2013-02-10

Vapid Sleight-of-Hand

"I enjoy the really loud people who hate Star Trek ’09 for not being the same, and hate Enterprise for not being different."

I saw that quoted on Twitter and it was too annoying not to share.  It isn't a case of hitting close to home ... I am hardly loud, nor do I hate either.  But the fact is that, like so many ill-considered cutesy posts online, it is stupid.

First, JJ-Trek is not the same as Star Trek.  And again, I say this as a person who thinks the first few minutes of that movie are some of the best of Trek, bar none.  The rest is mere sci-fi with trappings of Trek, as the Star Wars comparison video demonstrates.

As for Enterprise, it had its moments, to be sure, but being set 100 years prior made some things look silly.

On a technical level, the only way you knew you were in the past was because of NASA-esque uniforms and buttons instead of Okudagrams and a warp five speed limit ... or at least a limit that they couldn't exceed.  Beyond that, they had everything right, right from the get-go.  They didn't even need a navigator, and the transporter was so unimpressive they just had it sitting in a hallway.

I have previously said that ENT should've been more like the Starfleet Museum at Ex Astris Scientia, but I can live with it mostly as-is.

However:

1.  The transporter really shouldn't have been around, and if it was it should've been very limited in function (e.g. cargo only) or capacity ("alright, we can only take one at a time!") or requiring almost a minute of beaming or a long prep time or all of the above.  And even then, it should've been huge and primitive, taking up the space of a whole cargo bay or something similar, and had a dedicated team of operators and maintainers, rather than being operated by anyone who walked by.

2.  The ship should've needed X minutes to go to warp, be it for field generation, scan-ahead, navigation, or all of those.  Popping into warp at a moment's notice is too easy.
(Note that I had this thought when ENT premiered, and was amused to see BSG take it and run with it and even have a whole early episode revolve around it.)

3.  Travis should've been in charge of a whole slew of dedicated navigation personnel, maybe making use of the back of the bridge.  Yeah, we sometimes saw people there, but there was no indication that anything was going on other than Travis.

The funny thing is, all of these would have contributed to dramatic needs, perhaps excluding the last one (at least until the ep where the team's all killed and Travis really has to do things alone, which adds to the time to go to warp a la #2).  But still, #3 certainly could've contributed to the Mayweather character, which was otherwise lacking.

And bingo, you have a more plausible show, just like that.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think number 2 would make sense.

    The reason the Phoenix need five minutes was that it needed to accelerate to the warp threshold which was the insane velocity of about 300,000 kilometers a second.

    The warp drive is always generating a warp field so long as it is powered after all. It would be particularly stupid if they turned it off every time they stopped using it because they also use the warp drive to enhance their maneuverability while using impulse drives.

    The ships are always scanning for incoming ships traveling at warp with real time faster then light sensors.

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