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Webposted: March 20, 2002
by: Kay Kellam
I tend to be cautious about new things -- especially those with seemingly GREAT potential. Seemingly great potential is something very hard to live up to.
I liked Star Trek the Next Generation -- and will never forget touring the sets the day Leonard Nimoy was filming his two part episode! The Next Generation, my first introduction to the imaginings of Gene Roddenberry, was full of hope and idealism. He suggested there could be a better future, that the proverbial golden age of man was still ahead. (Though even the ancient Greek and Romans thought the Golden Age of man was the good old days never to be recaptured.)
I liked the hope. I liked the idealism. I liked exploring. I didn't want war, destruction, violence or fear. The real world had plenty of those.
I liked Deep Space Nine, but began to loose interest when the war broke out. It was a good story -- but it was not a story of hope or idealism or exploration. It was perhaps a little too real for me. Voyager was fun in the beginning, and I came and went as a member of its audience. I can offer no real reason why, I just didn't always connect with it.
So I came to Enterprise thinking there was the great potential to see the early days of that great vision that The Next Generation embodied... but I was also concerned I just wouldn't be able to connect with it. Concerned that the creative heads of Deep Space Nine and Voyager would again drift off course.
Instead I have been delighted to watch episodes that build on one another, threads remembered. Actions have been known to have repercussions -- and the evil Suliban of the pilot have been talked about again. Not every thread is remembered, in fact it frustrates me to no end that a potentially interesting relationship was set up between T'Pol and Trip early on, and they've hardly shared any screen time since!
This is not an epic story where every episode offers more pieces to a great puzzle. (If you want pieces to come together try Alias.) But this is not a series where every episode starts from ground zero yet again.
How is this ship, traveling to places humans have never been before, going to get messages home? They drop relay buoys. And what happens if the bad guys get mad at us? Try and cut us off from home and destroy those buoys? We have to go back and drop some more!
The crew of Enterprise isn't perfect -- and in a lot of cases they barely know one another -- but there in lies a lot of the fun. Relationships are being built (and some fun misunderstandings are happening along the way) and people are figuring out how to get along. They all do their best under tough circumstances and things usually turn out okay, but there are times when Enterprise simply has to accept help from others, and like it or not they do.
So, for those who haven't given the show a try yet, a basic whos who of Enterprise personnel:
Captain Jonathon Archer, he has a chip on his shoulder, he feels humans weren't given the chances they deserved early enough and he's out to prove humans can do it! That said, he has already begun learning a very tough lesson -- sometimes the Vulcans know what they are talking about.
Subcommander T'Pol, our resident Vulcan, sent out with Enterprise on her maiden voyage she agreed to stay aboard as the science officer. She tolerates the humans far better than most Vulcans -- perhaps because she finds the intriguing.
Commander Tucker, aka Trip, he's the good old boy down in Engineering.
Lt. Reed, Malcolm is the armory officer whose father wanted him to go into the navy like the previous generations of Reed men had... "guess the ocean wasn't big enough for him!"
Hoshi is the linguist, trying to make that universal translator work. (Yup, it's not perfect, sometimes it just gives up on them, and other times she has just plain fun if unlikely translations.)
Ensign Travis Mayweather -- every ship needs an ensign. An idealist who has yet to see how wrong things can go. But this ensign was born in space (a boomer) on a freighter. He's got more space time than any of his senior officers, and tries to help the crew understand that there are some who think they own space itself!
Dr. Phlox. He's our resident "alien." A homeopathic doctor who is intrigued by the humans, and who loves trying new things.
All in all I've been pleasantly surprised by this revisiting of Gene Roddenberry's dream. He wanted to take a wagon train to the stars and explore the last frontier -- and in his honor the crew of the Enterprise is doing just that!
Kellam, 2001 for PopArtsPlace.com
Prior to having her first novel, A Life to Di For, published author Kay Kellam enjoyed a variety of jobs that helped to shape her outlook on the world, and her profession. more...
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