[DS9] Lynch's Spoiler Review: "It's Only a Paper Moon"

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Timothy W. Lynch

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Jan 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/4/99
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WARNING: "It's Only a Paper Moon," but this DS9 review is only
photons. Top *that*.

In brief: Surprisingly strong; too many musical interludes, but a good
hour's worth of consequences.

======
Written by: Ronald D. Moore (teleplay);
David Mack & John J. Ordover (story)
Directed by: Anson Williams
Brief summary: Nog retreats from the harshness of reality into Vic
Fontaine's holosuite program.
======

Heading into "It's Only a Paper Moon," I had fairly mixed
expectations. On the one hand, it was supposed to deal with Nog
losing his leg, which had the potential for a lot of meat. On the other
hand, Mack & Ordover's previous work, "Starship Down," left me
somewhat cold, and the episode also promised an extended visit with
Mr. Vic Fontaine, of whom I've never been particularly fond (to say
the least). All in all, I had very little idea what to expect. As it turned
out, we got one of Nog's strongest appearances, and easily Vic
Fontaine's best use to date. "It's Only a Paper Moon" isn't perfect,
but unlike many episodes which are a little clunky at heart but win by
execution, this one has an extremely solid core.

At its heart, the episode is in some ways similar to "Hard Time" from
three years back; like "Hard Time," "It's Only a Paper Moon" is all
about consequences. "Hard Time" began with the end of O'Brien's
"imprisonment" and gave us an hour of Miles' difficulty readjusting to
civilian life. "It's Only a Paper Moon" didn't even need to set up
Nog's problem, really, since we already saw Nog lose his leg; all it
needed to do was re-establish the problem. The rest of the episode let
Nog struggle with his loss, and seeing that struggle rather than simply
leaving it with a "we'll work this out together" a la Geordi's
brainwashing in mid-era TNG made all the difference.

More stunning to me personally is that for once, I found myself liking
Vic. The problem I've always had with Vic is that he's been played as
an annoying super-character; he can advise anyone on anything, he
can play with his own internal reality in a way no one else this side of
the Delta Quadrant can, and everyone thinks he's the cat's pajamas.
(Damn ... now he's got *me* doing it!) As amiable as James Darren
may be, that's a character who's basically too silly a concept to be
allowed to live.

This time, Vic was set up so as to be -- gasp! -- *plausible*. First,
Nog's attachment to him is understandable: since he'd already been
calmed by the music while lying on a biobed, he was predisposed to
like the guy. Second, with the exception of "he can turn off and stay
off," there were no Superhologram [TM] elements this time around;
Vic was just a fantasy figure who was fairly self-aware. Third, Vic
was treated *as a fantasy character*, which he is. It's one thing when
you have as well-grounded a figure as Odo turning to Dr. Vic's advice
for the lovelorn column; it's quite another when you have a wounded
character like Nog taking a retreat into a fantasy which just happens to
be familiar. If Vic had been used this way from the start, I'd have had
minor if any objections.

As a result of that new plausibility, it became rather interesting to
watch Vic at work. No, not the singing -- I still think that Vic's
presence is an excuse to fill the screen with song rather than with story
much of the time, although most of the music had secondary uses this
time around. Rather, Vic wound up being a more than effective
counselor, in part because most of the time, he simply created
situations where Nog could make the right choices. (Compare that to
"His Way," where he basically led Odo around by the nose.)
Weaning Nog off of his cane by giving him a weaker but more
glamorous walking stick was a case in point; that's something that
people with 24th-century sensibilities might not have thought of.

The secondary characters did suffer a bit as a result of Vic's magic,
however. At the top of the list is Ezri: as station counselor, she really
should have been more instrumental in Nog's recovery than she was,
and the middle of her three scenes with Vic, where she bulls in trying
to take Nog home, reflected rather badly on her. However, in most
other respects, Ezri turned out fine: her advice to Sisko seemed pretty
much on-target and professional, and the way she neatly got her
points across to Vic in their final scene together was impressive, if a
little obvious. For the most part, her inexperience as counselor came
off as a bit overplayed in spots, but not much more problematic than
that.

Jake was also a concern, and in this case it's one that has been
growing all season. While it's a staple of television that teenagers are
going to be blunt, unsympathetic louts unless they have their own
show, it's a staple that Jake's been blessedly free of for most of his
on-screen life. This season, that seems to be changing a bit: when
he's around at all, Jake's been boorish all too often. "It's Only a
Paper Moon" was no exception, particularly in the Jake/Nog scene in
their quarters. As with Ezri, later scenes with Jake tended to mitigate
a lot of those concerns, but I'm just concerned that we're not seeing
any of the sympathetic, insightful Jake this year.

Getting back to the story, however, it was certainly no surprise that
Nog grew attached to Vic's world and wanted to stay there full-time,
especially after the only Ferengi in Las Vegas found a use for his
business skills. One of the episode's strengths, however, was that it
made Vic fallible. As I said before, normally Vic's been a _hologram
ex machina_ when it came to psychology; this time, experiencing a
fuller life made Vic himself a little more prone to human frailties. The
final Ezri/Vic dialogue brought that out beautifully, and gave Vic a
chance to essentially play "bad cop" for a change.

If I have any other objection to "It's Only a Paper Moon," it's a long-
standing one. While I think Nog as a character has come an
exceptionally long way since the first couple of seasons, I'm not sure
Aron Eisenberg has the chops to really bring all of that potential out.
Eisenberg is convincing when he's happy, when he's furious, and
when he's sullen -- but his sobbing speech to Vic about being afraid
was really erratic. At times I was in there feeling for Nog, but at other
times, particularly early on, it didn't feel particularly real to me.
Eisenberg has certainly come farther than I would have ever predicted
six years ago, but in a few small areas I think the material may have
been a little beyond him. It happens.

In a lot of other ways, however, the episode pulled off nearly
everything it tried to do, in part thanks to a lot of nice little details.
Some examples:

-- Nog's attack on Jake. While it was somewhat unexpected, the
telling point is that Nog didn't use or need the cane while beating up
his friend.

-- Some good use of flashbacks, both to Nog's wounding and to his
first exposure to Vic's music. (And no, the latter flashback wasn't
aired before; given the production values, I assume it was filmed with
the first episode and simply held for this, which shows nice
forethought.)

-- Meetings that seemed to show an awareness of what Nog was
doing. It's nice for a change to have the medical personnel agree with
each other. :-)

-- Everyone teaming up to slam Bashir's tastes in holosuite programs
-- though to be fair, the Alamo one was Miles' idea, not Julian's.

And some other points...

-- If Vic is to remain a solid character (no pun intended), the "he's a
really different hologram" stuff has to stop, or at least get toned down
incredibly. I find it extremely difficult to believe that Starfleet would
sanction a hologram as self-aware and internally powerful as Vic
Fontaine's been in spots. (Rather than say "he can keep himself off,"
for instance, you could simply have him turning himself off every
time Nog turns him on. Same idea, more plausible.)

-- I could have done without the what-religion-is-Nog camera angle as
he gets ready for bed.

-- I was a little surprised to see that Nog didn't wind up with a
replicated version of the glamorous walking stick.

-- Have we ever seen old film footage before on Trek? I'm not
thinking of any. Stills, yes, but not film.

-- I don't recall how many mentions we've had of the Alamo program,
but it's been quite a few now. I'm forced to agree with others who
are speculating that this *might* be leading somewhere.

-- "Where's your computer?" "Right here. It's 1962, whaddya want
from me?" Can't argue with that. :-)

-- I really hope that Nog's arrival was filmed along with scenes from
other episodes. Otherwise, Auberjonois and Dorn spent hours in
makeup for a whopping one and zero lines, respectively. That can't
be fun.

That about covers it. Overall, "It's Only a Paper Moon" is a solid tale
of recovery, and one that was strong enough that I may rethink parts
of "The Siege of AR-558". Any show that can actually make me
warm to Vic Fontaine must be doing something right. (Of course, I
said the same thing about "Children of Time" and Odo/Kira; we later
wound up with "His Way," so maybe I should just keep my trap shut.
:-) ) Wrapping up, then:

Writing: The occasional "off" moment with Ezri or Jake, but the two
central figures worked just fine.
Directing: No complaints.
Acting: There were a few spots where Eisenberg seemed to falter, and
Chase Masterson had a few annoying moments (surPRISE,
surprise), but overall very solid.

OVERALL: A 9; one of the season's strongest so far. Here's hoping
it's the start of a trend.

NEXT WEEK:

Ezri's family secrets come back to haunt ... Miles?

A happy 1999 to all!

"What got into you, anyway?"
"I don't know. She started calling me a hero, and things just went
downhill from there."
"She called you a hero, and for that you slugged your best friend?
Remind me never to give you a compliment."
-- Vic and Nog

Brian S. Thorn

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Jan 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/4/99
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On 4 Jan 1999 06:06:11 GMT, tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:

>-- Have we ever seen old film footage before on Trek? I'm not
>thinking of any. Stills, yes, but not film.

Yes, in "The City on the Edge of Forever" we
saw old film footage in the Guardian of Forever.
However, it was supposed to be history passing,
not a movie.

Brian

TedJ...@mindspring.com

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Jan 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/4/99
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Timothy W. Lynch wrote in message <76ploj$b...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>...

>-- I don't recall how many mentions we've had of the Alamo program,
>but it's been quite a few now. I'm forced to agree with others who
>are speculating that this *might* be leading somewhere.


Plot idea: When O'Brien and Bashir get stuck in their Alamo program,
Vic Fontaine is sent in to rescue them, making it the SECOND time that
James Darren has gone back from the 1960's to the battle of the Alamo
(on Time Tunnel, James Darren played a time traveller from the 1960's,
and he was at the Alamo in one episode).


Maureen Goldman

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Jan 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/5/99
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> On 4 Jan 1999 06:06:11 GMT, tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:
>
> >-- Have we ever seen old film footage before on Trek? I'm not
> >thinking of any. Stills, yes, but not film.

>bth...@airmail.net (Brian S. Thorn) wrote:

> Yes, in "The City on the Edge of Forever" we
> saw old film footage in the Guardian of Forever.
> However, it was supposed to be history passing,
> not a movie.

Not news clips? I can't recall.


Brian S. Thorn

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Jan 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/5/99
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On Tue, 05 Jan 1999 01:19:09 GMT, inksl...@FOGsunshine.net (Maureen Goldman)
wrote:


>> Yes, in "The City on the Edge of Forever" we
>> saw old film footage in the Guardian of Forever.
>> However, it was supposed to be history passing,
>> not a movie.
>

>Not news clips? I can't recall.

The news clips were on Spock's tricorder.
The Guardian seemed to be showing old
silent movies.

-Brian


MLMedved

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Jan 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/5/99
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<< (Of course, I
said the same thing about "Children of Time" and Odo/Kira; we later
wound up with "His Way," so maybe I should just keep my trap shut.
:-) )>>

Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get? It was a terrific
episode--and I'm not the only one who thought so. For instance:

*This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction.

*Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr: "Personally, I think "His Way" is one of
the best shows we've ever done on DS9. It's certainly one of the most effective
romances in the history of the franchise."

*Writer Hans Beimler: "'His Way' holds the status as my current favorite. At
the risk of sounding a little self-serving, I'll say that I think it's a very
successful episode. What I mean by that is that it delivers on what it
promises. And I can't always say that. Many times our ambition has outreached
our grasp. For three years, we've been
intimating about an Odo/Kira relationship. It was time to fish or cut bait."

*Producer Ron Moore: "I think it was the most romantic episode we have done. A
lot of times the romances on STAR TREK have just been unsatisfying. I haven't
liked a lot of the romances that I've worked on or been involved with on TNG
or DS9. ["His Way"] was one where I did feel it. When Odo and Kira are out at
dinner, and Jimmy appears and starts singing, that's a movie moment,
that's magic. They get up, and they dance. It's a great song, and the setting
is perfect, and the mood is right. The two characters been moving towards this
moment for a few years. It was a great show."

*Rene Auberjonois: "I think `His Way' was the sweetest script I've had to do on
DS9. I think it's the best romance "Trek" has ever had."

*Cinemafantastique, in their year-end review, gave "His Way" four stars, tying
it with "In the Pale Moonlight" for best episode of the season.

So while you're entitled to your opinion, I think you're really outside the
loop on this one.

Mike Medved
(No relation)

Maureen Goldman

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Jan 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/5/99
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mlme...@aol.com (MLMedved) wrote:

> Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get? It was a terrific
> episode--and I'm not the only one who thought so. For instance:

> *This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction.

I don't think that most people here were criticizing the episode on the
basis of its music direction.



> *Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr: "Personally, I think "His Way" is one of
> the best shows we've ever done on DS9. It's certainly one of the most effective
> romances in the history of the franchise."
>
> *Writer Hans Beimler: "'His Way' holds the status as my current favorite. At
> the risk of sounding a little self-serving, I'll say that I think it's a very
> successful episode. What I mean by that is that it delivers on what it
> promises. And I can't always say that. Many times our ambition has outreached
> our grasp. For three years, we've been
> intimating about an Odo/Kira relationship. It was time to fish or cut bait."
>
> *Producer Ron Moore: "I think it was the most romantic episode we have done. A
> lot of times the romances on STAR TREK have just been unsatisfying. I haven't
> liked a lot of the romances that I've worked on or been involved with on TNG
> or DS9. ["His Way"] was one where I did feel it. When Odo and Kira are out at
> dinner, and Jimmy appears and starts singing, that's a movie moment,
> that's magic. They get up, and they dance. It's a great song, and the setting
> is perfect, and the mood is right. The two characters been moving towards this
> moment for a few years. It was a great show."
>
> *Rene Auberjonois: "I think `His Way' was the sweetest script I've had to do on
> DS9. I think it's the best romance "Trek" has ever had."
>
> *Cinemafantastique, in their year-end review, gave "His Way" four stars, tying
> it with "In the Pale Moonlight" for best episode of the season.
>
> So while you're entitled to your opinion, I think you're really outside the
> loop on this one.

Most of us are outside the loop - that tends to be one of the definition of
a viewer.

My recollection is that opinion was heavily split on this one. I was among
those who cringed. Those cheering on Kira and Odo seemed to tend to like
it; those who didn't found few redeeming qualities. I really didn't care
for the episode but liked the Vic Fontaine character (not enough to see him
again and AGAIN, though.)


Timothy W. Lynch

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Jan 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/5/99
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mlme...@aol.com (MLMedved) writes:
[quoting TWL]

><< (Of course, I
>said the same thing about "Children of Time" and Odo/Kira; we later
>wound up with "His Way," so maybe I should just keep my trap shut.
>:-) )>>

>Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get?

Wait, wait, I know this one ... umm ... ah. Because I thought it was
terrible.

>It was a terrific
>episode--and I'm not the only one who thought so. For instance:

[many laudatory comments deleted]

Gee, the principals involved with the show liked it. Go figure. :-)
And remember, Behr & Beimler are also the ones who wrote and praised
"Profit and Lace"; I'd consider their opinions of their own work a
little suspect just on that basis.

Seriously, while quotes and Emmy nominations are helpful, they don't
prove anything. Neither does popularity -- "Cost of Living" was one
of the highest-rated episodes of TNG's fifth season.

I'm not slamming those people who *did* like it, but in my view "His
Way" achieved its goals by mangling its core characters, which is all
but guaranteed to produce something I won't like. Such is life.

>So while you're entitled to your opinion, I think you're really outside the
>loop on this one.

<shrug> Okey-doke. Wouldn't be the first time (cf. "Chase, The," etc.).

Tim Lynch

MLMedved

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Tim Lynch wrote:

>Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get?

<<Wait, wait, I know this one ... umm ... ah. Because I thought it was
terrible.>>

But do you think everyone would feel the same way as you do? I know lots of
folks who enjoyed that ep. My problem really isn't that you didn't like
it--it's that you told YOUR READERS not to watch it. And that's my basic
problem with critics (not singling you out)--they always seem to feel their
tastes are the same as the vast majority, when often they aren't. For
instance, Siskel and Ebert both gave "Patch Adams" a thumbs down--but it's the
most popular film in America for three weeks running now. If people let
themselves be led by critics' opinions they'd miss out on a lot they'd enjoy.

>It was a terrific
>episode--and I'm not the only one who thought so. For instance:

[many laudatory comments deleted]

<<Gee, the principals involved with the show liked it. Go figure. :-)
And remember, Behr & Beimler are also the ones who wrote and praised
"Profit and Lace"; I'd consider their opinions of their own work a
little suspect just on that basis.>>

Fair enough--but Armin Shimerman has denounced it, and Ron Moore essentially
admitted it was a piece of crap. I haven't heard *any* derogatory comments on
HW from any of the principals. And how do you explain the rating by
Cinemafantastique? (And what good are critics when you get such differing
opinions on the same episode?)

<<Seriously, while quotes and Emmy nominations are helpful, they don't
prove anything. Neither does popularity -- "Cost of Living" was one of the
highest-rated episodes of TNG's fifth season. >>

SO...if people actually watch it and enjoy it, that doesn't make it good--only
the opinions of critics count?

<<I'm not slamming those people who *did* like it, but in my view "His Way"
achieved its goals by mangling its core characters, which is all but guaranteed
to produce something I won't like. Such is life.>>

It's okay for you not to like it--just don't tell other people not to watch.
Let people make up their own minds.

Mike Medved
(No relation)

AndrewR

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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On 5 Jan 1999 03:53:20 GMT, mlme...@aol.com (MLMedved) wrote:

><< (Of course, I
>said the same thing about "Children of Time" and Odo/Kira; we later
>wound up with "His Way," so maybe I should just keep my trap shut.
>:-) )>>
>

>Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get? It was a terrific


>episode--and I'm not the only one who thought so. For instance:
>

>*This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction.
>

>*Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr: "Personally, I think "His Way" is one of
>the best shows we've ever done on DS9. It's certainly one of the most effective
>romances in the history of the franchise."
>
>*Writer Hans Beimler: "'His Way' holds the status as my current favorite. At
>the risk of sounding a little self-serving, I'll say that I think it's a very
>successful episode. What I mean by that is that it delivers on what it
>promises. And I can't always say that. Many times our ambition has outreached
>our grasp. For three years, we've been
>intimating about an Odo/Kira relationship. It was time to fish or cut bait."
>
>*Producer Ron Moore: "I think it was the most romantic episode we have done. A
>lot of times the romances on STAR TREK have just been unsatisfying. I haven't
>liked a lot of the romances that I've worked on or been involved with on TNG
>or DS9. ["His Way"] was one where I did feel it. When Odo and Kira are out at
>dinner, and Jimmy appears and starts singing, that's a movie moment,
>that's magic. They get up, and they dance. It's a great song, and the setting
>is perfect, and the mood is right. The two characters been moving towards this
>moment for a few years. It was a great show."
>
>*Rene Auberjonois: "I think `His Way' was the sweetest script I've had to do on
>DS9. I think it's the best romance "Trek" has ever had."
>
>*Cinemafantastique, in their year-end review, gave "His Way" four stars, tying
>it with "In the Pale Moonlight" for best episode of the season.
>

>So while you're entitled to your opinion, I think you're really outside the
>loop on this one.
>

>Mike Medved
>(No relation)

I agree - some episodes leave you with a feeling.

The Visitor did.
The Quickening did.
Far Beyond The Stars did.
His Way did.

you know what I mean.

Andrew

SJohnson

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Maureen Goldman wrote:

>
> mlme...@aol.com (MLMedved) wrote:
>
> > Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get? It was a terrific
> > episode--and I'm not the only one who thought so. For instance:
>
> > *This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction.
>
> I don't think that most people here were criticizing the episode on the
> basis of its music direction.

Agreed. The music was pretty good, for the environment it was used in
this episode.

[snip]

> > *Cinemafantastique, in their year-end review, gave "His Way" four stars, tying
> > it with "In the Pale Moonlight" for best episode of the season.
> >
> > So while you're entitled to your opinion, I think you're really outside the
> > loop on this one.
>

> Most of us are outside the loop - that tends to be one of the definition of
> a viewer.

Ain't it da truth! ;)

> My recollection is that opinion was heavily split on this one. I was among
> those who cringed. Those cheering on Kira and Odo seemed to tend to like
> it; those who didn't found few redeeming qualities. I really didn't care
> for the episode but liked the Vic Fontaine character (not enough to see him
> again and AGAIN, though.)

Again, agreed. The 'Vic' character is (was) an enjoyable one, but it is
danger of becoming over-used (or, has already passed that minestone).

People were also recovering from the bad taste they were left with--
after the infamous 'closet reconciliation scene' in "You're Cordially
Invited..." that totally washed away all of Kira's anger over Odo's
betrayal of her, and his potential betrayal of the war effort. Then
comes the "His Way" date episode; and, alas, some people's total disdain
for the episode...

SJohnson

TC

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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SJohnson wrote in message <3692F5F7...@mediaone.net>...

<snipped>


>
>People were also recovering from the bad taste they were left with--
>after the infamous 'closet reconciliation scene' in "You're Cordially
>Invited..." that totally washed away all of Kira's anger over Odo's
>betrayal of her, and his potential betrayal of the war effort. Then
>comes the "His Way" date episode; and, alas, some people's total disdain
>for the episode...
>
>SJohnson

yeah, that would be me. Vic needs to be erased from that crystal and the
crystal needs to be beamed into the heart of the nearest star. I want to
forget this episode ever happened, just like I've forgotten about "Prophet
and Lace"... Oh no!! now I remember.

TC

Heiwa

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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AndrewR wrote:
> I agree - some episodes leave you with a feeling.
>
> The Visitor did.
> The Quickening did.
> Far Beyond The Stars did.
> His Way did.
>
> you know what I mean.
>
> Andrew


Not really ... did they leave you with a good feeling, or a bad
feeling? Because "The Visitor" has always been my personal DS9 favorite
episode. Dunno about the other 3 tho.

Robert Cook

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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On 4 Jan 1999 06:06:11 GMT, tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W.
Lynch) wrote:

>WARNING: "It's Only a Paper Moon," but this DS9 review is only
>photons. Top *that*.

(snip)


>-- Have we ever seen old film footage before on Trek? I'm not
>thinking of any. Stills, yes, but not film.

(snip)

Weelll... film footage as film footage, no. But in 'The City on the
Edge of Forever', the Guardian's historical montage was made up of
shots from old movies...

______
Robert M. Cook
Remove the animal to reply via e-mail

Timothy W. Lynch

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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mlme...@aol.com (MLMedved) writes:
>Tim Lynch wrote:

>>Why do you knock "His Way" every chance you get?

><<Wait, wait, I know this one ... umm ... ah. Because I thought it was
>terrible.>>

>But do you think everyone would feel the same way as you do?

No, of course not. I've never expected that and never shall. Where
exactly did I say otherwise?

>I know lots of
>folks who enjoyed that ep. My problem really isn't that you didn't like
>it--it's that you told YOUR READERS not to watch it.

Pardon? Here's what I wrote early on in the review itself:

======
Somehow, somewhere, there's someone who thought "His Way" was
the best DS9 episode ever made, a show which epitomized the sort of
characterization to which every dramatic television series should
aspire.

That someone is not me.
======

If that isn't a clear-cut "this is my opinion," then I'd be interested
to see what you think *is* clear-cut.

Yes, I give advice. That is my *job* as a reviewer. I generally try
to make it pretty clear what folks I think will like it and what folks
I think won't -- and in my opinion, I did so in the case of "His
Way". So people disagree? *Fine*. That's why it's called opinion,
that's why it's called discussion.

I think you're succumbing to the myth of the 100% objective reviewer:
there ain't no such animal. I'm not trying to be all things to all
people, any more than "His Way" did.

I, personally, loathed the show -- and thus I, personally, wrote a
scathing review of it. I don't understand what the problem is here,
particularly since public disagreement is hardly difficult to make or
difficult to find.

>And that's my basic
>problem with critics (not singling you out)--they always seem to feel their
>tastes are the same as the vast majority, when often they aren't. For
>instance, Siskel and Ebert both gave "Patch Adams" a thumbs down--but it's the
>most popular film in America for three weeks running now. If people let
>themselves be led by critics' opinions they'd miss out on a lot they'd enjoy.

I don't think most people are "led" by such opinions, at least to the
exclusion of all else. What I do, and what I think most people do, is
find a reviewer with a well-defined "voice" and set of opinions; with
that in hand, you can then judge their comments accordingly. If you
happen to find a reviewer whose tastes match yours 90% of the time,
then you've lucked out and *can* usually trust their opinion. In
general, though, I at least take reviewers' opinions as data points,
not directives carved on stone tablets.

For the record, Mike, I think I had exactly *one* person who wrote me
and said they were avoiding "His Way" because of my review. I had
half a dozen more who said they *wished* they had, but only one who
allowed himself to be "led" in such a fashion. Don't worry overmuch
about my alleged influence.

><<Gee, the principals involved with the show liked it. Go figure. :-)
>And remember, Behr & Beimler are also the ones who wrote and praised
>"Profit and Lace"; I'd consider their opinions of their own work a
>little suspect just on that basis.>>

>Fair enough--but Armin Shimerman has denounced it, and Ron Moore essentially
>admitted it was a piece of crap. I haven't heard *any* derogatory comments on
>HW from any of the principals. And how do you explain the rating by
>Cinemafantastique? (And what good are critics when you get such differing
>opinions on the same episode?)

See my statements above about critics. We're human beings, and as
such will have different opinions. Reconciling them is the *reader's*
job, not mine.

><<Seriously, while quotes and Emmy nominations are helpful, they don't
>prove anything. Neither does popularity -- "Cost of Living" was one of the
>highest-rated episodes of TNG's fifth season. >>

>SO...if people actually watch it and enjoy it, that doesn't make it good--only
>the opinions of critics count?

Huh? My opinion counts exactly as much as yours -- no more, no less.
If people pay more attention to one or the other in a particular
instance, that is their choice, not a mandate.

><<I'm not slamming those people who *did* like it, but in my view "His Way"
>achieved its goals by mangling its core characters, which is all but guaranteed
>to produce something I won't like. Such is life.>>

>It's okay for you not to like it--just don't tell other people not to watch.
>Let people make up their own minds.

If I dislike something enough that I think people would appreciate the
warning, I make the warning. Everyone is free to ignore those
warnings, and most do.

Mike, with all due respect, I think you're overreacting to one man's
opinion, and to 2 lines out of a 200-line review. You appear to be
separating out "critics" as both a separate breed of humanity and a
breed with a monolithic, objective opinion which should apply equally
to every reader -- that's simply never going to happen. If you want
to make the point that lots of people liked "His Way," you may
consider it well made. Fair enough?

Tim Lynch


Charles Kupperman

unread,
Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
to
A data point: I avoided "His Way," at least partly based on Lynch's
review. I also never saw "Profit and Lace," and a few other episodes last
season.

"His Way" sounded like the sort of contrived episode that I tend to
dislike. I suspected as much before I read Lynch's review, and his
comments only cemented that bias. By "contrived,' I mean a high-concept
vehicle that attempts to shoe-horn its characters into situations rather
than letting them find their own way. When such storylines involve the
holodeck, I am doubly repelled.

OTOH, I was pleasantly surprised by how well "Paper Moon" used its
characters, with the possible exceptions of Ezri and Jake. The result
didn't feel contrived at all, and was very watchable.

Charles

--
"God, I so hate good taste. It is so lacking in courage. It is so
tasteless." -- Diana Trent, Waiting For God.


mumford

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
to
A while ago, Maureen Goldman<inksl...@FOGsunshine.net> begot:

>> On 4 Jan 1999 06:06:11 GMT, tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:
>>
>> >-- Have we ever seen old film footage before on Trek? I'm not
>> >thinking of any. Stills, yes, but not film.
>
>>bth...@airmail.net (Brian S. Thorn) wrote:
>
>> Yes, in "The City on the Edge of Forever" we
>> saw old film footage in the Guardian of Forever.
>> However, it was supposed to be history passing,
>> not a movie.
>
>Not news clips? I can't recall.

I can. It was full motion stock footage. They make a little blurb every time
someone talks about this episode because it was the only episode of Trek to
ever use stock footage. The news stills were later on Spock's tricorder.

--
Glenn Lamb - mum...@netcom.com. Finger for my PGP Key.
Email to me must have my address in either the To: or Cc: field. All other
mail will be bounced automatically as spam.
PGPprint = E3 0F DE CC 94 72 D1 1A 2D 2E A9 08 6B A0 CD 82

Shawn Hill

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
to
MLMedved <mlme...@aol.com> wrote:

: Mike Medved
: (No relation)

You must be very grateful.

Shawn

Shawn Hill

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
to
MLMedved <mlme...@aol.com> wrote:

: But do you think everyone would feel the same way as you do? I know lots of


: folks who enjoyed that ep. My problem really isn't that you didn't like

: it--it's that you told YOUR READERS not to watch it. And that's my basic

saying "it sucked" isn't the same as saying "don't watch." You seem to be
arguing against Tim's right to make critical judgements. I don't always
(or even often) agree with him either, but I kinda' know what his taste is
at this point, so I always get something out of his reviews, anyway.

: problem with critics (not singling you out)--they always seem to feel their


: tastes are the same as the vast majority, when often they aren't. For
: instance, Siskel and Ebert both gave "Patch Adams" a thumbs down--but it's the
: most popular film in America for three weeks running now. If people let
: themselves be led by critics' opinions they'd miss out on a lot they'd enjoy.

And, repeatedly, the public has shown that they are NOT lead by anything
resembling critical opinion. But it is a critic's job to write what they
HONESTLY feel, in accordance, not with some projected taste of the masses
(then they would be publicists, not critics), but with their own,
personal, I've seen every episode/500 movies this year taste.

: HW from any of the principals. And how do you explain the rating by


: Cinemafantastique? (And what good are critics when you get such differing
: opinions on the same episode?)

They give you one more opinion. Which you are always free to take or
leave.

: SO...if people actually watch it and enjoy it, that doesn't make it good--only


: the opinions of critics count?

Tim's opinion matter's to Tim. He deigns to share it with us. As his
reviews often generate long threads on this group, he's learned that we
like his generosity.

: It's okay for you not to like it--just don't tell other people not to watch.

: Let people make up their own minds.

I don't see how he could do anything else. They haven't perfected those
hypnotic USENET sub-routines yet, so I hear.

Shawn
* . * . * . * .

Q: "Am I still your woman?"

A: "You're the captain's woman...until he says you're not."

. * . * . *sh...@fas.harvard.edu


David E. Sluss

unread,
Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
to
From: Shawn Hill <sh...@fas.harvard.edu>
SH>I don't see how he could do anything else. They haven't perfected
SH>those hypnotic USENET sub-routines yet, so I hear.

I command you to read this post.
--
// David E. Sluss (The Cynic) \\ // "I'm impatient with \\
//_________ sluss%dhp.com _________\\//__ stupidity. My people have __\\
\\ Manager of The Cynics Corner: //\\ learned to live without it." //
\\ http://users.dhp.com/~sluss // \\ Klaatu //

David E. Sluss

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Jan 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/7/99
to
tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:
TWL>-- Some good use of flashbacks, both to Nog's wounding and to his
TWL>first exposure to Vic's music. (And no, the latter flashback
TWL>wasn't aired before; given the production values, I assume it was
TWL>filmed with the first episode and simply held for this, which
TWL>shows nice forethought.)

Hmmm. I had just the opposite reaction. The "Nog's sickbed" set
looked extremely barebones, and, to me, did not appear the way it did
in "AR-558." I assumed it was a new piece of footage. This is just
an impression, though, I don't have a tape of "AR-558" to compare it
to.

Marg Petersen

unread,
Jan 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/7/99
to
In article <770n76$qm7$2...@news.fas.harvard.edu>,

Shawn Hill <sh...@fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
>MLMedved <mlme...@aol.com> wrote:
>
>: But do you think everyone would feel the same way as you do? I know lots of
>: folks who enjoyed that ep. My problem really isn't that you didn't like
>: it--it's that you told YOUR READERS not to watch it. And that's my basic
>
>saying "it sucked" isn't the same as saying "don't watch." You seem to be
>arguing against Tim's right to make critical judgements. I don't always
>(or even often) agree with him either, but I kinda' know what his taste is
>at this point, so I always get something out of his reviews, anyway.

I *often* agree with Tim. Oh, now and then we have a slight
disagreement, :-) But mostly we agree about the quality of
an episode. NOWHERE does Tim *ever* tell people not to watch
something. He merely states HIS opinion (and quite eloquently,
I might add.) He also backs up his opinion with his reasons for
not liking something (or some part) in an episode.

>: problem with critics (not singling you out)--they always seem to feel their
>: tastes are the same as the vast majority, when often they aren't. For
>: instance, Siskel and Ebert both gave "Patch Adams" a thumbs down--but it's the
>: most popular film in America for three weeks running now. If people let
>: themselves be led by critics' opinions they'd miss out on a lot they'd enjoy.
>
>And, repeatedly, the public has shown that they are NOT lead by anything
>resembling critical opinion. But it is a critic's job to write what they
>HONESTLY feel, in accordance, not with some projected taste of the masses
>(then they would be publicists, not critics), but with their own,
>personal, I've seen every episode/500 movies this year taste.

I have never ever seen anything that would suggest that Tim feels
HIS tastes are the same as the vast majority, Never! He writes HIS
opinion; take it or leave it. Argue about it, state YOUR opinion
(and why you disagree). That's how *I* met Tim in the first place. :-)

>: HW from any of the principals. And how do you explain the rating by
>: Cinemafantastique? (And what good are critics when you get such differing
>: opinions on the same episode?)
>
>They give you one more opinion. Which you are always free to take or
>leave.

Absolutely!

>: SO...if people actually watch it and enjoy it, that doesn't make it good--only
>: the opinions of critics count?
>
>Tim's opinion matter's to Tim. He deigns to share it with us. As his
>reviews often generate long threads on this group, he's learned that we
>like his generosity.

I certainly appreciate Tim's reviews. He does them very well.
They are eloquent (as I stated above) and he doesn't miss much.
I think of his reviews as a poet's statement about a sunset;
everyone watches it and some write about it. Not everyone will
agree that what the poet writes describes the sunset in exactly
the way that THEY would do so, but the poet describes it the
way that THEY see it. If you feel differently, then you must
write your own poem.....er review.

>: It's okay for you not to like it--just don't tell other people not to watch.
>: Let people make up their own minds.
>

>I don't see how he could do anything else. They haven't perfected those


>hypnotic USENET sub-routines yet, so I hear.

Hehehehehehe. Well Tim has "the power" don't you know? :-)

>Shawn

Marg

--
Marg Petersen Member PSEB: Official Sonneteer JLP-SOL
god...@peak.org http://www.peak.org/~goddess
"At ease Ensign, before you sprain something." - Capt. Janeway

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