📚 44/2021: My Brother’s Keeper: Enterprise by Michael Jan Friedman ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🖖🏻
📚 44/2021: My Brother’s Keeper: Enterprise by Michael Jan Friedman ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🖖🏻
Watched the last three episodes of season three of Enterprise this evening. The show definitely improved over the first two seasons, but went to some pretty dark places. Was not expecting the cliffhanger ending, though! One more season of the only Trek I haven’t watched. 🖖
Occasionally in Star Trek — at least twice that I can easily think of, possibly other times — we are shown displays of prior ships named Enterprise. The first time this happens, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this display includes the first space shuttle.
(The second time I can easily come up with is the display cabinet in the observation lounge on the Enterprise-E in First Contact, but that display jumps directly from the aircraft carrier to the first appropriately named starship. A shuttle model is seen on display in Star Trek Into Darkness, but that’s contained in a lineup of notable space exploration milestones, not of ships of a specific name, so that passes — except for the fact that that entire film should be struck from the Trek canon, but I digress….)
However, since the Star Trek universe wouldn’t include the fictional Star Trek universe, the shuttle shouldn’t be included in these displays. The first space shuttle was originally planned to be named Constitution, but the name was changed to Enterprise after a campaign spearheaded by fans of the show.
Now, the Enterprise is a Constitution-class starship, but in ST:TMP, Decker specifically tells Ilia that “all those vessels were called Enterprise”, so it still wouldn’t make sense for the shuttle to be part of that display, and there was no known Constitution-class ship actually named Constitution that might have included a display with a shuttle named Constitution. There was, however, a shuttle named Discovery, so the Discovery in the current show could have such a display. But the Enterprise shouldn’t have the shuttle included in its historical lineage (unless, of course, a suitable in-universe explanation was given for why the first shuttle had its name changed).
Taken more broadly, there are other potential implications for Trek not existing within its own universe. Roddenberry either never created a hit science-fiction show in the ‘60s, or did so in a very different manner. Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, and the rest of the TOS crew wouldn’t be the household names they are, or at least not for the roles we primarily know them for.
Many scientists have credited Trek for inspiring them on their path to their chosen careers. What paths would they have taken without Trek? How would our technological progress have been affected without Trek as an inspiration, given how many of today’s devices, from flip phones (communicators) to iPads (PADDs), have been inspired in some manner by Trek’s visions of the future?
I’m not really going anywhere major with this. I just like playing with what fictional universes are like when you remove them from their own universe.
Sometime between April 15th and April 18th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
You may remember speculation from last year that STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, the latest TV series in the long-running sci-fi franchise, was in possible danger of being cancelled. Most of these fears seemed to originate with the news that two less episodes of ENTERPRISE would be needed for this season, and when combined with the show’s lackluster ratings, produced gossip that the show could be hanging by a thread. There was also talk that the show was being moved to Friday evenings from its Wednesday perch on the network.
UPN suits and ENTERPRISE producer Rick Berman dispelled the rumor that the program would move to Fridays but did confirm that a shorter run was in store for the third season. Nevertheless, the news was downplayed as a minor issue and not one serious enough to deliver a deathblow to the struggling series. But last week’s abrupt and unexpected cancellation of JAKE 2.0, the series that followed on UPN directly after ENTERPRISE, may have sent a pulse of fear through the cast and crew. At the very least it prompted an individual to write in and tell us what they say the scuttlebutt is on the set right now…
Now, I’ve not seen Enterprise since I moved into my current apartment, and at the time, I wasn’t sorry to stop watching it. It’s still a little sad to see that one of the staples of my life may be coming to such an ignominious end.
I’ve been watching the new Star Trek show, Enterprise, off and on for a while now. I haven’t caught every new episode, but those I have, I posted my thoughts on. It doesn’t look like I’ll be doing this anymore, though.
Wednesday evening I turned on my TV to watch the show, and as it turns out, my reception here at the new apartment is actually worse than it was at my old one. So, watching the broadcast isn’t an option, and there’s no way I’m going to pay for cable access just so I can watch one show. At first I was kind of disappointed by this, but something else has happened this week that made me realize that I probably wasn’t going to miss Enterprise all that much.
This Tuesday marked the release of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a very nice DVD box set. I picked up my copy on Wednesday on my way home from work, and when I found that I wasn’t going to be able to watch Enterprise, I started watching TNG episodes.
The thing is — I’d forgotten just how good this show really was! Sure, it was their first season, everyone was still getting the hang of their characters, and the special effects were fairly horrid (and that’s not just hindsight talking — I remember being extremely unimpressed with the effects in “Justice” at the time it first aired) — but even with all that, each episode I (re-)watch drives home more and more just how good TNG was…and just how much Enterprise pales in comparison.
Watching the first season of TNG now is actually much like watching it for the first time. I watched TNG almost religiously when it first came on the air — it first aired during my sophomore year in high school, and for quite a while it became a ritual for my group of friends to gather at someone’s house (usually Tammy’s, though I think Royce, myself, and some of the others hosted the gathering from time to time) and watch whatever the newest episode was. However, by the time I graduated in ’91 and moved out to live on my own for the first time, television was less and less of a priority, and I ended up missing the majority of the last few seasons of TNG. In the ensuing years I’ve caught the occasional episode of one Trek show or another in reruns, but those times have been fairly few and far between. I remember bits and pieces of the shows I’ve seen, but much has faded in the mists of memory over the years.
In essence, then, it’s very easy for me to compare watching the first season of Enterprise fresh out of the bottle to watching the first season of TNG the same way — and I’ve gotta say, ENT just doesn’t compare. Up until now, I’ve been somewhat of an apologist for ENT, doing my best to give it a chance, and one of the most common arguments when someone says that ENT just isn’t that good of a show is that it’s still their first season. Often someone will offer up, “remember just how much better TNG was after a few seasons, and how shaky their first season was?” Well sure, it was better after as it went on (which makes me look forward even more to those seasons being released on DVD later this year) — but that argument was a lot easier for me to accept when I hadn’t actually seen first-season TNG since 1987. The episodes and dilemmas presented therein are much more interesting, the characters are more engaging — about the only point that I can see that first-season ENT really has over first-season TNG is the special effects, and much of that is the simple fact that it’s 15 years later (side note — 15 years later? Ugh…I’m feeling old again!) and modern-day F/X technology is that much better.
Perhaps ENT will mature as it goes along, and perhaps it will grow into being a truly worthwhile addition to the Star Trek universe — it’d be nice to see that happen, as I still think that some of the new ideas and directions they’re exploring in ENT could be very interesting (the new take on the Vulcans, for example). However, at the moment — I can’t say I’m going to really miss not being able to watch it anymore.
The Enterprise hosts a group of Vulcans who, unlike T’Pol and the other Vulcan High Command, are eager to embrace and experience their own emotions. When one of their rank tempts her to adapt their more free-spirited approach to life, T’Pol finds herself faced with a confusing and intriguing dilemma.
Another good episode (what is this — three weeks of episodes I’ve actually really liked in a row? “Dear Doctor“, “Shuttlepod One” and now “Fusion” — if they’re not careful, they might actually have a good Trek show on the air again!), though I’ve got some issues with the events.
Finally…after 16 episodes of interesting but non-typical behavior (as far as we know) from the Vulcans shown on Enterprise, we finally get a show exploring a bit more about Vulcan culture…albeit in an unusual fashion. Good stuff, and Jolene Blalock (T’Pol) is turning out to be a lot better than I initially thought she would.
It seems to me that either the writers are working with how she’s portraying her character, or there’s been some planning for her character that hadn’t been revealed yet. One of the constant complaints that I read over on the TrekBBS is how non-Vulcan she is — obviously emotional at times (just not overtly emotional). Many of the complaints just boil down to how she’s ‘not Spock,’ which I just think is kind of silly (see this post on the HTF for more of my thoughts on that). This time, we got to explore not just a little of why she is how she is, through some visiting Vulcans that were experimenting with embracing their emotions, rather than rejecting them. One of the visiting Vulcans started pressuring T’Pol into exploring her emotional side, remarking that her emotions weren’t nearly as buried as most Vulcans are, possibly as a result of spending as much time as she has among humans. While she eventually decides that this approach is not for her, it was a very interesting look into just why logic has become the creed of Vulcan life.
I was, however, somewhat disturbed by how T’Pol was treated by both the visiting Vulcan (none-too-subtle pressure leading up to what could easily be considered mental assault or rape) and by Archer, with his constant remarks that she should be more accepting of these emotional Vulcans’ way of life. If he’d been merely advocating acceptance of a different viewpoint, that would have been one thing, but it came across as more pressure for her to try to explore her emotional side. For all the preaching of acceptance, Archer certainly didn’t seem to willing to let T’Pol be how she prefers to be, which got to bug me a bit. Thankfully, by the end of the show, he seemed to have backed off from that stance a bit, even remarking that he thought he understood a bit more of why she chose to stay with the more traditional Vulcan way of life.
I did think it was interesting that at the time of Enterprise, the Vulcan Mind Meld is so little used that the procedure has to be explained to T’Pol. Since we saw at least two TOS-era Vulcans use the Mind Meld that I can think off off the top of my head (Spock and his father Sarek), the impression was that it was a fairly well-known procedure at the time. Now I’m a little curious if Spock’s family’s use of this technique was more unconventional than we’d been led to believe, or if a more common acceptance of the technique had become standard by Kirk’s day.
Anyway, another strong episode in the can for Enterprise.
On a routine shuttlepod mission to investigate an asteroid field, Trip and Reed find themselves suddenly cut off from the Enterprise and become convinced that the mothership has been destroyed. With a limited oxygen supply and almost no chance of being rescued, the opposite-minded twosome must battle their annoyance with one another while also coming to terms with their impending demise.
In short — great episode. 4.5 out of 5.
The crew encounters an alien race in desperate need of medical and scientific assistance. Phlox declines to assist them because of his ethical beliefs leaving Archer to decide whether to help them find their own solutions.
“Dear Doctor” marks not just the most recent Enterprise episode, but in my opinion, the strongest I’ve seen yet. After the on-again, off-again nature of last week’s episode, this weeks was a real treat, with a well-written and structured blend of of drama and character development, with subplots that actually worked well with the main plot, rather than distracting from it.
A solid 4 and a half out of 5 this week.