Archive for April, 2013

Trekathon 719: Cold Station 12 (2) (ENT)

April 24th, 2013

The Augments raid a research station to retrieve their frozen embryo siblings.

The one thing harder to write about than a two-part episode: the dread three-parter. Most of what is interesting or good, or bad, or strange, was set up in the previous episode. And nothing is really resolved here. At this point I’m actually wondering if I’d even notice if I’d missed this part, because it leaves off substantially where the previous episode did, with only a marginal increase in the threat. They are aware that all those female augments can produce children cheaper and easier than these frozen embryos, right?

There are some nice parts: Phlox’s pen pal Dr Lucas is seen at last, But there’s also the fairly strange subplot involving the augment outcast, which ends in a fairly pointless death.

719 down, 18 to go.

Trekathon 718: Borderland (1) (ENT)

April 23rd, 2013

Enterprise has to track down a group of augmented humans who attacked a Klingon ship.

It’s comforting to be back into plots that feel a lot more like Star Trek. As annoying as the Klingons can be, you know where you stand with them. Plus it helps to have a great guest star, and Brent Spiner is honestly one of the more flexible actors around – he can play a very surprising range.

The Orion sequence got a bit tedious, as nice as it was to fill in a bit of Star Trek lore. This is offset by the ‘augmented humans’, in a very strong echo of both Space Seed and Wrath of Khan. The costumes look a lot like Wrath of Khan, actually.

Callbacks: Oh, so many callbacks. First there’s Brent Spiner as one of the ancestors of the Soong who would create Data. Then there’s Orion Slave Girls (a callback to the original TOS pilot). Archer says ‘Two to Beam Up’ for, I believe, the first time. Plus mentions of the eugenics war, augmented Humans and so on.

718 down, 19 to go.

Trekathon 717: Home (ENT)

April 22nd, 2013

Everyone goes home. Except Phlox.

Another of the ‘anthology’ episodes that Enterprise seems to enjoy so much. The best was Archer trying to deal with his actions – I like seeing the psychological consequences on the crew, it grounds the show in reality. It’s handled reasonably well, even with the gratuitous rock climbing sequence.

The other parts are weaker but still of some interest. T’Pol returns home, bringing a boy (Trip) home for the very first time. We learn a few little tidbits, but it seems more like this is setting up a broader plot later on. The final subplot, with Phlox being threatened for being an alien, is a bit disturbing for the Star Trek universe, but understandable given the circumstances.

Callbacks: The Vulcan wedding and the kal-if-fee most obviously, and a quick reference to World War 3.

717 down, 20 to go.

Trekathon 716: Storm Front (2) (ENT)

April 21st, 2013

Archer defeats the Space Nazis.

A bad plot that was resolved about as well as could be hoped. The plot runs all over the place for not much result, such as the Trip subplot – a lot of effort, no real storytelling. The most ambitious bit was the opening newsreel, but that fell pretty flat.

I’ll forgive this episode for being ultimately mediocre because of two main things. Firstly, the Temporal Cold War plot has been firmly jettisoned out of the airlock, along with Silik and Daniels. Given that Silik appears to only be in this episode in order to die, that suggests to me the writer was as sick of this plot as I was.

Secondly, I have to admit the scene of the Enterprise fighting off German fighters over New York City was cool. Stupid, yeah. And a real stretch. But cool.

716 down, 21 to go.

Trekathon 715: Storm Front (1) (ENT)

April 20th, 2013

It’s Archer versus the Space Nazis (™).

To be honest, it wasn’t the gigantic pile of fail I was expecting. There are some nice touches – Nazis in the US is pretty rare, evidenced by this being one of the few times that I’ve ever seen the ‘White House with swastikas’ image here. The gangsters of New York as the resistance was also good.

But there’s still a lot of Temporal Cold War gibberish, nothing very much is made of Archer’s return to the ship other than a hug from Hoshi, and there’s a relatively pointless reappearance from the Suliban. I’m sure that last will turn out to be important, but it’s still dumb. One strong contender for worst line of the episode: “I can’t shut up and talk at the same time’. Urk.

And finally, I think if the Nazis had invaded New York, I’m pretty sure suppressing the ‘coloreds’ wouldn’t be top of their to-do list in the city with the largest Jewish population in the world at the time.

715 down, 22 to go.

Trekathon Season Review: Enterprise, Season 3

April 19th, 2013

Star Trek finally tries the ‘serial story’ thing without reserve.

There are two big problems with the Xindi arc. Firstly, it comes out of nowhere. By that, I mean that we’ve never heard of this species before, don’t know anything about them. Wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to use Romulans, or some other race established as a clear threat. Not doing that leads into my second problem – at times this doesn’t feel a lot like Star Trek. It feels more like Battlestar or Babylon 5 at times – and those are good shows, but Star Trek should be Star Trek.

(Prior to this long exercise I used to be more dismissive of the ‘Roddenberry vision’ – and while I still think that TNG in particular uses that ‘vision’ to construct an antiseptic view of humanity, there is more to it that I realised. In a sense, this season helped with that – it’s easier to notice something when it isn’t there any more).

But the story itself is pretty good. In fact, the season is generally at its worst when it’s furthest from the story arc, doing an episode that could have been in any season: Extinction, North Star and Carpenter Street (the opening episode was fairly weak as well). Against that are some truly great episodes that are integral to the arc: Twilight at the head of the list, but the five episodes of the final arc (excluding E2 and The Forgotten) are all very strong.

I’m worried about Season 4 (not least because I know it was canceled after that Season). Zero Hour sets up a potential story for the season that could be very annoying. What I’d like is for them to ditch this silly time travel stuff, and instead try and be more of a prequel show. Enterprise makes surprisingly little use of the setting.

In terms of quality this season is pretty neck-and-neck with TOS Season 2 – not always great, but showing considerable promise. Probably just a little behind it, but ahead of TNG’s more uneven fourth year. Yes, that’s better than any season Voyager turned in, and ahead of all but two of DS9. It was a good year overall. That takes the rankings 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
  • ENT Season 3
  • 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 714 watched, 31,630 minutes, and 96.85% complete. 111,473 words written. 23 to go. And next is the final year of TV trek. For now, at least.