Matt and Sean talk about the entire run of the Star Trek Enterprise TV series and call out their favorite episodes, highlights and lowlights.
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So we started with Enterprise, we just finished the series last week, and starting next week we’re gonna jump into the next story in chronological order, which is Star Trek Discovery. Very excited about jumping forward in that way. Me too. Can’t wait to get to that series. And who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell.
I’m a writer. I write some sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids, including the upcoming series, the Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is coming out in June of this year, 2023. And with me is my brother Matt. It’s that Matt of undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives.
Matt, how you doing today? I’m doing well. How about you? I’m doing well. I’m looking forward to this conversation. What we’re gonna do today, normally we would be talking about a specific episode. We’d be giving it a review. We’d also be talking about the world at the time, original broadcast. But given that we’re looking at the series as a whole, we’re mainly just gonna talk about what the series ended up being, what we thought it could have been, what it did well, maybe some places where it didn’t do some things so great.
We’re also gonna be talking about some of our favorite episodes. And giving a general grading about the characters, and we’re gonna do it in two different ways and we’ll get to that later. Before we do that though, just want to ask Matt a general question to start off our conversation. When you think about this series, mm-hmm.
Where did you think it would originally take us when you knew that it was going to be about the first Star Starship Enterprise, it was gonna be taking place as a prequel to all the previous, including the original series. What did you think about all of that? Well, my
initial impression was it was gonna really kinda lay the groundwork for the federation.
It was going to explore areas of everything leading up to Kirk. So it would start to lay the groundwork for the different alien races that were playing a role in the formation of the federation and the ones that would turn out to be kind of like the problem children. Mm-hmm. So I thought it would deal with the, the Klingons and the Romulan and things like that, but I was expecting a lot of stuff with the Vulcans and the Andorian, and we did get some of that, but it didn’t go.
Exactly where I was expecting it kind. It kind took a hard right turn and then it kinda looped back
over the course of the series. What was the hard right turn for you? I know what it was for me. For me, the hard, the hard right was the, the temporal Cold war. Right out of the case. Yeah. It,
it that was dealing
with the right turn.
Yeah. I felt like You think about a show like this where you’re told it’s going to be a prequel and immediately think, okay, you’re gonna be hitting some notes that are gonna be about. First contact situations, some missteps early on in interactions like open hostilities between the Klingons at a return and the original series.
Why mm-hmm are Romulan so secretive? How did the federation originally get formed? You, you anticipate you’re gonna see a lot of that, and then it took that hard right turn by immediately right outta the gate saying this is about the far future. This is about a future even beyond every. Following series that you’ve seen.
It’s beyond Next Generation. It’s beyond Voyager, it’s beyond all of that by hundreds of years. So to see that as the main through line in the first season was really kind of jarring. It
felt like they were, they felt too constrained by the star Trek history, and they wanted to be able to have flexibility to tell the stories that they wanted to tell.
And so they went into that temporal cold war thing to try to open up the door for them, but they didn’t have to. There was, there’s so much like places like storytelling to mine within that history that we already know. It’s like, I, I don’t understand why they did it, but regardless, that’s what we got.
there anything that you. Were surprised by, in a positive way. You and I have talked about this. I mean, this is our 94th episode. We’ve talked about it for 93 previous episodes, and our regular viewers and regular listeners have joined in in that conversation, in the comments. We’ve been fairly critical, very often, and we’ve fallen into what I like to call the rewriting mind of.
Mm-hmm. You know, we can’t help it. Occasionally we will rewrite an episode and come up with alternative ways that the story could have been structured, but were there places where you. Saw story developments, story beats that were on the larger scale, seasonal storylines where you were surprised, but in a positive way.
I’m thinking the, the Xindi storyline is the biggest one that you could say. Yeah. Oh, I didn’t see that coming, but it had a lot of great storytelling within it. But was there anything else? The Vulcan
stuff, pretty much everything with the Vulcans. It was interesting to see Vulcans like we hadn’t seen them before, because Vulcans are the super logical, you know, Spock kind of a thing that we’ve know through Star Trek.
And then here they are looking. Kind of emotional and a little kind of off and like, this isn’t the Vulcans. I know, and I was, it was kind of off putting the beginning and then you started to discover, oh, they’re actually doing something with this. There’s a reason why they’re this way, and we’re gonna see the evolution of how they got to the, the Spock, kind of Vulcan from where they are in this series.
That was surprising to me how they developed that because it, at first, I didn’t know that’s what they were doing. And so it just felt like something’s off here, something’s not quite right. But then it became very clear after like, what was it, season two or three mm-hmm. That where they started to kind of really kind of flesh that out.
He started to get a sense as to like, oh no, no, they’re doing this on purpose. There’s some, there’s a purpose here. That’s, that’s what
was surprised me the most. I agree. That’s that’s really a strong through line to this, to the series. Mm-hmm And it kind of ties in for me to, one of the missed opportunities.
Of the series, which is the Vulcan involvement at the very beginning of the series was always about them standing to the side and kind of being in judgment of humanity’s efforts to try to become a more present space faring race. Mm-hmm. And, To me, I think there was an idea between inequity and inequality that could have been explored more in the show inequality being two different individuals in this case, maybe two species not having the same thing.
Another one, another aspect being inequity, which would be. When one individual, or in this case again, species, might not have the same access or starting point as the other one, so you could have had storylines built around. Not inequality, which is what I think they kept hammering on of humans saying, we need to be able to do what the Vulcans can do.
I wonder what the show could have done if it had focused more on inequity. In particular, the Vulcan storyline highlights the ability to talk about cultural shifts in an entire species. But they didn’t do the same thing with humans. They didn’t do that with Earth. And I wonder what it would’ve looked like to have storylines that dealt with the haves versus the have nots.
The only place where they kind of really touched that live wire is in the Peter Weller storyline. Yeah. When it is depicted as the the xenophobic movement. Is looking at all the other space faring races and saying, we’ve been eating ourselves alive for decades, if not hundreds of years, and these more advanced species have just been standing by and watching.
That is inequity right there that they’re seeing they’re, that is not about equality, that is about inequity. So they are saying, we’ve been doing all of this stuff to ourselves while they’ve just been sitting there and watching. Why? What is their ulterior motive? If that as an issue had been planted in the first season, how much more compelling would some of the storylines have been around resentment toward Vulcans, resentment toward other species?
Could there have been a version of the show in which you might have had? Not necessarily a xenophobic element in Captain Archer, but a bigger chip on his shoulder that kind of would’ve made more sense. Earlier on if every time he met another species was just like, are we the last people to get warp drive?
Like, yeah, like kind of like moving forward into space. In a first season, what if Captain Archer’s motives had been to, I’m gonna start kicking some butt because it’s time for us to start doing that and then to have to pull back from that and learn more. The arcs of the show could have been very different if they had left behind.
A lot of the timey wimey stuff, which was Yep. About super duper far future as opposed to just really sitting in the present, and I don’t mean the, just the present of the show, but the present of the world. The show was being made in, we were in the midst of going through some, the first days of this series were prior to nine 11, and then we entered a post nine 11.
World while the show was still pre nine 11 productions and we saw that unfold. And we’ve talked about that explicitly in this season three podcast. Season three is all about a reaction post nine 11 world saying like, we’ve gotta go take the fight to the enemy because the enemy’s coming to us. Think about a show in which some of these social issues of the earliest days of the 21st century were really unfold display instead of what felt like.
A star Trek machine that was used to punching out certain types of stories. It really does. Yes. Feel like in the first season, first two seasons, like the machinery was just on autopilot. By the time you get to season three, they’d already lost most of their audience. Never really regained their footing.
And it’s really kind of a, a tragedy, but it’s not all tragedy. I think you would agree. Yeah. We do have some highlights within the series that. Some great characters, some great storytelling, and as Matt and I have talked about it over these many months, uh, almost two years worth of conversations around this show, the series was unfairly judged.
I think not only because of exhaustion on the part of the producers, but exhaustion on the audience’s part. I, as a viewer of Star Trek at the time, would’ve continued watching Star Trek every week. If they had kept churning out episodes. I would’ve been one of those hardcore audience members, but I wasn’t having a whole lot of fun.
In doing it, yeah, there was a certain amount of exhaustion, a certain amount of sameness to it, but now revisiting this series the way we have, it’s reawakened an appreciation for this show that I didn’t necessarily have. Some almost 20 years ago. So Matt and I wanted to share some thoughts about some of our favorite episodes.
Matt, why don’t you start us off with the first episode that we were gonna talk about, which not by design. Matt and I picked the same episode, the same one as our first episode to talk about. Yeah,
in my notes I’ve just put down in all caps, Shran Baby. It’s the Andorian incident, which is when we first meet the Andorians in this version of Enterprise, of this Star Trek.
Show this show to me. I mean, anytime you saw the antenna show up on this show, I knew this is gonna be good. This is gonna be fun. Yeah, because it was Fresh. Shran was such an engaging character played by Jeffrey Combs. It was it. Every time they were on it was just so much fun. And the introduction of how they brought them in, how belligerent they are, or introduced them as as being almost terrorists because they’re at this monastery of Vulcan monastery and here come these blue aliens coming in and they’re basically holding hostages and they’re, they’re taking over this monastery and it looks like they’re just kind of thugs.
But then it turns out over the course of the episode, they actually do have an ax to grind. They feel like they’re being spied on the Vulcans, and guess what? They’re being spied on by the Vulcans. So for me, this was like the perfect, what I was expecting from the show, when you asked me what I was expecting from the show and I was like, oh, you know, I was expecting like things about the Andorians and the Vulcans and the establishment of the federation is like, this is what I was expecting.
Tensions between different species like battles and the humans coming and being caught in the middle. That’s exactly what this episode was. It like ticked every box I was looking for and things I didn’t know I was looking for because holy crap, Shran. Yeah, I mean, seriously, he, he’s my favorite character from the entire show.
Flock a very close second, but that, that’s why I picked this one. It was a, it was a no-brainer for me.
Jeffrey Combs is a terrific character actor, and this is not his first character on a star Trek program. He’s one of my favorite characters from DS nine nine, and in this he does craft a character who is so strong and you forget that it was a character introduced in season one.
He’s a mainstay of the show. At one point, Manny Coto acknowledged that if the series was to continue, he was going to figure out a way for Shran to become a regular on the series. So in an alternate universe where we have a season five, there is a season five somewhere in somebody’s head that includes Shran as a member of the Star Trek of the enterprise crew.
I think that that is a lot of fun to think about. Ultimately, it’s also a lot more fun than the ultimate disposition of that character. In the epilogue episode that we talked about last week where it turned out Oh yeah. Possibly a jewel thief. Um, yeah, that’s a really, like, and one of the things that stands out in this episode is it resonates throughout the entirety of the series in the form of not only how the Andorians are presented and Shran in particular, but it’s the starting point of there’s something not Vulcan about these Vulcans, which would be an element of the series that would resonate and reach in a much higher pitch.
Toward the finale of the series where we would understand that Vulcans, as we see them in enterprise, are not the Vulcans that we’re accustomed to from the original series or beyond, and the production value at this point, they were still pumping. Higher dollar value into making these shows. By the time we reach season four, which we’ve just concluded our conversations about the budget had been slashed and slashed again, the network knew that they were ending the series and there have been various moments where Matt and I in talking about the episodes, are like, yeah, there were a lot of scenes that where you could tell that’s where they put their money, but there were also some other scenes where it looked really cheap.
That’s not on display. In this. In this, there’s a brand new monastery set built. There is special effects in the form of the size of the listening station. The battle sequence is to find the listening station when they break through the monastery wall, and you see what looks like dozens of Vulcans working at huge walls of computers.
In a section of an underground cave that is intended to spy on all of Andoria. It is a remarkable shot. That looks like the interior. It’s, yeah. In scope, it looks like the interior of a Borg ship. It is that big. Yep. As opposed to if they had done this in the four season, I think it would probably would’ve looked like a room.
A room with maybe a blinking computer and two Vulcans kind of going, huh? So at this stage in season one, the Andorian incident is an excellent example of hitting it out of the park for a series that was still finding its footing. And it really does kind of highlight the fact there was a good show here.
This was, yeah, there was a good show to be had. I’m gonna jump into sharing my number two favorite episode. This one is from season two. And it’s the episode minefield in which the enterprise inadvertently stumbles across a Romulan mine, and Archer and Reid are on the outside of the ship with Reid being impaled and stuck to the side of the vessel by the leg of the, the mine.
For me, this one stands out because it goes back to something Matt said about what he anticipated in the series. You anticipated some stuff about bad first contact operations, bad first contact results, and inadvertently stumbling upon a mine that is cloaked. That the species that has left this thing behind in no way, shape or form has taken any kind of precautions as to what this mine might do to another species or another spaceship.
It builds the idea of like, okay, the Starfleet heading out into space is gonna start building some resentment toward a species that is leaving dangerous weapons and potentially blowing up some of its ships accidentally without any concern. So the idea that the Romulan would be that species that has kind of like.
Chuck the hornet’s nest over the fence and then walked away Is. A great starting point and the tension in the episode around how do you get rid of this device? How do you safely escape the, the calamity that the device will cause? I think the tension is very good. It’s a very, it almost feels like a, a World War II movie of like a guy stepping on a landmine in a battlefield and his best friend not willing to leave him.
And it’s about the relationship building at this point in season two. All these characters are familiar with each other, but they were beginning to reveal some of their underlying concerns with each other, and some of the initial friendships are being tested. And at this stage in the series is when Reid was beginning to say, Things are a little too lax.
Things are a little too loosey-goosey on these ships. We need to be running things a little more of a, of a military component, and I think that that was a very, very strong character element and it was very well portrayed in this. Yeah, I agree
with that. This, this episode was one that almost made my list.
I’m a sucker. Anytime there’s really good character development between the main characters and for this, the relationship between Reid and the captain and getting the underlying motivations between them and the back and forth, it’s just the best part of this episode, how the two of them interact and the things that we learn about both characters from the interaction.
So for mine, my second one is from season three, episode eight. Episode Twilight. This is the one that happens after an anomaly renders Archer, kind of like it decommissions him and he’s basically. Flipping through time. Mm-hmm. Um, uncontrolled. Like I just said, I’m a sucker for character development episodes.
This one is like all character development. It reminded me very much of the Picard episode from Next Generation where that satellite basically makes him live an entire lifetime. Yeah. On that planet to try to bestow what that species stood for so that they wouldn’t. Just fade into non-existence. It’s the one where he learns how to play the flute and then that flute like comes back again and again and again.
it becomes a recurring motif for that character.
Yeah. Yeah. This isn’t at that level, but this is it. It struck a certain chord for me, and this episode wasn’t perfect cuz there was storylines with this was like they were in the future. With the children of the enterprise crew, like a generational ship, and they made decisions in that episode that you and I when we talked about were like, they made decisions that made no sense.
Yeah. So for me, like the B plot line of that, it’s problematic, but the a story line of what the captain was going through, seeing the relationship between him and T’Pol, how T’Pol feels guilty for this position. That archer’s in because he’s only there because he saved her life. And there’s this loving relationship that, like I mentioned, it comes up in the very final episode, the epilogue with the, the hug between the two of them and the futzing with the collar, how they’re like this very, they have a close bond and this episode, Shows us that bond the closest we’ve ever seen it.
Mm-hmm. Like, she loves him. Not, not in that like
sexual attraction, never played for romantic. Yeah. It’s,
it’s not romance. It’s just she loves him and cares for him. And just seeing a Vulcan just express that love and affection the way she does is so perfect. Yeah. And Jolene Blaylock is such a better actress than she’s given credit for.
Yeah. This episode to me, like showcases what she’s bringing to the table. So for me, this was one of the ones I had to, I had to put on my list for, for that
reason. Yeah, I agree. That’s a, that’s a really good one. And this is sort of the flip of what you said about my choice. This one almost made my list.
This is, this is one of those that what you said about comparing it to the episode where Picard lives the whole alternate life. It is in the, it is in the same vein and it’s the kind of time travel. Episode that you appreciate as opposed to, oh, how do I keep track? Or why is timey wimey stuff being played up so much?
And especially toward the end of the temporal Cold War storyline where it turned into, at any moment, Archer might walk through a door and be at a different time, and it was like, okay, like clearly they’re just trying to get stuff out of the way as opposed to actually having a story to tell. This one was a story to tell for me.
I wanna share my third. Episode that I wanted to pick, and it goes hand in hand with the episodes that Matt’s talking about. This one’s from season three, it’s episode seven. It precedes the one that Matt has talked about, and in this episode it is the enterprise has located in the Expanse, the planet where.
Materials used in construction of the Xindi super weapon are originating. Yeah. And they meet Graylock, who is a mining engineer who has no idea that what he is mining is being used to construct a super weapon. I think that this episode made my list mainly because it feels so very star Trek. It is, yeah.
The idea of. Individuals having conversations. The, the thrust of this episode is not about phaser fire, it’s about people in a room who start off not understanding anything about each other. The humans show up and immediately are like, you guys are responsible for building what killed so many people on Earth.
And the response from the other side is, what the hell are you talking about? And then you have to have conversations in order to build those bridges. And it ultimately leads to the, the character of Greylock, not only being willing to help, but being willing to help in a way that leads to the conclusion of the entire season.
So it is a linchpin episode that feels very, very deeply star Trek and the. Thrust of this entire season being what? It was very different from any previous star Trek. The idea of the, the season long, like we’re going off and, and to effectively attack an enemy, we have no idea who they are. We’ve see, we’ve seen season long storylines, especially in DS nine, where you’re given those kind of, of larger epics around a war with the Klingon or a war with the dominion.
But in this context, this was wholly built out of a post nine 11 response and this kind of storytelling in that context of, well, how do you build bridges with people who don’t understand you and you don’t understand them? Is what Star Trek is all about. Idealism. Yep. In the midst of difficult times. And so for me, this, this one was a great one.
I, I agree. Once again, this is one that could have been on my list easily, because it’s one of those, For me, it’s like, you know, people talk about Star Wars is the swashbuckling action adventure, and then you’ve got Star Trek, which is a whole bunch of people talking in a room. It’s oversimplifying it, but for me that’s, it’s very star Trek when you have those moral dilemmas being discussed by people at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Mm-hmm. And this is a good one for that. My third choice was, you’re gonna see a trend here. I thought season three was the best season of the entire series. And just from our list, We’re gonna have three episodes of our top six from season three minus season three, episode 13, proving Ground. And this is the one where Shran Baby, he comes back, the Andorians come in to help the humans.
And for me, this one just like it plucked my heart string of like, uh, Shran and the captain, they’re, they’re like busom buddies. Out there in space doing stuff together. And here’s, here’s a friend coming to help a friend. It’s like humanity is up against the wall. And here come the, the Vulcans are really nowhere to be seen, but the andorians show up mm-hmm.
To help out. And that this is so cool, but also the way that this whole episode plays out, which is the andorians are there cuz they have ulterior motives cuz they’re trying to get their hands on the weapon cuz they wanna basically reverse engineer it. To use it against as, as a defensive method against the Vulcans, cuz they hate the Vulcans so much.
But you, you can see the, the, how Shran is torn in what he’s doing because he looks at the captain as a friend and doesn’t wanna betray him, but he’s gotta do what he’s supposed to do because he’s being told to do this stuff. So he has to do it. See, it’s fun to see the, the push and pull of Shran and how the andorians are helping the humans.
They do help them. They are standing up to their, you know, they say we’re here to help and they are. But uh, while we’re here, we’re also gonna take advantage of the situation. It was such a fun episode for me. It was just like all around, had good action, had fun dialogue. There was that moral quandary hanging over it.
It was very, to me, it was also very star Trek in a season that was not a typical star Trek kind of feel. So for me, this one was just another
kind of slam dunk. Yeah, so if we break it down the way, Matt just did fully, one half of our favorites are from season three. So season three might be a place where you want to go check it out.
And also, one third of our choices are all about Shran. So yeah, some, some interesting trends there. I would also like to just give a general shout out as a, there’s a mix in enterprise where yeah, some well-known species. Get really great episodes. I think that most of the ones with the andorians get very high marks from me.
The ones with the Tellerites. Some of those get very high marks, especially toward the end of season four, where you’re really seeing them develop a species that had gone undeveloped, even though introduced in the original series. Yeah, there are also some good Klingon episodes. The augments episodes are good for the Klingon aspects of it.
I didn’t like the augment aspects, but I like the Klingon aspects. There are also some low marks, the unnecessary use of Ferengi in one episode. Oh yeah. Some of the earlier attempts to use Klingon, which felt like, Hey, you all know Klingon, the use of the Romulan in the episode I mentioned felt very strong.
Whereas the use of the Romulan toward the end of the series felt very unique. So, oh yeah. It is a mixed bag. So I, for anybody who’s listening without having watched along with us, if you’re looking for those episodes that stand out, I would say season three might be a great place for you to start and just jump in to, to get a sense of what the entire show is about.
Yeah. The last thing I wanted to do in this recap was talk briefly about the characters. I wanted to talk about them in two ways. One is the conception. What did we think about the original vision of here’s who this character’s going to be. And how did we feel about the utilization of those characters? I don’t wanna spend too much time digging through specifics, but just kind of generally talking about this and jumping from character to character.
Starting off with Captain Jonathan Archer. Matt, what did you think about the original conception of this character and where the character ended up being used? How they ended up being used in the show? I thought
it was a pretty good setup for him. It was. I don’t think I, I, based on our notes, I didn’t give him quite a high as high mark as you did for the conception.
Mainly because Scott Bakula performance in the first couple episodes was so stiff and awkward. Yeah. It was like, is Scott Bakula a. Bad actor or is this a deliberate choice? Yeah, it was. I couldn’t make sense as to what he was doing, but the idea of what the character was, his backstory, why he was doing what he was doing, why he was picked.
I did like the setup, so I thought it was very, I think the setup was good, but it kind of like some of the, some of the, there was some rough edges with the initial performance, which I think Scott Bael got into a groove like halfway into the first season. Yeah. He kind of started to feel more at home in that character.
So take a little bit. I agree. I felt like the conception of the character, what I liked about it, I gave it a, a higher mark than you did. I gave it an A, Matt gave it an A minus, and utilization, both of us gave him an A. And for me, what the conception of the character really rested on was I liked. The personal relationship of the character to the history of Warp space travel, the idea that he was a test pilot, that his father was an integral part of development of the warp engine, that he has a personal drive to make this thing succeed.
I really liked all of that because that then became the starting point for somebody who’s basically not really a captain. Yeah, and he has to figure out what being a captain means as he’s doing it. So I think for all those reasons, I really like the starting point and then I like the utilization. I think that they did a really strong job with the care.
Yeah, me too. Moving on to the next character we’re gonna talk about T’Pol, played by Jolene Blaylock. For me, I wanted to start off by saying I did not think the conception of this character was very strong at the very beginning. I gave it a c i. That is in no way any knock against Jolene Blaylock. For me, it’s about like, well, what is the starting point of this character?
I think she was in any Vulcan. She was just like, okay, a Vulcan. Plopped into the story without much in the way of like, oh, what sets her apart? They would do tremendous things for me. The utilization of the character is an A. They would do tremendous things with this character, and Jolene Blaylock is a very strong actress in this role.
She was. A fan of Star Trek when she was cast, and she was in particular a fan of Spock. So I think that this was very personal for her, and I think that she really wanted to bring, you know, to go back to almost a Kirk like phrasing, she wanted to bring a lot of humanity to this Vulcan. So I think she did a really great job with that.
gave this higher grade than Sean did for the conception. I gave it a B, and you’ll notice that in my trend of how I graded the conception of most of these characters, Kind of on the same par not as good as the captain, cuz yes, she was kind of in the, in the beginning, just kind of like random Vulcan A drop here.
There was a little bit of kind of blandness to her initial conception, but that didn’t knock, that didn’t bother me too much from the show, mainly because I thought she had a better handle of her character as an actress than
did in the beginning. Yeah. So it’s like, even though she was kind of a, a bland Vulcan in the beginning, I, I, I felt.
A better connection to her than I did to the captain in the first few episodes. So for me, that’s why I gave her a b as the conception and then the utilization. I agree, top-notch. What they did with her for the course of the, the season and seasons was fantastic. The one knock I would have on the show was how they hypersexualized her in the beginning.
There were those scenes in the, the, where they were lubing each other up. Yeah, the decon chamber. They were, they were, they put her in skin tight outfits, just like seven of nine. And it was just like, That part of how they handled her, I did not like, but everything else about how they handled her character, I thought was top-notch.
And what did you think about Connor Trinneer’s character trip Tucker, just
like T’Pol. I thought it was bland country bumpkin character, a. It was just like, it just, it didn’t, he didn’t have, it didn’t feel like they had a good grasp as to like what they were gonna do with this character to make him special.
Yeah. It was just kind of like, oh, southern boy on the, on the ship. Okay. All right. Big deal. But then over the course of the utilization of him, of course, just like T’Pol, it’s like he became fan favorite. Amazing. One of my favorite parts of the show in the relationship with T’Pol. It’s like, it was, it was great.
Yeah. Um, over the course of the show,
I agree with that. The starting point felt very bland, and then as the show developed, it became about, well, this is a, this is a man who knows the captain better than anybody, cuz he is known him for so long. Yeah. And he’s navigating the waters of. One extreme remorse over the death of a sister.
Yeah, that storyline is top notch, and his depiction of that is so strong. And then the romantic relationship with T’Pol, and I just wish that that storyline had a more satisfying conclusion than what the series gave us in the form of the epilogue, which really kind of like pulled the rug out from underneath the, the character at the end.
Yeah. Moving on to Malcolm Reed, played by Dominic Keating. For me, the conception of this character was another slightly lower mark. I think that they had a sense of a stronger sense of, um, a little bit of the backstory than they did with some of the other characters. I don’t think T’Pol’s backstory was very evident.
I don’t think that trip’s backstory was very evident. But I do like that Reid’s backstory of like, he’s got a stronger military background than anybody else in the ship. Mm-hmm. And that’s why he’s in the role he’s in. I think that that makes sense. And for me, the utilization was very, very strong. I especially liked once you ended up with the makos joining the crew, I.
His pushback against the over militarization of the ship, I thought was a very sophisticated piece of storytelling. So this character is kind of standing between two worlds, didn’t quite like the end where it suddenly turns out he’s been an agent for. Sector 33 4. Yeah, that came outta nowhere. It felt tacked on, but you can largely just kind of ignore that because ultimately a lot of the storylines right at the very end of the series, ignored most of the secondary characters.
So for me, that doesn’t detract from the fact that I think that his utilization on the show was very, very strong. Yeah.
You and I gave him the same like B grade of another bland military character, a. Plop here he is for me. That was just kind of a, okay, he’s just kind of a regular average Joe, you know?
Military guy, but the utilization of him was good. The only part that I didn’t like, especially in season one, is how much of a horn dog they made him. Yeah. Like anytime a woman was on the show, it was like his tongue would like unroll. Like a cartoon character. Yeah. That aspect of it was just train wreck.
So I kind of feel like I gave it an A over utilization, but I might actually give it an A minus because. It took them a while to put that behind them. Yeah. Because for a mil, a guy who’s so military and so bit by the book, they had him do things that were just outta character for that with a trip where the two of them, when they were together, together, they were like bad influences on each other.
And so it’s like it didn’t quite. Jive. So there was some dissonance in the season one, uh, of his character. I, I got a call
note on that. So yeah, now we enter some interesting territory cuz now we’re entering Yeah, the terrain. Up to this point we’ve been saying like, well the initial conception was kind of a lower grade, but the utilization, they moved up a grade.
Now we’re entering different terrain because talking about Hoshi Sato portrayed by Linda Park, I think the conception of this character is an a. Basically she starts the whole show linguistic expert. She has a savant like skill, and they even go so far as unfortunately too late in the series, portraying the idea like, oh, being that good at language and math being a kind of language.
She is also a math genius. She also has a background in various forms of martial arts that could have been utilized in different ways. So for me, the conception of this character is very, very high. It’s the utilization that’s not great. She was basically relegated to being a character on the bridge who would occasionally say things like, looks like those aliens don’t like us, captain.
And that would be the entirety of her position on the, on the episode. Matt, you have a similar skew to your grade That I do.
Yeah, but mine’s a little harsher than yours. Like I, I mentioned they started the entire show with her, like the first shots of the entire show are her teaching a linguistics class, and then she’s basically getting called out of that because she has to go into.
Join the crew. So she’s one of the first people we’re introduced to, and they give this backstory to her. They spend more time setting her up than most of the other characters. So like they, they were, they felt like they had her nailed down as to what she was, and then when they came time to execute on that, they suddenly were like, Hoshi Hoshi Who?
And like she just suddenly was in the background. Yeah. Not doing anything. Marina Cert complained about this, about her character in the first couple seasons. The next generation of like, the only thing she would do would be like, I sense something as evil here kind of a thing. Like she would just kind of like state the obvious and then it would be the other characters doing everything else that was hoshi.
For most the series, and it wasn’t until season four that they actually started doing cool stuff with her again. Yeah, it was, it was the biggest waste. They should have done more with Linda Park because she, she’s a good actress. The character was interesting and they could have a lot of fun with her, but instead they just kind of
shanked that completely.
And to go back to something we talked about last week, in the final season of Star Trek, the network was relegating it to Friday nights because they were trying to skew the entire network to a more female focused programming. And as Matt and I talked about briefly last week, why couldn’t that have included star Trek when you have female characters on the show?
Maybe highlight those characters a little bit more and maybe star Trek then stays on a better night and maybe builds an audience as opposed to losing it. Yep. All that being said, moving on. This is the one that I couldn’t wait to talk about. This is the only a plus I give to a character conception are grades up to this.
I don’t know how Have all been a How you given an A plus? I dunno. He given a plus. We’re talking about Travis Mayweather, played by Anthony Montgomery. To give you a a sense of where we are, Matt gives the conception of b I gave it an A plus. Here’s my reasons for an A plus. We’d never had a character with anything close to this backstory before in star Trek raised.
Okay. In space, raised on cargo vessels. Effectively, this is the wagon train that Star Trek’s original pitch wagon train to the stars was what Roddenberry told the network. This is the character that is actually living that life, growing up on a spaceship. The idea of what you could have done with that character as far as his, his expertise, his relationship to what it means to be in space, his experience of going PlanetSide.
For various missions, his maybe inherent understanding of spaceship structures, like what could they have done with him going to an alien spaceship and being able to understand faster than some of the engineers what’s happening based on maybe the rhythm that’s in the hall or a certain sound, like, couldn’t they have built into it?
His expertise goes beyond flying. Mm-hmm. So for me, Just the original starting point of where this character’s growing up took place. That for me, puts this character into very high conception of like, that’s cool. This is a character unlike any other character we’ve had. And then totally unutilized. So I gave ’em a C for utilization.
They just didn’t ever do anything with this character that was worth. The character’s time.
Yeah. For me, I gave this a B for conception, kind of like some of the other characters. It felt too bland for me in the beginning, the way it was set up, so it’s like, that’s why I was like, I’m not seeing the a plus.
I feel like you might be doing a little fan fictiony stuff in your head of like, wow, there’s so much they could do there. Absolutely. The text of that. Yeah, the text, that first episode, it’s like, oh, he’s a boomer. He, he, he grew up in space. What’d they do with that? The first episode in the introduction?
Nothing. Yeah, they didn’t set anything up. Nothing about that. So it’s like, for me it was just, oh, bland guy that grew up on space. He seems like everybody else. What’s special about that guy? Yeah. So it’s like, that’s why I gave it a B. It’s like, I don’t think. They may have had the seed of an awesome idea for the conception, but even in the initial execution, they just completely wasted it.
And for me, I was really harsh on this character for the utilization. I gave it a D. Mm-hmm. He became even worse than Hoshi. Like it was literally, it was like, oh, there’s Mayweather on the bridge. He didn’t even say anything this entire episode. Yeah. You know what I mean? It was like, it was just, he was just there and it wasn’t his fault cuz he was good.
No, he was fine. And they could have done such amazing things with his character. And I agree with you on the. It’s like, like a character we’ve never seen before. There’s so much backstory. The family episodes we have about him, we find out certifying about his history. There’s so much they could have had him do in these episodes that would’ve brought something to the point of view that we’ve never seen before, but they didn’t even try.
Yeah. Um, that’s the part that kills
me. And then to quickly, Like, bring this conversation to a conclusion. Both of us see very similar things in the last two characters. We wanted to talk about Phlox. Yeah. Great conception, great utilization. This is a character who we’ve seen similar characters before.
The alien onboard the human ship. We’ve seen this. Mm-hmm. You know, Neelix was a, was a fan favorite quirk on DS nine. Like we’ve seen this before, but, John Billingsley, terrific. Great utilization of the character. Great backstories for this, this type of alien, uh, you don’t even mind, that you don’t know Denobulan from the other shows.
Like it feels like it is really part of star Trek, despite the fact this is the first introduction of this species. So just. Off the, just terrific. And I’ll speak for both of us in that regard and I’ll let you speak for both of us. For the final character, we were gonna talk about the unofficial member of the enterprise.
Yeah. Shran played by Jeffrey Combs.
Uh, the one thing I wanna add to Phlox is his menagerie. Yes. That’s like, never seen that in Star Trek, uh, Shran, same thing. It’s like from the very first moment we see him, Jeffrey Combs is such a great character actor. He just, the vibe that comes off of him the first time we see him, it establishes this antagonistic bravado that the Andorians have that sets them apart as a species.
So just from his performance alone. It creates an entire kind of feel for an entire species, which is like, you know, it’s, it’s, for me, it was a great conception. And then of course, just Jeffrey Combs performance just pushed that to the A plus level. Just like, just like Billingsley, it’s like the two of them made those roles and whenever one of them was on the screen and or a key part of an episode, I’d be like, on the edge of my seat.
Like, all right, here we go. This is gonna be good. Because it’s like one of those two. It’s a, it’s a winning
episode. Yeah. So listeners jump into the comments, let us know. I’d like to know two things. Favorite episode, and if you can’t do that, favorite character. Yeah. Drop that into the comments. Before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you wanna remind our listeners about that you have coming up on your main channel?
By the time this episode comes out, I think I should have an episode out about wind power offshore wind turbines. That is, They are ma, massive in size, a size of scope that is hard to kind of wrap your head around. So I have an episode explaining why they’re so big, how they’re so big, and how they can actually float on the ocean, which is kind of like, it’s like putting a something that seemed bigger than a skyscraper out in the middle of the ocean.
It’s a really interesting technology and why we
do it the way we do it. It’s really kind of cool. As for me, if you’re interested in finding out any more about my books, please check out sean Ferrell dot com, or you can look for me at your local bookstore that includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local bookstore, or.
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