TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by TheGodBen, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    I rather like his unusual way of delivering his lines, though, admittedly, it takes some getting used to. I came to really appreciate it.
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Broken Bow (***)

    It must not have been easy to come up with this pilot, they had to struggle to reintroduce us to a universe we already know very well during an era we knew almost nothing about. One of the things that I like about this episode, and the universe at this time, is that Humanity is shown to be a minor player known by only a small number of races, it makes an interesting change to the later Trek series where Humanity and the Federation seem to be running everything. That's the potential of this series right there, to watch how Humanity went from nobodies to become the predominant force in the galaxy. Unfortunately the show only started to scratch that potential when it was cancelled.

    One thing this pilot doesn't do well is give the entire cast something important to do. In Caretaker each of the main cast plays a part in the plot, but in Broken Bow the only important characters are Archer, T'Pol and Tucker while the other four are just tagging along for the ride. This might have been a conscious decision by B&B since that is the direction the show itself went down, but that is not the way I wanted the show to go, I like the feeling of a big ensemble cast. All the characters are introduced competently, but you're left waiting for the next few episodes to really get a grasp of what they are capable of.

    The episode is mainly about Archer's childhood desire to get out of Sol and explore the unknown, which makes sense but doesn't make for fascinating entertainment, and the scenes of child-John and his his dad flying a model spaceship are a little hokey. The only other characters in this episode to get serviced are Trip and T'Pol, and that involves some gel and a blue room. But the less said about that the better.

    The episode takes place on a a larger canvas than your typical Trek episode and that is always a good thing in my opinion, but the problem is that I look back on this episode now and see how little most of the plot matters. I was wary of the Temporal Cold War to begin with because Endgame gave me time travel burnout, but it is even worse now that I know the TCW (henceforth known as the Tasty Coma Wife) was not plotted out and will end abruptly without being explained. What did the Klingon civil war have to do with anything? Nobody knows. Why was Sarin working against Silik? Nobody knows. Who is Future Guy? He was probably a Romulan, but the truth is that nobody knows.

    This is a pilot which seems to contain important information about the future of the show, but it doesn't really, which is unfortunate because so much of the action is focused around this stuff. If Enterprise hadn't managed to return Klaang to Qo'nos would it have made much of a difference to the Tasty Coma Wife? Probably not, the whole thing would still have failed to make any sense. If the seasons that followed had built upon and explained the mystery around the events of Broken Bow then this could have been a 4 star episode, but it didn't and as such it is a plot that happened for no reason other than to have people shooting at one another.

    I'm only going to count alien species that are named rather than counting all the different aliens that appear in the background on Rigel X, so we have two new aliens this week, the Suliban and the Lorillians. (The Denobulans haven't been named yet, which shows you the time which went into exploring the main cast in the episode.)

    Disappearing Aliens: 2

    Archer was knocked out after being shot in the leg and Silik beat him up and stole his gun.

    Archer Abuse: 2

    I've also decided to count the number of times when Archer put himself in needless danger by going on a dangerous away mission rather than delegating to his capable crew. In this episode Archer went down to Rigel X and he flew over to the Suliban base with Trip because the trained security officer was too busy styling his hair.

    Captain Redshirt: 2

    I'll also count the number of times they use the "dangerous" transporter on a person.

    Transporter: 1
     
  3. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought "Broken Bow" was an entertaining action adventure opening for the series.

    The promotion over the summer of '01 definitely whetted my appetite with all those cool promos. It felt like Trek might actually be hip. I also thought the show would be a step up from VOY as well as a series that could get back to the straight out adventure of TOS/TNG. Plus I figured that B&B wrote off VOY as a lost cause, handed over the reigns to Biller and poured all their creative energy for the last two years before its premiere into ENT in order to make it the best show possible.

    Given the budget and advances in CGI this pilot was probably the closest to the look and feel of a feature with all of the on location shoots that took us from the cornfields of Oklahoma to an alien bazaar to the inside of a gas giant to the council chambers of Kronos. The production was top notch--the make up on both the old(Klingons) and new have never looked better. I loved the crimson suits the Suliban wore and the mottled make up design was one of my favorites.

    The pilot also did an exceptionally good job at effectively evoking an attitude and atmosphere that really made one feel that they were in the 22nd century. The way the crew looked at the transporter with trepidation, their reactions to encountering new species, their ignorance of Klingons, the use of shuttlepods over transporters, the lack of a reliable UT resulting in the need of an actual linguist. The new jumpsuits the crew were sporting was a nice update on a contemporary NASA jumpsuit with appreciated Trek influenced flourishes like the pips and colored piping denoting the departments.

    B&B also did a good job orienting us to this new era by efficiently and entertainingly introducing us to the players and letting us in on how the various dynamics had changed from what we had grown accustomed to in the 24th century with TNG/DS9/VOY. It really felt like we had taken a leap back through time and one of the things ENT did do right was capture the newness to the crew. This really did feel like a new frontier with an expansive unknown frontier.

    I also liked the idea of giving us both familiar faces like the Klingons to new threats with the Suliban. Here the Temporal Cold War was intriguingly introduced that hinted at eerie meddling from unknown future forces. In hindsight, it also was one of the earliest forays into what shows like LOST, nBSG, Heroes would come to do as a matter of standard operating procedure--introducing dozens of unanswered questions leaving you whimpering in confusion as to who the players are, how they are connected and what their various agendas were.

    The pilot was pretty simple and basic in its approach but I appreciated that since this series was all about getting back to basics. The action pieces--the firefight on the landing pad on Rigel, the boarding of NX by the Suliban, the showdown in the temporal chamber-- were exciting. The chemistry between the cast especially between the Big Three was there. The mystery of what was going on was interesting and attention-getting. I give it 3 stars out of 4.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  4. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's been so long since I watched most of Enterprise, I'm probably just gonna be reading along here, while throwing out a few comments about what I would have done instead of what was done, like so: I would have stretched out the journey from Earth to Qo'nos for at least a few episodes, really emphasize just how vast space is and how later series take the higher speeds for granted. Besides, a handful of days to travel from Earth to Qo'nos seems pretty hard to swallow in light of other episodes, which imply there's a good deal of distance between the two powers.
     
  5. pookha

    pookha Admiral Admiral

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    well you could replace archer with kirk/
    ;)


    as for the alien thing.
    look major aliens like the andorians and tellarites beyond a couple of verbal mentions almost totally disappear after tos.

    and considering enterprise is more neae space then the later series it isnt suprising a lot of races later on were not mentioned.

    there were numerous races in the federation by the time of tos that we never did learn their name.
     
  6. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I missed the pilot, is the 'Bow' in 'Broken Bow' pronounced to rhyme with 'no' or 'wow'?
     
  7. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh believe me, if I ever do one of these threads about TOS then I will be counting Kirk's idiocy too. I still can't believe that after his 3rd and 4th in command went missing in Catspaw he beamed down to the planet with his 2nd in command while leaving the Enterprise under the command of some redshirt we've never heard of. :wtf:

    The problem is that the show doesn't present itself as near-Earth space, in the very first episode they show Archer and co reaching Qo'nos in four days, so the show is presenting itself as taking place in the same stomping grounds as Kirk and Picard. Of course, even as a teenager I managed to do the calculation which showed that Qo'nos, by this episode's logic, had to be inside the Sol system's Oort cloud, but that's a whole other kettle of nonsensical fish.

    No. As in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.
     
  8. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ah, but Kirk's idiocy is endearing! He pulls some outrageous stunt and you think "oh Captain Kirk, you loveable lunatic!"
     
  9. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kirk does have a charm about him that I can't deny, he was a piss-poor captain but a great character. Archer does doesn't have the same level of charm, which is probably why he gets beaten up so much.
     
  10. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    I've seen all ENT episodes more often than is probably healthy so I'm often not sure what to think about them.
    I recently rewatched Broken Bow and one thing that struck me was the odd pacing. This is also a problem in later episodes. Even though the story was exciting, my mind wandered off from time to time because the pacing wasn't quite right. I agree that the childhood scenes were a bit awkward, especially the whole "you can't be afraid of the wind" thing. Also, the decon chamber. While in principle, this is a good idea because it shows the problems early space travellers would face when visiting alien worlds and ships, it is obviously just introduced for showing us some flesh.
    There are a lot of things I liked about the episode, e.g. the way Archer is confrontative with the Vulcans. I love how he totally proves their point by threatening T'Pol. :lol:
    I also loved Rigel X and I wish the locations on the series had stayed more like that, a bit more dirty than we're used to on Star Trek. They always did a very good job of building locations with a lot of nice details and touches, though.
    I remember that when I watched Broken Bow for the first time, I was immediately sold on the crew and especially Archer. I appreciated the fact that after all-too-perfect Janeway we'd get a flawed, slightly crazy captain for a change. Yeah, he's a prejudiced jerk, but somehow fun to be around. Or to watch, at least. But I'm probably pretty alone in that regard.
     
  11. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    May be a bit late to suggest a counter, but Needlessly Gratuitous Sexual Titillation Scenes could work too.:techman:
     
  12. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Every time someone is seen shirtless or in their underwear?
     
  13. Tallis Rhul

    Tallis Rhul Commander Red Shirt

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    If you held a competition for that among the crew then Trip has it nailed to the wall by about halfway through season 1...

    There's one thing that leapt out of your review at me, TheGodBen, which is that very little of the plot of Broken Bow matters. I think it was about a month ago when I sat down to watch it, having already seen it on TV when it aired on Channel 4 for the first time in the UK. I enjoyed it, it was a nice action romp, but I was left at the end of it thinking "Is that it? What actually happened then?"

    Also, props for Tasty Coma Wife. She was hot.

    And if you say "oort cloud" over and over enough times it becomes very funny.
     
  14. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Phloxist Moderator Moderator

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    I personally wouldn't go as far as "crazy" and "jerk," but I thought the idea of a captain with flaws, grumpily battling to overcome the chip on his shoulder about Vulcans, was refreshingly realistic. And I loved his idealism and enthusiasm for exploration.

    I enjoyed watching Archer and T'Pol slowly warm to each other, and by association each other's species. They both had a lot to learn.
     
  15. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    So I'm not alone. Great. :) Well, I'm sometimes a bit blunt in expressing my opinion, hopefully no one will take it personally or too seriously. I'll always have a soft spot for Enterprise.

    One other thing I forgot to say earlier: I think it's kind of outrageous that they introduced the Temporal Cold War as such an important plot point but never had any idea where they would go with this. Who the hell acts like that?
     
  16. JB2005

    JB2005 Commodore Commodore

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    ^ B&B :)
     
  17. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've missed quite a few episodes, so the only TCW ones I've seen have been Cold Front and Shockwave Part 2, however, everyone says it doesn't really matter. Question: If the Temporal Cold War is about stopping people from screwing with the timeline, do the events of Enterprise mean the ending of Voyager never happened?
     
  18. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A lot of writers don't have everything planned out and choose to make it up on the fly such as DS9. I really don't care if they have it all mapped out just as long as it ultimately makes sense. The TCW never did.
     
  19. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    That's not necessarily what the Temporal Cold War is about. It's about certain people (or factions) screwing with the timeline or preventing others from doing that. It never gets really clear what's going on, since we're seeing events from the point of view of the ENT crew (well, mostly Archer). While Future Guy and the Suliban were supposed to be the bad guys, they also help Archer a few times. It would actually be quite intriguing if it had some kind of pay-off.
    We never hear anything about the 24th century in the TCW episodes, we only find out that the 22nd century is a frontline in the war. So I highly doubt the TCW influenced Voyager in any way.
     
  20. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think that was the cae, had Enterprise had lasted seven seasons as the last three series did I'm sure that the TCW would've been played out differently. But I never really thought that Enterprise would've lasted that long, Star Trek was going downhill at the time and it wasn't Enterprise's fault.