"And he's constantly writing, constantly trying to get that story out there— and he's constantly getting back rejection letters. Harsh, demoralizing papers. Counting one after another, after another, stacking up higher and higher and higher, until it's a glowing packet of hate constantly LOOKING DOWN AND JUDGING YOU! JUDGING YOU UNTIL THE ONLY SOLACE YOU CAN FIND IS DOING YOURCRAPPY INTERNET REVIEW SHOW!!"
He can relate to Captain Braxton's desire to blow Voyager up. ("Relativity")
"Fascination" really speaks to him. A bit too much.
"There's nothing quite like the sensation where, at the root of where you live, everything has gone to shit and you can do nothing about it. It's like you can sense that the little components of your soul just went "vizzle" and now you're broken. You could eat something that's horribly bad for ya, until you feel worse that you've screwed up your body too, now. You can try finding things that make you happy to look at, but then you remember that they've blocked pornography on your work computer. Seems that all that's left is...finding something that you hate. And just venting at it and venting at it until you've finally purged yourself of all that negative energy... (sighs contently) Back to the review!"
Obviously, the Wonder Woman pilot is incomplete, with post-production notes for things to be added in later. These start out as mundane notes such as "Enhance skyline" and quickly turn into Chuck instructing himself to "Turn your back on hope and love" and plant vomit in an annoying neighbor's trashcan.
Chuck can relate to an alien's temptation to coerce sex from Riker. ("First Contact", TNG)
"If the locals are us, then, essentially, she is anyone who has ever been curious about that kind of thing. ...Has had those kinds of thoughts. ...wondered what Tali looks like when she's out of that suit...(sputters) SHADDAP! DON'T JUDGE ME!"
Schedule Slip: Magnificently averted. He hasn't missed a scheduled update in ages. Made even more impressive with the transfer of his videos from YouTube to blip.tv; he posts several videos per week, which are either brand new or are completely re-recorded (given the poor sound quality of his older videos), usually with new material added. In August 2011, he posted at the rate of almost one video per day. And the only breaks he takes are scheduled ones.
He's only missed three scheduled updates, two of which have been due to outside forces, the first from a tornado knocking out power to his house for a few days, the second from some unknown technical glitch on the blip server.
Outside the show itself, he first received a copy of A Game of Thrones from a book club soon after its publication in The Nineties, and it has sat on his shelf for over a decade without him reading it. He jokes that he doesn't feel so bad when he found out that the 2011 adaptation Game of Thrones has been in production since 2007. Of course, there's the even better example for the joke of George R. R. Martin's own schedule slip in getting the more recent books out, but Chuck doesn't know about that because he's never got around to reading the books!
Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Points this out in the "Terra Nova" (ENT) review. The episode tells us that colonists from Earth to a nearby Earth-like planet became angry at Terran authorities for wanting to send another group of about 200 colonists to the same planet.
Chuck: Wait, they didn't want another 200 people to land on the same planet... How much lebensraum do you people need?! Are Berman and Braga really this stupid? It's a planet! How can these idiots not realize how freaking huge a planet is, considering they will likely never ever leave the one they're on?
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: He tries to do this in the "Unimatrix Zero" review after the sight of Neelix running Voyager's science station is followed up by the revelation that two rebel Borg drones have somehow commandeered a Borg Sphere, which is supposed to have a crew of several hundred, if not thousand drones.
Screw Yourself: Harry once commented on becoming smitten with his own hologram. ("Latent Image")
Two Sevens! "Clearly the only way to resolve this paradox is for the two of them to start making out! ..C'mon, right now." ("VOY: Relativity")
Why is it that whenever there are two Janeways, they always argue with one another? The answer: Unresolved Sexual Tension! ("VOY: Deadlock")
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Mentioned In-Universe in the review of The X-Files Pilot. SF Debris claims that the show is one of the best TV product of and biggest influence on The Nineties, and that today it might seem uninspired or cliché, however, when it first aired, it was very innovative.
Although in "Rose" he pointed out that it was rather amusing when Rose went to find the C.E.O. in the basement.
Serious Business: He reveals while reviewing "Real Life" that his twin sons were born premature, and overcame incredible odds to both be alive and healthy today. So he is quite upset at the episode's trivialization of that horrible situation, saying that people should go through it to build character (especially since the show forgot about it anyway).
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: When Dukat talks to Weyoun and calls him "anhedonic"note (Incapable of feeling pleasure or enjoyment). Chuck replies "Someone got a word-a-day calendar" then makes up this bit.
Dukat: I suggest you stop this ultracrepidarianism, Weyoun, especially in front of that xanthippe we work for to avoid acting mendaciously. Weyoun: Dukat. Dukat: Yes? Weyoun: Your newfound logological hobby is leading to excessive magniloquence, so I assert you circumvent words of a hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian nature.
Shipping: He ships Mulder and Scully in-universe, i.e. in his review. From The X-Files episode "Deep Throat" review:
Chuck: We then get to return to Mulder and Scully in a bar in the midst of the day working that sexual chemistry of theirs. Mulder: I’ve got something to show you. Chuck: Yeah, you know it. Sometimes the fan fics just write themselves.
Kes: I don't think the captain is an idiot. She cares a great deal about her crew. Neelix: You don't care a great deal about your crew and introduce them to the specter of death at every opportunity! Chuck: You know, he may be a shithead, but he's got a point!
Similar exchange from Fair Trade:
Chuck: See, he thinks that when he stops being able to serve Janeway as a guide, she'll boot him off the ship. What, you mean, just use you until you can no longer serve her, and then cast you aside? Tha— [pause...] Huh. Fairly astute there, Neelix.
Shared Universe: He cameod in Linkara's review of One More Day, making him part of the TGWTG/AVGN universe.
Shot to the Heart: Made fun of in the review of "Out of Gas" from Firefly when the injured Zoe is administered adrenaline and later Mal jabs himself in his own heart, too. Chuck says one really shouldn't take medical advice from Quentin Tarantino's films.
His review of "Chain of Command" points out how the interrogation techniques in the episode (apart from the torture and drugs... probably) match techniques used by real-world police and military. This includes quotes from the US Army Field Manual on Interrogation.
While he admits Stargate took some liberties and has some major face-palming elements, he praises the times they get the research right, like about how languages evolve and how Jackson couldn't speak ancient Egyptian despite being able to read it without hearing it spoken for a while due to not having a clue about the pronounciation of a language unspoken for 3000 years. He mentions that in contrast to other works by Roland Emmerich, Stargate might as well be a lecture by Carl Sagan - and you don't actually feel dumber after watching it unlike The Day After Tomorrow or 2012.
And the dedication to Elizabeth Sladen at the end of the Seeds of Doom review.
Also, in the Real Life review, when he compares the death of the Doctor's dying (holographic) daughter, to his own experience of almost losing his twin boys.
In the re-upload of Shuttlepod One, praises the professionalism of many of the actors in Enterprise, who were let down because the writers and producers simply didn't seem to care about what they were giving them to work with.
Smoke Out: Time onboad the Krenim ship has no meaning ("Year of Hell"), so Annorax can live forever, never aging because that has to do with "time." While continuing to breathe, eat, etc., since none of that to do with time because FLASH BOMB! (screen goes white)
Smug Snake: Chuck portrays Lutan from "Code of Honor" as a particularly unlikable Smug Snake, with every attempt to by Lutan to project authority and confidence failing and instead coming off as an entitled, childish, obnoxious idiot.
So Was X: His retort to a TNG Admiral's assertion that "for 500 years, every ship that has borne the name of the Enterprise has become a legend! This one is no different."
"Which lumps the NX-01 into this group, too. Though I suppose you could argue the Titanic has become a legend."
Tom was thinking along similar lines, as he drew inspiration from "an ancient steamship called the Titanic." ("Year of Hell")
"For some reason I was thinking of a doomed ship Captained by someone who thoughtlessly steered the crew into harm's way, causing a disaster so legendary all would remember it for centuries to come."
"Voyager may not be as big as a Galaxy ship, but she's quick and smart — like her Captain!" ("Relativity")
"...and of course devoid of a soul!"
When reminded that Insurrection is supposed to be 'lighthearted and fun'' Chuck's rejoinder is that the last person who tried to combine Moral Dilemma + Lighthearted and Fun was the Clown in "The Thaw."
"...And like many ideas, like nerve gas and butt-chugging, this was a bad one."
Society Marches On: Lampshaded in his review of "Angel One", where the Federation go in prepared with the most up-to-date information they have on the planet... from over 62 years ago. Chuck points out how stupid it is that societies never seem to evolve in Trek, noting that in 1950's America a black man could be arrested from drinking from the wrong fountain, but skip-forward to the present day and a black man has just been elected President for the second time.
Sophisticated as Hell: A common tactic of his, especially in his otherwise more "serious" videos, to remind everyone not to take him or what he says too seriously.
Chuck: Once again I will use the words 'magnetic balls' to show that I'm not anyone special myself.
Soundtrack Dissonance: When Eddington asks Sisko for a "rousing" song before they head into battle, Chuck inserts the Piña Colada Song.
Janeway blowing up the Caretaker array to the accompaniment of banjo music. How apropos.
The first video in "Profit and Lace" (Chuck's Christmas selection) plays Andy Williams over lesbian/gay spank material. The final video closes out with "The Little Drummer Boy" while Quark and his mother hurl vicious insults at each other offscreen. It's glorious.
The ending montage in "The Fall of Night" is set to "Peace in Our Time" by Eddie Money. The ironic juxtaposition of this song against the images on screen is chilling.
A brief history of Neelix's attempts at deception throughout the series. His faceplants are deserving of "Smooth Criminal." ("Resistance")
Space Jews: Takes a hammer to the concept in his Mass Effect 2 review - or at least, the idea that the batarians match to Arabs because we've seen a lot of batarian terrorists and there was one batarian religious fanatic.
Special Edition Title: Of a sort. While it's possibly just a holdover from when he was on YouTube, he doesn't use his theme for a number of TNG's more dramatic episodes such as "The Measure of a Man", "Pen Pals", "Sarek" and "The Best of Both Worlds, parts 1 & 2", opting instead to open with a scene from the episode in question to set up the weight of the subject.
When reviewing TNG's "Darmok", an episode about overcoming a language barrier, he uses the original German "99 Luftballons".
For Enterprise's "In a Mirror, Darkly, part 2", he played the theme backwards.
Spoiler Title: Among its many other faults, he calls out the Voyager episode "Memorial" for having one, as most of the story is a mystery about what's screwing with the crew's heads.
Spoof Aesop: Unrequited love is tragedy. ...Unless it leads to rampant sexual harassment, then it becomes comedy! ("Fascination")
Well, I hope you girls have learned a valuable lesson: If you want to succeed, all you have to do is be superficial, put down your own gender, and take off your clothes, and the world is your oyster! ("Profit and Lace")
He had a nice chortle over Etta Candy tut-tutting Wonder Woman for uttering a vulgarity. This, coming off the heels of Diana torturing a perp in a previous clip.
"Remember kids: When you get mad, don't swear; get violent!"
Spoonerism: Seven getting bombed on synthehol at a party in "Timeless".
(slurring) "Ah'm Borrrg you—dammit! Prepare to be stimulated! Feudalism is resilience!"
Spot The Thread: In his "Unreality" month where he reviewed episodes where reality and fantasy were warping into one another, he finds a common theme. "You may have thought you could fool us, hallucination, but you make the same mistake all the other hallucinations have made. You made Chakotay too lifelike, a dead giveaway!"
Status Quo Is God: For the times when Voyager doesn't even bother with the Reset Button. To mention one example, the episode "The Could" started off with the Voyager's replicators running low on... whatever it is that powers them. By the end of the episode they hadn't managed to get them refilled, yet in the next episode the replicators were used frivolously like the shortage never happened.
The Stinger: In traditional MST3K fashion, playing a funny clip from the episode at the end. Voyager reviews are the exception, always ending on this exchange from The Thaw.
The Clown: I'm afraid.
Janeway: I knoooow.
The Stoic: Chakotay is interpreted as "half Native American, half tree" as a gag on Robert Beltran's sometimes wooden acting.
Strawman Has a Point: A rich, gold-filled in-universe vein of snark for his reviews of Star Trek episodes. SF Debris is able to spot these from a mile away.
So when Bruce Maddox of the Next Generation episode "The Measure of a Man" wasn't this trope, he made sure to point it out.
"Normally in the Opinionated Guides, we defend the assholes, douchebags, and general antagonists when, objectively speaking, their behavior is understandable given the collection of starry-eyed, clicky, sugar-coated dogmatic zealots that they wind up going up against. But there is no defending [Bruce Maddox]."
Believes that Seska's reasons for wanting to forge an alliance with the Kazon, for protection and backup in a region of hostile space, are incredibly pragmatic.
The Unaired Wonder Woman pilot has the characters who fight for due process as sleazy criminals or people in the pocket of sleazy criminals. Much better to have a short-tempered, impulsive, violent super-woman who holds such concepts in contempt and is immune to prosecution ferret things out.
While reviewing Torchwood: Miracle Day, he points out that Jane Espenson's episodes tend to contrast with points explicitly made earlier - while the Catholic belief in the unborn is mocked, the Miracle's parameters lend credence to the idea that life starts at conception, and while a member of the Tea Party is presented as a fringe zealot, the next episode shows a form of "death panels" being used to determine who lives and who's annihilated. While Chuck is neither Catholic nor a Tea Partier, he has to question how effective a work's message is when the quick jibes are utterly contrasted by future events.
Stockholm Syndrome: Suggests that Kes might have a form of this, theorising that as usual, Neelix simply forced himself into the unwanted position of "boyfriend" and eventually Kes just gave up trying to tell him to take a hike.
Considers the villagers refusal to leave at the end of "Paradise" to be proof that they are suffering this, after years of torture and indoctrination at the hands of a mad despot.
Why the people put up with Wonder Woman's actions.
"She pushes to be given time alone with this fellow that she actually put in the hospital in the first place, yeah, that doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. But the detective, for some reason, decides to go along with it, because, well, nobody can say no to Wonder Woman. Or at the very least, no one dares to say no to Wonder Woman."
Stupid Evil: This is his main complaint about the Mirror Universe episodes of Enterprise; everyone's so busy backstabbing each other that it's a wonder anything gets done.
The Borg Queen in "Unimatrix Zero", since it portrays her as a laughably incompetent villain.
Janeway:(speaking too soon) I didn't do it. Except for the stuff that sounds good, that I did the hell out of!
She accidentally blurted out the existence of "Kes-otay" when Chakotay made an offhand remark in "Dark Frontier". She then protests that there's "only one", so if Chakotay kills it, then that constitutes genocide/suicide!
When Seven comes looking for answers in the mess hall, Neelix automatially ducks under the counter and cries, " I swear that lice didn't come from me!" ("The Voyager Conspiracy")
Neelix: O-of course, I meant that they came from my spice, and are completely unrelated to my scalp condition. Uh, powdered donut?
Take a Third Option: Neelix gives us the chestnut of "When the road before you splits into two, take the third path." Chuck responds, "The third path...would be back the way you came."
Blames Voyager for abusing this trope by repeatedly putting the crew in a moral dilemma with two valid but questionable solutions - and then presents a third option which renders all the preceding moral contemplations and discussions moot.
Hilariously done in The Matrix review. Neo finds several alternatives for the choice between 'blue or red pill'. Do you have a green pill? Orange? Yellow? Can I take both?
Take That: For Vulcans, a repressed memory can cause brain damage until the patient tries to lobotomize himself. "Kind of like what happens when you watch an Uwe Boll film."
A writer's room reenactment of Ronald D. Moore. ("Genesis")
invokedJaneway's retort to a suggestion that she pray for deliverance. ("Scorpion.") No hitting below the belt, Chuck:
"If I start praying now, the only way I'll ever make it to Earth is if I start spouting bullshit prophecies and a bunch of angelic hallucinations start patronizing me. I'd rather try to get back to Earth in a rowboat!"
In "The Voyager Conspiracy", the inventor of a graviton catapult takes a moment to throw shade on both shows simultaneously.
(laughingly) "Well, what else was I supposed to do? Just fly towards home and hope I got lucky?"
Janeway gravely quotes the Cylon creed ("All of this has happened before...") after predicting the future in "Fury." However, when Chakotay asks if that is true, she snaps "No. When I break a time loop it damn well stays broken!"
Chuck: Janeway broke a time loop by shooting at it! That's how she rolls!
Fed up with the pomposity of first-season TNG in "The Neutral Zone," where the show tells us acquiring things is evil, he points out that it still costs a pretty penny to collect the show on DVD, and that even Gene Rodenberry himself has ripped people off in the past (he cites an incident where Gene wrote unused lyrics for the original Star Trek theme so he could get part of the credit, and thus part of the royalties). "And yet, what a perfect metaphor for 20th century Communism! Taking the credit for the people who do the actual work, all while spouting party doctrine!"
Chuck also snarkily points out how ironic it was that the Voyager episode "Dark Frontier" had the crew engage in piracy, while the DVD had a label against it. This is definitely a Take That against YouTube who took down his videos.
Any given episode has a 50% chance of having one against either Voyager or Enterprise.
When O'Brien notes in "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" that Bashir could annoy hundreds of people he's never met if he becomes the template for a medical hologram, Chuck says it's like being Justin Bieber.
When Spock's brain is stolen, Bones gives his prognosis as worse than death. "He's in Transformers 3, Jim!"
"Oh, that's not fair. As if anyone watches Torchwood!" [cut to "SLAM" in graffiti]
"The Outcast" (TNG) presents us with a world of genderless beings. Kinda like a world of bisexuals. "It's like Torchwood, where your choices are either bisexual or Welsh."
While examining how the language in "Darmok" could work, he brings up how people can instinctively perform actions without thinking about the words that go with them, like braking when you see someone in the road..."unless it's Rick Berman."
Chakotay/Seven - "The kind of hot, steamy romance science fiction has been known for since Attack of the Clones."
Tom's run the numbers, and the results aren't good. "We've built an Edsel! A lemon! A disaster waiting to happen!!" ("Timeless")
Provides a subtle Stealth Insult towards the infamous endings of Mass Effect 3. Kirk, in "The City On the Edge Of Forever," wonders what if he tried changing history again with the Guardian to get a different ending. The only difference is that everything is blue-lit instead of red-lit.
Another less subtle shot at the Mass Effect 3 non-ending comes in his review of DS9 "Paradise", wherein his fury at the episode's The Bad Guy Wins plot culminates in "Why don't you just make the audience choose between red, green and blue if you want to piss everyone off!"
VOY: "Ex Post Facto": "Not since Double Jeopardy have I seen such a ludicrous concept with the window dressing of a legal thriller."
Chuck relates the story of why the Xenomorph was designed as a collection of dicks and teeth. "It was this or the Penny Arcade guys, really."
Riker: You ARE arrogant, and closed-minded. You need to control everything and everyone. You don't provide an atmosphere of trust, and you don't inspire these people to go out of their way for you. You've got everybody wound up so tight, there's no joy in anything.
In his review of Stargate, when someone talks about "Men from Atlantis".
Chuck:Men from Atlantis, ah ah, that'd be a real crap show wouldn't it?
Chuck: In my experience, the first impulse is to start forwarding irrelevant shit to my email.
Take That Me: Jokes in his review of "Rose" that Clive's obsession with the Doctor has caused even Clive's own family to think he's an internet lunatic.
Chuck: Poor people, having to put up with this hobby taking over... *yells offscreen* Get out! I told you, I am NOT playing, I am working!
The end-episode caption for First Contact compared the film to "My Prom Date; Stupid But Fun"
In "Blood Oath" he mentions that the titular blood oath has been going on for 80 years "which is also the time it takes for me to respond to an email".
A particularly arbitrary Stupid Neelix Moment in "The Swarm." Rather than a clip of the episode playing us out, we instead see footage from "What's Opera, Doc?◊"
Gattica - Can we afford to feed, clothes and house hundreds of thousands of people with inferior genes, who "do nothing but complain about Star Trek all day"? Food for thought!
Taking You with Me: Duly notes that Neelix - who was indignant at being told to wear a safety harness earlier (expert climber that he is) - immediately grabs onto Torres' legs when he takes a tumble, nearly killing both of them.
Chuck: "That's brilliant justice, taking a page from Solomon there! Who are you?
Bum #1: "I'm starvin', Solomon!"
Chuck: "oh, this is gonna be a long day."
In "The Wire," Garak gives Bashir a new book about the Klingons and Cardassians being at war with each other.
Chuck: Bah! Like THAT is ever gonna happen!
Testosterone Poisoning: When Sisko, Spock and Kirk were in the same frame in "Trials and Tribble-ations" Chuck claims that his computer froze up and nearly broke as though it sensed the sheer awesomeness of that situation.
That One Rule: "Persistence of Vision": A vision of his disapproving father asks Tom Paris several questions, which Tom successfully answers, until he asks him to explain the Leg Before Wicket rule.
Aptly enough, "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC, to commemorate his fifth anniversary ("Emanations"). It starts off with the standard "Harleys and Indians (Riders in the Sky)", but only for about a second.
"Fair Haven"'s companion video, Holograms and Ethics, opened with a Vitamin String Quartet tribute to "Back in Black". This may be a call back to Blade Runner below.
"Blink of an Eye" uses Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" as the Voyager is referred to as "the Ground Shaker, the Light Bringer!"
Enterprise: "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. Back when he was on YouTube, Chuck once mentioned that he picked it because a song about Superman going insane seemed to fit Archer. It's also a reference to a scene wherein Archer randomly hops down from a catwalk looking like Superman landing.
TNG: "99 Red Balloons" by Nenanote (which notably contains the lyric "Everyone's a superhero, everyone's a Captain Kirk)".
Chuck used "Harleys and Indians (Riders in the Sky)" on the last few TNG reviews that were posted to YouTube, after they started disabling the audio on some of the TNG videos with "99 Red Balloons."
The episode "Up the Long Ladder" used "Funky Ceili" by Black 47, thanks to the plot point about the Irish stereotypes on the Enterprise.
The episode "Skin of Evil" used "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan in tribute to Tasha Yar's death.
Deep Space Nine: "The Mystic's Dream" by Loreena McKennitt.
For the DS9 episode Sacrifice Of Angels he added the theme from Blazing Saddles as a closing theme tune.
TOS: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as covered by, of course, William Shatner.
(The sounds of Jaffas smashing into the Iris as they come out the Stargate, then the gate shuts down)
Walter: Wormhole disengaged.
Chuck: Someone bring a hose. A really big hose!
Averted in his The Day After review, where he describes the effects of a nuke detonating as being "such a level of overkill it would be funny if it wasn't so sad".
They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste: Suggested that, since Q leaving VOY stranded is such a blatant plot hole, the series might as well have ended with Q just snapping his fingers and sending them home. ("Q2"). It makes about as much sense as a Borg transwarp tunnel which the Queen never got around to using.
Chuck suggests many avenues in which characters could have developed, particularly characters that did not receive any development during the course of the shows.
In a video dedicated entirely to Kes, he theorizes that had her character arc been better planned out, she could have been an effective "River from Firefly" type character. He also thinks TPTB removing Kes when they did was a waste of Torres, as this could have created an interesting love triangle between Tom/B'Elann/Kes. Even more so that in "Year of Hell" where her knowledge of the future from "Before and After" could come into play, would she hesitate in warning B'Elanna to step away from the console that was going to kill her?
Chuck repeatedly mentions that Seven of Nine was a great character who was wasted in Voyager, as a Borg would become Human over the course of a season instead of being forced to have Humanity thrust upon her would have given her far more character development.
In his review of Star Trek (2009) he points out that Nero was far more fleshed-out and sympathetic in the comic book tie-in to the film. He points out Nero could have been the most compelling Trek villain since Khan, and gives a chilling monologue regarding the villain's motivations, finishing with a lament that instead of an effective villain, Nero's lack of on-screen development put him across as some "emo with a trident."
In his review of "Non Sequitur," he points out a way the episode could have been infinitely more compelling and developed Harry Kim's character - instead of having him fight being planted in a branching timeline from the very start, have him go with it, tell the truth to everyone who thinks he's acting so weird, and only have him consider going back to Voyager after he learns that his inaction in this timeline resulted in Paris's death.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Race: In his review of "Acquisition" he notes how for a fleeting moment the episode manages to make the Ferengi look truly intimidating, and muses about how things might have turned out if that had always been the case with them.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Director: When reviewing the episode Timeless, he talks about how great LeVar Burton was at directing this episode, how he worked with the actors to get them to give their best performance, and laments how utterly screwed he got when the higher-ups decided to hand the reins of Star Trek: Nemesis over to Stuart Baird.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: One of his major in-universe peeves against Voyager, as he often points out where it actually has some good, original ideas, but utterly fails to do anything worthwhile with them, such as in "The 37's", "Alliances" and "Waking Moments". Generally, the show was content to coast off fumes and market its hackneyed writing as Camp.
The end-of-episode epitaph for "Scorpion" (the 10 out of 10 episode) cheekily read, "If Only We Had A Show About This Kind of Thing"
In another review, he flat-out says that Voyager is "Where potential goes to die".
Virtually all Trek end-season cliffhangers cause him great confusion. It's long been Trek policy for the departing writer to write a 100% no-win scenario for our heroes, then leave the mess for somebody else to resolve next year. It got to the point where the recurrence of a prop in "Equinox Pt. 3" left Chuck utterly floored.
"One piece of info they dropped in the first part that they actually wound up using! Believe me, no one was more surprised than I!"
His big complaint in Basics is this, especially since it's obvious he enjoyed some parts of it, but that it eventually transformed in yet another "planet of the week".
He brings this up again in The 37s, where he lays out all the interesting elements of the episode...none of which have been put to good use. Amelia Earhart on a planet in the Delta Quadrant full of displaced humans would have been a very tempting crisis for the crew to face dramatically, with Earhart herself being such a beacon of charisma and leadership that she could wind up unintentionally dividing the crew in two. He also notes that, since it wouldn't make any sense that a civilization with the ability to drag in humans all the way from the Alpha Quadrant could possibly be completely wiped out by them, it would be a possibility that the aliens had simply lost track of that particular settlement, and the Voyager crew waking up the 37's could have alerted them, forcing a confrontation between Voyager and a new, potentially very powerful opponent. Chuck says the whole episode feels like the set-up for a two-parter that never got its second part.
"The Void" features Voyager being pulled in by an unknown force and trapped in a hostile region of space, the crew forced to make alliances with unsavory characters in order to survive and all the while dealing with their dwindling resources and power. Chuck points out that after 6 years and a dozen episodes from the finale, the writers of Voyager finally seemed to realize the premise of the entire show!
An inversion of sorts: In response to a bogus rumor that Edward James Olmos was considered for the part of Janeway, Chuck ruminates that we'd see "a lot more of Neelix being bludgeoned with a flashlight, so that's one serious loss we've suffered." The VOY premiere would have doubled as the Series Finale, with the crew getting home immediately after throwing the Kazons Out the Airlock.
Star Trek: Insurrection revolves around an attempt by the Federation to underhandedly appropriate a planet that magically heals sick and wounded people. Given the stardate reported during the movie, this plot takes place during the events of the Dominion War, when the Federation is being badly battered by a rival space empire. Chuck points out how unlikely it is that Worf (or, for that matter, Riker or Geordi, whose blindness was cured by said planet) would pass up such an advantage during wartime, when this planet could help turn the tide and possibly prevent the destruction of the Federation. The film logically should have shown the crew split into two — with Picard and the Prime Directive enthusiasts on one side, and Riker and the war-hardened pragmatists on the other — each group trying to outwit the other.
He speculates in his review of "Out of Gas" what could the creators have done with the universe and the characters of ''Firefly if the show hadn't been cancelled.
Incidentally, he mentions it in his reviews of Stargate, combining it with Tropes Are Not Bad: The potential of the Stargate, and its world changing implications had not been really explored by the movie, and he credits this as why Stargate SG-1 succeeded where many series based on films died: Because this huge element was untouched by the movie, it left the door wide open for the series to do so.
He suggests that in the 2011 Series/Wonder Woman pilot, a better plot would have been Diana Prince (as a separate character) acting in the shadows to do the right thing while the Knight Templar Wonder Woman is a gloryhound and monster worshipped by the city. When that Wonder Woman is done in by her own hubris, Diana steps up to thwart the villain and take her place and live up to the actual ideals of Wonder Woman rather than the monster she has been.
He has also repeatedly stated that he considers the Star Trek: Enterprise, Temporal Cold War arc, to be a waste of potential as it really went nowhere and was resolved too easily. He gives his own version of the storyline which is that the Vulcans knew about the War and the reason why they were spying on the Andorians is because they were afraid that the Sulibans were infiltrating their ranks, and that they tried to slow down humanity's development to keep them out of it only for them to accidentally stumble onto it, and that eventually Archer would have to sacrifice the very existence of his Enterpriseto ensurethe Federation comes to existence even though no one will remember them at all. This would've explained away the uncharacteristic behaviour the Vulcans had in the early Enterprise episodes as well as why the events of this series were never referenced in any of the other series.
This Is Gonna Suck: In his review of "Daleks in Manhattan," a character who acts like King Solomon is actually named Solomon causes Chuck to have this reaction.
Timey-Wimey Ball: Not a big fan of this trope in Star Trek: First Contact when discussing the Borg using time travel to assimilate Earth and why the good guys don't use it more often. "And before anyone tries to bring the whole parallel reality argument in...don't. If that's true, then it invalidates when it IS used. You can't have it both ways, that the only time that it works just the right way is when the plot says that it's okay and the rest of the time you can't use it. Look, all I ask is that you be consistent with your nonsense, okay?"
Title Drop: "Why it's...dare I say it...a swarm! Maybe even The Swarm."
Meta-Title Drop during the review of the Voyager episode Real Life when the crew makes a shocking discovery while attempting to visit a space station.
Chuck: Yes, it's meeee!! You guys are sooooo screeeeewed...
[clutches head] "Agh! I shouldn't have drunk that Sacred Smoothie so quickly!"
Toilet Humour: Done with the aid of an abrupt cut between two unrelated clips here:
Chuck (on the Q story arc): We've gone through the good (clip of "Q Who?") the bad (clip of "Hide and Q") and the ugly...
Pakled: We look for things. Things that make us go.
Worf: Prune juice, extra large!
Too Dumb to Live: This is pretty much the modus operandi of the cast on Enterprise. It's rare for an Enterprise review to go without Chuck commenting on at least one Too Dumb to Live moment (Almost always from Archer, with Trip taking most other incidents).
Of particular note is the instance where Archer engages in some convoluted plan, which involves getting the shit beaten out of him, to figure out where some holes in the wall lead to. This plan is apparently preferred to the simpler plan of... looking through the holes.
Reaches a head Nemesis, where he points out that the only reason that the Enterprise crew isn't destroyed out of their own stupidity is because Shinzon is even more incompetent.
Points out that Linnis, Kes' daughter, could quickly tell Kes her brilliant plan to keep her in the present, but instead stands and gawps helplessly while she quantum leaps back in her own timeline. Congratulations Linnis, you now have been responsible for erasing yourself from existence.
In Blade Runner, he notes how stupid it was to make soldiers out of slaves.
In "Lifesigns," apparently there are Vidiians who do not have the Phage. Such a medically advanced species has apparently never heard of "quarantine."
Neelix in "Q2", when he taunts the temporarily depowered "Harry Potter" by refusing to shut up, as revenge for Q's son having used his powers to previously remove both his mouth and vocal chords. Chuck points out the stupidity of taunting a Demigod that will get his powers back in a week.
The crew of Voyager for assigning their technologically-minded engineers in charge of gathering plants, putting their botanically-minded biochemists in charge of handling medical technology and taking over seven years before they realised they'd assigned an engineer to be their astrophysicist while conversely putting "Carl Sagan in charge of shovelling coal".
Chuck: Is it any wonder why these dumbasses are lost?!
The crew of Voyager for everytime they seem to be taken in by Neelix's claims that he's an "Expert" on something.
Chuck: Neelix has conned the crew into thinking he's a survival expert...
The Psychlos in general. He describes Terl as the smartest and most cunning of Psychlos, which would mean he would generously be considered an imbecile. They only manage to conquer native populations because they have gas drones, robotic nerve-gas dispensers not burdened with an incompetent psychlo brain.
Another example from the original series: Chuck praises DeForest Kelley and his ability to deliver the most ridiculous dialogue with utter sincerity in "Spock's Brain".
Is utterly baffled why Michael Piller so firmly believed "Ex Post Facto" to be good enough to be submitted for Emmy nomination, when it was clear to everyone else involved just how awful the episode was?!
Too Spicy For Yog Sogoth: Believes that in Unimatrix Zero, the reason the Borg Queen starting blowing up her own ships was because an assimilated Janeway was actually subtly taking control of her.
Janeway: Your mistake was assimilating me!
Training from Hell: Notes that Tuvok's attempts to put the Maquis through their paces in "Learning Curve" makes him come off as a massive jerkass, especially when he makes them run a 10 kilometre lap, with full packs and the gravity turned up 10%.
Chuck: A particularly nice sign of dickishness from a man who has over three times the strength of the people he's leading.
Tranquil Fury: While reviewing the Voyager episode "Real Life," he reveals that his twin sons were born premature and barely survived. Hence, he takes serious issue with the episode's message that people should go through something like that to build character, never raising his voice until the last few words while it's still clear that we're hearing absolute, genuine rage.
Translation By Volume: In "Darmok" from TNG. He comments on desperate attempts of the Enterprise crew and Captain Picard to communicate with incomprehensible aliens whose language their Universal Translator couldn't crack.
SF Debris: I'll check [Picard's] academy records. His language course was 203. Let me cross-check that. Oh yes! He's fluent in yelling at people. This is the time honoured method of speaking your own language loudly and somewhat slowly to people who don't speak it, in the hopes that they will suddenly understand you. (beat) The others just laugh at him.
Trash the Set: In his review of the "Eleventh Hour", he notes that due to the Tenth Doctor's violent regeneration, Eleven can't use the still-rebuilding TARDIS, but at least he still has his ever-faithful sonic screwdriver, right? Cue it promptly exploding.
Sfdebris: Man, when Ten breaks shit, he really breaks shit, doesn't he?
Tropes Are Not Bad: Chuck mentions this by name when he reviews the TNG episode "Timescape", noting that several of Brannon Braga's scripts begin with the premise "the captain returns to the ship to find things have gone to hell", but that does provide a good mystery setup.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: Acknowledges this trope when discussing David Lynch and surrealists in general. In his opinion, what separates Lynch from the others is that he doesn't fall into this trope: all of his surreality seems to serve a higher purpose.
"Kes comes in to see Tuvok and, after a couple of minutes, Tuvok decides he'll try that plan of Harry's. There's a thing TV Tropes calls Unfortunate Implications, and this seems to apply here: The only thing stopping the black guy and the Asian guy from beating each other up are white women."
When he finally awarded the first ever 10 to a Voyager episode ("Life Line") the video caption noted to "Alert TV Tropes!" in order to update the entry that would be affected by that score (and which, in light of said review, became obsolete and was subsequently deleted).
In the Stargate review he implored viewers not to tag him with a Did Not Do the Research entry on his supposition that the constellation system for gate co-ordinates didn't make sense because he had no time to scan through all 10 seasons of the TV series for an explanation.
Twenty Per Cent More Awesome: From his review of Voyager episode "Body And Soul" he uses the unit "Kims" (as in deci-Kims), which is the measure of Harry Kim's sexual trauma applied per cubic meter/second. Not to be confused with a metric-Kim, which is a measurement of personal shame.
Twofer Token Minority: Parodied along with Executive Meddling in his review of "The Naked Now," where one (hypothetical) moronic executive thinks Geordi is wearing the visor because he's gay, making him gay, black, AND blind.
Even funnier, the dumb executive is portrayed by an image of Rick Berman. (The guy who fired Ron Jones. Make of that what you will...)
Type Casting: When Brad Dourif turns up in the X-Files episode "Beyond the Sea", playing a serial killer: "You might remember him from Voyager, where he was a killer. Or Babylon 5, where he was a killer. Or The Lord of the Rings, where he betrayed and then killed people."
Undying Loyalty: Suggests that Janeway has slowly brainwashed a sense of this into Tuvok.
Janeway: "Tuvok! Bring me some coffee!"
Tuvok: "But captain, I'm trying to hold this cable to stop the lift with my family in it from plummeting to their-"
Janeway: "Tuvok! Do you actually expect me to get up and walk over there?"
Tuvok: "... No, of course not captain. I'm sorry for being selfish."
The Next Generation writer Melinda Snodgrass, incorrectly referred to by Chuck as "Melissa".
Chuck can't help but laugh when the "pronunciation" of Chakotay's name by Torres sounds exactly like Chocolate Day.
Chuck: "CHOCOLATE DAAAAAAAY!"
In his review of "Message in a Bottle," Chuck makes the obligatory joke about guest star Andy Dick.
Unholy Matrimony: In his review of Voyager's "Counterpoint", Janeway falls in love with Kashyk because he too is a brutal oppressor.
Unintentional Period Piece: A much more subtle example than most, but some references and jokes that are made when the episode comes out are not always understandable at a later date. For example, in "Ensign Ro," a planet "Salar" is attacked, and SF Debris makes a joke about "Krogans attacking the Salarians" but then comments that "No one who gets that joke is watching today." This was because the episode came out on the day that Mass Effect 3 was released, but future watchers can sometimes be confused. Similarly, the episode "A Matter of Time" was released on the date of the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, and several jokes reference that.
Unperson: He likes to sell the idea that Jonathan Archer was stricken from the history books for being such an embarrassment. Picard actually spat in disgust when his name was mentioned.
Uriah Gambit: A running gag that Picard almost letting slip that he intentionally sent Jack Crusher to his death so he could get Beverley in the sack.
Urine Trouble: In "Booby Trap", Wesley poses a hypothetical to Riker which involves spying on girls while they pee, as though there's nothing odd about that.
"Prototype" opens on a POV camera lens aimed at Torres, angry as usual. Chuck guesses she mistook it for one those webcams Harry keeps hiding in her toilet.
During "A Night in Sickbay", Chuck keened that if Archer had his way, every "diplomatic mission" would entail peeing on the dignitaries from the safety of his shuttlecraft.
Not to mention legally barred from captaining a starship in the 23rd century. In a story that Gene Roddenberry came up with, so you can't just say it was another writer who didn't understand his vision. This becomes Fridge Logic when Enterpise has a woman as the Captain of the second NX-class ship.
In "Angel One", Riker defends wearing a skimpy outfit he's been given to wear to meet with the leader of a female-dominated society, stating that it's his duty as a Starfleet officer to respect local customs and traditions. Chuck notes that by that logic, any Ferengi delegation would be completely in their rights to ask for female diplomats to be nude, as is their custom.
Verbal Tic: He personally acknowledges one of them - prefacing rhetorical questions with the phrase "You might ask" - during his "The Nth Degree" review.
Viewers Are Morons: Usually inverted. For instance, in the first review of "Threshold" posted to YouTube, Chuck likens the phlebotnium that makes the episode's storyline possible (namely a type of dilithium that allows travel at infinite speed) to being able to buy a type of gasoline that would let you drive a corvette at light speed. In the version posted to blip.tv however, the analogy is replaced with a lengthy discussion of the mathematics that make it impossible to achieve light speed, much less infinite speed.
Their repeated use of the word "Ancient" to describe anything in Earth's past, which he points out is seemingly done to remind us that this is the future. Because all the starships, aliens and phasers, didn't make it clear to the audience before?!
Villain Ball: Points out in the Mirror UniverseEnterprise episode that everyone suffers from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder to the point that most of their problems are a result of it, and marvels at the fact the eventual collapse of their empire comes from reform instability rather than the blatantly self-destructive way it's run.
Villain Override: Suggests that the reason that the Borg Queen starts blowing up her own ships in "Unimatrix Zero" actually came from Janeway being the one to control her.
Voodoo Shark: Coined the trope name in his review of the Voyager episode, "The Cloud". The Voodoo Shark plot device in question is that the power supply to the holodeck on Voyager is stated to be completely incompatible with the rest of the ship. Chuck references this fact frequently in other episodes, such as when alien technology is subsequently integrated with the ship, meaning that utterly alien power sources are more compatible with Voyager than Voyager is with itself.
Alludes to this in the review of Torchwood: Miracle Day, pointing out the sheer lack of explanation or information about the central plot device means that the only two clues in the first six episodes could easily be replaced with the words "Walrus Tusk" and still have just as much impact on the progress of the story.
In his Sunshine review he points out that it's probably not a good idea to name a spaceship sent on a mission to the sun after a mythological character who was killed due to venturing too close to the sun. And after losing the first one, they named the next one Icarus II.
The exploration vessel which disappeared at Z'ha'dum with Sheridan's wife on board in Babylon 5 was also named Icarus.
Chuck: When will people learn to stop naming ships 'Icarus'? It never ends well!
In Star Trek: Voyager episode "Scorpion" Chakotay names a seemingly safe route through Borg space the "Northwest Passage". Chuck proceeds to point out that several expeditions were lost looking for the Northwest Passage on Earth (that is to say, a way to navigate between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the waters between North America and the Arctic), and it ultimately proved to not exist. (Actually, it does exist, but has turned out to not be nearly as useful as people seeking it hoped.)
What the Hell, Casting Agency?: Invoked while discussing the decision the director of "Code of Honor" made to cast the aliens of the week entirely with African-Americans:
Chuck : The script makes numerous comparisons to Earth: Data: That is from an obscure language known as French. Picard: ...and [the Ligonian society's] unique similarity to an ancient Earth culture we all admire. On behalf of the Federation, therefore, I would like to present this token of our gratitude and friendship, from China's Song Dynasty. Data: For example, what Lutan did is similar to what certain American-Indians once did, called "Counting Coup." Chuck : So, of course... the director interpreted this to mean that everybody was black.
What Measure Is A Non Minbari: In "Meet John Sheridan" he chews out the Minbari for launching a genocidal war against humanity over a simple cultural misunderstanding, refusing to accept Humanity's unequivocal surrender and then having the gall to be offended that the sole human victory of the war occured when John Sheridan managed to actually blow up one of their ships.
Who Would Be Stupid Enough: Leadership skills are going to be a key element to the crew's survival in "Basics Pt 2." Therefore, the four team leaders are Janeway, Tuvok, uhh...Harry Kim. And the fourth...? (Oh, this won't end well.)
"No, you know who I'm gonna say! But you're wondering, how could it happen?! How could anybody be stupid enough to actually suggest this? Well, remember, we're in this situation precisely because of that stupidity!"
Tom: If Betty Grable came around that corner, what part of her would you be staring at? Harry:(sighs resignedly) Chuck: And the answer is: None of the above! All he'd see is his grandmother slapping and shaking her finger at him for looking at girls, then her face splitting open and Janeway's head on a snake's body coming out and ordering him to remodulate her rug.
SF Debris: Wait, so Let Me Get This Straight. Tom Paris not only flies the ship, the most important shuttle missions, is the field medic/assistant to the Doctor, has 24th century lock-picking ability... he's also a commando. Oh! And let's not forget he once designed an engine that goes to infinity. And this is the guy Starfleet doesn't want?!
Within thirty seconds of "Year of Hell", Paris shows mastery of engineering and history, and is then summoned to sick bay to conduct field medicine, "and none of these things are even his job." Chuck concludes Paris was held in some prison for savants.
In "Persistence of Vision", he speculates that Tom Paris' complex relationship with his father is responsible. Instead of the hallucination telling Tom how proud he is of him, his take is that the hallucination began quizzing Tom on various topics from multiple fields and broke his spirit after he forgot one of the answers.
Regarding Star Trek: Enterprise he points out that the transporter is such new and untested technology that it is normally only used on cargo... Yet there is no dedicated transporter operator, and instead they use pretty much anyone who happens to be at hand to operate the thing, including the ship's linguist!
Wild Card: The inexorable Brannon Braga who, while not the crap writer he's been described as by some, isn't good enough to save bad material. In this respect, Chuck suspects he acts as a "multiplying factor" in whatever job he's given.
Wicked Cultured: His interpretation of Khan, spending quite a while in the "Wrath of Khan" review quoting from the various books seen on Khan's shelf, noting how these few books have affected his worldview.
Wild Mass Guessing: Discussed at length in the "Doctor Who?" special, where he lists the various speculative theories on the identity of John Hurt's Doctor, as well as where this incarnation possibly fits into the overall continuity.
Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Refers to this in the Voyager episode "Faces", where he points out that the intelligent, believable way the characters were written in that episode makes it possible to accept that the episode's entire premise hinges on the absurd plot point that the Vidiians can somehow split one person into two fully-formed and fully-grown people.
Altough he doesn't mention it, it comes again for his review of Wall-e, were he mentions that, despite how simplistic the science was, the mature way things were handled allowed him to put that aside.
The Worf Effect: Worf seems to have finally overcome this in "By Inferno's Light", laying out 10 Jem'Hadar in a row.
Chuck: [Worf baritone] "It was the 'hitting them' part that I was having trouble with."
Chuck theorizes that the reason for this trope's existance is that Worf's commanding officers in Star Trek: The Next Generation are such pantywaists that they keep hampering his efforts while giving the enemies time to prepare.
Notes that Tim Russ seems to play characters who are on the recieving end of the Vulcan nerve pinch, more than anyone else in the franchise. Even though, as Tuvok, his character has three times the strength of a normal human... and he still gets knocked out this way!
Wrong Genre Savvy: An interesting variation in "Tattoo" where, as Chuck points out, Chakotay is told by the chief that he should stay with his people and embrace the old ways... which is perfectly baffling to Chuck, as we're supposed to agree with this chief, when a) pretty much every other story in modern fiction would present "Staying with your kind and doing the same thing for all time" as a bad thing, and b) this takes place in a Star Trek episode, a series about finding the unknown and exploring all the strange and wonderful things of the universe, not staying in one's closed-off environment.
X Days Since: The poor safety record of an entire moon in Star Trek VI is mocked.
"It's hard to imagine anyone would do something like this, without being deliberate gross negligence, like they have a sign up somewhere celebrating 428 days without a workplace apocalypse."
"He's some asshole in a puffy shirt, but everyone acts like he's equal parts Han Solo, James Bond, and Robin Hood — when he's really equal parts Keanu Reeves, Pauly Shore, and Chris Kattan in A Night At The Roxbury."
The DS9 episode "Paradise", whose title is, of course, ironic. "This place is like Gilligan's Island if the Professor was replaced by Dr. Doom!"
You Have Failed Me: Chuck's headcanon for why there are two different Borg Queens. The one played by Alice Krige was retired after the crippling losses to Picard and the Undine. The one played by Susanna Thompson was much more aggressive and expansionist, resolving to throw more cubes at enemies so they could claim more resources. Unfortunately, the Collective realized the new queen was willing to destroy entire ships just to taunt Janeway, so she was retired as well.
You Keep Using That Word: Really hates their repeated use of the word "Ancient" to describe anything that takes place before the 21st Century, pointing that this means they've lumped Roman chariots and nuclear weapons into the same era.
Launches into a tirade when Enterprise repeatedly uses the phrase, "Hull plating offline," explaining everything wrong about the term.
"...And speaking of a manipulative coldhearted tormentor of all those she claims to love, Ballard's having dinner with Janeway!"
You Monster!: Notes the sheer horror of Janeway's actions in "Tuvix", where she forcibly executes Tuvix, who literally goes from person to person begging to be allowed to live. Besides the Doctor, everyone simply stands there and does nothing.
Your Mom: Mentioning Spock's origin as his disadvantage to his face? One of the best Yo Momma jokes on Vulcan in thousands years. From Star Trek (2009) review.