Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Star Trek Discovery S01E11 “The Wolf Inside”

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Spoilers

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Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 15, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Star Trek Discovery S01E10 “Despite Yourself”

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Massive spoilers

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Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 7, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Black Mirror S04E01 “USS Callister”

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This episode is available on Netflix. Black Mirror is a Twilight Zone type of series, so you can just watch any episode that you want in any order. This is the first episode that I’ve watched, but it seems like as good of an entry point as any.

I very much enjoyed the episode, it being a delightful blend of a parody of Star Trek the original series, dystopian futures, and beta males. Enjoyable as long as you don’t think too deeply about the “science” aspects of the science fiction.

But upon deeper reflection…

SPOILERS AHEAD

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Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 6, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Twilight Zone, Season 2, “A Penny for Your Thoughts” (1961)

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For some reason, a reader recommended that I watch this episode.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The main character, Hector Poole, is played by Dick York who would three years later later play Darrin Stevens in Bewitched. Hector has a loser job in the “accounts” department of a bank, where he is obsequious to his boss and the bank’s clients.

For one day, Hector gains the ability to hear people’s thoughts. He learns:

1. A client of the bank plans to bet the money he is borrowing on a horse.
2. His boss is having an affair.
3. An old sad-sack co-worker fantasizes about stealing money from the bank and flying off to Bermuda, but he never actually does it, it’s just a fantasy.
4. A female co-worker who’s five years older than him (I looked up their ages on IMDB, Dick York was 32 and June Dayton was 37 when this was filmed) is really into him. She is not especially good looking, as Hector hears another co-worker thinking.

Thanks to his day of reading minds, he gets a promotion by blackmailing his boss about the affair, and gets together with June Dayton whom he would have been too shy to ask out had he not been able to read her mind.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 3, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Star Trek Voyager, Season 4, “The Killing Game”

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A mess of a two part episode in which the Hirogen have taken over Voyager and turned most of it into a huge holodeck, and the Hirogen have some advanced technology that takes over the brains of humans and turns them into holodeck actors. Most of the episode takes place in a holodeck simulation of German occupied World War II France, where the Voyager crewmembers are either members of the French resistance or American soldiers, while the Hirogen play the part of Nazi soldiers.

The Hirogen are doing this because the Hirogen leader believes that holo-technology can allow their civilization to come back together, because Hirogen could then hunt prey in violent holodeck simulations instead of roaming the galaxy to do so.

Earlier today I wrote a blog post hypothesizing that video games are a factor in declining crime. We can only imagine how much less crime there would be if people could commit crime in holodeck simulations instead of out on the streets.

I also found it interesting how the people who wrote the script naturally assigned the Hirogen to the role of Nazis. Nazis are evil, Hirogen are evil, duh! Right? Well I think it’s more complicated than that. To use the language of Dungeons and Dragons, Nazis are lawful evil while Hirogen and Klingons (TNG and later Klingons, not TOS Klingons) are chaotic evil. Chaotic evil can never develop a civilization capable of warp travel because they are too busy killing each other to cooperate for large scientific endeavors. And furthermore, the Klingons and Hirogen are shown to only value killing enemies (in the case of Klingons) or prey (in the case of Hirogen). A society has to value scientists and engineers in order to advance. The Nazis valued their scientists and engineers. And on the battlefield, they had success because of their superior weapons and cooperation. Individual German soldiers were not super-soldiers like the Klingons or Hirogen or Jem’Hadar, just regular conscripts like the protagonist in the book All Quiet on the Western Front.

Unlike TNG/DS9 Klingons, the Borg are lawful evil. Leaving aside their super-duper-magic technology that makes no sense, the Borg are the most believable futuristic enemy in the Star Trek franchise. It shows what might happen if evil singularity-level robots/computers take over, they would then relentlessly expand throughout the galaxy.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 28, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Voyager, Season 4, “Prey”

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This is one of the worst episodes of Voyager, because it demonstrates everything I hate about Captain Janeway.

At the beginning, Voyager discovers a damaged Hirogen ship with weak life signs aboard. The smart thing to do is blow it up and move on. In the two previous episodes, the Hirogen were revealed to be an evil species who hunt other sentient life forms for sport and keep their bones as trophies. But no, instead, Janeway says they must investigate, and then they must treat the injured Hirogen even though based on past encounters they should know that the Hirogen won’t return any compassion in kind.

It turns out that the Hirogen is hunting a lone member of Species 8472, that’s a species that’s so dangerous and so evil that Captain Janeway had to help the Borg defeat them (back in the first episode of the season). Although it seemed to me that Janeway should have let Species 8472 destroy a lot more Borg before chipping in to help.

Anyway, the 8472 alien manages to board Voyager. So the smart thing to here is the let the Hirogen kill it, and maybe get some goodwill points from the Hirogen in return. Right! Also, that would be consistent with the Prime Directive to not interfere with other cultures. Let the Hirogen to their thing if they agree to leave Voyager alone. Makes sense to me. But nope, that would be too convenient. Janeway always makes the decision that’s worst for the crew of Voyager. Here, Janeway decides that the correct and humane thing to do is to send 8472 back to its universe, even though that will cause the wrath of the Hirogens for getting in the way of their hunt. And a fleet of Hirogen ships is approaching.

On top of that, given how dangerous Species 8472 is, it seems like a really really bad idea to remind them that our universe exists. Don’t send one of them back that has intel that could lead to another invasion.

So near the end of the episode, with a fleet of Hirogen ships firing at them and Voyager likely to be blown to smithereens in short order, Seven of Nine heroically saves Voyager by beaming the Hirogen and the 8472 alien onto one of the Hirogen ships. The Hirogen, who now have what they want (the return of their guy and the alien he was hunting) break off the attack in appreciation.

Wait a minute. If Seven could beam people aboard the Hirogen ships, why not beam aboard some anti-matter bombs and just blow all of them up? Nothing about Voyager ever makes any sense.

Instead of thanking Seven for saving everyone’s lives, Janeway dresses down Seven for disobeying her and takes way all of her privileges and restricts her to the cargo bay where she regenerates.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 27, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Television

ST: Voyager, Season 3, “Real Life”

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What I liked best about this episode is that it’s racist!

This episode is about the holographic Doctor, and the Doctor is the best character on Voyager.

In order to learn more about what it’s like to be human, the Doctor programs himself a holographic family. The holographic family is like a perfect Stepford Wives family, which makes sense, because they are just a computer program and not real people.

The Doctor invited Kes and B’Elanna over for dinner with his “family,” and B’Elanna is outraged by the perfectness of his family. B’Elanna offers to “help” the Doctor by making his family more realistic. After B’Elanna messes with the program, suddenly the Doctor has a family from hell. His wife is too busy doing her own things to have time to cook or take care of the kids, the young daughter is screaming that she can’t find her sports equipment, and the teenage son has gotten in with a crowd of Klingons who appear to be involved in illegal activities like drug dealing and getting into fights, plus he listens to godawful Klingon heavy metal turned up really loud.

You see, it’s racist, the Klingon kids are shown to be violent criminals and a bad influence on his human son. As I previously wrote about Klingons:

It then occurred to me that the morality driving Star Trek tends to put Starfleet and humans in the place of privileged whites, while most alien species, especially Klingons, are seen as victimized minorities whose actions are always excused. Thus Picard routinely puts up with Klingon crap that would get a stern and condescending moral lecture if it came from any white human male from the Federation of Planets.

Based on the Klingon kids corrupting the Doctor’s son (plus no doubt overall making the neighborhood a less safe place to live), it seems to me that human planets would be better off having a policy preventing immigration of Klingons. The people of the future need to elect a President Trump!

Going back to this episode: The Doctor’s holographic daughter suffers a fatal injury playing sports and the Doctor has to watch her die.

So the message of this episode (besides the messages that Klingons are scum and that you should never allow B’Elanna [who is half-Klingon herself] to “improve” your holodeck programs) is that families only cause a lot of aggravation and then heartbreak. The Doctor is better off not having a family?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 26, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Television

Star Trek Voyager Season 3

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Remember, there are spoilers ahead. But probably, you have already seen these episodes, or have no intention of ever watching them, so the spoilers probably don’t matter to you.

This is the last season with Kes, played by the small anorexic-looking Jennifer Lien (although she fattened up after she left the series, and then she became a very ugly butch-looking woman who exposes herself to children).

There were two good Kes episodes. In “Warlord,” Kes is taken over by an alien warlord who is able to transfer his consciousness from his dying body into Kes. Lien did a great job acting as a crazed alien. She also did a great job in “Before and After” in which zips years into the future when Kes is dying from old age and then she lives her life backwards (because of some not very believable “temporal” radiation). But for the other episodes in the season, the writers weren’t very interested in her character, and they had her break up with Neelix for no clear reason.

I quite enjoyed the much maligned episode “Favorite Son” in which Harry Kim is made to believe that he is actually not human but a member of an alien species called the Taresians who reproduce by implanting their DNA into alien hosts, and he has now been reunited with his people. His people are almost entirely hot babes. Hot babes who are totally into him. Hot babes who are hinted to be into kinky stuff like bondage and female domination. It seems like Harry has lucked into a much better situation than being a crewmember of Voyager! Unfortunately, the dilemma of whether he should stay with the Taresians was too conveniently decided for him when he discovers that Taresian sex kills the male. And furthermore, he wasn’t really Taresian all, the hot babes lied to him, it was just a virus he got infected with.

In the well-regarded episode “Unity,” Chakotay becomes involved with a bunch humanoids of different species all living on a planet, who have escaped from the Borg collective. These escaped humanoids decide they were better off when they were melded into a collective, and they take over Chakotay’s mind and make him reactive some electronics on a derelict Borg cube. After they reform a collective, one independent from the Borg empire, they apologize to Chakotay and thank him for his help. The episode leaves unanswered the question of whether “good” collectives are possible, or if Borg-type collectives always lead to evil.

My favorite episode of the Season is “Real Life” in which the holographic doctor programs himself a holographic family so that he can learn more about what it’s like to be human and have a family. This one is worthy of an independent blog post, so that’s all I’m going to say about it here.

The season ends with a cliffhanger in which they encounter both the Borg and and alien species even more powerful but just as evil as the Borg. This is where the character Seven of Nine gets introduced to us, a human Borg drone who they are able to cut off from the Borg collective and turn her into an independent human who becomes a permanent addition to the series and replaces Kes as the female non-Starfleet crewmember.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 26, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Television

Omarosa is fired. Again.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/364666-omarosa-leaving-the-white-house-next-month

I vaguely remember watching the first season of the Apprentice. Omarosa was the woman who everyone else hated, and she was fired midway through the season because of her poor ability to get along with her team members.

So this news isn’t surprising.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 13, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Television

Lion predicts no return to moon

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/12/11/trump-vows-americans-will-return-to-the-moon-the-question-is-how/

Once again, the Trump administration has pledged to restore America’s leadership in space by teaming with the private sector and returning to the moon.

I predict this will never happen. Every president since Ford talks about returning to the moon and beyond, and that never happened.

The civilizational capability of manned travel to the moon has been lost and will never be recovered. Or at the very least, the Singularity will happen before man returns to the moon. And a return to the moon is a very minor thing compared to the impact of the Singularity on humanity, so we are talking about the wrong thing.

People may say I watch too much Star Trek, but at least I realize that it’s just fantasy with no rational basis for predicting what the actual future will be like.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 12, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Television

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