Thanks to Rocky for sparing me the effort I might have made if I still cared enough to write a post-mortem on Trek. I agree with her and disagree with Kelly Chambliss on most of their points. Since disagreements are always more interesting, I’ll run through those:
The alleged external problems:
- UPN was no worse for VOY and ENT than syndication was for TNG and DS9.
- Stargate, Atlantis, and BSG have all run on Friday nights without suffering any. Friday is no longer the kiss of death for a show, except by way of heavy competition.
- Yes, there are too many choices, but the problem for ENT wasn’t the range of sci-fi per se, but that there were too many better choices.
- For a company that doesn’t know its traditional audience, Paramount has certainly managed to recycle the traditional material often enough. The little ratings ploys (Seven Huge Hooters Save the Franchise and her Slinky Vulcan Successor) haven’t done that much to damage the ratings. ENT wasn’t so much misdirected as boring.
The alleged internal problems:
- It’s hard for me to comment on a show that proved too boring to watch, but ENT was never enough of a throwback to TOS for me. The humans were whiny and oppressed, not God’s gift to the universe like Kirk or Picard.
- Yes, the characters were bland, predictable, and unmemorable, but that doesn’t distinguish ENT from the more memorable TNG.
- VOY and SG have thrived on throwback sexuality–I’m thinking J/C and Sam/Jack, especially, but the overall nothing-happens approach to sex works just fine for sf shows. As in #4 above, I don’t think the attempt to add sexual tension hurt (or helped) ENT to any significant degree.
The allegedly good stuff:
- Season-long arcs are a bad idea. If anyone had been interested in the occasional ENT episode, this (and the rumor of Nazis) was sure to scare them off. DS9 was a great show, but it was not popular as Trek series go; going the way of DS9 was not going to save ENT, not without writers to support an entirely different approach to plotting. And anyway, it was too late to go from an episodic show to a more arc-based show–they’d just disappoint the fans who’d stuck around without convincing the rest of us who’d fled screaming to come back.
- Again, it was too little, too late for ENT to go for continuity. The people who cared were too turned off by the character assassination of the entire Vulcan race. Technically, the last-season push was one to cash in on canon references, rather than to bring ENT in line with Trek continuity. Only the Big Reset Button in the Sky could fix ENT continuity at this stage.
Well, that went on a bit longer than expected. I hope it doesn’t fool anyone into thinking I care…