Has Enterprise ever messed up the continuity?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by Garren, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    If they had been. Exploration and expansion aren't always some perfect straight-line process. The first Europeans (that we know of) to reach North America did so in 1000 CE, the Norse settlers of Vinland; but then the settlement failed and civilizations went through ups and downs and no European visited the Americas again until 492 years later.

    In one of my books (I think it was Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock), I suggested that the Ferengi had undergone an economic collapse sometime in the late 22nd or early 23rd century and didn't recover as an interstellar power for over a hundred years.
     
  2. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Considering the show was cancelled anyway, it's hardly a compelling argument that they couldn't have done anything differently.
    As for budgetary reasons - yes, fair enough, but it's all about picking your priorities at the end of the day. Most of my suggestions aren't costly ones.

    1. By the same argument, you shouldn't keep things the same without good reason either.

    2. As I said: "it sort of makes sense to have a big window to look out of in case your external cameras malfunction!"


    ------

    Regarding the Borg issue: I loved the episode, and I'm quite happy to accept that nobody put two-and-two together regarding the identity of the drones until after the Enterprise-D actually encountered them properly at J-25. However, there is one niggling issue. When the Enterprise-D meets the Borg for the second time in The Best of Both Worlds pt I, Dr. Crusher proposes a way to defeat them with nanites, to which everyone looks at her as if to say "what the hell are nanites?" But surely, given what happened to Phlox and the other crewmembers, Starfleet should have full records of Borg nanomachines and how they function, but nobody mentioned it (obviously because Borg nanomachines weren't written in until First Contact).

    It bugs me every time. But then I feel similarly annoyed by Crusher's ignorance of Trills. Poor Bev. :lol:
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What? That makes no sense. It's not like they were trying to get cancelled. Obviously the makers of any television series are trying and hoping to make their show profitable for the network and the studio. And making a product profitable (and that's what TV shows are, products) entails keeping the overhead down and not spending more money than you have to.


    I was responding specifically to these two suggestions:
    Both of those would require special effects and stunt work, which are expensive and time-consuming, and thus best avoided unless there's a compelling story reason for them. They're not something you'd toss in just for the sake of doing them.



    You're forgetting the TNG episode "Evolution," which aired at the start of season 3 and established that nanites were a standard part of the ship's medical supplies. So at the time of BOBW a year later (and it was Part 2, not Part 1), the crew certainly did know what nanites were. Shelby was the only character who seemed unfamiliar with them, and of course that was just an excuse to remind the audience of a term they hadn't heard in a year.

    (In fact, "Evolution" was evidently the origin of the word "nanite" in the first place. Before then, the term had been nanomachine or nanobot. So "nanite" was an original coinage for TNG, and it later caught on in other SF, showing TNG's influence.)
     
  4. T'Polismygirl

    T'Polismygirl Ensign Red Shirt

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    Thanks, Chris, Ive enjoyed your input into the discussion. Watching Neil DeGrasse Tysons talks about how we are slowly creating the world Gene envisioned one technological innovation at a time has been a revelation. Adding nanites to the list =)
     
  5. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You seemed to be arguing that they did everything they needed to do to stay in business, and using that as a basis to reject other suggestions. Since they got cancelled, I'd suggest their approach was wrong somewhere anyway, and other approaches might fare better.

    But matters of business are frankly not relevant to a discussion on quality and creative choices. If something safe, ordinary and cheap is the only viable way to make a TV show, then I'd rather no-one bother! Thankfully, sometimes risky and difficult choices pay off. And besides, my suggestions were things that could make the show better and increase its chances of standing out from the crowd, thereby making it more popular and keeping it on the air for longer.


    You're right, I am forgetting that, and perhaps a re-watch will refresh my memory of the exchange - but I distinctly recall the entire subject being seen as some new thing, ie. "I wonder if nanites would affect the Borg in some way" rather than "hey, you know how Borg have nanites, well..." The phrasing suggests they have no idea that Borg are already swimming with the things, contrary to what should be substantial medical records!
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not "rejecting" suggestions, I'm just offering an explanation for why the creators didn't embrace the things you suggested. You were implying that it was simply a matter of their own failure of imagination, and that's simply not fair, because they didn't have infinite money to do whatever they wanted. TV creators always imagine big, but have to dial down their imaginations once the budget figures come in. For instance, the original script to "The City on the Edge of Forever" featured a huge valley filled with giant statues and an actual city, but because TV budgets are finite, they had to settle for a stone doughnut and a few broken columns scattered around. The limits on what you see onscreen do not represent the limits on the creators' ability to imagine.


    Most TV shows get cancelled early. No TV series is entitled to survive. TV shows are like animal babies on those nature documentaries: They desperately scramble to survive and adapt in a harsh, unforgiving environment and outcompete each other for finite resources, and it's a given that many or most of them will die very young. So it makes no sense to say that the only way a show gets cancelled is if it does something wrong. Many superbly made, brilliantly conceived shows have been cancelled. Enterprise's four-year run was actually more than most shows get. Most shows are lucky to get past one season.


    Of course they're relevant in this context. If we were talking about writing prose, then you could talk about creativity as something entirely divorced from financial considerations; I can write about a vast alien city floating in the clouds of a Venus-like planet and populated by bizarre eight-limbed aliens and have it cost no more to print than if I wrote about college students in Cincinnati. But in television, it costs money to turn creative ideas into actual images. And that means that some creative ideas are too expensive to actually realize. Again, you're being totally unfair by assuming that the limitation is in the creators' imaginations rather than their budgets.


    You're being smug and condescending, which is very easy to do when you've never actually had to do the job and have no damn clue of the difficulties involved. It's easy to talk about making difficult choices if you don't actually have to make them. That's just armchair quarterbacking. If you actually did the job yourself, you'd quickly be forced to realize it's not as easy as it looks from the outside. Plenty of TV and film creators want to make risky and difficult choices, but there are all sorts of restrictions on what they can actually achieve, whether due to budget or technological limits or studio interference or network censorship or simply running out of time. This is what you don't understand because you don't actually do the job: That compromise is a fundamental part of film or television production. That what ends up onscreen is almost always dialed back from what the creators wanted, because real-world considerations tend to get in the way of pure imagination. It takes a lot of money to be able to achieve anything you imagine -- but the more money there is invested in a project, the more uneasy the financial backers get about taking risks, so it can be a catch-22.


    I wasn't aware there was a huge grassroots demand for more scenes of people floating around weightlessly or doing repairs on the outside of ships. I don't really see how those, or shots of people peering into periscopes instead of looking at a viewscreen, would've significantly increased viewership. Wouldn't, oh, better stories and characterizations have been more likely to achieve that?
     
  7. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Except I know full well that no show has infinite money and didn't intend to give that impression. As I've already said, it's about priorities. They had enough money on the show to do plenty of expensive stuff that they didn't need to - semi-regular CGI aliens, cityscapes, space battles and elaborate set designs, even though they didn't have to. They could have put the money into other things.

    I mean, I appreciate the effort of explaining the realities of TV production but, frankly, exactly how they do it and how they prioritise the budget is for the producers to work out. Discussions would be pretty short if they all ended with "well, they couldn't do that."

    Please don't resort to making personal comments. You don't actually know what I do and it's completely irrelevant anyway.
    Argue with with point, not the person. Thanks.


    Does there have to be a "huge" demand for things for them to be worth doing? I'm sure Enterprise gave us plenty of things that weren't in huge demand, but that's not really the point. I think the occasional bit of lo-fi space-faring type adventures could have added to the overall flavour of the show.

    Naturally, but every little helps.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's what you're doing. You're accusing the creators of the show of lacking imagination, making your criticisms of them personal when there's no reason to. That's my point -- that they could have immense, sweeping imaginations but have to compromise them for the sake of budget. So you're wrong to make it personal, to cast aspersions on the creators' talent rather than recognizing that what you see onscreen is a compromise. I think you're being unfair to them as people, and I'm defending them.
     
  9. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Firstly, even if I was doing this, you shouldn't address an issue of improper conduct by adding to it (ie. two wrongs don't make a right).

    Secondly, I am actually doing no such thing; you've incorrectly inferred this.

    I hope this clears up any confusion.
     
  10. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    No, it would not look like Flash Gordon. "The Cage" as a starting point could have provided the model to create a retro ENT universe. No one ever said "The Cage" was such a radical departure from earlier Starfleet (tech, uniforms, etc.), that it was as antiquated in appearance as Flash Gordon.

    In actuality, the basic ship (and some weapon) designs of TOS heavily influenced series taking place up to and beyond 100 years into its fictional future, so if there was a sense of longevity moving forward, one could suggest the same going in reverse.

    On that note, take fantasy films set during World War II, such as Captain America: The First Avenger, which featured a number of "retro tech" devices/weapons on both sides of the conflict. Despite it being set some 70 years in the past, the technology does not come off as ancient (sort of what your Flash Gordon reference implies about ENT's delimma) when compared to various set or device designs in The Avengers.

    It is a matter of choice--and how creative those behind a production can be. Further, if you remember ENT's "In a Mirror, Darkly" 2-parter, the TOS sets--to 2005 audiences having witnessed decades of ever-advancing set and costume design--did not mock the Defiant, but thought it was sharp and fit in as the "future" of ENT, even with the 1960s sensibilities.

    Again, ENT had choices where ship, device and costume design were concerned, but it--like many of the scripts--were poor.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  11. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    I think Enterprise failed because the execution of the idea didn't live up to the promise. Bringing in Coto was a smart move, but it was too late.

    Removing pieces of Trek tech to make it look more primitive would only have served to, in my opinion, handicap the show's ability to tell a good story even more.

    As for continuity, by the time Enterprise went on the air the franchise was so weighed down by its own canon that (again, my opinion), it was doomed to sink. It could have been a great show, but it wasn't.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which may have been part of Berman & Braga's rationale in doing a prequel: To get free of all that continuity baggage by going to an era where most of it hadn't happened yet and would have no impact. If so, it was undermined by the network's insistence on including stuff like transporters and Klingons and the Temporal Cold War.
     
  13. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    Could be. It just seemed really heavy, like struggling to stay afloat, even from the pilot. Too many "chefs" ruin the soup. ;)
     
  14. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why was the Temporal Cold War even a thing?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Reportedly, because the network was uneasy about a show moving into the past of the Trek universe when they thought it should be moving forward. So they insisted on including some ties to Trek's future through a time-travel element, and the TCW is what the producers came up with. The reason it was so half-hearted, vague, and barely coherent is because the producers never wanted it in the first place.
     
  16. Saul

    Saul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Canon has nothing to do with good storytelling.
     
  17. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Enterprise did it right. It's design choices were based on extrapolations of the 20th and 21st Centuries technology rather than trying to create an "earlier" version of the 60s designs of TOS.
     
  18. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Correct--by the time ENT rolled around, the Berman destruction of the franchise was complete, and it appeared that he and his associates were hell bent on tepid--if not lifeless ST. Coto's 11th hour arrival was like trying to plug a car-sized hole in a sinking ship with a handkerchief.

    They were lucky to have "In a Mirror, Darkly" as a gem in a sea of coal.
     
  19. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One wonders how different Voyager and Enterprise would have been had they been syndicated like TNG and DS9 rather than being on UPN.
     
  20. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Of course!

    Although Season 4 did make some effort of retconning most of those continuity errors away again.

    It also depends what you consider a "continuity error". Some purists would say that the NX-01 looked more modern than the NCC-1701 and hence this constituted a continuity error. But as it has been established in episodes like "Trials and Tribble-ations" (DS9) or "In a Mirror, Darkly" (ENT) this was apparently just the aestethically preferred kind of starship design in the 23rd century.