Is the premise of Enterprise "exciting"?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by watermelony2k, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. where'sSaavik?

    where'sSaavik? Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Location:
    Springfield, Just Another State, USA
    This is true enough. Historical dramas, when done well, are certainly entertaining. But it's going to depend on execution. "Apollo 13" and "Lawrence of Arabia" are compelling dramas because of their execution, not their premises. Despite the fact that you know how things turn out you start to care about the characters, you're drawn into their world, and are moved.

    Let's grant that ENT qualifies as a historical drama (even if it is a fictitious history). The Birth of the Federation, as a concept, is going to necessarily revolve around the politics of organizing a new political entity, the Federation. Trek's never been great at depicting politics (I was never a big fan of the Bajoran politics episodes of DS9). So, to begin with they're not playing to their strength as a franchise. Star Trek at it's best is about the human condition, exploration of space as metaphor for exploration of society and self. Depicting complex political machinations is not what Sci-Fi in general does best.

    :lol:

    Yep, instead of really doing a BOTF, they've been doing just-another-trek-series. BOTF, if anything, is a background. History as background is fine if it puts characters in context, if it helps advance the story. But BOTF doesn't inform much of anything that these characters do. Change the names and you could tell this story two or three hundred years later. And so basically BOTF only serves to create problems in that the technology available to the characters really fails to dazzle us in any cool Sci-Fi FX kind of way. And by importing so many continuity issues the writers must worry about not bumping into the walls of the corner they've painted themselves into.
     
  2. clr2me

    clr2me Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama - USA
    Yes the original premise was exciting.
     
  3. Nephandus

    Nephandus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Draining Wilma Dearing's life force.
    On the contrary, one of the best SF novels - Dune, was incredibly good with this. Hyperion wasn't too bad either, and there's a host of others that tell compelling SF stories along with their politics.

    Agreed, the the DS9 politics were clumsy at best- with an astoundingly poorly developed villain and resolution, for all it's overhype. Why did they go to galactic war again? How was it resolved again? I didn't buy what they were selling.

    But that doesn't mean a compelling BOTF tale couldn't have been told here. A pre-Independence Earth, colonized by Vulcans (as England)- not bad. but it didn't happen.
     
  4. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2000
    Location:
    New Zealand
    But is that the premise? Are B&B actually trying to tell the story of how the Federation was formed or are they simply doing a series in another time zone and the BOTF will happen along the way?
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Not particularly, no.

    See, a premise is not a story. It's not a show. It's a void waiting to be filled. With the Chimps to fill it, what would be exciting? Frankly, nothing.
     
  6. Falmarin

    Falmarin Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Location:
    Earth-That-Is!!!
    Any premise is exciting.

    Hell, if the Japanese can make an anime about a board game and make it exciting, then anything can be done.
     
  7. where'sSaavik?

    where'sSaavik? Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Location:
    Springfield, Just Another State, USA
    Right. And like I said above, BOTF makes a lot of sense as a Trek novel, not a tv show.
     
  8. Nephandus

    Nephandus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Draining Wilma Dearing's life force.
    Heh, not a fan of the mini-series? That's ok, not for everyone. And while I risk summoning Dennis Bailey into this thread (just kidding Dennis, you know I'm a fan), Babylon 5's best seasons and best parts put some plausible and quality work onscreen depicting a burgeoning galactic alliance (at a time when its contemporary DS9 failed in a similar endeavor, IMO).

    Had I put together Enterprise, I would have instead made it a loose analog to a compressed century of tall ships, colonization, the wars of Independence and 1812, with the Enterprise being the main ship of the line from a burgeoning American alliance.

    Issues, tactics and scenarios of the time would be explored such as diplomacy, trade, embargoes, imperialists, colonists, natives, slavery, and independence - with Enterprise as the needle threading it all together. The world would be much smaller, with aliens much farther (but establishing their foothold in "our" local cluster of stars). It would be about the USA coming together, in the same way that TOS was about the USA establishing foreign policy elsewhere.

    So far the only thing missing from the Federation has been the Earth and her closest colonies. That's where I'd focus my attention. I definitely would NOT have shot the Enterprise off like a canon into the unknown - we've seen that, and evidently, we're bored of it.
     
  9. where'sSaavik?

    where'sSaavik? Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Location:
    Springfield, Just Another State, USA
    ^ Y'know, what you're describing actually sounds alot like 'Andromeda.' :p

    Which only goes to show that the execution of a show is much more important than it's premise. A premise will only take you so far. The day in day out quality is what makes the biggest difference.
     
  10. the quickening

    the quickening Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2001
    Location:
    Houston, TX, U.S.A.
    I thought DS9 had a better premise than Voyager because it didn't contain flaws and problems in it's initial concepts. Certain elements of Voyager's premise were interesting, but it was the mixing of the elements and the conflicting nature of the concept that hurt the overall premise.

    The creators are constantly criticized for getting rid of the conflict between the Maquis and Starfleet. I think what the producers did was more realistic. It may have cut the drama and dramatic conflict between the two groups, but what the producers did was more believable. Let's not forget, there were several episodes in the early seasons of Voyager that DID contain stories of conflict between these two groups. If two conflicting groups were 70,000 light years away from home, their petty conflict would take a back seat to trying to get home. Just like in times of major war, two opposing sides will put away their "disagreements" and conscentrate on solving the more presssing conflict. I would agree that a few more episodes of this conflict would have been better, but not the entire series. Combining the conflict between the Maquis and Starfleet with the concept of being 70,00 light years away makes a faulty premise because one cancels out the other--the pressing need to get home destroys the Maquis/Starfleet concept. The fault is in Voyager's premise.

    Which brings up the second fault I find with the Voyager premise: being 70,000 light years away. Many of the storytelling problems Voyager had can be linked to this outlandish number. If Voyager had been, say, 7 light years away, then story problems like: stopping and conversating with every alien-of-the-week; stopping and exploring when your 70,000 light years away; stopping to enter drag races; etc., would make MORE SENSE. Also, stories about conflicts between the Maquis and Starfleet would then work and make sense because 7 light years or being 7 years from home, wouldn't be that great of time and distance. The two concepts in the premise wouldn't necessariIy cancel each other out and both could work in the same premise. I feel Voyager's premise was weak to begin with.

    The next problem of the premise also deals with the 70,00 light years away. From the beginning Voyager could only work if the producers had worked out in the initial premise to make Voyager a generational series, meaning, this 70,000 years away from home was unworkable within the contraints of TREK, the initial Voyager premise, common sense and what the producers were willing to do with the series. There was no way we were going to get a rotating group of actors, to represent each generation as we watch Voyager work it's way home. A generational show was the only BELIEVABLE option for Voyager and since it was never feeible for the creators to do it, it was not a good premise to use in the beginning. Hence, once again, Voyager had a weak premise. Also, the problem of being 70,000 light years away makes getting home in seven years silly and contrived. Look at Voyagers' finale if you have any doubt. Just about any solution would have been a questionable solution. The only solution would be making Voyager a generational series.

    Another problem of this premise is that it boxed the producers in from making changes to improve it. It created it's own limitations. Being so far from home made it difficult for the producers to make it better. No matter what new storyline or concept that was created, at the end of the day the ship has to leave that situation and head back home. It leaves the very drama it creates. And when Voyager returns to that storyline, aliens race, drama, concept, it makes no sense because you are on your way home--how can you keep running into the same storyline, alien race, drama, plot you left behind 10-20 episodes ago? Another one of Voyager's storytelling problems, BIG storytelling problems. Unlike DS9, which premise allowed for changes, growth, and improvements in direction--the Dominion War, dealing with Star Fleet or the FEDERATION (Section 31)--Voyager could not and when it attempted to do so it was contrived or the producers couldn't make it work. Example. Bringing the ship home earlier (which was debated and rejected by Braga and Berman) or the silly communication with Star Fleet (Barcley) storyline. The fault was the premise. No doubt about--at least to me. The premise may SOUND interesting, but it was a mess of an idea to begin with.