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Some Blog I Wrote

stuff i think about and then type on a keyboard

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Those Were The Voyages...

For the record, Scott Bakula is two-for-two in starring in tangential series finales.

The series finale of Enterprise, "These Are The Voyages...", has come and gone, and, despite the fact that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga resorted to framing their "valentine" episode around a more beloved series that launched 18 uninterrupted years of Star Trek programming, I enjoyed it more than I expected. Somehow, within the span of one hour, they delivered a decent franchise finale.

One could question if the popularity of Lost and of Terry O'Quinn's John Locke prompted Berman and Braga to use the events of "The Pegasus" as the impetus for Commander Riker and Counselor Troi to examine the final voyage of the NX-01 through the Holodeck. The audience never sees Admiral Pressman this time, but I couldn't help but make the connection. The audience instead is treated to new shots of the 1701-D flying through empty space and through the Devolin asteroid field that somehow convey the massive size of the ship for the first time. Brent Spiner squeezes in a great cameo as Data's disembodied voice deciphering yet another human idiom.

The final voyage treats us to one final guest appearance by the talented Jeffrey Combs. Six years after the events in "Terra Prime", Shran finally cashes in his favor from Archer by asking him and his crew to rescue his daughter. She is held prisoner by Shran's former underworld associates on Rigel X, the planet the NX-01 visited in the series pilot "Broken Bow". On the way back from a successful rescue, Shran's associates find the same super-secret access hatch used by the Augment Malik. Trip distracts them and sacrifices himself to save... Archer? the ship? Shran? Regardless, I'll take a deliberate conduit explosion over an Armus bitch-slap any day. We close with Archer realizing the destiny revealed to him by Daniels, which he may not remember.

A funny moment occurs while Riker is interviewing the senior staff while posing as Chef. His conversation with Reed transitions to a conversation with Sato using the line, "Do you find [Trip] attractive?" The question is directed at Sato. I'm certain the remaining gay fans of the series were pulling their remaining hairs upon witnessing one final missed opportunity to out a gay Star Trek character.

The episode ends with a montage of Enterprises. The familiar, abandoned Star Trek prologue is recited by Picard as we see the 1701-D leave the Devolin field. As it passes behind a lone asteroid, we see the 1701, and the narrator is now Kirk. As we sweep past the port nacelle, we see the NX-01, and Archer finally gets to chime in with the big finish, "where no man has gone before." We watch the NX-01 fly toward some nebula that I'm certain holds some significance of which I'm not aware. I must admit a few tears were building up during this montage. It's the only part of the show I rewatched several times using the TiVo. It's the best possible final scene for this franchise I could imagine.

I can't say I hated this episode. Given the faux-lofty "historical" nature of this final series, I found it only appropriate that more popular characters from the 24th century have a peek at the events leading to the founding of the Federation. My wife wasn't very happy with the "cop out" Holodeck-based narrative, and she certainly wasn't happy that Deep Space Nine received no props in the final montage, though she admitted the series featured no ship named Enterprise. (Deep Space Nine was the show that indoctrinated her into sci-fi. She loves her Sci-Fi Fridays, thank you very much.) I agree with her that the finale should let the series stand on its own two feet, but in the context that this is the last hour of Star Trek after 18 years, it works for me.

I'm in the camp that believes Paramount will take a page from Ronald Moore and hit the reset button on Star Trek the franchise if it were resurrected. I believe the final montage was Paramount directing a wink in my camp's general direction. I don't know if Roddenberry's quaint sterile 1960s utopia has any place in the television market of the near future, as the next group of creative minds will undoubtedly need to make compromises if they want to compete with the grittier, character-focused series like the new Battlestar Galactica and The 4400. A reset would force the writers to tell compelling stories about compelling, evolving characters rather than pay lip service to a 704-hour, 10-movie canon that's as full of holes and contradictions as Sam Beckett's memory.

I'm glad I can finally put Star Trek behind me, and I know I'm not alone.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 2:30 AM
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5 Comments:

At Sat May 14, 08:39:00 AM CDT, Blogger sean wrote...

I'm kinda siding with Elizabeth here.... it seemed they tried to sexy up the finale with more popular characters. I did like the jump forward 10 years device, since it at least allows for the possibility of re-visiting the ALL the main characters (though if they do, no future threat to any of the characters will be taken seriously, since we know they are all safe until the day before the Federation is founded.... but then George Lucas has somewhat put paid to that notion, hasn't he?). I'm wondering what part of the episode Jolene Blaylock found "appalling" (as she said in recent interviews: the fact that they killed the Trip (the character I found to be the most interesting on the show), the fact that they blew off their romance, or the fact that they didn't let the characters of the show stand on their own..... All in all it was a pretty good episode, but the TNG plot device was disappointing. I was glad that the transitioning Enterprises saved the episode from leaving the final word on Enterprise to a TNG character.

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At Sat May 14, 09:05:00 AM CDT, Blogger l-dub wrote...

Shitty...Trip was the only character I actually liked.

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At Sat May 14, 01:05:00 PM CDT, Blogger sean wrote...

I've like T'pal since the 2nd season, when she started showing emotion. In the Xindi season, she actually showed some acting range playing the "conflicted Vulcan dealing with emotions for the first time" and I was enjoying where they were going with the character. I've always liked Flox, though he had more focus in the first season than he has had since. Trip is my favorite, and Bakula is still a sentimental favorite, but the other three are worthless, sad to say.

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At Sat May 14, 06:21:00 PM CDT, Blogger DrHeimlich wrote...

Well, I'm not in Jolene Blalock's head (darn?!), but here's what *I* found pretty lame, if I'm putting myself in the perspective of the Enterprise cast.

In the finale, they fast forward 6 years into the future of the characters, and what do we find? The design of the ship has changed a bit. The uniforms have name patches now. The haircuts have changed. And that's IT.

No promotions. No one got married or had a family. Nobody met anyone new, or started a new relationship. No one left the ship (even though Mayweather *just* said in the previous hour that he was going to). In fact, the only strong relationship between any of the characters at all was shown to have disintegrated over time. Hell, more happened to *Shran* in 6 years, and he wasn't even a "main character."

Basically, the subtext of all this is: suppose Enterprise HAD lasted another 3 seasons, or heaven forbid, 6. Well, you would have simply been treated to the same boring crap week after week, with the characters never learning, never changing, never growing, never coming to life in the way the characters of the first three Trek series did. (Hell, even Voyager, for all its flaws, had two or three fairly realized characters.)

THAT'S what would piss me off, were I one of the cast... the unspoken hints suggesting that Enterprise (and its crew) never amounted to anything, past, present, or future.

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At Sun May 15, 12:51:00 AM CDT, Blogger GiromiDe wrote...

Michelle Erica Green, who shares the same initials as my daughter, offers this excellent review. While she reiterates many of the Doctor's comments, she goes a bit further and wraps it all up in a big pretty bow.

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