waynepygram.com: Star Trek Enterprise Reviewed: Hatchery (S3E17)

waynepygram.com: Star Trek Enterprise Reviewed: Hatchery (S3E17)

Instead of quoting the episode, I'm going to link to how the "Save Star Trek Enterprise" campaign was really just a giant literal scam right here. Because this episode is such garbage it doesn't deserve to be quoted. 

What is it? Hour-long single-cam sci-fi series based on the long-running beloved Star Trek franchise, and until very recently was the last time Star Trek had been on the small screen.
Where did it air? It used to air on UPN, a network that doesn't even exist anymore (since merging into what's now The CW). Nowadays you might find it on random cable networks (on BBC America...which bizarrely airs The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager for very large chunks of the day now...doesn't even bother to air Enterprise it seems) or on local UHF stations that air basically whatever junk's been discarded by the major broadcast networks over the years and decades. Because really, Enterprise was junk and that's where it belongs, but more on that in the actual review.
Who stars in it? Scott Bakula - you know, that one guy who's Quantum Leap (so he's no stranger to the sci-fi genre by the least bit) and also his last name hilariously rhymes with "Dracula" (so there's your Monstober connection) is going to be far and away the biggest name up to the premiere of the series and since, especially now that he's got himself a sweet gig on NCIS: New Orleans. Jolene Blalock (yes, just like our own Spongey here!) was cast hoping to be the big break-out sex symbol and...like the rest of the series that crashed and burned hard. I think even Voyager's Jerri Ryan managed to eek out a better career post-Star Trek. I can't remember who else is in it and I'm too lazy to look it up but that really should tell you something.
Why are we reviewing this? Well, while I was on vacation (during the same time as this blog's two-year anniversary, actually) I saw this on a local UHF station and I'm like, why not? It kind of fits the theme of what I had planned to be a review trilogy with Star Trek Discovery and The Orville (which I've already reviewed a good while ago now, with DiscoTrek sadly as it turns out not being enough for even a full review, instead just being a glorified 40-minute long trailer) and with this episode especially demonstrating just how much pre-Season 4 utter Bunk'd-level garbage this series was.

So yeah, in case I haven't emphasized it enough, as a long-time Trek fan: Star Trek: Enterprise was complete, sheer, Bunk'd-level utter flaming piles of garbage prior to the more-or-less good Season 4.

This particular episode happens to be at the absolute bottom of that dumpster fire. Like, well, most of Bunk'd. Camp vs. Camp if I had to choose a particular episode off the top of my head.

First a little history lesson. Between the years of 1987 and 2005 - that's just shy of three two whole decades (and I really need to work on my math), there had been uninterrupted Star Trek on TV. Starting with Star Trek: The Next Generation, the same creative team also gave us Star Trek: Voyager; another team split from them to give us Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (to this day one of my most favorite sci-fi TV franchises of all time and yes waaaay superior to Babylon 5, deal with it); and then when Voyager wrapped up after a long 7 seasons that team also gave us Star Trek: Enterprise (the creative team behind Star Trek: Deep Space 9 themselves ended up splitting, one half going on to give us an entirely new sci-fi IP nonetheless based on some extremely loose concepts ultimately rejected by Gene Roddenberry, that becoming Andromeda, starring fresh-off-Hercules Kevin Sorbo and it had a super-excellent, like, first season and a half before yet another creative team took over and turned it into utter crap - like literally even worse than Bunk'd or even ST: Enterprise level crap - but it very slowly drifted to five seasons all the same, with the original creative team now being involved in the CBS Sherlock Holmes show Elementary; and the other half going on to create the SyFy reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, of which I don't think any more needs to be said). Star Trek: Enterprise...really showed that the franchise was suffering heavy fatigue, and what didn't help was that it was a prequel to even the original series, because prequels were trendy at the time and keep in mind this is the mid-2000s when all the trends were utter horseshit, and because the creative team had all the imagination of Donald Trump's comb-over the series had all the energy and excitement of a wet paper bag. 

The audience, however, wasn't quite as stupid or willing to just accept it, and ratings nosedived hard, starting right off in the first season compared to the preceeding final season of Voyager (which itself suffered a severe nosedive in ratings compared to its own start). After two seasons of what amounted to a bunch of episodes that could be strung together into a massive snore-fest, they started the third season with the so-called Xindi Arc, named after the central antagonist aliens (really, a collection of various aliens all somehow biologically related even though you had bug aliens related to literal dolphin aliens) who decided to, with no reason or warning, pretty much attack Earth 9/11-style (did I mention this was pretty much right after 9/11, when 9/11 allegories were also trendy and a big giant pile of horseshit, not to mention incredibly tasteless, insensitive and borderline offensive?) completely wiping out Florida in the process (I would make a Florida joke here, but given the recent hurricanes, it seems to be about as tacky and tasteless as, again, everything culturally associated with the years 2001-2009). So the entire season was spent on the Starship Enterprise (the very first one, allegedly, way before even Captain Kirk) hunting down these Xindi and finding out why and how to stop them.

As it turns out, the Xindi did it because they were told to do it literally by aliens in the future, the same Future Guy aliens (yes that ended up being their official name, invented by the guy who runs the website Sci-Fi Debris no less, out of sarcasm) who had been the main series antagonists from literally the first episode as a ploy to stop the formation of the Federation, by pitting the founding members of the Federation (including the Xindi) against each other, but Captain Archer (that'd be Bakula) found out and convinced everybody to go after the Future Guys instead, who ran away and would try again with the Romulans instead in Season 4.

Anyway, Season 3 was pretty much intended to be pumped with action to bring butts to seats in front of TVs, but because the guys running it don't know how to actually do compelling action, yeah, it failed and fell utterly flat on its face. Hatchery is a perfect demonstration that they learned exactly nothing from the failures of the first two seasons.

The main plot concerns Captain Archer discovering the titular hatchery for the bug-type Xindi aliens on a planet, and there's a lot of debate what to do with it since the bug-type Xindi are the bad guys, but Captain Archer insists on bringing the entire hatchery aboard the Enterprise and then he just goes all ape-shit over it, sacrificing the actual mission of protecting Earth to protect the hatchery. Crew members start to question him, so he sicks the MAACOs (basically Starfleet Marines) on them. Eventually there's a big stand-off on the bridge between the main crew who want to continue with the protecting Earth mission, and the MAACOs who want to keep Archer's orders to protect the hatchery(insert shrug emoji here), and they start shooting each other, which is ok because everyone has their phasers set on stun, and then there's a big fight with Archer and he gets injected with stuff that turns him back to normal, and then it's discovered that Archer was under the influence of a chemical secreted by the bug-type Xindi, but the MAACOs were unaffected which means they have literally zero motivation for following Archer's orders and, you know, actually help to protect Earth which is the sole reason they signed up to be MAACOs in the first place other than that the writers are complete idiots.

And that's pretty much it. Again, this is a perfect encapsulation of all of Enterprise's faults right here and why it couldn't help but hemorrhage ratings: characters motivated entirely due to plot demands, insane and utterly stupid, contrived and contorted plot demands to begin with, characters acting completely inconsistently between episodes or even scenes, and above all else just torpid, boring and flat writing. All of those other sins can easily be forgiven, actually (Lord knows Voyager, TNG and even DS9 committed them in spades) but if you have an episode that's completely flat and devoid of action and plot or character development, and I don't mean the fighting and explode-y kind I mean just having literally anything on-screen, then you're going to have a real stinker on your hands no matter what.

Given that all that happens during the entire episode is the crew running around whispering to each other if there's something wrong with the captain, and then a completely non-nonsensical firefight at the very end, yeah I say this episode qualifies as an example. 

Episode Grade: A big fat F minus. Yes, this gets the lowest grade we bother to give out here on this blog. It's even worse than what most fans consider to be the actual worst episode of Enterprise, A Night in Sickbay (which make no mistake would also get an F minus rating on this blog). It's worse than what most fans would consider to be the worst episode of Voyager, Threshold (which is actually if anything an underrated episode - I mean, c'mon people it's not that bad - it would rate a C- or if I was actually feeling really harsh a D+ on this blog). It's worse than what many people would consider to be among the worst episodes TNG has to offer, Too Short a Season (which was actually one of the better episodes of the first two rocky, shaky seasons and would probably get a B on this blog - the fandom really needs to get real here and get some perspective on what actually makes up for a bad or good episode). It's really up there with the absolute worst TNG has to offer, A Matter of Honor and Eden's Children (both of which would richly deserve F minus'es on this blog) or for that matter the worst the original series has to offer, Spock's Brain and Turnabout Intruder (again, F minus'es all around, and sadly Turnabout Intruder ended up being the final premiere episode of the original Trek, way to go >_> ). 

Hatchery is one of the worst episodes Star Trek has to offer in its entire history. Yes, even that glorified super-extended trailer we got for a sorry excuse for a "series premiere" for Star Trek: Discovery is better.

Episode MVP: Ronald D. Moore.

Who the hell is Ronald D. Moore? He's the head of that previously said creative team that split from TNG to give us Deep Space 9, and then later he's the central figure that gave us the SyFy reimagined Battlestar Galactica series. He's getting MVP not only because I really do think he was one of the best people behind-the-scenes of his time when it came to TV sci-fi, but also just to reward him for being smart enough to not be too heavily involved with this utter horseshit.

Extra Thoughts:

 - you know what they say about how the more things change? Back then we had an utterly tacky and tasteless culture revolving around an equally utterly tacky and tasteless presidential administration, and now, yeah, looks like we're looping back around, folks.

 - Season 4 is generally regarded as the best because they brought in a man named Manny Coto, someone who actually understands how to interject action and plot development into your series. Unfortunately it wasn't enough and the series was canceled after that season, and Coto went on to develop...the Half-Hour News Hour, FOX News' lame attempt to chase after SNL and the more liberal-minded talk shows popular on cable (The Daily Show probably being the most obvious "competitor") but for their unabashedly extreme right-wing audience. It was, and I'm saying this with the firmest legitimacy I can muster, one of the most awful things I have ever seen in the history of myself being alive and watching TV. Without exception 100% of their jokes just amounted to, hey, you know liberals? Yeah, liberals stink!

Even FOX News had to pull the plug on that after half a season or so. It's been effectively replaced with Greg Gutfield having the whole night to himself to be as much of a flaming asshole as he possibly can muster, which at least is really cheap to make - just point the camera at Greg Gutfield and let him be himself.

And yes, I'm more than well aware that that makes it literally indistinguishable from the entirety of the rest of the network, or for that matter sister network FOX Business.

- I mentioned Jerri Ryan, perhaps still most famous for playing "Seven of Nine," the Borg-turned-crewmember on Voyager. Since I'm getting all political here anyway, I might as well mention that she was married to an Illinois Republican congressman who...as I understand it...basically sold her into prostitution...? (this was literally decades ago so cut me some slack if I can't get the details anywhere near right) Yeah, needless to say that's pretty fucked up, man.Obviously after a scandal like that there's no way he's going to stay in office, so a special election was held, and the Democratic Party challenger ended up winning, going on to be the replacement congressman.

That victorious Democratic Party challenger's name? Barack Hussein Obama, II. Yup, there's a legitimate presidential history-making connection with Star Trek!

...and in a very disgusting, but very Republican way no less. I only managed to find this extremely ancient link that I'm not going to bother to read so I'm just going to assume everything I said is "right enough, also I am not presenting this as truth so don't sue me for libel, read the link and sue those writers instead if you don't like it that much."

 - Sorry for making the Extra Thoughts here so political, it just ended up being that way what with being reminded what kind of an incredibly tacky era the last decade ended up being, and Coto's unfortunate involvement with...whatever the hell it was FOX News ended up airing.
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