History Quotes / ScapegoatCreator

14th Mar '16 4:04:57 PM rjd1922
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->First rule of leadership: ''Everything'' is your fault.
-->'''Hopper''', ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife''
4th Aug '15 1:26:47 PM StFan
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-->--''AmbushBug: Year None #3''

to:

-->--''AmbushBug: -->-- ''ComicBook/AmbushBug: Year None #3''
9th Mar '15 1:11:32 PM LongLiveHumour
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-->-- '''J. D. Shapiro''', [[MedalOfDishonor accepting a]] [[GoldenRaspberryAward Razzie Award]] for ''Film/BattlefieldEarth''

to:

-->-- '''J. D. Shapiro''', [[MedalOfDishonor accepting a]] [[GoldenRaspberryAward [[UsefulNotes/GoldenRaspberryAward Razzie Award]] for ''Film/BattlefieldEarth''
27th Jan '15 3:09:56 PM johnnyfog
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->I read all these things on the Internet, these ‘[[TheyChangedItNowItSucks continuity pornographers]]’ as I like to call them, though I didn’t invent the term. These people honestly think that Rick (Berman) and I are morons!
-->--'''Brannon Braga''' on ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''
19th Jan '15 1:24:17 PM johnnyfog
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->Let's face it, the extreme amount of crap [[Creator/JoelSchumacher he's]] caught for making this movie is more than a little over the top, and in some cases, borderline psychotic. At the end of the day, all he did was make a bad movie. Genuine venom should be reserved for actual crimes like mass murder, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking putting lettuce on a breakfast sandwich, or eating New York-style pizza with a fork.]] '''''[[BerserkButton You fold it a little and then eat it!]]''''' What the hell is hard about that?

to:

->Let's face it, the extreme amount of crap [[Creator/JoelSchumacher he's]] [Creator/JoelSchumacher] caught for making this movie is more than a little over the top, and in some cases, borderline psychotic. At the end of the day, all he did was make a bad movie. Genuine venom should be reserved for actual crimes like mass murder, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking putting lettuce on a breakfast sandwich, or eating New York-style pizza with a fork.]] '''''[[BerserkButton You fold it a little and then eat it!]]''''' What the hell is hard about that?
19th Jan '15 1:23:55 PM johnnyfog
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Added DiffLines:

->Let's face it, the extreme amount of crap [[Creator/JoelSchumacher he's]] caught for making this movie is more than a little over the top, and in some cases, borderline psychotic. At the end of the day, all he did was make a bad movie. Genuine venom should be reserved for actual crimes like mass murder, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking putting lettuce on a breakfast sandwich, or eating New York-style pizza with a fork.]] '''''[[BerserkButton You fold it a little and then eat it!]]''''' What the hell is hard about that?
-->-- '''''Website/TheAgonyBooth''''', ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' recap supplement
15th Jan '15 5:43:54 PM johnnyfog
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->

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Star Trek: Enterprise – Broken Bow (Review)
Posted on January 1, 2015 by Darren

Next year, Star Trek is fifty years old. We have some special stuff planned for that, but – in the meantime – we’re reviewing all of Star Trek: Enterprise this year as something of a prequel to that anniversary. This January, we’re doing the first season. Check back daily for the latest review.

Broken Bow is probably the strongest pilot in the Star Trek canon, with Emissary and The Cage vying for second place.

That’s not saying a lot. Broken Bow is still a troubled production with some rather sizeable issues marring what is otherwise an ambitious début for a new Star Trek show. Watching, Broken Bow – as with watching most of the first few years of Star Trek: Enterprise (or just Enterprise) – it feels like the show is at war with itself. It wants to be something new and fresh and exciting, but it also wants to be an important part of this larger tapestry. And the episode has difficulty reconciling that.
New (old) frontier...

New (old) frontier…

So we get new aliens like the Suliban, but a plot that revolves around the Klingons; we get an entirely new crew with a Vulcan science officer and Southern gentleman as the Captain’s best friend; we get a ship without most of the conveniences that we take for granted on Star Trek, but with substitutes and a resolution that relies on technological gimmickry; we get to explore an uncharted part of the Star Trek canon, but with the intrusion of the future to help make it feel a little more familiar.

From the first episode, Star Trek: Enterprise seems to exist as a show trapped between what it could have been and what it has to be. It’s a premise rich with potential, but which still feels a little too much like everything that came before.
Into the sunset...

Into the sunset…

Star Trek: Enterprise launched only weeks after production wrapped on Star Trek: Voyager. Many of the production staff returned after short holidays to start producing the final Star Trek spin-off. It would be easy to imagine fatigue setting in, and many of the early interviews with the cast and crew touch on the topic, somewhat obliquely:

“It’s inexplicable,” admits a similarly surprised Brannon Braga, who co-created the series with Rick Berman and serves as executive producer, “but a lot of people feel exactly the same way. The general reaction we’re getting to the concept and what people are seeing is kind of a renewed excitement about Star Trek. If you really stop to think about it, there hasn’t been a new Star Trek show introduced in seven years. What I’m hoping is that it’s just a cool concept, with cool-looking people and great characters. I’m hoping that’s what it is.”

That’s a rather wonderful way of framing the launch – arguing that this is the first launch of a new Star Trek show in seven years. It seems to rather shrewdly avoid the issue that it will only really be the first Star Trek episode in just over four months.
Again with the Klingons!

Again with the Klingons!

Even Scott Bakula found himself fielding the question in pre-release interviews:

“People are wondering if Berman and Paramount should have waited a while — maybe laid low for a year — before doing another spinoff, but I’m sensing a groundswell of excitement,” Bakula said during a recent on-the-set interview with TV Guide. “I think the fans are very ready to re-enlist.”

The fact that the issue of Star Trek fatigue was part of the standard promotional interview should not have boded well for Enterprise.
Little green women...

Little green women…

In hindsight, most of the major creators involved in Enterprise have admitted that the show was rushed into production. Speaking around the time of the show’s cancellation, Berman admitted:

“There are a lot of people who criticized us for saying what I’m about to say, but I do believe that there was some degree of fatigue with the franchise,” Berman said in a conference call interview. “I think that we found ourselves in competition with ourselves. Enterprise in many markets was running against repeats—whether it be cable or syndication—of the original series, Next Generation, Voyager [or] Deep Space Nine. And I think that after 18 years and 624 hours of Star Trek the audience began to have a little bit of overkill with Star Trek, and I think that had a lot to do with it. And I think if you take a look at the last feature film we did, Nemesis, which I still believe was a fine movie, it did two-thirds the business that the previous films had done. So I think it’s, again, another example of the franchise getting a little bit tired.”

Berman has confessed that he “begged” Paramount executives to let the franchise lie fallow for a little while before committing to the launch of a new series.
Snowed under...

Snowed under…

Still, UPN wanted a show to fill the void in its schedule left by the end of Voyager. As such, Berman and Braga decided to try something a bit different. Enterprise would try to escape the familiarity and routine of twenty-fourth century Star Trek and offer viewers something a little bit different. After twenty-one seasons of Star Trek spread across fourteen years, it was a perfectly rational approach to the franchise.

Star Trek: Voyager had been accused of working too hard to emulate Star Trek: The Next Generation, so Star Trek: Enterprise would be its own unique thing. The duo seized upon the idea of doing a prequel series; perhaps inspired by the high-profile success of the then-current Star Wars prequels. Digging back into the history of the Star Trek universe, the writers could find a new angle to approach the material.
Seeing red...

Seeing red…

The initial plans for Star Trek: Enterprise were ambitious. On the In Conversation special feature, Braga explains that the two had planned to offer viewers something radically different from what ultimately materialised:

When we first talked about the show, weren’t we talking initially about doing something that was originally purely a prequel? There was no futuristic element originally. There was no temporal cold war- that was added later in the development process. Something even more grounded; did we at one time talk about setting part of the first season on Earth? With the construction of the first ship? And really launching that ship?

Doing something that – quite frankly – scared the studio? They wanted something set in the future, first of all. They wanted something set in Next Generation’s time. And a prequel made them nervous. And doing something too prequel-ly made them even more nervous.

While Broken Bow was produced under a UPN administration that was still relatively friendly to Star Trek – a major transition in power occurring in the following year – this was far too radical a departure for the network.
It took dogged determination to get the episode to screen...

It took dogged determination to get the episode to screen…

There is no way of knowing how that season – or even half-a-season – set on Earth might have played out. As with Star Trek: Phase II, it’s an interesting idea that could easily have gone any number of directions. It could have been brilliant and thoughtful and insightful; or it could have been pretentious and self-important and dull. Arguably audiences would get a taste of this alternate version of Enterprise in the late second season episode First Flight, which was an interesting – if flawed – episode.

No matter how it might have turned out, the reality was that television was changing. It was now 2001, almost fifteen years since Gene Roddenberry had resurrected Star Trek on television with The Next Generation. In the intervening years, the reality of television had changed. It was a process that had arguably begun with Hill Street Blues in the eighties, but the face of television was rapidly changing.
Talk about corny!

Talk about corny!

HBO was emerging as a powerhouse with dramas like Oz and The Sopranos. While that was on cable, there were rumblings felt throughout the industry. In the nineties, networks had launched several high-profile shows that embraced aspects of serialisation and long-form plotting – shows like ER and The X-Files. At the dawn of the new millennium, network television was engaging with prime time serialisation in popular shows like The West Wing and 24.

UPN itself was an example of the changing industry. No longer dominated by the three big networks, deregulation of the industry meant that television had diffused. There were a wide range of channels producing a wide range of programming for a wide range of audiences. The History Channel was launched in the mid-nineties. The Biography Channel began broadcast in 1999. Even The Sci-Fi Channel had begun to branch into original programming towards the end of the nineties with shows like Farscape and G vs. E.
Tripping himself up...

Tripping himself up…

As Alan Sepinwall noted in The Revolution Was Televised, the times were a-changing:

When I start at the Ledger in the summer of 1996, you had the broadcast networks, and then you had everyone else. (And within the network universe, Fox had only begun to be treated as anything but a novelty; the WB and UPN were runts fighting over table scraps.) HBO had a few original comedy series and its movies, but if you wanted scripted television, you mostly went to ABC, CBS, NBC and occasionally Fox.

A few years before, Bruce Springsteen had put out a song called ’57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)’, whose title because almost instantly dated on both ends. Soon, everyone’s cable package was ballooning way past 57, and channels that had been satisfied airing nothing but reruns and old movies began putting on their own original programmed – and the mass audience that had been the bread and butter of television began to fracture into a group of ever-smaller niches.

Commercially, this presented a hug problem for a business built on a big-tent philosophy, where you succeeded with the broadest, most palatable, least challenging work. Creatively, though, the fragmented audience was the best thing that could have happened to television. Certainly, some corners of the TV business leaned heavily on programming that was as broad and/or cheap as possible (the year after The Sopranos, Survivor set off the reality TV boom). But many smart executives realised that they could do very well making shows those smaller audiences would care passionately about. You could make money on a show watched by three million people, if they’re the “right” three million people, paying close attention.

It is worth noting that when Enterprise‘s falling ratings began to briefly stabilise during the show’s third year, they stabilised around the three million mark.
Looking back on it all...

Looking back on it all…

This was a much larger audience than the audience that would flock to the space-opera science-fiction poster-child of the new millennium, Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. Of course, Battlestar Galactica only cost a fraction of what Enterprise did, and enjoyed much broader critical (and fan) support. In short, it was a science-fiction show for the new millennium, one much more aligned to the demands of broadcast television in the twenty-first century.

In contrast, Enterprise ultimately felt like it was just the same old Star Trek with a new coat of paint. There were changes, but they were mostly cosmetic. An opening historical montage celebrating (an American-centric vision of) the space race rather than a voyage through outer space; a pop song rather than an orchestral theme; the dropping of the words “Star Trek” from the title. And yet the show’s stories and structures and beats remained the same.
"Get off my cornfield!"

“Get off my cornfield!”

Part of what’s interesting about Enterprise is that the show seems to have been conceived more as a prequel to The Next Generation than to the original Star Trek. As much as the publicity materials cited Jackson (later Jonathan) Archer as “Kirk’s childhood hero”, the show seemed to draw most comfortably on the mood and aesthetic of the recent spin-offs. The production design on the show seemed to largely by-pass Matt Jefferies’ iconic sixties designs in favour of more primitive versions of more recent Star Trek designs.

Barring a few hints slipped in here and there, like knobs and sliders or T’Pol’s viewer or the flashing primary colour boxes on the background bridge screens, Enterprise avoided the look of the classic Star Trek. Grey was the colour of choice for the design of the new ship, recalling the production design of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Star Trek: Voyager more than the primary colours of classic Star Trek. The layout of the bridge, with a long helm console manned by a single operator and various stations facing inward, evoked Voyager.
They're hardly turning the franchise upside down...

They’re hardly turning the franchise upside down…

The exterior of the Enterprise evoked the rough texture of the new Enterprise from Star Trek: First Contact, and had a design evoking the Akira-class glimpsed briefly in the combat sequences at the start of that movie and in Deep Space Nine. As Herman Zimmerman explained to Star Trek Communicator, the goal was to create something unlike the ships that had headlined the previous shows:

For a while we were actually going to have a ship that looked very similar to the original Motion Picture Enterprise, and somewhere along the line after having made a very sweet-looking ship we decided that it was too right on, it was too close to the original. We needed something that the Motion Picture starship would be derivative of, but not a carbon copy of it. So we went to several different styles of combinations of nacelles and saucers and engineering sections and airframes, and we decided to eliminate the engineering section as a separate entity and make it part of the hull. Brannon and Rick decided they didn’t want a ship that would separate; that would be something that would happen some time in the future.

While it’s an understandable and entirely justifiable design decision, it meant that Enterprise looked a lot less like a glimpse of the past leading up to the original Star Trek and more like a prelude to The Next Generation.
Eye see trouble ahead...

Eye see trouble ahead…

Naturally, fandom seized on these choices as an excuse to criticise the series. Creator Brannon Braga has been particularly blunt in addressing these criticisms. In the To Boldly Go documentary, he laments:

Boy! We got a lot of sh!t about that, you know? Why does it look more futuristic than Kirk’s ship? I guess something bad happened, like the economy took a downturn in the Federation, because Kirk’s ship looks like a jalopy. I don’t know, must have been some cut backs there. Who cares? You’ve got to at some point take some license.

Again, this is perfectly valid creative choice. There’s a vocal element of Star Trek fandom that engages in debates about issues of “canon” or the history of this fictional universe. That’s not really the problem here.
Just deserts...

Just deserts…

After all, Star Trek is a franchise that has often had difficulty defining and mapping out its shared universe. The first season of classic Star Trek couldn’t seem to agree on who Kirk worked for or the history (or name) of Spock’s native planet. Treating Enterprise as a documentary about the history of a fictional universe that has never managed to keep its own internal chronology straight is to miss the point a bit.

The problem isn’t that the Ferengi in Acquisition violate what we know – or had been led to believe – about the Star Trek universe. The problem is that they are just more of the same. They’re a relic carried over from a show and a universe that Brannon Braga and Rick Berman consciously wanted to get away from. They are an example of the way that Enterprise seemed trapped between desperately wanting to be its own unique thing and deeply longing to be part of the larger and more expansive twenty-fourth century mythos.
Beaming with enthusiasm...

Beaming with enthusiasm…

This desire to connect with the twenty-fourth century mythos means that Enterprise feels like a very weird prequel – a prequel that doesn’t seem too bothered with the earliest iteration of Star Trek. It’s easier to imagine Enterprise as something of a sequel to First Contact – which is why Regeneration works so well. Rick Berman conceded as much in In Conversation:

The key to the development of Enterprise, to me, had to do with First Contact. Because First Contact – which had been done in… 1996? – we had based somewhat on Star Trek canon. Which is something Manny respects and Brannon and I don’t.

Rumour has it.

I’m being facetious. We had a sort of post-apocalyptic Earth where things were a mess and we had James Cromwell as an alcoholic scientist and he creates the first warp drive. This is all connected with a story having to do with our Next Generation characters finding a way to go back in time to save the world – which is what every movie was about!

The idea that in the 21st century – it was the late twenty-first century when Zefram Cochrane invents warp drive – and then the twenty-third century, you’ve got Kirk and Spock and a perfect Earth and Starfleet and the Federation and these huge spaceships with hundreds of people on board. What happened between those two things? What happened between First Contact when we first meet an alien – the Vulcans, at the very end – and Kirk – when there were hundreds of worlds they were traveling.

Indeed, the established character who passes the torch to the new Enterprise is not a character particularly associated with the original Star Trek, although the character did appear in a single episode of that show. James Cromwell appears briefly to wish the crew luck, reprising his role as Zephram Cochrane from Star Trek: First Contact.
That Klingon went pretty far afield...

That Klingon went pretty far afield…

In another example of how Star Trek fans seem to fixate on weird minutiae, these similarities quickly became the subject of various crazy theories. One such theory suggests that Enterprise might have been the result of the time-travel in First Contact creating an alternate timeline. This particular fan theory gained so much weight that Braga had to actively deny it in an interview with Star Trek Monthly:

Yes, it is definitely a prequel. It’s not an alternate timeline, of course not. …

In terms of the alternate timeline, I don’t understand why people think that. I’m not exactly sure. What’s changed? What’s so different that they think this must be an alternate history? In terms of the Temporal Cold War stuff, I don’t really think anything has happened to change history. With the Borg, some people said, ‘Oh my God, Archer was not the first person to encounter the Borg. Picard [Patrick Stewart] was. You’ve changed the timeline.’ My answer to that was, ‘Well, that got changed in the movie First Contact.’

In that idiosyncratic way that Star Trek fandom does, they had identified an issue with Enterprise, but somehow struggled to articulate it. The problem was that – essentially – Rick Berman and Brannon Braga had promised a prequel to Star Trek and instead delivered a sequel to First Contact.
Not phased in the slightest...

Not phased in the slightest…

Even watching Broken Bow, there’s a sense of familiarity to all of this. The Enterprise might be superficially less advanced, but in no substantial way. The ship may not have a tractor beam, but it does have a grapple gun that performs pretty much the same function in a slightly different way. Even before Reed gives Archer and Tucker the “phase pistols”, the crew use similar enough technology on the surface of Rigel. Later episodes would introduce “phase cannons” and “spatial torpedoes”, synonymous with “phasers” and “photon torpedoes” respectively.

The climax of Broken Bow hinges on the use of the transporter as a way to get Archer off the Suliban space station. While the plot works hard to articulate how dangerous and risky the device actually is, it’s very hard to get excited about an episode resolution that hinges on a tried-and-tested Star Trek gimmick. By the end of the pilot, Archer’s Enterprise has a working transporter and his crew have phase pistols. None of these feel particularly earned. They haven’t been absent long enough for their return to be welcomed or refreshing.
A temporal disruptor...

A temporal disruptor…

However, the futuristic technology is not all that Enterprise carries over from The Next Generation and Voyager. Rick Berman argued that the appeal of the show was getting to see humanity evolve into the characters we know and love – to witness the creation of utopia. Hearing Berman and Braga talk about Enterprise, it seems like the show is an opportunity to bridge the gap between humanity’s flawed present state and the idealised humans presented in Gene Roddenberry’s vision.

Enterprise struggles with this for a number of reasons. Most obviously, Roddenberry hadn’t fully settled on the idea of a hyper-evolved humanity until Star Trek: The Motion Picture or the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the original Star Trek, episodes like Errand of Mercy and Day of the Dove explore the idea that Kirk is far from an ideal human. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is fairly brutal in its criticism of Kirk. Even when it came to the twenty-fourth century, Deep Space Nine was willing to play with Roddenberry’s utopia.
"A Vulcan Science Officer? That's crazy talk!"

“A Vulcan Science Officer? That’s crazy talk!”

So Enterprise is clearly operating from a mistaken assumption, a common and romanticised misconception about Star Trek. It buys wholeheartedly into the mythology that Roddenberry himself retroactively developed around the show. Rick Berman has admitted that he was perhaps a bit too conservative in how he approached Roddenberry’s retroactive and evangelical vision of Star Trek, and the fact that Enterprise buys so readily and so uncritically is a problem.

As is the fact that Broken Bow effectively handicaps the series by starting Enterprise at a point in the future where Earth itself is practically unrecognisable. “How about war, disease, hunger,” Trip goads T’Pol over dinner. “Pretty much wiped ‘em out in less than two generations. I wouldn’t call that small potatoes.” As such, Enterprise ceases to be a show about how humanity gets from the present day to a utopian future. It is instead about how humanity gets from a world without “war, disease, hunger” to a utopian future. Which is a much less interesting hook.
Ha! Even Kirk didn't get to do this!

Ha! Even Kirk didn’t get to do this!

In the documentary Uncharted Territory, producer David A. Goodman singles out that line for criticism:

If you’re going to do a prequel, I think you really need to mess with it. I think you really need to say that everything on Earth is not fixed. That was one of the lines in the pilot that really bothered me. Trip says, “Fifty years, we ended hunger and famine and war… that’s not too bad!” And to me, that’s what the prequel should have been! How did that end?

So, immediately, Enterprise starts out at a disadvantage. With Broken Bow, there’s a sense that the franchise isn’t being pushed as hard as it might be.
It all blurs together...

It all blurs together…

That’s a constant struggle for the first two seasons of Enterprise, as the show struggles to figure out how to convey this sense of adventure and excitement and novelty despite the fact that it all feels very familiar. While those first two years are incredibly rocky, the show does attempt it. There is a notable attempt to get away from the techno-babble that troubled Voyager. Episodes like Fight or Flight and Cogenitor do try to wrestle with the idea that this is a bold new world. Then, of course, there are episodes like Acquisition or Two Days and Two Nights.
15th Jan '15 5:43:19 PM johnnyfog
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->''"...I'm apparently trying to kill ''Magic''--something I'm obviously not that good at, as ''Magic'' is going strong [[LongRunners sixteen years later.]]"''

to:

->''"...->...I'm apparently trying to kill ''Magic''--something I'm obviously not that good at, as ''Magic'' is going strong [[LongRunners sixteen years later.]]"'']]



->''"The first seventeen years of ''Series/DoctorWho'' have eight producers. The next ten have one. Creator/JohnNathanTurner, who takes over with the next story, oversees four different Doctors, three regenerations, and the cancellation of the series. And thus, fittingly and ironically, it is over him that one of the biggest critical question marks in the series hangs..There's too much debate over him to ignore. Unsurprisingly, given that he was a human being and all, the end result of that analysis is going to be muddier. He made some incompetently stupid creative decisions in his tenure and some deeply questionable personal ones. He also got the show cancelled. Then again, he made some brilliant creative decisions and probably saved it from being cancelled in 1981."''

to:

->''"The ->The first seventeen years of ''Series/DoctorWho'' have eight producers. The next ten have one. Creator/JohnNathanTurner, who takes over with the next story, oversees four different Doctors, three regenerations, and the cancellation of the series. And thus, fittingly and ironically, it is over him that one of the biggest critical question marks in the series hangs..There's too much debate over him to ignore. Unsurprisingly, given that he was a human being and all, the end result of that analysis is going to be muddier. He made some incompetently stupid creative decisions in his tenure and some deeply questionable personal ones. He also got the show cancelled. Then again, he made some brilliant creative decisions and probably saved it from being cancelled in 1981."''



->''"If a developer announces their intention to adapt to videogames what is simultaneously [[TheLordOfTheRings a massive movie franchise and the croutons in the primordial soup of nerd culture]], that developer should be treated the way one treats a man standing on the ledge of a tall building, because that is the perfect storm of drama they're letting themselves in for. You have the movie people on one side, concerned that you didn't render Gollum's left buttock in accordance with the style guide, and on the other the long-standing fanboys meaningfully sharpening the impractically large replica sword. It's like trying to pull on an all-black nativity play for a fundamentalist christian and a militant atheist, both holding megaphones."''
-->--'''''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''''' on ''MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor''

to:

->''"If a developer announces their intention ->

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Star Trek: Enterprise – Broken Bow (Review)
Posted on January 1, 2015 by Darren

Next year, Star Trek is fifty years old. We have some special stuff planned for that, but – in the meantime – we’re reviewing all of Star Trek: Enterprise this year as something of a prequel
to videogames that anniversary. This January, we’re doing the first season. Check back daily for the latest review.

Broken Bow is probably the strongest pilot in the Star Trek canon, with Emissary and The Cage vying for second place.

That’s not saying a lot. Broken Bow is still a troubled production with some rather sizeable issues marring
what is simultaneously [[TheLordOfTheRings otherwise an ambitious début for a massive movie new Star Trek show. Watching, Broken Bow – as with watching most of the first few years of Star Trek: Enterprise (or just Enterprise) – it feels like the show is at war with itself. It wants to be something new and fresh and exciting, but it also wants to be an important part of this larger tapestry. And the episode has difficulty reconciling that.
New (old) frontier...

New (old) frontier…

So we get new aliens like the Suliban, but a plot that revolves around the Klingons; we get an entirely new crew with a Vulcan science officer and Southern gentleman as the Captain’s best friend; we get a ship without most of the conveniences that we take for granted on Star Trek, but with substitutes and a resolution that relies on technological gimmickry; we get to explore an uncharted part of the Star Trek canon, but with the intrusion of the future to help make it feel a little more familiar.

From the first episode, Star Trek: Enterprise seems to exist as a show trapped between what it could have been and what it has to be. It’s a premise rich with potential, but which still feels a little too much like everything that came before.
Into the sunset...

Into the sunset…

Star Trek: Enterprise launched only weeks after production wrapped on Star Trek: Voyager. Many of the production staff returned after short holidays to start producing the final Star Trek spin-off. It would be easy to imagine fatigue setting in, and many of the early interviews with the cast and crew touch on the topic, somewhat obliquely:

“It’s inexplicable,” admits a similarly surprised Brannon Braga, who co-created the series with Rick Berman and serves as executive producer, “but a lot of people feel exactly the same way. The general reaction we’re getting to the concept and what people are seeing is kind of a renewed excitement about Star Trek. If you really stop to think about it, there hasn’t been a new Star Trek show introduced in seven years. What I’m hoping is that it’s just a cool concept, with cool-looking people and great characters. I’m hoping that’s what it is.”

That’s a rather wonderful way of framing the launch – arguing that this is the first launch of a new Star Trek show in seven years. It seems to rather shrewdly avoid the issue that it will only really be the first Star Trek episode in just over four months.
Again with the Klingons!

Again with the Klingons!

Even Scott Bakula found himself fielding the question in pre-release interviews:

“People are wondering if Berman and Paramount should have waited a while — maybe laid low for a year — before doing another spinoff, but I’m sensing a groundswell of excitement,” Bakula said during a recent on-the-set interview with TV Guide. “I think the fans are very ready to re-enlist.”

The fact that the issue of Star Trek fatigue was part of the standard promotional interview should not have boded well for Enterprise.
Little green women...

Little green women…

In hindsight, most of the major creators involved in Enterprise have admitted that the show was rushed into production. Speaking around the time of the show’s cancellation, Berman admitted:

“There are a lot of people who criticized us for saying what I’m about to say, but I do believe that there was some degree of fatigue with the franchise,” Berman said in a conference call interview. “I think that we found ourselves in competition with ourselves. Enterprise in many markets was running against repeats—whether it be cable or syndication—of the original series, Next Generation, Voyager [or] Deep Space Nine. And I think that after 18 years and 624 hours of Star Trek the audience began to have a little bit of overkill with Star Trek, and I think that had a lot to do with it. And I think if you take a look at the last feature film we did, Nemesis, which I still believe was a fine movie, it did two-thirds the business that the previous films had done. So I think it’s, again, another example of the
franchise getting a little bit tired.”

Berman has confessed that he “begged” Paramount executives to let the franchise lie fallow for a little while before committing to the launch of a new series.
Snowed under...

Snowed under…

Still, UPN wanted a show to fill the void in its schedule left by the end of Voyager. As such, Berman
and Braga decided to try something a bit different. Enterprise would try to escape the croutons familiarity and routine of twenty-fourth century Star Trek and offer viewers something a little bit different. After twenty-one seasons of Star Trek spread across fourteen years, it was a perfectly rational approach to the franchise.

Star Trek: Voyager had been accused of working too hard to emulate Star Trek: The Next Generation, so Star Trek: Enterprise would be its own unique thing. The duo seized upon the idea of doing a prequel series; perhaps inspired by the high-profile success of the then-current Star Wars prequels. Digging back into the history of the Star Trek universe, the writers could find a new angle to approach the material.
Seeing red...

Seeing red…

The initial plans for Star Trek: Enterprise were ambitious. On the In Conversation special feature, Braga explains that the two had planned to offer viewers something radically different from what ultimately materialised:

When we first talked about the show, weren’t we talking initially about doing something that was originally purely a prequel? There was no futuristic element originally. There was no temporal cold war- that was added later
in the primordial soup development process. Something even more grounded; did we at one time talk about setting part of nerd culture]], the first season on Earth? With the construction of the first ship? And really launching that developer should ship?

Doing something that – quite frankly – scared the studio? They wanted something set in the future, first of all. They wanted something set in Next Generation’s time. And a prequel made them nervous. And doing something too prequel-ly made them even more nervous.

While Broken Bow was produced under a UPN administration that was still relatively friendly to Star Trek – a major transition in power occurring in the following year – this was far too radical a departure for the network.
It took dogged determination to get the episode to screen...

It took dogged determination to get the episode to screen…

There is no way of knowing how that season – or even half-a-season – set on Earth might have played out. As with Star Trek: Phase II, it’s an interesting idea that could easily have gone any number of directions. It could have been brilliant and thoughtful and insightful; or it could have been pretentious and self-important and dull. Arguably audiences would get a taste of this alternate version of Enterprise in the late second season episode First Flight, which was an interesting – if flawed – episode.

No matter how it might have turned out, the reality was that television was changing. It was now 2001, almost fifteen years since Gene Roddenberry had resurrected Star Trek on television with The Next Generation. In the intervening years, the reality of television had changed. It was a process that had arguably begun with Hill Street Blues in the eighties, but the face of television was rapidly changing.
Talk about corny!

Talk about corny!

HBO was emerging as a powerhouse with dramas like Oz and The Sopranos. While that was on cable, there were rumblings felt throughout the industry. In the nineties, networks had launched several high-profile shows that embraced aspects of serialisation and long-form plotting – shows like ER and The X-Files. At the dawn of the new millennium, network television was engaging with prime time serialisation in popular shows like The West Wing and 24.

UPN itself was an example of the changing industry. No longer dominated by the three big networks, deregulation of the industry meant that television had diffused. There were a wide range of channels producing a wide range of programming for a wide range of audiences. The History Channel was launched in the mid-nineties. The Biography Channel began broadcast in 1999. Even The Sci-Fi Channel had begun to branch into original programming towards the end of the nineties with shows like Farscape and G vs. E.
Tripping himself up...

Tripping himself up…

As Alan Sepinwall noted in The Revolution Was Televised, the times were a-changing:

When I start at the Ledger in the summer of 1996, you had the broadcast networks, and then you had everyone else. (And within the network universe, Fox had only begun to
be treated as anything but a novelty; the WB and UPN were runts fighting over table scraps.) HBO had a few original comedy series and its movies, but if you wanted scripted television, you mostly went to ABC, CBS, NBC and occasionally Fox.

A few years before, Bruce Springsteen had put out a song called ’57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)’, whose title because almost instantly dated on both ends. Soon, everyone’s cable package was ballooning way past 57, and channels that had been satisfied airing nothing but reruns and old movies began putting on their own original programmed – and the mass audience that had been the bread and butter of television began to fracture into a group of ever-smaller niches.

Commercially, this presented a hug problem for a business built on a big-tent philosophy, where you succeeded with the broadest, most palatable, least challenging work. Creatively, though, the fragmented audience was the best thing that could have happened to television. Certainly, some corners of the TV business leaned heavily on programming that was as broad and/or cheap as possible (the year after The Sopranos, Survivor set off the reality TV boom). But many smart executives realised that they could do very well making shows those smaller audiences would care passionately about. You could make money on a show watched by three million people, if they’re the “right” three million people, paying close attention.

It is worth noting that when Enterprise‘s falling ratings began to briefly stabilise during the show’s third year, they stabilised around the three million mark.
Looking back on it all...

Looking back on it all…

This was a much larger audience than the audience that would flock to the space-opera science-fiction poster-child of the new millennium, Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. Of course, Battlestar Galactica only cost a fraction of what Enterprise did, and enjoyed much broader critical (and fan) support. In short, it was a science-fiction show for the new millennium, one much more aligned to the demands of broadcast television in the twenty-first century.

In contrast, Enterprise ultimately felt like it was just the same old Star Trek with a new coat of paint. There were changes, but they were mostly cosmetic. An opening historical montage celebrating (an American-centric vision of) the space race rather than a voyage through outer space; a pop song rather than an orchestral theme; the dropping of the words “Star Trek” from the title. And yet the show’s stories and structures and beats remained the same.
"Get off my cornfield!"

“Get off my cornfield!”

Part of what’s interesting about Enterprise is that the show seems to have been conceived more as a prequel to The Next Generation than to the original Star Trek. As much as the publicity materials cited Jackson (later Jonathan) Archer as “Kirk’s childhood hero”, the show seemed to draw most comfortably on the mood and aesthetic of the recent spin-offs. The production design on the show seemed to largely by-pass Matt Jefferies’ iconic sixties designs in favour of more primitive versions of more recent Star Trek designs.

Barring a few hints slipped in here and there, like knobs and sliders or T’Pol’s viewer or the flashing primary colour boxes on the background bridge screens, Enterprise avoided the look of the classic Star Trek. Grey was the colour of choice for the design of the new ship, recalling the production design of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Star Trek: Voyager more than the primary colours of classic Star Trek. The layout of the bridge, with a long helm console manned by a single operator and various stations facing inward, evoked Voyager.
They're hardly turning the franchise upside down...

They’re hardly turning the franchise upside down…

The exterior of the Enterprise evoked the rough texture of the new Enterprise from Star Trek: First Contact, and had a design evoking the Akira-class glimpsed briefly in the combat sequences at the start of that movie and in Deep Space Nine. As Herman Zimmerman explained to Star Trek Communicator, the goal was to create something unlike the ships that had headlined the previous shows:

For a while we were actually going to have a ship that looked very similar to the original Motion Picture Enterprise, and somewhere along the line after having made a very sweet-looking ship we decided that it was too right on, it was too close to the original. We needed something that the Motion Picture starship would be derivative of, but not a carbon copy of it. So we went to several different styles of combinations of nacelles and saucers and engineering sections and airframes, and we decided to eliminate the engineering section as a separate entity and make it part of the hull. Brannon and Rick decided they didn’t want a ship that would separate; that would be something that would happen some time in the future.

While it’s an understandable and entirely justifiable design decision, it meant that Enterprise looked a lot less like a glimpse of the past leading up to the original Star Trek and more like a prelude to The Next Generation.
Eye see trouble ahead...

Eye see trouble ahead…

Naturally, fandom seized on these choices as an excuse to criticise the series. Creator Brannon Braga has been particularly blunt in addressing these criticisms. In the To Boldly Go documentary, he laments:

Boy! We got a lot of sh!t about that, you know? Why does it look more futuristic than Kirk’s ship? I guess something bad happened, like the economy took a downturn in the Federation, because Kirk’s ship looks like a jalopy. I don’t know, must have been some cut backs there. Who cares? You’ve got to at some point take some license.

Again, this is perfectly valid creative choice. There’s a vocal element of Star Trek fandom that engages in debates about issues of “canon” or the history of this fictional universe. That’s not really the problem here.
Just deserts...

Just deserts…

After all, Star Trek is a franchise that has often had difficulty defining and mapping out its shared universe. The first season of classic Star Trek couldn’t seem to agree on who Kirk worked for or the history (or name) of Spock’s native planet. Treating Enterprise as a documentary about the history of a fictional universe that has never managed to keep its own internal chronology straight is to miss the point a bit.

The problem isn’t that the Ferengi in Acquisition violate what we know – or had been led to believe – about the Star Trek universe. The problem is that they are just more of the same. They’re a relic carried over from a show and a universe that Brannon Braga and Rick Berman consciously wanted to get away from. They are an example of
the way one treats a man standing on that Enterprise seemed trapped between desperately wanting to be its own unique thing and deeply longing to be part of the ledge larger and more expansive twenty-fourth century mythos.
Beaming with enthusiasm...

Beaming with enthusiasm…

This desire to connect with the twenty-fourth century mythos means that Enterprise feels like a very weird prequel – a prequel that doesn’t seem too bothered with the earliest iteration of Star Trek. It’s easier to imagine Enterprise as something
of a tall building, because sequel to First Contact – which is why Regeneration works so well. Rick Berman conceded as much in In Conversation:

The key to the development of Enterprise, to me, had to do with First Contact. Because First Contact – which had been done in… 1996? – we had based somewhat on Star Trek canon. Which is something Manny respects and Brannon and I don’t.

Rumour has it.

I’m being facetious. We had a sort of post-apocalyptic Earth where things were a mess and we had James Cromwell as an alcoholic scientist and he creates the first warp drive. This is all connected with a story having to do with our Next Generation characters finding a way to go back in time to save the world – which is what every movie was about!

The idea
that is in the 21st century – it was the late twenty-first century when Zefram Cochrane invents warp drive – and then the twenty-third century, you’ve got Kirk and Spock and a perfect storm Earth and Starfleet and the Federation and these huge spaceships with hundreds of drama they're letting themselves people on board. What happened between those two things? What happened between First Contact when we first meet an alien – the Vulcans, at the very end – and Kirk – when there were hundreds of worlds they were traveling.

Indeed, the established character who passes the torch to the new Enterprise is not a character particularly associated with the original Star Trek, although the character did appear
in for. You a single episode of that show. James Cromwell appears briefly to wish the crew luck, reprising his role as Zephram Cochrane from Star Trek: First Contact.
That Klingon went pretty far afield...

That Klingon went pretty far afield…

In another example of how Star Trek fans seem to fixate on weird minutiae, these similarities quickly became the subject of various crazy theories. One such theory suggests that Enterprise might
have been the result of the time-travel in First Contact creating an alternate timeline. This particular fan theory gained so much weight that Braga had to actively deny it in an interview with Star Trek Monthly:

Yes, it is definitely a prequel. It’s not an alternate timeline, of course not. …

In terms of the alternate timeline, I don’t understand why people think that. I’m not exactly sure. What’s changed? What’s so different that they think this must be an alternate history? In terms of the Temporal Cold War stuff, I don’t really think anything has happened to change history. With the Borg, some people said, ‘Oh my God, Archer was not the first person to encounter the Borg. Picard [Patrick Stewart] was. You’ve changed the timeline.’ My answer to that was, ‘Well, that got changed in
the movie people on one side, concerned First Contact.’

In
that you idiosyncratic way that Star Trek fandom does, they had identified an issue with Enterprise, but somehow struggled to articulate it. The problem was that – essentially – Rick Berman and Brannon Braga had promised a prequel to Star Trek and instead delivered a sequel to First Contact.
Not phased in the slightest...

Not phased in the slightest…

Even watching Broken Bow, there’s a sense of familiarity to all of this. The Enterprise might be superficially less advanced, but in no substantial way. The ship may not have a tractor beam, but it does have a grapple gun that performs pretty much the same function in a slightly different way. Even before Reed gives Archer and Tucker the “phase pistols”, the crew use similar enough technology on the surface of Rigel. Later episodes would introduce “phase cannons” and “spatial torpedoes”, synonymous with “phasers” and “photon torpedoes” respectively.

The climax of Broken Bow hinges on the use of the transporter as a way to get Archer off the Suliban space station. While the plot works hard to articulate how dangerous and risky the device actually is, it’s very hard to get excited about an episode resolution that hinges on a tried-and-tested Star Trek gimmick. By the end of the pilot, Archer’s Enterprise has a working transporter and his crew have phase pistols. None of these feel particularly earned. They haven’t been absent long enough for their return to be welcomed or refreshing.
A temporal disruptor...

A temporal disruptor…

However, the futuristic technology is not all that Enterprise carries over from The Next Generation and Voyager. Rick Berman argued that the appeal of the show was getting to see humanity evolve into the characters we know and love – to witness the creation of utopia. Hearing Berman and Braga talk about Enterprise, it seems like the show is an opportunity to bridge the gap between humanity’s flawed present state and the idealised humans presented in Gene Roddenberry’s vision.

Enterprise struggles with this for a number of reasons. Most obviously, Roddenberry hadn’t fully settled on the idea of a hyper-evolved humanity until Star Trek: The Motion Picture or the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the original Star Trek, episodes like Errand of Mercy and Day of the Dove explore the idea that Kirk is far from an ideal human. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is fairly brutal in its criticism of Kirk. Even when it came to the twenty-fourth century, Deep Space Nine was willing to play with Roddenberry’s utopia.
"A Vulcan Science Officer? That's crazy talk!"

“A Vulcan Science Officer? That’s crazy talk!”

So Enterprise is clearly operating from a mistaken assumption, a common and romanticised misconception about Star Trek. It buys wholeheartedly into the mythology that Roddenberry himself retroactively developed around the show. Rick Berman has admitted that he was perhaps a bit too conservative in how he approached Roddenberry’s retroactive and evangelical vision of Star Trek, and the fact that Enterprise buys so readily and so uncritically is a problem.

As is the fact that Broken Bow effectively handicaps the series by starting Enterprise at a point in the future where Earth itself is practically unrecognisable. “How about war, disease, hunger,” Trip goads T’Pol over dinner. “Pretty much wiped ‘em out in less than two generations. I wouldn’t call that small potatoes.” As such, Enterprise ceases to be a show about how humanity gets from the present day to a utopian future. It is instead about how humanity gets from a world without “war, disease, hunger” to a utopian future. Which is a much less interesting hook.
Ha! Even Kirk
didn't render Gollum's left buttock get to do this!

Ha! Even Kirk didn’t get to do this!

In the documentary Uncharted Territory, producer David A. Goodman singles out that line for criticism:

If you’re going to do a prequel, I think you really need to mess with it. I think you really need to say that everything on Earth is not fixed. That was one of the lines
in accordance the pilot that really bothered me. Trip says, “Fifty years, we ended hunger and famine and war… that’s not too bad!” And to me, that’s what the prequel should have been! How did that end?

So, immediately, Enterprise starts out at a disadvantage. With Broken Bow, there’s a sense that the franchise isn’t being pushed as hard as it might be.
It all blurs together...

It all blurs together…

That’s a constant struggle for the first two seasons of Enterprise, as the show struggles to figure out how to convey this sense of adventure and excitement and novelty despite the fact that it all feels very familiar. While those first two years are incredibly rocky, the show does attempt it. There is a notable attempt to get away from the techno-babble that troubled Voyager. Episodes like Fight or Flight and Cogenitor do try to wrestle
with the style guide, and on the other the long-standing fanboys meaningfully sharpening the impractically large replica sword. It's idea that this is a bold new world. Then, of course, there are episodes like Acquisition or Two Days and Two Nights.

->To be fair to Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, two producers vilified by ''Star Trek'' fandom, they were working with a network that seemed unsure of what it wanted from ''Star Trek''. ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' had helped to launch {{Creator/UPN}} back in 1995, standing as the flagship of the network. In 2001, Broken Bow broadcast to the second-largest audience in the history of the network. However, UPN seemed to be drifting away from the bold young pub that had dared to challenge the bigger networks.\\\
In 2002, UPN underwent a change in management and a shift in focus...By the time that Enterprise finished its run in 2005, the network’s target demographic had shifted from the kind of people who watch science-fiction space opera into young women. This was the corporate mindset that led to things like the infamous “[[ProductPlacement boy band suggestion]]”...In many retrospective interviews, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have talked about
trying to pull on an all-black nativity play for a fundamentalist christian and a militant atheist, both holding megaphones."''
-->--'''''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''''' on ''MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor''
resist that sort of imposed inertia.
-->--'''Darren Mooney''' [[http://them0vieblog.com/2015/01/01/star-trek-enterprise-broken-bow-review/ on]] ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'', "Broken Bow'
9th Jan '15 10:29:15 AM johnnyfog
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Added DiffLines:

->I want to thank the studio for sticking to their convictions... and firing me for sticking to mine.
-->-- '''J. D. Shapiro''', [[MedalOfDishonor accepting a]] [[GoldenRaspberryAward Razzie Award]] for ''Film/BattlefieldEarth''
20th Nov '14 10:35:22 AM johnnyfog
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Added DiffLines:


->''"If a developer announces their intention to adapt to videogames what is simultaneously [[TheLordOfTheRings a massive movie franchise and the croutons in the primordial soup of nerd culture]], that developer should be treated the way one treats a man standing on the ledge of a tall building, because that is the perfect storm of drama they're letting themselves in for. You have the movie people on one side, concerned that you didn't render Gollum's left buttock in accordance with the style guide, and on the other the long-standing fanboys meaningfully sharpening the impractically large replica sword. It's like trying to pull on an all-black nativity play for a fundamentalist christian and a militant atheist, both holding megaphones."''
-->--'''''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''''' on ''MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor''
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