Mar. 28th, 2008 09:35 pm
If you’re a geek and not reading Wil Wheaton’s ([ profile] wilwheaton) brilliant and hysterical reviews of Star Trek: the Next Generation on TV Squad, well, what are you waiting for? Click on the link and go do it!
The short version: Fun fan service but too little, too late.

The longer version: Thanks to Blockbuster Total Access, I’ve watched Season 4 of Enterprise, which I pretty much gave up on mid-Season 2, largely because I read about so much of the “fan service” in the last season: multipart stories featuring ST Universe backgrounds and elements, lots of backstory trying to retcon stuff from both Enterprise and the original Star Trek, plus fun Trek elements from Orion slave girls to Romulans, Andorians, Tellarites, and Gorn. The kind of stuff I’d been hoping for in the first place when I’d heard about a prequel show.

Some of it works (and the stuff that works is fun), other parts are a bit forced, but all in all it was too little, too late. If Enterprise had been more like this from the get-go, I’d have liked it more, but I’m still not sure it would have lasted longer. Some post-9/11 influences were painfully obvious (although most of it was in Season 3, dealing with the terrori... I mean, Xindi, attack on Earth) and the franchise remains as solidly heterosexist as ever (am I the only one who thought the obvious solution to the hypnotic Orion women in “Bound” was for a gay guy in the crew to step up and be like “Bitches, puh-leeze”?). More importantly than all that, however, the show never felt like “Star Trek,” even when it was aping Star Trek. In some ways it had too much history to deal with, both in terms of the franchise and the meta-history of the setting.

It’s the question you face whenever you do a new “edition” of a popular franchise: do you please the existing fans or do something different that stands on its own merits? Ideally, you do both. Initially, Enterprise did neither, then resorted to the sheltered harbor of pleasing some Trekkies with geeky fan-serivce. Unfortunately, it went timidly where other shows had already gone before.



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