Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to Completely Muff It Up

(This is a post about Star Trek, so those who could give a flip should surf on and save valuable blog reading time for better stuff. It would be interesting for someone to amass all the text on the web devoted to Star Trek and see what the word count is. If aliens (presuming they exist) ever found earth, and we were gone, and they had to surmise what we were like by our archives, they'd think that Star Trek was probably one of the most important things on the planet. Galaxy Quest would then be a documentary.)

I read somewhere that all of Star Trek: Enterprise was now available on DVD. I started watching the series when it first premiered, and after I regained consciousness after the odious theme song (listen to a sample here, or for the more masochistic download it here), I was disenchanted with what I saw, so bailed a few episodes in. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga had struck again, boldly going where no one is likely to go, into a politically correct future where feelings come before photon torpedoes.

Most fans feel those two - Berman/Braga - were the most responsible for driving the various series into the ground, or more precisely into a planet, with their boring attempts to tell "human" stories in the midst of all the interstellar grandeur. They also have the stench of an alternate future where Identity Politics had not been dismissed as utter bullshit before the year 2000 by everyone save those who make salaries off of it in the university system.

Another common gripe is the freakin' holodeck episodes, which were a phenomenal cheat and a way to see most of the characters in silly hats.

Even with all of this baggage, though, I wanted to see how they would end Star Trek: Enterprise, because I have a thing for series' endings when they actually have the forewarning to be able to make one.

So I spooled up the final episode and it ... it's even hard to type this ... it was a freakin' HOLODECK EPISODE! <Channeling Sam Kinison>Ohhhhh! OOOOHHHH! OOOoooh!</Channeling Sam Kinison>.

The central story is Riker from TNG using the events of the first Enterprise's mission ending to help him decide if he should tell Picard he'd worked on an illegal project to invent a cloaking device. Riker mostly plays the ship's cook because everyone talked to the cook, so that's where you learned all the secrets of the ship. So, what should have been a glorious flameout of an episode is spent in the galley with Riker cutting carrots.

The mind boggles. You'd have to be trying to make that many bad choices. Did these guys have absolutely NO connection with the fan base? Were they being perverse and punishing their audience for not watching their dreck?

I see I'm not the only one who felt this way. In that article, Berman/Braga supposedly said that this episode was a "Valentine" to the fans. Do you suppose these guys' wives (presuming, of course) would point out to them that flipping someone the bird is NOT a valentine? Or that a valentine can lead to a good fucking, but hopefully not a fucking over? (Apologies for the bad puns, but Judas on a Vespa anyway.)

Tangentally, the episode brought up something I'd noticed about the Berman/Braga era. They often had characters talk about how heroic someone was - like Capt. Picard or Capt. Jonathan Archer from "Enterprise" - but personally I never felt these guys actually did anything that seemed or felt all that heroic. Kirk did a few things that seemed particularly heroic, so I know it's possible to convey that quality. I just don't think any of the latter-day Treks accomplished it. Thus having characters gas on about how heroic they were was eye-rollingly embarrassing.

As far as I can discern, the people who own the rights to the series haven't let the reverse Midas touch of Berman/Braga sully the new movie. From what I've read, Berman helped get the idea off the ground, but has not been part of the new effort. Let's hopes so. (Though Whisky and I predict an utter bomb, regardless. Oh, it'll make money, but it will suck.)

Btw, here are pics of Spock in the upcoming film which started principal photography Nov. 7th.

Be sure to check out Whisky's post about this.


Anonymous said...

I, too, tried to get into Star Trek. I watched the whole first season of TNG, and several episodes of subsequent seasons and even a few from other franchises. But I never caught the bug, and finally gave it up without regret. Which is weird, because in most respects I'm a total sci-fi geek.

It never occured to me to watch the finale. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

Whisky Prajer said...

I lost several attempts at a response due to Blogspot Error, so I used it as an excuse for NaBloPoMo.

Regarding the whole "I just wanna be a hero" stuff, I blame Vietnam, or WWII. In the 60s Hollywood was still awash in WWII vets who knew what heroism entailed and figured they didn't have to spell it out: just show it. Then Vietnam happened, and suddenly the studios were filled with kids saying, "But dad: how did it feel?"

"How do I feel? Old. Worn out." Kirk never had to say that, but that's what the script called for. It was only a matter of time before a bonehead like Berman required the same hero to slip and fall off a bridge onto a bunch of rocks, where he died muttering something about "fun." Sheesh. Someone send these guys packing to the next Robert McKee workshop. On second thought, no: get them out of Hollywood before they ruin something else.

Yahmdallah said...

anon - glad to be of service.

whisky - hear hear. And that's a great post you put up about it.