Friday, August 27, 2010

Star Trek: Enterprise - A Review

I grew up watching Star Trek. I know, it's not particularly cool, depending on who you are. But I say it's an excellent set of series'. My dad got me into The Next Generation and showed me the cheesy gloriousness of the 60's era Star Trek. I watched the Wrath of Khan and about lost it at the end. When Voyager came out, I watched the first episode with nothing less than extreme excitement. I even came to love the series most people that like the other 3 already mentioned don't like: Deep Space Nine. It's character development, overarching story throughout the latter half of the series, and continual outstanding mix of sci-fi with solid story telling and development of classic and deep characters captivated me completely.

I love Star Trek for many reasons. I love sci-fi and futuristic technology, I love good storytelling, and I love a universe I can get into, even if it hasn't remained consistent throughout all of its' run. However, the main overriding reason I like Star Trek is that it shows the best parts of how a person can be. It shows people exercising bravery, truly thinking through problems instead of allowing themselves to be overwhelmed, friendships that last and endure through years, and the enduring nature of people, how they will continue to explore, improve upon themselves, and fight for the right things, even if it costs them their lives.

To me, Star Trek is truly great, and everyone should give it a chance.

Having been a fan of the other 4 series' and all of the movies (though Nemesis, I confess, disappointed me greatly), I was deeply frustrated when the fifth series, initially named only Enterprise, launched. It was said that the writers were attempting to rewrite the Original Series, and the continuity violations started there. I'm not talking about simple technological differences, entire aspects of the universe, such as the nature of Vulcans, were being completely rewritten. I watched the first few episodes, and then when I watched one that I thought was particularly silly (male pregnancy wtf?!) I abandoned the series altogether, preferring to say it's not canon.

Recently, I decided to watch the series and give it a fair chance before discounting it, on the advice of a few people. There were some rather painful parts, and a few episodes that I thought were contrived, low level metaphor for contemporary issues. But Star Trek has never been without a few of those episodes in any series. I struggled through those, and I became addicted. I watched all 98 episodes, and I have to say, I not only think that it eventually became a very good canon series due to the way the universe and technological issues were handled, (season 3 and 4 changing the name to Star Trek: Enterprise to reflect the change in tone), but it's reminded me of why I like Star Trek.

The Universe of Star Trek has always been a bit flexible, with the science never being too exact and the plot usually driving the show or movie. What really shines through every series is the philosophy: that exploring and finding something better about ourselves and humanity is a worthwhile endeavor. In Season 3 of Enterprise, Captain Archer and crew are faced with a threat that could entirely destroy Earth. He takes every step, crossing many ethical lines, to make sure that that doesn't happen. What that costs him personally can be summed up as him losing his way. I believe most people can relate to this, at some point they must do what is necessary, including some ugly things, to accomplish a greater goal. Life's not always easy, but change is the essence of who we are. We can move beyond, grow, and become better, or we can change for the worse. Regardless, everything counts, and what separates us from evil is not a simply black and white formula, but our choices, our perspectives, and the way we choose to handle things.

I like Star Trek because it shows me that it is possible for humanity to live for something greater, and for us not to be alone. Star Trek: Enterprise reminded me of that, and I am proud to say I watched and enjoyed it.

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