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Old May 17th, 2005, 05:19 AM   #1
Thomas P
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Default Part 2, Read Part 1 first

The true finale was the second part of “Terra Prime.” Trip and T’Pol have had some genetic material stolen to create a cloned baby to warn Earth against the horrors of interspecies miscegenation – again, Trek confronts the issues of the day – and the kid doesn’t make it. The Day Is Saved, The Conference Goes Forward (it’s a curious nod to Roddenberry’s utopian delusions that the plot often hinges on the saving of a conference) and the Enterprise once more Does Her Duty. But the episode ended with Trip coming to T’Pol’s room to discuss funeral arrangements for the baby, and that one scene contained more emotional power than any scene since Scotty tootled Amazing Grace as Spock was buried in a torpedo casing and Kirk gargled the word “human.” Of course, it’s always the weeping that defines “great acting” in the groundling’s book, but this wasn’t a scene played for cheap emotion. It felt real in a way that reminded you how little else in Trek truly felt real. Everything was so frickin’ mythic. Not this. At the end, it was two people from two places holding hands over the death of a child and the possibility of another. That was the end of Star Trek, and it couldn’t have gotten there without Enterprise.

The finale was candy. Apparently the cast wasn’t happy, and when I heard that I was seized with the fear that the entire Trek story would be revealed as a dream Gene Roddenberry had while passed out in a plane wrec. But no. They were mad, it seems, because their finale contained a heapin’ helping of Jonathan Frakes, and was essentially a holodeck story. But please. What else could we have had? Enterprise defeats the Borg! Enterprise is thrown into the Gamma Quadrant! Enterprise saves the world at the last minute when Trip vents the plasma conduits and reroutes auxillary weapons through the EPS manifold! Enterprise goes forward in time to defeat a gigantic single-cell organism shaped like Shatner’s toupee! There’s almost nothing else left to do. And so we saw the entirety of the Enterprise story as something that had become Distant History, a story you read in second grade. The ship was Old Ironsides – interesting, inert, historical, a relic. That was a fun tour, let’s have lunch. It was a contrast between the tone of a standard episode (what happens now is incredibly important and the Federation hangs in the balance and any one of our heroes may be killed, despite the fact that they have signed a contract for the next season) and the cool regard of history, for whom these events are simply a matter of record. What Riker was worried about would be history in the same way, eventually. That’s the point. We think that Today is incredibly vital and pertinent; surely history will see it as we do, feel it as we do. Well, no. Not unless it’s a very bad day, and certainly not if it’s a nice one. Battles turn into paragraphs. Sunk ships are footnotes, if they’re lucky.

That’s what I think they were trying to do, anyway. To end it without ending it. Each character got to walk on stage and converse with the Chef, who’d been mentioned but never seen for four years. That was their last turn in the footlights. 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.

It ended with the three ships. (Interesting how they didn’t show the 1701-E, perhaps because the design wasn’t really beloved; it owes too much to the Voyager-class shoehorn look, and the notch on the nacelles looks distinctly unFederation-like. And yes, I just crossed over into the land of unredeemable dorkheadedness, but I’m past caring.) I’ve always liked the design of the “Enterprise” Enterprise. The 1701-D looks computer generated. But the original ship, the Constitution class – that’s the one that still has a hook in your heart. Maybe because it was actually real. They built a model out of wood and painted it and stuck wires in it and filmed it, and those few frames brought the whole story to life. I bought the original model kit and flew it around my bedroom. (I considered buying another and burning it to look like the one in the Doomsday Machine, too.) That was the archetype; that was what Icarus had in mind. And that was what hung in the Smithsonian that day they opened the Star Trek exhibit. All the cast showed up, except for Bones. I met them all: press tour. On the way out I found myself standing next to James Doohan under the big model of the Enterprise, floating above in the hall. I walked up next to Scotty. We looked up.

“Ah, she’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?” he said.

That she was.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 08:51 AM   #2
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I enjoyed Enterprise, but to varying degrees. The last season definitley was the best. The earlier seasons I watched because I like sci-fi in general. I could nitpick, but why? Besides, my wif would not really care. I'm lucky she even watched with me.
I'm sad it's gone because of the potential the show was exhibiting.
I would have loved to see them take the show to the Romulan War time period.
Let's see what comes next. At least now I have a chance to catch up on Stargate SG1.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #3
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What I liked about the article was the point that, due to and in spite of the fans the show lasted 28 seasons. The story, whether under the helm of Gene or others, was so widely embraced and nurtured by it's fans.

And of course, as in any addiction, we loved and loved to hate the show.

The comparisons to the original series failings to those criticisms of the following series is well written. I, for example, loved DS9. It's the only series I have or want to have. Don't get me wrong, given a choice of stuff on TV, if I see an old TOS or TNG episode coming up I schedule it in the box. But I'll also get nit-picky about TOS this and TNG that with continuity or story originality. Same with Voyager. But I get out the quantum torpedoes when someone makes a crit on DS9!

I'm sorry to see it go.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 02:20 AM   #4
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I didnt like the Berman and Braga phillosophy that most episodes should basically have no significant changes from episode to episode. That episodes are extremely self contained as if there was a cosmic reset button at the end of each episode so teh ship and characters would lose any changes that happened in the story.

I actually liked STNG alot. In many ways it was the best trek series. I'm not a fan of DS9. Nor Voyager. And until the last season, not Enterprise.

But the article was right. Fans tend to be nit pickers.

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Old May 25th, 2005, 05:35 AM   #5
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I happened to be one of the few that found Voyager likeable. The only problem i had was that they were to damn curious about everything along the way. Sticking there noses in trying to be Federation till the end.

But all in all DS9 is my favorite. Bar none.

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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:46 PM   #6
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I know this is an old thread. The article was interesting, and he did make some good points.

I liked all the series - though I have to say Enterprise was my least favorite. Not sure quite why...but I miss having new Trek episodes to watch each week. Surviving on reruns and tapes I've made
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Old May 1st, 2006, 03:23 AM   #7
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