Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Discuss: Star Trek: Enterprise

Karen: We've come to the last Star Trek series to be broadcast. So -did any of you actually watch Enterprise? If so, what did you think?


Rip Jagger said...

I guess I fall into a small contingent of folks who actually like this show. When it first came on, I lived in the country away from cable so the one station it aired on was hard to get. I noticed from the few episodes I did manage to watch that the show was dark, both in tone and in setting (they seemed to be in caves a lot in the ones I saw for some reason), making it hard to make out what was going on.

Later after it was cancelled and came on Syfy I watched them all out of curiosity and fell totally in love with the series. The relative low-tech, the new aliens, the long arcs of storytelling, all appealed to me.

I found the crew bristling with wit, and the aliens were vivid. Voyager seemed like they kept running into New Age rock bands, but Enterprise seemed to find really unusual aliens. I liked the look into Vulcan society and since the Andorians were a fave from the original series, it was neat to see them get lots of screen time in this show. In this pre-Klingon universe, there was room for other of the original races to blossom.

I have to say that this is my favorite Trek next to the original which totally rules all galaxies including this meager one.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, I watched it. Regrettably. Easily and by far the worst of the follow-up series. From that cheesy title sequence song onward, everything about this show was unoriginal and disappointing - I don't think it deserves to be considered Star Trek. It's more like bad fan fiction.
In general, I didn't like the idea of going "back" into history, before the time of the original series, but a better creative team could have pulled it off quite well. Instead, what we got was, initially, watered-down Voyager, complete with less interesting analogs for Neelix (Dr. Phlox) and Seven of Nine (T'Pol). Later it became a kind of watered-down DS9, with the Dominion, oops sorry, I mean the Xindi, and also that war between the Andorrans and the supposedly pacifist Vulcans. WTF? The worst thing was, as I recall, that the Vulcans were portrayed as the aggressors. In fact, the whole way the Vulcans were portrayed, as sort of patronized a-holes, really got on my nerves.
In the comments to the Voyager post, Rip noted that a problem with the Trek universe is that everyone is really comfortable flying around in their shopping-mall like starships. All of the post-TOS series were guilty of this, but Enterprise most of all. This is supposed to be taking place about 100 years before TOS, yet everyone seems indifferent to being cramped up in a starship, far away from Earth or any human outpost. Also, they just started traipsing about the galaxy, meeting alien races and seeing new things with all of the excitement of tourists visiting the Louvre or the Taj Mahal for the tenth time. You got none of that sense of mystery and even scariness that was often conveyed in TOS, no sense that anyone on board was just over-awed that they were the first humans to be doing what they were doing.
And the cast: all pretty much uninteresting characters, played by what seemed uninterested actors. Casting a well-known television actor (Bakula) as the captain was a mistake. He's a competent enough actor, but his performances, like his character, were bland. And not to get too PC, but I couldn't believe how uniform the entire ship's crew looked: mainly white men and some women. Also, the other post-TOS series showed us that women could be doctors, captains, chief engineers, etc. Here, the only woman on the bridge - besides the Vulcan chaperone - is, like in TOS, the communications officer.
I could go on and on about how much I viscerally disliked this show, but I think I've made my point, so I'll just cut it off here...

david_b said...

Edo, got some great points there.

The main reason for the abysmal series in review today, 'yet another Trek franchise entry', to keep the bloated, 'rapidly sinking under the weight of it's own success', sell more action figures, dare I say more..?

I recall feeling at that time 'oh, not another Trek series', and I was correct (and not alone). Ill-timed, I felt sorry for it because against the tidal wave of other Trek series on the downslide, it had to somehow rise above, command viewer attention, and effectively say, 'No this is not like the other multiple Trek series on television now.'.. "No wait, this is REALLY 'Star Trek' at it's finest, come watch us". It didn't succeed.

At this franchise juncture, it all seemed too safe and was calculated to be that way..: sexy aloof female, smug captain (yes, Bakula was a huge mistake), token weird looking alien crew member (Phlox), couple of other guys you'd typically see at the bowling alley, and by the 3rd/4th year, retooling in hopes of staying afloat with more TOS references (TOS uniforms in one episode), Borg episodes, space marines, Riker/Troi on the final show.

Any key nuances to build it's own identity are lost, or worse yet, no one really cared.

Back to Bakula, you never, NEVER cast a new series with an established actor, unless of course the show's 'the vehicle' for an actor you want, like 'Two and a Half Men' or something.. For instance in AMC's 'Mad Men', the wisdom was not to cast a known popular actor like Rob Lowe, hence it becomes "that new Rob Lowe show", a big reason we got Jon Hamm. Casting unknown actors provides new, untapped excitement for a new series.

And yes, to counter the chides about my earlier sexism post on Voyager's Seven, I DO happen to like Orion slave girls, thank you very much, that particular episode was fun.

(Just not added as series regulars to retool existing dramatic failings elsewhere.)

William Preston said...

The best thing would have been to kill off the captain after the first season. Trip—a far better character and actor—would have made a better leader. The whole Xindi arc was a terrible decision. I did like the last season, when they brought in actual SF writers (a husband-wife team) to think about all the backstory on TOS events. At least someone was thinking rather than just doing the same old . . . stuff. But the show was ill-considered from the get-go, with little regard to why certain characters existed or what they might bring to the dynamic. And then shoehorning in aliens no one had ever heard of. And then the "chronological war" (or whatever) in an attempt to generate suspense. What awful desperation drove that show!

Matt Celis said...

Will Earth & Vulcan become buddies? Will the Federation be formed? Will the Xindi destroy humanity? How does T'Pol breathe in that jumpsuit 3 sizes too small?

Sorry, not much drama or mystery when we already know the answers from shows seen in past series. Except the T'Pol mystery, which I investigated and determined rhe answer is bodypaint.

I like Scott Bakula in general, saw him sing & dance in a musical at the Old Globe, and he seems like a legitimately nice guy, but casting him was a mistake. But at least they didn't do like the new movies and cast from Abercrombie & Spock catalogues.

Karen said...

I recall when they announced this series, my feeling was they should have let a few years pass between Voyager and the next Trek series. let some anticipation build. I also felt like they needed a new creative team behind the wheel, as Braga and Berman had become extremely formulaic and tiresome.

I watched perhaps half of the first season before I gave up on Enterprise. It confirmed all my fears -the B and B formula was there, along with a tangible contempt for not only the original series but the fans' obsession with continuity. They thumbed their noses at the fans by bringing a klingon onto the first episode and proceeded to go out of their way to change things from established 'history', seemingly just to irk the fans.

I did catch up with the show in reruns later on, and the final season was actually fairly good.They brought in Manny Coto as show runner and he and the other writers produced some good shows. But the finale was terrible -who thought it was a good idea to feature Riker and Troi from Next Gen in the final episode?

And that theme song...oh lord, no.

david_b said...

Oh, forgot to mention in my previous post regarding the ill-timing, added to the other series (DS9 and Voyager) on their downslide or recently departed, all the rapidly-declining interest (and quality) in the big screen Berman Next Gen films after 'First Contact' by this point. It wasn't pretty.

I'm still gobsmacked Paramount didn't see the 'Laws of Diminishing Returns' any clearer.

mr. oyola said...

I liked it.

Unlike Voyager I found it mostly watchable, though I did not watch it as religiously as I did those middle to late seasons of TNG.

I thought Scott Bakula was a fine captain. I liked the crew/cast.

The time-travel stuff gets a little thin after a while, but I like how they tried to use it to explain the discrepencies between this and the later setting/earlier broadcast ST shows.

The theme song was terrible.

I never understand the criticism when people say there was no drama or tension because we know what would happen in the long run. . . Isn't that true of most shows (and comics)? The question is not will our heroes survive, but how. . . and if they don't, how will they return, b/c you know they will.

The execution of Enterprise may not have been the best, but how it fit or didn't fit with the other shows was never the problem to me.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Never watched it.

Doug said...

Total off-topic comment:

I've been watching the poll results on the sidebar, and it is goofy. The number of total votes seems not to change, but the distribution of votes does!

Verily, gremlins are at work.


Matt Celis said...

I voted Human Torch but it still shows zero votes for him.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind some good action and some of the stories were pretty good (I loved the two-parter with a young T'Pau). But it did bother me when they changed some of the "history" (yes, I'm one of those continuity geeks!). They went way overboard with the sexual tension etc. too, but I guess they figured they had to top Seven of Nine.

As for the sidebar poll, I've noticed in previous polls that when I vote it sometimes doesn't show up unless I refresh the page. I'm using Internet Explorer...not sure if that has anything to do with it or not.

Mike W.

david_b said...

It took mine a while to display, I was votin' for Clint.

William said...

As for Star Trek: Enterprise, I tried to watch it, but I didn't care for it and gave up after two or three episodes.

My main problem with the show was that since it took place before the original series, they had to dumb down the technology. I found that to be annoying, because we all know what a transporter is, and what a tri-corder is, and etc., but the characters on the show were just discovering those things, so it made us (the viewer) more knowledgeable than the futuristic space travelers. It kind of took something away from the whole Trek experience for me. Especially since my favorite ST show was NG, which had crazy cool technology, and everyone on the ship (even the children) were geniuses.

Now, as for the side poll, I voted for Human Torch, and it doesn't seem to show up. Hmmm.

Matt Celis said...

It's an anti-Johnny Storm conspiracy!

Brent McKee said...

Watched it, and didn't really like it until the final season or season and a half. Reason for the change in attitude? Berman and Braga left the show and Manny Coto became Executive Producer. The difference was a palpable improvement. You can see it by contrasting the last three episodes, the two episode Terra Prime arc against the series finale "These are the Voyages..." The former came from Coto and his team - it's taunt and good storytelling - while the latter is from Berman and Braga and is trite and for want of a better term overweight. The worst part of both "Enterprise" and "Voyager," for me, is Berman and Braga's involvement. I think it's why I think DS9 - where Berman and Braga had limited involvement - is the best of the series that followed "The Next Generation."

Edo Bosnar said...

That sidebar poll was really behaving oddly yesterday. I voted for Hawkeye as well, and he already had one vote before I voted, but my vote was not registered all day, no matter how many times I hit refresh. Now I see he has 5 votes - good call, Hawkeye fans!

Back to Enterprise, I think that last episode with Riker and Troi was a missed opportunity: the story could have been that the entire series was just an episodic holo-novel Riker was working on...

Matt Celis said...

They could have ended with Riker realizing it was badly done and hitting the permanent delete button.

R. Sweet said...

I watched the whole series via Netflix last year and loved it!

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