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Monday, June 23, 2008

Why Star Trek: Enterprise Stank.

Reasons why Star Trek: Enterprise stank:

Bad Character Development
The main characters were, by-and-large, static, and weren't all that dynamic at all. They didn't change, progress, develop to much of a degree.

Captain Jon Archer starts out determined for humanity to reach the stars. Besides a few doubts about whether or not mankind was ready for interstellar exploration, a lapse in principles in the Expanse, and changing his opinion about the Vulcans, Archer at the end of the series was much the same as when he started.

T'Pol starts out somewhat bigoted against humans, but then changes opinion. Beyond this however, T'Pol is introduced as a somewhat aloof character and 'the weakest, neediest Vulcan you ever did see,' and ends weak, needy, and still somewhat aloof.

Trip also starts out bigoted against Vulcans and then changes. Yet he starts out as down-to-Earth good guy, and ends as a down-to-Earth good guy.

Similarly, Hoshi Sato doesn't develop beyond a bookish coward, Malcolm Reed doesn't develop beyond being lewd and uptight, Phlox beyond being awkwardly affable, and Travis Mayweather beyond being 'green' and somewhat bewildered (just how many times did that guy say, "Captain....?").

Especially when compared with their Trekkie/Trekker counterparts in Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the cast of Star Trek: Enterprise had few character arcs, and little development.


Bad Acting

On top of the almost non-existent character development, which was the fault of the producers, there was also the bad acting with which to contend.

Scott Bakula, a seasoned actor, performed poorly as Jon Archer, barely venturing beyond being heated and bullheaded in temperament.

The other, less experienced, actors had more of reason for their less-than-spectacular acting skills.

Jolene Blalock wavered between restrictive and infantile as T'Pol. Dominic Keating had that under-your-skin loyalty-disciplined aspect to his Malcolm Reed. Anthony Montgomery, as Travis Mayweather, with his often slack expression and overly wide eyes (it was as though he was trying to pop them out) just added to the impression that his character was an idiot.

The remainder should be given some credit for at least trying for some variety--to limited degrees of success. Connor Trinneer's Trip was expressive, but not over the top. Phlox, played by Billingsley, too was expressive, and he stuck to his role as doctor, a smart decision not trying to over-play his role. Linda Park seems to have tried to make Hoshi a more varied character, and so deserves some credit for putting Hoshi more on the 'radar.'

Bad Plot

Ultimately, either of the above by themselves would have led to a pathetic series. However, both those qualities--bad character development and bad acting--were joined by yet another flaw which ruined the show: a bad plot, potentially the most critical flaw in the series (other other candidate being character development).

Extraordinarily erratic, the series, a prequel of the Original Series and the other Star Trek series and movies, was for the large part involved in the futuristic--more so than 'ordinary' Star Trek--'Temporal Cold War.' The show starts off with a mission of exploration (actually to bring a Klingon to Qo'noS), then changes to looking for the Xindi in the Expanse, then defeating the Sphere Builders, then defeating another group of aliens--and thus finally ending the Temporal Cold War, then exploring, then reforming Vulcan society, then establishing the groundwork for what would become the Federation.... with Andorian and other small interludes in between. The series just jumped from a point to another, occasionally before the first was completed. There was little overriding objective, such as Star Trek: Voyager's mission to Earth. The closest was forming a union of species, but that was subtle at most.

The show was not even given the honor of a decent series finale, but instead was given a pathetic summary of Enterprise's crew from a TNG viewpoint and time frame, with Enterprise being a part of a holodeck program. Technically, all of that episode was TNG; de facto, at least half was. And then they killed off Trip, probably the character to which fans were the most drawn. A despicable ending even for a sub-par show.

Bad character development, bad acting, and bad plot are the primary reasons for why Star Trek: Enterprise, which could have been a great series, was the dismal failure that it was.

Additional Links:
Star Trek: Enterprise's Official Website.
Memory Alpha entry on the series.

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Found this article interesting? Check out:
History: The Roadmap to the Future.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

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The Vegetarian Diaries + Biologeel.

1 comment:

The_Middleman said...

Sorry to say this my friend, but you couldn't be more hopelessly wrong. Enterprise was by far the best Trek since the original series. It was nowhere near as bad as you said.