Archive for March, 2013

Trekathon 695: Impulse (ENT)

March 31st, 2013

T’Pol turns out to be allergic to MacGuffin-D.

An interesting development – I was expecting that this trellium-D plot was going to eliminate the silly anomalies, and we could just move on. So on the one hand it’s a bit disappointing that we’re still going to have the weird anomalies. But on the other we got a plausible explanation for the Vulcan ships that went missing, and Archer has finally made a decision more about the crew than his mission.

(We also get the clearest exposition dump on Vulcans and emotions ever. Now if we can just stick with this story now).

Callbacks: “You can’t allow your concern for a single crewmen…” – the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, or the one, even?

(BTW: ‘One Day Earlier’? Bad writer, no cookie)

695 down, 42 to go.

Trekathon 694: Rajiin (ENT)

March 30th, 2013

Archer brings a spy on board.

It’s pretty hard to do this plot without some people coming across as morons. There’s a little bit of stupidity (not locking Rajiin in her quarters), but it’s at a reasonable level. Really, this Rajiin is just a very effective spy, quite good at her job. Still, I’m sure that Reed would find a few elements to critique.

It was nice that the inevitable boarding party defeated Enterprise by superior weapons and tactics, not from stupidity on the part of the crew. But sadly for Archer in his quest to collect the full set of Xindi, he gets a species he’s collected before.

Callbacks: Slave girls! Sure, not Orion, but still slave girls. Also the idea of the ‘seductive alien spy’ is, the way its done here, something that feels a lot more like TOS. And if I’m not mistaken, there was a Jeffreies tube set there as well (the old school TOS ’45 degree angle’ one).

After five episodes, how am I feeling about this Xindi arc? I haven’t stopped to mention, but this is now full-up modern serial story telling – this episode makes almost no sense to a casual viewer without knowing what’s gone on before. We’re starting from the end of the previous episode, with only a few time skips. We have clear plots to pursue (T’Pol/Trip, this Macguffin-D metal, finding the Xindi, Xindi building their weapons). So far we’re in the build up stage, but there are some promising elements being developed. But it’s not feeling enough like Trek to me. Today was a little better, but I want to see more ‘wonder of exploration’ – if I just want a gaggle of alien species, I can go watch Star Wars.

694 down, 43 to go.

Trekathon 693: Extinction (ENT)

March 29th, 2013

Archer, Hoshi and Reed get mutated by an alien virus.

Unlike previous attempts at similar stories (Genesis most notoriously) there’s no attempt to try and relate what happens to any kind of underlying nature of the characters. This episode is more reminiscent of Masks actually, but unlike that episode the regular cast don’t take any opportunity to do anything interesting. Instead they’re doing a bad caveperson impression for the entire episode. Can I emphasise the ‘bad’ in that last sentence…

I do really dislike the ‘centuries old problem solved by the crews brilliance’ solution. The crew aren’t superheros, and it just undermines the intelligence of the other races involved. And Archer’s decision to keep the virus is just nuts – it’s an incredibly dangerous virus, it doesn’t really matter if it’s the last remnant of an alien race.

Archer is doing his very best Ahab impression. I hope they’re going somewhere with that.

693 down, 44 to go.

Trekathon 692: Anomaly (ENT)

March 28th, 2013

Enterprise gets robbed.

Not a terrible story, but it’s starting to not feel very much like Trek to me. Archer has become so angry that we have a mysterious ancient alien space station, and no one on the crew bats an eyelid. There’s no sense of exploration or wonder. There’s just violence and action. Archer in particular is becoming very angry.

Enough with the boogie-expanse though. Let’s just have a nice technobabble speech and be done with it. The floating coffee mugs are silly. But hey, the special effects are pretty. OK, we get it, it’s a rough neighbourhood. But this smacks of the old environmental excuses for criminals.

Callbacks: DS9’s infamous stem bolts get a mention.

692 down, 45 to go.

Trekathon 691: The Xindi (ENT)

March 27th, 2013

Enterprise tries to find the Xindi homeworld.

Not a goods start to the season. That opening scene felt like a scene of the Trade Federation in Star Wars. And the sequence on the mining facility was pretty tedious. Archer gets betrayed by the obviously horrible alien, and absolutely no one is prepared for it. Just to spice things up, we get a nice ‘walking through the sewers’ scene too. The new opening credit music has a very annoying ‘beat’ to it. And Archer seems to have taken cranky pills.

There were some nice bits. The new marines were pleasingly competent when they rescued Archer and Trip. And while the presentation so far has been a bit broad, the idea of a five species alliance ‘race’ is a potentially interesting one.

But the T’Pol/Trip stuff towards the end of the episode was completely unnecessary – there was no reason at all for her to take her top off completely in that scene. Pure exploitation.

691 down, 46 to go.

Trekathon Season Review: Enterprise, Season 2

March 26th, 2013

For the most part this is a show without clear direction There’s a general flailing around from theme to theme, never quite sure what kind of story will work. And very little is landing. It’s generally a pleasant way to spend an hour, but it’s not rising to the heights established by the other series. Yes, even Voyager once or twice. Enterprise is giving Voyager a run for its money in the ‘time to classic episode’ stakes – Voyager took 63 episodes, so Enterprise had better get there before the middle of next season if it wants to avoid the dubious distinction of ‘most mediocre series’.

There are two excursions into the truly dreadful – Precious Cargo and Bounty. But the vast majority of the rest of the episodes just weren’t that memorable.

There are some pretty interesting stories that don’t quite gel – Cease Fire, The Communicator and Minefield in particular. But in each case there’s too much action thrown in, not enough time spent with the interesting bits of the stories. The things I liked the most were Regeneration, where the action was at the right dose, and The Crossing, which I thought was a good classic SF tale told pretty well.

Where does this one fit? It’s a disappointment of a season, and we’re certainly talking ‘bad Voyager’ territory. Ahead of Seasons 1, 2 and 7, but behind Season 3 in fact. So that takes us to:

The very best of Trek:

  • TNG Season 6
  • DS9 Season 2

Strong performers:

  • DS9 Season 5
  • TNG Season 3
  • TNG Season 5
  • TOS Season 2
  • TNG Season 4
  • VOY Season 4

Mixed bag:

  • TOS Season 1
  • DS9 Season 4
  • DS9 Season 1
  • VOY Season 5
  • ENT Season 1
  • VOY Season 1
  • TNG Season 7

Not good:

  • DS9 Season 3
  • DS9 Season 6
  • VOY Season 6
  • VOY Season 3
  • TNG Season 2
  • ENT Season 2
  • TAS Season 1

Really just awful:

  • VOY Season 7
  • VOY Season 2
  • DS9 Season 7
  • TOS Season 3
  • TAS Season 2
  • TNG Season 1

That’s 690 watched, 30,644 minutes, and 93.83% complete. 107,111 words written. 47 to go. Now for the second last season of TV Trek – in one sense, the last season that was good enough that they thought another one was worth it.