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Star Trek Strange New Worlds


Zathras
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One of the things Trek has never fixed, old or new Trek, are Environmental Suits. But Bruh, new Trek has cool space suits! They do, but they don’t use them logically still. In Episode 2 they even take off the helmets on an unknown ship, per usual Trek, without even checking if they can survive there without helmets. And now in Episode 4, according to the promo, they are on a planet that has been devastated, and are using their cool biker/flight jackets even equipped with shoulder lights, but no suits. Like why hasn’t any new Trek been like, “our crew should be wearing helmets and ev suits at all times?” It bugs me. This is one of those ‘if I was in charge’ things. I don’t care if someone said it makes it seem even more like Robotech or Mass Effect. EV suits. Armor! At the very least remember to tell us our heroes are not dumb and have checked the environment, like they should have done in Episode 2. It’s just logical.

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On 5/20/2022 at 8:14 PM, Spider-Man said:

I don’t think M’Benga was talking to his daughter while she was in the buffer. He explained you can keep a person in the buffer indefinitely if you rematerialized them for a period between stasis. As such I think the indication here is that he rematerialized her, for a story and chat, then puts her back in stasis.

I missed that! In my defence, the actor’s accent is fairly thick and also the explanation itself raises a lot of questions — he’s routinely rematerializing somebody with a degenerative disease? won’t that just mean the disease will continue to progress forward during the time the patient is rematerialized? like, if someone is dying of space cancer and you keep popping them out of the transporter buffer won’t the cancer continue to grow during those periods you’ve rematerialized their body? He’s not buying time to save her life! He’s just killing her slowly-er on his own personal schedule! — but I definitely missed that bit. That’s not on them. That one’s on me!

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I’m falling out of like with this show pretty quickly.

Call me Murtaugh, I guess, because maybe I’m too old for this shit.

This week’s episode, just like last week’s episode, decided to do so much at one time that none of it felt satisfactory. That’s an opinion, certainly. The episode wasn’t helped by the fact it was pieces of prior series’ episodes cobbled together. One piece was Balance of Terror, and this Strange New version of it suffered from also having to essentially be a “trapped in an elevator” episode.

That said, the crew wasn’t wearing the cool biker/flight jackets with new shoulder lights, as I had thought in the promo. Instead it was another uniform, or some kind of battle armor except they had no headgear. So… kinda feels like they should just be using the Environmental Suits for this type of thing instead but whatever. If the EVA suits are good enough for Burnham to fly through an asteroid belt, and for Worf to fight Borg in, then maybe just use them.

I guess that is just another quibble born from my dislike of over complication. And this series is showing signs of severe over complication. From multiple characters being compromised or traumatized (and in similar or near identical ways), to characters like Una and La’an feeling less like mirrors that can be explored but instead just duplicate characters, to all the different uniforms, to crew quarters being bigger than a suite at the Ritz, to the last two episodes feeling like they had the subplots for four episodes.

 

Also a mind meld on a shuttlecraft with no other pilots, surrounded by enemies, on the edge of a black hole, sure felt like a bad idea. Maybe they should have had that conversation before boarding the shuttle.

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Saw the 4th episode. I’m still on board! The dialogue in these things is still kind of rough any time it strays outside treknobabble but on the whole this was a good’n! Love to see the ship! Love to watch the people on the ship nobly sacrifice themselves for each other!

 

* I didn’t put it together before this episode but if this show has a single touchstone in prior Trek it’s actually not TOS. That’s right, you guessed it, it’s Season 4 of ENT. Think about it! Aenar! Augments! Gorn! The folks at Paramount+ know what the fans want, what the fans NEED, they’ve done the research, they’ve done the testing, and they’ve decided to go with continual references to everyone’s favouritest Star Trek spin-off and everyone’s particular favouritest season of that spin-off. The fans love Captain Jonathan Archer! (Real talk : it’s just that they’re so unoriginal the franchise itself has already been unoriginal in EXACTLY the same way they’re doing now. They’re tripping over their own unoriginality from years before! It’s like how VOY is just a copy of a copy. But I shouldn’t complain. Hope this show ends up as good as VOY, honestly!)

 

* in 1000% percent agreement w/you on the suits issue, Spider-Man. No, actually, like 10000000%! They should wear an EVA suit and another EVA suit on top of that EVA suit. Maybe also those life support belts from the animated series too. Safety first! Can’t be too careful! After all it’s like Captain James R. Kirk famously said, “Risk is not our business.” (Yeah, sorry, I don’t know why I’m making fun. I have my own peccadilloes! Every time they use the bridge screen in a way that I dislike and personally register as a kind of breach in the established grammar of the series — talking to people inside the ship itself; demonstrating things I’d prefer to see on some other screen elsewhere or in some other room entirely — it makes me feel like I’m watching the first season of TNG and they haven’t yet figured out how to do what they gots to do.)

 

* re: the crew quarters thing, well, that’s been on my mind since last week and thinking of the Scotty episode of TNG where he has that line about how even his paltry guest quarters on the 1701-D would’ve been fit for an admiral back in his time. I don’t care, really, can’t fault the show for wanting to have things look good for locally accepted values of good, can’t fault the show for not wanting to be a braindead 1-to-1 correspondence with the exact dimensions of the sixties show (if you want to see that sort of thing there are fanfilms and stuff like that, v. impressive stuff), anybody sufficiently nerded up about all this should also be able to recall that it’s established canon back in Pike’s time his Enterprise had ~half the crew it does in Kirk’s.

 

* But wait, omigosh, speaking of fanfilms! I just put two and two together here! There was a fanfilm a few years ago. Walter Koenig was in it! It was called something like Renegades or whatever. It featured Khan’s granddaughter! The show, which is in and of itself a wholly unoriginal exercise, is so committed to scraping the bottom of its particular barrel that the tools it’s using to do this were first held by the hands of the very audience members it’s pandering to! I mean, c’mon already! They may as well just have Lt. Mary Sue Smith, aged 15½, beam aboard!

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On 5/27/2022 at 9:28 PM, Spider-Man said:

 

That said, the crew wasn’t wearing the cool biker/flight jackets with new shoulder lights, as I had thought in the promo. Instead it was another uniform, or some kind of battle armor except they had no headgear. So… kinda feels like they should just be using the Environmental Suits for this type of thing instead but whatever. If the EVA suits are good enough for Burnham to fly through an asteroid belt, and for Worf to fight Borg in, then maybe just use them.

 

There's two duty uniforms-- the standard, and the long zip-up the front one. Pike seems to always wear the standard, Una likes the zip-up and rocks it like a TOS miniskirt, but men have been seen wearing them too. Medical personal have their own special digs, and away teams get cool jackets. All of this has been seen before in other Treks. In Generations and DS9 you saw the standard TNG uniform and the DS9 style duty uniforms being swappable. TWOK had away team, cool coats. McCoy and Crusher both had their own special doctor coats. Every version has had EVA suits of some sort. The TSFS security officers wearing special tactical gear too. I recall there being concept art for TNG that had tactical armor for security, I think it showed up in the tech manual, but budget reasons kept it from being realized.

I think that's really the only difference here, this show has more money than most Trek productions... it must be why Picard S2 had zero money.

But continuity issues aside, SNW is easily the best Trek show since Ds9 in my book. It's not breaking any rules or pulling any moves stupider than any Trek show before it.

 

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I totally get that, and totally agree. The uniforms in Trek have always been wonky.

Heck, the designers for TWOK literally talked how that bugged them so they made a consistent rank and uniform system.

Anyway, I was speaking in continuation of my prior ‘if I was in charge’ geeky thought. I might not have made that clear. It was meant as a silly geeky quibble.

I’d make it three uniforms, with the three colors; dress uniform, standard tunic with pants (plus jacket option), and EVA (also doubling as the tactical armor option).

I’d also make them use the EVA on way more occasions, because it’d appease my science geek stuff. Like in say the movie Outbreak all the scientists appropriately hazmat up. So in the ‘if I was in charge’ of this or a Next New Trek then that would absolutely be a change I made.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw the fifth and sixth episodes! No real complaints! I mean, I guess maybe the game of b-i-n-g-o has substantially changed by the time of the 23rd century but other than that, nope, rock solid episode. And, well, for the sixth episode, I kinda, wait, this is sort of a spoiler ...

 

The episode really needed to end with some ponderous speeches between Pike and other crew members over the whole Omelas dilemma. Can’t just have him look out the window and take a sip of scotch while the music swells! It needs the speeches! Sure, we get a little bit of the speeches what with the Lindy Booth baddie making her case for it (not well enough, though, she shouldn’t be dunking on the Federation! She should be dunking on our society, in classic Trek fashion, she should be referencing the history of Earth!) but that’s too little too early for me.

 

Still, all in all, pretty good! Got to give it up to them for doing a classic Trek show about the crew encountering an idyllic society only to uncover the evil underbelly! Barely even missed the Andorian guy this time around! Guess this is just the norm for SNW. I’m always going to be missing some of the crew for each and every episode! Oh well!

 

Fifth episode in particular was a good episode for the guy they got playing Spock. In that one he plays Spock but he also plays a nightmare all-human version of Spock AND a nightmare all-Vulcan version of Spock AND he plays T’Pring’s consciousness in Spock’s body AND he also plays T’Pring’s consciousness in Spock’s body pretending to be Spock. Pretty fun episode for Gregory Peck’s kid!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Freaky Friday episode was neat, it almost felt like Lower Decks. Also if you’re interested in hospitalization, play the Strange New World’s drinking game where you take a shot every time Pike looks like Johnny Bravo.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I keep forgetting to give over my Star Trek thoughts, my Star Trek opinions, my Treknobabble.

seventh episode

Is that the first time we’ve seen a Jefferies tube on the show!? Neat! (Just before that, the soundtrack seemed somewhat reminiscent of a theme from VI, too!)

 

Alpha Braga IV! Hah! Great! They should blow up Matalas Prime next!

 

Wait, why do they fire on the ship!? They want that Vulcan guy alive, right!? (Omigosh! Incredible who that Vulcan guy turned out to be!)

 

Tropic of Capricorn ref! Kind of coming up all over the place this week. Rewatched Philip Baker Hall’s Seinfeld and it’s the titular book in his episode that Jerry didn’t return to the library back in high school. (Actually, no, it’s not that book. It’s the other book ‘Tropic of Cancer’. Yeah. Anyway, Philip Baker Hall BD”E.)

 

Verdict : good good ep. A heater, straight down the middle. Some small sketchiness around the details (re: communication, re: firing on T’Pring’s ship) but you gotta give them credit here! Solid!

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eighth episode – this is the one that’s The Princess Bride (1987)

Music cues reminiscent of VI playing as Dr. M’Benga does what basically amounts to a grade school child’s idea of medical experimentation — beakers, flasks, dripping coloured droplets from said beakers into said flasks — gotta give them credit, a strong choice, the show’s sensibilities are always on display to great effect.

 

Augh! I hate it when he says “Pike to engineering” and we actually SEE engineering and Lt. Hemmer on the main screen!!!!1! I hate it so much! I’m going to be so disappointed if it turns out that this is actually a relatively commonplace bit of visual language which used to happen fairly often on the old show(s). Can’t stand it! Just have the characters talk to each other like normal! That’s not what the main screen is for! Auuuuuuugggggghhhhh.

 

Wait, his first name is Joseph!? What!? Pretty sure it was Dr. Jabilu M’Benga in the books/comics, maybe even back to the original James M. Blish stuff. Okay, I checked. It was Jabilo and not Jabilu.

 

Verdict : episode goofy but not the bad kind of goofy, y’know!? Gotta give them credit for that. Still, its moral conclusions are heavyhanded and fairly repugnant (not as bad as the episode of DSC where that guy just died on the asteroid and was left there to die, though) and not really well handled whatsoever. And the way the story is staged is just no good, no sir, can’t cut away from the one character who knows what’s going on to see what the other characters who don’t know what’s going on are doing. That’s no way to do it, man! Gotta stay with the point of view character(s)! In a sense, we, the audience, us, we’re Dr. M’Benga. We’re not, like, Queen Uhura or whatever. It would’ve been fair play to cut away to Lt. Hemmer, though. All in all though not too bad.

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ninth episode – this is the one that’s Aliens (1986)

Wow! This blue alien guy looks great!

 

Not the first time I’ve wondered if the order of these episodes was juggled! (Oh, wait, guess not?)

 

Verdict : Not too bad! A rip-off but that’s one of the better things for an episode of Star Trek to be, y’know? Kinda hate all the tearful goodbyes. Prob. one of the worst things about DSC is that every other episode there’s a tearful goodbye. Whether or not it’s fitting to the characters or the needs of the story there’s just characters doing the send-off to other characters.

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season finale

That opener is absolutely heaving w/metatextual resonances. Pike turning leftovers into a new meal. The base commander happy to get what he’s been asking for five years. Yeah!!!1!

 

Wait, doesn’t this happen in a comic book???? Have a pretty strong memory of seeing Pike in a TOS-movie uniform from somewhere someplace.

 

They already announced Paul Wesley as the new Kirk for Season 2 so having his name show up in the opening credits as a Special Guest Star kind of gives the game away.

 

Omigosh they’re going full nerd w/this! They opened the episodes with the specific outposts from that episode! Pike is in command instead of Kirk during the episode where this all happened! Hah! Gotta give ‘em credit for this!

 

Split diopter! Beautiful!

 

Kind of hilarious they’re redoing one of the few episodes that guy, Kyle, is memorable in and they just decided to give all his lines to Ortega. Why even bring that guy back!? (Wait, was it Kyle or Stiles? Can’t remember off hand.)

 

Not casting James M. Frain as the Romulan Commander??? Whyyyyyy???

 

Wait, if Doctor M’Benga is still the CMO of Enterprise then why did they phrase Spock’s line about Pike being examined as “the doctor”? I took that as a tease for McCoy, guess it wasn’t, gotta assume he’s on the Farragut instead or whatever.

 

Wait, is this the same guy as played Stonn??? Are they going Lawrence Montaigne with it???

 

Hah! Referencing Nemesis (2002)??? Come on now!

 

doing the Spike Lee shot? Hah!

 

referencing Star Trek (2008)??? Come on now!

 

Verdict: well, I liked it! I do think its slavish devotion to a sort of box-ticking reenactment of a specific episode kind of burdens the whole thing with a heavy load it can’t adequately maintain while moving at the pace it needs in order to function. The episode’s got no speed, no drive, no zip. I’m just constantly being tripped up while watching it wondering about things I wouldn’t be wondering about if they’d made a better choice. But that’s no fair! Gotta accept the episode we’re given and not theorize about how much better a hypothetical other episode could’ve been. This is the choice they made, this is the show we got, and I think it’s pretty good for what it is. Could’ve been worse. Could’ve had a dumb season finale all about Lt. Khan dealing with her idiot brother’s Gorn henchmen, y’know!? (Wait, now I’m complimenting the episode because of a hypothetical other worse one!? Uh oh!)

 

Best first season of a Trek spin-off, I suppose. Might be more accurate to call it least worst, maybe. There is no one single stand out the way there usually is amidst the sea of drek which comprises most Trek spin-off’s first seasons but it never ever wallows in tedium the way all the others do, y’know? Most other first seasons are pretty bad with one or two good ones sprinkled in. This first season was never too bad, never sunk to any depths, just because there weren’t any strike-outs doesn’t mean the pitcher never threw any heaters. Baseball metaphor!? I don’t know. I liked it! Hope next year opens up with a proper courtroom episode for Number 1!

 

-

 

They gave Sisko the Christopher Pike Medal of Valour because he too likes to cook for his crew!!1!!

 

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It kind of avoids the pitfalls of the Enterprise (‘01-’05) series finale through two things. 1, it’s just a straightforward retelling of its particular source material rather than dancing around the periphery like the series finale did. 2, its about the actual characters of the show itself rather than the guest-stars in a way the series finale wasn’t.

 

But, yet, still, nevertheless, it’s still a lot like that series finale! Can’t have Kirk show up on Star Trek and not have the audience’s attention peeled away from everyone else, sorry. I mean, the episode does do a lot to make it be about Pike and Spock and Number 1. The straightforward story of the episode from soup to nuts, from the opener to the cliffhanger ending, is basically just “Pike teaches himself how important Spock is to himself, how willing he ought to be to sacrifice for him, by telling us all a story where Pike is in Kirk’s place so therefore Spock is in Number 1’s place so the eventual absence of Number 1 hits the hardest”, the episode is a kind of game of Yankee Swap. But the season so far has been about more than just those particular people — it’s been about Lt. Hemmer! he just died last week and he never even gets a mention! it’s been about Doctor M’Benga and his daughter, y’know? it’s been about the whole genetic dealio between Number 1 and Khan’s Kid! — and dropping in a new very particular and very important person into the mix rather than dealing with everything there is to deal with leaves me feeling kinda cheated. Why all this arc plotting, why all this prestige TV nonsense, if they’re just going to toss that out of the nearest airlock for the finale? I don’t know. Again, I don’t think that’d have been better per se. It’d just have been more fitting on the level of craftsmanship. Can’t fault them for wanting to deliver a big shebang for the season finale!

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