I'VE FOUND FAITH, FAITH OF THE HEART
by Michelle Erica Green
I know the ratings are down, I know that traditional Trek fans have supposedly abandoned the Star Trek franchise, I know that there aren't any female characters on Enterprise with half the strength of Kira or once-upon-a-time Janeway, I know that there's a lot of annoying jingoism and superficial politics and weak characterization and mediocre science fiction. Nonetheless, as Enterprise's second season draws to a close, I have to admit:
This show has really grown on me. In fact, I'm pretty darned attached to it. One might even say that I really like it.
Two years ago at this time, I was swearing that I'd watched my last hour of Star Trek. I even wrote an essay on this topic and posted it on my web page alongside cast interviews and critical commentary, though I ended up revising it when I came to my senses and remembered that there were worse jobs than reviewing television. Last year at this time I was lamenting that while Enterprise didn't infuriate me the way Voyager had in its last seasons, I didn't really like it. I felt a bit like a sellout, reviewing a series for a fan site when I didn't love it as a fan. Somehow that changed.
I'm still worried. I still want to shake Archer, often, even more often than I wanted to shake Janeway in fact, for not seeing the big picture so much of the time, for behaving like a reactionary instead of the leading progressive of the human race, even just for being a good ole boy in a 22nd century captains' club that looks less diverse than the current space program. I want Sato and Mayweather to get something to do on a regular basis other than open hailing frequencies and go to warp five. Tucker is my favorite character but he's been in some really dumb episodes, and I cannot sit through another cheesy faux romance; if we must have a token womanizing jerk on this show, let's let it be Reed. I'll happily assume he's running away from an alternative lifestyle anyway.
And I am trying not to like T'Pol. The catsuit alone should be reason not to like her. She's far more emotional than I expect of my Vulcans. She can be wildly inconsistent in her application of logic and her philosophical beliefs. I am reading intimations from various actors that next season she could become romantically involved with either Archer or Tucker, which makes me glance up at the Janeway/Chakotay "Coda" picture that despite everything is still hanging over my desk, and I must remind myself that this would be bad bad bad news. Maybe I need to put up a picture of Chakotay and Seven from "Endgame"; no, maybe I need to send Messrs. Berman and Braga copies of the thousands of fan reviews decrying that relationship as the single worst mistake in a half-decade of mistakes on Voyager so they never try anything like that again.
I don't know if this show can be great; I loved Deep Space Nine, but I didn't believe it could be great until the sixth season, and I held onto my doubts firmly until the final arc. But I remind myself that the original series was often not great, and was frequently rather, well, stupid. But its heart was in the right place. I'm not sure what faith of the heart Enterprise has to offer, but I don't want it sold out to ratings panic or mistaken beliefs about the most desirable demographics and what they want to watch. I believe that sci-fi fans are better educated and more interested in ideas than the people who watch reality TV. For this show to succeed, it needs to be intelligent and expansive in scope. That's all I ask.