Dying beagles and sexy times, in SPAAAACE!
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Good god, this episode is (to me) the biggest pile of garbage in the entire Trek franchise. It’s a total waste of time with nothing of worth. It had the highest number of people show up to observe the crap, and the numbers dropped like a goddamn stone through a wet paper bag only one episode later. And y’know what? I cannot blame the audience for that.
My jaw hit the floor when, in this episode (and no others before this), they try to claim Archer is trained in diplomacy, despite his idiocy and ineptitude before this point when it came to any aspect of diplomatic relations. The moment when he threatened to piss on this race’s sacred trees himself? That’s when he came across like a crazy jackass. The writers and producers of this show truly had absolutely no idea what they were doing at this point.
That “I’m doing the breast I can” line, you can just see Scott’s seething anger, and his clear desire to smack the writers in the face for how completely moronic this episode, and that line, is.
I will say, I don’t think it’s quite fair to call the entire show a hot steaming pile of garbage though. Seasons 1 & 2? Yeah, they were crap through the majority of their run time.
However, seasons 3 and 4 ended up being overall pretty good for the most part, with interesting ongoing plots, direction, character development, consequences for mistakes and other positives. Those two seasons still had problems, and trouble episodes, but no more so than any other Trek show. Then the finale hit…. that fucking slap in the face finale that managed to not only ruin the good will brought on by those two final seasons, but actually made a good episode of The Next Generation worse (because it’s supposed to take place during it… man that was truly bafflingly stupid).
You did a great job covering the episode. You covered most of the things that were truly wrong and terrible about it in an entertaining way. Thanks for covering it, and I look forward to future episodes of Manic Episodes to come like this 😀
I’ve only seen Star Trek three times and they were all from the original one from the 60s. I have seen all of the reboot movies though and even I know that something was sorely wrong here. Haha.
I’m certainly not the huge Bakula fan that Alison is, but I’ve always found him likable and enjoyed many an episode of Quantum Leap as a kid. I also agree that Enterprise was easily the worst Trek series in large part because of the disjointed writing and bad characters.
That being said, Scott Bakula was just a terrible pick for this show. I don’t know if another actor could have pulled it off with so little to work with, but he was wrong for it, and often comes off as bored or sulking. He probably thought it would be a great opportunity to play the lead in a Star Trek series, but became quickly jaded and went through the motions for the paycheck soon after.
To Lupa and anyone else that wants to enjoy Star Trek, you can’t really lose with The Next Generation (especially starting season 2) and Deep Space Nine with the first three seasons being solid episodes, and season four and beyond following a larger, more interesting arc.
Not to start a “my-Trek-is-better-than-your-Trek” flame war, but I found the first and second seasons of TNG unbearably smug and self-righteous, with the Enterprise crew endlessly blowing their own horns about how great the Federation was and how awesome humans are. It wasn’t until the third and fourth seasons, after Roddenberry had passed away, that it was able to grow into an enjoyable show. I agree that Deep Space Nine generally had a higher level of quality, with deep, engrossing plots and engaging, relateable characters.
I’ve been re-watching some of the original series, and I’m consistently impressed by both the writing and the character interaction. Yes, it had some clunkers, like any show, but the ratio of good episodes to bad ones is, IMO, markedly higher than that of TNG, which suffered from a numbing dearth of interpersonal conflict due to what became known among its writers as “the Roddenberry Box.” The Roddenberry Box can be summed up as follows: “In the 24th century, humanity has outgrown its baser emotions. Everyone gets along and there is no anger, fear, grief, hatred, jealousy, prejudice, or greed. Now go write me drama.” This is why so many TNG episodes center on god-like aliens, holodeck malfunctions, and the ship being in danger–because when you’re hobbled by such a restrictive straitjacket regarding what you can write, what else is there?
Actually, DS9 is my favorite Trek, and Kira Nerys is probably my favorite character along with Odo. You also have to respect how they took the underdeveloped Worf of TNG and made him remarkably interesting.
I like all of TNG, but really you are correct that it takes a while to get good. I have a special nostalgia for the early episodes, because I really enjoyed them as a kid before I could watch them with more sophisticated eyes. Actually there are a few episodes from season 1 I really like, especially ‘Conspiracy’ (it scared me as a kid -in a good way!) and ‘Skin of Evil’ for similar reasons. Those always reminded me of Twilight Zone episodes because of the cool monsters and darker themes.
I love DS9. BBC has 3 of the 5 Star Treks, so it’s only a matter of time before it’s on TV again. I miss Odo & Quark.
“Conspiracy” was a neat idea that unfortunately was never followed up. “Skin of Evil” I have to take issue with, as it pointlessly killed off the only female character who wasn’t in a stereotypically feminine nurturing role in a way that was so abrupt and callous that they retconned it away in a later episode to give her a more heroic and meaningful death. Season One also contains probably the all-time worst TNG episode, the horribly racist “Code of Honor” (a planet entirely of black people who have low technology, dress like African natives from a 1940s B-movie, and whose leader kidnaps a blonde white woman, who then has to fight another woman in that old Trek favorite, the Duel to the Death) Apart from the Klingon-centric “Heart of Glory,” I can find almost nothing to recommend Season One.
Still, it was better than anything in Enterprise.
Deep Space Nine features my all-time favorite Trek moment: in the one episode where Q shows up at DS9 to make trouble for Benjamin Sisko, Sikso punches Q in the face. Q says, “You hit me! Picard never hit me!” and Sisko responds “I’m not Picard!” Guess what? Q never showed up on DS9 ever again.
The show had some decent actors in it but even that wasn’t enough to compensate for how awkward Archer and T’pol look together in this episode. What they convey is less of tension between them and more of grim resignation that they know the scene is wrong but they just want to get it over with as quickly as possible.
It takes a kind of perverse genius to make me detest an actor as amiable and likable as Scott Bakula (then again, he was pretty insufferable in both The Infiltrator and I-Man, so I guess it just takes really, really bad writing and directing). Unfortunately, he was far from the only thing wrong with Enterprise. The show was also shamelessly, blatantly fan-servicey, as this episode showed, laced with smirking, adolescent sex humor that assumed everyone watching must be a stereotypical horny nerd who has never even kissed a girl, resulting in a general atmosphere of sexism and misogyny that reaches its zenith in the episode where T’Pol goes into heat and tries to hump anything that moves (yes, this actually fucking happens). The male stars didn’t escape unscathed however, with Tripp constantly ending up half-naked as well, the better to titillate female Trekkies and gay male Trekkies. Because if you sexually exploit BOTH genders, it’s not sleazy, right?
Look, I’m no prude. I like good sexy sci-fi as much as anyone, but there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way. The right way is to treat sex maturely, as something that happens between adults, and which forms emotional bonds that have real, lasting consequences. The wrong way is to do it as if it were a fanfic written by a 14-year-old boy who has just discovered that boobs exist.
That dead dog looks like a real cadaver. The pituitary is an important part of the endocrine system and makes very important hormones. Actual things can happen to it, and would make for a realistically tense situation. Losing the pituitary would cause the body to no longer be able to regulate itself and would lead to death from the chaos, but somehow I doubt the episode actually treats it that way.
I got bored with sci-fi in the late 90s & never finished Voyager. I suppose if BBC picks this up (& hopefully Deep Space 9), I’ll have to give it a chance.
He’s attracted to a Vulcan woman named T’Pal? Awfully similar to T’Pel; Tuvok’s wife from Voyager.
From Quantum Leap to Star Trek to NCIS. Bakula has been on TV for a really long time.
Voyager isn’t worth finishing. It was a hopelessly mediocre show that never realized its potential, with bland characters, stale plots, idiotic pseudoscience, and a ship that magically regenerated each episode.
It was still better than The Original Series, by a long shot.
Yeah, all the Original Series had was heroic, larger-than-life characters, well-written dialogue, and believable, consistent character interactions. Voyager had NEELIX!
Star Trek is one of those franchises that I’ve shown interest in checking out, but haven’t gotten around to it yet (currently going through Doctor Who bit by bit). I’m one of those people who’s a completionist and likes to start from the beginning, so it would be a while for me to get to this. Yet, from what I hear about Voyager and Enterprise, it kind of makes me want to put off seeing the Star Trek franchise. I know I could skip those two series, but as I mentioned, I’m a completionist (as anyone who’s played Pokemon with me would know). So, I wouldn’t feel that I had seen the entire franchise until I watched all the episodes from these ones.
Also, it’s sad to hear that the worst episode of the worst Star Trek franchise came out on my birthday.
And I’m surprised no one else has made the joke yet (or maybe they did on the YouTube page). An easily offended alien race? Do they hail from the planet Tumblr? ….I’ll take my leave now.
Enterprise was such a waste of a perfectly catchy intro. ):