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Star Trek: Enterprise – Rogue Planet (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 January, we’re doing the first season. Check back daily for the latest review.

And with Rogue Planet, Star Trek: Enterprise wanders back into “generic Star Trek territory.

Rogue Planet is a story that could easily have been told on any other Star Trek spin-off. Indeed, a great deal of its story elements feel inherited like hand-me-down clothes. Hunters chasing sentient game is a stock science-fiction trope, but it is one that the franchise has explored quite frequently. The first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gave us Captive Pursuit, another story about our heroes interfering in the hunt of a self-aware life form. The fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager introduced the Hirogen, a bunch of big-game hunters that put the Eska hunters to shame.

In fairness, wearing a glowing green eye patch on a pitch black planet probably isn't the best strategy...

In fairness, wearing a glowing green eye patch on a pitch black planet probably isn’t the best strategy…

Indeed, it hasn’t even been that long since Star Trek did an episode about hunters pursuing sentient prey. The final season of Voyager had produced Flesh and Blood, a gigantic feature-length television movie around the Hirogen and their pursuit of holograms that had developed self-awareness despite not meeting the more obvious criteria for sentience. This isn’t Enterprise retreading old ground; this is Enterprise retread ground that hosted a big song and dance less than fifteen months earlier. As with Civilisation and Sleeping Dogs before it, Rogue Planet has a definite “been there and done that” feeling to it.

That’s a shame, because there are a host of interesting elements here. They just are pushed into the back seat for a stock science-fiction plot.

Oh, Trip, have some respect!

Oh, Trip, have some respect!

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The X-Files (Topps) Digest #1 – Big Foot, Warm Heart (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.

It is very odd to think that The X-Files has never done an episode about Bigfoot, perhaps America’s most recognisable and iconic mythological figure.

Perhaps there’s a reason for this. The show did a Bigfoot-type creature early in its first season, with The Jersey Devil. The fifth episode of the first season, The Jersey Devil helped to solidify the impression that The X-Files was better at abstract horrors than familiar monsters. It is not too difficult to imagine that the production team looked at The Jersey Devil and decided that Bigfoot was unlikely to be a runner.

Here there be monsters...

Here there be monsters…

Still, the show has waded into cryptozoology on occasion – with somewhat mixed results. Quagmire featured the agents hunting a mysterious reptile in a rural lake. When the show had to relaunch itself during the eighth season, Scully and Doggett bonded over their pursuit of a giant bat-like creature in Patience, the first standalone episode within that new status quo. Even Bigfoot was frequently referenced and cited. Most obviously, the final montage of Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space” suggests that Mulder treats the Roger Patterson footage as an almost holy text.

Perhaps it’s appropriate, then, that Mulder and Scully would come face to face with Bigfoot in the pages of the licensed tie-in, as part of the “digest” that Topps released at the end of their first year publishing the comic.

Eye see...

Eye see…

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