Enterprise, concluded.

All right, now that I’ve seen the entire series, let’s break this down. Fair warning, I am a long-time Trek fan, and can get a little nit-picky about some details.

  • Temporal war… was done already by the time that I wrote the last post. When they resolved the issue at the end of Season 3 and the opener for Season 4, that apparently unraveled the cause for the temporal cold war. Thankfully, they handle the time travel physics as consistently as possible to the Trek universe. Which is to say, I can’t put into words the rules involved in time travel, paradoxes, etc, but it feels solid. It doesn’t feel phoned in.
  • I wasn’t wrong to look forward to the mirror universe episodes. I have to think that they were having fun and knew that they didn’t have another season, because they seemed to throw everything into their mirror universe counterparts. There was a Vulcan with a goatee! And a whole new intro without a shitty song with shitty lyrics! On top of that, seeing the TOS ship from the primary universe whoop some newer-looking Enterprise-era arse was extremely gratifying. These two episodes were total fan service, and I loved them.
  • As for the final episode, I liked the concept, but it was implemented for crap. I’m not saying the Federation phase cloak discovery wasn’t an extremely stressful time for Riker, and I think that it was a neat idea for him to visit the decommissioning of NX-01on the holodeck to set his own internal conflict into perspective. However, Jonathan Frakes was… not the same man that he was during the taping of Next Generation. I was surprised as hell to see NCC-1701-D instead of E. It was difficult for me to suspend disbelief and see Riker as Riker, instead of a hastily slapped together linkng to the overall Trek universe. And lest you think I’m just a naysayer without any constructive input, I have two suggestions for better ways to end the series:
    • Instead of the discovery of the phase cloak device, fast forward to Picard’s retirement, and Riker’s promotion to Captain of the Enterprise E. Keep the nervousness, and cap off the character’s constant struggle with leaving Picard’s side to assume his own command. Appearance wouldn’t kick the viewer out of the story, and it would have ended Enterprise while continuing the progression of the Trek universe up until the reboot 8 years later.
    • Trash the entire idea, have the Traveler and Wesley Crusher show up in cowboy hats (and possibly an epic beard for the Wes), declare to Archer that they have a course he can plot, steal the ship, and conquer Risa in a bloodless coup.

I’m happy that the series didn’t suck rocks like I’d remembered. Except for the intro. Sooooo much rock sucking.

Star Trek: Enterprise

I get sucked into television. Much like when I read a good book, I get sucked in so far that I tend to close out everything else going on in the real world. When real life denizens dare to pull me back for whatever reason, important or not, I get irritated. So much so that I don’t want to watch shows or movies that I’m looking forward to until the kids have gone to bed. I want to be immersed in the story. I wouldn’t call it an addiction, but it is something that I have to actively fight when it comes to grander plans, like writing.

So, like some of my other compulsive quirks, I’ll defuse this one by sharing it.

When Star Trek: Enterprise first hit the airwaves, I was lukewarm about it. Starting off with time travel was ballsy, and I’ve never been impressed with the way that it’s been done on TV. Then there’s that infuriating, enraging, pluck out my own eardrums opening theme. Thanks to Netflix, I can skip its aural atrocities every episode. Nevertheless, I abandoned the entire series, and I don’t really remember why.

Could have been the Borg episode. Seriously, the Borg are going to show up before Q sends Picard out into the Delta quadrant? Was this because the Borg episodes in Voyager were the only really good ones? (Not that I’m opinionated.) I neglected to remember the time traveling Borg in the First Contact movie. The wreckage from the sphere had to go SOMEWHERE. So, in the end, the Borg episode was forgivable enough for me to relax and enjoy it.

The entire series is on Netflix streaming, so I added it to my queue. I’ve been watching it. I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been awed and horrified at the amount of damage dished out to both the Enterprise and its crew. They tear the shit out of both. Just so much hull damage, system damage, blood of all colors, psychological damage, emotional upheaval… I’m impressed. And I’m enjoying it. The characters are developing (mostly), and to see the initial interaction between Humans, Vulcans, Klingons, and Andorians. Though, I was surprised that the Klingons had the ridged skulls, unlike in the original series.

I would have abandoned the series at the end of Season 3. Instead of getting a well-earned warm welcome home after months and months of hellish reality-warping travel and conflict, with the end of Earth always looming just in the distance, they get punked and sent back in time to World War 2. What, is this the Wheel of Time? Is this an Amy campaign? Am I watching any Spider Man movie ever? The slight was quickly remedied, and even explored some of the emotional and social scars left behind from all of the crazy that went on.

I haven’t yet finished the last season (4), but I’m greatly looking forward to the Mirror, Mirror episodes. I’m also hoping that they can tie up this temporal war crap before they got canceled. I mean, three seasons short of the standard Star Trek 7, so how hard did they have to scramble, and how much notice did they have?

Carnivale, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Dexter

Carnivale, Season 2

I was warned to watch out for the ending of this one. Warned that I should skip the last fifteen minutes of the last episode, if I wanted to keep liking the series. If the two seasons had been the complete story, I’d totally agree with the warning. But, knowing that each set of 2 seasons was intended to be a book, and that there were supposed to be 6 seasons (three books), the ending made quite a bit of sense. I enjoyed every episode of this season, from beginning to end, as much as I did from season 1. HBO contracted a bit of Fox disease, in that it cancelled an awesome show before its time. Five stars.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Season 1

Wow, you know, I used to love this series. It was insane and hilarious and didn’t shy away from not making any sense whatsoever. The first season, well, it’s like the first season of any Star Trek series. Needed serious work, but had a solid base. Of crazy. Three stars.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Season 2

Definite improvement from the first season. The show started hitting a good pattern, most of which involved Master Shake abusing Meatwad or Carl getting injured. This show pics and chooses what bits of the timeline to carry through, and partially resets after each episode. It’s similar to the method used in the Aeon Flux timeline, but comparing Aeon Flux to ATHF makes my noggin hurt. Looking forward to more. Three stars.

Dexter, Season 1

Dense. That’s the word I’d pick to describe this series. It’s been over a year since I started watching this with the wife and some friends at their Girls’ Night gatherings (don’t ask how I ended up invited). We watched a couple of discs, and then Supernatural reared its beefcake head, and they were hooked. I watched a few more episodes after Cian was born, during the sleepless nights. I’ve been streaming it again, and it’s not like Avatar: The Last Airbender, where you can just sit down and watch and watch and watch. One episode makes my brain feel full. Two in a row makes preoccupied a tame word for my zombie-like state. It’s worth every second, though. Great series, great writing, and great acting. Five stars.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Book 3

Another batch of streaming Netflix awesomeness. I’d seen the last episode when my stepson did, but I hadn’t yet seen any episodes from Books 2 or 3, so there was a lot that didn’t make sense. Seeing everything that led up to the climax of the story was both brutal and brilliant. The series had a definite beginning, middle, and end. It wasn’t extended beyond its proper finish, but it wasn’t shy about acknowledging plot threads that hadn’t yet been resolved. As the last season geared up, I have to admit to displaying symptoms of addiction. :)

Five stars.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Book 2

I can stop any time I want. Really, I can quit. I don’t have the title sequence nearly memorized. I don’t sit there with my mouth gaping wide open as flashes of the elemental katas are displayed over and over.

Nor do I hang on plot development cliffhangers, scratching my arms until I can click on the blue “Play” button near the next episode. I definitely didn’t squee when I recognized the voice actor of one of the Earth Nation’s capital city officials, and noted that he also plays in Carnivale. Also, I didn’t make a sad-face when I realized that this must have been one of the first entries made available for live streaming, due to all of the compression artifacts that show up through this series, but not others.

Nor am I giving it five stars. Definitely not.

Carnivale: Season 1, The Island, and Space Cowboys

had recommended this one to me a while back. He’d had me watch an episode way back when I had HBO, and while I was definitely intrigued, I wasn’t much into watching TV at that point. So, when I started up Netflix, I figured it belonged in the queue. And I was right.

Like most HBO series, it doesn’t shirk from adult themes, violence, or nudity. It also recognizes that these are tools for plot and story, and not things to be used for shock value or for titillation. We’re taken to the dark side of a mystic carnival, and it reminds me a bit of this .

There’s no flinching from the evil deeds of people, and there’s no flinching from the good reasons for it. Five stars.

One of ‘s picks, this one kept me entertained throughout. I especially liked the originals’ reaction to their insurance policies, as well as the very last scene. A whole lot of come-uppance going on wrapped in a sci-fi wrapper without too much shiny.

Three stars.

Another one of ‘s picks. I’ve seen this one on TV countless times, and it’s a classic. So many great actors and actresses, so many old fart characters. I felt right at home.

Four stars.

Doctor Who: The Beginning, Futurama: Bender’s Big Score, and Richard III

Man, that original Doctor was saucy! Not only that, he was full of himself, totally convinced of his and his granddaughter’s superiority, and totally senile! He was GREAT! Holy cow, sixties sexism was alive and well. Four stars.

Like the Simpsons movie, this one was pretty much an elongated episode. It was an enjoyable episode that actually had repercussions for stupidity during time travel. And since Bender was doing most of the time traveling, there was a whole lot of stupidity with a whole lot of repercussions. Enjoyable, but now wow-worthy. Three stars.

Man, that Richard was a rat bastard! The lesson from this movie adaptation of a play: Lie. Lie a lot. When you get caught, lie more. And then lie. Make reference to deformed genetalia and wanting nookie. Then lie more. Also, lie. Three stars.

The Simpsons Movie

When I was a kid, I had quite a selection of Simpsons t-shirts. Bartman, Don’t have a cow, and a couple of others. This series has been around since Detroit’s channel 50 joined the then-fledgeling Fox network. I remember sitting down and watching the first episode in my parents’ family room. Circa In Living Color, if I’m not mistaken.

That said, even I can have my Simpsons tank fill up. The movie was pretty much a Simpsons episode, but longer and being given full reign on screwing with the setting. It was entertaining, and for that I give it three stars.