Treking through all Star Trek

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by thew40, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: Enterprise – Season Four
    Episode: “Bound”
    Trek Installment # 91
    Grade: C+
    Viewing Date: November 27, 2009

    While I thought this episode was fun and had some nice touches, it really failed to deliver anything of substance. I liked that it featured the Orions, which I always felt was an underused species. It was also cool to see Orion Slave Women, although the whole “it’s the men who are slaves” deal is kinda stupid.

    In terms of the internal drama with the characters, the off/on relationship of Trip and T’Pol is back on. The scenes with them and T’Pol’s joke in sickbay were among the best. That being said, I thought it would have been more interesting to have Travis in Kelby’s role. I mean that. Wouldn’t it make sense that Travis ends up getting transferred to Engineering when Trip left and maybe was co-heading it with Kelby? And then that would give Travis some ambitions and (GASP) character development.

    Oh well. A man can dream.
     
  2. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: Enterprise – Season Four
    Episode: “Demons” and “Terra Prime”
    Trek Installment # 92 and 93
    Grade: B and A
    Viewing Date: November 27, 2009

    Because of the nature of these two episodes and the fact that poor Enterprise never did get a real series finale (as “These Are the Voyages. . .” was really bad and I’m saving it for later), I felt that these would work the best together.

    First and foremost, I can’t believe how much attention Travis Mayweather got in this episode. Where the hell was this? He was front and center emotionally and action-ly (not a word). He was great in this episode. And so was Hoshi, who got to command Enterprise for a while and did a good job at standing her ground. Archer’s comment about how much she’s grown was appreciated.

    Paxton was a very strong villain, though he could have used a little more backstory and motivation. But he was a good example of the hateful, spiteful, and generally ignorant part of humanity. He looked like someone from our time, which I think was done to show how much we’d grown by then. Even his influence represented negative aspects of mankind – cultivating in the death of Ensign Redshirt Traitor.

    Samuels was a little one-sided, but was pretty interesting. His transition from self-centered politician to spotlight sharing hero-lover was a good turn. Harris was thankfully not made out to be the super-villain he could have been, and instead gave Reed something interesting to do.

    Small moments are what won me over. Phlox’s words to Archer about the crew becoming a family to him were really nice. The aforementioned scenes with Hoshi and Travis were long overdue. Reed . . . uh, well, Reed was the first to get shot on the rescue mission, which was shocking and kinda funny.

    Obviously, the core of the story is baby Elizabeth and the Trip/T’Pol relationship. I think these three represented both the growth of the two worlds since “Broken Bow” and their ultimate destiny. The end scene in particular states this, as we have the two comforting each other with Enterprise sailing on.

    The best moment came at the end, when Archer gave his best speech ever. It cemented him as the key figure in foundation of the Coalition of Planets, which, as we know, gives way to the United Federation of Planets. That there is the key scene and what pulls it all together.

    As a finale, it doesn’t live up to the what the others shows have offered (if we count Star Trek 6 as the finale for TOS, that is). But considering the circumstances, it does do a good job of wrapping up the season and shoving us forward into the future.
     
  3. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like to think of Terra Prime as the 'real' Enterprise finale.

    Good write-ups. :)
    What's next, The Cage?
     
  4. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Same here! The Cage is coming, but I've to do a Season Four overview (which is this post), then the series overview, then one more artical before I post my review for The Cage.

    ------

    Season Four Overview

    Overall Season Rating: B+
    Best Episode: Terra Prime
    Best Episode Runner-Up: United
    Worst Episode: Storm Front, Part One

    I view season four in one of two ways. The first, it serves as a transition between the era it takes places in and the eras to come, solidifying its role as a prequel series. The second, as the last canon Trek to appear before Star Trek 11 and at a time when all Trek seemed hopeless, it kinda became a big fan-wanky exploration of Trek.

    This worked for the best for season four, though I was hoping we’d see more of the exploration-type episodes that were more common in seasons one and two. A lot of the species we have seen in season four were those that we’ve seen before – the Andorians, the Klingons, the Romulans, the Vulcans, and even the augments. But that being said, this dove deeper with the Andorians and Vulcans that we’ve gone before and I love that.

    The season kicked off with the end of the Temporal Cold War, but with no explanation about it. We never found out who Future Guy was nor was it ever explained why blowing up the temporal conduit ended the entire Temporal Cold War. It ended with disappointment and confusion.

    After coming home, the crew took some time to recover before going out and tackling some Augments and stopping a possible war with the Klingons. This arc I found had similarities with the “Terra Prime” one in that they both forced the crew to take a look at their past and try and battle against it from erupting into the present and messing with the galactic future.

    The Vulcan arc gave us Vulcans that we know and love and was great. With the except of the Klingon Augment arc and the three stand-alones, the Vulcan arc led into the Romulan arc, which in turn gave rise of the Terra Prime story. Remember the universe building I’ve been talking about? This was it. It showed us more of the Vulcans and Andorians that we’d ever seen, gave plenty of face time with the Tellarites, and showed us a peek of the future.

    Character-wise, Archer’s overall storyarc came to an end here. I think by the time he went back out into space in “Borderland,” Archer had found a balance between peace and aggression. Having Surak in his head helped weed out of the rest of his paranoia and resentment towards Vulcans. Archer, as we leave him, is a different man than where he began.

    Trip and T’Pol were way too on and off. They had so many talks that in the end, I don’t think that they knew where they were. The last scene in the season of them comforting each other is nice, though, and I really had some hope for them (though according to both “These Are The Voyages . . .” and “The Good That Men Do,” it was for naught).

    Phlox had his small moments of characterization, but nothing much. Hoshi had some attention in “Observer Effect” and “Terra Prime.” Travis got nothing until “Demons” and “Terra Prime.” Reed had his conflict of interest in the Klingon Augment arc.

    Overall, season four basically issues us forward, ending us far from where we started in season one.

    ***

    Trek species:

    Klingons: The Klingons, after nearly declaring war on Earth, were only mainly featured in their augment arc. The augment arc didn’t show us much of the Empire, though one can assume that due to the corruption mentioned in “Judgment” and the expanded use of subterfuge, they have taken yet another step down their path from honored warriors to corrupt soldiers.

    Romulans: The Romulans, testing the water and ultimately trying to stop Andor, Earth, Vulcan, and Tellar from uniting, did a fine job of disrupting their peace. For a while . . . until all four worlds got their acts together. But the Romulans are out there and war will come.
     
  5. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, but I found "Demons" and "Terra Prime" to be hopelessly melodramatic and small-thinking. A single laser on a rotating planet can terrorize an entire solar system? The chief engineer of the most prominent ship in the fleet can waltz around spacefarers and not be recognized? Mayweather can experience emotions now?

    There was no wonder, no edge and, apart from the Carl Sagan station cameo, barely any wit. I can't speak for most of the rest of the season, but TATV was, imho, a well-deserved gloved slap in the face to this sort of mediocrity.
     
  6. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – SERIES REVIEW

    NOTE: This review does not include “Regeneration;” “In a Mirror, Darkly . . .” Parts One and Two; and “These Are The Voyages . . .” as these episodes take place later in the overall chronology of Star Trek and will be viewed at a later date.

    Overview:
    Enterprise is a difficult show. It is, basically, three different shows. The first, encompassing the first two seasons, is a Star Trek trying to get back to its roots. There is a solid attempt to go back to the stand-alone episodes of the original series and Next Generation . . . but with poor results. Enterprise repeats itself – and sometimes other series. There are some great exceptions to this rule, but in an overall sense, it is true. I can’t fault them for giving us some serious action, but as a general rule, the first two seasons are rehashes and attempts to get back to the idea of exploration. But it fails to take advantage of the full potential of so many of its episodes and instead, we get scenes of Trip bitching about hand-rails as opposed to dealing with the complications of having a child with an alien.

    Season three takes us into a brand new direction – singular though it might be. The Xindi crisis, while it is difficult to place in the canon, is a shot in the arm for Enterprise and does a good job of changing the overall dynamic of the show. High marks for this new dynamic, though I do have complaints about it.

    Season four serves as the major transition between Enterprise and the rest of Trek. In addition to giving us Klingons in transition and laying the foundation for the both the Romulan War and the Federation, it also gives us Organians, pre-Kahns, and human extremists. It does a good job and works well as a final season, though it lacks the core exploration themes that Enterprise was supposed to be all about.

    Changes:
    Had I been given four seasons of Enterprise to control, I would have played it out differently. There’s nothing wrong with going back to the one-episode exploration that TOS and TNG were good at – but when the series is a prequel, there needs to the more of a mix. The series needed a balance of episodes that went back to the core of Star Trek, doing (again) one-episode explorations and prequel episodes that built into the Star Trek universe we know and love.

    The Temporal Cold War needed to be dropped. If it was indeed forced on me, then I would have at least brought it to a satisfying conclusion. The Suliban should have been working for a future Romulan. It makes sense. An unstable Klingon Empire meant one blood enemy the Romulans wouldn’t have to worry about (and they could still make alliances with one side of the Klingon civil war ala “Redemption”). And the Romulan could even get the Suliban involved with battling Starfleet. Adding in Vosk, Nazis, and mobsters was a huge mistake.

    Ultimately, the show needed to be a mix of one-shot episodes that were classic Trek and (more) prequel episodes that could have built into the contemporary Trek universe.

    Characters:
    If Enterprise did one thing right, it was create interesting and exciting characters. I will forever criticize Enterprise’s handling of the Vulcans (in the first three seasons, at least), but I give them credit exploring the Andorians so well and eventually re-examining the Vulcans.

    In terms of recurring characters, Shran, Soval, Cutler, Forest, Daniels, Hayes, Koss, T’Les, and Kelby were all unique, fun, and very well-developed. In the case of Shran and Soval, they had more development than Travis and Hoshi at times.

    There were also some great villains. Silik will always go down as one of my favorites because he was so different. He wasn’t motivated by revenge like sooooo many other Star Trek villains. Instead, he was a glorified pawn in the Temporal Cold War, not really knowing more than Archer, but at the same time, playing a stronger hand than him.

    Degra made a nice transition from villain to hero. Dolim was fun, though brute-ish and sometimes a cliché. Doctor Soong made for an intriguing enemy – as did his Kahn-a-likes, especially Malik. Valdore was an okay bad guy, but didn’t do much else other than spout orders. Paxton, finally, presented us with the worst of humankind and ended up being our last (sorta) enemy of that era.

    Enterprise also presented us with some notable guest characters. I could list these, but if you were to read my reviews, you’d know who they are. I should point out Kolos, who was the first Klingon on Enterprise to really give us insight into the Empire.

    The one character I wish we had seen again? Klaang. Seriously, this was the Klingon the whole first episode was about and not a peep from since.

    As for the main cast . . .

    Archer had a definite arc he followed. In the beginning, he was so eager and yet, couldn’t trust Vulcans. Even as T’Pol warmed up to him, Archer often ignored her and leapt into whatever situation was before him. He had set-backs and intense moments of doubt, but even then, he was still more than eager and open-minded. It wasn’t until the Xindi that Archer realized that space was extremely dangerous. But he pulled himself back, moving past all preconceptions about Vulcans thanks to Surak, and by the time he reached the final episode, Archer was a new man. Still eager, still wanting to explore, still fighting for peace, but with reservation, with readiness, and preparation that he lacked early on. Archer became the model that all Starfleet officers would follow.

    T’Pol’s arc was different than Archers and mainly dealt with her growing to become one of the crew in a deeper sense. It took some thawing, but by the end of season two, she was there. She went a little overboard in season three, but she had some moments of greatness. By the time she reached the end, she was in love with a human male whose hand she wouldn’t shake in the first episode and she had lost a half-human child. Her arc was about T’Pol finding a home – and getting one aboard Enterprise.

    Trip spent most of the first two seasons having adventures . . . until his sister was killed. Trip was a great character, one of my favorites, and was well developed. After Elizabeth was killed, it was all about Trip finding a way to make peace with that. And then it was about him trying to figure out his relationship with T’Pol, which was also left open at the end.

    The others didn’t receive nearly as much development. For Phlox, it wasn’t so much as involvement as simply understanding his character and his culture. Hoshi grew up and out of her paranoia, but slowly and in the end, was still very much the same. Reed had to balance his loyalties and his emotions. And Travis . . . uh, flew the ship.

    All the same, the best part about Enterprise were its characters. I regret not seeing more of them.

    Conclusion:
    Enterprise as a whole was at its best when it dealt with the characters. These characters are more grounded to the past than those of their 23rd and 24th century counter-parts. Putting them in space evokes a different drama than in other situations. The characters were what made Enterprise good.

    I spoke about Enterprise needing to find a balance between universe-building and exploration and even though it didn’t find that balance, it was still a good ride.

    “Broken Bow” presents us with the beginning of Trek. “Terra Prime” propels us forward, past the taint of our ancestors and beginning to make peace with our interstellar neighbors. The two final scenes are probably the best in terms of what is to come. The first one, Archer standing with his crew behind him and delegates from all sorts of worlds (including Earth) convincing them to hold together. The second one, with Trip and T’Pol, comforting each other and hoping for the future – their own and the children of Earth and Vulcan. To see these characters journey was what made Enterprise so good.

    It had faults, it had failures, and it had moments of moments of stupidity. But it had moments of excitement, emotion, and energy. For every “Precious Cargo,” there’s a “First Flight.” For every “Extinction,” there’s a “Twilight.” For every “Marauders,” there’s a “Judgment.”

    Enterprise may have stumbled in its path, but it picked itself up. And even though we’ll be checking in a few times later on, it’s time to move on.
     
  7. CKS

    CKS Cadet

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    Captain Kirk gratifies anonymous men in bathrooms.
     
  8. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    riiiiiight . . . :vulcan:
     
  9. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Really? I thought it had the dullest core cast by a long shot.
     
  10. Shieldsdown

    Shieldsdown Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Excellent reviews. Agree with most of what you write about Enterprise. Time for another viewing of my cd collection!
     
  11. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I thought this too. But they're the sort of characters that grow on you, and they had some decent development in the final season.
    Well, except for Mayweather. Poor Mayweather. :(
     
  12. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    I felt the same way in the beginning, really, except for Trip and Hoshi. Unfortunately, they stopped developing Hoshi past the second or third episode and poor Mayweather had his real time in the sun in the last two episodes.

    Like you said, the characters grow on you and develop nicely and by the end, they're fairly well-rounded. Kinda.
     
  13. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    I had something else planned here, but I think I'm going to save it for my TOS review. It was about making the transition from ENT to TOS. But screw it. Here's "The Cage" . . .



    Series: The Original Series – Season One
    Episode: “The Cage”
    Trek Installment # 94
    Grade: B+
    Viewing Date: November 27, 2009

    One hundred years later . . .

    Wow. Just . . . wow. This is going to take some time to get used to. Leaping from “Terra Prime” to “The Cage” was a bit of a transition. I actually laughed pretty loudly when I saw the warp effect. And Spock’s “THE WOMEN!” Awesome.

    But that being said, this was a great episode. It did a great job of talking about sex without even saying sex. There’s a ton of subtly here and I really appreciated it. I love the look and texture of Talos. It comes across as so vast and different, even down to the weird noise-making plants. And Rigel XII looks and feels completely different as well. Kudos on giving us some different planets.

    One major criticism is that it feels like it’s an episode from the middle of a season. Spock’s limping, they’re on their way to Vega colony, and there was a battle on Rigel VII. It’s a lot of continuity.

    However, I loved the episode and the crew. Pike is a great character and very well acted by Jeffery Hunter. His morose attitude and eventual rise up from that when going against the Talosians was very well executed. I liked Number One and Colt a lot – and Boyce. One of my favorite scenes was Boyce in Pike’s quarters, making him a martini. Excellent scene, capturing both characters so well.

    As much as I love Kirk and company, I certainly would have been just fine sticking with these guys for a while.
     
  14. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    I am doing a chronological watch too (Watched The Undiscovered Country today), and I remember the jump from Terra Prime to The Cage being really weird indeed.
     
  15. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    It's a little difficult to reconcil the differences. I remember at one point someone hands Pike a paper read-out and I was like :vulcan: "huh?"

    -------

    Series: The Original Series – Season One
    Episode: “Where No Man Has Gone Before”
    Trek Installment # 95
    Grade: B+
    Viewing Date: November 27, 2009

    I confess to having some difficulty grading this episode. It is of course tosses us into Kirk’s Enterprise, which is quite different to Pike’s and, of course, Archers. I guess it might be because I used to watch this episode all the time (it was one of the few original series episodes I had on tape) and so I knew it so well.

    But it does a very good job of dropping us into the action. Kirk’s in command, Spock’s his pal, Scotty’s Scottish, Gary’s a nice guy, Doc’s old, Dehner’s a walking freezer unit, and hey, there’s Sulu. Also, Kelso maybe kind of a loser. The mission of going outside the galaxy seems a little strange and was kind of “wha?” moment for me, but it seemed to get derailed pretty quickly as a result of the energy barrier. I wish that energy barrier would have been mentioned or seen later, as it would have been interesting to explore that a little more. Why is it there? Where did it come from? Is it a natural thing or something artificial?

    The episode does a decent job of dealing with what mankind could face if given the powers of a super-human or something. Gary really flies off the handle and goes apeshit, but it’s a pretty fun ride.

    A nice introduction to the concept of Star Trek, though it doesn’t really serve as an introduction to the characters as well some of the other pilots. But that’s okay, I can live with that. Overall, a strong showing and good opening for Kirk and crew.
     
  16. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season One
    Episode: “The Corbonite Maneuver”
    Trek Installment # 96
    Grade: A-
    Viewing Date: November 29, 2009

    So here we are. While the two previous episodes were the true pilots, this one felt like it was the true beginning of the original series. In addition to the now mainstay Spock and the usuals Kirk, Scotty, and Sulu, we finally get the rest of the crew. Uhura, McCoy, and, well, Sulu - but Sulu where he belongs. I really liked seeing them all together at last.

    Character-wise, I loved the dynamic between Kirk and Spock and Kirk and McCoy. Kirk/McCoy especially during the scene in the turbolift and Kirk’s quarters. Spock and Bones aren’t quite yet at each others throats, but that’s okay.

    I loved Kirk’s speech about the unknown after Balok said he was going blow them up. Awesome. The characters tensing up during and right after the countdown was well done. And, of course, the Corbonite gambit was smart.

    Kirk’s slower, rational, and more deliberate way of handling situation is so different from what Archer would have done. It’s nice to have that change in pace after so long.

    Bailey is the Redshirt of the episode, even though he doesn’t die. He’s a spaz. Spock bitches to him, makes fun of him, and even gets Sulu to laugh at him. Kirk gets on his case too. But for good reason – Bailey cracked like an egg under the pressure. However, Bailey comes around and in that, Kirk gives him another chance. We’re not really sure why – he just went to his quarters and got better, I guess.

    Balok’s a badass . . . until he turns out to be Clint Howard.

    A really fantastic episode. This was first one to really hook me and pull me in. Though I do have to ask – what exactly is up with Kirk not liking his female yeoman?
     
  17. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    I liked the Carbomite Maneuver a lot too, but Balok is really a jerk. Even the name of the state he's from sounds pretentious. First Federation. "You guys may be the Fedearation, but we're the first federation!"

    Good old 60's sexism.
     
  18. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    I loved reading your Enterprise reviews. It was the most troubled Star Trek series, but you did an excellent job of summing up its strengths and weaknesses. I think it tried too hard to be like TOS or TNG in its first two seasons, but it became a different (and much better) show in three and four.
     
  19. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree, though there are notable excpetions to the first two seasons.
     
  20. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    Oh yeah. Cogenitor and Future Tense being some of my faves from season two. There were some moments of greatness there. Also, the Borg episode turned out a lot better than I was fearing.