There's a quirky and strange sort of a tenuous fandom surrounding Star Trek: Enterprise. True fans of Star Trek seem to be glad that it's on the air, but wish the show was a different one... a better one. The reason? Well, Star Trek shows have consistently built upon each other, while holding a continuity chord to the "Future History" of the overall mythos (an un-reconciled exception, thus far, being the marked change in makeup on every Klingon in between the original series and the first movie)! Still, going forward any Trek can pretty much do what ever the eff-you-see-kay it wants to.
|J.C. Mašek III|
The World's Greatest Critic!
Enterprise is, or should be, a lone exception to this rule as it's set itself up as a prequel! For the casual viewer, Enterprise is passable fare, but to those who have The Star Trek Encyclopedia in multiple book and CD-ROM forms, and know how to say "To Be or Not to Be..." in the original Klingon, Enterprise is to Star Trek what that Saturday Morning Cartoon show Ewoks was to Star Wars!
Okay, I exaggerate like an old man
fresh from a fishing trip, but hey, this is BEFORE Kirk and Spock, so, why are all the ships so Next-Gen looking, why are there races (and wars) we've never heard of and why, oh, why, have they not set up more than a proverbial "iota" of what's to come later?
A word on that night's debate:
|Enterprise followed the second Presidential Debate that night... Hmmm!
This Charles Gibson moderated Town Hall Style Debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush started like many others, that pretentious, respectfully contentious hyperbolic carton of relative truths that we all have come to expect.
But just about at the time someone was about to ask John Kerry a variant on the famous Kitty Dukakis question, five well armed samurai bounded into the arena and posed dramatically like Uma in Kill Bill one! Bush and Kerry slowly rose from their seats before, in unison, I might add, screaming a declaration of battle in their best Bruce Lee and diving into the Fray! "Don't worry, Charles, we'll protect you!" shouted George as he ducked a Sai blow!
"And all these fine voters too!" John added! He took two of them on at once spinning and punching the way that only the well-trained elite can. He kicked one of the assailants in the gut, doubling him over, and grabbing his glowing katana in time to spin about and "do in" the evil menace who was about to take his life.
He then spun around and brushed the "better hair" out of his eyes only to see the President (of John's own Country) in mortal combat with three of the armed and armored warriors. A long sword came down on Bush's head, but before it could split a single hair (this was a debate), Bush clapped both hands together and held the sword still. "John, SAVE YOURSELF!", Bush called out before executing two distracting back kicks into the other samurai's shins!
"Not without YOU George!", Kerry bellowed, removing his ironically Red Tie! He wrapped that tie around the neck of one of the three Samurai attacking the president and jerked it, sending the Samurai spinning like a dreidel toward Gibson, who unceremoniously conked the nightmare man on the head with his microphone! "Nice moves, Bro!" hollered Senator John Kerry before pulling yet another Samurai away from the President.
George was himself busied with the Samuriai-Shinobi-Master proving that the Alabama National Guard had indeed been a proving ground unheard of in the ranks of the unconscious secret service agents! "HIKEBA!" Screamed the President as he delivered a quick punch to the face of the enemy, then added a "GYMKATA!" as he kicked what was left of the man into submission!
Kerry ducked another whip of the spike-chain before grabbing the chain in mid-strike and wrapping the evil one's legs with his own weapon. He screamed as he fell but was immobile thanks to the handy work of one John F. Kerry... HERO! The Senator and the President approached each other and shook hands with a similar smile proving that they were only "Opponents" at the polls. "Excellent work, Dubya! Thanks!"
"Don't Thank me," said Bush, "We're all part of the seam team!" But from the corner of his eye, George saw that Kerry's first sparring partner was rising to strike! "Duck!" Shouted the President as he threw a Ninja Star at the forehead of the big enemy! The star buried itself in the bad things forehead sending out sparks in every direction! "They... they were robots!" the two Americans said almost in Unison! Their surprise and confusion didn't preclude their sense of HONOR, so they bowed to their fallen foes, then to each other, and took their stools again as the shaken, but capable Secret Service cleared the Martially Artistic Automatons.
When Charles Gibson dared ask which man was the better leader for Homeland Security, they both indicated the android assailants and said "Dude, does it MATTER now?" Good call, Leaders! Good Call! A lot of people missed that because of Popcorn or Potty breaks, but it's true, word-is-bond, and aren't you glad I'm reporting it? Huzzah!
In short, if I found Enterprise a little dull tonight, I had my reasons, yes?
Rick Berman and Brannon Braga's answer? T*I*M*E* *T*R*A*V*E*L! The old standby used by every Trek, though never to this near-weekly excess! And besides Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula is the star, so we've got to time travel! Oh, during the Xindi Conflict Time Travel took a relative back seat, but in last season's finale, Time Travel jumped up front, grabbed the wheel and screamed, "I'm Drivin' Bitch!"
Which brings me back to the lecture at hand! October 8, 2004's episode, "Storm Front: Part 1", an ominous title suggesting a proximate sequel. Sigh. Instead of meeting up with Romulans or shaking Christopher Pike's Grandpa's Hand, Captain Jonathan Archer (Bakula, in case you didn't know) wakes up back in the 1940's, which isn't so bad... Maybe he'd meet up with Edith Keeler! Unfortunately, it's not our 1940's, it's a decade re-shaped by one of the many factions of time travelers from the future who have tipped the balance in favor of the Axis powers and all but insured a Nazi victory.
That's right! We're asked to swallow that Nazis have issues with blacks, Jews, and pretty much any people of color... however, Aliens with Green Skin and spikes all over their faces? Hey, that's as groovy as Sha-Na-Na! So we get Aliens in SS uniforms actually talking about the "Master Race"... which is what to them?
What follows is as predictable as a price tag on Minnie Pearl's hat! Archer escapes, hooks up with a gang of Boot-Leggers/ resistance fighters (former cast members from The Sopranos, word is bond), a beautiful love interest, and enough Nazi jokes to build a whole Indiana Jones movie around. Just to remind you that this is all "chilling", Nazi Alien leader Vosk confirms that New England is now New Deutschland!
And, of course, the crew of the Enterprise can't figure out where their future went (not to mention the Xindi, the Andorians, or for that matter Archer himself), but are sure determined to try. Enter T'Bod (oh, I mean T'Pol), nearly in tears(!), "Trip" Tucker, and Travis Mayweather, and just to confirm to everyone that this still was Enterprise and that Dean Stockwell wasn't about to pop up, call Archer "Sam" and play with some Texas Instruments Calculator, grinding out a "Ziggy says..." or a "Beam me Up Gooshy!" Suliban jack-off and Temporal Cold War Veteran Silik (John Fleck) sleazes his way onto the screen for a loyalty-questioning sub-plot!
The bottom line here is that Enterprise is still the only show on television that is totally impossible to forecast... and in the case of a prequel, that's more dangerous than positive. With all this temporal tinkering (they're even offering William Shatner a guest spot this season), and all the skewing of the Star Trek Continuity, you'd better believe that the only way out of this twisted mess is if Patrick Duffy appears on the show, kills Daniel, kisses T'Bod and explains that the entire third and fourth seasons were just figment of Pam Ewing's imagination! Now that's good Television!
Bring on the Romulans... not that they too weren't ruined in Nemesis. Until then, though, Star Trek: Enterprise will remain a Must-See show that you ask yourself "WHY" after, every week. And with the "brilliant" UPN moving Enterprise into the Sci-Fi Death Slot of Friday Night at 8 (let me count the cancellations), we might not see much more of the poor show. Two and One Half Stars out of Five for Season 4's opener "Storm Front Part One"! If they don't get back on track soon, it might be too late. If they get cancelled without setting up anything of Star Trek's "Future History", in 10 years we'll all look back and say "Um, Why again?" Echoes of Voyager abound! So until they blame all this time-tavel mess on Picard's temporal tinkering in Star Trek: First Contact, I'll see you in the next reel... or... rather... see you in the next episode!