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Justin Snead

Tomorrowland and why Phlox typified Enterprise's creative failure

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Disclaimer: I have not seen Tomorrowland, or much of Enterprise. But the Internet has no rule on opinions being fully informed.

Before I get to ENT, here is the key quotes from the NY Times review of tomorrow land, and why I think the movie has been panned so completely:

[[[A.O. Scott: "My son briefly had a youth baseball coach whose way of inspiring his demoralized players was to stand at the dugout entrance screaming at them to have fun. “Tomorrowland,” Brad Bird’s energetic new film, a shiny live-action spectacle from Disney, reminds me of that guy.

...

False cheer can be just as insidious as easy despair. And the world hardly suffers from a shortage of empty encouragement, of sponsored inducements to emulate various dreamers and disrupters, of bland universal appeals to the power of individuality. “Tomorrowland” works entirely at that level, which is to say in the vocabulary of advertisement. Its idea of the future is abstract, theoretical and empty, and it can only fill in the blank space with exhortations to believe and to hope. But belief without content, without a critical picture of the world as it is, is really just propaganda. “Tomorrowland,” searching for incitements to dream, finds slogans and mistakes them for poetry.]]]

Now to ENT. The above quotes really encapsulate why I rejected the show. I was truly excited about it in the year leading up to the premier. I really was, even though I had stopped watching VOY. I feared the worst, but I truly hoped for the best. When I saw the pilot episode I knew immediately that the show would not work. And the big red flag was Phlox. I knew from the promotional info that Phlox was supposed to be a wizened character who helps the crew tap into their inner optimistic vision, the voice of the Roddenberry ideal in the new series. But when I saw how he was written to perform this narrative function--simply repeating the word "Optimism!" through a extra big CGI smile (did that smile ever get repeated again in the series?)--I could tell that there was no there there. ENT was not going to grapple with a future-oriented optimistic vision in any thematic way, why it's important, why it's difficult, etc. It was just window dressing, checking off boxes of what has to be mentioned on Star Trek: Phasers, check. Pon Far, check. Optimism, check.

And Archer was an even more egregious example of this. He is exactly like the baseball coach in A.O. Scott's review, yelling at us to be better people instead of showing us how. Too often Archer would sneer and pout and condescend and strut about Truth, Justice and the Starfleet Way. That's all he could do, because he did not inhabit stories (like on TOS) where we deduce for ourselves that the future will be better based on how real issues are handled by the characters and expressed through meaningful dialogue.

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But the Internet has no rule on opinions being fully informed.

No, it's not a rule of the internet, but it's a rule of common sense in my book.

Uninformed opinions are what clogs up the internet; people who run off half-cocked on assumptions and guesswork rather than seeing something for themselves.

And no, "Optimism" did NOT become Phlox's catchphrase, and he only did one more CGI-assisted smile (late in S4) that I ever saw in the run of the show (and yes, I saw all of it; even S3, which I had major issues with politically, but that's another thread). I liked about half of ENT to be honest, but that's a bigger ratio that my liking of VGR. Phlox was my favorite character of ENT; not because he was any kind of Roddenberry surrogate, but because he cheerfully embraced differences and delighted in the unexpected. He was an optimist, but not a vacuous cheerleader.

ENT had plenty of flaws, but none of which were an excess of CGI grins and hollowly repeating 'optimism' as a mantra; if anything, it was the show's darker, clumsily executed '9/11-Iraq invasion' analogy in S3 that turned me off for awhile. The show tried to become Battlestar Galactica and yet remain Star Trek; it didn't work. But I came back to S4 (and later rewatched the missed episodes of S3) and I was glad I did; S4 of ENT was (IMO) one of the single best seasons of post-TOS ST ever. And part of what I loved about S4 wasn't that it was all sunshine and roses; it showed the struggle to GET to the utopia we see in the 23rd and 24th centuries of ST's future.

Judy and Gar-Reeves Stevens did a hell of a job writing some terrific episodes like the Vulcan trilogy; and showrunner Manny Coto injected a lot of energy into that final year (too bad it was too late to save it). If S4 had been S1 of ENT? I've no doubt it would've gotten a much healthier run... possibly even a full 7 years.

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I agree with Vie all around. I even like season 3 in that it had some good episodes that stood on their own and I at least appreciate the attempt of season 3 to not be a TNG/VOY rehash.

Why Tomorrowland failed: (Interesting read even if you haven't seen the film)

http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/5-mistakes-that-made-disneys-tomorrowland-a-movie-flop.html/?ref=YF&tpl=op

Phlox wasn't like that at all, neither was ENT for that matter.

Edited by prometheus59650

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I agree with Vie all around. I even like season 3 in that it had some good episodes that stood on their own and I at least appreciate the attempt of season 3 to not be a TNG/VOY rehash.

Why Tomorrowland failed: (Interesting read even if you haven't seen the film)

http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/5-mistakes-that-made-disneys-tomorrowland-a-movie-flop.html/?ref=YF&tpl=op

Phlox wasn't like that at all, neither was ENT for that matter.

Actually I stand a bit corrected; S3 (which I recently revisited) did indeed have a handful of good ones here and there (but the overall mission arc still stuck in my craw, to be honest...). ENT was not a total waste of time; in fact, I really did like it better than VGR. But to start a topic thread bashing it and an unseen movie is kind of ridiculous.

If one had seen ENT (and Tomorrowland) and hated both, I'd respect that opinion a bit more, but a wholly uninformed opinion is useless. One would not even be equipped to debate the merits or flaws of the show, let alone argue that it's a total loss...

PS: At least the authors of the cheatsheet.com article had seen the movie before they listed the reasons why they didn't like it; I can respect that.

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If one had seen ENT (and Tomorrowland) and hated both, I'd respect that opinion a bit more, but a wholly uninformed opinion is useless. One would not even be equipped to debate the merits or flaws of the show, let alone argue that it's a total loss...

PS: At least the authors of the cheatsheet.com article had seen the movie before they listed the reasons why they didn't like it; I can respect that.

Indeed. I hated Voyager in its first run. I've seen every episode so I know exactly why I think Janeway is a sociopath and that, for all the attempts to make Neelix "happen" as a breakout character he was really just an insensitive doofus. (Ex: One's attempt to give the crew a "taste of home" should actually be that and not turn into an exercise in narcissism by making the food taste how you think it should taste.) I've revisited the show since then and my opinion is unchanged. But I know what I'm talking about.

As much as I groaned at disasters like "A Night in Sickbay," I've seen it all. And, revisiting it, I find I like it much better than before, though I always liked it better than Voyager.

But to take a single word in a single scene and to try to say "This is why it failed." when you literally have no frame of reference is just a little bit ridiculous.

EDIT: And I have to say that, while I haven't seen Tomorrowland either (Might try when it goes to my budget theater) I'm willing to bet CheatSheet has a better take on why it failed than the notion of it being all about baseless hope.

Edited by prometheus59650

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kenman   

I would now like to discuss why both Barnaby Jones and Love Boat failed to make a true impact on pop culture, though I admit to not having seen either.

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I don't even get the connection between Phlox and Tomorrowland.

The only aspect I can critique is the issue of Archer - I've seen this criticism often. That Archer made mistakes. Have these critics ever taken into consideration that he was mean to make mistake. Thus setting the rules for the later captains?

"Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can't do out here; should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that... directive... I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

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I would now like to discuss why both Barnaby Jones and Love Boat failed to make a true impact on pop culture, though I admit to not having seen either.

Hey! Don't talk smack about Barnaby, man! :P

barna3f.jpg << Haters will be hatin'....

I don't even get the connection between Phlox and Tomorrowland.

The only aspect I can critique is the issue of Archer - I've seen this criticism often. That Archer made mistakes. Have these critics ever taken into consideration that he was mean to make mistake. Thus setting the rules for the later captains?

"Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can't do out here; should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that... directive... I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

I kind of saw much of the show that way; the unsteady colt who tries to steady itself before it runs with mama. The crew makes procedural mistakes (something that still happens in the 23rd and 24th centuries, I'm afraid) and the technology isn't quite 100% yet. The show wasn't meant to be Roddenberry's Star Trek.... not yet. It was about the long road to utopia. Earth had just gotten its s#!t together, and now it's ready to take on the galaxy.... or is it? That (to me) was the series.

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kenman   

I would now like to discuss why both Barnaby Jones and Love Boat failed to make a true impact on pop culture, though I admit to not having seen either.

Hey! Don't talk smack about Barnaby, man! :P

barna3f.jpg << Haters will be hatin'....

Well I've not seen it, but I'd still like to use it to demonstrate my point right now.

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I would now like to discuss why both Barnaby Jones and Love Boat failed to make a true impact on pop culture, though I admit to not having seen either.

Hey! Don't talk smack about Barnaby, man! :P

barna3f.jpg << Haters will be hatin'....

Well I've not seen it, but I'd still like to use it to demonstrate my point right now.

960x540.jpg << "Gimme yer best shot, whippersnapper...." :giggle:

Barnaby's a bit feisty today... :P

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Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

I have not seen Tomorrowland and have no opinion about it, but I read a professional critic that I trust about the movie, and his words ring true to me because I have seen the same flaw he describes in other movies and shows. And it reminds me of a problem that I've noticed in Berman era Trek, specifically Enterprise of which I have seen at least half of the episodes. but it's also in VOY and TNG films like INS and NEM.

That problem is this: the movie or show tells us we are seeing something very Star Treky, but in fact that something is only conveyed by the a few bits of dialogue, we are not seeing or feeling it in any deep way because the story is not taking us there. the story is taking us down a rather conventional road to a space battle or whatnot, but then a character pops in with a line that suggests it is really about something more when it clearly is not.

Here is a non ENT example. When Picard said in NEM, that "it seems we are truly sailing into the unknown." If only that movie took us into the unknown, but it never did. And even if it did we would only discover there the same space battle we have seen in the last four or five movies.

In the ENT episodes I saw, much of Phlox's dialogue was designed to serve this purpose. To me it sounded hollow, but that's because to me the series was hollow.

for a counter example, think of just about any line from Star Trek VI. Those bits of dialogue give voice to Trek's themes, but were also deeply rooted in the entire narrative of that particular story. they were not lip service.

A lot of dialogue in ENT was mere lip service to the themes of Trek but without the stories or character to back it up.

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Hammer   

I would now like to discuss why both Barnaby Jones and Love Boat failed to make a true impact on pop culture, though I admit to not having seen either.

Pretty much. You know your argument is in trouble when you have to qualify it with 'I didn't watch it'. I wonder if the OP watched much of Enterprise either, or simply gave up on it after season one.

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Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

I have not seen Tomorrowland and have no opinion about it, but I read a professional critic that I trust about the movie, and his words ring true to me because I have seen the same flaw he describes in other movies and shows. And it reminds me of a problem that I've noticed in Berman era Trek, specifically Enterprise of which I have seen at least half of the episodes. but it's also in VOY and TNG films like INS and NEM.

That problem is this: the movie or show tells us we are seeing something very Star Treky, but in fact that something is only conveyed by the a few bits of dialogue, we are not seeing or feeling it in any deep way because the story is not taking us there. the story is taking us down a rather conventional road to a space battle or whatnot, but then a character pops in with a line that suggests it is really about something more when it clearly is not.

Here is a non ENT example. When Picard said in NEM, that "it seems we are truly sailing into the unknown." If only that movie took us into the unknown, but it never did. And even if it did we would only discover there the same space battle we have seen in the last four or five movies.

In the ENT episodes I saw, much of Phlox's dialogue was designed to serve this purpose. To me it sounded hollow, but that's because to me the series was hollow.

for a counter example, think of just about any line from Star Trek VI. Those bits of dialogue give voice to Trek's themes, but were also deeply rooted in the entire narrative of that particular story. they were not lip service.

A lot of dialogue in ENT was mere lip service to the themes of Trek but without the stories or character to back it up.

But you admit you barely watched it (!). How do you know that?

What if most TNG fans gave up on it because S1 was terrible? You'd have missed "Best of Both Worlds" "Inner Light" etc.

And only watching the first few episodes of TNG S1 would hardly make one an expert on the entire series' faults...

Did you watch S4 of ENT? It addressed a lot of the things you seem to think are deficits. It did a lot more than pay lip service; it showed how the utopia we saw in TOS and TNG came to be...

Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

What core argument? You've not given one.

You admit you've never seen Tomorrowland and you gave up early on ENT... what are you arguing about, exactly? A secondhand perception you read about somewhere?

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Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

Core arguments have some basis in fact, or at least in personal impressions that have some basis in your own experience.

You've admitted you have neither. You've just latched onto something because of truthiness:

Truthiness: a quality characterizing a "truth" that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively "from the gut" or because it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

Edited by prometheus59650

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I don't even get the connection between Phlox and Tomorrowland.

The only aspect I can critique is the issue of Archer - I've seen this criticism often. That Archer made mistakes. Have these critics ever taken into consideration that he was mean to make mistake. Thus setting the rules for the later captains?

"Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can't do out here; should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that... directive... I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

I kind of saw much of the show that way; the unsteady colt who tries to steady itself before it runs with mama. The crew makes procedural mistakes (something that still happens in the 23rd and 24th centuries, I'm afraid) and the technology isn't quite 100% yet. The show wasn't meant to be Roddenberry's Star Trek.... not yet. It was about the long road to utopia. Earth had just gotten its s#!t together, and now it's ready to take on the galaxy.... or is it? That (to me) was the series.

That's exactly how I watched it too. If you watch it as the first pioneers setting the ground work for Kirk and the other captains, you are much more understanding of the mistakes made by Archer. Although, I agree with you in regards to Archer going way too far off the rails in season 3 to appeal to the revenge feelings of society post 9/11.

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I don't even get the connection between Phlox and Tomorrowland.

The only aspect I can critique is the issue of Archer - I've seen this criticism often. That Archer made mistakes. Have these critics ever taken into consideration that he was mean to make mistake. Thus setting the rules for the later captains?

"Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can't do out here; should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that... directive... I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

I kind of saw much of the show that way; the unsteady colt who tries to steady itself before it runs with mama. The crew makes procedural mistakes (something that still happens in the 23rd and 24th centuries, I'm afraid) and the technology isn't quite 100% yet. The show wasn't meant to be Roddenberry's Star Trek.... not yet. It was about the long road to utopia. Earth had just gotten its s#!t together, and now it's ready to take on the galaxy.... or is it? That (to me) was the series.

That's exactly how I watched it too. If you watch it as the first pioneers setting the ground work for Kirk and the other captains, you are much more understanding of the mistakes made by Archer. Although, I agree with you in regards to Archer going way too far off the rails in season 3 to appeal to the revenge feelings of society post 9/11.

That was my single biggest gripe with ENT.

Like I said, ENT was not perfect, but it had promise. And it's just a shame that it was killed in its 4th and arguably best season...

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Hammer   

I don't even get the connection between Phlox and Tomorrowland.

The only aspect I can critique is the issue of Archer - I've seen this criticism often. That Archer made mistakes. Have these critics ever taken into consideration that he was mean to make mistake. Thus setting the rules for the later captains?

"Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can't do out here; should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that... directive... I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

I kind of saw much of the show that way; the unsteady colt who tries to steady itself before it runs with mama. The crew makes procedural mistakes (something that still happens in the 23rd and 24th centuries, I'm afraid) and the technology isn't quite 100% yet. The show wasn't meant to be Roddenberry's Star Trek.... not yet. It was about the long road to utopia. Earth had just gotten its s#!t together, and now it's ready to take on the galaxy.... or is it? That (to me) was the series.

That's exactly how I watched it too. If you watch it as the first pioneers setting the ground work for Kirk and the other captains, you are much more understanding of the mistakes made by Archer. Although, I agree with you in regards to Archer going way too far off the rails in season 3 to appeal to the revenge feelings of society post 9/11.

Another problem with the 9/11 parallel was that they decided that only if they could reason with the Xindi, convince them that we weren't planning to wipe them out in the future, that they could get enough of them on their side to not launch another attack. I thought that was just naive if what they were saying is that in real life we only needed to reason with the terrorists for them to see our point of view.

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Sim   

I don't even get the connection between Phlox and Tomorrowland.

The only aspect I can critique is the issue of Archer - I've seen this criticism often. That Archer made mistakes. Have these critics ever taken into consideration that he was mean to make mistake. Thus setting the rules for the later captains?

"Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can't do out here; should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that... directive... I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

I kind of saw much of the show that way; the unsteady colt who tries to steady itself before it runs with mama. The crew makes procedural mistakes (something that still happens in the 23rd and 24th centuries, I'm afraid) and the technology isn't quite 100% yet. The show wasn't meant to be Roddenberry's Star Trek.... not yet. It was about the long road to utopia. Earth had just gotten its s#!t together, and now it's ready to take on the galaxy.... or is it? That (to me) was the series.

That's exactly how I watched it too. If you watch it as the first pioneers setting the ground work for Kirk and the other captains, you are much more understanding of the mistakes made by Archer. Although, I agree with you in regards to Archer going way too far off the rails in season 3 to appeal to the revenge feelings of society post 9/11.

That was my single biggest gripe with ENT.

Like I said, ENT was not perfect, but it had promise. And it's just a shame that it was killed in its 4th and arguably best season...

Agree with both of you. That's exactly how I saw ENT too.

I have no idea about "Tomorrowland" or what it even is; but I simply can't confirm or just follow any point made in the original posting re: ENT. ENT certainly has quite a few flaws, especially during its first three seasons. But "fake optmitism" or the character of Phlox were none of them. I don't even see how anybody could get this idea.

If anything, I'd say ENT was too conventional and not bold enough during parts of season 1 and most of season 2 -- basically a continuation of the same format VOY had established (which in itself was a very bad copy of TNG formulas), which mostly ignored the promise of the prequel setting (much like VOY ignored the promising two-hostile-crews-united concept after episode #3). I can see how people feel these first two seasons were "too shallow" at times because of that. But IMO, Phlox stood out as one of the few elements that worked very well and made it interesting after all.

Edited by Sim

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I have no idea about "Tomorrowland" or what it even is; but I simply can't confirm or just follow any point made in the original posting re: ENT. ENT certainly has quite a few flaws, especially during its first three seasons. But "fake optmitism" or the character of Phlox were none of them. I don't even see how anybody could get this idea.

This is one of the dangers of an uninformed opinion; the thread is flawed with its comparison because the one who created it admits he never really watched the show (let alone the movie). This is why it's a bad idea to attack one thing with which you're not familiar, let alone two separate things.

If anything, I'd say ENT was too conventional and not bold enough during parts of season 1 and most of season 2 -- basically a continuation of the same format VOY had established (which in itself was a very bad copy of TNG formulas), which mostly ignored the promise of the prequel setting (much like VOY ignored the promising two-hostile-crews-united concept after episode #3). I can see how people feel these first two seasons were "too shallow" at times because of that. But IMO, Phlox stood out as one of the few elements that worked very well and made it interesting after all.

I agree with this very much.

And it's an opinion based on someone who actually knows the show, and can more acutely focus on its strengths and its flaws.

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Sim   

Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

I have not seen Tomorrowland and have no opinion about it, but I read a professional critic that I trust about the movie, and his words ring true to me because I have seen the same flaw he describes in other movies and shows. And it reminds me of a problem that I've noticed in Berman era Trek, specifically Enterprise of which I have seen at least half of the episodes. but it's also in VOY and TNG films like INS and NEM.

That problem is this: the movie or show tells us we are seeing something very Star Treky, but in fact that something is only conveyed by the a few bits of dialogue, we are not seeing or feeling it in any deep way because the story is not taking us there. the story is taking us down a rather conventional road to a space battle or whatnot, but then a character pops in with a line that suggests it is really about something more when it clearly is not.

Here is a non ENT example. When Picard said in NEM, that "it seems we are truly sailing into the unknown." If only that movie took us into the unknown, but it never did. And even if it did we would only discover there the same space battle we have seen in the last four or five movies.

In the ENT episodes I saw, much of Phlox's dialogue was designed to serve this purpose. To me it sounded hollow, but that's because to me the series was hollow.

for a counter example, think of just about any line from Star Trek VI. Those bits of dialogue give voice to Trek's themes, but were also deeply rooted in the entire narrative of that particular story. they were not lip service.

A lot of dialogue in ENT was mere lip service to the themes of Trek but without the stories or character to back it up.

Your clarification above makes me understand better where you're coming from, and maybe I even agree with much of it (not sure, because I would put it into different words):

I agree that much of the later Berman or B&B Trek was too shallow and formulaic. They'd often rehash old ideas and "play it save" instead of developing bold new ideas. So it all became stale ... and ENT seasons 1 & 2 are guilty of that too IMO, to some extent. Much like much of VOY and the last two TNG movies.

This would sometimes result in dialogues that had more pathos than the stories deserved. If that's what you mean, I agree with your criticism.

However, ENT took an entirely different approach with season 3. I hated the result, but I have to give B&B that they tried something new for the first time in years. And season 4 was entirely different again, and I agree with Sehlat that it was the best season of Star Trek at least since DS9 went off the air.

I have no idea about "Tomorrowland" or what it even is; but I simply can't confirm or just follow any point made in the original posting re: ENT. ENT certainly has quite a few flaws, especially during its first three seasons. But "fake optmitism" or the character of Phlox were none of them. I don't even see how anybody could get this idea.

This is one of the dangers of an uninformed opinion; the thread is flawed with its comparison because the one who created it admits he never really watched the show (let alone the movie). This is why it's a bad idea to attack one thing with which you're not familiar, let alone two separate things.

If anything, I'd say ENT was too conventional and not bold enough during parts of season 1 and most of season 2 -- basically a continuation of the same format VOY had established (which in itself was a very bad copy of TNG formulas), which mostly ignored the promise of the prequel setting (much like VOY ignored the promising two-hostile-crews-united concept after episode #3). I can see how people feel these first two seasons were "too shallow" at times because of that. But IMO, Phlox stood out as one of the few elements that worked very well and made it interesting after all.

I agree with this very much.

And it's an opinion based on someone who actually knows the show, and can more acutely focus on its strengths and its flaws.

And as I said before, I hate the Xindi arc in season 3 as much as you do, for the very same reasons. It turned Star Trek into a gritty militaristic shoot-em-up in a very questionable political real world context -- there couldn't be anything more opposite to the accusation of "fake optimism".

Another thing that bothered me about he Xindi arc was that it was just as ignorant of the prequel promise of the series: If they wanted to bring on a war, fine, then show us the Romulan Wars or how the whole trouble with the Klingons started. Or maybe even the Tholians. *They* are the iconic enemies of TOS 80 years later -- it's a prequel, dammit, so give us a prequel story!

But noooo ... they had to invent an entirely new race we'd never hear of again later (or rather, had never heard of before in the 23rd-24th series's). Even if it was technically no canon violation, it was still an offense to an audience that had been promised a prequel. So why did they make it a prequel in the first place?

ENT didn't really start to be a true prequel before season 4, and that was when it started becoming really good (the one or two Vulcan and Andorian episodes per season 1-3 nonwithstanding). IMO.

Edited by Sim

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Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

I have not seen Tomorrowland and have no opinion about it, but I read a professional critic that I trust about the movie, and his words ring true to me because I have seen the same flaw he describes in other movies and shows. And it reminds me of a problem that I've noticed in Berman era Trek, specifically Enterprise of which I have seen at least half of the episodes. but it's also in VOY and TNG films like INS and NEM.

That problem is this: the movie or show tells us we are seeing something very Star Treky, but in fact that something is only conveyed by the a few bits of dialogue, we are not seeing or feeling it in any deep way because the story is not taking us there. the story is taking us down a rather conventional road to a space battle or whatnot, but then a character pops in with a line that suggests it is really about something more when it clearly is not.

Here is a non ENT example. When Picard said in NEM, that "it seems we are truly sailing into the unknown." If only that movie took us into the unknown, but it never did. And even if it did we would only discover there the same space battle we have seen in the last four or five movies.

In the ENT episodes I saw, much of Phlox's dialogue was designed to serve this purpose. To me it sounded hollow, but that's because to me the series was hollow.

for a counter example, think of just about any line from Star Trek VI. Those bits of dialogue give voice to Trek's themes, but were also deeply rooted in the entire narrative of that particular story. they were not lip service.

A lot of dialogue in ENT was mere lip service to the themes of Trek but without the stories or character to back it up.

But you admit you barely watched it (!). How do you know that?

What if most TNG fans gave up on it because S1 was terrible? You'd have missed "Best of Both Worlds" "Inner Light" etc.

And only watching the first few episodes of TNG S1 would hardly make one an expert on the entire series' faults...

Did you watch S4 of ENT? It addressed a lot of the things you seem to think are deficits. It did a lot more than pay lip service; it showed how the utopia we saw in TOS and TNG came to be...

Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

What core argument? You've not given one.

You admit you've never seen Tomorrowland and you gave up early on ENT... what are you arguing about, exactly? A secondhand perception you read about somewhere?

You quoted my core argument above, the paragraph that begins: "The problem is this:" That is my argument, and it applies to most of the episodes of Enterprise I have seen, which includes the vast majority of the first three seasons.

To your point, I have not seen season 4. I concede that what I am describing does not apply to that season, but by then I already loathed all of the characters and just about everything else about the production of the series. So I was never going to be receptive to the new tone. But that is just me. If the characters were likable or only slightly irritating to you in the first 75% of the series, then I guess you could be more open to what Coto tried to accomplish.

Edited by Justin Snead

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Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

I have not seen Tomorrowland and have no opinion about it, but I read a professional critic that I trust about the movie, and his words ring true to me because I have seen the same flaw he describes in other movies and shows. And it reminds me of a problem that I've noticed in Berman era Trek, specifically Enterprise of which I have seen at least half of the episodes. but it's also in VOY and TNG films like INS and NEM.

That problem is this: the movie or show tells us we are seeing something very Star Treky, but in fact that something is only conveyed by the a few bits of dialogue, we are not seeing or feeling it in any deep way because the story is not taking us there. the story is taking us down a rather conventional road to a space battle or whatnot, but then a character pops in with a line that suggests it is really about something more when it clearly is not.

Here is a non ENT example. When Picard said in NEM, that "it seems we are truly sailing into the unknown." If only that movie took us into the unknown, but it never did. And even if it did we would only discover there the same space battle we have seen in the last four or five movies.

In the ENT episodes I saw, much of Phlox's dialogue was designed to serve this purpose. To me it sounded hollow, but that's because to me the series was hollow.

for a counter example, think of just about any line from Star Trek VI. Those bits of dialogue give voice to Trek's themes, but were also deeply rooted in the entire narrative of that particular story. they were not lip service.

A lot of dialogue in ENT was mere lip service to the themes of Trek but without the stories or character to back it up.

But you admit you barely watched it (!). How do you know that?

What if most TNG fans gave up on it because S1 was terrible? You'd have missed "Best of Both Worlds" "Inner Light" etc.

And only watching the first few episodes of TNG S1 would hardly make one an expert on the entire series' faults...

Did you watch S4 of ENT? It addressed a lot of the things you seem to think are deficits. It did a lot more than pay lip service; it showed how the utopia we saw in TOS and TNG came to be...

Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

What core argument? You've not given one.

You admit you've never seen Tomorrowland and you gave up early on ENT... what are you arguing about, exactly? A secondhand perception you read about somewhere?

You quoted my core argument above, the paragraph that begins: "The problem is this:" That is my argument, and it applies to most of the episodes of Enterprise I have seen, which includes the vast majority of the first three seasons.

To your point, I have not seen season 4. I concede that what I am describing does not apply to that season, but by then I already loathed all of the characters and just about everything else about the production of the series. So I was never going to be receptive to the new tone. But that is just me. If the characters were likable or only slightly irritating to you in the first 75% of the series, then I guess you could me more open to what Coto tried to accomplish.

This contradicts what you implied earlier; that you gave up on the series fairly early on, but... so be it.

When I saw the pilot episode I knew immediately that the show would not work. And the big red flag was Phlox. I knew from the promotional info that Phlox was supposed to be a wizened character who helps the crew tap into their inner optimistic vision, the voice of the Roddenberry ideal in the new series. But when I saw how he was written to perform this narrative function--simply repeating the word "Optimism!" through a extra big CGI smile (did that smile ever get repeated again in the series?)

^

If you'd watched most of the series you'd have known that Phlox wasn't just about an "Optimism!" catchphrase (it never was his catchphrase... he says it once). I'd gotten the impression you gave up fairly early on, or you would've also seen Phlox grapple with prejudice and ethical issues. He wasn't just some Neelix wannabe; not by a long shot. Sounds like you were fresh off of your disappointment with VGR and carried it over to ENT. I admit, VGR left me pretty jaded as well, so I sympathize.

And if you don't like Phlox? That's fine, but assigning him traits and attributes that he does't have or never had made me wonder if you'd ever seen the show beyond the first year (arguably an uneven season, but there were a few gems: "Fusion" "Breaking the Ice" "Andorian Incident" "Fight or Flight" etc). I also had issue with the statement that Phlox (a supporting character only) was what was wrong with the show. ENT had plenty of faults, but Phlox was hardly the walking embodiment of them.

And S4 was the best season of the show, and as Sim said earlier, one of the best seasons of ST since DS9 left the air. Sorry you skipped it. You should give it a try before you write the entire series off as a loss.

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kenman   

Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

I have not seen Tomorrowland and have no opinion about it, but I read a professional critic that I trust about the movie, and his words ring true to me because I have seen the same flaw he describes in other movies and shows. And it reminds me of a problem that I've noticed in Berman era Trek, specifically Enterprise of which I have seen at least half of the episodes. but it's also in VOY and TNG films like INS and NEM.

That problem is this: the movie or show tells us we are seeing something very Star Treky, but in fact that something is only conveyed by the a few bits of dialogue, we are not seeing or feeling it in any deep way because the story is not taking us there. the story is taking us down a rather conventional road to a space battle or whatnot, but then a character pops in with a line that suggests it is really about something more when it clearly is not.

Here is a non ENT example. When Picard said in NEM, that "it seems we are truly sailing into the unknown." If only that movie took us into the unknown, but it never did. And even if it did we would only discover there the same space battle we have seen in the last four or five movies.

In the ENT episodes I saw, much of Phlox's dialogue was designed to serve this purpose. To me it sounded hollow, but that's because to me the series was hollow.

for a counter example, think of just about any line from Star Trek VI. Those bits of dialogue give voice to Trek's themes, but were also deeply rooted in the entire narrative of that particular story. they were not lip service.

A lot of dialogue in ENT was mere lip service to the themes of Trek but without the stories or character to back it up.

But you admit you barely watched it (!). How do you know that?

What if most TNG fans gave up on it because S1 was terrible? You'd have missed "Best of Both Worlds" "Inner Light" etc.

And only watching the first few episodes of TNG S1 would hardly make one an expert on the entire series' faults...

Did you watch S4 of ENT? It addressed a lot of the things you seem to think are deficits. It did a lot more than pay lip service; it showed how the utopia we saw in TOS and TNG came to be...

Another rule of the Internet is to avoid someone's core argument while pilling on one sentence they wrote.

What core argument? You've not given one.

You admit you've never seen Tomorrowland and you gave up early on ENT... what are you arguing about, exactly? A secondhand perception you read about somewhere?

You quoted my core argument above, the paragraph that begins: "The problem is this:" That is my argument, and it applies to most of the episodes of Enterprise I have seen, which includes the vast majority of the first three seasons.

To your point, I have not seen season 4. I concede that what I am describing does not apply to that season, but by then I already loathed all of the characters and just about everything else about the production of the series. So I was never going to be receptive to the new tone. But that is just me. If the characters were likable or only slightly irritating to you in the first 75% of the series, then I guess you could me more open to what Coto tried to accomplish.

This contradicts what you implied earlier; that you gave up on the series fairly early on, but... so be it.

When I saw the pilot episode I knew immediately that the show would not work. And the big red flag was Phlox. I knew from the promotional info that Phlox was supposed to be a wizened character who helps the crew tap into their inner optimistic vision, the voice of the Roddenberry ideal in the new series. But when I saw how he was written to perform this narrative function--simply repeating the word "Optimism!" through a extra big CGI smile (did that smile ever get repeated again in the series?)

^

If you'd watched most of the series you'd have known that Phlox wasn't just about an "Optimism!" catchphrase (it never was his catchphrase... he says it once). I'd gotten the impression you gave up fairly early on, or you would've also seen Phlox grapple with prejudice and ethical issues. He wasn't just some Neelix wannabe; not by a long shot. Sounds like you were fresh off of your disappointment with VGR and carried it over to ENT. I admit, VGR left me pretty jaded as well, so I sympathize.

And if you don't like Phlox? That's fine, but assigning him traits and attributes that he does't have or never had made me wonder if you'd ever seen the show beyond the first year (arguably an uneven season, but there were a few gems: "Fusion" "Breaking the Ice" "Andorian Incident" "Fight or Flight" etc). I also had issue with the statement that Phlox (a supporting character only) was what was wrong with the show. ENT had plenty of faults, but Phlox was hardly the walking embodiment of them.

And S4 was the best season of the show, and as Sim said earlier, one of the best seasons of ST since DS9 left the air. Sorry you skipped it. You should give it a try before you write the entire series off as a loss.

Agreed.

Voyager is my least favorite series, and a lot of the issues it had carried over to Enterprise in it's early seasons. But Phlox isn't the problem, and he hardly embodies the issues of the show. Mayweather is a bigger problem for me, as he wholeheartedly represents the lack of characterizations on the series. Still Season 3 tried to give the show a direction (flawed as it may have been initially/it pretty much falls apart quickly), and Season 4 found a direction that worked. Phlox was not the issue.

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Mayweather is a bigger problem for me, as he wholeheartedly represents the lack of characterizations on the series.

This criticism I very much agree with, sadly.

I say sadly because I saw Anthony Montgomery in a funny indie comedy from 2007 called "I'm Through With White Girls" and he was terrific. He held the lead effortlessly. After seeing that movie, I really wish they'd given him a stronger (and more humorous) role on ENT. But as he was? He was just the smiling guy who steered the ship...

To be honest, only till a few years ago or so, I used to actually forget his character's last name sometimes....

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