Justin Snead

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About Justin Snead

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    Excelsior-Class Starship

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    Jersey City, NJ
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  • Favorite Trek Movie
    The Wrath of Khan
  • Favorite Trek Captain
    Jean-Luc Picard
  • Favorite Trek Series
    Deep Space Nine

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  1. Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

    And there is so much beauty in DSC. Not just visually, though as others have pointed out Trek has NEVER looked this good. But beauty in thematic expression, in storytelling, in character, in real-world social commentary, (and in canon fidelity!!!) Those of us who see all this can sometimes be baffled or just saddened that others don't because of what we perceive as their superficial hangups or sentimental attachments to old school Trek style. But at the end of the day I accept that their point of view is just as valid as mine. Though I do want to ask them: "When do you expect Trek to be rebooted yet again in a way that suits your tastes?" If you're going to sit out DSC, how do you think of your relationship with the franchise right now, and what are your hopes for the future? I sat out most of VOY and all of ENT, so I had to wait a good 15 years for Trek to come my way again. But it has, and in a more glorious and loving way than I ever could have imagined. DSC is the kind of prequel I remember hoping ENT would be. It has the character dynamics and realism that I used to wish VOY had. So there's hope in that. If DSC isn't for you, a new Trek will come around some day. But I hope you have to wait a long time, because I want to current Trek to be around for a while.
  2. Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

    I haven't seen the last episode yet, but I really do not need or want them to create some alternate timeline explanation for why the Discovery sets are not made of plywood and Styrophome. I'm all for exploring parallel universes and what not, but DSC fits just fine with TOS as is, at least in my head canon.
  3. Kirk Drift

    If you read the memos quoted in Cushman's These are the Voyages, or just watch Season 1 of TOS closely, you see that Kirk is a really complex character. His central trait is that he feels the burden of command so heavily and is pained that he cannot express that side of himself to the crew. But it is all worth it because his only passion in life is to command a starship. He's a lot like Spock--and this was known to the writers at the time--that both characters are hiding their true selves behind a mask. My interpretation of his womanizing is that it is a release valve--and not a healthy one--of the pressure to be so bottled up as Captain. He's almost a sad character in a way. Watch Naked Time where he fantasized about walking on the beach "no braid on my shoulder" and he reaches for Rand. Anyway, none of this is in the Bad Robot movies. It's a terrible waste and a shame because a true prequel--like we are getting on DSC--could have shown what this Kirk was like as a young man.
  4. Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

    The writers gave a patina of justification for why Mudd was able to do what he did to Discovery: he robbed a Betezoid bank. At first that might seem like a throw away fan reference, but think how hard it would be to steal from a building of full telepaths. Granted the script glossed over how he could so completely control the ship's systems--but this is a case of accepting implausible plot points for the sake of the overall story. If enjoy that story as I do, you can go along with it. If you don't care for it, there is plenty to nitpick. Trek has always given their villain's wide latitude and miraculous abilities in service of the plot. I want to make the case for why DSC's Mudd and TOS's Mudd are the same character. TOS Mudd did have ruthless tendencies. There is a strong wink that he had a hand in the death of Leo Walsh, who's identity he then assumed (maybe that's how he escaped Stella). There was also a scene in Mudd's Women where he hatches a plan to take over the Enterprise and make Kirk follow his orders. When I watched that scene a few months ago, I thought it was a bit silly that he could think himself so capable. But after seeing "Magic" I now know that 1) Mudd has done this kind of thing before; and 2) he has some skill sets that were not fully revealed in TOS that allowed for such a takeover to be plausible. I have not seen I, Mudd in a long time, but didn't he basically take over the 1701, and fully intend to maroon the crew on a lifeless planet? Yes on TOS he was a "lovable rogue" but he was still a rogue capable of just about anything. The Mudd we see on DSC actually helps the character to make more sense, makes him more realistic. Yet again we see DSC adding new layers to canon, particularly TOS canon, proving why prequels can be so valuable to the franchise. Watching TOS after DSC will be like seeing it with new eyes--but only for those of us who accept DSC as canon, and are enjoying it enough to accept it into our own head canon. If that's not you, that's just fine. But I for one am loving how DSC is adding to the richness of my own private Trek Universe. Yes this is the criticism of this episode I had to admit was valid, but then I thought: the way "Magic" ended was such an homage--really endearing in a way--to TOS-style resolutions, that I just don't care.
  5. Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

    Oh interesting. I thought TOS stardates where just random jibberish, and the dates did not get standardized until TNG era. Has anyone research how the stardates match up with DSC? Becasue as I recall TOS and TNG dates are different systems with different amounts of numbers. I feel like the writers have thought this through like they have nearly every other aspect of canon.
  6. Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

    I had to chuckle because you reminded me of something Ive noticed on my rewatch of TOS. Many of the songs sang in that series were songs that it feels like people who were old in 1966 would have been able to sing along to, that have now completely vanished from popular memory. They were limited to songs that they did not have to pay royalties for. Think of the song Kevin Riley sings in The Naked Time, but there are other examples Im forgetting. To TOS's credit they wrote some great original songs, which Uhura sang in a couple episodes. I think Roddenberry wrote each of them. It would be cool if DSC continued that tradition and wrote some original, futuristic but pop, rock or hip hop sounding songs for future parties.
  7. Episode 1.7: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" Discussion Thread

    I loved the party flat out. But I also am sure there were similar parties on the 1701-D among the lower decks crowd. DSC is a lower decks kind of show. Two main characters--Tilly and Burnham--don't even have ranks. None of the senior staff were at that party, except for Tyler and he's younger than the other bridge officers. Older more seasoned crew go to more seasoned social entertainment. But youth are going to listen to loud music and dance no matter what century you are in.
  8. Episode 1.6 "Lethe" Discussion Thread

    Im a week behind. We just watched this one. Every episode has presented us with characters who make a drastic decision that we can debate over. Sarek and Lorca do that here. I loved the Sarek story--it's the reason you do prequels. If your not savvy or ballsy enough to do this kind of thing, then don't waste time writing a prequel. I feel like after Discovery's run we will be able to rewatch TOS and see it almost with fresh eyes like a new show. DSC is not rewriting canon, just adding so much context to give more meaning to the old stories. For instance, I happened to watch Arena last week. Kirk's actions in that episode, which may seem a bit out of character, make perfect sense if you imagine he is thinking that the Gorn incursion is a repeat of the Battle of the Binary Stars. He makes the same call Burnham does, except since he's captain he does not have to mutiny. I got chills when I realized this. For this reason, I have no problem imagining DSC in the same universe as all the other shows. A lot of the layers the writers are laying down in this series will not reach a person who watches DSC imagining it happening in a canonical vacuum. And that fan's head canon will be a less interesting place than if they accept DSC as canon. Oh Im guilty of the same because I used to pretend ENT did not exist. But to miss the opportunity to have DSC characters and themes exist along side previously beloved Trek characters and stories becasue... the Klingon ships look too different... That's not worth it for me. Screw the look of the ships. I can rationalize that in my head canon pretty easily. Same with the holodeck. It was basically just VR. The holodeck Riker walked into was a full immersion experience, a natural forest with all the sensations of being in an actual forest. I can buy that tech is more advanced than the we saw in DSC. As for Lorca, he's now a fully tragic character. You feel for him. He's broken and desperate. He shows real vulnerability with Cornwall, admitting that his ship is all he has left. I really hope he does not get killed off by the end of the season as some have guessed. I actually don't think he will be. Burnham is the heart of the series. I know some just don't get her, but I thought her character work in this ep was amazing.
  9. The Gabriel Lorca Topic (SPOILERS INCLUDED)

    There has not been as much push back on the fact that Lorca killed his own crew as I would have expected. I've been 110% in support of this show since before it aired, but that moment in Choose Your Pain was when I thought "Ouch, maybe a bit too far." Im still not sure what to think about it. I get that he thought he was sparing them. But he also robbed them of their own will to face their fate. Maybe some of them could have resisted, escaped. But as I have advised other fans who want to criticize a storytelling choice on this show: "Try to understand the story that is actually being told. See how the writers are positioning us." Lorca made the choice to end the lives of his crew. That makes him deeply tragic. No other captain has ever made the decision. And it will probably mean he will be, as Isaacs has said, a "very messed up guy." As we learn more about that event, like how he managed to be the only survivor, we will learn more about the character. I'm just amazed that this show with every single episode has done things to spark major debate, should they or shouldn't they... This is a show about hard choices and the pressure that puts on people. I have a feeling it will only get more intense.
  10. Episode 1.5 "Choose Your Pain" Discussion Thread

    I'll pile on about reunion specials. I must be flush with excitement for all the quality and prestige of DSC, but if all goes well, in a few years I could imagine it likely we would get Trek mini series and two hour movies, and holiday specials. Not to mention the possibility of past characters and their living actors (or for the non-living, their holographic avatars) appearing on DSC. With TNG, I don't see how they could screw it up--though I hear Mr Picard's legitimate concerns. There would be so much good will and good vides going toward that project from all involved--not to mention a pulling away of a lot of the usual Hollywood pressures that you have on a summer blockbuster--that the special would work like gangbusters. And the DSC writers room are so stepped in canon and pat Trek, no doubt they could pull it off. And let's face it, the franchise simply must send them off better than the films did. The plot would be a challenge, and it would probably feel a lot like the future scenes of All Good Things. But while we are considering giving people a proper send off, where does that stop? The character who needs a better goodbye is Kirk, and here DSC may be able to pull this off. For all the Burnham-Spock connection, the pst character she would most benefit from a conversation with is Kirk. I think they are a lot alike. Maybe they could do time travel or parallel universe travel to get old Kirk into the show. Or they should use the holographic comm system to have Burnham speak with present day young Kirk voiced by Shatner. There are always possibilities... especially if DSC is really successful.
  11. Episode 1.5 "Choose Your Pain" Discussion Thread

    While I agree, and I hope next season they use the spore drive to so somer serious explor'n, I don't think the pace or tone would be much different. I was expecting--and some fans were worrying that this season would be heavy on the war stories, like a season of The Siege of AR472 from DS9. But it has mainly used the war as a backdrop to put our characters under intense pressure and force them into life and death dilemmas. That will likely continue after the war is over, just with other threats or dangers. Lorca may become more peaceful since he will no longer have a war to "warmonger" about. But he's probably not going to be that different of a captain. Since you've thought a lot about these characters, I'm curious what you think of my thesis: that it may be impossible to write nuanced, compelling, complex characters if those characters must also be stripped of any negative emotions or motivations as Roddenberry apparently intended.
  12. Episode 1.5 "Choose Your Pain" Discussion Thread

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with many of them, and I appreciate TNG for the kind of show it is. I dont hold it to any other standard. But I bring it up in the context of some fan criticism that Discovery is too different from the TNG tone. No modern Trek could write characters that way anymore. If you had to describe Will Riker's character, you would list a few one dimensional traits such as "loyal" and "professional" and "laddies man" and "ambitious" and then add on top of that things that he likes: jazz and ... (Im really thinking here...) the laddies. All TNG-era characters are written like this. As Robin pointed out, the secret sauce of TNG, which VOY and ENT lacked, was a delightful cast of actors. They made it work. But those character traits did not interact together in any meaningful way that revealed a deep psychology, nor did they THEN interact with an episode's plot in a way that was unique to that character thus revealing more about their psychology. This did happen once or twice. For Riker in Best of Both Worlds. For Picard in Family. There are other examples, but as you point out, TNG was not a character study it was about what exciting thing will happen to them each week. Which is fine. But it can't work today. Which is why Lorca, Burnham, Stamets and Saru have a lot more gears turning in their head than Trek characters of old.
  13. Episode 1.5 "Choose Your Pain" Discussion Thread

    So much to say about this ep I dont think it can be done in a week's time. Plus Im moving so I dont know I will get to read all the comments but I will try. Let me just say I have such a full throated defense of the characters on this show that I had to put it in a 2,000 word blog post. The headline is that I think some fans are confusing psychologically complex characters for "darkness." Check it out if you have a few minutes: http://www.justinscottsnead.com/roddenberrys-curse-starfleet-nice-is-not-canon/
  14. Didn't Nicholas Meyer do something similar in Trek VI. There was a scene with Chang and Gorkon's daughter and others on one of the Klingon ships that starts out in Klingon and transitions to English. It was a bit jarring, not as elegant at "Red October" I just do not see the evilness in Lorca that others see. In Ep 4 he was downright heroic with the successful mission to save the dilithium mine. That was a great, classic heroic moment. He is different than other captains (other than Sisko) because he is driven to win the war as opposed to being driven to explore, etc. But the show has suggested that he is driven by those things as well, once the war is over. Did anyone else feel like the way Ripper was used in this episode was a step too far for Starfleet officers? I did not think it was blatantly exploitative--it was too fast with too little information and too little time for the crew to react while under pressure to save the mine colony. But others I've heard were really put off by it.
  15. I like your thinking here. I can count probably 5 things that fans chalked up to poor writing in the first few episodes that turned out to be quite intentional and crafty on the writers part by the time we see where they are going with it. Now even the skeptics are learning to trust in the journey the writers are putting us on. Landry served a narrative purpose. Also, brash and stupid decisions are par for the course on Trek. If you watch the SFdebris reviews you get reminders that Worf was a terrible security chief on the Enterprise. He regularly advocated the kind of brash actions that Landry did, and he also always got beat up, granted not to the point of being mawled to death.