The Rings of Power is Enjoyable as Amazon Fan-fiction

There’s been a lot of hate for Amazon’s new Tolkien inspired fantasy series, The Rings of Power. ‘Rings Of Power’ Is Getting Review Bombed So Hard Amazon Suspended Reviews Entirely. On Rotten Tomatoes, while its critics score is 84%, it has a 36% audience score. This means that the Rotten Tomatoes Audience reviewers actually hated The Rings of Power more than Troll 2 (one of the most hilariously bad movies ever made).

While The Rings of Power is not the best show ever, I was honestly surprised by all the hate. I didn’t think it was Troll 2 bad.

Deciding to investigate, I scanned through about four pages of Rotten Tomatoes reviews. The reviewers said they were angry about bad writing, slow pacing and the drastic change in Galadriel’s character from wise sorceress to elf Rambo. But the biggest complaint of all was that people felt that the show was unfaithful to Tolkien’s source material.

The show itself is based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s appendices. It is produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with Harper Collins and New Line Cinema, in consultation with the Tolkien Estate.

If you think about it, The Ring’s of Power is basically fan fiction. The show writers are using the world building Tolkien provided in his appendices, and populating it with their own plot lines and dialogue. Why? Because they are doing their work based off an appendices, not a written novel with its own dialogue and plot. So it’s just not going to be the same quality as Tolkien. We can’t expect it to be unless they can somehow bring Tolkien back from the dead and make him write it. Maybe if Amazon called the show, Amazon’s $465 Million Tolkien Fan-fiction, people would have been less upset?

If one approaches the show as fan fiction, rather than expecting it to be on the level of Tolkien, one can enjoy the show more.

While I was not blown away by the show, I was entertained enough to keep watching. I think Tolkien’s original theme of good versus evil, and corruption versus nature were intact. The New Zealand landscape was visually stunning, along with the depiction of Númenor. There’s likeable characters. I’m genuinely enjoying the friendship between Nori Brandyfoot and The Stranger (who may be Gandalf). Perhaps what the show writers are setting up is an explanation for Gandalf’s love of little people. I’m also enjoying the humorous exchange between young Elrond and the dwarf, Prince Durin. And I’m genuinely excited to see what the orcs, and their leader, Adar, are going to do next (I find them pretty interesting).

Compared to other fantasy series out there on TV, I think The Rings of Power is not bad. And given that a record breaking 25 MILLION other viewers are watching season 1 along with me, how bad could it really be? I am looking forward to watching more.

I also do think it’s getting better. Even the audience reviews (which are currently almost below freezing) seem to be thawing ever so slightly.

If I had to give The Rings of Power a rating between Valinor and the Southlands, I’d give it a Khazad-dûm.

House of the Dragon Review – All The Bad of GOT With Little of the Good

Are you a fan of incest, senseless brutality, pedophilia, and cruelty toward women? Good news! House of the Dragon has all that intact.

Did you like Game of Thrones for its expansive world building, likeable characters, well thought out plot, riveting dialogue, palpable tension, and heart felt drama? Too bad! None for you!

If you excuse me, most of this review is going to be my rant of reasons why I was not a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. The only thing I liked about it were the visuals. They are truly spectacular. And Matt Smith’s acting. But that’s it.

I don’t often do negative reviews or harsh rants, but I felt like there were some very troubling problems in this show that needed to be addressed. If you disagree or agree with my review, please feel free to comment!

There will be spoilers in this review.

To give you a brief summary of the plot of House of the Dragon, it takes place some 200 years before the story of Game of Thrones starts and 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen. It portrays the beginning of the end of House Targaryen, the events leading up to and covering the Targaryen war of succession, known as the “Dance of the Dragons.”

On the surface it sounds like it could be good, but to me, it seemed to have all the shock of Game of Thrones with little of the substance.

Reasons I Didn’t Like House of the Dragon

#1: Lingering Disappointment From Season 8 of Game of Thrones

I’ll admit that I entered the show with a negative bias. I was already disappointed by the disaster that was season 8 of Game of Thrones. One of the best shows on television suddenly turned into a mess where people were leaving Starbucks cups and water bottles in scenes, the fan favorite Danaerys Targaryen became a violent psychopath out of nowhere, and the whole story was rushed to a close because the main show writers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, wanted to go do Star Wars instead. It didn’t help that George R.R. Martin never finished the Game of Thrones series.

But that’s all a different show, let’s get to House of the Dragon.

#2: The Heavy Handed Theme

Every show has a theme. In House of the Dragon, they drop theirs into your lap with all the subtlety of a twenty pound bowling ball. You barely get through the first five minutes of episode one, before it is announced that Rhaenys Targaryen was not chosen to be a queen, “because she was a WOMAN.” Yes, the show literally tells us this.

While female empowerment is certainly a worthwhile theme, the show treats their theme like a morning star they need to whack the viewer over the head with constantly, assuming the viewer is too stupid to figure it out on their own. It seems every ten minutes you are reminded that women can’t be queen because they are women, and that their only purpose in life is to be birthing machines for male heirs or sex objects in brothels.

#3: A “Feminist Show That Exploits Its Female Characters?

It’s a bit insulting to me that the show is putting itself forward as some brave message of female empowerment, against the backdrop of sexual objectification, pedophilia, and brutal violence against women.

The birthing scene with Queen Aemma Arryn is a particularly gruesome affair where the maester decides that the only way to save the baby is to cut open the queen. And then they LITERALLY show this on the screen with a knife cutting open the woman’s belly and gutting her like a fish as she screams and cries in terror. As I watched this, I wasn’t sure if I was watching a fantasy show anymore or one of the Saw movies.

Perhaps this brutality was supposed to add to the show’s theme that women were cruely treated like birthing objects in the Middle Ages, and that the main character, Rhaenyra Targaryen (not to be confused with Rhaenys Targaryen despite the incredibly similar sounding name), is gonna rise above this.

But then there is the depiction of women as sex objects—literally, there are paintings of naked women having orgies in almost every room of the Targaryen palace. And let’s not forget the constant need for brothel scenes.

This is all along with the constant depiction of grown men talking about marriage or sex with teenage girls who all look very young: Alicent Hightower, Rhaenyra Targaryen, and most gross, the 12 year old, Laena Velaryon who “won’t have to bed the king until she’s 14.” Some people may argue that this is the middle ages and that adult men discussing sex with teenage girls was a norm. Maybe that’s true. But if the theme is supposed to be female empowerment, then how do we explain episode 4?

In Episode 4, Rhaenyra’s uncle Daemon (who is a violent psychopath that likes to have people murdered, mutilated, raped, tortured and calls his wife “The Bronze Bitch”), decides to take Rhaenyra out for a night on the town. He’s an adult male in his late 20s and she’s a teenager. He gets her drunk, takes her to a brothel, and then starts throwing himself at her sexually, telling her that this is the place where people “take what they want.” Rhaenyra gets visibly sexually excited and starts kissing him back. As the camera pulls away, we see that her pants have been pulled down and they were about to engage in a sex act, when her uncle ends up getting disgusted and leaving instead. So even he seems to know they were about to do something wrong, but she seems happy and content enough.

What’s the message of female empowerment here? That if a teenage girl’s uncle gets her drunk and starts kissing her that it’s empowering for her to like it??? I watched the directors explanation of the episode and they were trying to sell it as some message of female sexual empowerment (where she’s choosing what she wants!) There’s a female director. GURL POWER…right?

Sorry, but no. You can’t have a teenage girl’s uncle get her shitfaced drunk, and then say it’s empowering for her to like it. What kind of message does that really send?

Slant Magazine hit the nail on the head when they talked about how the show falls short of its feminist theme by not actually dwelling on the emotions of the female victims, or the consequences of the brutal actions against them. But instead spends valuable screen time showing the Crab Feeder crucifying his victims or people at the tourney getting smashed in the face.

#4: No Likeable Characters

I’m four episodes in and I don’t like any of the characters on screen. They could all get eaten by dragons and I wouldn’t care. By the way, where are the dragons in House of the DRAGON?

Rhaenyra Targaryen is the main character the show follows, the first-born child of King Viserys I Targaryen. The best word I can use to describe her is “meh.” She doesn’t have any dynamism on screen. Half the time I can’t tell if she’s happy or uncomfortable in some scenes. Her main motivation is to not be a birthing person, and instead ride into battle on dragons. That sounds cool. But we only get a little of that. Instead, most of the time, she’s throwing tantrums at her dad because she doesn’t wanna do stuff that royal people are supposed to do.

Every now and then she comes up with a clever idea. But the show’s writers accomplish this with the tired trope of making all the adult male characters dumb as doorknobs to make this teenage girl look smart…instead of…you know…just making her smart in a world of competent characters?

At one point King Viserys decides to storm a fort with…just 20 men! This is despite the fact that he has 10 dragons in reserve. Apparently he forgot he had them. Luckily, Rhaenyra Targaryen, our strong empowered 15 year old, rides into the scene with a dragon to save the day, because apparently she is the only person who remembered that the Targaryens have dragons.

The main reason that Rhaenyra Targaryen is unlikeable for me, however, is that she just doesn’t seem to care about other people other than herself. In Game of Thrones we fell in love with Daenerys Targaryen, because while she was ruthless, she also prevented women from being raped, freed slaves and had a soft spot for the people who served her.

We see none of that with Rhaenyra Targaryen. She cares mainly about herself and what she wants. I guess we’re supposed to be impressed by her tenacity to take what she wants? But instead she comes off as entitled and bratty.

She is seen smirking flirtatiously at her uncle Daemon (who once again, is a known psychopath who had a bunch of people mutilated and raped). Her dad seems like he’s actually trying to work with her when he gives her the chance to choose who she wants to marry, but she doesn’t seem to notice or care. The worst is when she hits on her armed bodyguard Ser Criston Cole with a game of keep away the helmet (what a perfect reminder that she’s still a child before her “empowering sex scene”). She starts undressing him and he says, “no.” She keeps going anyways and then he goes along with it. SHE TAKES WHAT SHE WANTS, EVERYONE!

Daemon Targaryen is played by one of the best actors on the show. Matt Smith. The show tries to depict this character as a gray character, and he gets a lot of screen time. But the problem is that the moment he is introduced, he does so many horrible and selfish things that I could care less about what happens to him either way.

As to the rest of the characters, they are either flat or make so many dumb decisions that they are hard to sympathize with.

#5: Lame Antagonists

A show is only as good as its antagonist. Who was the antagonist in this show so far? The Crab Feeder! A guy who was dressed like the Phantom of the Opera and likes to feed people to crabs. That’s right, I’m not even making this up.

In addition to the Crab Feeder, the other antagonist, as we’re constantly reminded every five minutes, is the patriarchy. And our protagonist, Rhaenyra Targaryen, bravely rises above the patriarchy by… getting drunk and trying to have sex with her uncle???

#6: It’s Difficult to Make a Good Spinoff Series

To be fair to HOD, it is very hard to make a good spinoff series. Most spinoff shows don’t succeed. That’s because a good spinoff show must achieve the difficult task of offering a new, fresh take on something familiar. An example of two series that were spinoff successes are Better Call Saul and Legend of Korra.

Unfortunately, there was nothing new or fresh about House of the Dragon that made it stand out from Game of Thrones.

Conclusion:

In summary, this is a show that wants to be a female empowerment piece while utilizing the same sexist tropes that populated GOT. Seems like a show that’s trying to have its cake and eat it too in my opinion.

Related Links:

Review: Sorry, but HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ can’t touch ‘Game of Thrones’ greatness (USA Today, 8-19-22)

‘House of the Dragon’ Is ‘Game of Thrones’ Minus the Fire (Rollingstone, 8-19-22)

House of the Dragon Review: A Frustrating Jumble of Incident and Spectacle (Slant Magazine, 8-19-22)

Game of groans: Why is House of the Dragon so dull? (The Guardian, 9-15-22)

Moon Knight’s Weakness – Astronomy Apps (Plot Hole in Episode 3)

Twitter is abuzz today with the news that a second season of Moon Knight is in the making.

Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab and Oscar Isaac are currently in Cairo. When asked by a fan if season 2 was happening, Oscar Isaac replied, “Why else would we be here? (Source)”

SEASON 1 SPOILERS BELOW.

Overall the first season was a major success. Oscar Isaac was able to show off his remarkable acting talent by portraying two very different personalities: Tough guy American mercenary Marc Spector, and the meek, mild mannered, British gift shop cashier, Steven Grant.

The Disney+ action filled super hero story of Egyptian mythos and gods was very fun. I was definitely entertained.

However, my only hang up about the show was what happened in episode three of season one. Something so silly and ridiculous I wanted to throw a gold plated scarab at my TV.

Marc Spector is in Egypt trying to locate Ammit’s tomb, all while vying for control over his and Steven’s shared body. It’s critical for them to find Ammit’s tomb quickly, or else Arthur (the bad guy) will get there first, and resurrect a very dangerous goddess into the world.

However, in order to find Ammit’s tomb, the good guys need to know how the night sky looked one millennia earlier.

So what do they do?

Does Marc Spector or Layla download an astronomy app like SkySafari to see what the sky would’ve looked like a thousand years ago? The app costs $5.

NOPE! TOO EASY.

Instead, Khonshu, Egyptian lord of the moon and vengeance, changes the ENTIRE freaking night sky! This is a move so controversial it gets him imprisoned in stone by the other gods.

And all he had to do was pay $5 for an app.

Oh well. Their version was more dramatic than mine. Script called for it I guess.

Links

Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 3 Recap (The Ringer)

Moon Knight Is Returning for Season 2, Oscar Isaac Suggests in TikTok (CNET)

Predictions for Stranger Things Season 5

Stranger Things season 4 has broken several Netflix records. It was the biggest premiere weekend ever for an English-language TV show on Netflix with 286.79 million hours viewed. It was the first season to reach #1 in 83 countries on the Netflix Top 10.

Season 4 (in my humble opinion) was the best Stranger Things season, and perhaps even one of the best shows currently on television. Each episode (which was over one hour long) was like it’s own movie. And the final episode, being 2.5 hours, was really a feature length film.

And now, of course, there is much excitement about what’s coming next.

See some predictions below.

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VECNA IS INJURED BUT NOT DEAD

A concrete law of any death on television is that if the body is missing, the person is not really dead.

In the “final” showdown between Vecna and the Steve/Nancy/Robin teenage trio, Nancy takes a shot at Vecna with her sawed off shotgun and blasts him through the attic window of the Creel house to the ground below. However, when the kids all run outside, Vecna’s body is missing.

It was also established in season 4 that Vecna was ultimately the puppet master in control of the Upside Down (so Eddie playing Metallica’s Master of Puppets on guitar was a nice tie in). Once Will realizes that One/Henry/Vecna is in control of the Upside Down, he says that he can feel Vecna’s presence. He feels this presence toward the end of the season 4 finale, when they discover rotting flowers and a strange dust filling the air.

It is most likely that Vecna is injured, but not dead. He’s biding his time in recovery before he sends his armies through the cracks he created between the Upside Down and the regular world.

EDDIE COMES BACK AS A VAMPIRE

A community manager for Wizards of the Coast made a very well written post on Reddit about the striking parallels between the plot of Stranger Things and the story canon of the D&D universe. Henry/One/Vecna of Stranger Things follows much of the storyline about Vecna from D&D, including the fact that he knows peoples’ darkest secrets.

Thus by following D&D lore, one may be able to predict the plot of what is to come in Stranger Things season 5.

There is a popular theory proliferating on the internet that Eddie is going to come back as a vampire.

In the D&D universe, Vecna has a resurrected vampire lieutenant named “Kas” who ultimately betrays him in the end.

At the end of season 4, Eddie gets bitten by demo-bats and dies. However, a vampire is technically dead themselves. They die before being resurrected back to life. So, there may be a chance that Vecna resurrects Eddie to serve in his army. And given the popularity of the character Eddie, the creators of the show may potentially resurrect him as fan service.

WILL HAS POWERS

While season 4 is arguably one of the strongest Stranger Things seasons yet, one complaint I saw among many fans was that Will was effectively side-lined this season.

However, I will say with all the different characters and plotlines going on, I think it would have been difficult to give Will more air time.

The show did heavily hint that Will had feelings for his friend Mike. This was very obviously suggested when he painted a picture of Mike, seemed embarrassed, and then said Eleven “basically commissioned it.” Yet, in the first episode of season 4, Eleven says that Will is painting something and she doesn’t know what he’s painting. There was also his speech he gave about what “Eleven” feels about Mike, which people are saying is what Will actually feels about Mike.

So there is much discussion over that plot element. However, something else that is interesting, but lesser discussed, is the theory that Will has powers. This theory is potentially supported by the fact that Will was stuck in the Upside Down for a week and survived without Vecna draining him and stealing his mind like he did to his other victims in season 4. There is also the fact that Will has a mental connection to Vecna.

There is also the interesting fact that the Upside Down resembles Hawkins from the day Will entered into it. One will notice in Henry/One/Vecna’s flashbacks about first entering the Upside Down, that it looks like a completely alien landscape with no resemblance to Hawkins. So there is a suggestion that Will actually changed the reality of the Upside Down and that he has the power to change reality. Some people say this is why Vecna didn’t treat Will like his other victims, he may have been scared of Will’s power.

VECNA WILL RE-ENTER THE WORLD THROUGH MAX

In the final episode of season 4, we see Max comatose in the hospital. Eleven tries to make mental contact with her, but when she enters Max’s mind, Max doesn’t seem present. Thus, there is a theory that Max will exist as an empty vessel for Vecna to enter into in season 5.

For more theories check out the link below:

Stranger Things: 10 Fan Theories About Season 5, According to Reddit (Screen Rant)

Twilight Batman Mostly Works – Review

You’ve seen goofy Batman (Adam West), sophisticated Batman (Michael Keaton), campy Batman (George Clooney), gritty Batman (Christian Bale), and grumpy Batman (Ben Affleck).

Now in 2022, director Matt Reeves brings us emo Batman!

When I first heard that Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame was going to play the Batman, I struggled with the announcement.

Apparently I wasn’t alone. The 2019 announcement of Robert Pattinson’s casting was met with a wave of criticism by franchise fans. Over 6,800 people went so far as to sign a petition urging Warner Brothers to reconsider. Others, including Jimmy Kimmel, jumped to his defense.

For me, it was difficult imagining Robert Pattinson in a role that wasn’t a tortured emo goth. And after watching 2022’s iteration of Batman, I came away saying, “Yup! He’s still a tortured emo goth! But you know what? Oddly enough, it kinda works.”

In the three hour slog of dimly lit darkness that was the darkest darkness that ever darked, I got strong Twilight vibes from Pattinson’s portrayal of a reclusive, brooding Bruce Wayne who shunned the limelight to skulk in the shadows—a Bruce Wayne with a guyliner heavy aesthetic the likes of Brandon Lee’s The Crow meets My Chemical Romance. But hey, Batman didn’t sparkle! So that’s something.

As someone who grew up watching the 1990s animated series, with a gothic, dark, somber, serious, tough and joyless Batman, Robert Pattinson’s portrayal more or less worked for me. Sure, this Batman was ’emo,’ but he was also menacing. He didn’t hold back his punches as Gotham’s ‘Vengeance.’ And the people he rescued seemed just as scared of him as the criminals he thwarted.

SPOILERS BELOW THIS LINE!

WATCH OUT!

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Paul Dano’s Incel Riddler:

Paul Dano’s portrayal of an internet troll Riddler with his own horde of online followers ready to commit violence was something fresh, creepy and yet relatable for our time. Far different from Jim Carrey prancing around in a lime green onesie in Batman Forever, Paul Dano wears thick glasses, a home made mask, and terrorizes the citizens of Gotham with his Tik Tok esque videos. His boyish face and genuine mental illness (the likes of 2019’s the Joker) adds a creepy realism to him that made my skin crawl.

Zoe Kravitz Nails it as Catwoman

Zoe Kravitz was originally denied the role of Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises for being “too urban” — in other words, for having dark skin. That was definitely their loss!

Zoe Kravitz did a great job of bringing the dangerous, simmering sexuality of Selina Kyle to the screen. While she gets saved by the Batman once or twice, she’s definitely still capable of holding her own in a fight. And yes, she has lots of cats.

Some critics say there wasn’t much sexual chemistry between Catwoman and Batman. I didn’t mind. Batman doesn’t have to be sexy. He just has to be a somber, frowning, vengeance machine in a cape and cowl. He’s lowkey attracted to Catwoman. But it’s clear that crime fighting is his first love, so he doesn’t have much room in his life for sex or romance.

Thinly Veiled Allusions to Today’s Political Reality

In the Batman universe, you have a billionaire saving the day while the people who want to overthrow the corrupt elites are the extremist bad guys. Seems like quite the plutocratic message, no?

This was why The Joker made in 2019 was revolutionary. The Waynes are actually the antagonists, while Joaquin Phoenix’s emaciated and poverty riddled Joker is shown in a sympathetic light, even if he does end up going off the deep end.

Matt Reeves’ The Batman doesn’t go nearly as far as The Joker in showing Gotham’s wealthy elite in a critical light. But it does it more so than other Batman movies in the past. Catwoman states that Batman “must be rich,” because he moralizes to her from up high on his pedestal.

One thing that was interesting about this movie is that it takes a look at the corrupt actions of Bruce Wayne’s father, while past movies have largely shown the Wayne family in a positive light.

In the end of The Batman, the protagonists are people who are trying earnestly to do their best in a corrupt system, despite the fact that reform seems like it will never come. You see this with the Batman himself, along with police commissioner James Gordon, and Bella Reál, who is running for mayor with the slogan, “Change for Gotham.” I definitely got Obama vibes from her slogan. And I suppose that allusion to the Obamas was no accident, because the actress who plays Bella Reál, Jayme Lawson, was a young Michelle Obama in The First Lady.

Bella Reál is running her campaign in a stadium that gets flooded by water (along with the rest of Gotham). The stadium becomes overtaken by the Riddlers’ army of masked internet dorks. They have given up on trying to attempt reform within the system. They just want to destroy Gotham and its elites overall, thinking it is too corrupt to be saved.

As Bella Reál’s campaign gets overtaken, you get the vibe that all hopes for reform are lost. But Batman of course triumphs. And then at the end of the movie, Batman stays in the city to help people recover from the damage. He says that he can no longer just be vengeance, but he must represent hope as well.

My Overall Rating of The Batman: B, 84%

(No, I’m not rating it ‘B’ for ‘Batman.’)

This movie did not have the stellar acting the likes of Heath Ledger or Joaquin Phoenix. So I can’t say that it was my favorite Batman. But not every movie has to be ground breaking. Overall, I did come away from it feeling entertained.

I enjoyed Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Batman more than I expected.

I guess vampires can turn into bats after all.

Fan Opinions on New Star Trek (Reddit Edition)

As a fan of the older Star Trek shows, I was curious to hear what fans thought about the newest stuff. I’m talking about Discovery (2017), Picard (2020), and Lower Decks (2020). So I went to r/scifi to investigate.

See the Reddit thread here!

I’m not saying Reddit is representative of what all people everywhere think. People on the internet tend to be more critical than people in person (as I know being a fan in random communities). But Reddit offers a good way to get the opinions of a sample size of random fans of a particular subject, especially when I’m stuck in quarantine and can’t exactly go interview a hundred random people in person and hope that they watch Star Trek. With Reddit’s system of upvoting, you get to see which comments resonated with people more than others. So I find it a more valuable medium for opinion gathering than Facebook (where I’m limited to people who are my friends) and Twitter (for the same reason).


So let’s get down to it! What did the hundred+ random Star Trek fans I interviewed on Reddit think about the new Star Trek? 

The top-voted comments on the Reddit thread disliked both Picard and Discovery overall. And the most downvoted comments were the ones that voiced approval.

I decided to take a tally of the comments and break it down into like, dislike and neutral (for people who had mixed reviews). This is my count as of now (8/11/20 11:03am), it doesn’t account for new comments added after this. I also only counted the parent comments. This does not follow the nested comments of those parent comments (because those are discussions that involve the OG commenter elaborating on their point).


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A general theme I noted is that people in r/scifi felt that the new Star Treks lacked continuity with the older Star Treks. They felt that the science in Discovery was not as robust as it was in previous generations (with the questionable Spore Drive). Some people said Discovery and Picard would have been good if they were a completely separate scifi series that wasn’t connected to the Star Trek universe (because of the consistency issues and departure from canon). Other people had issues with the writing and felt that these series focused on explosions and action while missing out on the deeper philosophical questions that originally made Star Trek great (so basically becoming Transformers?). A lot of people felt that the mood of Discovery didn’t match the optimism of Star Trek in general, that it was cynical and filled with betrayal.

There weren’t many comments on the animated series Lower Decks (2020), mainly because people either hadn’t watched it or were focused on discussing Discovery and Picard.


Here are some of the top comments on the thread: 

“They are very disappointing as a long term mega-fan since childhood. Seems the essence and spirit of the trek series is basically gone…I’ve lost complete interest in the franchise.”

“The problem with Picard, and all of nuTrek, is that it doesn’t seem to feel like it has to respect any of the rules that the existing canon created, and then on top of that it doesn’t even seem interesting in respecting the new rules they have created even within a season. That is just top to bottom bad writing.”

“They completely lack what made ST unique. Picard might as well be a gritty FX drama and Discovery some generic sci-fi show with Marvel elements thrown in. There’s no imagination, no wonder, no optimism for the future. Teamwork, bonding, shared experiences and friendships are almost non-existent. We’re left with betrayal, backstabbing, and general mean-spiritedness. The futuristic setting has been abandoned. The characters all wear what looks like 20th century clothing and have 20th century problems and use 20th century slang. Everyone’s bitter, depressed, addicted, cynical. I find it hard to watch just based on this.”


How about the people who liked it…or at least liked some of it?

“Just to be a contrarian against the one other post, I loved Picard and am very lukewarm on Discovery. Picard certainly deviated from canon and had a few story beats I didn’t agree with (I really dislike bitter, cynical starfleet), but the core of Picard’s optimism, his ability to inspire and get people to follow him loyally, and his core belief in the goodness of people is there. I enjoyed it a lot. Plus the fully HD re-render of the Galaxy-class was worth the price of admission. Discovery does not feel like Star Trek at all to me. It’s not optimistic. It’s bitter and combative, full of betrayal, horrible outcomes, fighting, insults. It’s also heavily serialized which makes one-off episode watching feel pretty pointless. That’s also true of Picard, to be fair.”

“They were enjoyable. Could have used more Star Trek flavor, but still good enough to watch.”

“I like them. I was actually growing tired of episodic format and prefer short seasons with one big story arc. Some of the best Trek episodes are two/three part episodes, so I’d rather see more of this. Sure, Discovery and Picard have flaws, but the production is so different, writers are squeezing so many easter eggs into every episode, I honestly don’t care if they make another movie based on Jar Jar Abrams universe, Simon Pegg can’t fuck right off.”


So some people liked it and some people didn’t. But a majority of the comments seemed to dislike the newer Star Treks, while those who did like them were downvoted into the basement.

On Rotten Tomatoes for Picard, critics gave it an 87% while the audience gave it a 57%.  If you add the Picard likes to the Picard neutral comments of the scifi reddit thread, you get a similar percentage, that 51% of the people who commented didn’t hate it.

On Rotten Tomatoes for Discovery, critics gave it an 81% while the audience gave it a 42%. If you add the Discovery likes to the Discovery neutral comments on the scifi reddit, you get a similar percentage, that 48% of the people who commented didn’t hate it.

On Rotten Tomatoes for Lower Decks, critics gave it a 63% while the audience gave it a 31%.

Now what’s interesting, is if you look up Orville (Seth MacFarlane’s parody of Star Trek) on Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll see that critics gave it a 65% while the audience gave it a whopping 94%!

One reddit comment stated: “The spirit of Star Trek is alive and well in The Orville.”

What’s interesting to me is that critic scores are completely different from audience scores. Are they right? Are they wrong? Art is subjective. So that’s not for me to decide. I simply set out to find out what a sample size of people on r/scifi thought about the newer Star Trek, and it seemed that their opinions were fairly consistent with the audience’s views on Rotten Tomatoes.

But of course, if you want to find out what you really think about the newer Star Trek, watch it yourself on CBS All Access.