Category Archives: Star Trek: Enterprise

A Look Back on the Star Trek Pilots and the Future of Trek

StarTrek_Capns

I want to end the “Star Trek Pilot Episodes Series/Star Trek Pilot Series,” with a reflection on the episodes and what I see in the future of Star Trek.  Star Trek at it’s best deals with issues of justice and dilemmas in modern day while giving us the hope for the future…the hope that we can be more and better. Each of the series barring much of “Voyager,” and nearly all of “Enterprise,” understood this and that was why they are so popular.

I still remember my first Star Trek convention, I was in Middle School living in Michigan at the time and I got to meet Vaughn Armstrong, who has played multiple characters on Star Trek as well as Roxann Dawson who played B’Elanna Torres on “Voyager,” in Middle School and High School was what motivated me to write sci. fi. My first sci. fi. idea ever was a Star Trek crew run by the outsiders or enemies of the Federation (Cardassian, Borg, Romulan and Ferengi were who I had in mind), and that motivated me to write my own stories post Middle School.

Before I get into the future of Trek I’m going to do one last recap of the Pilots…from best to worst with a summary.

Emissary

1st) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Pilot – “Emissary Parts 1 and 2”

This pilot knew what it wanted to be and lived that fully, keeping the tone and dilemmas true throughout the entire series. It dealt with war, post-war and post-occupation and all the consequences on the species involved. Captain Sisko is my favorite of the Captains and the fact that it was an ensemble cast served the story…we got to see the Cardassian perspectives through Damar, Dukat and Garak, to Bajor with Kira and Kai Winn, to the Ferengi and even an extra named Morn got his own episode. The series showed the consequences of war and abuse of power and provided actual dilemmas. I was never bored watching the series and enjoy following certain arcs (especially the “Dominion War Arc”) to this day. I look forward to reviewing more episodes and that arc.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/star-trek-deep-space-nine-pilot-emissary-part-1-and-2/

9 / 10

star-trek-the-man-trap

2nd) Star Trek: The Original Series Pilot – “The Man Trap”

This pilot captured the wonders and dangers of space travel the best out of all the pilots. Where “Deep Space Nine,” looked big TOS started small. We get introduced to a new species that is the last of it’s kind and are forced to face the dilemma to kill it in “Kill or be Killed,” and we get to see most of the crew being active. TOS at it’s best used all of it’s crew members and captured the wonder and dangers of exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilizations.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/star-trek-the-original-series-the-man-trap-red-shirts-and-the-thing/

8 / 10

The Cage

3rd) Star Trek Original Pilot: The Cage

The original pilot was really the Pike and Spock story. Most of the other characters don’t even have names and are so replaceable they are basically Proto-Red Shirts. What drives this story and elevates it over it’s problems of sexism (the aliens capture two crew members who are women so Pike can choose a mate in the cage they’ve created). What elevates it is that it deals with an actual alien species (Talosians) who are nearly extinct. We see the dilemma that is faced and Pike and the aliens come to an understanding. This episode captures the essence of “New Life and New Civilizations,” really well.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/star-trek-original-pilot-the-cage-before-there-was-captain-kirk/

6.5 / 10

star-trek-farpoint

4th) Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Encounter At Farpoint Part 1 and 2”

“The Next Generation,” began with a very rocky start. It was trying to be “The Original Series,” when it clearly was not. This brought down the episode as well as the fact that besides Patrick Stewart and John De Lancie, no one else was any good as an actor. It captures the essence of Trek with exploration, it just doesn’t fully achieve it since it wastes the potential of Q and Farpoint Station (and the aliens are ideas, not actual interesting species).

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/star-trek-the-next-generation-pilot-encounter-at-farpoint-part-1-and-2/

6 / 10

Caretaker part 1 and 2

5th) Star Trek: Voyager – “Caretaker Part 1 and 2”

This is the point where there are a lot of interesting ideas but very poor execution. Maquis and Federation are pulled across the galaxy to the Delta Quadrant…but after they just get along. There is no conflict and Janeway is just assumed to be Captain even though the Maquis had a captain too. The species are poorly explored as well with Kazon as weaker versions (both physically and in writing) of Klingons and the Ocampa are poorly realized Space Elves. The whole getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant because of Janeway’s choice is never addressed either. In the end, it was average Star Trek.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/star-trek-voyager-pilot-caretaker-part-1-and-2-lost-in-space/

5 / 10

Broken Bow

6th) Star Trek: Enterprise – “Broken Bow Part 1 and 2”

How do you miss the point of Star Trek? You do what Enterprise did. You write people as needlessly antagonistic, not very smart, objectify them sexually and create enemies who are mysterious for the sake of being mysterious and than do nothing with it…oh, and also forget all about all pre-established Canon in the Star Treks that came before. This was the series that killed Star Trek, and this pilot fully captures the reasons why. If your characters are useless and unlikable, your story goes nowhere and the only things you seem to care about are sex and violence…you’ve missed the entire point of Star Trek and your series deserves to die.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/star-trek-enterprise-pilot-broken-bow-part-1-and-2-missing-the-point-of-star-trek/

1 / 10

With Abrams new “Star Trek” movies I have seen new fans being created of this series. This gives me hope that we’ll be seeing another Star Trek series sometime in my lifetime. There has already been talk of “Star Trek: Captain Worf,” which would be awesome (http://www.blastr.com/2013-8-20/michael-dorn-reveals-his-capt-worf-star-trek-tv-series-not-dead-yet) since he was part of what made “The Next Generation,” and “Deep Space Nine,” so interesting and Netflix has been talking about doing a series too (http://uproxx.com/gammasquad/2014/06/netflix-wants-to-make-a-new-star-trek-series-happen/). I am down for either of these or a different one, since I think the mistakes of “Nemesis,” and “Enterprise,” have been learned from. This universe is rich with stories that can be applied to our own and help us to grow, understand and appreciate one another…for it is in those great stories of Trek that we have the chance to think deeper about ideas and in that Universe being offered as a good possibility, it gives us a future worth striving for and to boldly go where we haven’t gone before.

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Star Trek: Enterprise Pilot – Broken Bow Part 1 and 2 – Missing the Point of Star Trek

Broken Bow

We end the “Star Trek Pilot Series,” with the worst of them all, “Star Trek: Enterprise.” When I first heard about “Enterprise,” back in High School I was excited…early human exploration and making contact…the Romulan War, the fallout of the Eugenics War…these stories that the “Original Series,” had suggested left so much potential for this prequel series. This of course was assuming the writers knew what they were doing after the horrible “Voyager” finale and the later “Next Generation Films,” which if I had a lot less optimism would have brought me closer to how disappointed I would be.

Without further ado, I’ll get into the reasons why:

Pros: The premise – Again the premise is exciting, the first military/exploration vessel from Starfleet going out to make contact with new life and new civilizations. We even have a Klingon as the catalyst as he was attacked by a mysterious enemy known as the Suliban. Sadly this doesn’t go anywhere.

The Special Effects – Like the later TNG films “Enterprise,” had a very sleek look and the best Special Effects since “Deep Space 9,” and later “Voyager,” this is one of the few things I have to give it, because the rest is just bad.

Cons: The Human and Vulcan Relationship Dynamic – What the Hell was Brannon Braga thinking? He starts out with Archer calling the Ambassador pointy eared as an insult when he was a child…and we see later nothing has progressed since then. T’Pol the first officer and Vulcan liaison is condescending to every human she comes in contact with (“I was told English would only be spoken on the Bridge,” (to Hoshi the communications officer)) and countless other examples. The humans aren’t much better and Archer is the worst. “You felt emotion therefore you are a hypocrite and wrong,” basically…and Trip the Engineer is the same way (and same way on Ryjal judging every alien he comes in contact with). I expected tension but not hostility between allies, it missed the entire point of First Contact and Roddenberry’s bright future.

The Characters: The characters are either inept and useless or condescending jerks. There aren’t any characters who are in the middle. “Voyager,” was average and way too focused on proving Janeway right, but it at least had SOME interesting character dynamics and characters.

Captain Archer – Who thought it was a good idea to put this guy in charge? He doesn’t think things through, he condescends to those who don’t agree with him and is more prejudice against his Vulcan allies than Kirk ever was towards the Klingons. It’s a shame there is on one on the ship who could replace him…this is a ship of imbeciles. Also he keeps putting Trip in charge of things just because Trip is his friend. No way that isn’t corrupt.

T’Pol – From going on her high horse towards those who eat meat, to saying humans are irrational and unready to travel…Braga missed the point of the Vulcans. It isn’t logical to alienate your allies and that is exactly what she does…and she is supposed to be a diplomatic liaison. I don’t think that’s why she was created though. She was made to sexualize Vulcans (see the picture above). Blalock is a model and Braga and Co. fully embraced that rather than creating a well rounded character.

Trip Tucker – Once again, how did this guy become an engineer? He crashes the shuttle in dry-dock into Enterprise and has no idea what is going on in the entire episode. It’s like he hasn’t even been in space yet is expected to be an engineer of a space ship. He is purposefully ignorant and just doesn’t care (when he’s learning to fly a Suliban vessel just says it can’t be too hard (he crashed a Federation Shuttle) and acts like it is easy when Mayweather is trying to teach him to pilot).

Malcolm Reed – Is the least bad but still bad. He doesn’t do anything.

Mayweather – The pilot does nothing but talk about being in space. This would be his character for the entire series.

Hoshi Sato – The communications officer who is afraid of everything. This is a shame too since she gave up her University position to join the ship. The writers never use her though or deal with what she gave up. It is only a factor at the beginning and never again. She is there to be the damsel in distress.

Phlox – Up there with Reed as being the least bad at this point in the series, he just doesn’t do much. He is there to be an alien.

The Villains: The Temporal Cold War was a wasted idea…as were the Suliban (who are only in this series). These issues never get resolved and the big bad jokingly known as “Future Guy,” is just that in the end. He isn’t a character or even all that competent of a villain (even this inept crew could stop his plans throughout the series). A War through time and space yet we see none of that in this episode… not in relation to the Vulcans or Klingons (who you think the Time Agents would be using since their tech. is already the most advanced). It goes nowhere, same with contact with the Klingons…we don’t see any of their advanced Imperial Culture that we did from the Original Series…they’re just space barbarians. Suliban, Temporal Cold War, Klingons, Future Guy…wasted antagonists on a waste of a show.

The sexualization of T’Pol/When Star Trek went Soft Core Porn – See the picture up at the start. This decontamination chamber will be used in this way all through the show. Characters will strip and lather each other down. What is this, a Michael Bay show? We see T’Pol’s erect nipples and other characters junk in this chamber…it was here that I stopped watching originally. Star Trek has had problems like this before, but never this blatant…it was like this was what was being sold, not the exploration…certainly not the characters. Just special effects, sex and violence. Things that when taken all together…miss the point of Star Trek.

It is for these reasons I did not accept this show as Canon. It has moments where it feels like it could be tied to Star Trek Canon but so much of it misses the point. From sexy Vulcans to a useless crew…to a species/racist Captain and Engineer. I couldn’t get past the other stuff because the crew was so useless or unlikable. There are some okay episodes I’ll review in the future, but this where Star Trek died. “Star Trek: Enterprise” and “Star Trek: Nemesis” were the two things that killed Star Trek, and they deserve that responsibility. They had turned Star Trek into the worst kind of action movie where sex and violence were more important than substance. It is for this reason as much problems as the Abrams reboot has…it never gets this bad to this degree. So glad “Enterprise,” got cancelled, it’s just a shame it didn’t happen sooner. There was never enough good to keep it going since it started things out missing the entire point of what made Star Trek, Star Trek.

1 / 10. I’m only giving it a point for Special Effects…and it isn’t the worst episode. That will be reviewed later in this blog.

The Star Trek Pilot Episodes Series

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Today is going to be the first day of my first weekly series. Every week around Thursday or Friday I will be reviewing a Star Trek Pilot Episode or Episodes in each Star Trek Series. In the case of the Original Series I’ll be reviewing “The Cage” for the first time Star Trek was seen on television and later “The Man Trap,” the series that represented the first time the Original Series that is known was introduced.

Next week will be Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Encounter at Farpoint Part 1 and 2,” (the rockiest start of the Treks) the week after Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s “Emissary Part 1 and 2,” (The best of the pilots) the following week Star Trek: Voyager’s “Caretaker Part 1 and 2” (Where the series began to go downhill) and to end it Star Trek Enterprise’s (As much as I want to deny it being part of Star Trek) “Broken Bow Part 1 and 2.”

I am a Trekkie. Much of my inspiration for my creative writing both science fiction and otherwise arose out of some of the best stories in these science fiction series. As the reviews of the pilots continues weekly you’ll find more glimpses of why the majority of the Star Trek series are series that I look on with fond memories and inspiration to this day.