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Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Storm Front, Part II

So England was quickly overrun - a ridiculous line delivered by the only Englishman aboard - but the plucky ol' US of A managed to hold out against aliens using time travel technology and plasma weapons... OK. Well this is for American audiences after all.

If Vosk was a hundred times scarier, and was played with passion, rather than simply reciting bland lines in his old man voice, this could have been an epic two parter. Unfortunately he was just "there" and was not memorable for anything other than his Nazi uniform (which has already kind of been done in TOS and definitely done in Voyager). The Hirogen were certainly scarier than the not-Remans.

Also, the special effects were HORRIBLE. The aircraft strafing Enterprise and particularly the building blowing up were some of the worst CGI I've ever seen, and I've watched Tripods, Blakes 7 and classic Dr Who (not the horrible, brain rotting crap of modern Who which simply exiats to push the BBC's agendas).

I will always have a soft spot for Enterprise. But having watched it through again (and having skipped a minimum of 10 to 15 episodes, two of them halfway in), I can wholeheartedly say the shows I just mentioned bury Enterprise. They focus on plot and acting rather than special effects, which makes them scary and gripping. There are few enough episodes that stories are usually well paced. Just don't watch Tripods series 1, that is the exception to the rule.
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Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Storm Front, Part I

Re-watched this after many, many years, and despite the obvious VFX budget hit which will continue to plague this season, I actually really enjoyed this one.

I'm glad the TCW is finally being resolved. Not resolved as in wrapped up neatly with explanations, shocking revelations and consequences, but as in "blown the shit out of with photon torpedoes", the only response modern audiences can understand!

I don't think Vosk was very well written or acted though. This was jarring after how good much of seaaon 3 was in those regards. And yet again, a chance at continuity or even just being a prequel are lost, because Vosk and his men aren't Reman, they just look like them. Why aren't they a breakaway faction from the future trying to escape Romukan oppression? (If you're going to use time travel you may as well go all in rather than bugger about with half-arsed nonsense that satisfies nobody and accomplishes nothing.)

My best friend has been watching Enterprise through and so far, he has failed to be impressed by almost anything. This isn't all the show's fault - he is extremely difficult to please - but his number one complaint these days is no longer that the show is boring, but that he doesn't understand why half the episodes need to happen. And in that, he's got a point. There is a shit-ton of filler, and ideas that simply should have been better thought out.

Still... I enjoyed Storm Front pt1 for what it was, an hour's mindless entertainment.
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Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 5:33am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Harbinger

Ah, the infamous Harbinger. I'm just watching this again for the first time in years, and oh my, after a run if really good episodes we get this nonsense. The scifi plot about the pod in the anomaly field ahould have received MUCH more screen time, a bizarre mystery that should have played out slowly and paid off big time.

I like the actor playing Reed, having first seen him in the excellent (and undeservedly forgotten) Desmond's. That show dated from a tremendously optimistic time in Britain, where the country was truly becoming accepting of other cultures, where political correctness didn't exist; black people living in Britain were depicted as working hard and contributing to the country, and white people weren't simply written off as racists. But even in those heady days, the Reed actor was highly effeminate and to this day it is hard to believe he isn't gay. Still, he has genujne presence which Enterprise stifled every chance it got.

Reed is more of a cypher than a character. This is a man who literally has no interest beyond blowing things up, except for the occasional dalliance with women (remember that this blank, standoffish person, whose own parents don't really know him, somehow used to be a ladies' man!). The writing for Reed has been exceptionally bad from the beginning, there was no plan for him, the writers had absolutely no idea what they wanted him to be so everyone who wrote for him did it differently. There is no doubt in my mind that this episode marks the end of Reed (until the Section 31 hijinks which would be far too little, far too late).

He should have been badass, tough, determined, the first man among the crew who wanted to strike back at the Xindi and learn from their ships and weapons and tactics. Instead he is often whiny, he is entirely unaffected by the tragedy on Earth, leaves the weapons testing to the extremely over-used Trip, gets into a bitch-fight against a trained soldier who is going to be far more capable of military planning than a starship crewman (does the US Army ask the US Navy to plan its ground attacks?), is appalled when Archer sticks that pirate in an airlock...

What they should have done was create a multi-layered character who was difficult to get to know, but very rewarding to do so; he should have got into a relationship with Hoshi whoch would have toughened her up and made him more personable, as well as made the ship seem more alive and offer genuine human interaction.

Instead we get endless sexualised storylines for T'Pol, who loves and leaves Trip (I have managed to get out of being in Trip's situation a number of times, so to me, T'Pol's behaviour is normal for a woman and Trip's reaction is pathetic) and we get the embarrassing neuropressure scenes which are little more than the "creative" team needing something to wank over.

Seriously, does anyone, anyone at all, think the idea of neuropressure was a good idea? "Can't sleep? Well why don't you and your female colleague put your hands all over each other in your underwear on her bed. Oh by the way, to your colleague's species, this is tantamount to sex and whe's going to have multiple orgasms and develop feelings for you. This is right and appropriate behaviour while you're at work."
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Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 6:15am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Stigma

I actually found this episode interesting, even if you have to disregard the fact that Vulcans would actually want someone to die. The Vulcans as portrayed in every Trek seem to be different to how Trekkies see them, or how they are described by other Trek characters, as we seem to imagine that they are loyal, intelligent and compassionate, whereas most of the time in shows they are portrayed as cold, aloof, superior, arrogant and rude.

It's also interesting that this incredibly obvious HIV/AIDS story, which arrived three decades too late, also focuses on how terrible and traumatic rape is for women; and yet when Trip was raped and actually became pregnant, it was played for laughs.

That'll be the "male privilege" feminists keep ranting about.
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Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 6:07am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

I was ready to call season 2 a disaster, but am reminded of a line from Only Fools and Horses:

Rodney Trotter: "Disaster? A calamity, more like."

The first two seasons of TNG were unbearably awful but they still had more quality episodes than Enterprise seasons 1 and 2. This show is soulless, passionless, as bland as 24th century humans, with very little spark or creativity except where demanded by the plot. I am going to go on record and say I can finally understand that Enterprise killed Trek.

(Nemesis didn't help either, it should have been awesome but was so pompous and unfriendly, so much sitting around, each scene and each plot point so protracted. I don't think it's a terrible film but I also have no desire to ever watch it again. In fact Nemesis made the same mistake as ENT by pointlessly killing a main character at the end.)

This is paint by numbers, it's monkeys bashing typewriters. Where is the quality control? Were Bermaga simply surrounding themselves with yes-men, cooing over every shitty idea, shouting down anyone who voiced disagreement?

How do you produce a show with so many identical episodes? Who thought that audiences would want to see Archer getting kidnapped every week? It didn't even work the first time they used it, so why keep on doing it? You've got to remember that Archer is a complete nobody to the galaxy at large, Earth is unknown, Starfleet apparently consists of a single ship, so what's going on? Do the crew not learn from experience?

So far in this show, we have had multiple instances of:

* Archer getting kidnapped.
* T'Pol placed in sexual situations.
* The crew are asked to do something by alien allies (generally rescue people, usually three of them for some reason, or transport someone with a hidden secret).
* Enterprise makes a run for a friendly Vulcan ship.
* Trip meets an alien female who fancies him.
* Rude and unpleasant aliens who simply will not communicate or co-operate (fantastic writing there guys, thanks for adding such depth).
* Alien authorities who "do not know" where Archer is.
* Enterprise crew on a planet in the grip of a civil war.

Am I missing any out? This is mad, it's just terrible, terrible writing, a failure of imagination. Don't even get me started on "Bounty", it's yet another hour that nobody will get back, as pointless and routine as expected.

It's hard to understand how they got a third series after this toss.
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Mon, Oct 22, 2018, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Canamar

Cliches in this episode:

* Archer gets kidnapped. I can hear Chris Tucker shrieking "Who you think he is, Chelsea Clinton?!"
* Characters are falsely accused of a crime they couldn't possibly commit. They were smuggling in an empty shuttlecraft that isn't warp capable?
* Stubborn, uncooperative alien authorities who "aren't quite sure" where Archer is.
* Guards are overcome with ridiculous ease.

One hundred years ago in our world, young men were fighting for freedom. Today young men and women alike are offended by the word "human"; this is an hour of television designed for them. It's basically Con Air for Millennials: soft, polite, taking the easy route at every turn, ruthlessly scrubbed of anything edgy or dangerous. The acting is just so bland and inoffensive. The script is without imagination.

It's not a terrible episode at all. Yet this is episode 17 of the second season. Again I must ask: how does any of this lead to the Federation? How do humans reach faster warp speeds, when is it going to be acknowledged that Vulcans are pricks, why are we recycling yet more Voyager tropes? Where are the episodes about researching and discovering new technologies? Why is it Trip and Archer AGAIN instead of, say, Reed and Mayweather, just to spice things up?

It leads me to something that I've been asking impatiently throughout the entire season: is it the Borg episode yet?

Seriously, I think Regeneration, Minefield and the season finale are the only ones worth looking forward to. Several other episodes are good but not classics. Most are decent but just... bland, like a petrolhead being offered a Rover 600 instead of a modern Civic Type R. Who the hell would care about the Rover at a car meet?

Rover went bust, to the despairing words of its CEO: "If everyone who wanted to "Save Rover" went out and bought a Rover, it wouldn't need saving." People had reasons for not buying Rover. Those reasons were either not addressed or addressed too late.

Sound familiar?
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Sat, Oct 20, 2018, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Obsession

Kirk yet again gives the giant space salute (which resembles a 20th century middle finger) to colonists who are dying and desperately need medical supplies. Seriously, why do Starfleet keep giving him these missions? At least this time he has an actual motive, other than "Screw the plague victims, this is a NEBULA damn it, we must scan it for three days". And Kirk's motive - his traumatised obsession - is well played. However when Janeway acted the exact same way when pursuing Equinox or trying to defeat 8472, people made Youtube videos talking about what a clueless arsehole she is. It's obvious that episodes such as Obsession inspired the Voyager writers, with Chakotay and Tuvok taking the roles of McCoy and Spock. And yet nobody bemoans the TOS characters. Maybe because in Obsession, Kirk realises he was wrong, whereas Janeway never learns.

It was good to see Spock going to McCoy of all people for advice. Then again, who else could it have been? No wonder Spock is such an iconic character: TOS would still be a good show without him, but with him, there are many episodes that will still be worth watching a hundred years after they were made. And that scene led into another excellent scene between McCoy and Kirk. It's strange that in this show which callously murders or disregards human life, there is so much humanity. That again led to the confrontation where Kirk's officers try to beat logic into the head of a man driven by emotion.

TOS was more character driven than later Trek in which the characters are simply there to advance the plot. It also featured some truly alien monsters, probably more in all of TOS than in TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT combined.

Knowing that redshirts will be murdered left right and centre creates genuine threat, leading to sustained tension. There is a hostile and unfriendly feel to some of these strange new worlds. I am unhappy with the callous disregard for their lives but here we have a redshirt with a personality. He plays his part in making this episode excellent.

No sign of time travel either, hooray! Unless you count Kirk's memories as time travel.

I have my share of criticism for TOS. But I keep coming back to one question: how come the other Trek shows weren't more like TOS?
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Sat, Oct 20, 2018, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

Am going to watch this episode in the coming days but must point something out: this is now the fourth episode in which the crew visit 20th Century earth (or recreation thereof), and the fifth of which the crew visit Earth's history if you count the Adonias episode, THIS SEASON. And these are the pre-Braga days! My overriding impression of TOS from my youth was the lack of creativity in the setting. They were on the edge of the Final Frontier and yet it seems like even the crew of DS9 did more exploring!

The precedent for repetition was set by TOS. Brannon Braga is a one-trick pony (I heard there is no explanation of "one-trick pony" in the dictionary, it simply says "See Braga, Brannon"). But to be honest, the more I revisit TOS, the more I realise the man revered by generations, Gene Roddenberry, was like a 60s version of Braga. It's all redshirts dying, a single female character introduced who happens to be a major babe, close-ups on Shatner's face with light across his eyes and trips to old Earth.

It's ironic that the ones which avoid these cliches happen to be the absolute shining stars of the series. For example, the mind-f*** episode with Scotty being possessed. Fair enough, this also borrowed straight from Earth's past, but it took the Ripper idea and brought it forward to other worlds and other species. TOS created a living, breathing universe that we rarely see in TNG, VOY or ENT, which all focus on one ship and one crew with no consequences for 99% of their actions.

It's easy to see why TOS was so popular/influential. But it's also easy to see why it was canned after the shortest run of any live action Trek. If it had shown more creativity in its storylines and explored that optimistic future more, it might have run for longer.
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Mon, Oct 15, 2018, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

A fantastic finale which succeedes on every single level, including making me feel an aching pan of sadness and nostalgia in those final shots. Picard finally joining the game and taking a moment to fix everyone in his mind; there are unspoken statements that the crew will go on to have new adventures, and they have been warned that one day they could all split up, so this is a chance to get it right (but since we never find out what happened to Troi, how can they prevent that?); and as the Enterprise flies into the sunset, it makes me wish I was 15 again and discovering TNG for the first time when it was brand new. The late 80s and all of the 90s were a fantastic time in many respects. TNG is one of its crowning glories.

DS9 will always remain my benchmark series for its character growth, its sense of galactic powershifts, but most importantly its emphasis that decisions have consequences; Voyager will always be my favourite premise for a show and my favourite crew for their likeable, funny personalities; Enterprise absolutely nails the strangeness of exploring the Trek galaxy for the first time (when it remembers to be a prequel); TOS is remarkable in that many of its themes and much of its appeal remain relevant, and in some cases seem almost prescient.

And yet TNG is like flying through space in a comfortable armchair with your oldest, dearest friends. It is the show with the widest appeal. There will never be another science fiction show that will make such an impact. TNG survived an embarrassing start to become a phenomenon, a milestone not just in our culture, but personally, in our lives.

Was it perfect? Not in the slightest. Miles too much technobabble, Worf getting beaten up and denied in every episode, the Enterprise getting owned every week, characters who don't seem to do much (Crusher and Troi), a number of tedious or utterly crap episodes, and most of the main characters aren't exactly household names (people will recognise the names and/or faces of Picard, Worf, Data and Riker, but may not know who anyone else is).

And yet it remained true to its nature; remained true to its premise, the only Berman-led Trek show that did; gave us the Borg, the most frightening aliens of all time; and even to this day is the yardstick other science fiction is measured against.

DS9 was darker, meaner, more threatening; Voyager was too focused on a quick fix of action; Enterprise took far too long to get going (the world was moving much quicker in the early 2000s than in the late 80s); DISC lacks any semblance of charm and is locked behind a paywall. TNG will always be the perfect compromise. And that's good enough for me.
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Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 3:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Crikey, look at all the comments, my poor samsung is lagging like mad so apologies for errors.

I enjoyed Discovery as a whole but:

I don't like ANY of the characters. Say what you like about VOY and ENT, their crews were lovely people with hearts in the right place. DISC characters are arrogant twats with their heads up their bums. I would absolutely hate to serve aboard their ship and to be honest would hate to live in their universe. Their mirror counterparts were actually more likeable. At least they were upfront about being awful people.

I don't like ANY of the redesigns. We've had Trek a certain way for decades and it has now been rebooted twice in eight years. The battle scenes are just a mess, everything looks the same, from the horribly ugly Discovery to the indecipherable Klingon ships. The Klingons themselves look absolutely ridiculous, they looked laughable in abrams trek but are insane in Discovery, it would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic.

The theme music is a Godawful noise with an uncertain melody which my humble Earth ears cannot detect. I'm not even sold on the opening credits. ENT and VOY still rule by a considerable margin here (though not ENT's song). The theme sounds like a crappy, passionless fan theme.

Also, I don't care at all to see yet another iteration of the original Enterprise. What was the need for it - a simply ratings grab?

So yeah, I view DISC as an interesting distraction, a guilty treat, but there is no way this will ever be canon to me. I just tune in to enjoy the first Trek show since TOS that actually has attitude. By the way, ENT was a million times better prequel than this; DISC introduces too much new, super-powered stuff.

Why do i call it DISC and not STD? In Britain, it means Sexually Transmitted Disease.
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Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 5:38am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Catwalk

I used to think this was one of the better season 2 episodes. Unfortunately this, in reality, is yet ANOTHER wasted opportunity. They make first contact with a totally unknown species and what happens?

Star Trek cliche #537: The aliens are dodgy, they're up to something and they are extremely unsociable. So much for the mission to encounter new life forms in order to exchange knowledge. How many Enterprise episodes have made first contact both routine and boring, with uninteresting species who have nothing distinguishing about themselves and nothinf really to say?

Star Trek cliche #422: Hostile aliens take over the ship. I mean how many times did Voyager or the Enterprise D come under someone else's control? In the modern world, the Royal Navy and US Navy are surrounded by enemies or potential enemies. The Royal Navy has been around even longer and has fought in more conflicts. How many times has a British or American flagship been captured? And of those that were, if any, how many were captured and re-taken on multiple occasions?

Enterprise cliche #2: Nothing really interesting or exciting happens. This ties in directly with the above points. This should have been a tense and frightening submarine story about a crew whose lives are in the balance and they don't know if their ship will hold up. Remember, a Vulcan ship was entirely destroyed by one of these storms, maybe it was a century ago but the Vulcans are at least that far ahead of Starfleet, so why would anyone think Enterprise would hold up? Instead everyone sits around playing cards and complaining about the noise. Where is the drama? What makes this episode stand out? It's just so bland, so safe, and that begs the question, do you want to spend an hour sitting through this (as well as inane adverts every few minutes, and that dreadful title song), or would you do something that provides some kind of gratification. This is the episode the Trek creators chose to present to the world, finishing it with the beautiful but inappropriately triumphant end credits music (which should have been the opening credits music).

Bland, inoffensive; what could have been interesting and new descends into cluche and pointless conflict. Good job, team.
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Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 5:27am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Vanishing Point

I grew up with undiagnosed Asperger syndrome (autism) with lots of peculiar worries which made me feel unwell, unsettled, etc for my entire childhood and much of my adult life. I am used to feeling invisible and overlooked. I thought Hoshi's performance was perfectly realised. Most neurotypical people clearly don't "get" this.

I empathised with her fear of the transporter. Is someone who comes through the other side still "alive"? Are they still themselves, or a scientific copy? If humans have souls, do we lose them or are they transported too? The possibilities of a transporter are quite horrifying when you think about them. The crew's fear of using it is judged really well - but the darkest and scariest questions are ignored.

The "dream" ending in this case was a logical and well-realised answer to the mystery. The parallel dimension thing could have worked and would have been more in line with other Trek shows but in the end, it's been done a hundred times, and not just by Trek. People have an in-built mania against dream endings because they are often a cop-out. I don't feel that was the case here.

Cyrus Ramsey: good to hear another early Starfleet ghost story and the name alone is very TOS.

As for DITL reviews which someone else mentioned, I recently read some of them and gave up in horror. Not only did I disagree with nearly everything that was said, the DITL reviews reveal a childish lack of insight. I mean Regeneration is one of the best Trek episodes of all time despite the ENT-typical plot holes/damage to continuity it causes, and DITL absolutely destroyed it on every level. There is very little worth reading in their reviews.
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Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Second Season Recap

I said this in my comment (lengthy rant) for the episode Precious Cargo:

"Seriously, just look at some of the Enterprise episodes so far with characters written out of character, episodes full of plot holes, repetition of ideas, very poor dialogue, lack of prequel elements in many episodes. THESE are the stories that needed to be told to the whole world? THIS is the show to compete against Stargate? This CREW is a consistently well-written, well-developed bunch of heroes who make us want to don our Starfleet jump suits and head out into space?"

Full disclosure: I still watched the show every week. It did not damage my love for Star Trek at all. It did, however, infuriate me that this show would, almost every week for 3 years, utterly fail to live up to its premise as a prequel. Not following its own premise was the absolute number 1 complaint of all time about Voyager.

Here in the UK a typical season (called a series over here, we only say season because US readers get confused) of most shows (shows are called programmes here) used to be 6 episodes and only 6. Very popular shows might get a Christmas special or as many as 8 episodes per series. Merlin was the first I can recall to have 13 episodes. Now it's common for shows to have either 8, 10 or 12 per season. I am not saying that every show is perfect and every episode is a masterpiece. But per season, there are far fewer clunkers than the various Treks and Gates, simply because the writing talent is more focused, and budgets are far lower so acting and storytelling become crucial.

I have been vocally critical of US shows in the past because I feel there is way too much money, way too many episodes, just an onslaught of more more more. Quality and quantity are almost mutually exclusive. Overwhelming someone with numbers does not mean you have overwhelmed them with superior skill, or quality. 26 episodes per season is absolute madness and is guaranteed to produce repetition and boredom. Not one single show has ever had 26 consecutive episodes of peak brilliance. It's not possible.

Trek should have been 16 episodes long, 18 at most, preferably far fewer, with the remaining budget (if any) spent on crafting props that didn't look like they were made of cheap plastic, better visual effects, much better writers and a better, more exciting marketing campaign. Ideas for various episodes could have been combined into one jam-packed, exhilerating episode.

There should have been more emphasis on character development, sci-fi weirdness, and vastly more emphasis put on the prequel elements leading to the creation of the Federation. Sets and costumes should have been a halfway house between the real world and TOS. Every single idea submitted and used should have gone thriugh intense scrutiny.

Season 3 was a MASSIVE step up, but it still wasn't a prequel. Introducing the Xindi took the show further than ever from any aspect of what the show was supposed to be about. At the very least it should have been the Romulans, not some unknown species that would never appear again.
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Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Precious Cargo

This is now, what, the 3rd time Trip has been paired with an alien female? Why not stick Reed in this situation, or even Mayweather, not that Mayweather can carry an episode with his acting (he's usually fine in small doses, which is good because that's all we get of him). Reed in particular would habe the potential to be hilarious with his awkwardness. The alien princess could have fallen for him precisely because he's so stubborn and mysterious, and he could have gradually opened up to her as they were forced to co-operate. Putting a man and a woman together in a tough situation is almost guaranteed to generate sexual tension, I've been there, millions of people have been there, it can be inappropriate and damaging or hilarious and create a deep, unspoken bond.

The sheer repetition of ideas. Trip meets an alien woman and hilarity ensues; Trip acts out of character due to sci-fi mind effects; Trip takes command; Trip modifies technology to save the day; er, that's about it for him. I love Trip, my best friend who is even more blunt and impatient than me thinks Trip is the best character by miles, but at this early stage there were more than half the cast being marginalised and reduced to cardboard stereotypes. This was kind of an issue with Voyager with Kes and Kim, both very likeable characters who should have had some excellent and entertaining stories to tell, and Chakotay, who started out badass and eventually gave up on acting in the role due to receiving crap plotlines which all revolved around him being a Native American.

TNG had the ghastly Dr Crusher who shags ghosts and (usually) delivers a bland performance. She was awesome in First Contact, though, but so was everyone since they had a real story to work with. TOS never bothered developing Chekov or Uhura, who weren't even in a few episodes, although again they got decent material in some of the films. Chekov and Sulu were under-utilised in the Abramsverse too.

Seriously, all these shows had talented and likeable casts, they had teams of writers and creators and a rabid fanbase. If the showrunners produced boring and repetitive stories and under-used characters while over-using others, that is not franchise fatigue, that is not the viewers' faults for switching off, that is bad writing, bad planning, bad management. The bigwigs in any industry love throwing blame, excuses and even diversions around, but the buck must always stop with the person in charge.

If Enterprise had been amazing, it wouldn't have lost 90% of its viewers - to suggest otherwise ("uhh, they changed it to FRIDAY, the one day a week no-one watches telly or remembers how to record programmes") is insanity. And while Enterprise would eventually go from strength to strength, it had already acquired a well-deserved reputation for mediocrity in its early seasons, and it was absolutely overwhelmed with competitor shows of significantly greater quality and relevance. (BSG, SG1, SGA, Buffy, Angel, eventually even Supernatural which had a sensational first two seasons.)

That was certainly not the case for TOS in the 60s, or TNG in the 80s/early 90s. Hence they thrived.

Seriously, just look at some of the Enterprise episodes so far with characters written out of character, episodes full of plot holes, repetition of ideas, very poor dialogue, lack of prequel elements in many episodes. THESE are the stories that needed to be told to the whole world? THIS is the show to compete against Stargate? This CREW is a consistently well-written, well-developed bunch of heroes who make us want to don our Starfleet jump suits and head out into space?
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Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 11:15am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Singularity

Number of episodes where the characters are compelled to act out of character so far: 2.

Number of episodes showing how the Federation is formed and TOS comes about so far: 0.

**** you, Rick Berman.
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Mon, Oct 8, 2018, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Communicator

Why didn't they just use the transporter and beam it out? It might have come as a shock to whoever saw it but it would have been better than landing a carnival on their heads.

The aliens didn't say that the humans were surgically altered just because they were wearing latex - they were referring to the normal human appearance, thinking it was either plastic surgery or deformity. I can't believe people didn't understand this simple and obvious point, no wonder Enterprise takes so much crap.

I missed this episode when it waa first shown on telly. It's an interesting and well-paced episode. I do agree some disastrous choices were made throughout though: why bring your naive and inexperienced crew into an alien war zone? Why not reveal yourselves rather than create a terrible escalation of fear, paranoia, hostility and any pre-existing arms race?

I don't blame the characters, to do so would make me a dolt. The NX-01 crew are a very likeable bunch and their problem is TERRIBLE writers. But the buck must always stop with the showrunners who authorise crap writing and, who knows, probably interfere to make it even more crap. I'd love to have an in-depth discussion with those writers.

Lots of brownie points for the cloaked arm though. That is the kind of thing that keeps me watching Enterprise. There should have been much more stuff like this as humans interface with unknown technologies. How come ripping the cell ship apart and building Starfleet cloaking devices wasn't the number one priority from day one?

The episode also makes decent use of the whole cast which is going to become a rarity very soon; this will become the Archer-Tucker-T'Pol show soon enough.
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Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

Why didn't they just consult their history archives rather than get involved in an arms race?

"Captain, I have consulted the archives. It transpires that Captain Archer and the crew of the NX-01 faced a similar situation a century ago."
"I don't have time for a history lesson, Spock."
"Indeed. Captain Archer moved an entire encampment a few feet to one side. When the confused Klingons beamed down, the villagers then stood up for themselves, claiming they were no longer afraid of 'bullies'."
"Sounds like a risky plan, Mr Spock. What happened?"
"The Klingons returned in force three days after the NX-01 had departed and bombarded the planet for six hours."
"I saw Archer's statue last time I was on Earth. This explains why he was scultped with his pants around his ankles."
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Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

This is one of the few TOS episodes that remains competitive with the best of modern Trek. There is such a gulf between TOS and every other live action sequel, in terms of how they are presented, written and acted, that TOS really does exist in its own (warp) bubble. Men were far more masculine in the 60s than the whipped, complaining snowflakes of today. It's refreshing to take a trip out with the space cowboys... but only on specific occasions.

This is also one of the few TOS episodes that makes me wish modern Trek HAD been like its parent show. I miss the dynamism, the strong characters, who act and talk like contemporary people being the absolute best they can be. The "perfect" 24th century humans are boring by comparison. I would rather aspire to be Kirk than Picard!

The Doomsday Machine (what a title!) is intense and exciting throughout, with a gripping sense of dread from the moment Dekker speaks about hell; that speech would never be allowed in today's ultra-PC Trek shows, by the way. Spock handled himself superbly. I wish the idea of the device coming from outside our galaxy had been expanded on as I believe that is unique in all of Trek? I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said about how wonderful the episode is. It's one of Trek's finest hours and remains compelling to this day. No remodulating the tertiary bollock machine, no re-routing a high-bandwidth tachyon pulse through the deflectors. Instead we have Scotty working his arse off to fix a broken ship and coming through at the last moment.

One question: did they have some sort of fuel crisis in their day? This is not the first time I've heard Spock talk about someone's ship running out of fuel. How can they only run for seven hours at maximum impulse? Space is quite big. We don't fly planes from New York to Manchester with 70 litres of fuel in the tank - Starfleet needs to work on its logistics!

Now for the VFX rant.

The special effects were better than usual for the TOS Remaster. I am not sold on the Remastered effects at all; they fail hard in comparison to ENT for example which I believe was being made at the same time. TOS:R retains all the inconsistencies of the original episodes (phaser colours for one thing), looks just as amateurish when phaser blasts are striking the Doomsday Machine, and the Constitution class starships still travel at that weird diagonal angle as if they are strafing in Doom.

TOS:R is just an expensive warmover of dated effects and can only be viewed as "good" in comparison to the originals. In the TOS:R trailer one of the VFX blokes actually slips up and says "The Enterprise won't be doing barrel rolls or anything, it's just going to make people's mouths water a little more. A lot more." His self-correction was a warning that the Remaster wasn't going to be special.

The main improvement IMO is how much they cleared up the live action scenes. Now they ARE impressive: every episode of TOS looks like it was filmed yesterday. TNG, DS9 and to some extent VOY have that weird, glossy, glowy visual quality inherent to American television shows in the 80s and 90s. A kind of softness, making the special effects seem a blurry and low-res. Funny how the 1960s original show looks sharper and clearer.
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Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 7:17am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

We come to it at last. The episode about the ship's dog.

Well, Voyager fans had to endure Naomi Wildman episodes. (I like her, I just don't want to spend half an episode in a creepy holodeck fairy tale with her.) DS9 fans had to endure Ferengi episodes. TNG fans had the incredibly stilted and embarrassing first two seasons. Enterprise had A Night In Sickbay, an episode where the captain of Earth's first deep space vessel worries about his dog.

My girlfriend's dog died nearly two months ago and we are both absolutely devastated. We didn't have a sci-fi bag of tricks to save her. I couldn't hold one leg behind my back while hopping up and down and apologising to someone for a cure. Instead I remember how Sybil turned and looked directly at me with pleading eyes when the vet was trying to lead her away. I had to look her in the eyes and tell her to go with the vet and that everything would be all right. Five minutes later, we cried over her as she lay dead.

This episode is a puerile attempt to tug at the heart-strings of men aged 15-35, who are tuning in to see how the Federation was formed and instead got jokes about T'Pol's tits, who want to be taken away from the day to day world and instead get to see their heroes glibly trampling across someone else's beliefs.

The random stubborn aliens of the week get treated no better than Christians. Would it have been acceptable to have your dog take a dump in a mosque? What do you think would happen then?

In short, the episode is aimed at entirely the wrong people. Trek fans are not blubbing little girls.

It also tries to be a character story, again rare for a non-DS9 Trek series. Unfortunately the characters are so muddled and poorly fleshed out that we get an insane farce which flies in the face of what little we know about these people. You know a show is in trouble, and terribly led, when the viewers know the characters and the universe better than the writers.

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Wed, Oct 3, 2018, 10:21am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Changeling

Just watched the episode expecting it to be the one where that woman turns into a yeti. Instead we got the same storyline that would feature in TMP, that crappy TNG episode about mining robots and no less than two Voyager episodes: Dreadnought and Warhead. Talk about returning to the well.

TOS is something I view with ambivalence. To me it is undoubtedly the weakest Trek series. Even though season 1 of ENT is generally not good, it's wishy-washy and boring rather than embarrassingly absurd like TOS. It seems that either a TOS episode is a masterpiece, or it's a laughable dud which nobody in their right minds would even think of, let alone pitch, sell and get someone else to produce. The general quality of this series would be totally unacceptable today.

Unfortunately The Changeling is just such embarrassing tosh. The threat emanated by Nomad is undone by, well, everything else about it, from the cheesy robot voice to the way it wobbles when flying. It regards itself as perfect and yet looks like the exhaust of an old car. As for Spock mind melding with it, this is one of the great WTF moments in sci-fi. So if I possessed telepathic abilities, I would mind-meld with my computer's hard drive? Perhaps Spock can also read a book just by sitting on it.

I'm trying to be nice since this is vintage sci-fi and it's probably someone's favourite episode (although I fear the thought that such a person exists). Give me TNG's Masks instead, at least that has eerie music and a creepy atmosphere of dread. And it has a robot talking in a silly voice.
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Tue, Sep 25, 2018, 7:23am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Desert Crossing

When I first say this episode I was horrified by how simplistic and boring I found it. I think this was when I almost gave up on the show (although I hung on, being a true Trek fan, right to the end, and was rewarded greatly from season 3 onward).

On watching it again, I realise this is a slow burning but well written episode. It's unusual for Trek in that you aren't sure which side to root for, although you are shown more of the terrorist point of view. It's kind of like if they made a TV show about aliens landing in Taliban territory: America and Britain, among others, are the terrorists as far as the Taliban are concerned, and that gives them licence (in their own minds) to wage a war against these powers, doing anything necessary to stop them. And there is no doubt that the Western colonial powers, of which America is certainly the leader - there is no doubt whatsoever that America controls many countries - have brought some of that war upon themselves. A complicated matter often overlooked by Western media. This aspect should have been played up in this episode rather than simply having the crew doing a runner.

Anyway, it's an interesting and entertaining episode. For once we have a good guest actor playing an intriguing character. He doesn't take the prisoners captuve and start making demands via comms. The awkward dinner where Archer and Trip have to eat animal bollocks was played very tastefully, pardon the pun, rather than being weak or grossout.

So yeah, this is one of the only episodes which touches on the "war on terror" which I understood season 1 of Enterprise was supposed to be dealing with. It could have been done much better but with the befuddled Rick Berman piloting the show into iceberg after iceberg, and Braga unable to contribute anything except for relentless time travel stories, I'll take what I can get this season.
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Sun, Sep 23, 2018, 6:39am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fallen Hero

Nothing groundbreaking? A Vulcan who is personable and honest around humans, and dare I say likeable? A Starfleet ship going faster than its engines can take, pushing the boundaries of human technology and human experience? A Starfleet ship that isn't comdortably able to run at 135% engone power, and that is instead rocking, unstable and burning out? A warp 5 engine that, like most modern engines, does not quite manage the speed or power that it's named for?

Methinks someone needs to re-assess what "groundbreaking" means. We are hearing it with droning regularity, often inappropriately.

This was another solid episode with good writing and acting, a growing sense of tension, and now the NX-01 is almost starting to hold its own. The writers did return to the "run for the Vulcans" well too often but it's done well here, and you've got to remember that Starfleet are still the minnows in a big pond.
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Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

This episode is a masterpiece.

There are many things "wrong" in this episode that actually add to its genius. The main part being how easily (and weirdly) Khan seduces the ship's historian. She clearly has a wide-on for him and her interest would be considered sexual harassment today. But in the end, he takes advantage of her, and effectively binds her to him.

He's as ruthless with her as he is with Kirk - he is a conqueror, a master, he can get what he wants and he knows it. Their abusive relationship, based on weirdness, ends with her betraying her colleagues. And though that's hard for modern day Trekkies to accept, it works because of Khan's sheer magnificence. The writing, the performance, they're spot on. She tries to break away; he plays with her like a cat with a mouse, knowing she will stay. And yet, we see what may be a break in his armour: does he really think she might go? Does he second-guess himself and use his words to make it impossible for her to get away? Does he need her? Fascinating stuff, a broken relationship viewed in a mirror darkly.

I was spellbound throughout the episode. Some genuinely good writing, genuinely good acting. The only other villain who approached Khan was the underrated Gul Dukat. (Weyoun was pretty badass, but he wasn't a leader and was despised by all.) The stuff that made me wince in this episode also made me enjoy it more.

There was no way Kirk could have won a fight if Khan was smarter and five times stronger. Then again, strength and intelligence don't count for much if you've been whacked over the head with a steel pipe.
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Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Galileo Seven

Damn, done it AGAIN. In addition to the above comments - the one thing that I REALLY don't like about this episode is the way the Enterprise is en route to deliver medical supplies to treat a plague, but because they come across a weird anomaly, Kirk forgets all about the colonists who are presumably suffering and dying in torment even as his crew bugger around dodging spears. The passenger who keeps pointing out how many minutes remain was RIGHT - Starfleet has no business putting exploration above mercy - but the episode seems to portray him as some kind of tyrant.

And people criticise Archer and Janeway with a straight face!
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Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Galileo Seven

Funny, people enjoy watching this episode because Spock's sheer "Spockiness" but gloss over the fact that this renders him incompetent in command and gets two crew members killed. I dislike the way that Spock is frequently shown to be wrong (at least that's the impression I get), and that everyone MUST try to force him to be human and experience his emotions, which is repulsive to a Vulcan. Imagine if you met an alien race that constantly tried to make you get your wang out, or eat vomit, or take a dump in front of everyone. How would that be acceptable? This being said, his impulsive actions in this episode were fun. You can see the genius behind them, but the impulsiveness was absolutely necessary. He remained true to himself while trying something new. In a sense he bridged the gap between Vulcan and Human and this was the key to success. It's deep stuff.

I forgot how vicious TOS was at murdering people; that ruthlessness hasn't carried across to any of the other Treks including DS9. Then again watching TOS today shows how much of a bubble it exists in. No other Trek shows bear any resemblance to it whatsoever with their monotone sets, staid acting and political correctness. Here we have a female officer getting talked over, Starfleet officers arguing for a killing spree, a superior officer being insulted because he's a Vulcan and a couple of meaningless deaths.

And yet Galileo Seven has old-school charm. The aliens are mysterious and used to scare the hell out of me. Why do people need an exhaustive cultural analysis of every alien out there - are your imaginations broken? Look what happens the more we come to understand terrifying aliens: Borg, Goa'uld, Wraith, all become increasingly de-fanged and end up looking like pantomime villains because we learn too much about them and the heroes defeat them too many times. Half-glimpsed, or unseen, is a damn sight scarier than having someone standing in front of the camera in full lighting. I wish Hollywood would learn this; Nosleep certainly has.

Bonus points to anyone who recognises the music in this episode. It's played in VOY: Scorpion pt1 when Chakotay leads an away team onto their first Borg Cube, right before they meet Species 8472. I seem to be the only person who ever noticed that!
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