July 24, 2008

Enterprise Surprise

I've long been a Star Trek watcher, if not a fan, and have enjoyed most of the series in the franchise. (I never was a DS9 guy, not sure why.) I'm also a huge Quantum Leap fan. So back in 2001, when a new Star Trek series was announced starring Scott Bakula (of QL fame), I was very happy. But for some reason, though I watched most of the episodes, the show just didn't click for me. I thought T'Pol was an attempt at taking 7 of 9 and making her a 15, Bakula's acting was wooden (which baffled me, since he was remarkable on QL), Malcolm Reid was a cheap Scotty ripoff and the technology that was supposed to be from 150 years before the Captain Kirk era was vastly superior to what it should have been. On top of that, the theme song was terrible (a Rod Stewart song?!) and the uniforms made the crew look like they should be UNDER the Enterprise draining the oil out of the warp engines.

In short, I thought it sucked.

It was no surprise to me that it was cancelled after only 4 years. Every series in the franchise since Kirk's had ran a full seven years before going away of their own volition. I was still a Bakula fan, so losing a chance to see him (wooden or not) was sad; and I still liked the Star Trek universe, so moving into the first time in almost 20 years when there wasn't at least one ST series in production was strange. But it seemed inevitable.

And, as they say, time passed. Tick tock. Flash forward to Spring of this year.

I have a PVR (a DVR to some...basically a Canadian version of Tivo) and I've developed a habit of picking an older show that's on in reruns (usually once a day) and setting the box to record the show whenever it's on. It's my little "the days over, wash over me boobtube" treat. And it's kind of neat to watch a show's entire library in a couple of months.

Well, I'd just finished watching all 6 years worth of The Rockford Files and was looking for another show to record. I knew Enterprise was in reruns (and had been for a while) but my memory (I thought) was still a little sour on it. But I noticed they were about to start the Expanse arc, which I seemed to recall I thought was pretty neat with the Spheres and gravimetric anomolies and all, so I figured I'd watch a few for the hell of it. I set the box and pretty much forgot about it.

A few weeks later I had a whack of shows recorded and came down with the flu (I'm sure the two events weren't cause and effect). So I watched them. And they were good. Really good. From then on, it was rare if my PVR spooled more than a show or two before I watched it. All the way to the end of the fourth season. Except for the terrible last few episodes, this wasn't the show I remembered at all. The characters had flaws and depth, the writing was, for the most part, crisp and reverent, and I didn't even mind the theme song anymore. In fact, I was starting to really like it.

Well like I said, the final season wrapped up, and the network wrapped around and started showing the series from the beginning again. I hadn't picked another show, and the PVR was still set, so I figured I'd watch a few again. Well, damn, these were good too! I don't know if it was knowing how the characters were going to develop made them more fun to watch in their broadcast infancy or what, but I'm still watching. I'm just about to where I first started watching the reruns and I have to say, I'm really going to miss this experience.

It may be some sort of homage to the original series' popularity (it was never as popular as when it was in reruns) or maybe the idea that it was the last of a dynasty and there's no more to be had right now. In any case, I'd highly recommend giving it a second look if you felt the same way I did the first time around.

You might just be surprised.


angela said...

I felt exactly, the same as you w/the whole Scott Bakula Enterprise Star Trek - nicely stated. Now, I'm into the whole fanfiction stuff (warp five fan fiction).

Laraine said...

Well said.