slogging through enterprise
Every once in a while I hear about how good Enterprise got by the end. I watched the first season a year or two ago, and it was so-so, but had some pretty good episodes. I’m working through the second season, now, and it’s consistently mediocre. It’s also got the most bizarre sexual overtones. In the episode I’m watching now, Stigma, there are two plots. In one, it turns out that T’Pol was mind meld raped by a Vulcan gay and has contracted Vulcan brain AIDS. Vulcan doctors are out to end her career, so Archer and T’Pol go have a Philadelphia-style trial where the gay judge doctor stands up and says, “I am a Vulcan gay!” Well, actually he says something like, “I am a member of that minority which practices a different form of intimacy, due to either birth or genetics; it isn’t clear.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Phlox really wonders why on Earth Tucker won’t nail his wife.
This episode is the Enterprise remake of both the TNG episode with the androgyne who thinks it has a gender (“We are cleverly addressing the lack of sexual justice!”) and the episode where Data isn’t human (“I have read your book of rules and cleverly demand a tiny trial!”). Previous episodes in this season have remade the “everyone goes bugnuts” episodes, the “stuck on planet with angry alien who only speaks Alienese” episodes, the “captured by natives of a pre-Warp planet” episodes, the “a small number of crew members are invisible and know of a plot” episodes, and also significant portions of The Three Amigos.
I wonder whether it would’ve been possible to remove almost all the crap episodes and put together one or two seasons just telling the most important parts of the story. Even if you included maybe a half or a quarter of the filler episodes, you could tell more of your story and be done with it.
I don’t know whether the issue is that it’s hard to write good scripts, or whether the network really wants the show to run for as many years as possible. I guess it doesn’t matter: TV is doomed to suck for the foreseeable future.
At least this episode is good. Anything with the Andorians (and, by extension, Jeffrey Combs) seems to be pretty great.