Enterprise: The Forge
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Now this is what I want from Enterprise. Holy cow, an episode that gets just about everthing right and does it an interesting, compelling and intelligent fashion. At long last, we're delivering on the promise of the show--to show us the first steps toward creating the Federation as we know it from TOS on-ward. Once again, Enterprise delivers an episode steeped in continuity from the original series and it gets it all right. Also, the show slowly begins to answer the question of why the Vulcans seem a bit different from the ones we know and love in the other Star Trek shows. And did I mention that it does it in an intelligent, coherent fashion?
Of course, having tons of great continuity shouldn't come as a huge shock based on who the writers are--Jan and Gar Reeves-Stevens, who have ghost-written all of Shatner's continuity heavy Trek novels and wrote the superlative novels "Prime Directive" and the book that should've been the movie Generations "Federation." You've got fans writing for fans and doing a great job, which is why I loved this episode so much.
I really feel as though the backstory is starting to move foward. I like how they took a minor and beloved character such as Admiral Forrest and made him a pivotal part of the story. His death was nicely handled--not over the top and exactly in keeping with character. And then Soval's reaction to it and the apparent corruption of the Vulcan High Command. Soval's use of a mind meld to discover who delivered the bomb was great--right down to the musical score that had echoes of Spock's theme used in "Amok Time' and onward.
As good as Spiner's appearance as Soong was, this was better. It was Enterprise finally delivering on its promise and leaving me fully satisfied for the first time in a long way. I am cautious though as this was only the first of three parts...so let's just hope it continues to be this good.
Stargate SG1: Endgame
The mid-season cliffhanger for SG1 comes with a culmination of several of the building plot threads from early this sesaon. The Trust returns, steals the Stargate and starts using it to deliver a virus that wipes out the Goa'uld symbiotes. The team must now race against time to stop them, which, of course, they do. But O'Neal makes a choice of getting his people back and thus leaving the Trust with enough of the virus to wipe out a few more worlds should they choose to do so. Honestly, as compelling as all of this should have been, the storyline lacked a good deal of dramatic intensity. Think about it--holy crap, they've taken the Stargate...that should be huge. And it does get some play in the storyline, but not as much as it should. There is no dramatic ratcheting up of the tension like we see over on Stargate: Atlantis with their mid-season cliffhanger. I just wonder if this mid-season stopping point was more forced upon the story telling than naturally occuring. SciFi's scheduling splits seasons into two halves and so the producers must come up with a way to keep interest up during the long delay between new episodes. And sure, I'm sort of interested but I'm not really hanging by the edge of my seat wondering how all this will turn out.
Stargate: Atlantis: The Storm
Meanwhile over on Atlantis, we at least get a cliffhanger. And it's one that feels a bit more natural, though I do still think it was a bit forced into the storytelling by the needs of SciFi's scheduling. During a trip in a puddle jumper, our heroes discover a huge storm is coming--apparently these things happen every couple of dozen years due to Atlantis having such huge oceans. Two huge storms are colliding to make one super storm that is gonna wreak havoc. So, our heroes try to find safe refuge off world while trying to figure out how to keep Atlantis from being destroyed. McKay finally remembers he's seen Back to the Future and figures they can harnass the power of the storm's lightning to save the city. But that's not before the people who said our heroes could use their world as a camp out spot betray our heroes to the Ganai, who ain't too happy with us. Before you know it, Sheppard is left to go Die Hard on the Ganai as he tries to free McKay and Weir before said storm wipes out the city. There was a lot of backstory to this one and if you just wandered in, you might not get all of it. That said, the storm at least gives some dramatic punch to a storyline and some type of race against time. Adding in the Ganai seizing an opportunity and you've got some good stuff--though it does seem a bit quick for the Ganai to be training to take over Atlantis this way. But give them credit--the cliffhanger works pretty well and while we're fairly certain that both Weir and McKay will survive, it's enough to keep my interested until new episodes come in January.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/22/2004 10:39:00 AM