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Star Trek: Enterprise – Dawn (Review)

Next year, Star Trek is fifty years old. We have some special stuff planned for that, but – in the meantime – we’re reviewing all of Star Trek: Enterprise this year as something of a prequel to that anniversary. This April, we’re doing the second season. Check back daily for the latest review.

Dawn arrives at a very delicate moment in Star Trek history.

Star Trek: Nemesis had hit cinemas the weekend before The Catwalk aired. It had been an immediate and humiliating disaster for Paramount. It arrived in a stuffed Christmas season, amid a relentless onslaught of big budget blockbuster fare – competing for space against Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Die Another Day and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It was the first Star Trek film not to open at the top of the United States box office, landing second to Maid in Manhattan.

Engineering a solution...

Engineering a solution…

The prognosis for Star Trek as a franchise had not been particularly optimistic for quite some time. The ratings had been in decline since Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air. Star Trek: Enterprise was airing on a dying network. Changing management at UPN was less friendly to the franchise than it had been. However, the spectacular failure of Star Trek: Nemesis was perhaps the most public blow the franchise had taken. The critics now had ammunition; the vultures were circling; the franchise was on the ropes for the world to see.

The Catwalk had aired a few days after Nemesis crash-landed, when the franchise was still reeling. The first episode of Star Trek to air in 2003, Dawn was broadcast after the franchise and the public had time to properly process the disaster. It goes without saying that there was a lot of pressure on the episode.

Alien nation...

Alien nation…

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Space: Above and Beyond – The Enemy (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

On paper, The Enemy seems like a good idea.

Space: Above and Beyond has a reasonably large cast. It has devoted character-centric episodes to the three leads, and done a nice bit of world-building around that. To this point, the shows have typically split the characters up, pushed some to the fore and others to the background.  The show is now about a third of the way through the first season, so it makes a great deal of sense to do a show that actually stresses the ensemble dynamic.

Nothing to fear, but fear itself...

Nothing to fear, but fear itself…

A story like The Enemy makes a great deal of sense. When you have an ensemble, you can generate drama from next to nothing. Lock five people in a room together, you’re sure to generate some friction. Character practically defines itself as they play off one another. If you can crank up the tension, it will all come together. So a war story where our heroes find themselves trapped together and cracking under the pressure seems like a solid basis for a good story.

The problem is that The Enemy is just a clumsy mess of a script, and one that stumbles over what should be a fairly robust set-up.

"I'm still not sure that producing the episode could be considered a war crime..."

“I appreciate that it was traumatic, but I’m still not sure that producing the episode could be considered a war crime…”

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