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Old March 2 2013, 02:30 AM   #47
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Re: Enterprise: Exec wanted "Top Bands" on the show

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
The network execs may be at fault for not letting Voyager and Enterprise be the shows they were supposed to be, but you can't blame them for all the shitty scripts that plagued both shows.
Nobody's saying the "blame" should be concentrated exclusively on any one person or group. On the contrary, my whole point is that it's overly simplistic to pick just one culpable party. Lots of people are involved in making a TV show, and there are lots of different decisions and factors that can contribute to a bad episode -- even when everyone is sincerely trying to do good work. I agree, as I've already said, that Braga was the weakest showrunner -- but he still did good work as a writer on TNG and VGR, and sometimes on ENT too. I agree that Berman wasn't the best at writing, but he was a fantastic logistical/technical producer and Trek would never have come close to the success and quality it had at its peak if not for his commitment and talent in that regard. Dwelling strictly on the negative side is self-indulgent and blinds you to the truth.

More to the point, this is a simple matter of getting the facts straight. Yes, there are things Berman and Braga can be held accountable for, but that doesn't change the fact that it's wrong to blame them for the specific decisions that were made by someone else. Credit and blame should be given where they're due. You don't just pick one scapegoat and blame them for everything even when it's a lie. Lies are unacceptable. That should be the first, overriding principle that goes without saying. If someone isn't to blame for a particular decision, you don't blame them for it. It doesn't matter one damn bit if there are other bad decisions they made -- they still didn't make that one. It's about setting the record straight.

I doubt the network execs told them: "Make 5 time travel episodes a season", or "Make the temporal cold war absurdly convoluted, and not in a mysterious exciting Lost or Twin Peaks sense, but rather in a 'Just fucking stupid and impossible to logically track' sense."
Well, you're wrong, at least where ENT is concerned. Berman & Braga didn't want to deal with time travel at all on that show; it was entirely in response to the network's demand for something that moved forward from the TNG era.

They could have made a much better show with more serialized arcs.
Again, that's the worst example you could've chosen. The lack of serialization was one of the things that was definitely due to the network's will rather than the producers'. VGR and ENT were episodic because that's what UPN wanted.

I would also point out that ENT did have serialized arcs. There's actually a pretty good sense of continuity running through the first season, a number of subtle arcs -- Archer and T'Pol overcoming their initial mistrust and becoming friends, NX-01 establishing itself as an interstellar presence, the evolving storyline with the TCW, Suliban, and Tandarans, etc. And of course seasons 3 and 4 had plenty of serialization. Season 2 is the only one that feels purely episodic, although it did advance the arc of the Klingons' bad blood toward Archer in "Judgment" and "The Expanse."

But with such low standards for scripts, they could have never produced anything anyone liked.
Speak for yourself. There's a lot about VGR and ENT that I liked. Sure, there's a lot I disliked too, but both shows managed to do some pretty worthwhile stuff from time to time despite the network restrictions.

Between the end of DS9 and the 3rd season of Enterprise, both the execs and the writers displayed absolutely no idea what the people who still tuned in every week wanted in a television show.
Oh, great, another person who says "what people want" when what you really mean is "what I want." Why do so many people do that? Is it too frightening to stand up and admit your opinions are your own and not necessarily shared by everyone?

None of them ever thought 'Hey, let's have a character driven show with exciting adventure and smart action', which is what might have kept the franchise going a little longer.
The producers of ENT actually did make it a character-driven show at first; a lot of the first season's episodes are smallish character pieces that are more about exploring the crew and their relationships than about big action and high concepts. There's a pretty clear M*A*S*H influence on it at times (particularly with things like movie night and Phlox's letters to Dr. Lucas). "Dear Doctor" is even that almost unprecedented thing in Star Trek, a pure drama without any physical danger or action. But from the second season on, it shifted focus more toward action and high-concept sci-fi gimmicks -- most likely under network pressure. (Although the second season's "A Night in Sickbay" is another pure drama, with no danger to anyone except Porthos. It wasn't a story that worked particularly well, but nobody can say it wasn't character-driven.)
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