If I were you, I would seriously consider salads.
October 24, 2004
I’m going back to the Final Frontier.
For years now, I’ve bitched loudly to anyone who’d listen (and many who wouldn’t) about the sad, slow, excruciating decline of Star Trek. As far as I’m concerned, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga took Trek as I knew and loved it and recited the self-destruct code.
Through seven seasons of Voyager, four abysmal feature films, and three seasons of Enterprise, I’ve sat on the sidelines and bitched. Now I return to the fray. My vow is to watch Enterprise every week, give it an honest shot, and document my feelings as Trek either limps boldly into the future, or fades quietly into the abyss of cancellation and irrelevance.
Pray for me.
As a series novice, watching “Storm Front” parts I and II was a lot like going to a party where you don’t know anybody, but everyone else knows each other. In fact, they all went to high school together and pepper their conversations with so many inside jokes and anecdotes that they may as well be speaking a different language.
Actually, they are speaking a different language. Latin. Translated into Klingon.
Let’s just say I was really confused. I understand that’s the price I pay for jumping into an ongoing TV series and being too lazy to do any research. Still, a little clarity never hurt anyone. I’m sure if Joe Sixpack is gonna give Enterprise a go on some random Friday night, he’s not gonna take the initiative to check out episode guides online so he’s fully up on the ins and outs of the Temporal Cold War.
Speaking of that wacky Cold War…it’s over now, right? Cause I don’t know if I could take much more of it, and I’ve only seen two episodes. It seemed inordinately complicated, in a “Who’s that guy again? And what’s he doing? And why do I care?” sorta way.
Now I’m getting caught up in my own residual rage. Seeing as I have no long-term relationship to this show, it seems unfair to tear it apart right off the bat, especially since I’m jumping into the middle of a story and don’t fully understand the specifics. So I’ll just briefly mention a few things, good and bad…
The theme song sucks now and will forever suck. Fuck Diane Warren. Fuck her to hell.
Way too much shooting and running around with no real narrative drive or structure. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single really memorable action sequence in the history of Trek. Plenty of great space battles, some of them involving lots of action, but no truly brilliant on-the-ground, shoot-em-up action sequences. However, I can think of lots of shitty Trek action sequences (that jeep business in Nemesis immediately springs to mind), and the action sequences in “Storm Front” follow in that dubious tradition. They have the unmistakable vibe of a straight-to-video B movie you’d catch on HBO at three in the morning. I mean that in a bad way.
Nice FX and great use of it. Those short shots of the Enterprise engaging in a dog fight over an alternate Manhattan were pretty sweet. Also sweet was the newsreel opening of the second episode; seemed more like an expert editing job than a CG-heavy effort, but clever nonetheless.
Even without full knowledge of the storyline, these two episodes seemed unnecessarily stretched out. Archer was captured, then rescued…then Trip and Mayweather had to be captured and rescued too? How about one capture and one rescue per action-packed two-parter? You know a story’s getting thin when the same lame joke makes two separate appearances in two unrelated scenes, spoken by two different characters with absolutely no relationship to each other. (Silik offers a sarcastic “You’re welcome” to Archer and T’Pol when the plans he’s stolen prove useful to the Enterprise crew; Carmine offers the SAME sarcastic “You’re welcome” when Archer’s having his gushy goodbye with Alicia.)
The 1940s storyline was badly written, badly acted, and absolutely pointless. I admire new exec producer Manny Coto and his writing staff for wanting to create even tenuous allusions to classic Trek episodes like “Patterns of Force,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” and “A Piece of the Action.” Next time, just make things a little less hacky. Every time Steven Schirripa goombaed his way onto my TV screen, I wished for a blunt instrument to drive through my eardrum. His tired gangster riff and the poor man’s Edith Keeler who took Archer in were both pointless. We don’t need stakes in an alternate timeline that’s going to be corrected by episode’s end; we have stakes already. They’re called THE CREW OF THE ENTERPRISE, aka THE REASON WE WATCH THE SHOW EVERY WEEK.
There I go, gettin’ bitter about Star Trek again! I’ll stop here. Like I said, I can’t be too brutal or kind because I didn’t really understand half of what I saw. Next week we return to good ol’ regular season Trek, and I dive into unrelenting review mode. Enterprise, put up yer dukes.