Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by borgboy, Jul 20, 2014.
So Enterprise is a prequel to all other Trek, except sometimes it isn't.
Oi, my head hurts.
My head started hurting when all these reboot threads for TNG, DS9, and VOY started trying to make them fit the JJ Verse.
Since the events of ST:FC were part of what was supposed to happen all along (can't be proven otherwise, anyway), this is not likely.
The only divergence is in 2233, which is ST XI.
The technology in most people's living rooms an home offices is advanced compared to TOS. We are at odds with ourselves when demanding that TOS remain exactly as filmed in the 1960s AND that ENT show us something credible from the future.
"In a Mirror, Darkly" has the MU crew amazed by the USS Defiant. It's not less advanced at all - to them, TOS is amazing futuristic technology-meets-art. It neatly explains why every Trek looks the way it does, from the bright colours, toggle switches and clunky buttons of TOS to the hotel lobby of TNG to the bright lights and swirly animated touchscreens of the new movies - it's all the whim of futuristic artist/designers.
Doctor Who's ever-changing TARDIS is another example of how the same technology can be made to look either futuristic or bizarre.
Perhaps not, through out TOS, TNG, etc (and TAS as well) there are reference to Humanity not sitting on their hands for a century, but instead exploding outward into interstellar space basically as soon as a warp drive was invented/discovered.
It's hard to reconcile the information in the first four live action series with that presented in the fifth.
In the first four series the century of being "held back" by the Vulcans apparently never happen.
I never heard anything that specific being said to contradict Enterprise.
The movie First Contact has Cochrane being convinced of the value of his work, but Riker, Troi & Geordi aren't really suggesting it would all change overnight. More a case of one day this event would enable fleets of ships would be built. Poverty, disease etc all gone in the years to come. But none of it happening, without Cochrane basically attracting the Vulcans' attention.
When you say TOS and TNG reference humanity not sitting on their hands, well it depends... Humanity is a broad term and obviously some still could've gone off at Warp 1, in suspended animation or generational ships to set up colonies. That would be "Up the Long Ladder" wouldn't it? See "Terra Nova" as an example of some people who didn't sit on their hands, but who weren't anywhere near as successful. See those boomers born to families working on Cargo Ships, for more who aren't staying at home.
That idea of humanity being held back by the Vulcans, seems to be more Archer perspective, coloured by the fact he doesn't think Starfleet is doing enough to meet his own Warp 5 ambitions. Others independent of that organisation are out there, as far as Warp 2 and a long-term commitment to hardly ever returning to Earth will allow. Humans are already off world and in neighbouring systems. Vega colony seems to be implied to as far away, and during the NX-01's early missions to make the new breakthrough range clear, remarked by Admiral Forrest as a long way behind them.
And that's exactly why they should never have attempted a prequel in the first place!
If we're using that metric, then certain episodes of TOS don't reconcile with the information in the first four live action series.
Of course Humanity wasn't sitting on its hands. The ECS was out there trading with Draylax,Teneebian moons and Trillius Prime and with Earth colonies like Vega and, Deneva.
In a Mirror, Darkly is my favorite ENT episode. I loved that they pulled an entire starship out of a TOS episode. It was Christmas.
I get the crew's reaction of awe and wonder. But that has to happen in order for the episode to feel credible. Suspension of disbelief was dialed to 11 and I didn't care.
Yet they could easily have made Enterprise technology functionally more primitive to the Original Trek's. This is a job for the writer's bible, not the art direction. (I should note, I think that cramped controls with lots of buttons is suggestive of more primitive designs; advancements in design tend to produce sleeker, simpler-looking devices with smoother interfaces. So I tend to think that, for example, the NX-01 Enterprise bridge did succeed in looking more primitive than the NCC-1701 bridge, entirely because it was darker and more claustrophobic.)
For example, what if there's not a way to be precisely sure what warp they achieve after firing up the engines? They aim for, say, warp four, but don't know if they're going to get warp 3.5 or warp 4.8 or whatnot. What if after they drop out of warp they need (say) twelve hours to recharge the engines?
(Why do that? Because then you can have a story where the ship is chasing, or being chased, and the Captain has to decide whether the hazard of being a sitting duck for the recharge time is worth it. The point is, it shows technology that works more primitively than later Trek did, and it opens up story fodder that later Trek didn't have.)
What if the phase pistols don't have stun settings --- or don't have kill settings, or can only be used twice (or whatever) without a recharge time? You can force the characters to make decisions that later Trek couldn't do, and base it on ways the technology isn't as advanced as seen on the Original Series.
Yeah, there were basically two problems:
1) What was shown in ENT (certain technologies) were superior to TOS.
You can't have eighteen years or whatever it was with a consistent timeline of these things and then tell your audience "actually, no, everything changes".
2) The 'kitch-asthetic' of TOS had already been canonized by TNG/DS9/VOY era productions.
This one is far more insidious. Basically we could have simply accepted a 'cosmic retcon' of TOS, perhaps assuming tha the tech seen in TMP and TWOK represented what TOS "really" looked like. But instead we got future versions of Trek, like TNG's Relics or DS9's Trials and Tribbleations, which basically canonized TOS into the time frame. So I *don't* think it's unreasonable for the fandom to be slightly pissed that the 'prequel' didn't fit.
Frankly if I were the bean counters and my brief was "Make a new Star Trek show that has to recapture a TOS timeframe and feature a Starship Enterprise", then my first choice would be doing a show based on 1701-B. But maybe that's just me.
The answer to both is "it's a TV show". The look of the tech is going to reflect the 2000s not the 60s or 80s. The creators also tried to keep the tech on par or more primitive that TOS. Sometimes it was just a hand wave with the nomenclature, but it was there.
It's like I say, the problem is that 'modern Trek' had already canonized the look of TOS as being 'official'.
I remember back in the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a groundswell of opinion that maybe 60s Trek was just a reflection of the period in which it was made, and that the movies represented the look of 23rd century tech the way it "really" was even in TOS (aka the 'retcon theory').
But then we started getting scenes like Scotty on the holodeck in 'Relics', and suddenly the only feasible explanation was "So 23rd century Trek during the TOS period really did look like TOS".
And having established that, the DS9 team ran with it in "Trials and Tribbleations", and the ENT production team basically did the same thing with "In A Mirror Darkly" as well.
Ultimately I think if more concessions had been made to make ENT look 'pre-TOS', maybe with a stylized 1950s or 1940s sci-fi asthetic rather than the 1960s one of TOS, then it would have given ENT a unique look while still feeling adequately pre-TOS in design.
The reality though is that no matter what you do in a prequel you're screwed (as George Lucas found out too). Which is why personally if I wanted to recapture TOS with a new series, I'd have set it on the 1701-B from the movies. That way they could have done 'prequel' and taken things back a notch, while still giving the audience satisfaction in a series which could fit the parameters of established Trek.
I've never understood this line of thought. Giving it a 50s sf aesthetic seems too "on the nose" and shouts "It's a fake!!!!!".
The Enterprise aesthetic while having nods to TOS, is also an extrapolation of the styles of the late 20th/early 21st Centuries. That makes more sense to me than going deliberately "retro" because TOS was influenced by then contemporary styles.
I recall an interview Rick Berman gave saying that going in to ENT; they were making an aesthetic that would look futuristic from where we are now. At the time that was 2001. Going retro to be more lock step with a 1960's show would've been a mistake.
The end result is a show which doesn't feel adequately like a prequel to TOS, though.
That's one of the criticisms people make about ENT.
Personally I think this is why prequels simply don't work. By making the decision to go backwards, no matter what you do with it you're not going to please everybody.
I can't think of a single prequel in history that actually managed to actually feel adequately like it comes before whatever it is it was supposed to come before.
I can appreciate why ENT is the way it is, but like all prequels it falls at the first hurdle by not being able to account for those aesthetic differences, given that TNG/DS9/VOY (and indeed ENT itself) went out of their way to say that the 'sixties kitsch' aesthetic of TOS is sacrosanct and really did happen.
Making a prequel is a no-win scenario.
^ Well in that regard, ENT is an ideal prequel for the JJ films. From LCD monitors and bulk consoles to the Apple Store look of the JJprise. Complete with touchscreen consoles, tablets, and a whole lot of bright white light on the bridge.
ENT as a prequel to TOS is fine because they never went in to the details of how tech worked in TOS. It was all buttons, blinking lights and switches. Just embrace it as a prequel made decades after the original source.
Enterprise is a prequel to both TOS and NuTrek. It works equally well either way.
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