Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2001-11-22 Entry: "Enterprising Soul"

Having found the pilot episode of "Enterprise" lurking on the network at work, I managed to get around to watching it last night. This is, of course, well in advance of any sort of UK showing - Sky have still got a "Coming Soon" on their adverts, and Channel 4 (who allegedly have the rights to cut it to shreds and show it as a childrens show) haven't even started advertising it yet.

My first shock was how good the capture was - these are 450Mb files, 45 minutes long (which is roughly what I'm aiming for - CD size), and they're crystal clear - I need to find out what the Mpeg settings are for them, as mine look nowhere near this good...

Secondly, they've done a remarkable job of making this look low-tech. The Enterprise itself is just about rickety enough to be plausible, and everyone's frightened of everything (transporters, warp core). The doctor brings a nice touch, with his high-tech medicines - leeches and marsupial droppings!

The villains are a bit weak, but as this is Star Trek, they'll presumably only feature in about two episodes a series, so this shouldn't cause any problems. The theme music is definitely different, but it's a nice change from the orchestral pieces we've had for the last lot (although, to be fair, the moment the titles finished and they started a piece of incidental background music, I was going "well, this sounds like Star Trek" so it hasn't all changed).

This was definitely the best pilot so far, although they've all been pretty top notch - Voyager's set a high standard that the show failed to live up to, so we'll see how this one develops.

As seems to be the norm, I think I spotted one Quantum Leap joke (but I'm not sure, I'm only vaguely aware that I made a comment at the time, but can't remember what the actual joke was) - this would follow in the great Stargate trend of joking about the lead actor's previous role. Scott Bakula seems to be a reasonably good choice for captain - he's as clueless as everyone else around him, dives into action far too readily for a Captain (who shouldn't be anywhere near a dangerous situation), and he's got a dog.

I'm not entirely sure where there going with the dog - it's certainly better than a tribble, but it's not as if it'll savage any intruders (except maybe the Vulcans, who it either likes or doesn't like - the vulcan science officer certainly doesn't like it though). It's possibly a nice quirk, but we'll see how much actual screen time it's given.

The nicest touch I saw was the pictures of the ships called Enterprise on the wall of the captain's room - in the tradition of the ship having a memento to previous ships of the same name - these however, are much nicer than the tacky TNG gold models (sailing ship, battleship, space shuttle, and the Enterprise of the title, as hand drawn, colour illustrations).

So, all in all, a thumbs up - much like the 100th episode of Stargate SG-1 which had enough in jokes to keep me laughing most of the way through: Why do the soldiers all wear camouflage to avoid being seen but the aliens don't? If someone is out of phase and can pass through walls, why don't they fall through the floor? And the two DeLouises working together was nice to see again (after Dagwood and Piccolo from Seaquest).

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