Saturday, May 21, 2005

Not with a bang

In case you missed it (and I'm betting you probably did), Enterprise wrapped up its four-year run last week with an episode within an episode--of Star Trek: The Next Generation, that is. For fans of the most recent incarnation of the Star Trek franchise, "These Are The Voyages" was a real kick in the jimmy of a series finale, for not only did it not resolve any major plot arcs or establish that much-promised and oft-ballyhooed bridge of continuity between the last and the first series, but it also in the end reduced the entire show to a rather obscure footnote.

The episode begins jarringly enough, catapulting us six years forward in time to the Enterprise's decomissioning. If that's not bad enough, before we even hit the commercial break we learn that this finale is actually a holographic simulation on board the Next Generation's Enterprise-D being watched by Commander Will Riker, who on the threshhold of a Very Important Decision (don't ask), can think of nothing better than looking to one of the worst Star Trek episodes ever written for guidance.

Trouble is, as the hour progresses you find yourself drawn more and more to the framing story and less and less to the supposed finale, which by the end of the episode seems more and more like the insubstantial fluff that the whole damned series turned out to be. And as the credits roll, you wish you could hang out with Riker, Troi, and the gang for another season or two instead of subjecting yourself to whatever crap the franchise's masters Berman and Braga are planning to serve up next.

Oh, well. At least it was better than Star Trek: Voyager's self-abnegating finale, but that's like saying Revenge of the Sith is better than Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones--not exactly the highest of praise...

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