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Old 11-20-2013, 07:08 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,208

Originally Posted by horatio View Post
About Oasis, I think it is plain bad and after quickly glancing over the episode list I'd say it is the worst episode of the first season.
But the rest of the season if fairly good. The first four episodes are about encountering a friendly species, a hostile species, exploring a Minshara class planet and getting into politicas with the Andorians and Vulcans. Sure, two of these episodes are medicore and one suffers, like the pilot, from badly done Klingons but Andorian Incident is great. There is a follow-up to the Andorian-Vulcan story, so we get some mild serialization, there is the best ever episode about the Prime Directive and a more mundane PD episode (Desert Crossing). Furthermore we get a fun Risa and Ferengi episode plus two great character pieces involving Malcolm, Shuttle Pod one and Silent Enemy. The rest of the season is the usual amount of fairly forgetable stuff.
While rewatching TNG, probably the best Trek series ever, it strikes me that from the very beginning on the show had ample of stinkers. And it is not like the "let's go down on a planet and show how enlightened the TNG crew is via telling a one-dimensional allegorical story" pattern ever stops.

I am totally agreeing that Enterprise should have been far more 22nd century-ish, instead of crap like Oasis I would have wanted to see more Andorian Incident. But since the very beginning of Trek we had a Spock's Brain for every City on the Edge of Forever.

ENT did not make Vulcans veggies, Spock was a vegetarian from the very beginning. Given that meat eating is inefficient, involves the killing of mammals who are probably sentient and leads to avoidable emissions of greenhouse gases it is illogical and unethical. Narrow-minded? Dogmas and principles are better than postmodern permissiveness.
Of course there are Vulcan dogmas which seem excessively rigid, like arranged marriages, having priestesses and so on and we could now start the old debate of whether Vulcans have to be so rigid lest they become savages or whether they could relax a bit an just suppress nasty impulses (basically how our human culture deals with this issue), episode-wise discussed in Fusion and Fallen Hero, but alas, it is truly an old debate.

I do not recall any Vulcan bigotry in Broken Bow. There was ample of paternalistic behaviour and dire attempts to stop humankind from exploring deep space prematurely but there is no bigotry like e.g. by the elder Vulcan fellow in ST09 who directly says that Vulcans are a superior species.
Let's also not forget that the Vulcans are absolutely right, humankind did go out there before they were ready. The catch is of course that there is no right moment for starting deep space exploration, it is always too early, humankind is always unprepared, we have to make the mistakes out there and learn from them. So concerning this issue Vulcans and humans are both right (or wrong).

How species who do not get along at all initially (and even fight each other) slowly become friends was THE big theme of Enterprise. It was an utterly fresh and counter intuitive epic about the slow formation of the Federation and the unfriendly Vulcans are a piece of that story; if they had been as friendly and enlightened as their 23rd and 24th century counterparts this very epic would have been impossible to tell.
Given that ENT was more indirectly, thematically serialized than DS9 it is not surprising that many fans missed these underlying themes (which, to be honest, become more evident if one watches the show in its entirety).

Let's also not forget that there are several reasons for why the Vulcans behave as they do. First, they are influenced by Romulus, second, they lost their Surakian ways, third, their Andorian neighbours truly are unfriendly, fourth, wanting humankind to not go into deep space is rationally justified by Prime Directive logic and emotionally impacted by envy and fear (The Forge).

In short, 22nd Vulcans and the stories involving them are complex, interesting and intelligent. After four Trek series we finally got one which truly focused on Vulcan culture (instead of just one Vulcan like TOS and VOY).
Surely you're not assuming I wouldn't know Spock was vegetarian. Spock was never openly critical about other people's dietary habits. And while I would expect that many Vulcans probably were (and maybe still are) openly critical, equating vegetarianism with enlightenment seems like a stretch. I don't disagree with the reasons for deciding to portray 22nd century Vulcans as high-browed or prejudice, however their conflict throughout most of S1 still seems unnaturally forced. And Archer's character is equally accountable for that. I don't currently speak for the other seasons, except maybe S4. I am curious to see 'Carbon Creek' again, even though I don't have really fond memories of that one. I also generally liked what they did with Vulcans in 'The Forge', but I also thought the final act of that three-parter was rather contrived and the ending too tidy and convenient.

Most of the episodes you cited in reply to Roysten I didn't think were that strong either. 'Shuttlepod One' was reasonably good, but you could have thrown Bashire and O'Brien without changing too much of the dialogue. And 'The Andorian Incident' relies on the revelation of its final moments to elevate the rest of the episode is retrospect. Unfortunately I'm at work, so I'm not going to have time to go into this further.

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