Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Well, I did it. I watched all 98 episodes of Enterprise 

I grew up watching the original series, and it remains possibly my favorite show of all time. I still watch the old episodes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them.

The Next Generation was incredibly brilliant. Another huge favorite

I am less familiar with the others, so when Netflix announced they would start streaming all the series this fall, I decided to take the plunge and watch them all the way through, starting with Enterprise.

It’s difficult to summarize four seasons and 98 episodes in a blog post. I guess overall I can say that even though I found it to be pretty uneven and sometimes floundering, I really enjoyed the series. The high points definitely outnumbered the lows, and most of the main cast were engaging and fun to watch. The most frustrating aspect was that the series writers seemed to be throwing everything they could think of into the mix to grab ratings instead of just sticking with a single theme and seeing it through.

The Good Stuff

Dr. Phlox: By far my favorite part of the show, and possibly my favorite Star Trek character of all time. John Billingsley killed it. How many Emmy’s did he win? It wasn’t enough. He was the moral center of the show, he was the comic relief and when on rare occasion he became angry, the character most adept at building tension. When he lost his temper, you knew shit was getting serious. My favorite episodes were the Phlox-centric episodes. When he was kidnapped by Klingons in an episode that was merely created the explain why Klingons in the original series didn’t have bumpy heads, Billingsley put on an acting display that elevated a throwaway contrivance into genuine drama. I could go on…and on. I only wish they would have further explored the turbulent relationship with his son hinted at in earlier episodes.

Captain Archer: Scott Bakula was awesome. I loved the character. Archer started off so excited, enthusiastic and naive about meeting other alien species, and soon became hardened and bitter and (at times) ruthless as nearly each encounter resulted in someone trying to kill him or destroy his ship. It was a brave arc to build into the character. Plus he had an awesome dog. Loved Porthos.

Trip: I liked Trip. I liked how he called the captain “Cap’n.” He could always be counted on to lose his temper and mouth-off in delicate diplomatic situations. He was a good mix of Scotty and Bones. I liked his relationship with T’Pol, and his friendship with the Captain seemed genuine (especially in the flashback episode when they steal a¬† ship). His death in the last episode was too abrupt. He deserved more.

The Vulcans: I loved how manipulative and infuriating the Vulcans were. Archer’s mistrust of them, and T’Pol’s growing realization that he had genuine cause for mistrust was one of the best threads running through the series. The entire conflict between the Vulcans and Andorians was excellent.

Shran: Speaking of Andorians…great recurring character.

T’Pol: T’Pol almost made the bad list. I really didn’t like her a first. The character seemed like a very ham fisted attempt to lure in lonely fanboys. It seemed like they used any excuse to put her in a half-shirt (or less) and smear decontamination gel on her. It was ridiculous and obvious.

But I have to admit the character grew on me. I liked her relationship with Trip, her experimentation with emotions and mind-melds. The alternate timeline episode when she took Archer to another planet and looked after him for years while he lost his memory every day was a real highlight.

Xindi/The Expanse: The third season was basically a single story having to do with an attack on earth and the Enterprise traveling through The Expanse in order to stop our annihilation by a collective of aliens called the Xindi. I thought it was a very cool premise. The magnitude of the attack on earth really surprised me, as did the outfitting of Enterprise as more of a battle ship (and the introduction of soldiers on board). Very un-Star Trek in many ways, but it was a great story. Pushed Archer, T’Pol and Trip into interesting character moments. The reality warping properties of The Expanse was a good touch. The different races of the Xindi were a fascinating. Well done.

The Not So Good

Malcomb Reed: I found him irritating, whiny and boring. The episode when he was trapped on the shuttle with Trip was painful. He gave up trying to save himself after about five minutes. I wanted Trip to push him out the airlock. When they suddenly and inexplicably made him a government agent in season 3, they were clearly grasping at a reason for him to exist.

Hoshi Sato: Never found anything for her to do. I liked the character, but she was under-utilized. Her Mirror Universe alter-ego was the closest she got to becoming interesting.

Travis Mayweather: The most boring character in the history of Star Trek. Talk about a character in need of a story. They gave him an interesting premise of being born and raised in space, but never did anything with it. He made me sleepy.

The Suliban/Temporal Cold War/Time Travel: Poorly handled, muddled, confused, uninteresting. The writers needed to watch more Doctor Who. Time travel can be a fantastic premise in science fiction, but it can also allow lazy writing to carry the plot. The story of the Suliban needed serious tightening. I lacked real tension. It probably went on too long.

Season 4: Look! We’re a Star Trek Show! There’s Data! There’s Wrath of Khan guys! There’s Klingons with smooth foreheads! It’s the Mirror Universe! Please, come back and watch! Okay, I didn’t hate the whole season. The Mirror Darkly thing was actually pretty cool. But it was such a desperate and obvious grab for viewers. Thinking of something original would have been far more interesting.

The Theme Song: Sweet tap dancing Christ, that has to the be the worst theme song in television history. I like how they tried speeding it up in season 3 to make it more bearable. It didn’t work. Awful. Made my skin crawl. We fast-forwarded through it every time.

The Final Episode: A lot of contoversy surrounds the final episode. I had heard it was awful. To be honest, it didn’t bother me that much. It was in interesting idea. The worst part – and why it’s on this list – is how they decided to kill off Trip. I didn’t think it was necessary, and it was not worthy of the character.

So that’s the long and short of it. I certainly recommend it without reservation. I’m moving on to Deep Space Nine, now. That’s a lot of episodes to plow through, but I’m looking forward to it. Watched the first episode and it was pretty good. And at the very least, the theme song doesn’t make my ears bleed.


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