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On TV Today's Date:

The Xindi
original airdate: 09-10-03

If there ever was a time I was wrong - it wasn't now. In fact, I can clearly state, "I called it." I called it just about two years ago, too. Don't believe me?

Check it out.

The Suliban launched the Enterprise crew in the pilot episode. As Earth was dragged into the "temporal cold war" humans were flung into space before history recorded it. But as sinister as the Suliban were, their life span was limited to two years. Sure they're the "main foe" for Enterprise, but as our Star Trek history teaches us, it's the third season that defines a show.

Every Star Trek show starts with one arch nemesis which is later replaced by a cooler more fitting enemy race.

  • Star Trek: The Romulans gave way to the Klingons
  • The Next Generation: Ferengi were replaced by the Borg.
  • Deep Space Nine: Cardassians were overshadowed by the Dominion.
  • Voyager: The Kazon couldn't resist the power of the Borg (very original).

    And now…

  • Enterprise: Launched with the Suliban, but docks with the Xindi.

    To be fair, the original enemies never go away, DS9 being the best example. The Dominion stepped in at the start of season three, the Klingons were fighting mad in season four, but the Cardassians - their original enemy - were still active all the way up to the final episode. And we see the same trend forming on Enterprise. The whole reason we meet the Xindi is because of the Suliban and their "temporal cold war."

    But within every single case of archnemesis replacement, the new bad guy is always cooler than the old. Is that true here? The Xindi are a race of five distinct people. There's the furry guys, the lizard guys and the fleshy guys, all acted by people in make-up. And the bug guys and water guys don't speak English - probably because they're computer generated. All we've seen of them so far is five department heads sitting around talking about the Enterprise, and if they should destroy it.

    Is this a joke? Their boardroom looks like something that was lifted from the set of Attack of the Clones. Could the races be more distinct? It's like they're setting this up for a video game, with the five different levels and alien environments…

    Wait a second! I think we're onto something here.

    While the Xindi may be the new enemy outside, there are a few new changes inside on Enterprise. As Captain Archer explains, with poor exposition, an old cargo room has been transformed into a "war room." And now there is a team of military marines on board.

    These guys "fix" two "problems" at once.

    1. They bring kicks, punches, sniper rifles, super tech gear and general cool fighting stuff to the screen (and later to the video game).

    2. They bring conflict to the crew.

    Every Star Trek show created, after Gene Roddenberry, has been infused with inner conflict among the cast. Writers often complained it was too hard to create friction among the characters in TNG, because everyone was supposed to get along in the perfect utopia world Roddenberry had dreamed. That's why DS9 was inhabited by both Bajoran and Star Fleet personnel. And why on Voyager there were Marquis mixed in with Star Fleet.

    But the radical new changes don't stop with space marines and alien bad dudes. Quite possibly the biggest change for the third season is T'Pol's new outfit. Now we can enjoy her in commanding-red, or thoughtful-blue. (What exactly is the point of a uniform, if it's not uniform? Or maybe she gets to wear whatever she wants cause … can't think of a reason.) Even her hair is different. Oh, and she likes to show off her boobs now, too.

    In what has got to be the most gratuitous scene since the pilot, T'Pol teaches Trip some Vulcan therapy to help him sleep. It involves disrobing, rubbing, and even moaning. And of course, T'Pol hugging her own naked breast. Go ahead, read the sentence again. Oh, heck, I'll just write it again. "T'Pol hugging her own naked breast."

    Of course you read it again. That's why they put those things in there, Fanboys! C'mon now, what's more important - good story telling in a thoughtful, original and imaginative world executed skillfully, with clever writing, honorable performances, and very impressive special effects, or "T'Pol hugging her own naked breast."

    Oh, who am I kidding? It's a waste of typing.

    Looking into the future of season three, T'Pol will be letting her ears down more, as we keep seeing her act sexy. It must be something about the Delphic expanse - uh, guys, sorry, it's the region of space Enterprise will be cruising for all of season three.

    They're abandoning exploring space, and instead searching for and hopefully destroying the Xindi before the Xindi can destroy Earth.

    With the new season premiering on the eve of the 2 year anniversary of 9/11, we must wonder where some of these "changes of direction" are coming from. Is it to tap into threads that America as a whole is feeling? Or is it a simple case of art mimicking life… or is this art at all?

    Too deep. "T'Pol hugging her naked breasts." Whew.

    Back in shallow waters, we'll continue the adventure next week when Enterprise is invaded by one of the many dangerous races in the Delphic expanse.

    On my new species ratings scale it scores a…

    Shape Shifter: Cool, but may have tried to be too many things at once.

    Kevin Miller

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