So what's with all the Archer hate?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by jibrilmudo, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agreed. Don't get me wrong, while not my favorite incarnation of Trek, I still liked Enterprise, and Archer as a captain. However, it is true in the first couple seasons, Archer comes off as stiff, unsure of himself, and while I wouldn't say he was a bigot, I didn't like his preconceptions of Vulcans at first. At least Archer did evolve though.

    I attribute this to more of the writers WANTING to convey that Archer and the NX01 crew were in new territory, and wanted to write them with a certain amount of naivety and make sure we knew this wasn't a polished, 24th century Federation ship and crew, but just missed SOMETHING about the writing and it seems a bit forced. Maybe it was because they had many of the same writers and they were still used to writing for the 24th century era and were having trouble transitioning? I dunno.

    I don't think this really had much to do with the actors themselves, namely Bakula, Trinnier, and Blalock, because I have seen them all in other works and they are decent actors. Maybe not Patrick Stewart level, but definitely adequate and competent actors.

    I think the temporal cold war just hadn't been fleshed out properly. The Xindi arc, however, I remember seeing in first run and thinking "Why are we seeing this, and NOT the Romulan War?"

    That all said, I think Enterprise gets unfairly bashed, mainly because it was the last incarnation of Trek and became the whipping post for fan frustrations of over-saturation and basically Trek running on TV from 1987-2005 with no break and new ideas basically being harder to come up with.
     
  2. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The stiffness.. bothers me. Why the stiffness. Bakula isn't like this normally is he? I would have preferred Trip as captain, just as dumb and unsure and naive but filling that up with ego and personality rather than a stick up the butt demeanor.

    (And yes he did improve)
     
  3. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My theory: They weren't that way in Original History. Foreknowledge of the Borg - gained from discussion with Cochran and Sloan and other witnesses in Bozeman - caused the Vulcans to militarize (why the military controlled the planet) and to try to keep their heads down and not draw attention until they felt like they were ready (and keep the humans' heads down, too).

    Captain Archer frankly reminded me of President Bush, and the fact that I actually LIKE Archer is either a testament to Bakula's acting ability, natural charisma, or both. ;)
     
  4. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I never saw him as smarmy. Now Riker, HE is smarmy.
     
  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    What I found compelling about Sam Beckett played by Bakula was that he was always uncertain of himself. Almost every episode was not about himself. Instead, he endeavored to understand the character he inhabited and the relationships with the people around him or her. He developed an affection for those people. The only time I thought he was a dick was when Sam and Al switched placed, and all the details of his like returned to his consciousness.

    As Archer, Bakula could channel the same uncertainty and caring about the other, particularly in episodes like Minefield and Observed Effect. It's when he tried to assert himself that I thought he came across as smarmy: whenever he expressed his frustration that his starry eyed dreams of exploration weren't coming true, or when he had to pitch a fit about interference from the Vulcans or from Daniels.
     
  6. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Personally, I think had Archer been written more like he was in Seasons 3-4 from the get go, he would have been a lot better. I had always thought it was a mistake to write him as a test pilot being directly promoted to captain the Enterprise. The Enterprise wasn't the first warp capable star ship. It was the first warp 5 capable ship. There were clear examples of older starfleet ships in service. It would have been a lot more logical to promote a captain from a warp 3 or 4 ship to captain the Enterprise.

    Had Archer had at least one captaincy under his belt before the Enterprise (and they still could have written him as a former test pilot), he would have been a better and more polished captain from the get go, IMHO.

    Instead, Archer seemed more like a guy getting the job because of his father's legacy, than his own merits, and being revealed to be a former test pilot later on, seemed almost a retcon.

    Actually, while I agree there are a couple episodes Archer acts almost Bush-like, I thought if anyone reminded me of Bush on Enterprise, it was Trip.
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Now we're comparing Enterprise characters to politicians? Oh this should be good. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    ^Who should we compare to Thatcher?
     
  9. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In my case, and in my defense, it is not for political reasons. I believe Conner Trinnier has a passing resemblance to a young GW Bush (with make up, he could look a lot like him, IMHO), and his speech patterns as Trip remind me of Bush. In fact, if there were to be a movie about Bush, he would be a good actor to play him. And that's it!

    As for Archer, I think Enterprise was trying to make an analogy to the 911 attacks, Patriot act, and Iraq War with the Xindi arc. When I say Archer acted Bush-like a few times, it was because he was faced with moral dilemmas that were intended to parallel the debates about the Patriot Act, Iraq War, etc, in much the same way Battlestar Galactica did.
     
  10. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Has anyone from ENT actually said this was a deliberate analogy of 9/11?

    As I've said before not watching ENT from the US this never entered my head.
     
  11. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I am not sure if it was ever explicitly said. But it is not uncommon for TV shows to do that, and Star Trek has always been an allegory for current events.

    If you don't see it that way, then fine. Your POV is perfectly valid. Maybe since you are Australian, you see things a bit differently, or lose a bit in the context of Enterprise being an American TV show. But the timing of 9/11 and the following Xindi attack and story arc wasn't an accident, IMHO.
     
  12. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But shit is always blowing up in science fiction.

    What specifically about the Xindi attack was about 9/11 other than the "attack" part?
     
  13. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  14. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think this is just silly. Are we supposed to take every post 9/11 movie or tv show where someone is ATTACKED as being about 9/11?

    That's why I asked if anyone from ENT has actually stated this. Otherwise it just seems to be people trying to make everything about 9/11.
     
  15. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    TV often reflects the moods of people and the events that affect them. What resonates here in the US doesn't necessarily resonate with people in other countries. I don't expect you to make the connection, seeing as Enterprise was an American TV show. It simply is something that is not in your cultural frame of reference.

    And actually, yeah, when it comes to TV of that era, there WAS a lot of allegories and references to 9/11, Iraq War, how characters deal with xenophobia, Abu Graib, and the like. Enterprise had them, but because it was a sci fi show, it was less overt than say 24, or any crime drama show based in New York.

    What I find interesting is your seemingly hostile attitude that TV produced in the US might actually have themes especially aimed at US audiences, and reflect themes that resonate mostly with them.
     
  16. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's the assumption about this particular arc in this particular show that I question. I would like to hear from a reputable source that it is in some way a reference to 9/11, rather than just a reference to war and death. It's not like the Xindi arc is brave new territory or challenging in any way for television, science fiction or Star Trek. Yes there was a war going on, that is not something new for the US. Some people bitch about ENT using 9/11 in this way. I just don't know if it was a deliberate choice to tell a story about the Xindi and really be telling a story about 9/11.

    What was the bombing of San Francisco by the Dominion in DS9 about?
     
  17. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pearl Harbor. Those dirty Breen sinking our battleships.
     
  18. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    From an interview with Bakula:
    Even without direct confirmation, how the war was such a hot button topic that any depiction of the war necessarily folded into the debate about 9/11 and Iraq.
     
  19. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, well at least not that I recall reading, although I'm sure someone has asked the Beebs about this and I don't feel like tracking down the info.

    Archer's reaction to the attack (maybe more than the actual attack) was, I think, what led to a lot of the 9/11 speculation. He became hardened and was threatening to airlock everyone. Silik, illustrating the subtleness of the Beeb's writing (:rolleyes:), told Archer, "you've changed". After 9/11 the U.S. started torturing folks and blahdy blah.

    But I think the direct 9/11 analogy is probably more fanon than anything else.
     
  20. TheGoodStuff

    TheGoodStuff Commander Red Shirt

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    I dont really like the Archer hate....I just think it is misplaced.

    Bakula is a good actor and he had many moments throughout the show to prove it. The problem did not lie with him. The writing is the problem.

    Archer, and his human crew for that matter, are actually a breath of fresh air in Trek. These aren't the 24th century, Uber-enlightened humans that we are used to. They have only had warp drive for 90 years [which has barely allowed them some basic exploration as other technologies have caught up].

    Archer is not an unexperienced captain...he is THE captain. He is also, thus, completely new to the interstellar club and having to find his way the best he can. I LOVED the animosity with the Vulcans [ENT finally fleshed out a two dimensional race] and felt it was realistic. The Vulcans were humanities 'big brother' who knew better [im tempted to quote Q here, in regards to how dangerous 'out there' is....and the Vulcans new it] yet humanity, naturally, disliked this attitude.

    He simply isn't Picard. While he cant be a cliche 60's character like Kirk either. Archer is something different and some just dont seem to appreciate the situation the character is in. He is not a bigot or racist. He resents Vulcan interference [and later ADMITS that the Vulcans were right to hold humanity back].

    The one true problem with Archer, is the writing. Far too often he is written in an overly simplistic way. He doesn't seem 'new' to space as was intended....he seems new to command, strategy and basic diplomacy. Take, for example, my personal #1 worst episode in the franchise, A Night in Sickbay. This trainwreck of an episode is 45mins of character assassination. Archer is depicted as an unstable, unreliable, irrational idiot. It severely damages the character in my eyes.

    However, in general, I think the performance and character is great. The writers let Archer down...and the series.