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04/12/2003 Archived Entry: "Judgment: Crap!"
Posted by CKL @ 11:24 PM PST

Apparently, I'm one of the very few who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid and now worship the sacred cow of post-Roddenberry Star Trek (TrekToday: Critics Deliver Positive 'Judgment'). For all its high production values and eye-candy visual effects, Enterprise is just...routine. It takes no chances. It tells no new stories. As far as I can tell, it has virtually nothing of any importance, quality, or interest to say. Except for Doctor Phlox. He's pretty cool. He should totally get his own spin-off series.

But I digress. The latest Enterprise episode, "Judgment," was nothing more or less than a poor imitation of the second act of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Same basic premise, same sets, same damn characters, for crying out loud! Slightly different ending. But the producers have not fixed, and seem to have no interest in fixing, any of the things that made Voyager suck more often than not: the ten-minute, pulled-out-of-our-offscreen-asses resolution in act five; the flavorless and trite platitudes offered as character motivation; the complete absence of coherent narrative.

For example, "Judgment" begins with Captain Archer being led into a Klingon tribunal to stand trial for crimes against the Empire. Not only do we never find out how the Klingons captured Archer, the entire proceeding seems mismatched to the scale of Archer's infraction. I mean, he fired on a Klingon ship, and the prosecutor even calls it "an act of war." If it's that serious, why wouldn't they just execute him? These are Klingons! Bloodthirsty, barbaric Klingons! And yes, I am ignoring the episode's lame and irrelevant "not all Klingons are warriors" retconning.

It might have been interesting if we had some insight into the politics which caused the Klingon commander, whose ship Archer attacked and disabled, to live with only a demotion in rank instead of being killed, which would be the normal consequence (as another Klingon points out in the episode). It might have been interesting to learn more about the refugees that Archer picked up, and why the Klingons cared enough to annex their planet and then go chasing them when they decided to pack up and move away.

But the episode offers none of that. It doesn't even foreshadow that we might find out more about these things in future episodes. It's a hollow shell, and the exterior is paper-thin. How the mighty have fallen.

It doesn't really surprise me that Star Trek has devolved into bad TV. But it does make me sad to see so many fans blindly following the tattered flag, wanting to believe that Enterprise is a worthy successor to past Treks.

I have little confidence that the third season of Enterprise will bring any changes for the better, despite the producers' claims (TrekToday: Berman Talks 'Enterprise' Mission Change). But I can hope.

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