The Enterprise Docks at
Ent 007 - "The Andorian Incident"
airdate 10-31-01

The commercial previewing this week's episode of Enterprise suggested that the Andorians are a forgotten alien race to the Star Trek universe. Hardly!

Okay, so it's true that Star Fleet didn't exactly enter into any wars with the Andorians in the past 14 years (from Picard to Janeway). Nor did they visit any of their colonies, or even see an Andorian roaming the bridge of any of the past three spin-offs, perhaps because the producers of Star Trek in the 80's and 90's felt the blue skinned antennae-growing warriors were too goofy.

However, we did see an Andorian lurking in the shadows every now and then. An Andorian roamed the bridge in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, when we see the Federation Council for the very first time, we spot an Andorian standing tall and blue. Later on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data's android daughter considered an Andorian male as one of the last four finalists for her assumed form. Thankfully, here in the new millennium, where Star Trek doesn't take itself so seriously (which is good), we have doubled the number of Andorians in one night!

We should welcome back the paranoid militaristic aliens with open arms and open antennae. They represent a new continuing villain for Enterprise. And further, the Andorians underscore a theme that has been forming with the rest of the aliens in the Enterprise universe. Everyone in space seems so much meaner in this time period.

Of course the Klingons are a very agitated people. First of all they know they will lose their ridges in the next few decades, and then grow them back by The Next Generation. But more importantly, in this time period they hate humans. Something we're not used to, thanks to loveable and fluffy Worf.

The Vulcans, too, aren't pleased with humans. While they shouldn't be pleased with anything (or disappointed, because those would be emotions), it is very apparent they don't think highly of Earthlings. And now the Andorians are hungry to hate humans.

Are all the races in this time period just pissed off? It's probably because replicators aren't very efficient, and no one can get a good hot cup of Earl Grey.

Another theme that has become noticeable lies within the construction of the show. The teaser this week was the shortest one (AGAIN). It was about 15 seconds, half the time of most commercials. But this is how the rest of the show is paced out. Lots of action, with quick jumps between scenes.

We don't spend a lot of time, like on The Next Generation, getting to learn about each of the characters. Usually a B story line runs parallel to the main theme of the episode to highlight the human condition. Something like, while the captain fights off an alien invasion, the ensign finds love. But on Enterprise there haven't been many B story lines; it's always about solving the task at hand. This keeps things fun and bubbly, like a good Romulan Ale (also not available thanks to replicators).

Mid-Review Trivia Question:
What do Deep Space Nine's Vorta clone, Weyoun, and menacing Ferengi Brunt have in common with the leader of the Andorian terrorist, Shran?

Mid-Review Trivia Answer:
They are all played by the same actor: Jeffrey Combs.

Combs played two regular parts on Deep Space Nine. And now he returns to Enterprise as (what we can assume to be a regular character) Shran. It's hard to spot him, since the only time he's appeared on camera without makeup and latex was in the DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars," where Captain Sisko envisioned himself as a 1950's sci-fi journalist. Combs was one of the two cops who attacked the captain on his way home from work (if you haven't seen this episode you should go to right now, order a copy of it, watch it, and then continue reading).

Also returning to the Star Trek world this week was Voyager's own bad attitude B'elanna, Roxanne Dawson, who dropped her middle name (Biggs) somewhere after Voyager returned home. She must have been as bored with it as we were with Voyager You would never know by her level of performance on Voyager that she had decent directing skills. Entire scenes shot without a single line of dialogue, and the message was sent just as loud, as if someone had said, "this is what I'm doing now."

The Andorians make a wonderful addition to this ever-growing universe. Enterprise is starting to prove the Star Trek skeptics wrong. They have enough stories and aliens in this pocket of time to explore without destroying the continuity of the rest of the Trek franchise.

And if their popularity picks up enough, perhaps in the next Star Trek film the male villains will be replaced with Andorians.

Kevin Miller

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