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OTNGEG - Pen Pals

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Serafina
 Post subject: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 01:36pm 

Sith Acolyte


Joined: 2009-01-07 06:37pm
Posts: 5216
Location: Germany

Yet another review! Thanks Chuck. Not watched yet, so posted without further comment.
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Ghost Rider
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 03:29pm 

Spirit of Vengeance


Joined: 2002-09-24 01:48pm
Posts: 27779
Location: DC...looking up from the gutters to the stars
I find it particularly sad, is what Chuck notes at the end about the Prime Directive and the reality of how fucked it got. Good review, but that last part struck me.
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Serafina
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 03:31pm 

Sith Acolyte


Joined: 2009-01-07 06:37pm
Posts: 5216
Location: Germany
Ghost Rider wrote:
I find it particularly sad, is what Chuck notes at the end about the Prime Directive and the reality of how fucked it got. Good review, but that last part struck me.
I found Picards "logic" quite stunning as well...
Either way, i am looking forward for that episode which will discuss the Prime Directive. Maybe it will be "Dear Doctor"? :wink:
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OsirisLord
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 06:49pm 

Youngling


Joined: 2009-01-31 06:37pm
Posts: 99
I don't know about you guys but I came to sfdebris to see Voyager and Enterprise get roasted. While I enjoyed how August was a whole month of Voyager, I tire of TNG. Even when it was bad, TNG was never quite as bad as Enterprise.

That being said I find Riker's logic particularly distressing. What does this man think of modern medicine? No, we shouldn't treat Jimmy's polio, because for all we know know, him contracting the disease could be a part of some greater plan, and we are we as mere mortals to interfere. Honestly the Prime Directive is probably the worst part of all of Star Trek. This is supposed to be a more evolved human society, but we still cling tightly to some form of absolute truth or law. The Prime Directive is neither progressive, or enlightened. While I understand it's place in preventing less developed planets from being abused by more powerful ones, often times it does nothing but prevent Captain's from saving lives from pointless deaths.
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Formless
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 07:06pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2008-11-10 09:59pm
Posts: 3257
Location: the beginning and end of the Present
Some of us like Chuck's positive reviews. Its always good to see what they did right, because frankly everyone and his dog already knows what they did wrong. Episodes like this are particularly nice because we get to see how Trek's brainbugs evolved to their current idiotic forms. If you just want to see bad writing get roasted, watch the Nostalgia Critic.
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Batman
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 07:25pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-09 04:51am
Posts: 13470
Location: Looking for another drawer
The problem with the Prime Directive is that it there isn't, out of universe, such a thing as the Prime Directive. Nobody ever bothered to work out the actual terms and conditions of the bloody thing (possibly excepting 3rd party material, I never was much into the Trek EU), which resulted in stupidity like 'Pen Pals' - the generally quoted adage of 'preventing cultural shock for pre-Warp civilizations' is in my opinion pretty moot when it's cultural shock or complete extermination, the 'interfering with the natural development of the civilization' one is equally stupid, there isno such thing, and if there were, who are you to say them running into you to save them isn't part of that very process?
Especially as they're pretty selective about what is and isn't part of the natural development of a people to begin with. Excess amounts of Dilithium causing the extinction of people A-part of the cycle of nature. Perfectly acceptable. Their sun going wonky due to technobble and threatening to kills species B -pull out all the stops to prevent that from happening.
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Zor
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 09:13pm 

Sith Acolyte


Joined: 2004-06-08 03:37am
Posts: 5205
OsirisLord wrote:
I don't know about you guys but I came to sfdebris to see Voyager and Enterprise get roasted. While I enjoyed how August was a whole month of Voyager, I tire of TNG.


In my opinion, simple ability to spew profanity laced bile does not constitute a good reviewer. Giving credit where credit is due is just as important. I actually like reading Yathzee's Text based Extra Punctuation because they are less spiteful.

Quote:
Even when it was bad, TNG was never quite as bad as Enterprise.


I am going to dispute this. The best of Enterprise blows the worst of TNG out of the water. This may be setting the bar low, given some of the shit in the earlier seasons, but simply being from what was on the whole a better constructed series does not excuse crap when it comes up.

Then again, i am a bit softer on Ent than most people here.

Zor
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Srelex
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 09:15pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2010-01-20 09:33pm
Posts: 1445
Watching that clip made me wonder just how one rides a holographic horse.
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Prometheus Unbound
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 09:33pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2007-09-28 06:46am
Posts: 351
OsirisLord wrote:
I don't know about you guys but I came to sfdebris to see Voyager and Enterprise get roasted. While I enjoyed how August was a whole month of Voyager, I tire of TNG. Even when it was bad, TNG was never quite as bad as Enterprise.
Whilst it may not be THE POINT, that's the point.

He reviews TNG episodes (and DS9) but they are always (99% of the time) better than VOY or ENT. That's the point.

The reason we dislike Voyager and Ent is because what came before it was so much better, even if it was one on 25% the budget (relatively) and corney... at least the worst TNG had was on par with average Voyager etc.
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Prometheus Unbound
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 09:35pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2007-09-28 06:46am
Posts: 351
Srelex wrote:
Watching that clip made me wonder just how one rides a holographic horse.


In what way? If you mean literally, then.. he just jumps on the saddle and goes.

If you mean how does the horse go 20 miles (or at least further than the walls of the holodeck go) ... use your imagination. Conveyer belt type stuff. Very advanced conveyer belt but conveyer belt nonetheless.

Think of those exercise machines at the gym where you can run for miles but stay on the same spot.

Except with holographic ground and stuff.
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OsirisLord
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 01:27am 

Youngling


Joined: 2009-01-31 06:37pm
Posts: 99
Batman wrote:
The problem with the Prime Directive is that it there isn't, out of universe, such a thing as the Prime Directive. Nobody ever bothered to work out the actual terms and conditions of the bloody thing (possibly excepting 3rd party material, I never was much into the Trek EU), which resulted in stupidity like 'Pen Pals' - the generally quoted adage of 'preventing cultural shock for pre-Warp civilizations' is in my opinion pretty moot when it's cultural shock or complete extermination, the 'interfering with the natural development of the civilization' one is equally stupid, there isno such thing, and if there were, who are you to say them running into you to save them isn't part of that very process?
Especially as they're pretty selective about what is and isn't part of the natural development of a people to begin with. Excess amounts of Dilithium causing the extinction of people A-part of the cycle of nature. Perfectly acceptable. Their sun going wonky due to technobble and threatening to kills species B -pull out all the stops to prevent that from happening.

I originally thought the Prime Directive dealt with time travel. You know "if you go back in time don't touch anything or you could fuck things up." But then I heard it was about preventing the exploitation of pre-warp civilizations, which I thought sounded okay. But for some reason Star Trek writers could never seem to wrap their heads around what that means. The Cardassian occupation of Bajor is a good example. The Federation couldn't do anything to stop the Cardassians, because that would mean they would have to interfer with a pre-war civilization. Except the Cardassians have already interferred so what's the point? And once the Cardassians left, the Prime Directive left with it. I though the Federation should have enforced the Prime Directive by preventing the Cardassians from exploiting the Bajorans. At what point did Federation officers decided to let their Federation principles start thinking for them. And if your thinking is based on what a bunch of principles and directives tell you and are treated as absolutes, then how is this any different from religious thinking?
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CaptainChewbacca
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 03:16am 

Browncoat Wookiee


Joined: 2003-05-06 02:36am
Posts: 15728
Location: Deep beneath Boatmurdered.
The Bajoran occupation was a tricky thing. The Cardassians managed to get more and more troops around Bajor for some pretext, then they worked to install a pro-cardassian leadership in the Bajoran government. After that, they engineered some fake disaster and then the 'government' of Bajor called for Cardassian peacekeepers, which resulted in the annexation of Bajor into the Cardassian Union.
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Thanas
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 07:11am 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 24908
Do any other nations even recognize the prime directive? It seems more of a Federation thing than anything else. The Ferengi certainly do not, and I doubt any other grand power does as well.


EDIT: Also, props to Picard. He recognizes the law is the law, but also recognizes that when actual people are dieing, he needs to do something. Unlike Janeway.
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Stofsk
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 09:28am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2003-11-10 01:36am
Posts: 12924
Location: Melbourne, Australia
By a remarkable coincidence, I've just rewatched the 'Sins of the Father/Reunion/Redemption' saga. Picard doesn't involve the Federation in the Klingon Civil War in part 1. IKC Bortas was attacked by two heavy birds of prey and Gowron sent out a general distress call. Picard turned the Enterprise around and ordered his helm to give the battle a wide berth, drawing a surprised reaction from Riker. His response was if he were to commit the Enterprise to coming to the Bortas' aid, he would be drawing the Federation into a conflict which by definition was an internal matter. Later in the same episode, even when Gowron makes his formal petition of Picard and the Federation to enter the conflict on his side, Picard refuses, for the same reason. This seems a bit strange as the prime direction was formed to prevent interference with pre-warp civilisations, and we know that despite it being starfleet's general order number one, there exists some leeway for its enforcement and it's not set in stone (otherwise Picard and Kirk would have been reprimanded severely for each of their violations of the PD over the courses of their command). In 'Redemption 2' Picard petitions a Fleet Admiral to get involved in a very important albeit nondirect manner, in an attempt to expose the Romulans' involvement. However the prime directive isn't really the issue here, but involving the Federation in other people's business - particularly their bloody civil wars.

There have also been many instances where the Federation has come to someone's aid in humanitarian situations. On the other hand, I haven't seen this episode at all, and I do remember one particularly egregious episode in season seven that involved the PD preventing anyone from coming to the aid of a pre-warp civilisation which was about to be annihilated by a planetary mass-extinction event. Worf's human brother took the law into his own hands and a small village survived.

The PD is an interesting thing. A lot of people don't like it because it seems to constrain humanitarian involvement, however I have to say the instances of that are outnumbered by the instances where the Enterprise (under Kirk or Picard) have intervened. In general though I think it's a good idea, especially as it relates to not interfering in a culture from a damage mitigation angle. In TOS there is no problem with say, offering an apparent pre-warp civilisation medical and educational assistance - Kirk petitions the council of elders on Organia to let the Federation help them and offered them such assistance - but the biggest reason to not get involved usually stems from internal conflicts: 'The Omega Glory', 'A Private Little War', and 'Redemption' being relevant examples. If the choice is either to interfere or stand by and watch the culture die due to cataclysmic events, generally the episode falls in favour of intervention, and in 'Return of the Archons' Kirk explicitly mentions that the PD applies to normal, healthy cultures which are proceeding at their own pace - and if a culture is abnormal by some measure or has already been interfered with already, or is not healthy and is self-destructive, then interference is warranted.
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Stofsk
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 09:59am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2003-11-10 01:36am
Posts: 12924
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Destructionator XIII wrote:
Though, it surprising Riker means it probably was the normal and legal thing to do, and Picard just used his authority as captain to make an alternate decision in that situation.

Riker noted that the Bortas was Gowron's flagship and Gowron was the legitimate ruler, so it could come down either way. Picard is just an overly cautious person and thinks more like a diplomat. I bet if Riker were in command that scene would have been handled differently.

Quote:
Quote:
There have also been many instances where the Federation has come to someone's aid in humanitarian situations.

In how many of those does the captain's log say something like "they requested the Federation's assistance"?

I don't recall many. There was one instance where the Enterprise came to the assistance of a planet which was threatened by a moon impacting on their surface in 'Deja Q'. They were a technological society but I can't remember if they were pre-warp.

But there have nevertheless been many examples of the Enterprise arriving at a scene to help people.
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Patrick Degan
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 01:16pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-15 08:06am
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Location: Orleanian in exile
One of the worst aspects of "Pen Pals" is that its construction of the Prime Directive, which grew to monumental idiocy as the years wore on, had to have been written in total ignorance of how the PD was conceived in TOS. It only stated it was bad to culture-shock a primitive people, but not that it was necessarily wrong to contact or even trade with them ("Errand Of Mercy", "Friday's Child") and certainly not that it was meant to mandate that Federation personnel just stand by and let a whole culture/race die if it can be prevented:

For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky wrote:
"Captain, informing these people that they are on a spaceship might be interpreted as violating the non-interference directive."

"Well, Mr. Spock, the people of Yonada might be changed by the knowledge, but that's better than exterminating them."


Zor wrote:
Quote:
Even when it was bad, TNG was never quite as bad as Enterprise.


I am going to dispute this. The best of Enterprise blows the worst of TNG out of the water. This may be setting the bar low, given some of the shit in the earlier seasons, but simply being from what was on the whole a better constructed series does not excuse crap when it comes up.

Then again, i am a bit softer on Ent than most people here.

Zor


Don't worry. There's help for people like you.
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Stofsk
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 03:33pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2003-11-10 01:36am
Posts: 12924
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Full frontal lobotomies? :D
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spaceviking
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 05:26pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2008-03-20 05:54pm
Posts: 850
It's not a bad statement if you define the best of enterprise to be one maybe two episodes and do the same for the worst of TNG.
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Formless
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 05:37pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2008-11-10 09:59pm
Posts: 3257
Location: the beginning and end of the Present
You are right: then its just a pointless statement.
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Coalition
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 09:20pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2002-09-13 11:46am
Posts: 1237
Stofsk wrote:
In 'Redemption 2' Picard petitions a Fleet Admiral to get involved in a very important albeit nondirect manner, in an attempt to expose the Romulans' involvement. However the prime directive isn't really the issue here, but involving the Federation in other people's business - particularly their bloody civil wars.


Redemption Pt 2 where they used the Tachyon sensor grid could be a form of obeying the Prime Directive. They are making sure other empires do not interfere with the 'normal' functioning of the Klingon government/civil war.

Would the Monroe Doctrine be a good comparison for the Prime Directive?
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tim31
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-11 05:04am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2006-10-18 03:32am
Posts: 3370
Location: Tasmania, Australia
That still doesn't work; it would have made more sense if there was a line about exploiting a clause in the Khitomer Accords. But involving the prime directive is too much of a stretch.
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Temujin
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-11 10:01am 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2010-03-28 07:08pm
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Location: Occupying Wall Street (In Spirit)
Some of the TNG wackiness regarding the Prime Directive could be a brain bug from "Bread and Circuses", where the line "No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations" was used.

I've heard the creation of the Prime Directive attributed to a few people including Gene L. Coon; does anyone know what Roddenberry's thoughts on the matter were?
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RedImperator
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-11 10:05am 

Roosevelt Republican


Joined: 2002-07-11 07:59pm
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Location: Delaware
Picard being unwilling to drag the Federation into a Klingon civil war on his own initiative is pretty reasonable on its own; I'm not sure why the writers resorted to the Prime Directive there.
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Skylon
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-11 10:39am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-01-12 05:55pm
Posts: 1644
Location: New York
Temujin wrote:
Some of the TNG wackiness regarding the Prime Directive could be a brain bug from "Bread and Circuses", where the line "No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations" was used.

I've heard the creation of the Prime Directive attributed to a few people including Gene L. Coon; does anyone know what Roddenberry's thoughts on the matter were?


One note I find interesting about the P.D. in that Memory Alpha article is that a Voyager episode states there are 47 "sub-orders" to the Prime Directive. That sounds horribly complex for something that claims to be a "Prime Directive". It'd be like adding a dozen sub-sections to the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Is it possible, what was a simple rule to not fuck up pre-warp civilizations in TOS was legislated to death by TNG, so you got stuff like letting races die, and Picard's actions in "Redemption"?
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Stofsk
 Post subject: Re: OTNGEG - Pen Pals
PostPosted: 2010-10-11 11:19am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2003-11-10 01:36am
Posts: 12924
Location: Melbourne, Australia
It's possible that what started off as a general rule over time became burdened with complication after complication as a result of constant revising by legislators. Although bear in mind General Order 1 is a Starfleet rule, not a Federation one. Though the two are often interchangeable I don't think we ever hear about it being a Federation law as opposed to a Starfleet one, which leads to the possibility that civilians can 'violate' the prime directive or at least aren't held to the same standard.
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