Season 4: Just how much of it can be called Fanwank?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by teacake, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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 :rolleyes:

    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.
     
  2. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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 :p

    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 :lol:
     
  3. Tosk

    Tosk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  4. Ziz

    Ziz Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  5. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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 :lol:
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    The only thing in the entire Trekverse more fanwanky than season 4 of Enterprise is this:
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJHANrzMSlk[/YT]
     
  7. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was drunk once and cried when I watched that KingDaniel.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    LOL, that was wanky to the point of hilarity! :p
     
  9. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If VOY and ENT are "TNG-lite" then TNG is clogging my arteries.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    How did "Daedalus" ignore ENT continuity?
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    SOme might say (parts) that season 4 was the closest to it's premise,
     
  13. BruntFCA

    BruntFCA Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  16. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It certainly doesn't have to be. I consider Geoff Johns the greatest fanwank writer ever, Jim Shooter in second.
     
  17. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My def of fanwank has been "Taking a conversation you might had when you were 14 and running with it"

    EX: "Man if Molecule Man fought the Avengers that would be epic!!"

    "No it wouldn't. He'd ROFLstomp the Avengers. Everything is made out of molecules. He'd dissolve Mjolenir, Iron Man's armor, Caps shield...hell, you can throw in the Silver Surfer too. He'd dissolve his surfboard, then drop a giant boot on them. The fight would last 10 seconds"

    Now this doesn't mean fanwank is a bad thing at all. But I prefer it done by experts.
     
  18. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You're describing my posting style perfectly.
     
  19. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Enterprise is sent to the distant "The Barrens" where there are no stars for 100 light years. It turns out, well before the first Warp-5 ship, the Ericksons knew of this distant area and travelled there to do transporter tests. Then some plain ol' ship comes and picks them up at the end.

    Remember back in "Broken Bow" and then "First Flight" when it was clear that the Warp 5 engine was a hundred times faster than was possible with the previous generation of warp engines, which were limited by the Warp 2 barrier? That the Enterprise could do in days or weeks what previously took years and years? How Travis said that they'd be doing runs that took his family's ship years to do? That Warp 5 engines would put other ships out of business?

    Did the Ericksons take a ship that took years to get to the Barrens? Will that ship that picks them up take years to get back?

    The NX-01 is supposed to be the fastest vessel by far. Now the Barrens are just a hop, skip, and jump for every Tom, Dick, and Harry starship. And if it is really so close, why send the super-fast NX-01?

    In Season 5, the NX-01 just hung around the neighbourhood like any ol' ship, just like the E-D did after the first season or two of TNG. There was virtually nothing about this episode that couldn't have turned into a TNG episode simply by changing the charter's names.
     
  20. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, okay. Yeah, that doesn't quite fit.