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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
TV Round-Up
Enterprise: Awakening
Four years ago when the first details about Enterprise were leaked out to the Internet, there were rumors that the female Vulcan character would be named T'Pau. For those of you who remember, T'Pau was the powerful Vulcan woman who presided over Spock's "marriage" ceremony in the original series "Amok Time." She was "all of Vulcan in one package" to quote Dr. McCoy. So, the idea that she would be a central figure on Enterprise was intriguing and also scary. It was intriguing because it would give us the chance to see what happened to T'Pau that led her to be the only person who had ever refused a seat on the Federation council. But it was also a scary proposition because the producers could royally screw-up the continuity and back-story big-time. The producers changed the character's name to T'Pol and I wondered if Enterprise might have missed a ripe story-telling opportunity.

Looking back, I'm glad they missed that storytelling opportunity to give us this one. In the second leg of the Vulcan trilogy, we meet T'Pau (who was referenced last week but got little screen time). We see that she's incredibly xenophobic and we are beginning to understand why she might refuse her seat on the Vulcan council. Suddenly, her insult of Spock in "Amok Time" (which was GREAT to begin with!), "Art thou Vulcan or art thou human?" begins to make more and more sense. And it's this kind of storytelling that Enterprise has been screaming for since mid-season two. At last we're seeing how the universe that Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway inhabit was created and it's utterly compelling. These last six episodes of Enterprise have consistently felt like Star Trek and that is a good thing.

Not that "Awakening" was a perfect episode mind you. It wasn't quite on par with last week's "The Forge" and there seemed to be a lot of treading water here--especially the scenes on Enterprise. But you have to love the little homage to classic Trek where captain and first officer are off ship, leaving the head of engineering running the ship. I also loved the feel of "A Taste of Armageddon" in the conversations between the Vulcan high command and Tripp. Seeing that Tripp refuses to leave without the captain was nicely done and brought to mind Scotty in a lot of ways. (About the only thing missing was a fussy ambassador who makes Tripp's life a living hell...Sloval doesn't count this time as he's helping). But the revelation that the Vulcans are planning for war with Andoria was shocking but it did make sense--given that the P'Jem incident is referred to yet again. And Archer's flashbacks with Surak were interesting though I'm wondering why Archer is the chosen one to lead Vulcan back to the path they've lost. In season two, I would have lost hope that we'd ever get any kind of explanation of this, but with way the storytelling is going this year, I am hopeful we'll have a satisfying and reasonable resolution to this storyline next week with this arc concludes.

Veronica Mars: The Purity Test
I finally got around to seeing Mean Girls a few weeks ago (great movie BTW) with the whole "slam book." Interesting how Veronica Mars takes the slam book concept and brings it firmly into the cyber-age. The web site with the purity test was intriguing. I liked what the show had to say about the different purity standards for guys and girls. Overall, that whole plotline was entertaining, though it was fairly easy to guess who was behind the web site from the start. But hey, if that's the only part of the mystery I guessed, that's a good thing. Meanwhile, Veronica continues to look into her past. I love how we're getting little dribs and drabs of it--and how we question if the answers are true or not. Is Veronica Keith's biological daughter or not? And does it matter since from where I sit, Keith is doing a damn fine job as her father. I just keep tuning in to this show and it just keeps getting more and more enjoyable. How can you not love that?

Two and A Half Men: The Salmon Under My Sweater
Week after week, this show just makes me laugh. Not just giggle, mind you, but out and out laugh. This week's duelling plotlines were an absolute riot--with the Jake trying to avoid reading Lord of the Flies just winning out in the hilarity department. (Jake, buddy, I feel your pain. I hated Lord of the Flies when I was forced to read it. It's overrated crap that too many English teachers have tried to make sound better than it is by introducing symbolism and all that other crap!) I also liked Alan and Rose's attempted dating, mainly because it gave Melanie Lynesky a chance to show off as more than just the funny girl who climbs over the deck. I think there's some potential there for those two as a couple, but only if it's done right. And this was a first good step towards doing it right and not making it just a gimmick.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/30/2004 08:18:00 AM | |
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