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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 January 2017 at 10:17pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

On a positive-ish note, one good thing about going through ENTERPRISE is that it will give me proper context for my read-through of the second volume of THE FIFTY-YEAR MISSION, which I picked up on a bit of a whim. I own virtually no non-TOS related books or merchandise. 

I figured it would be interesting to get a lot of the nitty-gritty info regarding the behind-the-scenes of the spin-offs. The chapters on ENTERPRISE should prove interesting.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 12 January 2017 at 11:24am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Hello Greg Kirkman

I see you have reached "Regeneration", I can finally talk with you about it.
As another person who reviewed that episode described it, it is basically Star Trek Porn (not as in the sexual type), for some fans it is great fun to watch as the Borg are or were a fan favorite antagonist to challenge's main characters' mettle.

But it does nothing new really, we don't learn anything new about the Borg themselves (well they can bring dead people back to life centuries after their death as long as their corpses are preserved which is pretty stupid and even conflicts with earlier depictions of them such as TNG in which dead drones are simply vaporized to keep their technology out of the hands of other species), and the storyline also does not add anything really to continuity.

As you mention yourself, the whole connection to "Q Who" is really forced. Something that was not required to begin with and only hurts this out of place episode even more.
If the Borg were really looking for the Federation and humanity after receiving the transmission they would arrived a lot sooner. It also ignores the episode "The Neutral Zone" in which it was most likely that it was a Borg ship that attacked Federation and Romulan outposts along the Neutral Zone.

From that we can even assume that the Borg did not consider the Federation worthy yet to be assimilated as otherwise they would have gone straight for Earth after assimilating dozens of Starfleet officers and the outposts' technology.
Perhaps the events in "Q Who" made the Borg think that the Federation possessed some previously unmentioned method of propulsion that they had not detected earlier.

I like this episode for the visuals and because it was better than the last Borg episodes on Voyager, but the days of "Q Who", "Best of Both Worlds", "I, Borg", "Scorpion", and "Drone" are way past us.

(thanks again for making "Resistance" Mr Byrne, I still hope you will do another Borg story one day)


Edited by Marten van Wier on 12 January 2017 at 12:28pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 January 2017 at 11:52am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

There's definitely a pattern of bringing the Borg in to bolster ratings. DS9 never did it, but VOYAGER went full-Borg after the first two seasons: a Borg main character in a catsuit, a group of Borg children, etc. And, after the mixed response to GENERATIONS, we got FIRST CONTACT, a Borg-centric action film. Then, ENTERPRISE brought them in near the end of the second season, before shifting to the more action-oriented Xindi arc.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 12 January 2017 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

You are right on that account, the Borg were definitely used as a rating boosters are some point during the Star Trek run from 1987 to 2005.

Unfortunate it also shows how weak eventually these entries became. The special effects and depiction of the Borg improved but the stories became progressively weaker.
Perhaps producers had the idea of just showing the Borg would be sufficient to satisfy watchers, just like how in Doctor Who fan favorites like the Daleks and the Cybermen were used to make watchers tune in.

But it should be clear that this way of thinking is not working if the appearance of classic villains is not supported by a well written story in which they can do their thing.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 12 January 2017 at 4:37pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Voyager, in particular, did the opposite to the Borg, though.  They took them from being effective scary villains (ala First Contact) and domesticated them and made them lame.  The producers seemed to think this was 'development'.  TNG did it to the Klingons and then the Romulans, replacing them with the Ferengi and the Cardassians.  Then DS9 did it to Ferengi and Cardassians.  Then Voyager did it to the Borg.

One thing I did like with Enterprise was the Andorian stuff, because there, that arc, going from antagonists through humanization to allies, worked with established continuity and their joining the Federation ultimately.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 January 2017 at 2:06am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

..."First Flight".

And here we have a glimpse of what ENTERPRISE might--and perhaps should--have been: a STAR TREK version of THE RIGHT STUFF. This one wasn't too boring, either. At least we got to see Scott Bakula and Keith Carradine beat the crap out of each other. And meet the waitress who'd been banged by both Tucker and Reed.

I should also note that I've dug Vaughn Armstrong as Admiral Forrest ever since the pilot. A solid actor who comes across as a likable and believable authority figure who you want to see more of. I almost wish he could've been a main character in a proper TREK prequel--perhaps as a sort of "old man" Captain who's been around the block a few times.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 13 January 2017 at 2:11am
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 14 January 2017 at 5:40pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I gained a little more sympathy for Enterprise after watching some interviews and supplemental material.  Apparently the CW executives were a nightmare.  They were constantly putting pressure on them to do idiotic things, like have popular bands guest star and perform live in the ship's mess hall.  And have stars of other CW shows guest star, which resulted in a few wrestlers from Smackdown popping up here and there.

The most telling story of all was about a script meeting, where they ran through the breakdown of the plot, which involved crew members walking on the outside of the ship, and after finishing the whole run through, they asked the studio rep if he had any questions, and he immediately said, "What's a hull?"

As ill-conceived as many of the things on the show were by Berman et al., they were also in about the least conducive environment possible for making a proper Star Trek show.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 14 January 2017 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Good to know. Were these extras on any of the season sets, Steve?

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 14 January 2017 at 10:04pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

They were constantly putting pressure on them to do idiotic things, like have popular bands guest star and perform live in the ship's mess hall.  And have stars of other CW shows guest star, which resulted in a few wrestlers from Smackdown popping up here and there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So basically "The Enterprise crew meets the Harlem Globetrotters"

Yeez, you would think that this sort of "Bring in a current star of the moment" thinking had gone the way of the dodo at least ten years before the production of Enterprise even started.

Don't get me wrong, I still think Berman, Braga, and a lot of the writers on the show were not that good either (anymore), not being able to do anything with the show that would live up to the premise (they just seemed to want to make another TNG show), but their superiors sound incredibly clueless about Star Trek and science fiction in general as well.

I know science fiction has never done that well on television, but this story only reinforces the fact that it is because of the people running television studios barely having any understanding about what their company actually produces.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 15 January 2017 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Good to know. Were these extras on any of the season sets, Steve?
--------------------------------
Yeah, the Blu-Ray release of the season sets had pretty copious (and in some cases shockingly honest) interviews with the cast, crew, and writers.  The latter were particularly revelatory, including comments about episodes that they hated, that were re-written after the fact, or where the network interfered.  There's an episode from the first season that Braga argues at some length is the worst hour of Star Trek ever produced.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 January 2017 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

..."Bounty". 

Another rather solid episode, although T'Pol artificially going into Pon Farr smacks of the show needing an excuse to have Blalock sex things up. Also, STAR TREK III had clearly established that Vulcan males undergo Pon Farr ever seven years (with the logical implication being that females don't undergo it at all, based on the delivery of the line from Saavik). That being said, it's a fun-if-pointless subplot, and nice to see Blalock get to have some fun.

..."The Expanse".

And here we have the beginning of the All-New, All-Different, Hopefully Less-Sucky ENTERPRISE. Finally, there's some sense of urgency, and even some moral ambiguity. This whole Xindi thing makes me think about how a proper TOS prequel could have been structured, and how ENTERPRISE is a painful near-miss, in that regard. Spend the first season or two doing a STAR TREK version of THE RIGHT STUFF, with the early trials, successes, and failures of Earth's first interstellar probe. Then, get into the Romulan War for a season or two, complete with all of the war drama and moral questions that TREK can be so good at. For the final few seasons, get into the foundations of what will eventually become TOS, as Earth and Starfleet recover from the war.

ENTERPRISE basicially follows this structure, but fails far more than it succeeds. So frustrating!


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 15 January 2017 at 5:57pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 15 January 2017 at 5:38pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Thanks for the heads-up on those. I still don't own a blu-ray player. The only season of Enterprise that I own is the fourth, which I must have picked up hellaciously cheap somewhere. Unfortunately, all of the interviews and features on that are the same, uninformative puff pieces you'd get with any TV show coming to an end. "I'm going to miss this place, these people. We really were like family..." and so on. 

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 16 January 2017 at 12:51am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Back to the Borg, sorry, late to the discussion on this one.

Hadn't the Borg already started to encroach into or near Federation space before Q sent the ENterprise D to them? Were they not responsible for the destruction of the outpost at the end of season 1? I thought the actions of Q quickened the pace but I thought they were already testing the edges.

Having said that, I still thought the ENTERPRISE episode was just another version of 'we got there first' television

Edit: sorry Marten, just reread your post properly and see you brought that up.
As you were everyone


Edited by James Woodcock on 16 January 2017 at 12:53am
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 January 2017 at 1:49am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

..."The Xindi".

Yeah, we've got some forward momentum, now, although it feels like they're trying a bit hard to be edgy and gritty, what with the whole 9/11 riff. Still better than warmed-over TNG and VOYAGER plots, though.

As noted, I'd previously seen bits and pieces of ENTERPRISE throughout the original run, but remember very little. I do remember, however, that Sarris and the other Xindi council guys annoyed the heck out of me. Also, I remember wondering at the time if the acquatic Xindi were related to the senders of the whale probe in THE VOYAGE HOME, since they speak in whale-talk.
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Steven McCauley
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Posted: 16 January 2017 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

There's an episode from the first season that Braga argues at some length is the worst hour of Star Trek ever produced.

As long as Voyager's "Threshold" episode exists (the Warp 10 Salamanders episode), that title will never be given to any other episode.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 January 2017 at 10:14pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

...."Extinction".


Aaaannnnd we're back to badly-rehashed TNG plots. Ugh.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 19 January 2017 at 4:16pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I don't recall "Bounty" at all. Must've been cleaning the store or something. Saw Expanse and Xindi. It all seems rather forced. Look at me, I'm ANGRY Tripp. Grrrr! Arrr. The now well establised acher/tripp/t'pol triumutive doesn't work well. Bakula swinging wildly from the Archer to Ahab. 

This show would be completely Dead in the Water without Bakula. He gives the show all of its character. Everyone else is a cardboard cut-out. I do think it is telling that no one outside of Bakula had major TV shows or movies. 

I'd Still rather keep watching this than anything on the CW. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 January 2017 at 11:03pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Agreed, Joe. Overall, the Xindi arc gave the show some much-needed momentum, but it still feels forced. And it really seems like the character Bakula spent two seasons trying to build has been jettisoned in favor of turning him into Ahab--to the point of torturing prisoners for information. Three episodes into the season.

Bakula's got such a likable presence, and it pains me to see him essentially being wasted on this show. It's like the writers and show runners just had no idea of how to play to his strengths as an actor. He's definitely one of the highlights of ENTERPRISE, but, man, the show really failed him, didn't it?
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I found Bakula's character unevenly written during the series, similar to how captain Janeway went from reasonable to insane.
Archer went from "Ah shucks" to "Okay I am just pissed of and react completely out of order."

One of the reasons why I did not like the Xindi arc is other than that it was never mentioned before in Star Trek history is that it was completely unnecessary.
If the producers wanted to introduce a threat that would give new direction to the show they could have done so using the Romulans as the fans knew the Romulan wars would soon break out.

Instead a lot of new species were introduced that would never appear again during two hundred years (with the book writers probably make up all kinds of stories why now), and yet more high concept plot devices such as the spheres, and more time travel. (four times so, two resulting in alternate futures for the crew).

Now I love action-adventure stories with a lot of imagination but Enterprise almost completely focused on that, but lacking any memorable episodes or good character writing that would endear the characters to more than just a handful of people.

I thought Sisko was a dick sometimes next to being an angry-black-man, but at least I remember him.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Bakula's character unevenly written during the series, similar to how captain Janeway went from reasonable to insane.
Archer went from "Ah shucks" to "Okay I am just pissed of and react completely out of order."
++++++++

Exactly.


I should also note that, while the show has gained some momentum from the whole Xindi arc, I'm still amazed at how many episodes go by with little of interest actually happening. Many times, I'll check my DVR to see how many minutes are left in an episode, only to find that it's nearly over...and yet very little has happened, plotwise. It's like eating a very low-calorie meal which still takes up my entire plate, every night.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 11:18am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Greg, when I saw Bakula at Dragon Con in 2010 doing one of those all day panels with about 1/2 the cast of Galactica. He seemed to know there was a lot of potential in Enterprise but no one could see the forest for the trees. To me this comment was most telling: When asked what his biggest pet peeve was during enterprise he said- My hair. They said that Archer would have star-fleet regulation hair. So I messed it up as often as I could. 

I didn't have much of an issue with using the Xindi. They come from the Star Fleet battles side of things except that they were called Kzinti. The cruiser look a bit like the pirate ship from Anomaly. 

Noticing that they try to have at least one shirtless scene per episode. Not sure why they re-used Kira's Bajoran uniform from DS9 on T'Pol.

Martin, saying Enterprise has a lot of imagination is really a stretch isn't it. Pretty much everything on Enterprise is never mentioned again.

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Martin, saying Enterprise has a lot of imagination is really a stretch isn't it. Pretty much everything on Enterprise is never mentioned again.
******

Well I meant more with scenery stuff, the backgrounds were a lot more elaborate than those of the previous shows, and I do like some of the new ship designs.

******

They come from the Star Fleet battles side of things except that they were called Kzinti.

******

Xindi and Kzinti are quite different, the Kzinti come from Niven's Known Space books and are large space faring felines that actually eat humans sometimes.

I on purpose did not mention the Kzinti as they come from a completely different franchise but they could have been used instead of the Xindi.
The Kzinti suddenly attacking Earth and its colonies and Archer and the Enterprise crew having to find out why the Kzinti are on the warpath.

It would be revealed that the Kzinti are loosing a war with a mysterious powerful civilization and require resources and slaves to continue their war effort.
This mystery civilization is revealed to the Romulan Star Empire which is expanding its empire's borders towards human space.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

But by this time the Romulans are already established as the boring TNG romulans.

Yeah I didn't look to close and the Kzinti thing. If I keep comparing it to Star Trek I don't know that I'll make it thru the whole thing. It's just Enterprise. 

More elaborate doesn't mean better. Going to Fry's and buying up all the LCD screen you can and calling it retro doesn't really do it for me. 
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 12:50pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I'm still amazed at how many episodes go by with little of interest actually happening.
------------------------------------------
I think part of this is the length of the seasons.  I've had this experience lately going back and watching several shows with serialized plots or subplots that are in the old 23-24 episodes per season mode.  I think it reflects that the new (at least new to the U.S.) standardof 10-13 episode seasons for that type of show is just so far superior.

One of the writers in the bonus material I mentioned before mentioned this, that in pretty much every season they reached a point where several episodes were just sort of, "We need 'x' more episodes to fulfill our order, what can we fit in here?"  Not a recipe for tight plotting.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 20 January 2017 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I think this is a lazy excuse. This is the Growing Roses excuse of comic books in the 00s. The only people that do 13 episode series is Netflix Amazon and Fox.

There has been tons of Great TV and still is that is still 26 episodes. And plenty of Sci-fi shows that planned 26 but ran out of steam after 5 or 6.  They should have used more stock footage to keep costs down and Hired more or better writers. That the power that be chose to focus on the wrong things is just more proof that Enterprise was a ship with it's warp core offline. The left more plot lines dangle and die than Clairmont on the X-men. The fact that nothing ever had any consequences. (Congenitor) had nothing to do with hard ship of having 26 episodes.
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