Treknobabble is a continuing series of columns written by uber-Trekkie Reed Farrington leading up to and following the release of J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.
Attention: Due to the sensitive nature of suicide, I feel I should clarify that the accompanying photograph is intended to be humorous. Besides, the phaser was set on stun, although at that range, if it had accidentally fired, I would have been out for a day.
I’ve been reading opinions about the Star Trek movie since it opened over two weeks ago. And I’ve been hoping for inspiration for the topic of this Treknobabble. I was going to let Treknobabble rest for a while and continue to write Killer Import reviews, but I haven’t seen any recent foreign movies worth writing about. So I’m trying something different with this Treknobabble in that I’m not going to edit what I write. It’s getting late so I don’t really want to start researching anything or compiling any notes. I thought I would ramble conversationally, giving myself a time limit of 60 minutes.
Despite suggestions from Film Junk readers, I still haven’t found any informative or insightful reviews of Star Trek, yet. Everyone keeps on saying the same thing without fully explaining themselves. In my opinion, with a movie like Star Trek, there isn’t much to discuss beyond the intricate details that Trekkies love to obsess about. And before I get accused of whining, or start repeating myself, I’m not going to address ill-conceived statements that reviewers and Film Junk readers constantly make.
Wait, now I’m thinking if I don’t mention some of these statements specifically, people are going to think I’m writing without really saying anything. But I don’t know how to convince people. There are arguments on both sides of everything. Perhaps I am being narrow-minded. Okay, I’m rambling, but I did put the word â€œramblingâ€ in the title so I’m allowed to ramble.
Let me take issue with the statement that Star Trek was stagnating and that Enterprise was an awful television series that proved it. Executive producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga were unfairly maligned for the failure of Enterprise, but they valiantly tried to make Enterprise into a different kind of Star Trek. First of all, they removed the words â€œStar Trekâ€ from the title of the series! Who would have thought that the proper thing to do would have been to name the series â€œStar Trekâ€ and leave the sub-title out? They even had the humility to admit their mistake and added the words â€œStar Trekâ€ back into the title to no avail.
How about using a pop song, â€œFaith of the Heart,â€ as the main theme? And sung by an operatic singer, too. Okay, I haven’t heard anyone who has liked this move. Or maybe it was the song itself that was the problem. Perhaps a Beastie Boys song might have worked better.
In Enterprise, we got to see Star Trek at the beginning stages of space travel. We get to see initial difficulties with the Vulcans. There were some intriguing opportunities that Enterprise wasted or didn’t execute nicely. Perhaps they should have skipped all the interesting opportunities and instead should have jumped ahead quickly to the 23rd century.
Dedicated Trekkies complained about some canon inconsistencies like Klingons flying the wrong class of ships. Enterprise did hint at interference from aliens from the future, but this storyline was never fleshed out and it was eventually abandoned. Perhaps the writers would have returned to this had the series lasted longer. I guess they should have just explained in the Enterprise pilot that the series was showing an alternate reality. (Many people think that the use of an alternate timeline in the Star Trek movie was ingenious for rebooting the franchise. Only a science fiction newbie would think so. Sorry, Jay.)
When the number of viewers was lacking, Enterprise tried something different in the third season. Besides making T’Pol’s hair and make-up more attractive, Enterprise had a season long story arc, chasing aliens who had destroyed a part of the Earth. There was an obvious parallel to the terrorism of 9/11. Perhaps this allegory was too demanding for viewers who wanted to see explosions in space.
Okay, so the excitement of space exploration never got properly translated on screen, but there were signs in the fourth season with a new Executive Producer, Manny Coto, that things would get better. I especially loved seeing Archer and T’Pol running on the surface of Vulcan. I can’t remember what they were running from, but they didn’t steal The Phantom Menace gag of a larger monster overtaking a smaller monster during a chase.
I think part of the problem with Enterprise is that there was a stable of television writers that Enterprise depended on for ideas. Long gone were the days when ideas would be solicited from science fiction writers or even from anyone who thought they had a good idea. With the rebooted Star Trek movie franchise, I’m afraid we’re in the same rut again, but the names have changed to Lindelof, Orci, and Kurtzman. I have nothing against these guys, but Star Trek continually needs fresh talent.
Now that my time limit is up, I see that I wrote mainly about â€œStar Trek: Enterpriseâ€ while putting a few impolite digs into the new movie. I suppose some of you want me to lose my Vulcan composure while others don’t want to hear another Trekkie rant. In an alternate timeline or reality, this Treknobabble would have been called, â€œStar Trek: Enterprise â€“ Not Anyone in Your Family’s Star Trek.â€