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The International Writers Magazine:
Reverend Father Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
Founder of the Independent Order of American Buddhist Fathers


We may cry til our rubber Vulcan ears fall off, we may rant in Klingon, we may even send obscene cards to the UPN Network_ what's done is done. This season of "Star Trek Enterprise", season four, is to be the last. To quote the snotty co-producer Brannon Braga, the "franchise needs to rest", and that's all there will be left for fans. A looooong, long rest.

Die-hards are trying to see if another network will pick up the show. That won't happen when the creators want it to go down. With four complete seasons, serialization is in the bag, but I think we may ask: Who in the hell would want to rerun it? As big a fan as I am, I only liked three or four episodes. And I can't even remember which ones.
Here, in a very brief overview, are the faults that sank this program:
1. Producers who thought they knew more than God, but couldn't write their way out of a dialysis membrane.
2. Storylines that took us where no story line should ever go: nowhere, fast.
3. Meaningless characters, who were supposed to attract our attention with their importance, then vanished without explanation.
4. Important characters who got short-shrifted. (Spare token Japanese/token black guy, anyone? They've got 'em, real cheap.)
5. Devoutly promised characters and storylines that never developed. (Where was William Shatner? Which one of the crew was gay?)
6. LSD-inspired story arcs. (That is, when we were lucky enough to detect story arcs.)
7. An unprecedented mark of stupidity: a story arc that spanned an entire season (season three, the Xindi killing machine, which had no more than the lethal capacity to bore the crap out of viewers).
8. A huge gob in the faces of all the fans who worked hard to get "Enterprise" to its fourth season. (I called my cable company a dozen times to scream for the UPN channel. So did thousands of other fans in my area. So did tens of thousands around the nation. When do we start making our apology phone calls?)
9. A late, last-ditch effort, to get better writing and a producer with real talent to do something for the show (viz., Manny Coto). They cleverly did this when they already knew they'd gone under; how brilliant!
There's a tv series death-list if ever I saw one; it is by no means complete. It just constitutes the icing on the tombstone. Personally I have a pain that has dogged me since before most of the cast and crew on "Enterprise" were even born: what's this fear of Vulcan story lines? "Enterprise" managed to cover that base early in the fourth season but not until they nearly bored us to death with that dumb, three-episode Dr. Soong story. They started a promising Vulcan storyline after that. Then they dropped it on its ass. I miss the Vulcan High Council and their scowling faces. I wanted to see the main Vulcan nemesis of Capt. Archer after he gave his life over to total logic. Or did they forget that was one of the major episodes early this season?

Now all we have is an even grouchier, nastier T'Pol than before (and they never did improve her outfits.) Then Captain Archer carried the Great Vulcan, Surak, in his head. Did that help anything? Certainly didn't help Scott Bakula's acting... and I LOVE Scott Bakula! I have counted over two dozen cool storylines that were terminated for no reason. Even worse, there are others that just inexplicably dwindled before our eyes.

It was the monstrous Richard "The Big Swinging Dick" Berman who swaggered and boasted that HE AND ONLY HE could do "Star Trek" after the demise of Gene Rodenberry. The only thing he proved is that he could boss Rodenberry's poor widow around pretty good. He couldn't keep "Enterprise" going worth a damn. And his bratty partner in crime, Braga, who cut his teeth writing pseudo-clever plotlines for "Star Trek: The Next Generation", lost what tiny bit of mind he ever had. I recently saw Braga smirking and making mulish comments on Denise Crosby's documentary sequel "Trekkies 2".
To steal a phrase from a friend of mine, Braga's is a face begging to be smashed by a shovel. God, what idiots. One would think this had been a done deal: getting a fresh "Star Trek" idea and having no one to whom to answer. Right after September 11th, 2001, when it could have inspired the country. A fresh and interesting cast of sexy performers. Lots of hype and money to kick-start the show, and fans panting like asthmatic dogs. Jeez, they had it all! Junior high kids could have written better scripts, until Coto came along. Once Coto showed up, they only slightly improved. Certainly not in the nick of time to save this poor show. Why would seasoned and experienced people muck up such a stellar opportunity?

I think they wanted to do it. I think someone got the idea that "Star Trek" needed either to be sorely tested or destroyed. So, first they accomplished the former, and now they have arrived at the latter. No one is going to watch reruns of "Enterprise"; it's too painful. No one with any sense will try any further projects_ forget an "Enterprise" film, especially after the goofy "Star Trek: Nemesis". Maybe Paramount should have put Jonathan Frakes in charge at UPN. At least the guy has talent major, even if he does love the alien autopsy film. At least he wouldn't have left "Enterprise" on the slab like it is now.
One fan said that in 50 years, we won't be seeing any "ER" conventions, we won't be attending any "Law and Order" conventions_ but there will be "Star Trek". And I find that hopeful, cheerful, comforting. All these people who worked so hard on "Enterprise" deserve to go on to bigger and better things. It won't be hard, after this disgrace. And still, we all fervently hope that "Star Trek" is not really gone for good...
...and pray that Berman and Braga never work again.
© Rev Antonio Hernandez March 2005
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