About Magnathor the Forgetful and On The Subject Of Dragons

I’ve just published a new short story on my website, titled Magnathor the Forgetful. You can read it here.

This story is the first in a series of short stories called On The Subject Of Dragons, a spin-off series of On The Subject Of Trolls.

I’ve mentioned before in videos that I had plans for two spin-off series’ of On The Subject Of Trolls. This is one of them. (The other one has a title, which I won’t reveal yet, but it is highly guessable.) I’d normally make a video to announce a new series like this, but I find making videos rather tedious these days.

The stories in On The Subject Of Dragons will be a bit different to those in On The Subject Of Trolls. They will probably all be shorter, and they are lighter – unlike the trolls stories, they are not trying to depict an extremely unpleasant phenomenon on the internet (though they are still metaphorical). Because of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to release them one at a time on my website, rather than waiting to have lots of them and putting them in a book. (They’re so short, and I plan to do them so infrequently, that it’ll take a long time for me to have enough to make a book out of them.) Once I’ve got enough for an OTSOT-length book, I will put them into a book, which will of course just be called On The Subject Of Dragons.

Magnathor the Forgetful

from
On The Subject Of Dragons

a sequel to
On The Subject Of Trolls

as told by
Aelfraed of Cirneceaster


Dragons. People always ask me about dragons. They always seem to be far more interested in dragons than they are in trolls, but I think dragons are the much less interesting beings. Dragons are very annoying, of course – not annoying in the various ways that trolls can be, but still annoying.

Most of the dragons that are found in Wessex or Mercia are smaller. They can still breathe fire, of course, and their teeth and claws are deadly, but their strength does not come from their size. These are, of course, meadow-dragons. A meadow-dragon can be brought down with just one well-thrown spear.

Much more of a problem are the dragons that live in the west. These are mountain-dragons – far bigger, far deadlier, and far harder to kill. Thrulgor the Bothersome was a mountain-dragon – the biggest I’ve ever heard of (at least, in Albion – I’ve heard that there are dragons even greater than him beyond the seas). These dragons stay in the mountains most of the time, but every now and then one will fly east – they are learning that that is where men and women live, with cows and sheep and horses – and silver, which they prize above all else.

But of course, dragons are not annoying just because of what they eat. Dragons are perplexing beings, subject to whims that men and women may never understand.

This is a story about a dragon, whose name was Magnathor. Magnathor was a truly ferocious dragon – twelve yards high at the wing-shoulder. His scales were as hard as diamond – the largest four hands across. His claws were long and yellow. His tail was barbed. His breath could melt a steel blade in a second, and his roar could cut down a great oak.

But he was also rather daft.

One day, Magnathor came down from the mountains, and he saw a river that he liked. It was, in fact, the Tames, near Oxford. There was a stone bridge over the river – wide enough and sturdy enough for the dragon to sit on. The dragon landed on it, and he stared down into the water, his tail swishing from side to side. (The river near this bridge is quite shallow and wide, and there are many small rocks beneath the surface. In bright sunlight, the water glitters and glimmers, and I believe it was this that drew the dragon to the ground – they like shiny things, I think (which is, I think, also why they like silver, though it’s difficult to know – the minds of dragons are ever-impenetrable).)

The dragon sat there for hours, watching the river. After some time, a man, whose name was Aethelstan, and who travelled over the bridge most days, came to it this day.

Upon seeing the dragon, Aethelstan froze, for it was far bigger than any dragon he had seen or heard of before. He tried to creep away from it, further into the woods, but dragons have excellent senses of smell and hearing (and sight, for that matter). The dragon turned its great head, so that its large, golden eyes stared straight at Aethelstan.

‘Hello’ the dragon said.

Aethelstan felt as though he had turned to stone. ‘… Hi.’ he said.

‘What are you doing?’ the dragon said.

‘Err … I was … err … hoping to cross the bridge.’

The dragon blinked at him. ‘Why?’

‘Well … ‘cause … that’s where I’m going.’

The dragon blinked at him again.

Aethelstan blinked back.

‘Aren’t you going to cross then?’ the dragon said.

Aethelstan looked at the hulking, shimmering mass of dragon that sat on the bridge before him. ‘Well … you’re sort of in the way.’

The dragon looked back at the rest of its body and its tail. ‘Oh yes, so I am.’ And he lifted his tail off the far side of the bridge, and coiled it neatly around him. Then he looked back at Aethelstan expectantly.

‘Right …’ Aethelstan said, and he began to shuffle forwards again. He walked across the bridge slowly, careful not to make any sudden movements – dragons are easily startled.

The dragon watched him the entire time. ‘What’s your name?’ the dragon boomed when Aethelstan was right behind it.

Aethelstan nearly shat himself. ‘Aethelstan’, he said. ‘What’s yours?’

‘I am Magnathor. If you need to cross this bridge again, and I am still here, just tell me your name – I will remember who you are, and I shall let you pass at once.’

‘Oh …’ Aethelstan said, not relishing the thought that the dragon might still be there the next day. ‘Okay.’

Aethelstan continued walking slowly across the bridge, and the dragon continued watching him with big eyes, blinking every now and then. Aethelstan reached the other side, and walked backwards along the road into the woods.

‘Bye!’ the dragon said, and he turned back to look at the river.

‘… Bye …’ Aethelstan said, still half expecting the dragon to turn back towards him and pounce on him.

But the dragon didn’t.

The next day, in the morning, Aethelstan came to the bridge again. The dragon was still there. It looked like it had hardly moved – except for the swishing of its long tail. It still hung its head over the side of the bridge, so that it could stare down into the shimmering water.

Once again, the dragon sensed Aethelstan before he even reached the edge of the wood, and turned to look at him. Aethelstan felt much more confident in approaching the dragon today.

‘Hello, Great Dragon.’ he said as he strode onto the stone of the bridge. ‘It is I, Aethelstan.’

‘Who?’ Magnathor said, not moving his tail from across the bridge.

‘Aethelstan.’

The dragon pondered for a moment. ‘No I don’t know who that is.’

‘It’s me – I walked across this bridge yesterday – you asked me what my name was.’

‘Doesn’t ring any bells.’ the dragon said.

‘I walked across this bridge yesterday! You asked me what my name was, and you said you’d remember it if I came to the bridge again, and let me cross!’ Aethelstan said. Was this dragon trying to trick him or something?

‘Well that doesn’t sound right.’ the dragon said. ‘I think I’d remember if I said something like that. Are you sure you’ve got the right bridge? Perhaps it was a different bridge that you crossed?’

‘I think I’d remember which bridge it was!’

‘Well how can you be sure?’

‘Because it was the one with a great big dragon on it!’

‘Alright, there’s no need to shout!’ the dragon said. ‘Tell me your name and I’ll let you cross. I’ll remember what your name is and if you come to this bridge again and I’m still on it, I’ll let you cross straight away.’

‘It’s Aethelstan!’ Aethelstan said, exasperated.

‘Aethelstan, Aethelstan …’ the dragon thought out loud. ‘That’s quite an unusual name, isn’t it?’

‘No, not really.’

‘No, I think I’ve got it – I’ll remember – it sounds like “tree”.’

‘It really doesn’t.’

The dragon pondered for a few more moments. ‘Very well – you may cross.’

The dragon moved its tail out of the way, and Aethelstan was able to cross the bridge. The dragon stared at him the entire time.

‘Bye!’ the dragon said as Aethelstan walked onto the road on the other side of the bridge.

‘Bye.’

Aethelstan walked away down the road.

The dragon continued to sit on the bridge and stare down into the water. It may have seen some fish – dragons like fish – they can watch them for hours and hours.

In the late afternoon, Aethelstan came back.

‘Hello, Great Dragon! It’s me again.’

The dragon turned and stared at him.

‘… It’s me! Aethelstan!’ Aethelstan said.

‘… Who?’

‘Oh my god! You saw me this morning!’

‘No I didn’t.’

‘YES YOU DID!’

‘Alright! There’s no need to shout!’ the dragon said. ‘Are you sure you didn’t meet a different dragon?’

‘Yes! It was you! On this bridge!’

‘Well how can you be sure?’

‘How many dragons do you think I meet?!’

‘Well I’m sure I don’t know.’

‘It was you! I met you! Here! On this bridge! This morning! And yesterday!’

‘Yesterday?’

‘YES!’

‘Well I have no recollection of this at all.’

‘Look, both times you asked me my name, and you said you’d remember it, and if I came back to the bridge and you were still on it, you’d remember who I was and let me cross straight away!’

‘Oh that’s a good idea!’ the dragon said. ‘What’s your name?’

‘AETHELSTAN!’

‘Is that a name? I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before.’

‘You heard it about a minute ago!’

‘Well I will remember it, and if you should ever come this way again-‘

‘I go across the bridge twice a day.’

‘-just tell me your name and I’ll let you cross straight away.’ the dragon said.

The dragon moved its tail out of the way again, and Aethelstan crossed the bridge.

‘Nice meeting you for the first time!’ the dragon called out.

‘That was the third time!’

Aethelstan walked away down the road, and the dragon went back to staring at the water.

The next day, Aethelstan returned. He was hoping that the dragon had gone, so that he wouldn’t have to explain to it again how they’d already met. But he saw that the dragon was, in fact, still there – its blue scales gleaming in the sunlight, and its tail swishing from side to side as it looked down into the rushing water of the river.

‘Hello, Great Dragon. It’s me, Aethelstan … again.’

The dragon turned to look at him and blinked.

‘… It’s me … Aethelstan … do you remember? From yesterday … and the day before.’

‘Have we met?’

‘Oh my god! Yes, we have met! Three times! Twice yesterday and once the day before!’

‘Oh I didn’t meet anyone yesterday. Or the day before.’

‘Oh my god! Yes you did! You met me! Do you remember?!’

‘Well I’m pretty sure I didn’t.’ the dragon said indignantly. ‘I haven’t met anyone since I came here.’

‘THIS IS A VERY BUSY ROAD! I’VE PASSED ABOUT TWENTY PEOPLE ON IT IN THE LAST HOUR! HOW HAVE YOU NOT MET ANY OF THEM?!’

‘Such a quiet part of the country – untouched by human hands.’

‘You are sitting on a bridge that humans built!’

‘Oh gosh – I’m in your way, aren’t I?’

‘Yes! Yes you are!’

The dragon coiled its tail around itself again, and Aethelstan crossed the bridge.

‘Oh I’ve just had a thought!’

‘Let me guess …’

‘Next time you come to the bridge, if I’m still on it, tell me your name. I’ll remember you and let you cross.’

‘What a great idea.’

The dragon looked at him expectantly. ‘… What’s your name then?’

‘AETHELSTAN! IT’S AETHELSTAN!’

‘Got it. “Uhtric”.’

‘WHAT?!’

‘“Uhtric”. That’s your name.’

‘NO IT ISN’T!!!’

‘Gosh, where’s Uhtric then? He normally comes by here twice a day!’

‘So you have met other people then.’

‘Oh hello! Who are you?’

‘Oh my god.’

‘Do you want to cross the bridge?’

‘No!’

‘Sure?’

‘I just did!’

‘No you didn’t.’

Aethelstan just walked away.

‘Well it was nice meeting you, whoever you are!’ the dragon called out.

The dragon remained on the bridge for many weeks. He never remembered who Aethelstan was. Aethelstan became more and more frustrated. Eventually the dragon left of his own volition.

And so this is how dragons can be annoying. It’s altogether a different kind of annoying to the way that trolls are annoying.


An original story by Benjamin T. Milnes

Copyright © Benjamin T. Milnes

New Project: A Dictionary of British Place Names

I have started a new project today. In short, it is a small web-app giving information on the etymology of British place names. I’ve made it a sub-site of my main website – you can view it here: http://benjamintmilnes.com/dictionary-of-british-place-names/#/.

I decided to do this project quite spontaneously this morning. The idea’s been floating around in my head for a few days or so. I’m normally quite reluctant to start new projects of this kind nowadays – I have a lot of projects – too many, really – and each new project takes time away from the others. However, this project is quite valuable for the world-building for On The Subject Of Trolls, and it is relatively simple to do, so I decided to start it.

Amazingly, I’ve managed to get it to a ‘finished’ state in just a few hours. Now, when I say ‘finished’ here, I don’t necessarily mean absolutely complete in all ways. I find it useful to distinguish between different kinds of ‘finished’. A part of this project is actually researching and writing out the etymology for all or lots of British place names. (I may not do absolutely all British place names – I may only do a few hundred or a few thousand in total.) This is something that is very difficult to do all in one go – this is something that’s better to do gradually over time, so I don’t include this in what I mean by ‘finished’. Similarly, with any web-app, there are often hundreds of features that you could program into it – I don’t include these in ‘finished’ either. With projects like this, I generally consider them finished when I have something that I can put online, that works (even if it only has a limited number of features), that looks polished, and that contains well-formed data (even if it’s only a small amount of data). In the case of this project, I have managed to create 11 data files for place names, create the compiler (which takes those data files and outputs a JSON file that the web-app effectively uses as its database), and create a polished front-end.

So the web-app is now online and available. It describes the etymology of various British place names. In future you will be able to search for place names that have a particular suffix or that have a particular element in them. There are other fun features that it could have too – like rendering a map of Britain using the names that places had in a given century. It only contains a few entries so far, but I will add to that over time.

This is a very fun project to do. I have liked etymology for a long time – I can’t remember when it was that I started looking things up on etymonline.com several times a day – probably about seven or eight years ago – but it has been a fascination of mine for a long time. Place names is an area of etymology that is somewhat lacking online – it’s fun being able to create something new that’s useful.

New Book Release

The sequel to On The Subject Of Trolls is finally done – it’s finally here.

And the title of the book (which has been going by the codename of On The Subject Of Trolls 2 for the last few months) is simply: More On The Subject Of Trolls.

Like the last book, this book is a collection of short stories, and there are five stories again in this book (this will probably be the format for all of the books in the series). The five stories in this book are:

  • Clund the Obstructive
  • Kill The Golden Goose
  • The Company
  • Ceod the Beautiful
  • Ceon the Noble

Five trolls are named in this book – the three major trolls in the titles above, and two minor trolls: Obglud and Fut.

The book is available in both paperback and ebook form on Amazon via the following links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08CM6LDCS/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CM6LDCS/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08CM6LDCS/
Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08CM6LDCS/

Star Trek Picard – Series 1 Episode 5 – Picard is not Picard and Seven is not Seven

Hmm. I wrote five pages of notes for the last episode; for this episode I wrote six – this is not a good sign.

This was not a good episode – for many reasons. Over the course of the series so far we’ve seen various problems: a lot of the dialogue is very unnatural; many of the characters are played over-the-top; the characters just exposit their backstories to each other or to holograms; alien races have lost all of their distinctive qualities and are now just space thugs. Many of these problems have been somewhat ignorable, because they’re only very apparent in one part of the episode, and this is the start of a new series anyway, and new shows tend to take a while to get going.

But in this episode we saw many of these same problems again, suggesting that these are going to be problems throughout the whole series, and this episode revealed some very big character problems. This episode also shows that the mystery of the Mars incident is not progressing well – I was amazed to find out that this series is only going to have ten episodes in it – this episode marks the half-way point, but the mystery has really only just been set up – nothing else has happened with it. By this point we should have found out something important about the mystery, but we haven’t. The ‘gang’ is still just wandering around the galaxy, looking for some sort of starting point. (Also, consider that it was only in episode four that the ‘gang’ first all assembled, with Elnor ‘binding his sword’ to Picard’s ‘quest’.)

I’ll get to the main problem with the episode in a few paragraphs, but first let’s get the simpler stuff out of the way.

Firstly, this episode was very gory. I personally am not a fan of gore – many people like it (and indeed, horror as a genre is often thought of as being part of a set of related genres with sci. fi. and fantasy), but I don’t. I detest the gory and the grotesque. (Anyone who’s read my books will have seen that while I don’t mind the gross (all of the trolls in OTSOT are described as being disgusting), I never describe gore, even when quite violent things happen in my stories.) This is just my preference, and I don’t hold it against the quality of the episode, because I know some people do like that stuff. However, I will say that this is yet another departure from the style of classic Star Trek. Classic Star Trek was not gory (or rather, there was an upper limit on how gory it was willing to be – a limit that was a lot lower than in this show). Other episodes in this show have had moments of gore too – like when we see doctors taking the implants out of Borg on the Artefact – it’s clearly a deliberate decision by showrunners to make the show more gory.

The show continues to have character problems – so, so many in this episode. The character of Raffi (whose full name is apparently Rafaela Musiker – interesting choice) continues to be an obnoxious mess. Firstly, Raffi has just become every single expert who’s normally on a Federation starship. Throughout the course of this episode we see that she is an expert hacker, an expert spy, a cultural expert, a chief medical officer, and a chief engineer. Throughout the ‘mission’ that they go on in this episode, she is the only one who knows anything about anything – all of the other characters are clueless and just listen to her tell them what to do. She has a detailed knowledge of the culture and technology on Freecloud, and how to infiltrate them. She knows enough about medical science and human physiology to create a substance that can block the special abilities of the Beta Annari. And she is apparently the only person who knows enough about transporter technology to give instructions on what to do to everyone else. This is unrealistic – it is not possible for one person to know that much about that many things. One of the good things about classic Star Trek is that the different skills of the different characters meant that no single character could solve every problem, and they had to work together. At one point Picard even says to Raffi ‘This is going to be very much harder without you.’ – Yes! Because she literally does fucking everything!

As a side note I really don’t care about this new thing with Raffi’s son. It just seems like some desperate attempt to tag on a ‘personal storyline’ to Raffi’s character, but it doesn’t seem to have any relation to anything else that’s going on in the show or anything to do with Raffi’s personality. It’s just a cliché of writing – you’ve accidentally created an overpowered character so now you have to tag on some ‘tragic backstory’ bollocks. A character’s own story arc should be interwoven and relevant to the main fucking story arc of the show – this is basic fucking shit.

That’s Raffi; now Elnor. Elnor so far has been completely fucking useless and has no personality. I mean really, what do we even know of Elnor at this point? What does he want? Why is he there? What does he really think of Picard? He chose this ‘quest’ because he thought it was hopeless – does that mean he thinks he’s going to die? How is he preparing for that? Or is he thinking of ways that he can make this ‘quest’ succeed against all odds? The show has not even begun to answer any of these questions.

At this point, the only personality trait that Elnor has is that he’s awkward. That’s it. But even that is not as concrete as it might superficially seem, because while we see lots of scenes where the other characters around him think that something he’s said is awkward, it’s actually not. Because of the very unnatural dialogue of the show, many of the things that other characters say are actually far more awkward than the few things that Elnor says. This results in what one might call ‘dramatic dissonance’, where what we are being told by the dialogue or the script or the writers is different to what we are being shown and what the audience thinks. All of the characters act as though Elnor is really awkward, but this is madness when every other character is actually more awkward.

Next: Agnes Jurati. This character is all over the place, but I will say that this character is much better in the serious moments than in the ones that try to be funny or matey. Alison Pill is actually an extremely good actor – her performance as Jurati kills Maddox is extraordinary. But she keeps being given crap lines to perform in the less serious moments.

As a side note: Maddox. Firstly, why is Bruce Maddox being played by a different actor? This character was a minor one-story character in TNG, and completely obnoxious. Why bring back a character like that if you’re not going to at least maintain the consistency and get the same actor? More importantly though, shortly before Maddox is killed, he says to Picard ‘Dahj is dead, isn’t she?’. The show deprives us of seeing his reaction when he learns this by having the character already know it. This is a thing that seems to happen a lot in modern television (and film) – where we just don’t see the reactions of characters to new information – and it’s bad. Stop it. If all good acting is reacting, how can we get good performances if we never see the bloody reactions! (And this was particularly annoying on this occasion because it’s so bloody unnecessary!)

But okay, let’s get to the big ones – the problems that really condemn this whole episode and this whole show: Seven of Nine is not the same character that we saw in Voyager, and Jean-luc Picard is not the same character that we saw in The Next Generation.

Seven of Nine is completely different. There are almost no similarities between this character in this show, and the real Seven of Nine from Voyager. They are two separate characters with the same name played by the same actress.

Now, some people may argue that characters change over time, and it has been, what, 20-ish years in-universe since Voyager? That’s a long time – people can change a lot over that time. Firstly, I disagree with this premise – I actually don’t think people change as much as some like to think – this idea that people change radically over the course of their life is a cliché – some people do, but most don’t. But even if people did change a lot over 20 years, I don’t think this is a good thing to do in fiction. This does not make for a good narrative – in fact it’s quite nihilistic. In most narratives, characters have some obstacle to overcome – some challenge to succeed at. Changing a character off-screen essentially involves giving them a new obstacle or challenge (or, as is the case in a lot of contemporary television and film, giving them no obstacle or challenge at all), which most of the time is not related or connected to their previous challenge. This means that essentially their previous challenge and success is meaningless and irrelevant – it didn’t matter whether they overcame the obstacle or not, because now they’ve just been given a new, different one. If characters are defined by the obstacles they overcome, then giving them a different obstacle makes them a different character.

So it is bad to outright change a character from a previous series. Even just from a pure entertainment point of view it makes no sense – people liked the old character, so why are you just replacing it with a new one that the audience may not like?

And the character of Seven of Nine has changed – quite drastically. Just look at any clips of Seven from Voyager, and you can quickly see that these are not the same character. Seven of Nine from Voyager is meticulous and diligent. She is no longer part of the Borg, but she does not outright hate them – she sees the advantages to some of the things they do, and thinks some of the things that humans do are strange. She gradually learns how to be more human, and enjoy human things, but it is not tragic. Seven of Nine from STP is a vigilante. She’s abrasive, and ‘doesn’t play by anyone’s rules’. She’s a space cowboy who’s tragically haunted by her Borg past. These are completely different characters. (Seven of Nine in STP is also selectively moronic – why, WHY, even though she is completely prepared to kill Bjayzl, does she allow Bjayzl to stand there monologuing for several minutes?! It’s Austin Powers levels of unrealistic incompetence!)

And now the big one: Picard. The character of Jean-luc Picard in this show is not the same character as Jean-luc Picard in The Next Generation. Considering that he’s the main character of the show, that’s pretty bad.

So far in this series I’ve been somewhat tolerant of the disparities between the two Picards – I’ve put it down to badly-written dialogue and the show getting started. But no – this episode shows that the two Picards are different characters.

Let’s look at the examples. Firstly, when Picard is talking to Seven, he says ‘You are taking the law into your own hands.’, referring to her being a vigilante. This line is ridiculous because Picard knows that no law is being enforced in this part of the galaxy, and he would know that in such a situation you have to follow your own principles and be strategic. Picard never just considered ‘The Law’ to be outright correct, and thus any violation of it to be automatically incorrect – many times he disagreed with what the law was, and deliberately went against it. He would not be an advocate for just following non-existent law for the sake of being lawful. He would have known that lawful and good aren’t always the same thing.

The Picard from TNG was the ‘philosopher king’ archetype – a character who is both an authoritative leader and a moral teacher – a difficult archetype to do right and one that’s not done often nowadays. The reason it’s not often done nowadays is because lots of film and television writers nowadays lack the profundity to have the character say anything with any real moral value. In this episode, the writers of this show tried to mimic this philosophical Picard from TNG, but lack the capacity. The result is that Picard is no longer a moral teacher, and is just as stupid as the rest of the characters.

Not only is the ‘philosopher’ part of Picard’s character missing, so is the ‘king’. This is connected to Raffi’s all-powerfulness. In all of these episodes, Picard is just standing around, asking other people to do things for him. He does not lead anyone at any point. You’d hardly even know he was an admiral at all.

Let’s look at another odd line. When Seven is about to kill Bjayzl, Picard says to her ‘This is not saving the galaxy – this is settling an old score!’. So, Picard knows that Bjayzl tortured Seven’s friend. The Picard of TNG would never refer to the torturing of someone’s friend as an ‘old score’ – he would take it far more seriously than that. Similarly, Picard would never talk about ‘saving the galaxy’ in this way. This isn’t fucking Star Wars. What Seven does isn’t saving the fucking galaxy – she is limited to one very small part of the fucking galaxy, and there are many parts of the galaxy that no-one’s even been to yet. It’s ridiculously melodramatic and Picard in TNG was anything but melodramatic.

As an aside, consider the scenes where Picard is down on Freecloud. It’s clear that Patrick Stewart had far more fun playing that character than he does playing Picard’s Picard. There’s also a bizarre moment where he says the words ‘appropriately sinister’ in a French accent, which is odd, because Picard can speak French – would he not just say the words in French?

The Jean-luc Picard in this show is not reminiscent of the character from TNG. The character actually reminds me far more of Professor Xavier from the X-Men. But in this series he has nothing interesting or meaningful to say, and does not actually take any actions in the story. In five episodes he doesn’t seem to have actually done anything to try to solve this mystery himself – he’s just been nearby to other people when they tell him things about the mystery. He has not solved or figured out anything himself, nor has he made any of the decisions for what to do next – Raffi does all of that. He’s just some guy, standing there, watching the other characters do things.

There are only five episodes left. I don’t think this show is going to turn around in that time. So far, what have we seen? A mystery that is moderately compelling, but which has hardly moved forward since the first episode, and which the main character has only had peripheral involvement in solving. We’ve seen no other interesting or new ideas – if this had been TNG, we’d’ve gotten five new, interesting, sci. fi. ideas by now. We’ve heard a bunch of annoying, over-performed characters say some very unnatural lines. And we’ve seen some other characters who have the same names as characters from TNG, some of whom are also played by the same actors, but who are completely different characters. So far, this series has mostly been a massive waste of time.