October 15, 2004

Almost forgot the Enterprise premiere

No, I mean that like I wish I could forget the Enterprise premiere. Last season was easily the best of this series. That is not saying much, but it was entertaining and interesting about ¾ of the time. That is good, especially compared to the first two seasons, which are pretty close to unwatchable. This season seems to be headed towards the bad old days.

For those who forgot, or didn’t care to begin with, at the end of last season our heroes had stopped the villainous (sorry, just misunderstood) Xindi from destroying Earth. They did seem to lose Captain Archer, which would be okay really, as Scott Bakula plays Archer and he pretty much epitomizes expendable. However, this is Star Trek and we know better. Last season ended with the Enterprise limping home to find itself missing a Starbase, and the shuttle it sent down being shot at by P-51 Mustangs. At the very end, we find a bruised and battered, but very much alive Captain Archer being examined by… Nazis. Alien Nazis no less. Yep, we got some serious time travelin’ to do!

This is where the premiere picks up. Archer escapes the Nazis, and ends up in occupied New York. While he’s gallivanting around the city, his crew is bumbling their way through things like always. One of the things I love about this series is the crew’s almost comical dependency on the captain. Can you imagine any of the Star Trek crews being this hapless without their Captain? Every other show featured at least one, sometimes as many as three people who could take over with little difficulty. Here we get an unstable drug-addled Vulcan, a chief engineer who spends most of his time getting beat up (Trek fans, were you aware of entire website, TripHammered, that chronicles the time that Tucker spends getting his head kicked in?) and the security chief Reed, the most unhappy closeted gay man currently on TV.

Anyway, Archer escapes the Nazis, and spends the episode in Stock Character Hell. We have the plucky and fearless Resistance Babe, the Italian Gangsters (turned Resistance fighters, no less), the Drunken Stoolie, all parading around a very fake New York street corner. While that’s happening, the Enterprise is trying to figure out what happened. T’Pol orders a bunch of impressive sounding tests, and Tucker meets up with a Suliban. Oh goody, we can never have too many of those. The Super Suliban beats up on Tucker, and then steals a shuttle. The shoot him down, the damned thing crashes. Tucker and Mayweather then have to go find it and blow it up. Of course, hard not to see this coming, they get captured by the Nazi aliens.

Ugh, Ugh, and double-ugh. First, the obsession with time travel has got to go. With each Trek incarnation, they seem to rely on it more and more, and quite frankly, it gets old. It’s a crutch, a blatant attempt to mask the fact that the storytelling is so lousy. How much growth have any of the characters had? Last season was a big step up, the best, and darkest Trek since Deep Space Nine was in its prime. This is a huge step back.

The conclusion is tonight. I’ll watch it, probably. Or tape it at least.

Posted by Frinklin at October 15, 2004 06:55 PM
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