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Boldly going, going, gone.

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I’m stunned. It’s hard to believe that with the cancellation of “STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE“, for the first time in 18 years there will not be a STAR TREK series on the air. I have spent an abnormal amount of time engaged in water cooler talk as to why the latest STAR TREK spin-off failed to last more than 4 seasons. I do consider myself a TREK fan but I am hesitant to use terms like Trekkie or Trekker. I see STAR TREK the same way I see religion. It can be a great source of comfort, it should be used in moderation and I don’t want to associate with or be associated with its followers. These devoted fans by the way recently raised over 15 million dollars to keep this fifth TREK series on the air, forcing them to delay moving out of their parent’s basements for at least… Well I guess they had the disposable income anyway. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are Trekkies or Trekkers. Go rent the documentary TREKKIES and you will know what I am talking about.

What Gene Roddenberry pitched, as “Wagon Train to the Stars” became much more than what WilliamShatner described on SNL as, “…just a TV show!” Roddenberry managed to address the problems of the day that would not have been addressed otherwise on TV, by using outer space as its backdrop. The show inspired many to reach for the stars by studying science. People of color and women seeing Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) on the Enterprise bridge saw a future that included them. The show inspired new technology and it’s packaging. Imagine what your cell phone or home computer would look like without STAR TREK as inspiration. Gene Rodenbery’s vision also showed us a future where people of all races worked and played together (including TV’s first interracial kiss Plato’s Stepchildren).

I know that I’m making this sound bigger than just the cancellation of a TV show. I liked Enterprise and was not bothered by the multiple episode story lines. I still saw Gene Roddenberry’s original intentions realized in this latest STAR TREK franchise. I liked that Captain Jonathan Archer’s (Scott Bakula ) Enterprise and crew was less sophisticated than Captain Kirk’s or Picard’s. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if you are battling an unknown alien threat or debating the moral implications of interfering with the development of an alien species, as long as the show is well written and well acted, that’s all that matters.

One of the great things about Trek is that you can never run out of story ideas. All you have to do is look at today’s newsmakers, paint them green and stick them on another planet.

Fear not Trekkies or Trekkers. Even though we are saying goodbye to Captain Archer’s Enterprise, the franchise will live long and prosper. There is now talk about an 11th STAR TREK feature scheduled for release in 2007. I look forward to it, just don’t expect to see me at the first screening and I definitely wont be in uniform because to quote Groucho Marx, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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About Tony Figueroa

  • Indeed, quite a change not to have some kind of Trek around. (For the record, my favorite Trek is DS9, though I think Next Generation did many things well. Voyager lost me at the very first episode, when Janeway willingly marooned the crew there just to help a species they had never heard of before.)

    My opinion why Enterprise failed to live up to its older siblings’ achievements? Perhaps it is Trek fatigue.

    But I think it was doomed from the start with the selection of Bakula as the captain. The role is the central one in Trek, and Bakula never comes off as a loveable authority figure, more like a cranky uncle.

    Also, all the silliness with rubbing goo on one another as part of “decon”, and the whole Top’Off-Trip back rub thing just pointed at a desire to titillate, and not tell good stories.

    The whole Xindi arc may have been decent, if not groundbreaking scifi, but I think many fans rejected it because the way it was shoehorned into the canon. With no mention of it in prior Treks, why should Trek fans care?

    Orson Scott Card had a great essay recently, (google on Strange New World: No ‘Star Trek’) talking about how maybe it’s ok that Trek is fading. Perhaps it is time for us to grow up a little and demand something better in science fiction.

  • Go watch Farscape…after awhile Trek just seems like a bad dream.

  • Jeff

    Like the author I, too, consider myself a fan of Star Trek as opposed to a Trekker (I’m a little embarrassed to say so, but this was an evolutionary process).

    Here’s my take on the cancellation of “Enteprise:” the show was garbage and went out of its way to give George W. Bush’s “one-fingered-victory-salute” (http://www.milkandcookies.com/links/21502) to Trek fandom the first three years it was on.

    Rewarmed plots, a “primitive” starship that was anything but, no respect for estblished canon or continuity, naked attempts at titilating the audience for the sheer sake of it, and – the biggest sin of all – lousy story-telling all converged and thankfully killed the show that set out to kill Paramount’s golden goose.

    That’s not to say that the premise was inherently flawed; Manny Coto proved otherwise but it was too little, too late. The damage was already done.

    For a detailed (and hilarious) critique of B&B’s monumental crap-fest, run – don’t walk – over to Richard Whettestone’s First TV Drama site (http://www.firsttvdrama.com).

  • fan of Star Trek

    Since the last comment mentioned Richard Whettestone’s website, it should be noted that in spite of the occasional justified gripe, Whettestone’s commentary is often as mindless as he accuses Enterprise of being. One gets the impression that he didn’t want to find anything good with the show. So, when it suits his purposes, he’ll ignore explanations offered for something in an episode or misrepresent the storyline or presuppositions, to ‘demonstrate’ how awful the show was. When not setting up such ‘straw men’, Whettestone occasionally dismisses some real-life aspects of storytelling, screenwriting, television production and the non-linear evolution of Trek lore in order to facilitate his rants. And often his arguments can be summarised: “Enterprise isn’t Babylon 5/Columbo/24/Scooby Doo/Andromeda/X-Files/G.I. Joe/Transformers/take your pick, therefore it sucks.” The strangest aspect of his commentary is his vitrolic attacks against Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. They move him well beyond the role of a ‘critic’, and one suspects (since Whettestone fancies himself a science-fiction screenwriter) that he must have at one time submitted a screenplay to Berman and Braga which (like hundreds of others I’m sure) was politely rejected. Whettestone’s bitter ad hominem attacks don’t bode well for his aspirations either to work with others in the production of science fiction on television or even to engage in professional criticism. Looks like he’ll have to keep his day job at an Illinois public access station.

  • Steve

    I actually enjoyed the first season, and maybe half of the second one, but then it really went downhill. It went from being optimistic, hopeful, interesting new aliens etc., and degenerated into a ‘save the Earth’, sleazy, everyone at war kind of vein, which really turned me off it. I did watch the finale, (and maybe cause I heard so many bad things about the finale before I watched it), I was not too underwhelmed by it after all. But I don’t really miss it.