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Tony Grist

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Trek [Aug. 3rd, 2005|11:41 am]
Tony Grist
Star Trek just ended with the last ever episode of Enterprise. You'd think it would have been a major media event and it wasn't. All of us true Trekkers stopped caring a long time ago. Maybe the franchise will be revived and maybe it won't.

There was a shoot out with a bunch of ugly aliens, some character I was supposed to care about but didn't blew himself up in an act of heroic self sacrifice (like a suicide bomber) and Archer got to hug the sexy Vulcan. There was a bang, there was a whimper and now Berman and Bragga are going away to have a long, long think.

Enterprise has been crap. In fact all of Trek has been crap since the point, about three quarters of the way though DS9, when they switched from cool storylines about post-colonialism and theocracy to uncool story lines about explosions.

I had been hoping this last episode might pull out a few stops and contain glances backwards (forwards?) to the glory days. And it did. It shoehorned Riker and Troi into the action. I winced when Riker was made to say he was a big fan of Captain Archer's but- never mind- it was good to see them.

How well they're both looking!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: butterscotch711
2005-08-03 05:40 am (UTC)
Maybe the Star Trek franchise will now be like Doctor Who was, and there will be audio dramas on CD and books which are more creative (and more intensely read) than the novelisations and by-the-dozen tie-in novellas that have come before.

I think Star Trek suffers for being the most fan-intensive franchise ever. Obsessive attention to confusing continuity is part of what killed Doctor Who the last time, and it has been weighing down Star Trek for ages. There needs to be more creativity, more freedom, more ideas and less lurching around the bridge and diverting power between different parts of the ship.

I think Roger Ebert said in his review of the last Star Trek movie that the whole franchise should just jump another 1,000 years into the future or something. It certainly needs to get out of its rut.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 06:05 am (UTC)
I think a large part of the problem has been the quality of the writing. We've just not been getting good stories or engaging characters.

I'm a big fan of DS9. It took the franchise into new waters and introduced a whole collection of fascinating characters (played by a company of very strong actors.) Sadly the producers lost their nerve towards the end of the run and dumbed it down.

Voyager was patchy.

I hope there will be a new show eventually. And I hope it will reinvent the franchise. The new Dr Who demonstrates how this is possible.
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[User Picture]From: butterscotch711
2005-08-03 06:36 am (UTC)
I agree about DS9. I never saw any of it until last year when I had a housemate with pay-TV, so I so bits and pieces of it - and all of what I saw was pretty amazing.

And I agree about Voyager. Voyager annoyed me because it was faced with two possibilities and didn't have the nerve to follow either through. It could have used its setting on the other side of the galaxy to leave the old Star Trek world behind and really tackle new, big ideas, and that would have been great. Or it could have just been flat-out Horatio Hornblower in space, and that could have been very fun. But it ummed and aahed and gazed at its toes and hedged its bets for seven seasons.

I hope Star Trek comes back too. I hope it comes back with more verve, and more political sass, and more willingness to deal with its (unavoidable) political allegories.

I also think that if Berman and Braga go have a long, long think the Star Trek universe (if not the commercial franchise) will change into something completely different while they're gone. I think in a way the Star Trek fandom is more important in its legacy than the TV show itself.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 07:42 am (UTC)
Voyager was compromised from the start. It was an attempt to return to an old, tried formula after the experiment of DS9. I read an interview with the guy who played Chakotay in which he said the scripts were rubbish and he could barely say his lines without giggling and basically he was only in it for the money. He implied that most of the cast and crew felt the same. I doubt if the atmosphere was like that on the set of TNG. Somewhere along the way there had been a massive loss of heart.

I think you're right about the legacy. The Star Trek ethos- embodied in characters like Kirk and Spock and Picard- transcends the TV shows.

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-08-03 09:28 am (UTC)
They all started out well, I think. I even have the first episode of V'ger. Enterprise COULD have been wonderful, it was an attempt to go back to 'before the beginning'. But Gene Rodennberry is dead...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 11:14 am (UTC)
I always thought it was a bit daft to attempt a prequel to original Trek.

For one thing we all know how the story is going to pan out.

And for another you're limiting yourself. You can't introduce any races- like the Borg- who weren't around in Kirk's day.

And then, finally, there's the problem of coming up with a style that convincingly predates the very 60s look of the original show.

I wanted Enterprise to succeeed, I watched the first three or four episodes, but the characters were so dull, the stories so weak and the writing so flavourless that I packed it in.

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-08-03 11:20 am (UTC)
I am a BIG fan of Scott Bakula, and I wanted the show to be a success for HIS sake. I was getting sick of watching reruns of Quantum Leap...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 11:34 am (UTC)
Bakula is OK. Given a better set of scripts he would have made a fine captain. I've nothing against him personally.

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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-08-03 09:32 am (UTC)
Yeah DS9 was easily the best to my mind. Voyage began well until Brannon Braga fell for Seven of Nine (who wasn't very interesting anyway).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 11:17 am (UTC)
Seven of Nine was fun to begin with, but then she became predictable.

My favourite Voyager episodes were the ones where Janeway palled around with Leonardo da Vinci. I found the master-pupil relationship (with the pupil knowing so much more than the master) rather touching.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-08-03 11:38 am (UTC)
I had two favorites. One was Mr. Tweelix, where they mixed up Tuvoc and Neelix in the transporter - and then after everyone got used to the 'new' person, they fixed the transporter and had to 'unscramble' them

And the one where Seven of Nine rescued the former Borg and he died at the end. That one made me cry...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, the Tweelix episode was memorable.

It's a pity about the unscrambling. Neelix was so so irritating
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-08-03 09:34 am (UTC)
I think they need at least a five year gap though to get over the fatigue.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-03 11:18 am (UTC)
Five years is good by me.

Just so long as the show they finally come up with has a bit of zip.
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