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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 12:06am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

..."Storm Front".

Sigh. Back to the ****ing Temporal Cold War. This episode plays like a mash-up of "Patterns of Force" and "The City on The Edge of Forever". Penned by Manny Coto, at least it pushes somewhat toward feeling TOS-ish. 

It's still a major punch in the gut to jump right into another convoluted storyline, rather than properly capping off the Xindi arc, though. At least the episode provides some exposition as to the how and why of "Zero Hour's" non-sequitur ending.

This one also contains a bit of interesting speculation regarding what a theoretical Nazi invasion of the East coast of the United States might have been like. With aliens. Not that I would ever--EVER--want them to actually do it, but it might have been neater to see, via the wonky magic of time-travel, Archer and crew wind up in the alternate timeline created by the survival of Edith Keeler. But...no. Stay away from TOS, please. Thanks, ENTERPRISE.

Also, as an aside, ENTERPRISE brings into sharp relief the prequel problem of being so NEW and so BIG that it ends up overshadowing the original source material. My impression is that Starfleet hadn't been involved with any sort of time-travel until Kirk and company were accidentally flung into the past at the end of "The Naked Time". Yet, in ENTERPRISE, the crew has time-traveled several times, now, and is involved in the middle of a ****ing Temporal Cold War. This is along the same lines as Phlox having a Tribble in the NX-01's Sickbay, and casually talking about their rate of reproduction. There's a lot of stuff in ENTERPRISE which must been wiped from history or withheld from official records prior to Kirk's time. 



By the way, I chuckled when a member of the resistance described one of the Master/BUFFY guys as a "demon". Maybe Archer could run around and stake some of 'em...


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 13 February 2017 at 12:09am
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 6:59am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

This is along the same lines as Phlox having a Tribble in the NX-01's Sickbay, and casually talking about their rate of reproduction.

**

Usually those references are intended as Easter eggs or "nods" to the fans of Star Trek, but what they usually do is just mess up continuity even more.

Producers and writers will probably tell you not to be so serious and nitpicking when you ask them about it.

**

My impression is that Starfleet hadn't been involved with any sort of time-travel until Kirk and company were accidentally flung into the past at the end of "The Naked Time"

**

That seemed to be the case for a long time, Starfleet not having had encounters or dealing with time-travel, let alone do any investigation and research on if it is actually possible and what the consequences are.

But it has been a favorite plot device since TNG, it still having some feel of "high-concept" in the eyes of writers and producers.
Personally I find that time-travel has become a very very lazy plot device, it usually consisting off "Oh a time traveler has gone in the past and changed history, the world is now crapsack, orange has become purple, and Hitler has his own television show." or living in a crapsack world and not realizing that it is the result of time travel until a traveler from the "real" timeline comes along and shakes' the residents' beliefs, showing them that there is a better world.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 9:03am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

…time-travel has become a very very lazy plot device…

••

No comment.

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 11:27am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Mr Byrne, I don't mean it against you personally, I liked 1971/4680.2.
It is just that in the later Star Trek series and especially Enterprise time travel was used as an excuse to make up all kinds of complicated nonsense that at the end would be erased again.

Enterprise Season 3 had at least two storylines in which two alternate timelines were created and quickly were unmade again.
And Season 4 starts with Nazis teaming up with time traveling aliens who create yet another new timeline.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

You can't have a Temporal Cold War without time-travel, Marten! DUH! That's why, by Kirk's era, time-travel was very carefully regulated and policed. It's not as if any starship could just slingshot around the sun to travel back in time at a whim, or anything like that. After all of those major temporal incursions involving the NX-01, time-travel would be treated as serious business, and theoretical formulas for, say, a controlled engine implosion or the slingshot effect would surely be a closely guarded secret, and casual time-travel by Federation starships considered a serious offense.


Oh, wait. No, it apparently wasn't a big deal. Guess the Starfleet of Kirk's time was pretty reckless, and obviously failed to learn from history.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The degree to which the Berman era writers room relied upon magicking everything back into neverwas via temporal anomalies and incursions should have been criminal. Seriously, writing that bad should carry jail time. After their "success" with "Yesterday's Enterprise," that group of lazy sluggards simply couldn't imagine a season without at least one venture into a disastrous timeline where the worst occurred but by the end, the worst had not occurred, so "whew!" Over and over again, round and round, the ship blew up how many times? 

Just the sheer number of times Picard and his bunch of mutts blew up the ship but, whew!, fortunately there was a nearby temporal anomaly so... wow, I guess everything turned out okay in the end! What a lucky crew. Good thing they never blew up the ship without one of those things nearby, huh? That eventually gave us "Cause and Effect" where the ship literally blows up dozens of times, if not hundreds... Seriously, why is there any discussion of which captain and crew were better? Kirk and co. only blew up the ship when they meant to, and when they did, they were able to do so successfully, with no loss of life to the crew. As early as the first season, Picard was blowing up the Enterprise-D and getting caught in temporal backwash so he could luckily go back and maybe not blow it up next time...

Enterprise was just more of the same from the same whipped and beaten group of unimaginative burnouts.


Edited by Brian Hague on 13 February 2017 at 2:23pm
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Cause and effect is my go to episode whenever I want to compare Kirk and Picard.

While Kirk will take soundings, when the time is appropriate, if he found himself being approached by a ship, coming out of an anomaly with but a few seconds to decide what to do, he would make a decision there and then (pivot at warp factor 2)

Picard? Suggestions.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 February 2017 at 6:10pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I find it instructive that Picard's orders are the ones that Data follows every single time and they constantly result in the ship's destruction, hundreds of times over. Data's message sent backwards in time essentially amounts to, "Don't Listen to Picard."

My favorite episode for Kirk vs. Picard comparison is "Darmok." When Kirk is taken off the bridge and placed in a hostile environment facing off against the captain of an alien vessel, he's able to survive intense physical combat, rig traps, and finally devises a diamond-firing cannon to defeat his opponent.

Picard? Literally will freeze to death because he can't make a fire. This student of history and archaeology who reminds us so often the necessity of knowing and appreciating the ways of our ancestors... has to pitifully huddle and shiver until he's let into the other guy's force field for the night.


Edited by Brian Hague on 13 February 2017 at 6:12pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 14 February 2017 at 2:52am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

..."Storm Front, Part 2".

A pretty solid episode, if somewhat disjointed and rather unexceptional. Mostly importantly, it marks the end of the Temporal Cold War arc, and the final appearances of Daniels and Silik. Hallelujah!

Ideally, the Temporal Cold War arc should have ended with the NX-01 being erased from history, but I'll take what I can get.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 14 February 2017 at 3:09am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

My favorite episode for Kirk vs. Picard comparison is "Darmok".
+++++++++

I think it could be said that perhaps the easiest comparison comes in TNG's friggin' pilot, where, when confronted by a superior and unknown alien force (a la Kirk in "The Corbormite Maneuver"), Picard surrenders.

I really should give TNG a rewatch, too. I find its lifecycle pretty darn fascinating. That first season was quite disastrous, attempting as it did to get out from under the shadow of TOS...by doing bad versions of TOS-ish stories, but with 1980s-era Roddenberry (and Leonard Maizlish) at the helm. By seasons 3-5, with Roddenberry stepping back and then dying, the show finally found its own identity, and became solid, but then really started to lose steam in the last two seasons. 

And the movies are a schizophrenic mish-mash, going from unnecessary and insulting "passing of the torch" story (GENERATIONS) to solid action film (FIRST CONTACT) to bloated, bland TV episode (INSURRECTION) to desperate WRATH OF KHAN knock-off (NEMESIS).

I have great nostalgic fondness for TNG (airing as it did when I was growing up), but, as time has gone on, its flaws have become more and more obvious, and the show itself more and more dated and of its time. There are still some episodes I really enjoy, though. I'm happy to turn TNG on when I'm channel-surfing. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 February 2017 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I've often said that the Prime Directive pretty much defines the difference between Kirk and Picard. For Kirk it was something to work around. For Picard it seemed often to be an excuse to end the episode.

(Curious! I mistyped "Picard" and my spellchecker turned it into "April".)

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 February 2017 at 1:11am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

..."Home".


Sort of a cross between "Amok Time" and "Family", this episode probably should have been the season premiere (instead of the rather pointless "Storm Front"), dealing as it does with the aftermath of the Xindi arc. A solid episode, and it's also nice to see Joanna Cassidy in a guest role. 

And...Phlox...is a blowfish...?
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 15 February 2017 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I really should give TNG a rewatch, too. I find its lifecycle pretty darn fascinating. That first season was quite disastrous, attempting as it did to get out from under the shadow of TOS...by doing bad versions of TOS-ish stories, but with 1980s-era Roddenberry (and Leonard Maizlish) at the helm. By seasons 3-5, with Roddenberry stepping back and then dying, the show finally found its own identity, and became solid, but then really started to lose steam in the last two seasons. 
------------------------------------------
Having rewatched TNG recently as the Blu-Rays were released, and now binging DS9 since the DVD re-release, I've noticed two thing.  First, as you say, its interesting to me how much more quickly they've come to look dated than TOS.  While most of the main character costume designs are solid, the guest stars and random aliens look pretty seriously 80's or 90's respectively.

The other thing is that DS9 didn't have near the ramp-up that TNG did.  With episodes like 'Duet' in season one and 'Blood Oath' in season two, it really hit the ground running.

With DS9, I haven't seen most of the episodes since they originally aired 20+ (!?!) years ago.  So its also fun to play 'spot the guest star' with actors who have since become well known.  Like Jonathan Banks as a mercenary in season one.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 15 February 2017 at 5:55pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Home should have been the season ender as a one part epilogue, with a teaser at the end that Archer is still alive somewhere. Season 4 opens with stealing Enterprise and rescuing archer. Season 4 closes with a big fight limps back to space dock get a refit with secondary hull so she can go on longer missions. A one year tour like the Xindi arc but exploring. Less phasers.

++++++

tried watching DS9 before I started on Enterprise. Skipped around a bit in the first 3 seasons and wandered off to find better shows. I've tried to make it thru TNG on BBCAmerica, couldn't do it. 

Currently on Episode 11 of Voyager. Lots of wasted potential there too. Everyone is rather flat. Like an archetype rather than a Full character. It would be better without Neelix. Two episodes a day while I'm doing my morning store opening routine. 

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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 February 2017 at 8:53pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Of the later TREK iterations I was most inclined to pause on VOYAGER, tho I did not make a point of regularly following the show. DS9 caught my attention with a few episodes here and there, but NEXT GENERATION left me cold. The less said about ENTERPRISE the better!

VOYAGER I felt had the best opening credits.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 February 2017 at 10:46pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

VOYAGER I felt had the best opening credits.
+++++++

It's a great title sequence. And with Jerry Goldsmith music!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 February 2017 at 1:16am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

..."Borderland".

Okay, this one feels more than a little fanfic-y. Bringing in Brent Spiner as an ancestor of Dr. Noonien Soong was an inspired touch, though. Spiner's always entertaining, and he certainly helps this episode move along at a good clip. Still, it feels more than a little cutesy to have a geneticist who stole embryos from the Eugenics Wars to have a descendant named Noonien Soong (as in, Data's "father" was perhaps named as an homage to Khan Noonien Singh?).

Definitely a WRATH OF KHAN fanwank vibe, here, with the Augments (...and I really can't stand that term now being retroactively applied to Khan and his people...), who wear rags and have shaggy hair, commandeering a (Klingon) starship and seeking conquest. 

Also, the "B" story involving the Orion slavers pretty much comes out of nowhere, and feels like filler designed to help stretch this Augment story out into a three-episode arc. The Orion storyline seems better suited to a self-contained episode of its own, although, as I understand it, there's a standalone Orion episode later in the season.


Anyway, this is yet another "first" which ENTERPRISE stole from TOS--the crew meeting up supermen leftover from the Eugenics Wars. Sigh.

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 16 February 2017 at 5:37am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Anyway, this is yet another "first" which ENTERPRISE stole from TOS--the crew meeting up supermen leftover from the Eugenics Wars. Sigh.

**

True, but it was a lot more enjoyable and interesting than most of the stories of Series 1 and 2 (I can't judge on season 3 as I never watched it).

At least it felt that the Enterprise crew was on an actually mission rather than just flying around.

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Joe Boster
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Posted: 16 February 2017 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Yes Manny Coto loves TOS so much he wants to put it all in ENT.

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 16 February 2017 at 10:53pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I find it instructive that Picard's orders are the ones that Data follows every single time and they constantly result in the ship's destruction, hundreds of times over. Data's message sent backwards in time essentially amounts to, "Don't Listen to Picard."

LOL.  Imagine how difficult it would be for Data to send that message if TNG didn't use those collar pips and used TOS style uniforms?

Here's an interesting test:  Watch a random episode each of TOS and TNG with the sound off.   

You will instantly notice that Kirk is in charge of the ship -- the body language and posture of both Kirk and the people around him subtly reflect and reinforce that concept.

With Picard and Riker they are both so bland (in both acting and direction, IMO) that the show relies on crutches like those damn collar pips and constantly referring to their ranks lest the poor audience be confused.  

When you have to make those collar pips the maguffin of an entire episode you know they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel! 

edited to add: It just sort of occured to me that what they really did with Riker and Picard:  Took the Kirk archetype and spread it over two characters.  This is fundamentally different from what little we saw of Kirk and Mitchell in action -- I think you'd still see them both on away missions.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 16 February 2017 at 11:04pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 February 2017 at 11:11pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Yes Manny Coto loves TOS so much he wants to put it all in ENT.
+++++++++

I'll take TOS-inspired fanfic over the boring blandness of the first two seasons!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 February 2017 at 12:44am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

..."Cold Station 12".

A fairly filler-ish episode, with a good chunk of it boiling down to Soong and 'Lil Khan doing a riff on the "do what we say, or watch your Captain suffocate" bit from "Space Seed". The whole subplot with the abandoned runt of the Augment litter seems pointless.

Also, despite her becoming a Starfleet officer, T'Pol still gets to wear a skintight catsuit, instead of a standard duty uniform. Funny, that.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 17 February 2017 at 9:01am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

As did Seven of Nine on Voyager (although, was she actually a member of Starfleet?).

Weird huh?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 February 2017 at 1:00am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

..."The Augments".

The end of this three-part arc feels more than a little fanfic-y, but at least it's not terminally boring. That said, the WRATH OF KHAN fanwank stuff is a wee bit distracting, especially the injured 'Lil Khan crawling through the ruins of a stolen ship's Bridge to activate a self-destruct sequence.

Also, 'Lil Khan namedrops the Botany Bay, which Soong calls a myth. So...if all records of the launch were destroyed (as 'Lil Khan claims), and the Augments were raised by Soong, then how could 'Lil Khan know to ask Soong if Soong's ever heard of the Botany Bay, when 'Lil Khan would likely only have heard about the Botany Bay from Soong?

And, Soong deciding to switch gears to cybernetics and saying it "might take a generation or two" to perfect is just super-duper winkwinknudgenudge.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 February 2017 at 8:25am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Reference to earlier stories is almost irresistible when working in serial fiction -- but resist one must, or degenerate, as you note, into fanwank.

The worst thing that can happen, of course, is if the writers/showrunners get it into their heads that such things are "cute" and "clever."

(I am not completely innocent in this respect. I have peppered STAR TREK - NEW VISIONS with references, but I have tried to keep them both subtle and organic.)

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