. As soon as you hear "Kirk," it's gonna be all about Jim, you know?

In season two, not only have I gotten used to Current Kirk, but I've grown to like him and accept his occasional guest spot. And the "As soon as you hear "Kirk," it's gonna be all about Jim" is actually addressed by an angry Sam.

In terms of the all-important Trek Ensemble, they've nailed it pretty much from day one. There are some occasional growing pains here and there but nothing bad. So far, this show hasn't truly let me down once.

That said....I'm about to watch the musical episode that dropped today. So stand by for a post all about how I hate this show and you shouldn't watch it.  vduel

The musical episode was fucking awesome! Go figure.

The finale was action packed and satisfying. I love everything they're doing, and this whole season was some of the best TV ever.

The finale's high-stakes cliffhanger, though, put a huge spotlight on the one thing that will hurt this show the most, though. Almost everyone in our main cast is wearing future-proofed plot armor. We know nothing can happen to Uhura, Spock, Pike, M'Benga, Chapel, the Kirk brothers, Una, and now Scotty. And we know this show isn't done with La'an (Khan's descendent) and the fan-favorite hot shot pilot Ortegas. So absolutely everyone on the crew is 100% guaranteed to survive for the rest of the run or, at least, for season three.

There is the usual slew of redshirts and supporting folks, but the show has worked so hard on the title ensemble that I don't really give a shit if that navigator chick or someone dies. As with TOS redshirts, they're actually there to be killed off so that our immortal main cast can have something to worry about and cope with.

This has always been on my mind with this show but, up till now, it hasn't mattered because they've been great about adopting the open-and-shut episodic format as best as can be done in 2023. So it's just been fun adventures, bang-bang, now let's go home.

But now -- the narrative stakes are high! Except...they aren't, really. We'll wait six months for season three where we know the future-proofers will be rescued and the redshirts will die horribly in the process.

In general, Star Trek cliffhangers have always lacked the tension of darker sci-fi shows. Like at the end of BSG season one when Adama got shot -- you legitimately didn't know if Olmos was going to bow out or not.

It worries me that the writers don't understand this and still try to do a "will they or won't they survive" style cliffhanger. This cliffhanger would have been better served if there was something actually in play besides the fate of the future-proofers. After all, in terms of Federation and galactic history, this is actually uncharted territory. We don't know what happened during Pike's 5 years on the Enterprise. The only pre-TOS stuff we know in the franchise is (1) Pike gets fucked up and in the beepy chair and (2) There was a fairly recent conflict with the Klingons that was rapidly resolved roughly 5-6 years before Kirk is made captain.

So maybe the high stakes could be Federation-level problems. Like a war with the Gorn, which is also at the heart of this finale and has been hinted at since early in season 1. OR maybe the old standby: Corruption and conspiracy in the Federation. Something that could pose a serious danger, and even though we still know it'll all work out in the end, it'll still be uncharted waters and intriguing as opposed to "Will this vitally important and well known TOS character die?!?!?!?"

Lower Decks consistently remains the best Star Trek ever made.


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