[personal profile] stevekenson
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.

Date: 2007-03-04 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gamescribe.livejournal.com
I've recently begun catching Enterprise on Sci-Fi and I actually kind of like it. I think the whole "temporal Cold War" plot is about the lamest thing ever, but hey, that's Trek for you. I wondered why, exactly, they would go with a plot line like that, and then it dawned on me. With any prequel your biggest problem is that the fans know that certain things can't happen, certain character's can't die/certain ships can't get blown up, etc. We know the Federation survives, because we've seen all 4 other series. So, the whole time-travelling aliens thing adds a new layer of tension to the show by making fans go "Whoah, wait a minute, maybe these guys can invalidate everything we've come to know and love about Trek." Unfortunately, it's boring and lame. Ho-hum.

I've not seen the much-vaunted 4th season yet, but I think most of Season 1 isn't bad. I mean, I actually kind of like the characters (Archer, T'pol, Trip, and Malcolm all have some personality, at least) and having an antagonistic relationship with the Vulcans is kind of interesting. Ah, the show of wasted opportunities.

Remind me to tell you about my idea for the best Star Trek roleplaying game ever next time we're at a con together. I don't want to post it here, because you never know when someone might bogart it for their own purposes. ;)

Date: 2007-03-06 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whtknt.livejournal.com
I too, have been enjoying Enterprise of late, thanks to the wonders of Blockbuster Total Access (if you don't have it, you don't get it). And yes, I do mean enjoying. I gave up on Enterprise much earlier in the show's initial run (about episode 3 or so) because, well, it just wasn't Trek. Or maybe it tried too hard to be Trek, I don't know.

When it came available on DVD, and hearing my friends rave about how great the last season was, I decided to give it another chance. This time, I approached it a bit differently. I looked at as a retelling of the original series, instead of a prequel, and I've found it to be a bit more enjoyable.

Instead of trying to figure out how they were going to fit this or that canon into the series, I put aside everything I knew about Trek and let them tell a story. This made it not only more bearable, but even palatable. I've grown to like several of the characters. I'm midway through Season Two and I must say, now that they've moved away from the Temporal Crisis nonsense, I'm enjoying it a lot more. I watched "Precious Cargo" and "The Catwalk" just last night and found the latter particularly enjoyable. And "A Night in Sickbay" may well be one of my favorite episodes of the series thus far.

I do agree with gmskarka, however. It would be interesting to see the old series given a complete reboot (new cast, same characters, but with maybe some interesting changes and twists). In a way, that's what Enterprise did, but they kept the history and baggage.



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