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Old December 31 2012, 01:21 PM   #1
teacake
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Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

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.

Andorian/Tellarite 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.

Klingon Foreheads! (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.

Bound: 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

The M.U. (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.
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Old December 31 2012, 02:34 PM   #2
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

Hey, fanwank can be fun. Even the blessed DS9 resorted to it.

Vulcan arc: didn't mind T'Pau but thought Surak stuff was a bit overkill.

Augments: Much as I'm not a Spiner/Data fan, it was worth it just for that last scene where he muses about artificial life being future

Babel/MU: no problems. Feel works nicely with TOS. Even the CG Gorn

Klingons!: happy. Wish we'd seen the altered Klingons more TOS-like though. Shorter hair and campy scenery-chewing
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Old December 31 2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

I don't get why "fanwank" is supposed to be bad. Isn't it their job to entertain us? And don't we sometimes hate it when they make it "not just for the fans, but for everyone"? So why hate it when they make it with us specifically in mind?
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Old December 31 2012, 07:20 PM   #4
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

I've found that the line between "fanwank" and "continuity" is relative to the viewer. Everyone has a different idea of how much coincidence and crossover between series is tolerable and there's always going to be someone who's going to argue their case louder.

My personal rules -
A) One fact/event shouldn't contradict or attempt to eliminate another unless it's a third occurrence attempting to correct a mistake that was already made
B) Keep it timeline sensitive - an event in ENT shouldn't lead directly into an event in VOY without allowing for what could happen in the intervening years (not referencing a specific event here, just picked those series as examples as they're the farthest apart in the timeline)
C) It doesn't always have to be a full story. Sometimes a peripheral visual, audio or dialogue reference is enough to get the point across.
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Old December 31 2012, 11:45 PM   #5
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

Yeah I like the idea of it being peripheral. As I said Kahless would have ruined the forehead arc which was excellent. And I do feel Surak blighted the Vulcan arc (that tosser).

My favorite ENT ep is a huge fanwank I think because it reads like something out of florid fanfic, E2.

Is there an actual definition to the term? Usually I love being catered to and taken individually the Season 4 arcs are all great stuff. It's that they are all in one season that raises it to suspiciously fanwanky levels
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Old January 1 2013, 01:41 AM   #6
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

The only thing in the entire Trekverse more fanwanky than season 4 of Enterprise is this:
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Old January 1 2013, 02:00 AM   #7
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

I was drunk once and cried when I watched that KingDaniel.
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Old January 1 2013, 04:05 AM   #8
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

LOL, that was wanky to the point of hilarity!
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Old January 1 2013, 10:45 AM   #9
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

Season 4 was too much too late, and it became the TOS-tie-in show rather than the show's original premise. It felt like a gimmick, and that's why so many people consider it "fanwank" rather than "continuity." Other episodes, like Daedalus, even blatantly ignored ENT continuity and illustrate that the show basically became TNG-lite, just like VOY did.
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Old January 1 2013, 12:09 PM   #10
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

If VOY and ENT are "TNG-lite" then TNG is clogging my arteries.
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Old January 1 2013, 12:20 PM   #11
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

SonicRanger wrote: View Post
Season 4 was too much too late, and it became the TOS-tie-in show rather than the show's original premise. It felt like a gimmick, and that's why so many people consider it "fanwank" rather than "continuity." Other episodes, like Daedalus, even blatantly ignored ENT continuity and illustrate that the show basically became TNG-lite, just like VOY did.
How did "Daedalus" ignore ENT continuity?
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Old January 1 2013, 12:33 PM   #12
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

SonicRanger wrote: View Post
Season 4 was too much too late, and it became the TOS-tie-in show rather than the show's original premise. It felt like a gimmick, and that's why so many people consider it "fanwank" rather than "continuity." Other episodes, like Daedalus, even blatantly ignored ENT continuity and illustrate that the show basically became TNG-lite, just like VOY did.
SOme might say (parts) that season 4 was the closest to it's premise,
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Old January 1 2013, 01:22 PM   #13
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
SonicRanger wrote: View Post
Season 4 was too much too late, and it became the TOS-tie-in show rather than the show's original premise. It felt like a gimmick, and that's why so many people consider it "fanwank" rather than "continuity." Other episodes, like Daedalus, even blatantly ignored ENT continuity and illustrate that the show basically became TNG-lite, just like VOY did.
SOme might say (parts) that season 4 was the closest to it's premise,
Yeah season 4 was definitely closer to the premise then the others IMO, you had the groundwork for the the Federation and the seeds of the Romulan war. I never really had a problem with all the continuity porn except for Archer strolling around with Surak's katra which was OTT. As for season 5 continuing the trend one idea i've heard was a possibility was having the origin of the Borg Queen be an Enterprise crew member which takes "Fanwank" to an entirely different level.
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Old January 1 2013, 05:05 PM   #14
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

a lot of it was fanwank, but at least it was well done fanwank. And it showed, like season 3 did, that they were giving direction to the show and respecting its premise, unlike in seasons 1 and 2, a lot of which consisted of aimless, boring meandering and farting around.
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Old January 2 2013, 01:27 AM   #15
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Re: Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

I would have loved to have seen season 5 completely drop all continuity porn and go to Denobula, maybe do the Romulan spy deal some more. ENT spent more time on Vulcan and Vulcans than any other series, they had a lot of material they could have expanded on. Or since they were going to have Shran as a full time character they could have given as much attention to Andorian politics as DS9 did to Bajor, that would have been nice too.
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