David on Star Trek: Enterprise
Among those who know me, it's no surprise that I often buck popular trends. Case in point is Star Trek: Enterprise, which was poorly received by many hardcore Trek fans, yet earns high marks from me. Yes, it's not without its flaws—what television program isn't?—but I believe it got much more right than wrong.
Arguably one of its bigger liabilities was the decision to cast Jolene Blalock as a sexy female Vulcan (huh?) in a painfully obvious bid to reel in sex-starved male teen geeks. In a casting misfire of a different sort, Scott Bakula is unconvincing as a supposedly proto-Kirk captain. And the series suffered a very shaky start, taking more than a season and a half to find its footing.
Those nits aside, its prequel setting to TOS offered a number of unique, drama-rich advantages: freedom from the almost smothering Prime Directive, the miraculous plot-saving transporter, and a host of other trappings created by "canon Trek." The series' most powerful episodes present fascinating ethical conundrums that logic and guns are ill-equipped to resolve, in a manner that surely would have made Roddenberry proud.
Consider: in the UK, Enterprise is the most popular series of the entire franchise; I think they know something that state-side fans don't. I'm genuinely sad that it only survived four seasons—although, while it comes as little consolation, this may not have been the fault of the series itself, as it evidently fell victim to studio politics as well as various external forces.
SH!T BAD MEH 1/2-DECENT GOOD F!NG-AWESOME
Favorite episode: "Dear Doctor," an impressive dramatic work that sticks with you for days after watching it.
Least-favorite episode: "In a Mirror, Darkly," the two-parter featuring the original Enterprise, which may come as a surprise to some readers since it's a "fan favorite." Sorry, I thought it was lame; integrating the original ship was awkward at best, nearly as embarrassing as DS9's cringe-worthy send-up to TOS's brilliantly light-hearted "The Trouble with Tribbles."