The televised world of Star Trek sails off to the undiscovered country tonight after the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.
I missed most of the finale because the schedule said the UPN affiliate here was airing a freakin’ baseball game. I was watching other things when I notice that the finale actually was on (this station has been good about airing shows). While I’m glad that they aired it, I really wish I was on the ball more — especially because two of my co-workers came home to see it on a whim.
The last episode was not quite a barnstormer with Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) and crew returning home on the “original” starship Enterprise for the signing of the Federation charter. But wait, that’s not all, there’s two-shows-in-one because they used Riker and Troi from Star Trek:The Next Generation to provide a framing story.
The result is a letdown of galactic proportions. Seeing Riker (who had seven great years on his own show) popping up on the modern show was a distraction, but the final voyage of the first Enterprise was disappointing as well.
There was some jeopardy in a kidnapping situation, but the universe wasn’t at risk. The characterizations were flat as well, in part because the series crew didn’t interact much with each other (they did most of their talking with Riker). A notable crewman dies, but the reaction from his friends and co-workers is relatively weak.
That’s not to say there weren’t nice vinettes like hearing android Data’s voice again or the montage of the ships named Enterprise as their captains recited the immortal “These are the voyages…” Bummed that there was no DS9 reference there, but you can’t win it all.
As I write this, I’m listening to the soundtrack to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, one of the franchise’s glowing moments. This is fitting because the movie deals with seeking a new direction after the passage of time. After 18 years of continuous new episodes of Trek, we all need to find to go where none have gone before — the show’s producers, the actors, the studio and the die-hard fans that helped made the franchise what it is.
For years now, my Trek experience has been more about exploring the human dynamic and less the “kewl” ‘splosions. That doesn’t end now that one step of the journey has ended.
Sheesh, I’m such a geek…