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Monday, May 02, 2005
TV Round-Up
Enterprise: In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2
On several Doctor Who DVD releases, one of the options avaiable has been to watch the stories with some of the special effects updated and modernized through the use of today's digital technology. Sadly, while I find these effects to be interesting and wow-inducing for a one-time glance, I will admit my inner geek really prefers the original versions of the stories with the strings fully visible in all their digitally enhanced glory. (Thankfully the BBC gets that Who fans want it this way and include both versions on the disc).

I bring this up in relation to the appearance of a Gorn in this week's episode of Enterprise. Last week, my little fanboy heart skipped a beat at seeing a Tholian and I thought it would do so this week when we heard the story mention a Gorn was hiding out on a board the ship sabotaging things. The anticipation built as we pursued the Gord and then...well, we actually saw it. And I hate to say it, but I prefer the original, rubber suited lumbering monster from TOS's classic "Arena" to the raptor like, digitally created lethal killing machine we got here.

I think part of this is that beyond padding out a two part story, what did the Gorn really add to it? I mean other than the--gee, wow, we saw a new, modern Gorn on Star Trek? This little fifteen minute journey into pursuing the meddlesome creature was fun, sure, but in the overall scheme of things it felt like we were trying to pad this story out to be two hours. And that's a shame as it seem as if the cast and crew were having a good time chewing scenery as the mirror universe versions of themselves. I will admit that this episode wasn't nearly as much fun as the previous installment. Even though I loved seeing the crew wander around on faithful replicas of the original series starship sets, there were more questions than answers here. For one thing, Hoshi's betraying of Archer and setting herself up as the Empress seemed to come out of left field. As did the betrayal on the alternative Mayweather to Archer. It just seemed like something that was put in there to have a shocking twist to end the story.

And the ending really did leave us in the lurch a bit. It was interesting to hear of the alternative universe character's reactions to their our universe counterparts. But there was a lot made of the Federation and how they wanted no part of it, viewing their counterparts as week. Also, the sheer rampant xenophobia of everyone human was an interesting bit of storytelling. I've heard Manny Coto say that thematically some things brought up in this storyline will be covered in the final three or so episodes of the season. I hope so or else it just feels like danging plot threads.

Also, the obvious padding kept from really exploring the intersting things going on here. There were quite a few character arcs that could have been developed and while it's interesting to see Graham Green as an alternative version of Sloval, what overall purpose did it serve? I have to admit, I wanted to like this episode more than I did. I wonder if the first part was just so good that the second part failed to live up to the expectations. Or is it just another in the long line of brilliant first episodes and less than stellar second episodes that has plagued Star Trek since it started doing multi-part stories? I think the answer is that it's a little of both...

The Simpsons: Don't Fear the Roofer, The Heartbroke Kid
While doing some chores on Sunday, I watched an episode or two from The Simpsons fourth season on DVD. Which, of course, made the current stories pale by comparison. I applaud that the series has made it to 350 episodes. So we got an hour of new Simpsons. And my reaction--there were enough pieces from both segments to make up one great Simpsons episode. Too bad it was spread across two. The first one, with guest voice Ray Romano, seemed like it was trying too hard to have Ray in there. It had some moments but they weren't quite as great as we'd hoped. The Hearbroke Kid worked better, if only for the sequence in which the overweight Bart took longer to run through the title credits.

Family Guy: North by North Quahog
The first of 35 new episodes of Family Guy arrives and it's like the show never left the air. It's still the same humor, designed to offend the easily offended and make you feel a bit bad about laughing at how far this show is willing the envelope. I will give the show credit--it made me laugh out loud on several occasions. The opening joke about all the good shows that got cancelled by FOX to make way for Family Guy to come back was a nice little bit. And the plot, such as it was, actually worked. Heaven help me, I even laughed at the trailer for Passion 2.

American Dad: Threat Levels
Two episodes in and I want to like American Dad, but it's just not as funny as Family Guy. OK, the running gag of Trump collecting royalities for "You're Fired" was well done, but one running joke in a half-hour does not a funny show make. Instead, it felt like this one was trying too hard. I may still give it a chance, but it's not must see viewing like Family Guy or The Simpsons.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/02/2005 12:15:00 PM | |
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