Trek Trek: It’s been a long time…

Remember when I was writing about Star Trek: Enterprise? And then I started to feel worn out and decided to watch Farscape instead? And then my season two second disc wouldn’t work, so I said “Screw it,” and watched Lost again. And then I watched Golgo-13. Anyway, I’m out of stuff to watch, so it’s back to Enterprise. I had to skip season two disc two! Hopefully it wasn’t important.

Singularity: A “ship’s crew goes crazy because of an external factor” episode whose tension is completely undercut by the fact that the show opens with the entire crew save T’Pol unconscious, with T’Pol explaining what’s going to happen over the next hour.

Vanishing Point: A teleporter incident causes Hoshi to turn invisible and noncorporeal. Having just come off viewings of Farscape, Lost, and Battlestar: Galactica, I can’t help but think the episodic nature of Enterprise really destroys the potential for narrative depth. This storyline could be interesting, along with several of the others I’ve watched over the past few days, if storylines were allowed to overlap a bit. Instead, each one wraps up neatly — and in the case of “Vanishing Point,” too neatly. The wrap-up is basically a sudden “it was all a dream!” cop-out that really deflates the whole thing.

Precious Cargo: Hey, it’s every terrible romantic comedy condensed to 40 minutes. Trip of all people ends up being forced into close proximity to a princess, they hate each other, then later they screw before going their separate ways. Startlingly predictable! Redeemed only by the fact that guest star Padma Lakshmi is utterly gorgeous. I think this episode would probably work better as a 40-minute freeze frame of her smiling. Actually, no; Captain Archer’s interrogation of the enemy agent was kind of brilliant. Scott Bakula completely hammed it up, perfectly channeling William Shatner for one of his best moments in the series.

The Catwalk: A totally serviceable episode in which some stuff happens, then other stuff happens, and the good guys save the day.

Dawn: Basically, Enemy Mine, but surprisingly well-done. The Enterprise crew has steadily grown less insufferable over the course of the series, and Archer’s defiance of the enemy battlecruiser captain treads a tricky line between confidence and thick-headedness. Despite the predictability of Trip’s antagonism-turned-survival-camaraderie with his stranded alien counterpart, the episode sells it well. Quality stuff!

Stigma: Despite being a too-obvious parable for rape and AIDS, this one works a lot better than it really ought to. For once, the dual plotlines work nicely: While T’Pol deals with Vulcan prejudice, Phlox’s wife puts the moves on Trip (which Phlox is totally fine with, being from a polygamist species) to Trip’s immense discomfort. So while Archer gets all pompous and judgmental about Vulcan culture for being too closed-minded, Phlox and his wife laugh about the hidebound nature of humanity. That goes a long way toward diffusing the usual high-minded snottiness of Enterprise. And it’s nice to see that, despite the self-contained, episodic nature of the series, the show runners tried to combat that limitation with frequent callbacks to previous storylines. Enterprise wasn’t great — I’ve seen enough to know that for certain — but at least sometimes you get the impression that it sincerely tried to rise above its ordained mundanity.

2 thoughts on “Trek Trek: It’s been a long time…

  1. Enterprise is readily available to watch via streaming on places like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and even for free in HD on

    So you shouldn’t have to skip any episodes, even if your disks aren’t working. I know you’re probably watching on DVD, but if you can get ahold of HD versions, you should do it. Enterprise was one of the first shows on TV specifically filmed for HD, and it looks gorgeous.

    As for your criticisms about shows with more overarching plot lines, I think that’s valid but it depends on what you want out of a show. I enjoy a well constructed show with a plot that takes multiple episodes to develop the same as the next guy, but sometimes I actually enjoy the more episodic nature of older TV shows and kind of wish we had more of them. They’re like the junk food of TV, and damnit sometimes I want to eat junk food. Also, as you may or may not know, you should like Season 3 and 4 then: season 3 changes pace into a season-long story arc, season 4 is separated into a bunch of multiple mini-arcs and TBCs.

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