Friday, May 23, 2003

Star Trek is back.

The franchise has been fizzing out faster than a dilithium crystal in an antimatter stream. We had the final stale seasons of Voyager, the yawnfest Insurrection movie and the dreadful Nemesis. The highpoints of the latest series, Enterprise, have involved shower scenes with the curvey Vulcan T'Pol rubbing "decontamination gel" (i.e. massage oil) all over herself and her shipmates. (before you start screaming "sexist exploitation!", know that Scott Bakula gets thrown in there too. They are equal-opportunity exploiters on the show.) But even geeks can only watch that for so long, and then they're forced to sit through ethical dilemmas as Sam Becket - I mean Captain Archer - struggles with the idea of whether or not he should interfere with another civilization.

Well it seems that the producers have recognized the problem and announced they were going to rework the show. Their efforts were first displayed in the excellent season finale this week. The show opens with an alien probe coming to Earth, blasting a 400-mile-long crater on the surface, killing seven MILLION people. Starfleet is pissed, and is giving the starship Enterprise a new mission: instead of exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilizations, they have to go out and kick some alien ass. That's supposed to the over-riding story arc for the entire season. The ship has been retro-fitted with new weapons called "photon torpedoes" and an elite military team is being brought on board. Oh, and the Klingon Empire has placed a bounty on Archer's head. If they can maintain the momentum of the season finale (and throw in a gratuitous decontamination scene every now and then) we should be in good shape.

Now all they need to do is get rid of the 80s-hair-band theme song.

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