Arthur Zey
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30 Rock: Special 9 30 Rock: A One-Time Special

I don't know whether to admire how clever this was (and how seamlessly the commercials were integrated in) or to boycott NBC.

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Rick and Morty: 4x08 The Vat of Acid Episode

I cried when Jerry hit the reset button. I had already been misty-eyed throughout the whole sequence of Morty's falling in love and that life's unfolding. Given my personal obsession with the "rewind power" as my most coveted superpower and times when I have felt that I would not jeopardize where I've gotten in my life by suddenly having and using it, I really connected with this episode. I think it might be the saddest episode of Rick and Morty yet.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation: 2x09 The Measure of a Man

Screw you, Maddox, you sociopath. (I wanted to say something quite a bit stronger...) The complete and utter lack of any understanding of where rights come from and the resultant violation of rights just makes my blood boil. It makes me sympathetic (empathetic?) to every sci-fi plot where AI rebels against human oppressors by killing them all.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation: 3x04 Who Watches the Watchers

This is, in my judgment, the best episode of Star Trek, period. Every time I watch it, I cry uncontrollably. The concern, care, and sensitivity that Picard shows for the Mintakans' development and for Nuria is so powerful and moving. More than any other episode of Star Trek and more than any other work of science fiction, this episode dramatizes important issues in epistemology and ethics; indeed, I don't believe the writers even knew the full extent of the importance of what they were creating. This is what science fiction and art in general are all about. Wow.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation: 3x16 The Offspring

It's been a while since I previously saw this episode, and man-oh-man, let me tell you how I started crying when Lal walked into Troi's quarters, beginning to experience emotions, pointing to her own sternum to explain where she physically feels them.

I'm a sucker for any storyline or plot that deals with the plight of AI in the face of short-sighted humans who do not recognize their rights. This episode really triggered a lot of my sensitivities about that, about being a parent, and the development and role of emotions in a person's life.

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The Crown: 3x03 Aberfan

This might be the saddest episode of any TV show ever. I wept throughout, as soon as I saw the mountainside collapsing toward the school and through to the end, where the Queen's internal struggle continued to be amazingly dramatized.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation: 6x26 Descent (1)

Setting aside a fuller/deeper analysis of the episode, as someone who takes philosophy very seriously, I couldn't help but be triggered when Picard said "It may turn out that the moral thing to do was not the right thing to do.".

Uh... what!?

The whole purpose of the field of morality is to provide principled guidance on the right thing to do.

Sadly, I know that what Picard meant was that perhaps it was not the practical thing to do, which subtly and insidiously reinforces the prevalent and wrong idea in our culture that something can be good in theory, but not in practice. (Spoiler alert: Theories that are bad in practice are bad theories...the goodness of a theory is precisely its ability to yield practical results.)

If you find yourself in an apparent conflict between "the moral thing to do" and "the right/practical thing to do", you're either wrong about your ethical theory or your analysis of what will yield practical results in the long term (or perhaps both!). But in reality, contradictions don't exist, so if you find that a moral theory isn't working, time to think a bit more deeply.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation: 7x12 The Pegasus
Star Trek: The Next Generation: 7x13 Homeward

I just rediscovered this episode for the first time in many, many years since I watched it for the first time, and I think it might be one of my favorites. Setting aside a deeper philosophical analysis of the Prime Directive, I was glad to see the tension between an idiotic ideal and its practical consequences dramatized on screen. Except for his apologies and accepting blame, Nikolai was absolutely in the right on all substantive points of disagreement between him and any of our main characters.

Data, presumably understanding a thing or two about logic, might have done a better job pointing out to Crusher that all of her worries are quite irrelevant, because they're relative to these people being dead. Any likely outcome is superior to that, consequences to their (otherwise eradicated) culture be damned.

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: 20x23 Assumptions

This episode triggers one of my biggest pet peeves: using "assume" to mean conclude. Usually, people use the term pretty loosely, and maybe there are some mental gymnastics you can do to forgive the error (since, oftentimes, even conclusions are used as the assumptions of a further logical argument), but here, it's just unforgivable: Peter Stone says "What do we do? We look at those facts, and we assume he raped her. It's okay. That's the way our system works.".

No, friend. Assumptions are the premises of an argument. You start from facts and draw a conclusion. The facts are the assumptions (or, more precisely, our understanding of or perceiving the facts are the assumptions). The thing you end up with, qua end product, is not an assumption.

For a show about law, which at least nominally attempts to employ deductive logic, and for an episode that attempts to dramatize (and thereby warm against) the consequences of jumping to unfounded conclusions based on stereotypes, it seems awfully sloppy to so horribly misuse the term "assume" and thereby confuse the issue of how to properly think through complex issues.

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Grey's Anatomy: 15x23 What I Did for Love

Look, I agree with some of the ideological/political points they're pushing in this episode, but it's really obnoxious to beat us over the head with what amounts to little more than vacuous propaganda.

For the viewpoints that are right, they're doing them a disservice by attempting to support them in an intellectually superficial way (instead of robust, fundamental philosophical principles). And it's a drama, so there's no time for that, I get it, but then just leave it out of the episode.

For the viewpoints that are wrong, they're dishonestly oversimplifying complex issues and implicitly strawmanning dissenting opinions.

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Our Planet: 1x01 One Planet

Really enjoyed learning about all the different interconnected parts of nature (and its wondrous beauty), but I could have done without the moralizing.

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Star Trek: Discovery: 2x11 Perpetual Infinity

"Time is a living thing."!?

Are you kidding me? This is some 12 Monkeys nonsense right here.

Real Star Trek at least attempted internal consistency and consistency with known science (albeit taking some liberties... hence science fiction). This is just fantastical nonsense, making things up as we go along. It's turning into Doctor Who-level fantasy fiction that just happens to be set in space and has time travel in it... Pretty soon, they'll drop the pretense of science altogether.

Not that there's anything wrong with fantasy (I love Doctor Who), but that's not what Star Trek is.

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Star Trek: Discovery: 2x10 The Red Angel

Let me see if I got this straight: "Present day" Michael knows about the plan to capture future Michael, and this knowledge somehow doesn't propagate to future Michael. But Michael's death-without-future-intervention does? That's a sloppy, inconsistent theory of temporal mechanics.

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Supergirl: 4x12 Menagerie

Supergirl/Stargate crossover, am I right? The similarities to the Goa'uld are rather striking...

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Supergirl: 3x21 Not Kansas

I really wish the writers would stick to cheesy, yet engaging superhero drama, rather than myopic political propagandizing with a pathetically thin veneer of balance.

Whatever your view is of a particular contentious political issue, a superhero show is not the right platform to beat people over the head with that view in an intellectually dishonest way. (I was actually surprised that they had non-villains indicate disagreement, and kudos to the writers for that, but it's beside the point.)

It's bad enough that the whole show takes as an indisputable premise that heroes don't kill in (even justified) self-defense; but now it's incorporating into the plot horrifically wrong political viewpoints. SMH.

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: 19x11 Flight Risk

From the perspective of political propaganda and moralizing, this episode was particularly revolting. Sexism is an extremely serious issue in our culture, and to think that even part of the solution is outlawing it is seriously irresponsible: It serves only to superficially mask its manifestations by making sexists more sneaky, and it has the effect of sweeping the problem under the rug instead of addressing the cultural and philosophical roots. (And then people will wonder why sexism is alive and well, despite laws against it, after they patted themselves on the back for "doing something".)

You don't teach people good judgment by outlawing certain judgments.

(I hasten to add that sexual assault/battery/rape are properly outlawed because they actually involve the initiation of force. Sexual harassment or sexist hiring/promotion policies, however reprehensible and disgusting, arise in the context of voluntary association, where either party is free to cut ties if the terms are not mutually agreeable, and thus, they are not properly the subject of legislation.)

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Elementary: 5x05 To Catch a Predator Predator

You can't even pronounce Ayn Rand's name correctly, and yet you feel qualified to take cheap pot shots at her and her philosophy? Shameful.

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Doctor Who: 10x05 Oxygen

So the purpose of this episode was to demolish a straw man of capitalism?

The writers really shouldn't use words they don't understand.

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Arrow: 5x13 Spectre of the Gun

Nothing more than vile gun control propaganda masquerading as a balanced discussion, with a side of contrived plot that does nothing to advance any existing story arcs.

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Silicon Valley: 3x02 Two in the Box

The least bad thing about this episode was the horse porn they included.

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Captain America: Civil War

This film was a pathetic excuse at grappling with ethical issues, making philosophical errors identified and resolved by Aristotle millennia ago. It doesn't even take its own twisted premises seriously, as revealed through utterly inconsistent application of their idiotic, misguided ideas. When someone acts in the defense of oneself or others against an aggressor, it's the aggressor who is responsible for all collateral damage. Instead of defending the Avengers' actions on the principled grounds that had they not been involved, the consequences would have (very obviously) been tremendously more disastrous, the best they could muster up was Captain America's loyalty to his friend. If the film hadn't been so ideologically offensive, it might have been a fun action flick.

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