David A. Goodman responds

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Guest, Dec 12, 2002.

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  1. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Admiral

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    David, glad to see your face here again, and that you've braved the "interactive process" of Trek fandom. Let me just say that most of us really do appreciate the opportunity to have a dialog with someone in the loop, especially someone who obviously has a sense of humor along with a fearless demeanor (who else would beard the lion in its den, especially after the poor welcome you received on your first visit?).

    I think you'll find on closer inspection that most people didn't 'hate' PC, but then most didn't 'love' it, either. The 'grade' threads seem to indicate a pretty even distribution, with only a small percentage of votes at either end of the scale and the greatest percentage squarely at "C," or average. Needless to say, "average" isn't really the place that most of us are accustomed to seeing Star Trek, except for these last two series. The reason we're here on this board, and particularly this forum, is because we constantly hope for "above average" entertainment from Star Trek, and many of us who berate the series still tune in in the hopes we'll see that; many of us also end up disappointed yet again, and grousing here on the ENT forum. Some of us actually try to be constructive in our grousing, as well, always hoping that someone like yourself, either anonymously or bravely identified, will stop in and see what the reactions were, and maybe even clandestinely pick the brains of the assembled throng.

    I, too, saw the post that identified the writer as a "12 year old," and while I certainly wouldn't accuse you of such, I have to agree that the storyline of PC was as predictable and derivative as what one might see from a bright 6th grader. It just didn't attempt to do anything unique, and especially nothing that took advantage of the unique opportunities of ENT's premise (not that most of the episodes thus far have, from anyone). As many have noted, not only were elements of it very familiar from episodes like "The Perfect Mate" from TNG, but those that were could have been Xeroxed from those episodes' scripts! "Kamala"="Kaitaama" (sp?), "Krios"="Krios", stasis=stasis, spots=spots (not that I expect the makeup designers to know all the minutiae of the episodes of Trek, but when so many things were identical or nearly so, it's either an odd coincidence, or it means that someone thought just enough of that episode to make it intentional, but failed to do anything worthwhile in the story with the connection). Like so much "continuity" between ENT and the other series, it was name-dropping (and now spot-dropping), without a good narrative reason for using that race. I can't say that I like the idea of ENT being a never-ending "Behind the Scenes of Star Trek," but if that's what it's going to be, then it ought to do something significant with it, to add to the legacy rather than merely parroting it; the stories should mean something in and of themselves, and not just be clever "pre-introductions" of everything they think we're either familiar with, or somehow married to in a fanboy fashion. That's the sort of "12-yr-old" storytelling we're concerned about (and in this case, it could also refer to the fact that the stories being rehashed are roughly 12 years old, as well [​IMG]).

    You may have seen the clever "Spot the cliché" thread, so I won't repeat all of them, but PC really was topheavy with them, and that's another problem with it, and the series. "Clever" is taking the clichés and turning them on their heads, introducing an unexpected or diametrically opposite element to them (check out last week's Firefly episode; it did that with about half a dozen clichés, and very well); ENT simply cuts and pastes them from The Online Reference for Clichés without ever changing them.

    When we did see something unexpected, it was because it seemingly ran out of someone's a- ... hat and landed there. The interrogation scene, while cute (I suppose) and apparently a favorite of many of those who saw the show, had nothing to do with the series at all. There was no set up in the episode, and there is no precedent anywhere in the series for Archer and T'Pol to conspire in such a fashion in order to get information. It just ... happened, and worst of all, it delivered no payoff; Goon #2 (I didn't even bother to remember their names, I'm afraid) simply quaked a bit, and the next thing we know, Archer is quipping about Trip's state of dishabille. The "good cop-bad cop" routine is one of the oldest ones in fiction, so if it's going to get used, someone had better have both a darn good reason to (which they really didn't), and they better have some way of making it fresh (which they really didn't). And why did it require T'Pol? Since apparently Goon #2 wasn't familiar with Vulcans (or he'd never have bought their little play), what effect would it have had who he used? Phlox could have been a much more effective threat to him; his delivery is often tinged with a dangerous edge, even of the most innocuous subjects, and he certainly seems to have the sort of humor that would both delight in the chance, but also could really frighten someone with a combination of his tone and that smile [​IMG]. Like so many others, this was a missed opportunity in ENT, one that could have separated it from the average fluff (but it still would have required better integration than we got; that is to say, "None!").

    I agree with you that Connor did a pretty good job; he usually does, given the chance. Bakula and Blalock were as wooden and uninteresting as always, though, and Scott's barely-restrained mirth, fairly evident onscreen, didn't help sell that interrogation, either. ENT has some very good actors, particularly the supporting cast; it's unfortunate that they aren't given much that is worth their talents, and it's a shame that the two least impressive ones are the leads of the series. At this point, the actors are the only things saving this show (unfortunately, TPTB seem to think that it's what's on the outside of them that's doing the saving, rather than tapping into what's inside them; of course, we yet again saw Trip with his clothes half off, and even managed to get our guest star into a reasonable facsimile of the Victoria's Secret catalog). The characters are for the most part wildly inconsistent, so they may be interesting on an episode-by-episode basis, but it never adds up to anything; each new story creates nearly-new characters who just happen to look and sound very much like the ones who were there the previous week. The stories need to depend upon the characters, rather than vice-versa.

    I'm glad you're hanging out here, and I certainly don't envy you your job. I realize there are all sorts of constraints and expectations in a position such as yours, and that ultimately you have to answer to TPTB, but it would be great to see something happen at the top where a decision is reached to try to make ENT stand out as quality, intelligent entertainment, and to take risks and try new things, along with viewing the franchise's history as something important, to be embraced, not looted, and not ignored or rewritten whenever it gets inconvenient for someone's pet story. With that kind of mindset, folks like you would be allowed and encouraged to spread your wings, to challenge the audience and not just deliver the same old things over and over and over ... What the writers need to be able to do is inspire 12-yr-olds, not be compared to them.

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    "The reader will suspend disbelief -- he won't suspend common sense." -- David Gerrold - Worlds of Wonder (How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy)

    Endeavour - An Enterprise Relaunch - in the Fan Fiction forum and also at the Subspace Relay BBS

    [This message has been edited by Ptrope (edited December 12, 2002).]
     
  2. Samuel T. Cogley

    Samuel T. Cogley Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hold still, Jim.
    I was hoping that Ptrope might have a little more to say than just that little bit.

    I also want to extend an invitation to David A. Goodman to be the newest Moderator in the Enterprise forum, assuming he has the free time, of course.

    It's a tough job. You'll get bitched at, spit on, complained about, talked about behind your back, etc. Every post you write will be torn apart and misconstrued and discussed to death on the internet.

    On second thought, forget it. You are already getting paid lots of money for essentially the same abuse. [​IMG]

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    Lucky. Very lucky.
     
  3. static warp bubble

    static warp bubble Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Funny how perspectives can be so different...

    I was hoping to see this in the middle of it:

    *****INTERMISSION*****

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bucky

    Bucky Commodore Commodore

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    Mr. Goodman, if you're still here, you've probably noticed a general frustration with season 2 of "Enterprise," even among those of us who like the show. It just feels like it has no direction--no point.

    I suppose aimless wandering is okay for a premise as long as there are snappy, well-paced episodes that keep us interested in and focused on the characters. One of the best things "Enterprise" had going for it was the interaction between the main characters, especially Archer, Trip, and T'Pol. But this season, we've seen Archer and T'Pol, Archer and Reed, Archer and Phlox, and a couple of single-focus episodes--Hoshi, Trip. It looks like the show got away from doing what it does best--mixing characters up together.

    Will there be any shift toward more of *groups* of actors (obviously, I'd prefer AT&T, but I'll be happy with any ensemble that features more than two characters in the episode.
     
  5. actormike

    actormike Commodore Commodore

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    Both. I have stories I want to tell, and I want to get paid to tell them. What's the point of having the cake if you're not gonna eat it?

    Sorry to get OT. Won't happen again.

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    "The story is a sad one, told many times/the story of my life in trying times"--REM
     
  6. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Admiral

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    Looks like we're getting MCI (Manufactured Characters Inserted), instead [​IMG].
     
  7. Bucky

    Bucky Commodore Commodore

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    ^^where's that "indulgent rolleyes" smilie I keep looking for?
     
  8. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Right here: [​IMG]

    Kor

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    "I've changed my mind, Hobbes. People are scum." - Calvin
     
  9. reno floyd

    reno floyd Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well David, hat's off to you for coming back here.

    "Fly you fool!" [​IMG]

    Anyway, if you read my quickie review (and Christ knows why'd you'd want to do that) I thought the script was OK with some crackling dialogue. I appreciate you kinda have to say how great the performances were but frankly your dialogue was ruined by one (cough) actress. Overall I don't think the production did the script any favors.

    From one writer to another, I'm not going to try and teach you to suck eggs. But from a fan's perspective, you coming here and taking the time to talk to some pretty vitriolic fans is so greatly appreciated I'm taking bets you'll be elevated to the statues of godhood by about June [​IMG]
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Wow, David, how nice of you to visit. I'm also a professional writer (novelist), and I have been a Star Trek fan off and on since I was 14 (more than 25 years ago now).

    My biggest hope for Enterprise was that the characters would be highlighted--be real people like us, in all of our mixed up, flawed glory. The TNG characters were too perfect to really seem like "us" (well, me, anyway!). Enterprise, on the other hand, being less removed from our generation, I thought would open the door to more character-driven storytelling. There is nothing like internal conflict--and interpersonal conflict--to make drama interesting. Instead, the characters seem to be "reset" to zero after every episode. Here they are on Earth's first deep space mission (I presume) and they are all getting along marvelously. There is no meaningful sexual tension between any of them, no relationships, no friendships that start up or go sour, no conflicts with the captain. Everything just seems so unbelievably hunky-dory.

    Consequently, it has gotten boring to watch.

    For me, character is the reason I watch or read any story.

    I adore Trip, as a character. He has more life than most of the cast. But the situations he is put in haven't forced growth on the character or shed any additional light on who he is as a person, and how he relates to the rest of the crew. Next week, it will be as if nothing happened, and it might as well not have for all the difference it will make to Trip in his life (Oh, maybe Reed will make a teasing comment some episode in the future, but that doesn't equate to real character growth.)

    The most frustrating thing for me about Enterprise is that the show is too episodic, when it could feature in-depth story arcs that grow from the characters having to deal with a complex, often unpredictable universe ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is a great example of a show with season-long arcs and character growth.). You have a wonderful universe to play in, and aren't taking full advantage of it. Enterprise could be the greatest of the ST series yet, if it broke out of the stale Star Trek mold of stunted, two-dimensional characterizations. Audiences today expect that ongoing continuity more and more from their dramas, and not having it in Enterprise is a disappointment.
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I hate to admit it, but I really liked this episode. I didn't feel it was rushed at all, but the Padma Lakshmi's acting was a bit stiff and unconvincing.

    Naked Trip always makes up for any flaws in an episode. [​IMG]³

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    "He has no need to repeat the mantram, no more need to practice meditation. The world of change and changeless Reality are one to him, for he sees all in God." -- Paramahamsa Upanishad
    Nekkid People | Nekkid People Conlang
     
  12. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, to be fair, Mr. Goodman, we don't know to what extent B&B hamstrung you with a "formula" plot. I dunno who was responsible for hiring Princess Wooden, but taking more care in casting key guest star roles would be a good idea in the future. Even if the plot was corny, having a good actress to play off Trinnear would have gone a long ways towards making the episode more watchable.

    For what it's worth, I liked the episode up to the point where Ponytail Alien #2 makes a run for it with Trip and Princess Wooden on board. From that point on, the cliches took over.

    I commend your strong stomach for even making an appearance here. [​IMG]

    PS, it wouldn't be a terrible idea for Enterprise to now be famous for rescuing a far-famed and influential person. Assuming Archer isn't running into total backwater worlds without access to Space CNN, Enterprise should be somewhat well known after this incident.

    I have the same question. But since this has been a problem with ENT from the start, I'm assuming Mr. Goodman was simply saddled with instructions to pursue the most cliched avenues.

    I hate to start the ENT-vs-Firefly fracas over again, but I can't help thinking of a recent episode in which muahaha Bad Guy poses Zoe with a choice: save her captain or her husband. I almost had a chance to inwardly groan when Zoe cut it short by making her choice - hubby - before muahahah Bad Guy had a chance to finish his sentence! Way to shoot a cliche down, Joss!

    A smaller but still fun example of that: Mal fights Evil Henchman, Zoe & friends come to the rescue, Zoe stops them: "this is something the captain has to do on his own!" Mal: "No it isn't!" [​IMG] I didn't even have time to groan that time.

    Moral of the story: hire an intern to read all the scripts and flag every cliche he or she finds. Then reverse all the cliches and see where the plot goes. Start with the princess being an ugly non-bitch who wears sensible shoes...

    Heh heh.

    F*ck me pumps: Farscape

    Cowboy boots with jet-pack attachments: Firefly

    Hob-nailed combat boots: Stargate SG-1

    This is code for saying "we really liked TNG and DS9, please go back to doing THAT." Although opinions vary, I have noticed that DS9 wins all those "what's your favorite series?" polls in Gen Disc, followed by TNG. I suspect that Mr. Berman has something against DS9, and although I'm not sure what that might be, you could do Trek a favor by informing him that many people absolutely ADORE DS9 and consider it the pinnacle of Trek. [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Temis the Vorta (edited December 13, 2002).]
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Iliked it. it was fun and not serious I loved what you did with Trip. he was soo cute and i loved all his lines. Conneer did a great job like you said he would. he carried the episode. The girl was kinda wooden, could have picked a better person or use someone from the cast. Like Linda Park. She would have been great with him! I enjoyed it very much.
     
  14. Reza

    Reza Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I liked the episode...but it seemed like a "filler"...it was just there to take up an hour.

    I want more "nods" to the other treks...especially the greatest of them all..Deep Space Nine.

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    Niner aren't linear; we're everywhere.

    "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the most well written, produced, acted, and all together finest...Star Trek series."
    -TV GUIDE
     
  15. Nick_Ryder

    Nick_Ryder Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, while it wasn't an entirely original episode... it was fun, entertaining and certainly more enjoyable thanks to the wonderful Padma... good casting choice... she could have been more animated in her expressions, but she was certainly fetching...
     
  16. Raz

    Raz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you for braving the forums, Mr Goodman.

    All I ask is that you read my review thread. I won't rehash anything here, and I believe that what I said there was fairly constructive and not insulting.

    Thanks for your time.
     
  17. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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    I have one question.

    I no longer watch.

    Do you and the other producers, including Rick and Brannon, care?

    And I don't mean care like "...of course, we'd like the ratings and that gets ad revenue and so forth." I mean do you really care about the fans, and do you care that a large percentage seem to be unhappy with the show? At least as far as the ratings indicate.
     
  18. Blue

    Blue Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, what a brave guy, coming in here. Admirable. [​IMG]
     
  19. dogsowar

    dogsowar Commodore Commodore

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    I salute you sir, you had the balls to weather the storm here after the sound thrashing your episode recieved.
    I actually think it was well written up to the "sudden boning scene". Oh well keep trying, and tell B&B to get better opening teases, and to make the episodes less booring.
    Thanks for stopping by.
     
  20. kipron

    kipron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While I may not be the biggest fan of Enterprise, Mr. Goodman, I still want to thank you for posting on this board.

    You have no idea how much your comments mean to us. One of the main complaints from critics (such as myself) was that the writers didn't seem to care much about how the fans felt in regards to the overall nature of the show. Indeed, the existance of tired, decadent, rehashed criticisms stems almost directly from the lack of input from anyone on the 'inner circle.' Sometimes this place can be frustrating, because no matter how legitamite and elegant our posts may be, it often seems that no one listens to them.

    So, thank you for listening, Mr. Goodman!

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    "The hardest thing in this world...is to live in it" - Buffy Anne Summers
     
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