Monday, May 16, 2005

You wanna piece of me, Fanboy? YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME?!? 

I'm all set to type my big eulogy to Trek and James Lileks goes and writes a very positive (no, wait, negative) review of Enterprise. Well, this being perhaps the only thing he's ever written that I've disagreed with I just canna let it stand.

"One of the good things about the End of Trek: I’ll never have to listen to the bitching of fans. The more I troll the message boards and forums and Usenet groups, the more I’m convinced that the entirety of Trek Fandom is made up of people devoted to proving the inadequacies of the thing they supposedly love. Oh, that episode was horrible. Worst season ever. That show wasn’t anything like the wonderful perfect original series – remember that show where the computer ran the entire planet?"

Yeah, yeah, I take the point that all of the series have had major flaws and eye-rolls and continuity blunders and Kirk was looking up the turbolift shaft of an Enterprise that was now apparently 100 DECKS HIGH!!! and numbered upwards like a building and not downwards like, you know, a ship (sorry); and Trek fans can be a whiny bunch but as I've ranted to anyone who'll listen: when you have serialized episodic fiction with decades of equity and history that is being franchised out the wazoo by people who are not the original creators you invite, nay demand, criticism and second guessing.

"But Enterprise – ah, now that was something different. I am tired of defending the show, and have never understood why it attracted such ire. Especially the last season, which was one long love letter to the entire history of Star Trek."

"Love letter" is the phrase used over and over in the interviews. That show was one big FU to the art direction of TOS. They think that continuity means finding a way to get the Ferengi onto the show in the first season or having a Next Generation character say "Evasive pattern: Kirk Epsilon Seven!" Now they want to send us a love letter. Well I'm sorry but it's a little late for that. Although the Orion slave girls were just great. And the whole mirror universe thing was pretty cool too.

"Some people didn’t buy Scott Bakula as a captain – as someone who never watched Quantum Leap very much, he was new to me, and I bought it from the start."

When they were still casting the show there were lots and lots and lots of fans (who I'm pretty sure were either Scott or his mother) saying that the success of the show would hinge on whether or not they could get Bakula. Well they got him and he teetered (no, really, just watch him) and paced through every. single. scene. with exactly the same cadence and delivery ("..Some sort of...(wait for it)...prime...directive"). I bought him too and I want my money back.

"Jolene Blalock, the Vulcan chick, was . . . painfully attractive, and the only actor to ever suggest that Vulcans had emotions that needed suppressing."

To each his own and all that but you're just objectively wrong. Eva Green is painfully attractive. My wife is painfully attractive. Jolene Blalock needs a sandwich.

"And “Enterprise” had the only relationship that ever seemed to work, which is what made the finale work so well."

Connor Trinneer's arguably the best actor on the show (and would've made a great Archer) but that doesn't justify this relationship. It's a writers-block-romance that's not much different than Troi/Worf, Kira/Odo, or Torres/Paris.

"They were mad, it seems, because their finale contained a heapin’ helping of Jonathan Frakes,"

There's no other kind.

"The story ended before Archer gave his speech, and of course the dolts on the message boards complained that we didn’t hear what he said. Of course we didn’t. That’s the point. Write the thing yourself in your head. Imagine it. Consider what had to be stated at that moment in human history. Dream, you morons."

That's not nice and that's not fair. They (the writers) were the ones who kept hammering on about "the speech, the speech, what's he gonna say?" fer an hour and we're supposed to do the writers job and create it in our head? I didn't have a huge problem with not hearing it but given the buildup I think "WTF?" is an entirely appropriate response.

So to sum up: Feh. This is what we get? Since the fifth season TNG the writers have run screaming from all these terrible constraints on their creativity. "Roddenberry's edict that starfleet personnel are all emotionally well-adjusted folks who have their act together makes it too difficult to write good drama and conflict! Let's do DS9, where they're really far away from starfleet and half the cast isn't starfleet! Or Voyager, where they're really far away from starfleet and half the cast isn't starfleet! Or Enterprise! Where starfleet hasn't figured it all out yet and people still bicker and have angst! Think of the possibilities! Why the scripts practically write themselves!"

Only in this last season did they approach this rich history as something to be celebrated and edified. Prior to this season, TOS era was something they were obviously embarrassed by. Enterprise is a series set 100 years before beehive hairdos, miniskirts, and cheesy 60's sets. So how did they reconcile that? Um...Hey, look over there!

When they're ready to try again they can call me. Or just about anybody else.

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