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For the last week or so I've been rewatching Star Trek: Enterprise on Netflix. After about 10 episodes I formulated an analysis of Captain Archer which hasn't undergone any major changes, and I'm through almost all of Season 3. I thought I would share it for discussion.

Captain Archer is a petulant crybaby with no command abilities and absolutely no diplomatic abilities.

Half of the episodes involve him getting himself into some kind of trouble - usually captured by the enemy, or incapacitated in some manner - that his crew has to get him out of. If it weren't for his crew, he would be dead about 50 times over.

I like Enterprise, but Archer is only minutely better than Janeway, who I find completely insufferable along with practically all of her crew.

They should have started the series with the mirror universe episode, and run from there, leaving the Archer character as a tragic memory.

If there is something like Starfleet in Earth's future, God save my descendants from the likes of a Captain Archer.
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# 2
09-01-2012, 07:46 PM
They put Howdy Doody in the center seat, one of the many mistakes made in Enterprise. Scott Bakula is suitable as a comic relief character, but captain of a starship? Please... The only thing more pathetic would be giving Reginald Barcley command of a starship.
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# 3
09-01-2012, 08:07 PM
Aside from this being in the wrong section, I like Scott Bakula in it and thought he did a great job. A starship captain isn't about being the best pilot, but the best person.
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# 4
09-01-2012, 08:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxvitor View Post
They put Howdy Doody in the center seat, one of the many mistakes made in Enterprise. Scott Bakula is suitable as a comic relief character, but captain of a starship? Please... The only thing more pathetic would be giving Reginald Barcley command of a starship.
actually, barcly as a captain would be quite funny
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neelix as a captain would be even worse
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# 5
09-01-2012, 08:57 PM
Agreed with the OP. I like Bakula in other shows (Quantum Leap), but as a Starfleet Captain, he did a poor job, and perhaps the writers have to share some of the blame.
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# 6
09-01-2012, 10:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkstocbr View Post
Agreed with the OP. I like Bakula in other shows (Quantum Leap), but as a Starfleet Captain, he did a poor job, and perhaps the writers have to share some of the blame.
I think he was an ideal cast but the writing was weak.

He should have been more daring and funny, less handwringing and less based on certain prominent political figures.

I think one thing that Quantum Leap made great use of was playing him as a bookish but physical guy, in touch with his feminine side, and a somewhat conflicted but capable approach to romance. That all gelled on QL.

On Enterprise, he seemed constipated and more than a little modeled on U.S. presidents.

Just thinking how I'd have approached creating Archer, knowing Bakula's strengths...

I'd have made him considerably more daring. Not in a "I'm going to challenge you and prove humanity's worth" kind of way. That made him seem ignorant. Instead, I'd have looked at something like making him a human who'd spent his years since high school with Andorians. Oddly pluralistic. Aggressive. The ideal human to reach the stars. A reverse Spock instead of a proto-Kirk. He knows the galaxy better than his crew. Has traveled the circuit of worlds that Vulcan is linked with and knows a thing or two. But he doesn't know it as a military commander because he's the first. He knows it more as a human expat who has backpacked across a dozen worlds. I'd have made him a Nerdy Ernest Hemmingway or even F. Scott Fitzgerald who must prove he's suitable for military command. College educated playboy who suddenly has to consider strategy and defense. Maybe a bit of a JFK. If he's going to act like a politician, might as well give him the full set.

The second thing I'd have done and this is radical for Trek... is to give him a wife and somehow not kill her off. And she's a civilian. And it rankles people that they've got a crew of 83 and a civilian onboard. It rankles people that he takes advice from her. And she's hot.

This gets around the poor attempts at chemistry between Bakula and the females they tried to play him opposite. Shatner could be a horndog. So could Picard.

Bakula can have appeal as a romantic lead but his type is definitely the one woman man... and it's SUCH a running theme on later shows that a captain can't have serious relationships that if you want a prequel that establishes the rules, you might as well break the big one and have a married captain. And show the problems it creates by having it as this awkward situation that you're stuck with.

And she's smart and sexy but she gets in the way. Maybe have her as the ship psychologist and in contrast to Troi, who we see as a counselor, she's more... theoretical. A Freudian. And a touch manipulative. A civilian psychotherapist. Has issues with Phlox, maybe big on prescribing psychiatric drugs which Phlox objects to filling orders for.

Played by Olivia Williams. So she's stern, sophisticated, British, doesn't take kindly to this military dynamic Archer has himself embroiled in. Looks forward to getting planetside. Gotta have sparks with Archer so people see the appeal but gotta have sparks with the crew so that people see that, with small crews anyway, it's better for the Captain to be married to his ship. In the end, she and Archer work things out but it's rocky.

And... with that... I've just rewired the whole show's dynamic.
Commander
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# 7
09-01-2012, 11:58 PM
The problem with Enterprise were not Bakula, but IMO the poor writing of the episodes.
Only mid Season 2 did they invent some sort of drive, but before it was miserable at best.
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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 185
# 8
09-02-2012, 01:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by crusty8mac View Post
For the last week or so I've been rewatching Star Trek: Enterprise on Netflix. After about 10 episodes I formulated an analysis of Captain Archer which hasn't undergone any major changes, and I'm through almost all of Season 3. I thought I would share it for discussion.

Captain Archer is a petulant crybaby with no command abilities and absolutely no diplomatic abilities.

Half of the episodes involve him getting himself into some kind of trouble - usually captured by the enemy, or incapacitated in some manner - that his crew has to get him out of. If it weren't for his crew, he would be dead about 50 times over.

I like Enterprise, but Archer is only minutely better than Janeway, who I find completely insufferable along with practically all of her crew.

They should have started the series with the mirror universe episode, and run from there, leaving the Archer character as a tragic memory.

If there is something like Starfleet in Earth's future, God save my descendants from the likes of a Captain Archer.
I quite liked Archer and remember unlike ALL the other Star Treks they ahd certain guide lines they had to follow where as Archer was in new territory, no wonder Star Fleet founded the rule about non interference with other civilizations just look at all the strife he got into lol.

I didn't like the Borg episode at all as it screwed with the whole Star Trek story line not to mention the last Star Trek movie where they blew up Vulcan which royally screwed the story lines for Star Trek 1-6.

Then theres the fact that STO is set 30yrs after DS9 and Vulcan only recently got destroyed, I really do hate the temporal time line crap.

But going back to Enterprise I liked Season 3 the best, I didn't like season 4 because they rushed 10yrs worth of the Story line into it or tried to anyway and the last episode where its Ryker and Dianna Troy on the holodeck is just insulting.
Career Officer
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# 9
09-02-2012, 01:12 AM
This is the way I look at Archer. This was Earth's first voyage into unknown space and interstellar relations. There weren't many rules to follow, such as the Prime Directive. No diplomatic guidelines for first contact. They even had limited weapons for defense at first.

There was nothing to go by except the advice of Vulcans who didn't think Earth was ready to explore space. So Archer getting into trouble was to show the mistakes and the lessons learned from early exploration. A lot of things had to be learned the hard way. All that experience eventually evolved into The Federation and Starfleet Command.
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# 10
09-02-2012, 01:52 AM
It's entirely a problem of writing, I think.

Janeway regularly appeared to be borderline crazy. Those times, other characters reacted as you'd expect them to respond to a crazy person, and often she reacted to their response as a crazy person would. Example: Pretty much everything in Scorpion. She had a crazy idea, she was called crazy, and then started systematically locking up everyone who called her crazy until nobody called her crazy anymore. That's the mark of a bad captain, but of a bad captain who was written to be a bad captain.


Archer, though? His baby deer learning to walk style of captaining might have been appropriate (see eagledraco's post), but other characters rarely responded to him as they would a rookie in over his head (except the Vulcans, who rarely did so for valid reasons).

He would act like a bumbling newbie, be regularly respected as a peerless leader, soldier, statesman, and sometimes even scholar, and then blunder through that respect like a hippo trying to cuddle, somehow without ever losing that respect once it's mysteriously earned.

That's the mark of a bad captain who was written to be a great captain, and that doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Especially since Enterprise didn't hit the reset button in the last five minutes of every episode like Voyager.

Last edited by hevach; 09-02-2012 at 01:56 AM.
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