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Brian Hague
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Posted: 07 March 2017 at 2:08pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Since I was putting forth the idea that Archer and co. didn't exist in the original Star Trek timeline, how could the "original" Mirror Universe have duplicated them in any form?

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 07 March 2017 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The initial pitch to use the Mirror Universe in ENTERPRISE was by
Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, William Shatner's ghostwriters for
his Trek novels, as a guest star vehicle for Shatner. They'd reveal that
the Tantalus Field did not disintegrate people as assumed, but exiled
them in the past. An aged Mirror-Kirk would be found by the Enterprise,
and he'd attempt to use their transporters to return home. He'd discover
that the Mirror Universe did not exist yet, because it branched off from a
later time. Kirk and Archer's subsequent actions would lead to the
creation of the Mirror Universe.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 March 2017 at 3:51pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Since I was putting forth the idea that Archer and co. didn't exist in the original Star Trek timeline, how could the "original" Mirror Universe have duplicated them in any form?

Archer and Co. belonging to an alternate timeline, or an erased timeline, is one of my pet theories. But until Paramount confirms it, that's all it is. ENTERPRISE is supposed to be a prequel to TOS.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 1:13am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

..."Terra Prime".

Another solid episode, and a decent conclusion to the two-parter. This one is again bolstered by Peter Weller and Harry Groener. Some solid dramatic beats, and some legitimate moments of emotion--which are rare for ENTERPRISE. 

That being said, the episode's tag scene hinges upon Tucker and T'Pol, mourning the death of the daughter who was artificially created from their stolen DNA, taking comfort over the fact that humans and Vulcans should be able to reproduce successfully under normal conditions. I dunno. I just dunno. Doesn't it kinda undercut the emotion of the scene by basically fanwank-foreshadowing the birth of Spock, a successful human-Vulcan hybrid?  

Also, Archer's big speech to the assembled alien delegates about how they should work together feels more than a little fanfic-y. I mean, yeah, he's the series lead, but Archer is really coming off as a sort of Mary Sue, at this point. The guy has been pivotal in like, every major event of the mid-22nd century. Commander of the "first" Enterprise, saving Earth from the Xindi, getting the Vulcans and Andorians to make nice, inspiring the formation of the Coalition of Planets (and later, the Federation, itself), etc., etc. He's also viewed as "the greatest explorer of the 22nd century" and will eventually serve as Federation President (at least according to his "In a Mirror, Darkly" bio, although the latter factoid didn't make it onscreen).

Anyway, this episode probably would have made for a half-decent series finale. This was the last episode produced, right? Right?


Oh, wait...here it comes...
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 7:15am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

One of the things I fight the hardest against in my STAR TREK work thru IDW is fan-wankery. Sure, it's almost irresistible to slip in little "in jokes" and references long-time fans will catch. And occasionally I have not resisted. ("Bowling alley...") But from the start I have been aware that too much of this would tip the books into unconscious self-parody -- and "too much" is a very small quantity indeed!

(Here and there, there have been itches I simply could not resist scratching. Like using the ASSIGNMENT: EARTH miniseries to explain why the Enterprise simply vanished from the skies at the end of "Tomorrow is Yesterday". And, of course, Chekov...)

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 8:57am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

One of the things I fight the hardest against in my STAR TREK work thru IDW is fan-wankery. Sure, it's almost irresistible to slip in little "in jokes" and references long-time fans will catch. And occasionally I have not resisted. ("Bowling alley...") But from the start I have been aware that too much of this would tip the books into unconscious self-parody -- and "too much" is a very small quantity indeed!

**

You should talk to the writers at Pocket Books, in the last books I read they keep making references direct or indirect to various episodes.

It feels almost like Family Guy. Kirk "Spock, do you remember the time that you and I... ?"

Well of course not really like this but still like "Do you remember this element from that episode?"

In the "The Face of the Unknown" even a reference to the Spock/Uhura romance in NuTrek was made with Spock wondering if he should consider dating Uhura after he is impressed by her translation skills.


Edited by Marten van Wier on 08 March 2017 at 8:58am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 9:28am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The takeover of STAR TREK by fanboys* has become almost complete. And, sadly, it seems to be what the audience wants.

This is, it should be noted, exactly the same thing that went wrong with American superhero comics.

_______________________

* I take it as highly significant that this term, which began as a pejorative, reserved for those fans who were too over-the-top for the bulk of the fanbase, has come to be used as a simple descriptive.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 10:18am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

One of the things I fight the hardest against in my STAR TREK work thru IDW is fan-wankery. Sure, it's almost irresistible to slip in little "in jokes" and references long-time fans will catch. And occasionally I have not resisted. ("Bowling alley...") But from the start I have been aware that too much of this would tip the books into unconscious self-parody -- and "too much" is a very small quantity indeed!

(Here and there, there have been itches I simply could not resist scratching. Like using the ASSIGNMENT: EARTH miniseries to explain why the Enterprise simply vanished from the skies at the end of "Tomorrow is Yesterday". And, of course, Chekov...)

++++++++++


I think the fundamental difference between "good" fanwank and "bad" fanwank is the logical and/or satisfying plugging of continuity holes vs. making a reference just to make a reference. 


As with superhero comics, it really does come down to fanthink vs. prothink, doesn't it? TOS was virtually devoid of (obvious) in-jokes and self-referentialism. The writers used the Writers' Guide as a starting point, and wrote one-off stories in a professional manner. Any in-jokes were surely true in-jokes--references that only the writing staff and cast/crew would understand, but not the public or the fanbase. "Continuity" was not much of a concern. Of course, the storytelling landscape has dramatically shifted from done-in-one stories to lengthy storyarcs and tight--and even obsessive--continuity. 

Fan-turned-pro stories will almost inevitably find themselves becoming self-referential and cutesy, instead of just telling a good story. This being due to the fact that fans are very invested in the material, and this seeps into their writing; a focus on minutiae which really isn't important to anyone but fans. These writers have to "fix" things, or make continual references to stories and characters they love.


I think the two questions one should ask when writing for an existing property are:

1. Is a specific reference being used as a logical/organic part of the story, or is it an unnecessary detour which detracts from the story being told and its pacing?

2. Is said reference something which, when viewed by someone with little or no knowledge of a property, will not pull the viewer out of the story and/or confuse them?


Something I always keep in mind when consuming entertainment is that screentime and page count are precious. Pretty much every line of dialogue and every moment needs to serve a purpose in telling the story. I'm again reminded of the whole Berengarius VII exchange from a few episodes ago. It really serves no purpose, in context, except as a deliberate callback to "This Side of Paradise". If you don't "get" the reference, then it plays as sort of a jokey little scene, but it doesn't advance the story or give insight into the characters at all. There can certainly be lighter moments or minor tangents, but those tangents should still serve some purpose in establishing the story or the fictional universe, rather than serving purely as self-referentialism.


Now, in terms of the afforementioned Tucker/T'Pol scene, the call-forward to Spock does at least service the overall episode's dramatic and thematic points. It only stands out to me because I am very invested in the material. If I didn't understand the reference, the scene probably wouldn't stand out as anything but an organic part of the story being told. It's sort of a "chicken or egg" scenario: are the writers are fault for making a cutesy reference, or am I at fault for being fannish enough to notice it and be pulled out of the scene? Huh.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

he Face of the Unknown" even a reference to the Spock/Uhura romance in NuTrek was made with Spock wondering if he should consider dating Uhura after he is impressed by her translation skills.
+++++++

((facepalm)

And here we have an example of AbramsTREK retroactively tainting TOS. I can deal with the spin-off shows. After all, they take place a century after TOS, and are mostly their own thing. ENTERPRISE is a different matter, being a prequel, and going out of its way to rewrite and undermine elements of TOS. AbramsTREK is an all-out assault on fan and public perception of TOS, and elements of it are slowly making their way into licensed TOS stories and such. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 1:57am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Drumroll, please...


..."These Are The Voyages...".


Well, here we are. The series finale. And a sucky one, at that. Seems appropriate that ENTERPRISE should come full circle, in that way.

The premise is clever, albeit clumsily executed--off-camera during "The Pegasus", Riker studies the NX-01's final mission via holodeck in order to work up the courage to tell Picard about the Pegasus coverup, 12 years prior. While that doesn't quite fit with the actual TNG episode (to say nothing of Frakes and Sirtis very much looking 12 years older than they did in the TNG episode), it does provide an interesting way to directly integrate ENTERPRISE into the larger pantheon of TREK which had been running for 18 years and 600-plus episodes, at this point. 

Berman and Braga also described it as "a valentine to the fans", which I can only assume means, "let's remind people of a TREK spin-off which was actually pretty good, and not bother to give the ENTERPRISE characters and cast a proper send-off". I do understand the intent, although fan reaction at the time was...less than good.

That all being said, this episode was apparently NOT originally planned as a series finale, but rather a clever bit flash-forwarding using the TNG gimmick. If ENTERPRISE had been renewed for a fifth season, business would have continued as usual, despite the revelations about the crew's future as seen in this episode. 

Anyway, the actual plot is about as ho-hum and boring as you can possibly get. On the way to the formation of the Coalition of Planets and the decommissioning of NX-01 (despite being a mere decade old), Archer is enlisted by Shran to rescue the latter's kidnapped daughter. And Tucker dies in a counterattack after the mission is successful. Yaaaaawwwnnn. There's just...nothing to latch onto. The script tries to drum up some pathos for Tucker and those who knew him well, but it always falls flat. And the whole scenario serving as inspiration for Riker to tell Picard about a coverup is tenuous, at best.

The episode feels like what it is: a final, masturbatory effort by a creative team which had been long-burned out. What a downer. And also quite possibly the last tiny, itsy-bitsy, lingering verstige of "real", live-action STAR TREK that we'll ever see, if AbramsTREK and (what we've seen so far of DISCOVERY) are any indication. 

It's been quite a ride, these past few months. I find myself strangely sad that there are no more episodes to watch. Whether it's merely masochism on my part, or perhaps the fun of taking each episode apart, I do find myself sad at it all being over. I'd gotten into a fun little routine of bopping along with that infamous theme song, and pointing triumphantly upward in sync with the lyric, "I will touch the sky". It's been a fun time, seeing what worked and what didn't work, with ENTERPRISE.

And there were indeed things which worked. Ideas, moments, characters, themes. Of course, a lot more didn't work. The biggest takeaway from ENTERPRISE is that frustrating sense of wasted opportunities. SO many wasted opportunities. It really could have been a great show, with the right elements in place. Instead, we got two painful seasons, one solid season, and a spotty final season which seemed to start taking things in a better direction. I do kinda wish they'd gotten one more season to push things more toward TOS, but, seeing where things went in the fourth season, they'd probably have devolved into full-on fanwank and ratings-stunts.


It's been a long road, getting from there to here. It's been a long time, but my time to be done with ENTERPRISE is finally here. I'm kinda tempted to go back and do this for TNG, next. Maybe even DS9 and VOYAGER, too. Those shows are already into their next rerun cycles on Heroes & Icons channel, though, so I'd either have to wait a few months for them to start over, or maybe find the DVD sets on the cheap. What do y'all think? Wanna do this as an ongoing, longterm series of reviews and discussions?


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 March 2017 at 2:02am
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 2:18am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Sure Greg keep it going. I've been revisiting Voyager. Now that BBC America is showing the series. My cable provider dropped Heroes and Icons. The bastards. The first few seasons are still as disappointing as I remembered. But surprisingly I discover that I'm liking more episodes in the later seasons. 
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 8:12am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

In my opinion Voyager finally became decent around Season 4 and continued so partly during Season 5 before I fell that the show had become "tired".
Equinox was interesting but the second part was somewhat disappointing.

I can remember what Season 4 and some of Season 5 episodes were about when it comes to Season 6 and 7 I can remember hardly a thing, that rather says something of the show.
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 8:17am | IP Logged | 13 post reply


 QUOTE:
I do understand the intent, although fan reaction at the time was...less than good.

Fan reaction? Hell, the cast thought it sucked nuts, too. Relegated to guest stars and background characters on their own show. Wasn't this another one of those episodes where they thought it would be cute and winky-noddy to have Shatner guest star as the ship's cook?

I thought the only redeemable aspects of the episode are the last 3 minutes or so... The auditorium where Archer was to address the Coalition and the 'These are the voyages' montage.

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 8:55am | IP Logged | 14 post reply


Greg, you might want to treat yourself and sign up for Netflix streaming... they've got all of the various TREK shows... TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY and (the moot-for-you) ENT.  Even a few TREK docs as well.

Only downside, of course, is that the TOS episodes are the (ugh) remastered F/X versions.



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Steve De Young
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Fan reaction? Hell, the cast thought it sucked nuts, too.
----------------------------------------------
When they did the cast reunion interview for the Blu-Rays, Scott Bakula said publically that the only reason he showed up was to confront Braga about the finale.

And confront him he did...
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Fan reaction? Hell, the cast thought it sucked nuts, too. Relegated to guest stars and background characters on their own show. Wasn't this another one of those episodes where they thought it would be cute and winky-noddy to have Shatner guest star as the ship's cook?

I thought the only redeemable aspects of the episode are the last 3 minutes or so... The auditorium where Archer was to address the Coalition and the 'These are the voyages' montage.

+++++++++

Ah, yes, the speech we don't even get to hear. Of course, Archer had a big speech at the end of "Terra Prime", so I guess that makes up for it.


And, yeah, I was reading some of the cast comments on the episode, last night. Most of them were not pleased, to say the least.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Greg, you might want to treat yourself and sign up for Netflix streaming... they've got all of the various TREK shows... TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY and (the moot-for-you) ENT.  Even a few TREK docs as well.

Only downside, of course, is that the TOS episodes are the (ugh) remastered F/X versions.
++++++

I've considered it, but having access to so many shows and movies might prevent me from, y'know, working or even going outside at all. Gotta pace myself! There can be too much of a good thing, after all.

Of course, I already have TOS on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as TAS on DVD. I just haven't been inclined to commit the time and money to acquiring the later shows.

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Fanwank is a tricky business, no question. The two examples Greg cites, the dragons & half-human Vulcan infants, I'd reverse in regards to acceptability. The dragons are a somewhat tedious "trek-check" to another passing reference made earlier, but goes by quickly and painlessly without much timeline-mangling to allow for its presence. 

Conversely, on the album "Inside Star Trek," Roddenberry goes into one of those long digressions he enjoyed so much about what he felt Sarek and Amanda had to endure in order to create Spock. He very specifically states that it was a lengthy process, involving doctors and scientists, and that Spock was very definitely a test-tube baby. "Not canon! Didn't appear onscreen!" you may shout, but it does make clear what the creator's position on the subject was. 

To then essentially co-opt that premise for a pair of treasured little Mary-Sues like T'Pol and Trip to then become an earlier version of Sarek and Amanda is creatively hollow and works too hard to once again diminish the original and take another of its plaudits to pin to the chests of OUR characters, who came first and deserve all the medals. "Sarek and Amanda didn't do anything! Vulcan-Human couples have been trying to have kids for decades! Of course, OUR'S was the first..." Well, aren't you special...? 

Does the theft cut to the heart of "what that episode was all about" and accord itself a great deal of dramatic importance? Yes, that's kind of the problem. It doesn't come by any of that honestly. It carries it backwards from the original and slams the door in the face of TOS as it goes over the back fence with it.

As for which show to encapsulate and review next, Greg, my vote would go to TAS, which you already own and many people here have never seen. It would be interesting, to get your expert opinion on the various references and callbacks those episodes contain, and in theory, it wouldn't take as long to get through them all. Of course, binge-watching a Filmation series is essentially watching the same twelve reaction shots and moments of "action" over and over and over again with very little "original" footage to break up the monotony, but I would enjoy hearing what you think of "Bem," the detachable ambassador, or "The Ambergris Element" where everyone in the landing party are turned into mer-people. 

Besides, think of all the new spaceship designs you could research and build...! (I'm not being helpful, am I?)

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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 11:55am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Inspired by Greg's homework assignment I just ordered the first season of VOYAGER on DVD. After all, this was the one STAR TREK spin-off I actually enjoyed on the few occasions I surfed into it. Who knows? Maybe I'll get a whole 'nother STAR TREK out of it!

Reports to follow.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 12:22pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

...this should prove interesting.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 12:27pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

As for which show to encapsulate and review next, Greg, my vote would go to TAS, which you already own and many people here have never seen. It would be interesting, to get your expert opinion on the various references and callbacks those episodes contain, and in theory, it wouldn't take as long to get through them all. Of course, binge-watching a Filmation series is essentially watching the same twelve reaction shots and moments of "action" over and over and over again with very little "original" footage to break up the monotony, but I would enjoy hearing what you think of "Bem," the detachable ambassador, or "The Ambergris Element" where everyone in the landing party are turned into mer-people. 

Besides, think of all the new spaceship designs you could research and build...! (I'm not being helpful, am I?)
++++++++

Something to consider, for sure. Although, I believe I did something along those lines for TAS, a some years back. I feel more inclined to explore the series I haven't watched in a long time, though. I've caught episodes of all them, here and there, but have never done a dedicated watch-through of entire series. To see if my opinions have changed, and what nuggets of wisdom I can get out of them. TOS and TAS I already know very well.


...and I already have a resin kit of the Huron waiting in my kit pile, so don't tempt me!

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Steven McCauley
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Posted: 09 March 2017 at 3:55pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I want to watch along, JB.
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