Imagination Connoisseurs of the Post-Geek Singularity write in with their recommendations of little-known TV gems, questions about “consent” in the Star Trek universe and much more.

Where is Hollywood’s next generation of “game changers”?

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

This is something you and others can correct me on, since I’m not entirely confident myself with what I am trying to say.

Something I notice with directors, now, is the lack of there being true visionaries.

Legendary director and filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock

What I mean is, even if directors have had pretty solid track records, I don’t really see them as being visionary filmmakers who change the game in Hollywood. For example, the big name filmmakers today like Chris Nolan, David Fincher, or Quentin Tarantino.

While each of them made iconic movies in their careers, like Tarantino making Pulp Fiction, Fincher making Seven and Fight Club, and Nolan doing Inception and the Batman movies, I don’t really see them as true visionary filmmakers. They are not Steven Spielberg, they are not Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, or someone of that caliber. They are perfectly competent filmmakers.

I know Fincher, Nolan, and Tarantino have loyal fan bases, but I just don’t think they, and other filmmakers now, can be called true visionary filmmakers, even if I think the movies are good.

I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s the types of movies they make, or the way they tell the stories, but I just don’t see them, or really any filmmaker now, as being visionary filmmakers.

As I said earlier, you and others can correct me on this, as I’m not entirely confident what I am saying.

Thanks, live long and prosper.
– Omar.

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Star Trek: Voyager uses a monumental debate to explore the notion of “consent” but leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Dear Rob,

After over a year of radio silence, greetings from Northeast Ohio! I hope you and the whole family are well.

First off Rob: I want to apologize. When lock down began, I moved to work from home and, as I told you in a recent tip, I fell behind on my Robservations episodes. Not just a little bit behind either. At one point I was ten weeks behind. Don’t worry though I promised myself that I wouldn’t write you another letter until I had caught up. Well here I am sending a letter as I finally caught up on 1/6/21. Speaking of which, you called me a Legend for getting caught up. Am I allowed to call myself a Robservations Legend? Ha!

STAR TREK:VOYAGER – Memorial (S6 Episode 14)

Today I wanted to talk to you about Star Trek. Specifically Star Trek Voyager’s sixth season episode titled Memorial. Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen the episode, or don’t remember it.

Are they gone now Rob?

Alright I’ll continue. The episode sees Chakotay, Paris, Kim, and Neelix return to the ship after a two week away mission. They all begin to experience traumatic flashbacks to a battle/massacre on an alien planet. While investigating this matter other members of the crew begin to experience these memories as well including Captain Janeway.

In the end it is discovered that the away team landed on the planet where the tragic events took place three-hundred years ago. A memorial there was equipped with a device that could make anyone on the planet begin to experience those atrocities as if they had actually been there and committed them. The designers wanted to make sure that no one would ever make such a horrible mistake ever again. We find out that the device has fallen into disrepair and the crew is left with a difficult choice. This is where the real meat of the story is reached in my opinion.

The senior staff are torn about what to do with the monument. Some argue for it to be shut down, while others feel they don’t have the right to stop this lesson from being taught. In the end Janeway makes the call to repair the device and that’s the end of the discussion. They do leave a warning buoy in orbit so other passing ships can make their own decision whether they want to experience those terrible memories.

This brings me to my thoughts on the episode and it’s subject matter.

I like this episode if only for the discussions and debates it can bring about. In my opinion it’s one of Voyager’s better episodes, but it suffers from a few verisimilitude issues. The chief one being how is this alien device able to affect human brains, or any other species for that matter, when the neural patterns for humans are probably very different from the ones of its designers? Secondly why was Janeway suddenly seeing the memories when they weren’t even near the planet yet?

Now I come to the debatable part. The members of the crew state that they don’t have the right to stop this monument from carrying out its purpose, but my counter to that is who gave the builders of this monument the right to force memories onto anyone without their explicit consent? One could argue that eighty plus civilian victims of the massacre gave that right,but at the same time one could also argue the opposite point that forcing anyone to experience the memories without consent is trampling on their rights.

I find myself torn on this issue. Partially due to the ethical dilemma and partially from the lack of information the writers gave us. On the one hand you have the memory of innocent people who died needlessly and the lesson their deaths brought being preserved.

On the other, you have the violation of any innocent mind that happens to set foot on the planet. The warning buoy should render that point moot, but unfortunately the writers never really answered the question of how the machine works when properly maintained. How far out can it transmit? Does it allow you to choose to accept these memories or by being in proximity have you surrendered your right to consent? A little more information would have gone further than having Nelix shouting about the rights of the dead.

With this limited information we come to the issue of consent. Consent is at the center of the issue and it promotes discussion and debate. The idea of this kind of history lesson has real world merits that you, Rob, have somewhat touched on in a recent episode. Imagine a Holocaust denier being forced to experience life as a prisoner at Auschwitz or a racist being forced to experience the hardships of people that they see as beneath them.

In theory this seems like a powerful learning tool, but it begs the question of what gives anyone the right to violate another individual’s consciousness in that manner? Another thought asks if this could be considered cruel and inhumane since to anyone forced to relive the events it will be a permanent memory that will be with them for the rest of their life. Maybe that is why the designers of the memorial made it so that anyone within range would be affected.

Even after typing this I still don’t know where I fall on this. To me that is good Star Trek.

What say you Rob? Do you have an opinion one way or the other or are you like me and you can’t determine how you feel about this?

Sincerely,
– Matthew B.S.

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Appearances can be deceiving – if we let them.

Hi Robert,

I hope yourself and all the majestic members of the Post Singularity are healthy and happy.

I like to weight in the subject of yourself appearing on another YouTube channel’s show.

As you’ve have said, you like to hear opposing points of view through healthy discourse. That way the conservation leads to uncovering greater commonality than differences. You always maintained you want Robservations to be a forum for the Post Geek Singularity to be inclusive community where commonality outweighs differences. I believe you have achieved this judging by the wonderful people that comprise the PGS.

As I like I said in the chat yesterday, I agree with the cultural studies theory championed by numerous theorists that we all engage in negotiated readings of texts (all media). We choose texts based upon personality, upbringing and what stimulates us either intellectually or culturally.

Just because you choose to watch one channel doesn’t mean you will watch or subscribe to another channel, even if that other channel is similar. Nor does it mean you choose another channel just because someone from your favourite channel appears on that channel. This is the same for everyone.

You choose texts based on your personality, upbringing and stimulates you intellectually and culturally. For example, you like films through various reasons: you like a film because you like director and his body of work, you might like another for the story and there will be some you like because of actor. There will also films you like for the production design or visuals. Again, this is the same for everyone.

So, we bring so much to table that we draw on when choosing to accept or reject texts. We are not so one-dimensional to blindingly accept all texts. I don’t like every MCEU or DCEU film. Though I like a majority of their films, I don’t like every film ever directed by my favourite directors: Steven Spielberg, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Takashi Miike, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher or Martin Scorsese. So, you appearing on another channel’s show doesn’t automatically mean I will watch or subscribe to that other channel.

I determine for myself whether I want to watch that show or not. Again, this is same for everybody.

Just because somebody’s favourite YouTube channel host appears on another channel’s show that person does not like does not mean that person should stop watching their favourite show or support it. Has anybody stopped watching the films of their favourite actor just because that actor appeared or were interviewed on a television show they did not like?

I hope yourself and all the fantastic members of the Post Geek Singularity enjoy remainder of the week.

Sincerely,

– Jason W.

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How to watch Stargate.

Hi Robert,

STARGATE featured Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks

I’ve been watching your show since beginning, or should I say noticed you since Colider Heroes.I believe we share similar tastes when comes to movies, comics..etc…trekie myself..STOS TNG STV STE..and I stop at 2009 JJ desecration..anyway..I REALLY believe you are missing not watching Stargate series, and I’m sure I’m not the 1st one 2 tell you that..give it a chance!

There are a lots of seasons but I’m sure you’ll love it.

Here’s a skip/watch list for SG1 … or how to watch SG1 and Atlantis …starting from S8 of SG1 (in case you’ll make it to that point…and I believe you will).

You can watch it on Amazon Prime…and I believe on Netflix also

All the best
– Cristian O.

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2020’s little-known TV gems from Asia (Part I)

Hi Robert,

I hope yourself and the fantastic members of the one and only Post Geek Singularity are feeling chipper and have begun the week feeling fantastic and enthusiastic for the week ahead.

I want to take this opportunity of discussing my favourite television series of 2020. This will be a two-part letter. So, without further ado, let’s jump into it.

It’s Ok to Not be Ok (Netflix) South Korea

IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY is one of 2020s best series for the small screen and comes from South Korea.

I really love It’s OK to Not be Ok and found the series an absolute pleasure to watch. The series centres primarily around three characters: Moon Gang-tae, Moon-young, Moon Sang-tae. Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun) lives with his autistic older brother Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se). They bounce around from place-to-place, city-to-city. Moon takes jobs at local psychiatric hospitals at each place where they take up residence. He renews a long-time association with Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji) they have known each other since childhood. Moon-young has become a very successful children’s book author. All three have psychological wounds that they cope with that need healing. Moon-young suffers from antisocial behaviour disorder, which she he inherited from her mother. Moon Gang-tae is coping with two issues: firstly, caring for his autistic older brother and the death of a parent.

The series tackles mental illness with care and respect depicting characters with mental illness as coping and living with dignity with their disorders and they are not solely defined by them. In the case of Seo Yea-ji, she actually uses her disorder as a strength. The performances by Seo Yea-ji and Kim Soo-hyun are terrific and they compliment each other extremely well. I loved the character of Moon-young as she uses her disorder as a strength and has the courage to hold strong to her convictions and won’t allow herself to a doormat or act subservient to anyone and calls things as she sees them. However, she is not without her faults and she grows over the course of the series to acknowledge and correct them. Despite having antisocial behaviour disorder, she will not cross a line that her mother did.

It’s Ok to Not Be Ok was the most popular K-Drama on Netflix in South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa. Also, it the most enduring K-Drama in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines being the Netflix’s Top 10 list for over a hundred days. The New York Times declared the series “one of the best international shows of 2020”. Joan McDonald of Forbes called the series “the most visually appealing drama of 2020”. The series won 5 Asia Artist Awards and 2 APAN Awards.

Mr. Queen (tvN) South Korea
I really love Mr. Queen (tvN) and found it to be really enjoyable comedy. The series centres around a modern-day professional chef who has an accident and winds-up in the body of a Joseon era Queen (Shin Sun-hye). They are connected by having had an “accident” in a large body of water. Without giving himself away, he must discover who was responsible for her “accident” and finds himself unearthing the shadowy world of political intrigue within the royal court.

Yi Beon (Kim Jung-hyun) is the 25th King of the Joseon Dynasty who seems an easy-going figurehead who secretly prepares to enact genuine reform. The series is vibrant, fun, breezy and pleasant with some fine touches of humour. Shin Sun-hye is a joy to watch and she and Kim Jung-hyun play off each other really well. Shin Sun-hye brings a lot of energy, enthusiasm and charisma to the series and her comic timing is impeccable. The series is performing well. The premiere achieved the third highest rating for a premiere for tvN after Mr. Sunshine (2018) and Encounter (2018). The series is the 11th highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.

Start-Up ( Netflix) South Korea
Set against the backdrop of a technology business start-up competition, Start-Up is a K-Drama that delves into family relationships dealing where the dynamics of expectations and pressures causes a fracture within those relationships. The series also deals with the consequences of pretending to be someone you’re not regardless of the intentions, even if they are noble or well-meaning. The series is also about having dreams and ambition about succeeding in the corporate world is not all glamour and wealth as it is much about overcoming challenges, tough decisions and sacrifice and trust in the right people to make it in the business world.

Seo Dal-Mi (Bae Suzy) has dreams of becoming an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs, a venture capitalist named Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) who is secretly her first love, and another man Nam Do-San (Kim Kang-hoon), founder of Samsan Tech, who is pretending to be her first love. Nam Do-san is a technical whizz in programming computers and has to deal with the pride of his parents who have put him on a pedestal and the disappointment at not meeting their lofty expectations for him since scoring the highest marks on a high school mid-term exam.

Nam enters the competition viewing it is as a shot at redemption. Seo Dal-mi and her sister have been separated ever since their parents divorced. Seo Dal-mi lived with her father until his untimely death due to an accident and her sister have lived with their mother and her wealthy stepfather. Their mother has always loved attention praise on Seo’s sister as opposed to her. Seo enters the competition to prove to mother and herself that she be just as successful in business management as her sister.

Sweet Home (Netflix) South Korea
I really liked Sweet Home, which is a series based on the webtoon of the same name created by Kim Kan-bi and Hwang Young-chan. The story centres on Cha Hyun-soo (Song Kang) who has become disassociated from society following high school bullying and the death of his family in an accident who has moved into a new apartment. Himself and his co-tenants in the rundown apartment building must survive those they have become monsters. They soon learn their worst monsters in the form of a sadistic gang and the military who will set in motion Operation where everything human or monster will be destroyed. Survivors must band together so see off every threat and escape.

The performances are great by Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Go Min-si, Lee Si-young and Lee Do-hyun. The story is an imaginative take on the usual or generic stable involving zombies or monsters within the horror genre. The action sequences really works and the monsters whose form is predicated by their innermost desires makes for some really interesting looking creatures.

Alice in Borderland (Netflix) Japan
I love Alice in Borderland, which is based on the magna of the same name created by Haro Aso. Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) is a listless, directionless gamer who along with his friends, IT technician Chota Segawa (Yuki Morinaga) and bartender Daikichi Karube (Keita Machida) who find themselves in a largely abandoned Tokyo known as Borderland where they have to compete in elaborate and deadly games for survival.

Reviews for Alice in Borderland were largely positive with the consensus being praise for the series’ visuals, cinematography, editing and the performances of Tao Tsuchiya and Kento Yamazaki.

Extracurricular (Netflix) South Korea
A male high school student named Oh Ji-soo (Kim Dong-hee) is involved in operating a call girl ring. He is exposed by fellow student named Bae Gyu-ri (Park Ju-hyun) who uses her knowledge of his activities as leverage, pressuring him for her to join in managing its operation. The series pulls no punches and does not shy away from its subject matter. The performances by Kim Dong-hee, Park Ju-hyun and Jung Da-bin are terrific and are the driving forces of the show.

Extracurricular was the ninth most-watched South Korean series on Netflix in 2020.

So, there ends my first letter covering my favourite television series of 2020. What were favourite television series of 2020, Robert? Perhaps, this is a question people might like to answer in the chat.

Sincerely,
– Jason W.

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