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Peter Martin
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 10:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Another solid episode to end the season. Once they again, they managed to fit quite a bit into a single episode and achieved a good balance between the thought-provoking sci-fi and the humour. The opening in Bortus' quarters playing Latchcomb had me in stitches, as did the bit later on with Mercer thinking the Admiral had hung up.

Shades of "Central City Does Not Answer" with the central premise of the episode. Thought the resolution was pretty good, using Isaac to solve the problem.

It's a thumbs up from me for the season as a whole. My favourite episode was the third one: About A Girl.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 10:36pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Strong finish to a very entertaining season.
I could handle less FAMILY GUY if it means more ORVILLE
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 11:09pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Shades of "Central City Does Not Answer" with the central premise of the episode. Thought the resolution was pretty good, using Isaac to solve the problem.
++++++++

Shades of "Who Mourns For Adonais?", too, with the thematic idea of a race eventually outgrowing the need for gods.

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 3:50am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Starts in the U.K. on Thursday
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 9:24am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Shades of "Who Mourns For Adonais?", too, with the thematic idea of a race eventually outgrowing the need for gods.

You're misremembering, Greg! "Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite sufficient."

GAH!! Even manages to be smug about it!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 11:37am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Whoa, whoa, there--the thematic point is stated at the end, with Kirk telling Apollo that humanity has outgrown the need for him (with Apollo then disappearing like Tinkerbell without kids to clap for her).

 
Offhand, I don't recall if it's ever been confirmed, but I do believe I've read that the "We find the one quite adequate" line was added in either at the insistence of network execs, or as a pre-emptive measure to avoid trouble with the Bible Belt and whatnot. 

However, the REST of the episode is very clearly in-step with Roddenberry's atheistic ideals, and his Humanist notion that mankind will eventually outgrow the need for religion. So, despite the one incongruous line of dialogue, that's the message I pull out of the episode, because everything else points in that direction.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 12:01pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Again, Greg, we do not deal in might-have-beens. Whatever Kirk says to Apollo at the end of the episode, he has flatly stated Humanity is a monotheistic society. (Apparently those pesky Hindus and other such polytheists have been eliminated by the 22nd Century!)

When I first watched "Who Mourns for Adonais" I cringed at Kirk's "one god" line. It seemed so offensive, not only to me, as an atheist, but to millions, even billions of people around the world. And it completely undermines any suggestion that the episode demonstrates Humanity has outgrown its need for gods, no matter what Kirk says.

It's like someone saying they never drink alcohol, except whiskey.

Sadly, the line is not "incongruous", especially when considered in context with an episode like "Bread and Circuses", and the Thanksgiving* reference in "Charlie X". (And, remember, McCoy notes that "Scotty doesn't believe in gods" as if that somehow makes him an exception. In an atheistic society, the observation would not even be necessary.)

_________________________

* That's an Earth holiday, remember, not merely an American one!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 12:42pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's just a shame that the one line basically throws a wrench into the machinery of what that episode was trying to say.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 3:54pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I wonder if you're reading too much into Roddenberry's intent. Back to "Bread and Circuses". A not-great episode becomes even worse when Christian mythology is shoehorned into the mix (with an unworkable pun, no less!). Gene was not shy about having his characters be devout (even if it meant Jewish actors getting dewey eyed over Jesus!).
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 11:28pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Feel free to move this tangent to the TREK section, but I did some research on the matter at hand. It appears that there's no hard evidence that the network or Standards & Practices insisted that Kirk's line be added in, and the script was worked on by a number of writers, including Roddenberry, Coon, and Fontana. 

It may well be that the writers/producers simply knew their audience, and we're playing with the accepted norms by writing that line. Or, perhaps Roddenberry was not yet the atheist/Humanist he would later become. After all, by the time of TNG, he strongly felt that no one on Earth would practice religion or believe in a deity (or deities).

Interestingly, there's also that mention of "our many beliefs" in "Balance of Terror", which contradicts the whole monotheism idea. Of course, TOS is not exactly known for internal consistency! 

As for "Bread and Circuses", that script came directly from Roddenberry and Coon, and the final scene was most definitely not a case of executive interference. As before, I would presume that Roddenberry was playing to the audience or perhaps had different personal beliefs at that time. Maybe the scene was meant to play more as the crew being charmed by the parallel development of the planet and knowing it would eventually lead to a more enlightened and peaceful culture, rather than their own personal, monotheistic beliefs being validated by the parallel evolution. 

It's also certainly possible that during TOS, Roddenberry was writing characters who didn't necessarily reflect his personal views on theology. He may not have been so bold as to write blatantly atheistic characters into a 1960s network show. The interesting thing is all of the subtext which leans in the direction he would later take. There are any number of episodes where our heroes reject false gods--and even real ones, in the case of Apollo. And, as noted, I've always read "Who Mourns For Adonais?" as being about mankind outgrowing the need for gods, despite that one line of dialogue sticking out like a sore thumb. I'm more than happy to admit that I might be reading too much into it, or projecting late-life Roddenberry's ideas back onto TOS, though.

TOS' take on religion is a bit of a gray area, but Roddenberry's atheism/Humanism had unquestionably fully flowered by the time of TNG. Canonically, TOS makes several mentions of religion, but, in terms of themes and creator intent, there may be more going on under the surface. I find myself wondering if they were trying to code atheistic themes into the show while still feeling compelled to pay lip-service to monotheism in order to appease the censors and a big chunk of the audience. Hmmm. 
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 10 December 2017 at 2:18am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

So JB...have you decided to purchase the series?  That's the marker, right?

I, myself, am on the fence only because there are so many streaming options.  But I know you don't do those so the question remains...have you hit the "preorder" purchase button on Amazon?  
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 December 2017 at 4:51am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I have preordered! Looking forward to an ad-free marathon.
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 10 December 2017 at 10:13pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply


  Really good episode. There seem to be a lot of very human-looking aliens in the universe. 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 11 December 2017 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Matthew, "human" aliens is kind of an idiom for us vertical bipeds on Earth. One might assume that there are lots of life forms in a plethora of forms and evolution... but conceiving and then presenting them as space faring races is likely outside the scope or available time of an hourly show, or even a two hour movie.

Star Wars showed a little more variation on that theme, but even so... it would take a considerable effort to present a race that isn't relatively four limbed and humanoid that could develop the necessary technology to develop space travel (except maybe telekinetics, and even that's a stretch.)

I mean, I'm curious how Yapet's (sic?) race developed space travel. It'd be neat, I grant you...
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 11 December 2017 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Yaphet's race would seem ideally suited to developing space travel, given the facility with which he can access machinery.
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 11 December 2017 at 6:16pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply



 I didn't mean just bi-pedal humanoid similar, more exactly human looking like in the season ender. Not a deal breaker by any means, still enjoying the show and can't wait for next season.
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 11 December 2017 at 7:01pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I look forward to rewatching most of this season's episodes sometime next
week.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 December 2017 at 7:18pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

TOS STAR TREK populated many worlds with aliens so close to us we could even breed with them. It's something I long ago dubbed "Central Casting Syndrome". Even when aliens (in TREK and movies and other TV shows) are more out there, it's still mostly a rubber suit.

Real extraterrestrials, if they exist, and if we meet them, are likely to have very little in common with us.

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