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Old June 12 2012, 07:22 PM   #1
Gaith
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The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

... Because, again, there are a lot of scenes with Soong and the Augments, as well as the Augments by themselves, that are totally unnecessary, and, just like the Xindi, serve to make them less interesting. In both the Xindi arc, these eps and others, it's as if the writers were always too scared to write actual dialogue scenes for the crew, so they just kept hitting "refresh" on the Generic Baddie Talk Generator. Specifically, to break it down:

"Borderland" spends about a third of its time showing an augment supplanting one of the others as the (non-Soong) leader; I found this plot is bland, utterly predictable, and entirely disposable. And really, as badass as the whole slave-market sequence was, it didn't have anything to do with the rest of the story, and, though it might be tricky, could probably be edited out also.

"Cold Station Twelve" is a bit better on this front, but there's still that long, drawn-out torture sequence that Manny Coto obviously brought over from 24, and which I found way too ugly for Trek. Since the Enterprise crew see its aftermath, and immediately understands what happened, there's no need for us to see it, either. Also, Archer orders T'Pol to blow himself and a bunch of civilians up to stop the Augments, which, sorry, that's just going too far for such a non-urgent problem (they're fighting over embryos, not spheres of Red Matter, for Pete's sake), and should also be cut.

Finally, "The Augments" has a bunch of scenes of Soong and the Augments, which is better than just the Augments, granted, but also isn't necessary or terribly gripping, and, but cutting away from the Enterprise, dampens the immediate tension of their incursion into Klingon space.

So, out of a roughly 120-minute arc, that's maybe a third or more of the overall runtime that could be removed to enhance the overall drama by keeping the spotlight on the Starfleeters where it belongs.
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Old June 12 2012, 08:49 PM   #2
horatio83
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

You obviously did not understand the meaning of any of the scenes you intend to cut out.
First, we have so see how Malik behaves. Showing what Augments are is essential to a story about, well, Augments
Second, we meet the Orions in the first episodes to set up the atmosphere in the (soon-to-be-)Federation-Klingon-Orion border triangle area. This is not the usual space the NX-01 explores with some random M class planets and space anomalies to observe, this is a dangerous region.
Third, we need to see how Malik kills somebody in the presence of Soong in order to build up the conflict between them.
Fourth, Archer is ready to blow up the station in order to destroy the embroys because humankind is obesssed to not repeat its mistakes. There is a dialogue between Phlox and Soong in which Phlox points out that his species has found a moderate way to use genetics whereas humans have once burned their fingers and now do not wanna touch genetics again. This theme also occurs in DS9 with Bashir.
Fifth, in the last episode we see the conflict between Soong and Malik come to its conclusion. The split between them is the core of the story.

Before you mess with a piece of art you have to understand it.

I would agree that there are parts in all three of the three-parters that drag a bit but it is pretty obvious that neither of these stories could be told, as you suggested, in a two-parter.
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Old June 13 2012, 10:20 AM   #3
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

Gaith, you are on a roll
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Old June 13 2012, 01:36 PM   #4
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

In Borderland, scenes with the Augments are totally necessary. I think the whole Augment storyline was deeply marred by the insistence that the Augments were born bad. Genetic determinism is BS that stunk it all up. But you don't have villains with no characterization, not even black and white. This fan edit would leave a blank cardboard cutout for a villain.

Not personally enjoying the torture-porn in Cold Station 12 is admirable enough. But the whole raison d'etre of season four was having fun, and quite a few people enjoy torture porn. Having the victim try the simple expedient of lying to the torturers is pretty uncommon in most torture porn, so at least Cold Station 12's masturbatory exercise was a little more complex and sophisticated than most.

As for the inadequate motivation for pursuing the embryos so relentlessly, that goes directly back to the genetic determinism. The same hysteria that turns the Augments into such villains means that more Augments is in effect as horrifying as Red Matter. Really, given the vital importance of physical strength in modern society, more super-strong Augments obviously threatens immediate annihilation of our way of life!

There is no tension in the incursion into Klingon space, because for one thing even Klingons are completely stupid for objecting to Enterprise's pursuit of criminals who attacked a Klingon ship. Even the dialogue briefly asks how long it would be before Archer asked for Klingon help. A fan edit of Soong/Augments wouldn't improve the story. Really, it is the fake conflict with the Klingons the professionals should have cut

I just finished watching the series on Netflix. There is very little in season four that is decently written. The Augments story isn't an exception, but these proposed edits wouldn't help at all.
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Old June 13 2012, 03:21 PM   #5
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

For the record, Manny worked on 24 after Enterprise.
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Old June 14 2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

^ Huh, didn't know that. Well, now we know which ep got him hired.


stj wrote: View Post
Genetic determinism is BS that stunk it all up. But you don't have villains with no characterization, not even black and white.
No? Worked just fine for The Terminator...


stj wrote: View Post
There is no tension in the incursion into Klingon space, because for one thing even Klingons are completely stupid for objecting to Enterprise's pursuit of criminals who attacked a Klingon ship.
Eh, that's the one part I did buy, Klingons being so territorial and all, and the augments being made by humans, albeit long before.


stj wrote: View Post
I just finished watching the series on Netflix. There is very little in season four that is decently written.
Can't argue there. It tries at complexity and fails, hard. At least S1-3 have an endearingly humble brand of mediocrity to them.



horatio83 wrote: View Post
You obviously did not understand the meaning of any of the scenes you intend to cut out... Before you mess with a piece of art you have to understand it.
I understood it just fine.

Sometimes fan edits change the very focus of a given material. In this case, my wee suggestions would shift the "core" focus, as you correctly identify it, of Malik and Soong to Archer and Soong.


horatio83 wrote: View Post
First, we have so see how Malik behaves. Showing what Augments are is essential to a story about, well, Augments
We know what they are - dangerous killers who just slaughtered an entire Klingon crew. With writing as thin as they subsequently get, the less we see of them, the more intimidating they'd become.
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Old June 14 2012, 10:19 PM   #7
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

The fourth season has its structural problems but most of its stories are of an above-average quality, for ENT in particular and Trek in general. Gee, the Augment trilogy was the first good story about Augments (the previous two stories were Khan-focused), the Vulcan trilogy was the first epic story about Vulcans and the Coalition of Planets story was quintessential ENT which tied the 'Federation: friendship out of animosity' theme into the prologue of the Romulan War.
No idea how anybody, even an ENT hater, can dislike these stories.
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Old June 15 2012, 12:26 AM   #8
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

Yet I, for the life of me, cannot really grasp how anyone can really like the fourth season.

The Augments story would have had us believe that being stronger and faster means that the Augments are unstoppable, while the genetic determinism that makes them infallibly vicious means they are neccessarily a threat.

For the first, I don't think personal strength is always necessary for soldiers now much less in the far future. If the old Tom Selleck movie could imagine tiny guided missiles that can fire at specific targets around corners, so should Star Trek, not to mention foam bombs that encase targets humanely, etc., etc., etc. The lack of imagination in these Augments was remarkable. The Khan stories rather sensibly emphasized the intellect and the personal charisma, but these episodes couldn't even remember something that simple.

For the second, I just don't believe that their genes meant they would infallibly turn on everyone else. And this story didn't give any justification for suppressing this gut-level reaction. People aren't like that (no matter what some reactionaries think,) and I don't think people could be made like that. They have too few genes to program such complex yet completely non-routine behaviors. Besides, instinct is the opposite of intelligence, I don't think you can have both at the same time.

And, like the insane genetics of Dear Doctor, the reactionary premise really does make the whole thing rather unpleasant. Also, I didn't like the torture porn either, even if it was a cut above the usual. A magnificently large and perfectly formed turd is still a turd.

The Vulcan trilogy hinges on the notion that Vulcan logic is equivalent to religion, which is altogether too much like those nitwits who insist that science is just another faith.
Then it compounds that error by insisting that finding the original teachings is all it would take to restore the purity of the faith, which is just too stupid for words. I never like the katra idea, which is childish. The Vulcan trilogy gets even worse, because it really does at bottom takes this hokum seriously. At least the Klingon ridges story had some glimmering of self-awareness. (Sadly, it still didn't have any humor, which such a trivial story desperately needed.)

The alliance story neglected to note that there's more to the Federation than a temporary unity against a common foe. In previous Trek series, the Federaton was cunningly in the background, so that the writers didn't have to actually spell out how this society really worked. But it did present some positive values, some real and genuine hopes for the future. The alliance merely presented the assurance that we'd always, forever and ever, have to be on guard against the eternal menace of Strangers, even to the point of requiring "friendship" of physical neighbors. Sorry, but that just didn't engage me emotionally at all.

The only thing I was really interested in fourth season was Trip/T'Pol, and I think you can guess how frustrating that was.

Gaith, of course you are technically correct that Klingon behavior in the Augments trilogy fit their portrayal in most Trek series. That's why I tend to dislike Klingons, they are fake conflict personified.

The Terminator isn't properly speaking a villain, who is generally a person. The shark in Jaws was the same kind of villain as the Terminator. The Augments however were supposed to be people. I really can't agree that turning them into Snidely Whiplash on steroids would have helped.
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Old June 15 2012, 01:05 AM   #9
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

Ehm, the structure of Vulcan society is quasi-religious. The dogma of emotional suppression has little to do with logic or science.

You don't like Augments because of "genetic determinism"? Fine, then start ranting about Space Seed, the cause of this supposed travesty. There is nothing reactionary about all the Trek stories that deal with eugenics. On the contrary, only anarcho-capitalists want to live in a world where food is genetically manipulated by big corporations and our own DNA becomes a product, something you can patent, own and deal with.
So genetic determinism my ass. In the future genetics can be determined, that's the very problem we face.

About the formation of the Federation, you obviously did not see the episodes. A common enemy brings them together but does not keep them together.

About Trip and T'Pol, their relationship was interesting and not as soapish as many other relationships in Trek. The final scene of Terra Prime was sublime.
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Old June 15 2012, 01:09 AM   #10
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

What stj said: I haven't seen all of it, but from those parts I have, the fourth season just feels grim and mean-spirited: a pointless WW2 two-parter (Hitler in NYC! How delightfully zany!) T'Pol getting married to some dude (pathos! This is really deep, man!). Anti-alien racists... in San Francisco, my hometown, of all places. Trip getting pissy, transferring to the Columbia, being pissy there (the agnst!). A Mirror Universe two-parter without any hope of redemption (girlfight! Sexxxy!). Vulcans acting like total creeps to each other as well as everyone else. Need I go on? (Dead baby, anyone?)

I'm not saying there's no place for darkness in Trek, or that there shouldn't be long-term conflicts and such, but from what I've seen, S4 just gives me a minor case of the creeps. Couldn't there have been an episode where Archer's little sister is getting married, and he just can't stand the groom's fashion sense, or something? (That was a joke. Mostly. )

At least Brent Spiner was obviously having fun. That's more than I can say for just about anyone else, that fifteen-second basketball game sequence aside.
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Old June 15 2012, 01:17 AM   #11
horatio83
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

Angst? Trip wanted to get away from T'Pol after she got married. You have obviously never fallen in love with somebody with whom you could not be together.
Trip wasn't "pissy" on the Columbia, he was his usual self and kicked his troops in the butt. A Starfleet job isn't a pleasure ride.
The Vulcan three-parter explains why Vulcans are "creeps", they have lost Surak's texts and are undermined by Romulan agents.

Try to first understand (or shall I say first watch) the stories you criticize lest you make a total fool out of yourself.
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Old June 15 2012, 05:34 AM   #12
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

horatio, I see that you apparently did not take my earlier caution seriously after all, and you are still on my radar. Bad move, buddy.

horatio83 wrote: View Post
You obviously did not understand the meaning of any of the scenes you intend to cut out.
horatio83 wrote: View Post
Try to first understand (or shall I say first watch) the stories you criticize lest you make a total fool out of yourself.
Is it so terribly difficult to express disagreement with others without calling their opinion "crap," or insulting their intelligence, or acting as if your point of view is the only one that is right and true and blessed by the gods? Most people on this board manage to do it just fine. What is your problem?

Your dismissive and condescending attitude toward your fellow members is a drag, and it must stop. GET OVER YOURSELF. Stay away from caffeine. Try some yoga. Whatever you do, you'd better start playing nice with others here, or the warnings will commence.
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Old June 15 2012, 01:31 PM   #13
horatio83
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

I am not your buddy and I certainly do not give a crap about the opinion of some neocon fan of Jack Bauer. If you have problems with dismissive and condescending attitudes, how about fixing your own one first?
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Old June 16 2012, 12:06 AM   #14
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

horatio83, let me be perfectly clear. Flaming isn't tolerated in this forum. If you cannot disagree with people without being disagreeable, then perhaps you should take a break for a bit, or go visit TNZ. You may not think you are flaming, but I assure you, your comments in this thread and elsewhere have been straddling that line. Stop it. It doesn't help your ultimate point, it's distracting to other posters who are trying to have a discussion, and it makes you look silly.

If you want to comment on this issue further, PM me, and let everyone else get back to discussing The Augments in this thread.

In future, please watch your tone. Nobody, whether poster or moderator, deserves to be insulted by you, and if you don't reign it in, you will get an infraction.
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Old June 16 2012, 07:13 PM   #15
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Re: The Augments arc: could also use some fan editing

Genetic determinism is not the same thing as genetic engineering. To rephrase, Space Seed at least presented Khan as intelligent, charismatic, self-disciplined as well as strong. The genes in the Augments turned them into rabid hyenas.

As to the notion that Vulcan suppression of emotions is quasi-religious, that criticism relies on the equation of religion with any kind of morality, an equation I reject as a bad faith argument. In Star Trek, as established by Amok Time, Vulcans' emotions included non-concious behavior that negated the desires felt at other times. We might call this "instinct." Wanting to go beyond instinct into a realm of free choice is not quasi-religious, nor is it irrational.

You might interpret Vulcan suppression of emotion as a fantasy expressing the teen-age boy's and geeks' (of all ages) fear of sexuality. But I think the notion that geeks are afraid of sex is just moronic malice. I think the teenage boys are more afraid of rejection too. The most obvious fantasy element in Spock is his super-strength and his neck pinch, something Enterprise mostly ret-conned away. The whole Vulcans aren't rational, just rationalizers, may suit those who reject the concept of reason, but the dramatic results were obviously paltry. I suggest that this was because the idea is shallow and ill-conceived. It did make Enterprise different from your father's Trek, but not in the end in a good way.

The thing about Trip/T'Pol in fourth season Enterprise is that Trip, T'Pol and the storyline went out of their way to establish that Trip did not love T'Pol. Why then did he transfer to Columbia? Not for any good reason, which is a great example of how badly written fourth season was. And yes, Trip lying about his experiences with the "bond" was a fine example of pissiness.

I rather liked the first two season; tolerated the third season, despite the malevolent 9/11 theme, because in the end they pulled back turning into a superstition-ridden, bigoted wankfest like the new BattleStar Galactica; dismissed the last season as trash.
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