Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by TheGodBen, Sep 5, 2009.
I'd comment on this but my joke would be 11 years too late to be relevant.
Nah, There's Something About Mary is a classic!
I really like Vox Sola. Sure, it's not a perfect episode, but this was the sort of episode I wanted Enterprise to do more often.
I really like them grappling with the simple task of deciphering and translating this creature's language.
Vox Sola had a really strong "new life forms and new civilisations" feel to it, and I love it for that.
Okay, but if people start groaning because of this tired old joke then I'm blaming you.
Reed: "Hehehe... sucker."
T'Pol: "Humans and their illogical hairstyles."
Hoshi: "The captain said he borrowed some gel from Reed and Phlox. Looks strong. I wonder if I can get some too."
Trip: "Don't look at it... don't look at it..."
Phlox: "Hehehe... sucker."
Archer: "Why's everyone looking at me funny?"
Oh boy ... And to think that you actually did warn me!
Nah, just kidding. I think that's hilarious. But then again, my humor seems to be rather out-of-date. So take that for what it's worth. (Which doesn't seem to be much, I'm afraid. )
I'm officially never washing my hair ever again without sniffing the shampoo bottle first. Actually that in itself could be a euphemism... :/
The thing that stuck in my mind (oh God we can't escape the theme) most was the idiotic dance Archer did at the end of the episode... that was entertaining...
Fallen Hero (***)
Hello old chums, I bid you welcome to today's review, which is about a charming little episode called Fallen Hero, dontchano. I promised you a higher class of review after my previous vulgar musings, so today I have put on my top-hat and monocle and will not dare to mention the vile substances I brought to one's mind when discussing Vox Sola. It was most dreadful of me.
This episode begins with a scandalous scene where T'Pol asks Archer and Trip when was the last time they... fornicated. Most distasteful, I expected better from a lady of her esteem. She suggests that they visit Risa in order to... couple with some ladies of the lowest possible order. I must admit, my respect for captain Archer evaporated when he takes her advice, it's not the decent thing to do. Luckily, those of us in the audience are spared the shameless sight of scantilly clad individuals when Archer recieves a message from Starfleet and he has to collect a Vulcan diplomat, V'Lar, played by Fionnula Flanagan.
Hang on a second, she's from Dublin, and there's no way I'm acting classy for a Dubliner. Buch of wankers the lot of them. Semen! Masses and masses of semen!
Anyway... I didn't like the way that Fionnula Flanagan played V'Lar, some of her inflections didn't seem very Vulcan to me and as a result many of the scenes she was in fell short. The heart of this episode is the relationship between Archer and T'Pol which has clearly grown over the course of this season. I like that fact that T'Pol can now respect Archer's orders even when she doesn't agree with him, and he is willing to trust her instincts. This sort of character growth may have happened a little fast, but it also felt natural for the most part. The ending didn't work for me, it was far too neat and required the Mazarites to do exactly what Archer expected them to do. Someone really needed to spend an extra ten minutes thinking up a better ending for the episode.
Disappearing Aliens: 9
I quite liked Fallen Hero, and a lot of that had to do with V'Lar. So far I don't really like Enterprise's depiction of the Vulcans as scheming, joyless bastards and V'Lar (along with Season 2's Mestral) was a pleasant exception. She seemed like a believable person with an actual personality. And, even though I've still to warm to Archer and T'Pol, this episode was good for their relationship.
Fionnula Flanagan as V'Lar is my favorite one and done appearance in Enterprise and maybe in all of the ST TV series. She shows us that not all Vulcans are alike. A message that can be applied to all races. She is also willing to sacrifice herself and her reputation to help the planet. In a series where we are learning that some Vulcan's have a less than honorable agenda she restores our faith in the Vulcans.
Fallen Hero was an okay episode. I appreciate it for introducing one of the most likeable Vulcans in the series thus far. I do, however, think that there's something off about V'Lar. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'd say the problem has more to do with the performance of Fionnula Flanagan than with what's actually in the script. I loved Flanagan in the Trek episodes she did before Enterprise, but almost everything she says and does as V'Lar seems odd. It's something about her delivery and gesticulation that tells me she tried a bit too hard.
I also would have liked the episode more if instead of focussing on the politics of a species we'll never see again, it would have featured a known race, like the Andorians, the Tellarites or even the Tandarans. To me that was another missed opportunity of building a more believable universe.
I think part of the problem I have with V'Lar is that she's played as being a little posh, but there should be no such thing as a posh Vulcan. At least there shouldn't be in my mind, it would be odd for a race devoted to logic to have a class-based society.
Desert Crossing (***)
The first time I saw this episode it was too obvious that it was a not-so-disguised allusion to the Taliban, and that annoyed me because it was clear the show was trying to be relevant by playing catch-up with recent events. However, 8 years on from the fall of the Taliban it doesn't bother me so much anymore, I'm free to judge the story as a story now that the "War on Terror!!" has become an embarrassing remnant from history.
This is a story broken into two halves, both of which are good but the overall episode suffers from the poorly slapped together structure. The first half is interesting because it follows up on past episodes and Archer is confronted with the fact that his past actions are having unintended consequences across the galaxy; his actions in freeing the Suliban has spread rumours that he is a war hero and aliens begin to seek him out. In this case Archer is sought out by a "terrorist" Torothan, an alien race who would later win the contract to furnish the Intrepid class starships.
This is an excellent opportunity for a pre-PD examination episode, but almost as soon as Archer is confronted with his past the episode decides to switch gear and it becomes about Archer and Trip trying to survive in the desert. There's nothing wrong with this material, it helps to define the Archer/Trip relationship better than it had been up to this point, but it causes the episode to skip what I think could have been a much more interesting and important episode. I guess this is another case of a missed opportunity, unless you're the sort of person who enjoys seeing Trip run around shirtless and sweaty, in which case this episode is nirvana.
Nipples Ahoy!: 5
Archer Abuse: 12
Disappearing Aliens: 10
Desert Crossing is one of my least favorite episodes. The main plot of the episode was taken from Bay Watch, skin on the beach. If T'Pol and Hosi had gone to the planet I may have enjoyed it more. I guess this was an episode designed for female viewers. The scene with Trip suffering from the heat and needing to be saved by Archer seemed very forced. We've seen Trip in worse situations and he never came across as a fragile weakling like he did in this episode.
I don't know, it makes sense to be that under that tough exterior Trip is whiny and weak, like how under my whiny and weak exterior lays the strength of a... moderate house-cat.
Two Days and Two Nights (*½)
One of the good things about this episode is that it gave all the major characters something to do, but it is a little worrying that crewman Cutler seemed to have more screentime than Travis. I'll miss Cutler, she was cute. Anyway, because this episode had four distinct stories I'll split the review up and analyse each one.
Archer and the Mysterious Stranger: Not a bad idea for an episode, and it is great to have some continuity to do with the Tandarans. At the time I thought that the Tandarans would make many more appearances, but I guess not. This plot goes rapidly downhill when Keyla loses all composure and starts screaming at Archer to give her information about the Suliban. For an undercover operative she has a lot to learn about not drawing attention to herself. She also had a dog, a terran species, which is odd enough without adding the fact that it is a flying dog which somehow made its way onto Archer's balcony, something that Archer just seemed to forget.
Result: On a planet of nymphomaniacs Archer fails to get any, and he passed out at the sight of his own blood.
Archer Abuse: 13
Trip and Reed Look for Love, Lose Pants: Perhaps it is a little juvenile and silly, but I like the concept of this story, it seems like exactly the sort of thing which would happen if humans start exploring alien worlds. And it is refreshing to have two male characters in a Trek series go to a bar solely for the purpose of having sex, Voyager and even DS9 never would have had their many characters act this way. The problem is that in order to get some added comedy into the situation the alien muggers steal their clothes for no good reason, and the "embarrassing" scene of them walking through the bar in their underwear isn't so embarrassing considering what everyone else is wearing. Hell, even Picard showed off more than they did.
Ah, the 24th century, back when command officers wore red, operations officers wore gold, and men more less.
Result: On a planet of nymphomaniacs Reed and Trip fail to get any, unless something happened while they were passed out.
Nipples Ahoy!: 6
The Curious Case of the Whacky Dr Phlox and the Silent Ensign: This story tries too hard to be funny and instead ends up being awkward and embarrassing. It also serves to make Mayweather seem even more incapable than he already seemed. It did have Cutler though...
Result: On a planet of nymphomaniacs Travis doesn't even bother to get any, Phlox might have gotten some after Cutler escorted him back to his bed.
Hoshi's Magical Tongue: Hoshi meets a very creepy man who looks like he is about to shout at her and possibly hit her at any moment, but for some reason she finds this extremely sexy and she breaks out the whip and jack-boots we all hope she owns.
Result: Hoshi doesn't go seeking any, so she is naturally the only person to get some.
Two Days and Two Nights originally aired during summer in Australia (or at least, close to summer - I remember the night being very hot), so the episode combined with the weather just worked for me. A pleasant, carefree episode just before the season finale just in time for the start of summer holidays.
Desert Crossing was kind of boring. The start was decent, mainly because I found the terrorist guy entertainingly portrayed. He reminded me of some generic eastern bloc dude from a James Bond movie. But when the episode turned to the whole survival story I just got bored.
EDIT: I confess, that I found Phlox bumbling about to quite hilarious. "BRIDGE! SET COURSE FOR REGULUS! MAXIMUM WARP.", like the NX-01 is Phlox's personal chariot or some shit.
It's the return of the Tasty Coma Wife, and this time she's angry.
As with Broken Bow and Cold Front, this episode initially had me very intrigued with the possibilities it presented, but knowing that the Tasty Coma Wife isn't going to go anywhere means that it loses much of its edge. And when you think about it knowing what is to come none of this makes any sense; Future Guy needs the UFP to exist in order to fight off the sphere-builders, so why is he trying to cancel the mission which will eventually lead to the creation of the UFP? How come Daniels is alive? How come the change to the timeline was immediate? How come Daniels still exists in the altered future?
When I first saw this episode I had faith (of the heart) that B&B had some idea, no matter how vague, as to what all this meant. I guess not.
All that being said, most of the episode is very good. The reaction by Archer and the Enterprise crew to the accident is good; Archer blames himself mercilessly while Reed refuses to believe that they are to blame. T'Pol convincing Archer not to give up but to fight for the continuation of the mission is a nice, quiet scene. Archer speaking with Daniels in the past makes for a unique and interesting scene. There's some fun action and great visuals as Archer and co attack the Suliban ship, and seeing Enterprise surrounded by enemy ships at the end is a sight to behold.
Captain Redshirt: 12
Disappearing Aliens: 11
Stand by for graphs and uninsightful ramblings.
Season 1 Review
Those of you who are familiar with my Voyager reviews already know the formula, but if anybody new has joined in when I started Enterprise then this is how it works; first I analyse the review scores I gave this season, then I judge the writing staff, then I tell you what I would have done differently, then some fun numbers.
I'm going to shake things up with Enterprise by changing the background colour for the graphs, just like The Wire changes the cover of the theme song each season. Yup, I'm just like The Wire; intelligent, funny and highly-realistic.
For any Enterprise fans who didn't read the Voyager thread and who weren't put off by my style of reviews, this is how the above graph works: The thick blue line represents the scores for individual episodes between 0-10, the green line (which is difficult to see in this graph) represents the average score for the season, and the red line is a trend-line which shows whether my interest in the show went up or down as the season progressed and how steeply. What is striking about the trend-line in this graph is how level it is, no season of Voyager was as balanced as this, so Enterprise's first season was very consistent in quality. The average score for the season is judged out of 25 episodes (Broken Bow is counted as one) and the result is 5.16, slightly above average. That may seem low, but only two seasons of Voyager managed to beat it (1 & 4) so it is not a bad position to be in.
This graph is designed to show how many of each score was awarded. What you'd expect to see is some form of bell-curve around the average score for the season, but in this case no episodes were awarded 4 and only one was awarded 5, which is unusual. 6 was the most awarded score with a total of seven episodes, no episode scored 0 and no episode scored a perfect 10.
9 episodes were below average, 1 was average and 15 were above average.
Best episode: Shuttlepod One
Worst episode: Acquisition
If you haven't been bored away by the graphs above, the purpose of this section is to judge the writers individually and see who I considered to be the weakest links in the writing staff. It started out on Voyager as an attempt to judge Brannon Braga as a writer because of how controversial he is in the Trek community, but I quickly started doing it for all the writers. I only score a person based on the teleplays they are credited for because I believe a good script can overcome a bad story and a bad script can ruin a good story. The two writers from Enterprise that I included in the Voyager graphs were Braga and Mike Sussman (Phyllis Strong and André Bormanis both wrote for Voyager but didn't write enough episodes to be included) and here are their scores:
Braga: 5.417 out of 36 episodes
Sussman: 4.667 out of 6 episodes
Those of you familiar with this feature in the Voyager thread know that I only include writers who wrote at least five episodes over the run of the show. However, since Enterprise only ran for 4 seasons I've decided to cut that number down to three, otherwise the graph wouldn't look as good. Since Rick Berman and Brannon Braga were always credited together they will be treated as one person with the name B&B, naturally. Similarly, Maria & André Jacquemetton wrote their three episodes together so they'll be credited as Mr & Mrs J, and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens wrote all their episodes together so they'll be credited as Mr & Mrs R-S when the time comes.
Things aren't normally this complicated, I can assure you.
The best writer this season is André Bormanis with a score of 7, but that is only based on two episodes so there's still a good chance he is going to screw that up. Up next are B&B with a score of 6.2 out of five episodes, so they're off to a pretty good start. Next is Fred Dekker who only wrote these three episodes in season 1 to get a score of 5.333 (and his bar is light-blue because that is his final score). Up next are Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman who are writing partners for this season, they earned 4.8 out of five episodes. The Jacquemettons scored 4.667 based on their three episodes. The worst score this season is for Chris Black who only scored 2.5, but that is only out of two episodes so he has a good chance to recover over the next two seasons.
What Would TheGodBen Do?
The year is 2001. UPN want a new Star Trek series so B&B are hired to create it. They do all the work; they come up with the concept, they come up with the characters, they come up with the spaceship... but the hard work gets the better of the both of them and they run away to Florida. UPN needs a new head writer, so they use their time machine to bring me back from the future in order to run the show. What would I have done differently?
I would have preferred for Enterprise to remain closer to Earth; I want to see more of Starfleet, I want to see the human colonies in the Alpha Centauri system, I want to see more of the boomers. As a prequel series, Enterprise gave us a one-off opportunity to explore the gap between now and TOS, and as a Trek fan all my life that would have been far more interesting than exploring some more aliens-of-the-week. All we get from this season is Terra Nova and Fortunate Son, neither of which went deep enough into human society. I want to know more about the Vulcans; if they've been in space for thousands of years, how come they're not more advanced? Why are they so interested in human affairs? What is the nature of their conflict with the Andorians? Where are the Tellarites? Who are the Denobulans?
Basically, I wanted this first season to be more like the fourth season but without all the fanwanky bits. This first season isn't bad, but it isn't taking advantage of the premise as it should be (Voyager thread readers will probably remember that line ). I'm reminded of DS9; back in the first season they did alien/anomaly-of-the-week type stories and the show didn't go anywhere, but in season 2 they started to explore Bajoran society and their relationship with the Cardassians, that is when the show got interesting for me. I wanted more universe building, the galaxy would still be out there to explore deeper in later seasons.
I did not want the Temporal Cold War. Time travel can be great fun, but by the final seasons of DS9 and Voyager time-travel was being used badly and lazily, and Endgame not only took the cake, but it ate it and vomited it all over our faces. I was hoping that Enterprise, being a prequel series, would have escaped the clutches of time travel technology, but instead they made it the central story-arc for the show. Time travel stories in particular have to be crafted, if you just throw the story together randomly as seems to have happened with the TCW then it wont work.
No Klingons, it opened a small continuity issue and it wasn't worth it for what we got. No Ferengi, it opened a small continuity issue and it certainly wasn't worth it for what we got. No Risa, I didn't want to see Hoshi get laid that much.
(I warned you I'd be uninsightful.)
Disappearing Aliens: 11
Archer Abuse: 13
Captain Redshirt: 12
Nipples Ahoy!: 6
Season 1 Average: 5.16
Voyager Average After 1 Season: 5.867
Enterprise is a good show, it has a good setting with good characters and it is very skilfully produced, but right now it is taking its brilliant premise for granted by doing the same old Trek stories. There's some good character stuff going on, but too often the characters are being led by the plot rather than the other way around. There's something special here, the writers just need to find a way to get at it. Unfortunately, if my memory serves me correctly, season 2 will not find it and the good stuff that they did manage to find for the first season is about to dry up.
I liked Desert Crossing for a whole lot of superficial reasons. I quite enjoyed Clancy Brown as Zobral (although, like with Dean Stockwell and René Auberjonois, I wish they would have given him a more relevant role) and appreciated the cinematography of the desert scenes. (Does anyone know where they shot that?) Director David Straiton made some interesting choices, like the slow-motion effect in the scene where they play this lacrosse-like game. Also, the music in this scene was wonderful.
I'm almost afraid to admit it, but Two Days and Two Nights is actually one of my favorite Enterprise episodes. (I wonder what that says about me. Or about the series. ) I know I shouldn't love it that much, but like SRFX I really went for the carefree and somewhat fluffy feel of it. I'm not sure, but I think it was Jammer, who in his review of Two Days pointed out that the episode works because it features four seperate plotlines of which none could really constitute an episode on its own. And I think I would have to agree with that. It's a quiet episode; and that's why I like it.
Shockwave I don't really remember that much. I guess I'll have to rewatch it one of these days, but I seem to remember that I liked the initial situation and how everyone takes it so seriously. It's a shame they never really had a clue where this whole TCW stuff was going.
I agree about keeping closer to Earth and seeing more of what humanity's up to in space.
As for the season we got, I only saw fifteen episodes, so my view is obviously imperfect, but I wasn't terribly impressed. Looking back, there isn't one episode of season one that I really, really like, although The Andorian Incident and Shuttlepod One come closest. Although I've only seen eleven episodes of season two, I don't really see the drop in quality everyone else seems to notice - as far as I can see the first two seasons are pretty much the same, except that season two does have a couple of episodes that I really, really like. Maybe my biggest problem is that I couldn't really warm to or take interest in the characters, though I appreciate that other people did. Still, I didn't find that the early episodes did much to sell us on them.
On the plus side, we got some really nice looking visuals, I liked the sets and letting us get to know the Andorians better was a cool idea.
Is Shuttlepod 1 generally well liked? Because I really did not like it.
I like the "what would godben do" section, I liked the ideas.
What continuity issues arose from the Klingons being introduced early?
Separate names with a comma.