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Jammer’s Blog: The assimilation is irrelevant.

I hinted that this was likely coming with the redesign announcement, and later my blog post announcing that I would no longer cross-post in the blog for the purposes of getting review announcements into the RSS feed. But now it’s time to make it official: This separate (but very-related) blog website, first created back in 2007 as IDWID, and later relaunched in 2009 as Jammer’s Blog, has now returned to the mothership in the form of a new Jammer’s Blog subsection within the main site.

This version of the site still exists for the time being, but it may not for much longer, and I may soon be redirecting all the links back to the main site.

See this post for more details…

The blog is dead. Long live the blog.

A Borg cube hovers ominously over the code for Jammer’s website. What does this mean? IDFK. It’s “art.” Or maybe it’s a metaphor for this blog being assimilated into Jammer’s Reviews. Death is irrelevant.

I don’t know what the future holds for Jammer’s Blog, but I know that it won’t be what it has been for the past seven years since Star Trek Phase III: The Streaming Generation was ushered in back in 2017. What has that been? Mainly, a cross-posting dumping ground used to reference the main site (Jammer’s Reviews), so I had a single place to automate my RSS feeds for both the review site and the blog — and as a way to make it seem like the blog was still, somehow, relevant.

But it’s smoke and mirrors, and, frankly, a waste of my time and yours. It’s time to stop.

As you probably have seen, I have released a new version of Jammer’s Reviews with several site revisions. Read all about it here. The key takeaway is that I’m simply going to automate a new RSS feed through my comments feed, leveraging a specific query that pulls together all my review notifications and other announcements. That new announcements feed can be found on the RSS page. If you happen to be one of the 12 people who subscribe to the RSS feed here, please go re-subscribe over there, as this will be the last cross-posted notification between the two sites.

Looking back through the blog archive, since The Orville and Discovery premiered in September 2017, there have been 213 posts in the blog. Almost none of them have been standalone articles. There was the 25th anniversary article in 2020, and maybe a couple other things. Even the handful of posts (and they surely number less than five) that weren’t review notifications should’ve been posted in Jammer’s Reviews anyway. All the commenters who are in my regular audience are over there. The two commenting systems aren’t integrated, and that’s a problem.

The truth is, this blog has outlived its usefulness. So it’s time to hang it up and just get these things back to the main site. Future one-off articles and blog-type posts likely will be made there rather than here. It’s very possible I will move anything I feel has value back over there, too. I will maintain this blog as an archive of a few goofy things I wrote in the years from 2007 to 2017. But I don’t know that I see a need for this space anymore.

So, the blog is probably dead. Long live the archive.

‘Lower Decks’ season finale: The origin story that got away

"Old Friends, New Planets" seems to be an episode ripe for some sort of major character payoff, specifically around Mariner and/or Locarno. This seems especially true at the beginning of the episode when it smartly flashes back to 13 years earlier, where we see Locarno convincing his Nova Squadron team to take on the Kolvoord Starburst maneuver that would ultimately get their friend Josh killed in the accident at the center of TNG‘s classic "The First Duty." We see Mariner on the periphery of this group ("practically a junior member," Locarno notes), and we witness her hero worship of Sito Jaxa. Robert Duncan McNeill, Wil Wheaton, and Shannon Fill (the last of whom hasn’t acted since 1995) all return to voice the cadets from that episode. The opportunity for character backstory seems endlessly promising.

Read the full review…

Mariner faces her demons in ‘The Inner Fight’

"The Inner Fight" might be the most plot-heavy episode of the season. It’s more adventure than comedy, and that ends up working in its favor, because it feels like more meat than fluff. It also has a character core that’s intriguing, although not outstanding. And it ends in a cliffhanger, setting up next week’s season finale with the most unlikely of villains. The result is an entertaining, albeit very busy, episode that separates into a reliable A/B story structure that comes together at the end.

In the A-plot, Mariner, Boimler, Tendi, and T’Lyn are dispatched by Freeman via shuttle to Sherbal V, which is supposed to be a safe and routine mission. Safe and routine is exactly what Mariner needs right now, because she has recently been acting out and putting herself in extreme danger (picking fights, risking her life playing the hero) for some unrevealed personal psychological reason. (Mariner’s behavior reminds me of Torres’ behavior in "Extreme Risk," which this episode strangely doesn’t reference directly.)

Read the full review…

‘Lower Decks’: That time I went spelunking…

I think maybe the modest goal of Lower Decks should be to use the Star Trek universe to tell fun, lightweight, comedic stories where the tone of the episode lands on something more pleasant than annoying. "Caves" does just that by employing two standbys: (1) The flashback episode told as a series of mini-stories, and (2) the Star Trek cave setting that was obviously filmed on the reusable cave set on the soundstage at the Paramount lot.

In the case of Lower Decks, where the animators could give us any setting they wanted, using a cave is a deliberate and knowing wink, as is the complete lack of surprise on Mariner’s face when the team becomes trapped by a cave-in — with a deadly growing mass of bioluminescent moss consuming the available space and threatening the four. The cave joke is something Trek fans will smile knowingly about, but that joke alone would not carry the day if this episode didn’t also win us over by ultimately telling a nice little story about these four people and their enduring friendship.

Read the full review…

‘Ahsoka’ continues the trend of more rather than better ‘Star Wars’

Ahsoka represents a lot of what’s currently wrong with the Star Wars franchise while maintaining just enough fleeting interest and general competence to keep me from throwing it away altogether. This is not awful, but it sure ain’t good.

Clocking in at eight episodes for a "season of television" — whatever that may mean these days — it starts off turgid and devoid of urgency and then gradually builds steam before ending on a major note of "to be continued" frustration. We’ve reached the point where a "season of television" is not even envisioned as an "eight-hour movie" but an "eight-hour half-a-movie."

Read the full review…

Badgey, Badgey, Badgey, Badgey, mushroom, mushroom

"A Few Badgeys More" is a pretty well-balanced episode of Lower Decks‘ different sensibilities. It manages to advance a main plot that has an adequate amount of tension while also giving us the (tempered) madcap zaniness that is incumbent upon a cartoon outing. It does this by bringing back Badgey, one of the most notable recurring villains on the series, and weaving him into a plot that deals with the Evil AIs while also advancing the Serial Mystery Box of the season — kicked off here by an attack on the Bynars.

The result is good without being great — whatever "great" might actually mean on this series. There aren’t a ton of surprises here, but there is some reasonable plot advancement as well as an evolution in the crazy character of Badgey, who, we learn, was rescued by salvagers hoping to make a buck off Federation technology, but got a lot more than they bargained for when Badgey instead took over their ship.

Read the full review…

Cartoon Ferengi: The right medium for the message

Lower Decks is such a strange hit-or-miss affair that I should know better than to sing its praises (like I was working toward after the season’s first two promising episodes) or give up on it completely (which I was halfway considering after last week’s endurance test), because now here comes the Ferengi Episode, which somehow manages to be the best episode of the season so far, and in the upper ranks of this series, and one of the best Ferengi comedy episodes ever (granted, it’s a low bar). Finally, the Ferengi have found a vehicle where they make sense — in a cartoon.

Read the full review…

Let’s get this party unstarted

Three drunk and lascivious Betazoid diplomats (all women over 50, naturally) are being transported by the Cerritos to Risa. Their telepathic/empathic projections cause the entire crew to "get their party on," resulting in drunken excess and rowdiness that occurs in the background of a lot of shots in Ten Forward, or whatever the bar on this ship is called. Eventually, the partying reaches a fever pitch that Freeman finds unacceptable. When she tries to shut it down, the Betazoids revolt, turning the episode into a classic Ship Takeover Plot. The lunacy is set against the character backdrop of T’Lyn — unhappy aboard the Cerritos — trying to send a message to her former captain, hoping to return to the Vulcan ship she was banished from.

Read the full review…

My sister’s big, fat, green wedding

"Something Borrowed, Something Green" opens with an Orion support ship being destroyed by the powerful Mystery Vessel that attacked the Klingons and Romulans in the season’s first two episodes. It’s a scene that’s exactly as the other two were — completely divorced from the rest of the episode and advancing this supposedly "serial" plot in no real way because it provides no additional information, but merely more of what we already know. If this is supposed to be some sort of poker-faced parody/commentary on bad serialization, then mission accomplished, but that doesn’t seem like the intent.

This scrap of plot does, I suppose, ever so loosely tie into the main plot, as it provides Freeman with slightly more reason to insist Tendi return home for her sister D’Erika’s wedding, which she’s reluctant to do because she wants to keep her Orion past buried rather than in full view of her friends. ("D’Erika" — I love how we’re now just adding consonants and apostrophes to the beginnings of regular names to make them "alien.")

Read the full review…