So, I think it was KingDaniel who made a comment about Season 4 being a lot of fanwank and that got me thinking about this topic. Taken as a whole Season 4 certainly overloads us with incredible Trek moments and origins that the NX-01 crew just happens to be there for. There's only one of these that really bothered me but I'll admit by the end I was a bit weary of all that niftyness. If they had kept it up for a 5th season it would have been appalling. So a little fanwank review..
(And let me add that Season 4 is my favorite ENT season and I consider it to be some of the tightest and most attractive Trek there is.)
Surak's Katra Arc
(The Forge, Awakening, Kir'Shara): I loved seeing Vulcan and thank you ENT for showing it not just in these episodes but in Home, also in this season. It was super great to see a sehlat too! But for godsake.. SURAK'S KATRA?! Puleeze. Too much right there and that's not even whining about who it got stuffed in. I would have liked to have seen T'Pau as an infidel rebel but not seen some pivotal moment in Vulcan history. Just have her in an episode, expounding and ordering people about. Or have it be some other katra, not the biggest and most important Vulcan ever whose been dead for a very very very long time.
IMO super fanwanky.
The Augments arc
(Borderland, Cold Station 12, The Augments): It makes sense there are unaccounted for eugenics babies out there in the galaxy. It makes sense that people will have plans for them. It doesn't make a huge amount of sense to have a human named Soong who is mooted to be "the great grandfather of Noonien Soong, Data's creator
". This is just way too fanwank though forgivable in order to get Spiner into this role and offer some reason why he looks like TNG's Soong.
The eugenics wars, experiments, programs needed at least some filling in and this arc did a great job of telling a small story while connecting it indirectly to bigger, future ones. That's what I would have wanted from the Vulcan arc.
(Babel One, United): Gah.. yes Journey to Babel was one of the best TOS episodes, did we have to play off that? I don't mind the Andorian/Tellarite antipathies, we know these conflicts are very old between these races. But SO bad, so very very embarrassing.. the stupid fight TO THE DEATH!!! between Shran and Archer. The honor battle. The Duel. The.. contrivance of Alien Culture forcing a starfleet officer and his friend to try and kill each other for the sake of face saving. Phooey on that bullshit storyline. At least Reed and Hayes actually attacked each other in rage, none of this gilding the glove with IDIC.
Every time I see a Boxing Ring on a Sci Fi series I groan.. not a boxing ep, oh SPARE US. And this kind of thing is almost a step down when you add DEATH!!!! as the planned outcome.
And then there's Archer's sudden prowess at this ridiculous knife fight. I can hardly stand watching these scenes. Is this fanwanky? Tell me, I want to know.
I will say that the ending to Babel One is one of the greatest dramatic moments in Trek EVER! It is WONDERFUL.
(Affliction, Divergence): Did anyone prefer the mystery of not knowing? NOT ME. I thought it a great answer and very well done. Amazingly Kahless does not appear at any point. This answer and story has been a long time coming! Can't really call this fanwanky, though the potential was high.
: This was just a terrible episode with a lameass weasel out of the distasteful topic of sex slavery. Oh the women are in control.. they must be like Companions in Firefly. Uh huh, that's why they are in cages Borderland. I don't know if a Orion women dancing for the fellahs is fanwanky or if it's just
(In a Mirror Darkly I and II) Okay this whole damn thing was one big fanwank romp but it never pretends to be anything else. Not my favorite eps, though the opening is kickass. Tholian web, woot.
I also found the whole Aenar thing with Shran falling for Whispy White Ice Girl pretty fanwanky as well as unrealistic. But I'm a hard sell with romances.
Probably there is a lot of variation of how the term fanwank is interpreted. I''m interested in what people think.