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Old November 13 2009, 05:21 PM   #601
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I kinda liked Bounty.Not much, but I'd probably give it 5/10.

EDIT: And now we get to the reason I love Enterprise so much.
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Old November 13 2009, 09:25 PM   #602
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

SRFX wrote: View Post
I love First Flight. This is what Enterprise needed to be more about. It's a five star episode, even with the cliches.

Oh - and you can never have too many bar fights.
My only quibble with FF, is the complete lack of women depicted anywhere, save for the bar. Starfleet needs women I tell ya! It was bothersome to see, even with extras in the background, the gender inbalance in our supposedly enlightened Trek future.
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Old November 13 2009, 11:12 PM   #603
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

The Expanse (****)

When this episode first aired (so many of my reviews begin with that line) I didn't have net access and didn't keep up to date with recent Trek developments, so I had no idea Enterprise was struggling in ratings that that the Xindi arc was being planned to try and drum up interest. I thought that this was the beginning of yet another two-parter which couldn't possibly live up to its potential, but I'm pleased to say that I was quite wrong.

My biggest complaint about this episode is that it tries to do too much in 40 minutes; The attack, Archer meeting Future Guy, Trip's sister dying, Archer deciding to go to the Delphic Expanse, T'Pol deciding to resign from the High Command, the upgrades to Enterprise, Mayweather's experience with the transvestite nun, and three battles with Duras. This is the biggest relaunch Trek has ever done, much bigger than The Way of the Warrior, and it's a pity that it didn't get the feature length treatment which it deserved. My other complaint about this episode is that the Xindi warned Earth that they were going to attack by using their prototype weapon on Earth itself, something which still doesn't make any sense after seeing the entire Xindi arc.

But this episode does send Enterprise in a more interesting direction than we've seen in the last season, and they made some very good decisions in this episode. Trip's sister dying was a great decision, it gives his actions next season a much greater weight, especially with Degra. T'Pol leaving the High Command was another good decision, she had been defying them for so long that I'm surprised they still wanted her, and her arguing with Archer based on something the High Command endorsed was growing old. Having Archer invite the military onboard was good too, it brought us Steven Culp and Daniel Dae Kim. Mayweather meeting the tranny was a bit weird, but it paid off in the end with that scene involving the clown (played by Gary Busey).

In the end this episode feels more like a promise to be something different rather than an example of what the show is going to be in the new season. It's good, but the real Xindi arc hasn't begun just yet...


Okay, I'll try to get the season review up tomorrow and I'll begin season 3 on Sunday, hopefully. And in case anyone is interested, I'm going to finish The Wire tonight, and since I'm too busy these days to have two hours of DVDs in a day I'm going to move Enterprise to my late-night viewing slot rather than watching it in the evening. In my mind I find that more cinematic, but it does mean I'll be writing all the reviews the following day rather than later in the same night.
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Old November 14 2009, 01:11 AM   #604
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
It's not interesting, it's not funny, all it did was bring me nightmares about Phlox's giant tongue licking T'Pol's sweaty cleavage. Enjoy the imagery, folks.
While I could do without Phlox being in that picture, I can definitely say I enjoy the imagery of T'Pol's cleavage.
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Old November 14 2009, 01:23 AM   #605
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

The Expanse: I avoid spoilers but I don’t think anyone could have avoided knowing every detail about this episode since even TVGuide laid it all out and B&B were all over the various media outlets talking about the changes. I always felt that VOY and ENT had a lot in common and ENT’s second season reminded me in a lot of ways of VOY’s third season. Both suffered from pervasive mediocrity and both tried my patience so it was inevitable that like VOY, which underwent a shake up by bringing in the Borg and Seven of Nine, ENT does the same with a mysterious new enemy and an ongoing mission.

It was a good idea. For once it injected a sense of mystery that the show really needed. In some ways the Xindi storyline was a precursor to the more elaborate mystery based series such as LOST and Heroes but isn’t as complicated. It introduced a bunch of unanswered questions where the next season would have the crew trying to find answers and putting the pieces of this large puzzle together--Was FG telling the truth? Did the Xindi really attack Earth? Does Earth really devastate the Xindi in 400 years? If so, was it aggression on the part of humanity or was it in defense? And if it was aggression how could Archer stop the Xindi from defending themselves? Or is FG lying in order to start a war between Earth and these Xindi like he tried to do by instigating a Klingon civil war? What is the mystery of the Expanse? Who is the other faction assisting the Xindi? Are they a familiar race or a new foe the Federation encounters sometime over the next four centuries? Why do they want Earth destroyed? What evidence did they provide to convince the Xindi Earth is a threat? So a lot of questions to deal with.

I liked after a year’s absence that Silik and FG make a return appearance. I also was glad that initially the writers tied the Xindi attack to the Temporal Cold War. Not only was some attention to it way overdue but it allowed for the TCW to actually take on the gravity and epicness such a conflict deserved and in theory it would be center stage that would drive the entire season so answers and revelations would be forthcoming. Of course, the writers decided at some point in season three to make the Sphere Builders just an independent antagonist not involved in the TCW but just coincidentally possessing time travel abilities.

It made sense FG wouldn’t want Earth destroyed, afterall in Shockwave we know his fate and the Federation’s are intertwined. So while in the past he has undermined Archer, in this instance he might be willing to help because this was a situation where both of their interests overlap. It also makes sense he wouldn’t send Silik to thwart the Xindi. Silik has failed before and FG has the advantage of knowing about Archer in the context of history and realizes he’d have a better shot in stopping the second attack. And while Archer might have doubts about FG, Archer has nothing else to go on. FG’s tactic of not warning Archer in advance of the test attack made sense as well. He realizes Archer wouldn’t believe him and needed a sobering lesson to add some weight to his claim.

With Silik/FG making an appearance I wondered where Daniels was. Before when there was a violation of the Temporal Accords he appeared shortly thereafter. I just assumed that he vanished along with the rest of humanity in the new timeline. This actually would have been a good way of removing the temptation of the writers to bring in temporal agents as a deus ex machina and would place the survival of Earth on Archer’s shoulder. Unfortunately the writers brought him back in “Carpenter Street” which had the effect of creating some logical gaffes and led to the writers via T’Pol and Archer in that episode trying to justify why the temporal agents didn’t get involved and “The Expanse” shows a bit of this by having FG not reveal to Archer the location of the Xindi. The real reason is we would have circumvented the search for the Xindi which was a large part of the first half of the next season.

The initial attack on Earth in the teaser was striking in its low-key assault and is one of those memorable visuals that cause a bit of pang a la DS9's attack on the Golden Gate Bridge or the Borg cube passing Saturn or in orbit of Earth. The way it quietly and swiftly appears out of nowhere before carving up a portion of Earth with a beam as the probe gyrates every few seconds as it recharges. The visual shot of the scar through Florida as seen from orbit was chilling as well.

I liked the idea of T’Pol resigning her commission with the VHC. She was always heading in that direction as she grew closer with the crew. This was one of the few clear and engaging character arcs the show devised. The crew’s shock at seeing the aftermath in the wake of their bittersweet homecoming was pitch perfect. The Expanse seemed intriguing and mysterious after hearing about it driving Vulcans mad and Klingons being turned inside out. At the time I figured the Expanse would be the perfect playground for sci-fi anomalies of the week stories but surprisingly the writers pretty much avoided them in season three. The Klingon plot was extraneous and the least interesting--I would have just dropped it altogether. I never saw this as a strong allegory on 911 even though it was inspired to some degree by it. The visuals were good.

Once again the episode has some flaws and probably should have been a major two hour season finale event allowing more time to develop everything including the reactions on Earth, seeing the crew back home in the wake of the attack, Trip interacting with his family but it was a big step in the right direction and ultimately was the right creative decision given how well season three for the most part turned out. It’s a solid B or 3 stars out of 4.
TheGodBen wrote: View Post
My other complaint about this episode is that the Xindi warned Earth that they were going to attack by using their prototype weapon on Earth itself, something which still doesn't make any sense after seeing the entire Xindi arc.
Well the Sphere Builders didn't know that the FG would warn Archer and tell him the Xindi were responsible for the attack.

As we see in the episode no one knew who was responsible for the attack. If FG hadn't told them the likely suspects would have been some of the aliens Archer pissed off during the first two seasons like the Silent Enemy beings and Earth would have been destroyed. I mean who would think in a million years that an alien race Earth never encountered in a region of space Starfleet never ventured would be responsible for the attack and the Vulcans were just as clueless.

Last edited by startrekwatcher; November 14 2009 at 01:33 AM.
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Old November 14 2009, 04:44 AM   #606
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
My other complaint about this episode is that the Xindi warned Earth that they were going to attack by using their prototype weapon on Earth itself, something which still doesn't make any sense after seeing the entire Xindi arc.
Yeah, I feel the same way. I think it would have worked better if the original attack was actually intended to be the only one, but the Xindi sent the prototype in haste, anxious to get rid of Earth ASAP. So since they didn't take enough time to fine-tune the weapon and make sure it was fully ready, it malfunctioned just a few moments after opening fire on Earth and self-destructed. That's how I would have done it, anyway. YMMV.

Other than that, a pretty solid episode, though I wish they could have left out Silik, Future Guy, and the "quantum dating" scene. But that's just because I hate the TCW. I wish it were possible to go back through the show and edit out every reference to the TCW in every episode (and just cut out the TCW-heavy ones completely), but that would probably be pretty hard to do.

EDIT: I also would have had it so that the Xindi were being manipulated by the Romulans, not the Sphere Builders, but whatever.
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Old November 14 2009, 12:00 PM   #607
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I don't like The Expanse very much. Once I heard that this was the episode where they shook everything up and tried to set the show moving in a new direction I was very keen to see it, but the actual show fell flat for me. I guess I was expecting something like DS9 The Jem'Hadar or Babylon 5 Chrysalis, and in a sense The Expanse was like those episodes, except that it didn't really work as drama. The massive amount of time that elapses means that none of it feels that urgent - by the time Enterprise gets to Earth things seem almost back to normal. I'd have liked to see a lot more about the reactions back on Earth, so that we could really get a feel for this event as something more than just a tragedy for Trip Tucker. I could have done without the Klingon sub-plot and obligatory mean Vulcan scenes as well. I do appreciate what the writers were trying to do here - a "wham episode" - but it's not one of the best I've seen. I'm not writing off the Xindi arc - as a whole it may be great - but this episode didn't do it for me.
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Old November 14 2009, 02:56 PM   #608
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

First Flight:
My only quibble with FF, is the complete lack of women depicted anywhere, save for the bar. Starfleet needs women I tell ya! It was bothersome to see, even with extras in the background, the gender inbalance in our supposedly enlightened Trek future.
I've had that issue with respect to all of the series, including ENT. Did we ever see an alien female captain? I think all the female aliens were crew members or spouses.

The Expanse
The initial attack on Earth in the teaser was striking in its low-key assault and is one of those memorable visuals that cause a bit of pang a la DS9's attack on the Golden Gate Bridge or the Borg cube passing Saturn or in orbit of Earth. The way it quietly and swiftly appears out of nowhere before carving up a portion of Earth with a beam as the probe gyrates every few seconds as it recharges. The visual shot of the scar through Florida as seen from orbit was chilling as well.
Looking back, I realize how well this was done, and how much I like the depiction. It wasn't all people flying and known landmarks being destroyed, Statue of Liberty crumbling and all that. It felt global, an attack on the whole of humanity. And then we contrast that with Trip standing on the bridge, being silently supported by Archer, and he cannot even lift his eyes to look at the viewscreen. I love that moment.

I liked the idea of T’Pol resigning her commission with the VHC. She was always heading in that direction as she grew closer with the crew.
It was probably unintentional, depending on how much of the story they planned out in advance, but this whole idea of throwing her lot in with humanity takes on further resonance later, which I won't spoil. That scene in the Ready Room, with her arguing to stay and Archer trying to convince her to leave, is really well done.

The Klingon plot was extraneous and the least interesting--I would have just dropped it altogether.
Even aside from the best Travis moment so far (him showing what a bad-ass pilot he really is) I think the Klingon subplot underscores the nature of this new threat. It's like, yeah, yeah, Klingons - you really aren't that big a deal anymore. Archer's dispatching of them reminded me of that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark - you know that one with the guy in the marketplace futzing around with his machete all menacingly, and Indy just shoots him. Way bigger fish to fry.

Once again the episode has some flaws and probably should have been a major two hour season finale event
I really wish the suits at UPN had recognized that this was a capital-M Moment and really pushed to bring in a big audience.
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Old November 14 2009, 04:11 PM   #609
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

bluedana wrote: View Post
I've had that issue with respect to all of the series, including ENT. Did we ever see an alien female captain? I think all the female aliens were crew members or spouses.
There were TOS The Enterprise Incident and TNG The Chase, or do you only mean Starfleet Captains? There was a female Vulcan admiral in DS9 Rules of Engagement, if that counts - guess she was probably a captain once.
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Old November 14 2009, 05:21 PM   #610
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Skywalker wrote: View Post
TheGodBen wrote: View Post
My other complaint about this episode is that the Xindi warned Earth that they were going to attack by using their prototype weapon on Earth itself, something which still doesn't make any sense after seeing the entire Xindi arc.
Yeah, I feel the same way. I think it would have worked better if the original attack was actually intended to be the only one, but the Xindi sent the prototype in haste, anxious to get rid of Earth ASAP. So since they didn't take enough time to fine-tune the weapon and make sure it was fully ready, it malfunctioned just a few moments after opening fire on Earth and self-destructed. That's how I would have done it, anyway. YMMV.

Other than that, a pretty solid episode, though I wish they could have left out Silik, Future Guy, and the "quantum dating" scene. But that's just because I hate the TCW. I wish it were possible to go back through the show and edit out every reference to the TCW in every episode (and just cut out the TCW-heavy ones completely), but that would probably be pretty hard to do.

EDIT: I also would have had it so that the Xindi were being manipulated by the Romulans, not the Sphere Builders, but whatever.
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Old November 14 2009, 05:27 PM   #611
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I was wondering what TheGodBen would think of "Regeneration." Maybe I need to rewatch it at some point, but I'll freely admit I've always had a bit of a bias against it. I think the idea of using the Borg in ENT was stupid to begin with and was clearly an attempt to get ratings cause the Borg were "cool." I also don't feel the ep restored their menacing qualities, cause the NX crew was able to deal with them far too easily. The phase pistols worked too well against more advanced tech, and Phlox once again got a dose of Magic Alien Immunity that was common in the early seasons. I'm kind of mixed on how effective the "smaller" Collective would be with only a handful of drones.

In fairness, though, I'd be willing to watch it again. Painful though it might be.
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Old November 14 2009, 06:35 PM   #612
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

bluedana wrote: View Post
Did we ever see an alien female captain? I think all the female aliens were crew members or spouses.
We have HEARD about an alien female captain, though: Archer's wife in in E2
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Old November 15 2009, 12:02 AM   #613
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Season 2 Review

Welcome back to another season of reviews stripped down to statistics so that I can better criticise it. I present for your viewing pleasure graph number 1:



It's not too difficult to read this graph, most of the season struggled to break past 7/10, and there is a stretch of seven episodes in the middle with scores of less than 6/10. An upswing of quality around Future Tense helped the score, and a further upswing from Cogenitor on helped it some more, and in this graph you can clearly see which way the red trendline is heading. The average score of the season was 4.615, a below average score. However, this is probably going to be the lowest scoring season of Enterprise, and it is much higher up than Voyager's worst season, season 3, which had a score of 4.269.



You can see something of a bell-curve here centred around 3 and 4, but the strong end of the season (two 8s and a 10) really helped to bring that average up. There was only 1 truly awful episode, but there was a lot more 2s and 3 than I would have liked.

Thirteen episodes this season were below average, four were average and nine were above average.
Best episode: Cogenitor
Worst episode: Precious Cargo


The Writers

We have two new writers this season, John Shiban will be joining the show for this one season only, and David A. Goodman who used to write for Family Guy before it was cancelled, then he moved to Futurama before it was cancelled, and he then moved back to Family Guy after Enterprise was cancelled. I think networks must send him to work on shows in order to sabotage them.



For all the joking around I've done with them, Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman really are the best writers this season with a score of 5.6 from 5 episodes. However, their writing partnership is about to end next year as the two take up writing separately, so we'll finally get to see if Phyllis Strong really was just getting coffee or if she was the brains behind their operation. Next is Bormanis with a score of 5 from 2 episodes, a bit of a step down from last season's 7. Next up is Shiban who did okay for the most part, but the predictability of Dawn brings his score down to 4.8 from 5 episodes. B&B really went downhill this season, they had a long string of one below average episode after the next, but Cogenitor and The Expanse bring them up to 4.5 from 8 episodes. Chris Black improves on last season but still only scores 4.4 from 5 episodes, but this season's n00b brings up the rear with a score of 3.5 from 2 episodes.



This graph shows the writer's overall score for the two seasons. Bormanis retains the lead with a score of 6, but B&B's poor showing this season causes them to drop back to 5.154, meaning that Fred Dekker manages to move into second place without even writing any episodes. Strong and Sussman manage to overtake B&B with an overall score of 5.2. Shiban comes in slightly below the series average, Chris Black brings his score up to 3.857, and Goodman takes his place at the bottom.


What Would TheGodBen Do?

The year is 2002. Berman and Braga get stuck down a well and UPN can't afford to dig them out, so they hire me as the new head writer for Enterprise. What would I have done differently?

I guess the first thing I'd have to do is resolve the cliffhanger ending from Shockwave... and I don't have a clue how to do that. As it is Shockwave Part 2 is underwhelming, but how else do you get Archer back from a future where everything is in ruins? I guess that Archer and Daniels could find an old spaceship in the rubble and repair it, fly off Earth, find out that the Romulans destroyed Earth and enslaved what little remained of the human race... but then you have the problem of Archer seeing the Romulans before he is supposed to. I could try something involving the sphere-builders but that would be cheating since nobody invented them yet. It could have been the Klingons, I suppose, but that would be a little underwhelming. I guess B&B wrote themselves into a corner on this one.

Whatever direction I'd choose to go in I'd prefer to see it solely from the perspective of Archer rather than cutting between Archer's story and what is happening on Enterprise in the 22nd century. And I'd want to give definitive answers on what the Tasty Coma Wife is about, maybe even revealing that Future Guy is a Romulan trying to stop the Earth-Romulan war from occurring.

I'd have liked to get the NX-02 up and running at some time this season and start to get Starfleet really rolling. The human race is going to become the centre of the United Federation of Planets within 9 years, yet they have only 1 ship capable of speedily reaching any of the other three planets that will form it with them. Starfleet is a joke during the early seasons, it is not a respectable interstellar presence, and the faster they get ships out there helping the Vulcans, Andorans and Tellarites the faster we can see a bond form between the four races.

Speaking of which, it's about time for a visit to Vulcan. And Andoria. (I'm turning this isn't season 4 again, aren't I?) And Denobula. The biggest problem with season 2 is that it lost any sense of direction that season 1 had and it settled into being another planet/anomaly of-the-week type show. The problem is that most of the planets and anomalies have already been done on the other Trek shows and Enterprise is rehashing old stories, so the show should instead focus on its unique opportunity to tell stories about the various Trek races we know before the creation of the UFP. We had one reasonably good episode about the Klingons this season, one episode about the Andorians which didn't dig nearly deep enough, and one episode about the Vulcans which made them seem evil. I wouldn't even mind it if the Vulcans were evil if they dug a little deeper as to why, but that doesn't happen this season, I have to wait until season 4, at which point the clock is really ticking on the UFP thing.


Statistics

Disappearing Aliens: 18 +7
Archer Abuse: 18 +5
Captain Redshirt: 20 +8
Transporter: 6 +2
Nipples Ahoy!: 11 +5

Season 1 Average: 5.16
Season 2 Average: 4.615385
Overall Average: 4.882

Voyager Average After 2 Seasons: 5.122


In Summation

Enterprise still has oodles of potential, but this season mostly ignored it. This show isn't working as TNG in the 22nd century, the writers aren't good at doing that type of show, and while the Xindi arc is arguably the wrong way to take a prequel show like this, and it too misses the real potential of this show, the writers are better at doing that kind of show than what they are doing now. So I say roll on season 3, let Star Trek do something new for a change.
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Old November 15 2009, 12:57 AM   #614
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

My sporadic viewing habits have left me with the almost certainly false impression that Season 2 is better than Season 1, due to Carbon Creek and Cogenitor (and maybe Cease Fire, to an extent). That said, I saw less of this season. Still not really a fan of this show, although I do intend to check out Seasons 3 and 4 at some point - I saw The Xindi and it seemed promising, so I've not written the show off, even though 52 episodes is waaaaaaaaay to long to take getting good!
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Old November 15 2009, 02:36 AM   #615
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I tend to agree with your thoughts. If I get the chance, I'll start a thread again about improving the TCW, which would basically give a good idea for Shockwave. Part II is difficult no matter what, which is why I'd honestly leave the cliffhanger with something besides Archer in ruins (as good as it is, they really had nowhere to go).

Real quick about the last two episodes. Interestingly, Bounty helped improve my participation on the board dramatically as I had some interesting conversations with a former BBS and Trekweb poster named Jadzia Dax about the nature of Vulcan (and especially female) pon far. Surprisingly, little minutia like that can lead to decent discussion and debate - especially when the episode itself sucks so much.

The Expanse was a solid restart. It isn't great, but I applaud it. I knew they were trying to restart the series and I viewed it as a good sales pitch that the next season would be worth watching. I didn't quite watch it from the beginning next season, but, by the end, I found out I agreed and it basically sold me on the series.
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