May 1, 2003
What’s going on with “Enterprise”?
As a Trekkie since “Star Trek” first aired, I began watching the “Enterprise” with some anticipation. I was curious about what the concept of the first “Enterprise” was going to be (though I thought NCC-1701 was the first Enterprise) and how well Scott Bakula could pull the captain’s role off. But I’m having problems with the show for a couple of reasons, both of which have to do with the writing. So, here’s what I’d like to say to the show’s staff:
(1) Play off all the old Star Trek’s you like, including the movie, but DON’T RIP THEM OFF! The recent episode, “Judgment”, in which Archer goes on trial for a violation of Klingon law was a rip-off of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”. About the only thing not lifted were the exact lines. It made the writing staff look burnt out, unethical, and unimaginative. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so upset with that episode until I pulled out my DVD copy of the movie and showed her the sequences involving Kirk’s trial and his and McCoy’s subsequent imprisonment on Rura Penthe. She was shocked and dismayed at how similar they were.
(2) There needs to be more integration with the timelimes and stories established in previous Star Trek episodes and movies. Star Trek had an opportunity to fill in the history and lay foundations for those stories that have already played; but it appears that in an effort to be different, there is little or no allegiance to the Star Trek universe that has gone before. That totally destroys their stories’ credibility and causes an immediate suspension of disbelief with the viewers. The upcoming episode in which Archer encounters the Borg appears to be a great example of this. The episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that introduces the Borg to the audience (“Q Who?”) firmly establishes that (1) the Borg were in a completely different sector of the galaxy, one that would have taken the STTNG Enterprise a long time to reach (much less the “original” Enterprise); (2) the Borgs were unaware that humans, as a species, were present; and (3) the Federation was totally unaware that the Borgs existed. If Enterprise and her crew had encountered the Borg, why would records of the encounter not have survived in Starfleet archives? If the Borg had encountered the crew of the Enterprise, why would they not have been alerted to human presence in the galaxy? Hopefully, the writers for this episode (Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong) answer those questions in the story. If not, then they and the Enterprise staff don’t have a clue about where the show needs to be going. It still has a chance of becoming one of the best sequels produced in the Star Trek history. But right now, I’ll take “STTNG” over “Enterprise” any day.