Why was Enterprise received so poorly?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by dcm, Jun 30, 2023.

  1. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Don’t manufacture racism where there isn’t any. The statement was simply true. And what is NGL?
     
  2. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not Gonna Lie.
     
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  3. dcm

    dcm Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    "Too white and male." That's a racist dog whistle. Statements such as that are discriminatory. And lead to discrimination, based upon immutable characteristics.

    NGL = Not gonna Lie
     
  4. Dukhat

    Dukhat Admiral Admiral

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    Well, skin color and gender issues aside, one of the things that I think ENT really dropped the ball on was not making the cast, and especially the captain, fallible and totally unprepared for the challenges of space exploration. It seemed that none of these people even had the remotest experience dealing with alien cultures, or even being in space prior to being assigned to the NX-01 (other than Mayweather, who was the most underutilized character on the show despite having far more experience than anyone else, and T'Pol, who Archer and Trip treated with complete disdain until they gave her the job of ship's masseuse.) Yet Archer always seems to do no wrong, and the crew always seems to back him up. Archer should have been a complete fuckup, and his actions should have been the reason why the Prime Directive exists in the first place. But UPN just played it safe and made the show TNG/VOY Jr. instead of utilizing the known factors that could have made the show a legitimate prequel to TOS.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2023
  5. Gary Bitchell

    Gary Bitchell Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    It was received poorly because the first two seasons aren't good.
    Archer sexually harasses his first officer, prioritizes a dog over first contact, and cries about his daddy issues every two minutes. He's a terrible captain, especially in the first two seasons.
    Seasons 3 and 4 are some of the best Trek ever, but B&B's bad touched the first two seasons too much for it to be received well.
     
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  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Admiral Admiral

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    But that's not how he's portrayed in the show. As I mentioned above, he's portrayed as a great captain, and subsequent shows have only reinforced that opinion.

    I'm not saying you're wrong (other than the sexual harassment of T'Pol...he treated her like shit but I don't recall him ever harassing her in that way); just that it's not accurate to how he is viewed by both the crew of his ship and the writers of the scripts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2023
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  7. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nope, but it is racist to have a disproportionately white cast.

    I never said "too" white or "too" male. I said disproportionately white and male. Which it can only be if there was active discrimination going on against people who weren't white and against women.

    No. It is the act of being disproportionately white and male that is discriminatory. It is the act of being disproportionately white and male that leads to discrimination based upon immutable characteristics and upon the basis of sex.

    It's impossible to be disproportionately white and male unless there's a lot of discrimination happening against people who are not white or male.

    And yet you perpetuated falsehoods about how discrimination works.
     
  8. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commodore Commodore

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    Hmm, let’s see…

    The short answer:

    Berman never watched TOS, only knew how to write 24th century era Star Trek, and never really wanted ENT to be a thing to begin with. Yet was expected to produce a pre-TOS show.

    The very long answer:

    ENT inherited all of VOY’s problems. The issues with ENT S1, S2 & the first half of S3 are also noticeable in VOY S6 & S7, from uninspired writing from burnt out writers to a generally generic and uninspired soundtrack. All while the writers spent their time trying to create a better VOY.

    ENT used the TNG formula that was stale by the end of VOY’s run, and VOY was only using the TNG formula because UPN did not want VOY to be serialized like DS9. ENT only became more serialized like DS9 when the writer of DS9, Ira Steven Behr, made his thoughts on ENT known to Braga ahead of S3: “the show was a POS”. The declining viewership basically agreed with him in not liking the stories and/or characters.

    ENT’s earlier seasons were as challenging and as memorable as TAS i.e. not very (and I’ve watched TAS). Despite ENT being marketed as a TV-14 show - all previous Trek shows were rated PG - which should have open the floodgates to more intellectually challenging Trek.

    All this while trying to be a throwback to TOS in every way possible.

    - The big 3 setup, even though the audience had been used to a TNG/DS9 ensemble cast for years, and had grown annoyed with a big 3 setup from VOY despite loving the characters involved (Janeway/Seven/Doctor).

    - Lack of use of its minority characters, even though the audience had been used to minority characters getting development and character focused episodes regularly in TNG/DS9/VOY. The ENT minority characters got a single character episode a season each, if that. Which was really weird since it aired on a network that aired shows aimed at an African American audience. If anything, they should have been featured more frequently. Tyra Banks was the face of America’s Next Top Model, and Dwyane Johnson was face of WWE with his wrestling character. UPN should have had Travis Mayweather (and Hoshi Sato as well) up there with Archer, Trip and T’Pol as the faces of ENT. If cultural impact was a concern, they could have brought in Nichelle Nichols as a recurring character and ancestor of Uhura, tutoring the linguist skills of Hoshi or as a friend to the Mayweathers. UPN let everyone down here.

    - Reliance on sex appeal. The nicest thing you could say was that it was equal opportunity and that everyone was half naked at some point. Though the main focus was on Trip and T’Pol; Hoshi wasn’t given much consideration despite Linda Park having done her share of modeling, and Mayweather was ignored despite his bicep game being strong. But there were other issues. The catsuit was just for ratings, with the neckline plunging almost every season as the show went on, whereas the miniskirts on TOS were considered empowering. Also, the catsuit was never seen worn by any other Vulcan women - or women in general, like the miniskirt was - just T’Pol, making it clear this was not about empowerment. And let’s not forget the cringiness of building towards Archer/T’Pol with T’Pol awkwardly falling chest first into Archer, and then the following season, the 40 y/o Archer suddenly regressing to a teenager in “A Night in Sickbay” when around T’Pol, despite not have a problem with women before. In comparison, the Trip/T’Pol neuropressure sessions were not cringy, though weren’t that far from the decon chamber scenes. And that the decon chamber scenes themselves never culminated in either a major outbreak on the NX-01 because someone decided they didn’t want to rub down with the gel after returning from an away mission, or the start of a romance between crewmates, is all that needs to be said about it.

    - Invisibility of LGBT individuals. Except it was the early ‘00s, not the late ‘60s. One of the main characters on Buffy was a lesbian. 24 – which started the same year as ENT - had a lesbian character that worked with the antagonists in its first season, that later made returns in its second and fourth seasons. The Russian pop lesbian duo t.A.T.u.. had a hit song with “All The Things She Said” during this time that played on the radio. Even the WWE – though it was much more exploitative in nature – had LGBTQ stories and characters going on, with 2002 in particular being a significant year. Meanwhile ENT had zero LGBT stories or characters. Except maybe the Vissians, and that’s more a first contact gone awry story. And a brief allusion regarding the multiple genders of Rigellians from Phlox in the same episode. There wasn’t even a passing reference to a couple of LGBT crewmembers, like ”I picked this trinket up for chef. He wants to gift it for his husband for their next anniversary.” ENT was not simply very conservative here, considering the time period, it was a step backwards. Not to mention that after having shows based around a black captain and a female captain, it was completely reasonable to expect the next show to be based around an LGBT captain. They were halfway there with Archer with his few dalliances with women, surely, they could have found one episode with a man, even if that person was a shapeshifting being.

    - Having lyrics in the theme song like it was originally intended by TOS. It never occurred to anyone to simply get rid of the lyrics for ENT intro. Instead, the change made was for the song to go faster.

    And the icing on the cake...

    The show introduced this Temporal Cold War arc, but never involve any of the TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY characters - even though there were ideas for S2 for Picard, Seven of Nine and Guinan to appear in a Suliban story - despite the fact that it could have brought in ratings. Then the show ends the TCW and then starts featuring a few of the cast of TNG when the show was on the verge of cancellation and had both its budget and episode numbers cut and the audience had bottomed out by then.

    Gee, I wonder why ENT was received so poorly? /s

    I think if they weren’t so quick demolishing the sets, had immediately let Berman go after the show ended, and created a sequel show to ENT with Coto & Sussman heading it with the ENT cast, that could had created goodwill from the fanbase.
     
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  9. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Star Trek: Enterprise was supposed to be a show about humanity's future set aboard a United Earth starship, not about the future of the United States aboard a United State starship. I can't find exact figures from Googling, but I'm pretty sure that white people did not make up 71% of the Earth's population in 2000, nor black and Asian people 14% each, nor Latinos 0%. Pretty damn disproportionate.

    Also, I would encourage you to consider why you defaulted to checking the Enterprise cast demographics against the demographics of the United States instead of against the demographics of the entire world. That, too, was a form of U.S.-centric thinking.
     
  10. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Mind you, it's only been relatively recently that Star Trek has included any kind of real diversity amongst humans, since Disco began six years ago. Prior to that the entire franchise had been rather stale, pale and male for the most part, aside from a few token non-whites in each cast. Same applies to the Abrams movies, which even went and cast a white actor to play a character who wasn't white in TOS.
     
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  11. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's because of ignorance not deceit.

    "Hey, how many black people do we need in the main cast not to be racist?"

    "One should do it."

    "Excellent! We have sussessfully defeated political correctness and racism by having one black character in the main cast. USA! USA! USA!"

    There's this really difficult drinking game you can play with the sitcom Friends called "Spot the African American".
     
  12. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've been semi-marathoning Friends with my wife over the last few months and while I still enjoy it, it's quite shocking how white-washed it is.

    The titular Friends I believe never, ever date anyone that's not white. All of the Friends themselves are white and all of them are straight. Even in the background it's difficult to see Black or Asian characters.

    How times change.
     
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  13. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ross dated Aisha Tyler, who is a c-list celebrity, which is as good as being white sometimes.

    I saw a you tube. There are 20 black actors who had at least one line in friends over the course of 10 years, and half of them were waiters.
     
  14. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Among the male characters there's also an uncomfortable sense of 'Lesbians are hot... but gay men... eeewwww!' as well which is kind of gross.

    It was acceptable in the 90s.
     
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  15. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My belief (as a child) was if someone thought I was gay, that I would be beaten to death, or at the very least ostracized for the next decade.

    90s TV did not help mend that deep seated belief, of course, growing up and actually meeting gay people did.
     
  16. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Mom's little girl Moderator

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    Wait, if the show runners or UPN or the CBS honcho says, "We have Scott Bakula for our captain, he was the star of Quantum Leap!" it's not automatically or only "active discrimination." It is a marketing and artistic choice based on Bakula's previous success in a sci-fi show. They didn't choose him because he was a white guy, they chose him because he was Scott Bakula, the star of QL. They wanted to attract Bakula's fan base.
     
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Found the Bible.

    http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Star_Trek/5_Enterprise/Enterprise_-_Bible.pdf

    Jackson Archer had to be a man.

    T'Pau had be to female and sensual.

    JOE Mayweather had to be black and male. When you smoosh Joe Frazier and Floyd Mayweather together... You get racism. Partial name change appreciated. Although parents do that sort of basic ass shit all the time.

    Reed had to be British and male.

    Hoshi had to be Japanese, female and young.

    From the bible the only character that couldn't have been black was T'Pau, and that's because she was already white on TOS Amok Time, but Mayweather had to be black.

    Although SPIKE Tucker and JOE Mayweather were SUPPOSED to have the Harry/Tom relationship, but that was probably because Trinneer and Keating were closer to the same age or had better chemistry.
     
  18. Dukhat

    Dukhat Admiral Admiral

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    Well, when you have names like Jackson Archer, Joe Mayweather and Spike Tucker rather than Lixin Chang, Jose Delgado or Muhammad Al-Feyd, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an American-centric show. And Hoshi, while played by an Asian actor, came off as just another American (of Asian descent), which is who the actor is in real life.

    Not to mention that names like ‘Archer,’ ‘Mayweather’ and ‘Spike’ denote ‘tough guys’ and ‘masculinity’ which was quite prevalent in that show (Well, not so much Mayweather, who got little character development.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2023
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  19. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. And that's a notable weakness of Berman-era ST.

    You're ignoring the entertainment industry's structural biases that made it easier for a white guy to be cast as the star of a network series like Quantum Leap in the first place.

    And why were so many other white actors cast? Why were there no Latino actors? Why were there only two women? Why were the human characters all conceived of as being descended from the Anglosphere except Hoshi?

    Sorry, but that kind of environment doesn't come about unless there's discrimination happening. Being disproportionately white and disproportionately male is not actually natural.

    Exactly. This was a decision; it's not like Anglo-Saxon names are the default setting for the human race.

    There's a lot of early-Aughts toxic masculinity in ENT, yeah.
     
  20. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

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    Sci, one can be "white" and Latino.
     
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