[ENT] Lynch's Spoiler Review: "The Expanse"

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Timothy W. Lynch

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Jul 7, 2003, 7:01:22 PM7/7/03
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WARNING: Uncharted spoilers lie ahead for ENT's season finale,
"The Expanse."

In brief: Lots of setup, not a lot of payoff.

======
"The Expanse"
Enterprise Season 2, Episode 26 [season finale]
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Brief summary: An attack on Earth by a new alien race brings a
change of mission for the Enterprise.
======

Before I begin the review proper, an announcement is in order, albeit
one which probably won't surprise people.

When I started reviewing _Enterprise_ two years ago, I said that I
wasn't sure how long I'd be able to keep it up or to keep it timely.
Most of this season has seen problems with the "timely" part, and as
of this review I think I have to bring my regular reviewing to a close
again, this time very likely for good. Simply put, there's just not
enough time any more. Teaching is not a career which admits a great
deal of free time anyway, and I've spent far too much of this year with
my subconscious wondering when I'd find time to catch up on
reviews, making any given review more a chore than a labor of love. I
suspect that means this season's reviews haven't been as well written
as past ones, and it's a given that they've been less useful when they
come so late ... but the core of the whole thing is that I'm simply not
getting enough out of doing them to make the time investment
worthwhile.

(Would that change if I were routinely getting shows that reminded
me of past glories, like DS9's second season or TNG's third?
Probably, but that's not the case here.)

[Oh ... and if people are wondering whether a "Nemesis" review is
still on the slate, despite being long overdue, the answer is a definite
"maybe." Now that the DVD is out, I may have more of an excuse
than I did in the spring, and I've certainly got a bit more time at this
particular moment. If the review's not out by later this summer,
however, it won't be out at all.]

That said, on to "The Expanse."

I imagine there are few regular _Enterprise_ viewers who didn't know
in advance that "The Expanse" would represent a retooling of the
series, a setup for "all-new, all-different" adventures in season 3.

I suspect that very few of those viewers, however, suspected in
advance the extent to which "The Expanse" is nothing *but* a
retooling. This isn't just a case of being able to hear the gears squeak:
there was so much thrown in here that the episode's just too noisy for
words. There's little to no signal here.

It's not as though _Enterprise_ was lacking in potential plot lines
before this. There's been the gradual growth of tensions with the
Klingons, the Vulcan-Andorian conflict, the gradual growth of Earth's
deep-space capability (and its effect on human society, especially
boomers), the looming threat of the Temporal Cold War, and of
course the eventual rise of the Federation. I can't say the series has
necessarily done these all justice, but it's set up plenty of long-term
issues that could be fodder for a host of stories.

"The Expanse" didn't quite wave its hand and make all those stories
go away, but it seems to be doing its best to make most of them
irrelevant, at least for a while. Instead, we get a mission into new
territory that seems to give all the established races the willies,
ensuring that the Klingon and Vulcan-Andorian stories are going
nowhere for a while, a cause for the mission that is going to slow
down Earth's progress quite a bit -- and while there's an attempt to
link this story to the broader Temporal Cold War plot, it's presented
much more as a handoff than anything else.

The catalyst for all of this is an attack on Earth, presented fairly
brutally in the first forty seconds of the episode. A probe arrives
(either cloaked or via some non-warp technology), and carves a swath
from Florida to Venezuela, killing seven million people in the process.
The initial scenes dealing with everyone learning about it are probably
the best of the episode: we don't get to see much of people outside
the big three outside of Archer's initial announcement, but some of the
better nonverbal acting came up when they finally arrive at Earth and
see the damage for themselves. Words would probably have gotten
in the way during that scene, honestly.

Trip is particularly hard-hit, of course, because he's originally from
Florida, and has a younger sister who still lives there. He spends the
early part of the show trying to find out what part of the state was hit,
and also wondering who could be responsible for the attack. There's
a particularly wrenching moment when he and Reed stand on the edge
of the canyon carved by the probe, when Trip's coming to terms with
the fact that his sister's been killed. There's not a lot of emotion on
the surface for these two (at least in this case), but Trip's clearly in
agony and Connor Trinneer does a good job showing it.

I'm less thrilled by the revenge kick Trip gets on afterwards. I
understand why the character would feel that way, but Trinneer
doesn't snarl nearly as well as he does other reactions. More
crucially, his insistence that this shouldn't be a case of holding back,
that T'Pol's "noninterference crap" should no longer apply, strikes me
as risky if it's really the new sense of the series. Like it or hate it, the
idea of noninterference has been part of Trek for three decades, and
having a series chuck it away in favor of just blasting a few "bad
guys" (a term Archer explicitly uses) feels like it's taking away one of
the few things that's keeping this series in the Trek universe rather
than being a generic action-adventure show.

Before Enterprise gets back to Earth, however, they're briefly
surrounded by Suliban, who take Archer to Silik. Silik had nothing
to do with the attack, however: he's there to bring Archer before his
mysterious contact from the future. Said shadowy figure tells Archer
that the attack was carried out by a race called the Xindi, who've gotten
their own future informant and know humanity is destined to destroy
them in four centuries. They're working on a super-weapon to wipe
Earth off the map before that, and the probe was just a start. Thus,
Archer's new mission: he needs to track down these mysterious
Xindi and stop them before Earth is destroyed.

First, though, he's got to convince Starfleet that this information is
genuine. He does so in probably one of the worst "science" scenes
I've seen in a while. First, it's not a great scene as drama, because the
Archer/Forrest dialogue is so stuffed with exposition that it feels a lot
more like a lecture than anything suspenseful. Second, the "quantum
dating" scanner is really just a magical plot-advancement device. If
the idea is to draw an analogy with carbon-dating, it's not a successful
one: carbon-dating only works if you know (or have a good guess
of) the original isotope ratios, for one thing, which is why we wouldn't
be able to carbon-date stuff we find on, say, Europa. More crucially,
though, the idea that this scanner can give an answer it was never
designed to is completely stupid: it's like expecting an abacus to yield
a complex-number answer or a computer to calculate, to the last digit,
the value of pi. (Seems I've heard that last somewhere...) No -- it's
just going to give some sort of error message, not a negative age.

Even given all that, Soval's still the only one making sense. When
Archer challenges Soval to come up with another explanation, Soval
says that "the lack of another explanation doesn't make your
assumption correct." *Someone* on the show has a grasp of
scientific principles -- alas, it's the one we're all supposed to chide as
an oppressive old stick-in-the-mud. Sigh.

Getting back to the main story, however, once Archer manages to
convince Starfleet that his voodoo-obtained information is genuine,
they agree to his new mission: once his ship's refit is done, he's off to
the Delphic Expanse. I've heard worse premises, though this doesn't
strike me as one that's likely to do the series any more good than what
the last two seasons have done.

Why? For one, there's the historical factor. One heretofore unknown
race getting power from the future I could see as fitting into Fed
history, if barely. A second one which kills seven million humans in
one shot? And no human we've met over the entire history of filmed
Trek has ever seen fit to mention that little detail? Sorry -- too huge
for my book. That's akin to writing a history of the 21st-century U.S.
and leaving out the September 11 attacks (which seemed consciously
paralleled here). One might, *might* be able to swing this if there
winds up being no change in the society after the attack, but that
strikes me as unlikely. (Of course, there's always the option that the
Temporal Cold War will hit the giant reset button in the sky, but I'm
not suggesting that by any stretch.) There's also a second reason, but
I'll save it for later in the review.

The other substantial part of the premise is that the coordinates
Archer received put the Xindi in a region of space called the Delphic
Expanse. That rather oracular name masks a region where strange
things happen on a regular basis: most ships that enter never return,
and those that two come back with crews who are insane, physically
altered, or just dead. To paraphrase Ambassador Soval, there are
stories of new and dangerous species, strange anomalies (as opposed
to normal ones), and places where the laws of physics might not
apply. In short, it's a wacky, high-concept place. I can see the
spatial/temporal anomaly stories spilling out already.

The biggest problem "The Expanse" has to deal with is that's it's just
way, way too busy. There's the attack on Earth, followed by Archer's
meeting with the shadowy ambassador from planet Newplot. Archer
then has to convince Starfleet that the information is genuine, get his
ship refitted, and head out to this new and mysterious region of space.

That would be a more than sufficient story in and of itself: we could
have spent a great deal more time on Earth than we did. Instead, the
story gave us not one, but TWO more plotlines to deal with in this
episode as well.

One of them is that the Vulcans don't want T'Pol to go on this new
mission, and flat-out order her to go to Vulcan. T'Pol does some
soul-searching (which puts Phlox to fairly good use, and a use to
which he's been put before), and eventually decides that she's needed
on the mission and that she wishes to remain aboard, even resigning
her commission in the process.

The problem with that plotline is that it's patently obvious she's not
going to leave, ever. She's not only a regular character, but the ship's
resident sexpot, for heaven's sake -- if "Bounty" is any indication, half
of next season can simply be entitled "Star Trek: Sweaty Heaving
Breasts" and the ratings might tick up. I appreciate that she had to do
something permanent like resign her commission in order to stay on
board, but would it have really hurt to go to Vulcan and *see* her
have a little standoff with the High Command? Having that
resignation occur more or less behind the scenes makes it way too
forgettable -- this could be like almost every other Trek resignation,
where the party's reinstated as soon as the crisis is over.

The other plotline that's brought in is a continuation of the Klingon
arc. After Archer's escape in "Bounty," the Klingons are furious and
want Archer brought back Right Now Dammit. To that end, they set
Duras on Archer's trail again, giving him one last chance to regain his
honor. Thus, we have not one, not two, but three battles between
Enterprise and Duras' Bird-of-Prey, culminating in the Bird-of-Prey's
destruction at the edge of the Expanse.

This plot, with all due respect, was one that felt utterly unnecessary
for the story everyone was trying to tell. In a show this busy and this
dense, why have three battles that are essentially filler? It felt as
though this was an attempt to wipe the Klingon slate clean, or at least
leave it at a good stopping point while Enterprise gallops off to save
Earth. I'm sorry, but I don't much see the point -- the Klingons
weren't so looming a threat that things needed to be resolved this
instant. If the idea here is that Archer's third escape will set the
Klingons fuming ever more, there's no reason why a second one
couldn't have done the same. This felt very much like an attempt to
keep the action quotient high, and there are times that's just not a good
idea. (Would "Dear Doctor" have been better with two fistfights and
three phaser blasts?)

Having some action in as filler is potentially okay, even in a story this
dense. Unfortunately, it's undercut this time by the fact that Duras is
really not very bright. He attacks Enterprise when it's in full view and
easy range of other Earth ships, and after his second attack when he
realizes their weapons have been upgraded, what's his brilliant idea?
Guard his front leaving his stern completely vulnerable. I suppose
the advantage of seeing this plotline resolved here is that Duras can
now be classified more permanently as too stupid to live. :-)

Basically, instead of having one or two stories that are given some
room to breathe, we got something like four: the attack on Earth and
its effect on both the mission and Trip, the Suliban handing the
"villain" mantle over to the Xindi, Duras' pursuit, and T'Pol's crisis of
allegiance. There's no way a single hour could have done all that
justice: perhaps a two-hour story would have worked a bit better. (I
could see an easy way to do it, too: spend most of part 1 in the dark
about what really happened, dealing mostly with Trip's problems and
how Starfleet might try to deal with the catastrophe. End part 1 with
the Xindi revelation, and part 2 with the new mission and T'Pol's
loyalty question. You might even have time to work in Duras if you
really wanted to.)

Instead, we got several minutes of Klingons, a few minutes of
Suliban, a couple of scenes with Archer trying to convince everyone
he's telling the truth, and other scenes scattered hither and yon.

In the end, though, "The Expanse" really hasn't gotten me all that
excited about _Enterprise's_ "bold new direction." I mentioned the
nitpicky continuity-freak reason earlier, but the real reason is that I
don't think it's actually going to change all that much. As I said
before when I listed all the plotlines in existence currently, the series'
main weakness is not its setting. The series' main weakness is in the
stories it chooses to tell, and more importantly the way in which it's
done. A lot of the best shows of this season -- "Dead Stop",
"Cogenitor", "Cease Fire", "Judgment", etc. -- are not ones which
would be made any more likely by this premise, and something like
"Cease Fire" or "Judgment" is a lot less likely now. On the other
hand, "A Night in Sickbay" and "Bounty" are just as easy to do, as is
"Precious Cargo" in most ways.

What this new premise does make more likely is high-concept "sci-fi
wackiness" shows. "Singularity", "Vanishing Point", and "The
Crossing" come to mind as three prominent examples from this
season, as do countless examples from _Voyager_. Those three
episodes weren't terrible shows -- but they didn't do anything to make
viewers want to come back, either. Even more importantly, in a lot of
ways they're fluff pieces: everything's reset back to normal at the end
(literally, in the case of "Vanishing Point"), and no one's really
learned much or changed at all. An occasional episode like that can
work, but a steady diet of them is like trying to survive on nothing but
Twinkies.

Other observations:

-- Old-time Marvel Comics readers may have the same thought I did
when the probe started carving into Earth: "check to see if it
translates as 'Terminus.'" (Of course, fans of the animated Tick series
may simply have been looking for a giant "CHA"...)

-- Similarly, when Archer tells T'Pol, "Trip's sister lives in Florida,"
was anyone else thinking of "Lex ... my mother lives in Hackensack"
from the first Superman film? I kept expecting T'Pol to look at her
watch and shake her head...

-- And yet again ... Admiral Forrest telling Archer that there were a lot
of people depending on him was a vintage "Airplane!" moment from
start to finish.

-- Please, please, *please* tell me Trip's sister isn't going to turn up
later as a captive. (Of course, "The Prisoner of Xindi" is perhaps too
obvious a title to pass up at *some* point down the road ...)

-- Part of Enterprise's upgrade is "photonic torpedoes." Right up
there with the shieldic hull plating. Folks, if it's the same stuff please
just say so: I'd have no problems with the torpedoes themselves, but
the coy treatment about it all bothers me.

-- What with Archer using the term "bad guys," Trip's argument that
we damn well better interfere everywhere, and the military coming on
board the ship, however, I'm waiting for the inevitable Donald
Rumsfeld cameo next season. I certainly won't be surprised to hear
Trip say, "you're either with us or against us."

-- We do get a quick glimpse of NX-02, which is due to launch in
fourteen months. Given that two months go by between that scene
and the end of the episode, that makes it an even year. Season 3
finale, anyone?

-- T'Pol had a perfectly good reason for staying with Phlox: he's the
one treating her illness, and no Vulcan doctor is likely to. She
obviously couldn't tell that to the High Command, but it's something
she could have mentioned to Archer or Phlox easily enough.

-- When Enterprise leaves Spacedock, it looked to me as though the
footage used was exactly the same footage as seen in "Broken Bow."
Anyone know for sure?

-- Speaking of footage, the film quality on the bridge during the last
battle with Duras was decidedly odd. I think it was intentional, but it
struck me as very distracting. What'd they do?

-- If we're really heading into a region of space where strange things
happen, are Archer and T'Pol going to get a Mulder/Scully dynamic
going? Brannon Braga did say many years ago that he wanted to
write the "X-Files" of Trek -- and there's even a sister involved here,
albeit Trip's.

-- Lastly, Archer's closing words are "Let's see what's in there." I
don't know if that was a conscious echo of Picard's "Let's see what's
out there" at the end of TNG's pilot, but I suspect so.

That about covers it. As an episode in itself, "The Expanse" had a fair
number of good bits, but slammed together with no room to breathe
or grow. As a setup for next season, I remain skeptical. I hope this
new direction works well for the show -- I really do. The series hasn't
driven me away the way "Voyager" did, as I expect to keep watching
for a little while at least ... but it's not left me panting with anticipation
for season 3.

Wrapping up:

Writing: Some good moments, but very, *very* cluttered.
Directing: Not a lot stood out either way.
Acting: Praise for Trinneer, most of the time. None of the guest stars
had enough to do.

OVERALL: 7, I think. A watchable hour, but not marvelous.

Thanks to readers one and all -- it's been fun. That's all for me.

Tim Lynch (Castilleja School, Science Department)
tly...@alumni.caltech.edu <*>
"Are you willing to risk a second attack?"
"Sure! It's not my planet, monkey-boy."
-- Archer, and honorary Lectroid John Soval
--
Copyright 2003, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...
This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net
compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the
author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.

Will Frank

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Jul 7, 2003, 9:53:26 PM7/7/03
to
Timothy W. Lynch e-mused:

> Most of this season has seen problems with the "timely" part, and as
> of this review I think I have to bring my regular reviewing to a close
> again, this time very likely for good.

You'll be missed, Tim.

> -- Please, please, *please* tell me Trip's sister isn't going to turn up
> later as a captive. (Of course, "The Prisoner of Xindi" is perhaps too
> obvious a title to pass up at *some* point down the road ...)

Ow, ow, ow!

That's awful.

--
Will "scifantasy" Frank http://www.stwing.upenn.edu/~wmfrank
"All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been; it is lying
as in magic preservation in the pages of books." --Thomas Carlyle

10110011

unread,
Jul 7, 2003, 10:56:02 PM7/7/03
to
>tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:
>Before I begin the review proper, an announcement is in order, albeit
>one which probably won't surprise people.

Not a surprise, but unfortunate news nonetheless.

>Most of this season has seen problems with the "timely" part, and as
>of this review I think I have to bring my regular reviewing to a close
>again, this time very likely for good. Simply put, there's just not
>enough time any more.

Understandable, but still a damn shame. (More thoughts at the end of this
post)

> I
>suspect that means this season's reviews haven't been as well written
>as past ones,

They were still the best, insightful Trek reviews out there, just as they were
in the past.

>(Would that change if I were routinely getting shows that reminded
>me of past glories, like DS9's second season or TNG's third?
>Probably, but that's not the case here.)

Also understandable.

>and if people are wondering whether a "Nemesis" review is
>still on the slate, despite being long overdue, the answer is a definite
>"maybe." Now that the DVD is out, I may have more of an excuse
>than I did in the spring, and I've certainly got a bit more time at this
>particular moment. If the review's not out by later this summer,
>however, it won't be out at all.

I'll cross my fingers as I've been curious; and it would seem to be a fitting
swan song to close with a review of the crew you started reviewing oh so long
ago.

>More
>crucially, his insistence that this shouldn't be a case of holding back,
>that T'Pol's "noninterference crap" should no longer apply, strikes me
>as risky if it's really the new sense of the series. Like it or hate it, the
>idea of noninterference has been part of Trek for three decades, and
>having a series chuck it away in favor of just blasting a few "bad
>guys" (a term Archer explicitly uses) feels like it's taking away one of
>the few things that's keeping this series in the Trek universe rather
>than being a generic action-adventure show.

That _seems_ to be what "Enterprise" will slowly de-evolve into as it continues
to lose an audience. TPTB know they've lost most of the core audience that was
with them from TNG so from their marketing and audience-share perspective I
guess they feel the need to go to a generic action-adventure show to bring in a
new crowd that would not watch a old-style Trek show.

>-- Similarly, when Archer tells T'Pol, "Trip's sister lives in Florida,"
>was anyone else thinking of "Lex ... my mother lives in Hackensack"
>from the first Superman film? I kept expecting T'Pol to look at her
>watch and shake her head...

:-)

>-- Please, please, *please* tell me Trip's sister isn't going to turn up
>later as a captive. (Of course, "The Prisoner of Xindi" is perhaps too
>obvious a title to pass up at *some* point down the road ...)

Methinks you should not give them any ideas... ;-)

>-- What with Archer using the term "bad guys," Trip's argument that
>we damn well better interfere everywhere, and the military coming on
>board the ship, however, I'm waiting for the inevitable Donald
>Rumsfeld cameo next season. I certainly won't be surprised to hear
>Trip say, "you're either with us or against us."

"Expanse" is the only episode of "Enterprise" I watched this season (after
watching all of season 1) because I was curious to see this new direction.
From the parts of the ep. cited above it would seem TPTB are going after the
mundane audience. Instead of being a show that would make one think and
illustrate shades of gray, we will instead have cut-and-dried episodes where
the "bad guys" will wear black hats and tie defenseless blondes to railroad
tracks as they snear at the camera. Perhaps the only discernable difference
between "Enterprise" and the WWE is that the people who produce and the people
who watch the WWE both know its kitsch and are in on the joke (except for the
utterly clueless, of course).

>-- Lastly, Archer's closing words are "Let's see what's in there." I
>don't know if that was a conscious echo of Picard's "Let's see what's
>out there" at the end of TNG's pilot, but I suspect so.

I thought the same thing; it must have been a purposeful echo.

>The series hasn't
>driven me away the way "Voyager" did, as I expect to keep watching
>for a little while at least ... but it's not left me panting with
>anticipation
>for season 3.

It hasn't stooped as low as "Voyager" yet, but if the TPTB take the show in the
direction it looks like it might go, then I'm pessimistic.

>Thanks to readers one and all -- it's been fun. That's all for me.

What a shame, a damn shame. I know there are some others who write reviews,
some good, and some awful, but Tim has been the dean of the Trek review corps,
often imitated but never duplicated... not even close.
I started reading Tim's reviews when they were on the University of Iowa gopher
site back in 1995; read them all and learned a lot not just about Trek but also
about the craft of watching the moving image with a critical eye as to its
production, directing, casting, acting, writing, etc. In short, you have not
only been an educator in your science classroom, but you have educated many of
us that have been peripatetic visitors to the Trek newsgroups all these years.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, and please be aware all that time
spent preparing reviews was in not in vain to an unappreciative audience.
You will be missed and the Trek groups will not be the same without you.
Farewell Tim, and I hope to see you on another game show some day with a more
favorable outcome. :-)
And is there a repository for all of Tim's reviews on-line? If so, what's the
address?
Cheers...


--
"When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a
great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds
a large public." - Schopenhauer

Ben Kaufman

unread,
Jul 8, 2003, 12:40:02 AM7/8/03
to

"Timothy W. Lynch" <tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote in message
news:becu42$gm5$1...@naig.caltech.edu...

> WARNING: Uncharted spoilers lie ahead for ENT's season finale,
> "The Expanse."
>snip>

> When I started reviewing _Enterprise_ two years ago, I said that I
> wasn't sure how long I'd be able to keep it up or to keep it timely.
> Most of this season has seen problems with the "timely" part, and as
> of this review I think I have to bring my regular reviewing to a close
> again, this time very likely for good. Simply put, there's just not
> enough time any more. Teaching is not a career which admits a great
> deal of free time anyway, and I've spent far too much of this year with
> my subconscious wondering when I'd find time to catch up on
> reviews, making any given review more a chore than a labor of love. I
> suspect that means this season's reviews haven't been as well written
> as past ones, and it's a given that they've been less useful when they
> come so late ... but the core of the whole thing is that I'm simply not
> getting enough out of doing them to make the time investment
> worthwhile.
>
> (Would that change if I were routinely getting shows that reminded
> me of past glories, like DS9's second season or TNG's third?
> Probably, but that's not the case here.)

You are the last of the rec.arts.startrek giants Tim, and will truly be
missed. Few of us now can remember that heady time when
rec.arts.startrek.current received more than 500 posts per day (thousands
when a movie was released), and each Tim Lynch review started a vigorous
thread that lasted well after his next review.

Gather round the campfire youngsters -- did you know once upon a time there
was only rec.arts.stratrek? Yes, there was a time before the
current/reviews/tech/miscellaneous split up, before the www, when Usenet
ruled the internet and Startrek ruled Usenet.. Startrek was so powerful it
was beyond lowly alt. status -- it crushed unsuspecting sys. admins. with
its sheer bulk and heft. Those halcyon days before the Enterprise vs. Star
Destroyer mega-thread. The days when the mere mention of the name "Richard
Rosen" caused grown men to cry out and flee lest they too be flamed.

And those mighty voices who ruled this newsgroup when I first started
lurking on a simple shell account have grown silent one by one, except for
Timothy Lynch.

You have always had a second teaching career, Tim, on these groups. You
have touched tens of thousands, and your efforts have educated us all on
what constitutes good drama, good television and good Startrek. You have
been a shining example of what Usenet (and the internet) offers at its best.

Good luck in all your future endeavors and don't be a stranger, Tim.

.


Dirk A. Loedding

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Jul 8, 2003, 11:38:06 AM7/8/03
to
In article <becu42$gm5$1...@naig.caltech.edu>,

tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:

>come so late ... but the core of the whole thing is that I'm simply not
>getting enough out of doing them to make the time investment
>worthwhile.

You'll definitely be missed, Tim.

--
Thought for the day:

My dog thinks he's human, but my cat thinks he's Kosh.

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Dirk A. Loedding <*> ju...@america.net |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Indrani Dasgupta

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Jul 8, 2003, 5:44:09 PM7/8/03
to
wonderfully put!! and we'll miss him. those of us still hanging around for
better or worse, that is.

indrani.

"Ben Kaufman" <bb...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
news:bedhv3$1e6$1...@slb4.atl.mindspring.net...

Georgiana Gates

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Jul 8, 2003, 9:43:30 PM7/8/03
to
Ben Kaufman wrote:
> You are the last of the rec.arts.startrek giants Tim, and will truly be
> missed. Few of us now can remember that heady time when
> rec.arts.startrek.current received more than 500 posts per day (thousands
> when a movie was released), and each Tim Lynch review started a vigorous
> thread that lasted well after his next review.
>
> Gather round the campfire youngsters -- did you know once upon a time there
> was only rec.arts.stratrek? Yes, there was a time before the
> current/reviews/tech/miscellaneous split up, before the www, when Usenet
> ruled the internet and Startrek ruled Usenet.. Startrek was so powerful it
> was beyond lowly alt. status -- it crushed unsuspecting sys. admins. with
> its sheer bulk and heft. Those halcyon days before the Enterprise vs. Star
> Destroyer mega-thread. The days when the mere mention of the name "Richard
> Rosen" caused grown men to cry out and flee lest they too be flamed.
ISTR someone saying that rec.arts.startrek was a charter member of
Usenet. I do remember someone saying that it was around in 1979 and
someone else responding "How? TNG hadn't started yet".

>
> And those mighty voices who ruled this newsgroup when I first started
> lurking on a simple shell account have grown silent one by one, except for
> Timothy Lynch.
>
> You have always had a second teaching career, Tim, on these groups. You
> have touched tens of thousands, and your efforts have educated us all on
> what constitutes good drama, good television and good Startrek. You have
> been a shining example of what Usenet (and the internet) offers at its best.
>
> Good luck in all your future endeavors and don't be a stranger, Tim.
>
> .
Agreed. We'll miss you.

John C. Baker

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Jul 8, 2003, 10:59:16 PM7/8/03
to
In article <20030707225602...@mb-m10.aol.com>,
kebe...@aol.commodore (10110011) wrote:

> And is there a repository for all of Tim's reviews on-line? If so, what's
> the address?

www.psiphi.org DID have his reviews of TNG, DS9, the first two seasons
of Voyager and Enterprise up, but they lost their server (literally) in
February. The front page says they are working on restoring everything,
but it may be a while.

Jonathan Blum

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Jul 9, 2003, 12:48:13 AM7/9/03
to
"Indrani Dasgupta" <indr...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message news:<OWGOa.10240$Tx.4...@news20.bellglobal.com>...

> wonderfully put!! and we'll miss him. those of us still hanging around for
> better or worse, that is.

Let me second this seconding. Tim, as a more-or-less lurker in this
area for many years (since the days of rec.arts.startrek), you've
always been the benchmark for Trek reviews: clear, analytical,
insightful, and on-target.

It's a sad day for Trek fandom that you've decided it's no longer
worth the significant amount of effort involved. And yet, I think you
have a point. Over the decade or so I've been reading these reviews,
we've changed, the world's changed, and Star Trek's changed. It's
good to know when to move on with dignity.

Best of luck with wherever the future takes you.

Regards,
Jon Blum

Pesterfield

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Jul 10, 2003, 1:19:06 PM7/10/03
to
> That _seems_ to be what "Enterprise" will slowly de-evolve into as it >continues to lose an audience. TPTB know they've lost most of the core >audience that was with them from TNG so from their marketing and audience->share perspective I guess they feel the need to go to a generic action->adventure show to bring in a new crowd that would not watch a old-style Trek >show.

That's basically what happened to Andromeda, the high concept was
tossed to make it a standard action adventure show.

What happened to wanting the benefits of a firm fan base? You may get
more viewers, but I doubt the casual watcher will buy any merchandise,
or dvd/videos, etc.

Indrani Dasgupta

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Jul 10, 2003, 3:10:02 PM7/10/03
to
hi everyone, posting this again as I don't see my earlier post on my server.

I don't see Tim's original "The Expanse" review on my server. just the
responses. Could someone be kind enough to forward it to me?

many thanks!

indrani.

"Will Frank" <wmf...@force.stwing.upenn.edu> wrote in message
news:slrnbgk90m....@force.stwing.upenn.edu...

fruitbat

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Jul 10, 2003, 5:20:37 PM7/10/03
to
peste...@river-valley.net (Pesterfield) wrote:

>> That _seems_ to be what "Enterprise" will slowly de-evolve into as
>> it continues to lose an audience. TPTB know they've lost most of
>> the core audience that was with them from TNG so from their

>> marketing and audience-share perspective I guess they feel the
>> need to go to a generic action-adventure show to bring in a new


>> crowd that would not watch a old-style Trek show.
>
> That's basically what happened to Andromeda, the high concept was
> tossed to make it a standard action adventure show.

I know it's a little counter-intuitive, but isn't "high-concept" actually
the opposite of what you're trying to say? I think "high concept" is
something that appeals to the masses, e.g. a standard action-adventure
show. I have no idea what the opposite of high-concept is... Low concept?
Doubtful...

Jeff

William December Starr

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Jul 10, 2003, 11:47:16 PM7/10/03
to
In article <Xns93B4B0744...@206.127.4.25>,
fruitbat <fru1...@hotmail.com> said:

> I know it's a little counter-intuitive, but isn't "high-concept"
> actually the opposite of what you're trying to say? I think "high
> concept" is something that appeals to the masses, e.g. a standard
> action-adventure show. I have no idea what the opposite of
> high-concept is... Low concept? Doubtful...

"Deep concept," i.e., a concept with depth?

-- William December Starr <wds...@panix.com>

Dave Roy

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Jul 11, 2003, 12:44:52 AM7/11/03
to
On Mon, 7 Jul 2003 21:40:02 -0700, "Ben Kaufman" <bb...@ix.netcom.com>
wrote:

>You are the last of the rec.arts.startrek giants Tim, and will truly be
>missed. Few of us now can remember that heady time when
>rec.arts.startrek.current received more than 500 posts per day (thousands
>when a movie was released), and each Tim Lynch review started a vigorous
>thread that lasted well after his next review.
>
>Gather round the campfire youngsters -- did you know once upon a time there
>was only rec.arts.stratrek? Yes, there was a time before the
>current/reviews/tech/miscellaneous split up, before the www, when Usenet
>ruled the internet and Startrek ruled Usenet.. Startrek was so powerful it
>was beyond lowly alt. status -- it crushed unsuspecting sys. admins. with
>its sheer bulk and heft. Those halcyon days before the Enterprise vs. Star
>Destroyer mega-thread. The days when the mere mention of the name "Richard
>Rosen" caused grown men to cry out and flee lest they too be flamed.
>
>And those mighty voices who ruled this newsgroup when I first started
>lurking on a simple shell account have grown silent one by one, except for
>Timothy Lynch.
>
>You have always had a second teaching career, Tim, on these groups. You
>have touched tens of thousands, and your efforts have educated us all on
>what constitutes good drama, good television and good Startrek. You have
>been a shining example of what Usenet (and the internet) offers at its best.
>
>Good luck in all your future endeavors and don't be a stranger, Tim.

This says it far more eloquently then I could ever say it.

I remember my first time reading the news groups in 1990, and one of
the highlights was always the weekly run of Lynch/Rawdon/Atsushi
reviews of TNG episodes (sorry, I don't remember Atsushi's last name).
They were required reading and were always awaited with bated breath.
Tim, you were the last one remaining (though I know Mike's been back
here and there more recently), and you've always been a light back to
the good old days.

You will be missed.

I know you won't be posting reviews any more, but it would be nice if
you could occasionally post a wry comment or two about an episode if
you feel so moved. I know you haven't really gotten involved in
conversations on the newsgroups for a while now, but it would be nice.

In the meantime, take care of yourself.

Will there be a season wrap-up to end your reviewing days, or is this
one it?

Dave Roy

Timothy W. Lynch

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Jul 11, 2003, 8:00:26 PM7/11/03
to
Dave Roy <hi...@shaw.ca> writes:

>I remember my first time reading the news groups in 1990, and one of
>the highlights was always the weekly run of Lynch/Rawdon/Atsushi
>reviews of TNG episodes (sorry, I don't remember Atsushi's last name).

That would be Atsushi Kanamori.

[snip]

>I know you won't be posting reviews any more, but it would be nice if
>you could occasionally post a wry comment or two about an episode if
>you feel so moved. I know you haven't really gotten involved in
>conversations on the newsgroups for a while now, but it would be nice.

>In the meantime, take care of yourself.

>Will there be a season wrap-up to end your reviewing days, or is this
>one it?

As I said in the review, there might be a review of "Nemesis" later
this summer. A season wrap-up is not in the cards -- would YOU want
to plug in tapes of "A Night in Sickbay," "Precious Cargo," and
"Bounty" again? :-)

Thanks to one and all for the well-wishes. It's been fun.

TWL

Myrnag2555

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Jul 12, 2003, 3:52:37 AM7/12/03
to
>I know it's a little counter-intuitive, but isn't "high-concept" actually
>the opposite of what you're trying to say? I think "high concept" is
>something that appeals to the masses, e.g. a standard action-adventure
>show.

High Concept is any kind of sf or fantasy element. Andromeda was and is still
a high concept show.

fruitbat

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Jul 14, 2003, 2:03:47 PM7/14/03
to

I haven't seen Andromeda, but "high-concept" doesn't apply to any
particular genre such as sci-fi or fantasy. M-W defines it as "having
or exploiting elements (as fast action, glamour, or suspense) that
appeal to a wide audience". Dictionary.com says "Designed to appeal to
a mass audience, as by incorporating popular, glamorous features: a
high-concept screenplay". The dictionary definitions aren't perfect,
but they're close enough. Google it for more info on how it's used in
the industry. I'm not saying Andromeda isn't... I'm just saying that
the original poster seemed to be using it to mean something that it
doesn't mean (the opposite of "generic action-adventure", which it's
not).

Jeff

RWGibson13

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Jul 14, 2003, 2:34:42 PM7/14/03
to

>I haven't seen Andromeda, but "high-concept" doesn't apply to any
>particular genre such as sci-fi or fantasy. M-W defines it as "having
>or exploiting elements (as fast action, glamour, or suspense) that
>appeal to a wide audience". Dictionary.com says "Designed to appeal to
>a mass audience, as by incorporating popular, glamorous features: a
>high-concept screenplay". The dictionary definitions aren't perfect,
>but they're close enough. Google it for more info on how it's used in
>the industry. I'm not saying Andromeda isn't... I'm just saying that
>the original poster seemed to be using it to mean something that it
>doesn't mean (the opposite of "generic action-adventure", which it's
>not).<

Hmm, I don't think those dictionary entries are representative of the way I've
heard it bandied about in the industry either. A "high-concept" idea for a
film or TV show is more or less an *original* idea (as much as you can get in
this day and age :-) that has the *potential* to be ground-breaking and
generate mass appeal. Think the original "The Matrix" film as a prime example.
Those in the know know where the individual ideas for the film come from (and
aren't REALLY new), but so far as Hollywood goes they never had been exploited
to their potential. "The Truman Show" is another good example of a screenplay
that was deemed "high-concept" when it was making the rounds.

This is not to say that all of those scripts and ideas pan out, mind you. Both
"The Last Action Hero" and "Simone" are examples of high-concept films that
didn't really catch on, though the former made more money and was more popular
than it's rep might have you believe.

RWG (I thought it was a hoot when I first saw it and still do :-)

You can slip and try to find me
Hold your breath and flat deny me
Makes no difference to my thinking
I'll be here when you start sinking

--The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt

Shawn H

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Jul 14, 2003, 5:06:11 PM7/14/03
to
In rec.arts.sf.tv William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
: In article <Xns93B4B0744...@206.127.4.25>,
: fruitbat <fru1...@hotmail.com> said:

"thoughtful?"

Shawn

Gary Torborg

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Jul 14, 2003, 9:43:32 PM7/14/03
to
"Ben Kaufman" <bb...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message news:<bedhv3$1e6$1...@slb4.atl.mindspring.net>...
>
> You are the last of the rec.arts.startrek giants Tim, and will truly be
> missed. Few of us now can remember that heady time when
> rec.arts.startrek.current received more than 500 posts per day (thousands
> when a movie was released), and each Tim Lynch review started a vigorous
> thread that lasted well after his next review.
> ...

> And those mighty voices who ruled this newsgroup when I first started
> lurking on a simple shell account have grown silent one by one, except for
> Timothy Lynch.

Thank you, Tim Lynch, for a truly wonderful ride. I've been reading
since the Winter of 1991, my first experience on the net. I've been a
regular ever since, and even started my web site because of Tim's
inspiration.

>
> You have always had a second teaching career, Tim, on these groups. You
> have touched tens of thousands, and your efforts have educated us all on
> what constitutes good drama, good television and good Startrek. You have
> been a shining example of what Usenet (and the internet) offers at its best.
>

Tim, you will be sorely missed. None of us has been able to equal the
thoroughness and eloquence of the reviews you have written,
particularly in DS9's heyday. I have not always agreed with your
opinions (just check my website) but you have always stated things so
well that it didn't matter. It has always been a pleasant read.

> Good luck in all your future endeavors and don't be a stranger, Tim.

Amen to that. God bless you, Tim.

Gary Torborg
Gary's Ranked Reviews
http://garysrankedreviews.netfirms.com
garyt...@yahoo.com

MasterNinja

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Jul 15, 2003, 5:17:01 PM7/15/03
to
> Hmm, I don't think those dictionary entries are representative of the way I've
> heard it bandied about in the industry either. A "high-concept" idea for a
> film or TV show is more or less an *original* idea (as much as you can get in
> this day and age :-) that has the *potential* to be ground-breaking and
> generate mass appeal.

Here is a good definition of "high-concept" that matches my experience
in TV and movie production:

"Simply put, a high concept is an intriguing idea that can be stated
in a few words and is easily understood by all. An asteroid the size
of Texas is hurtling toward the earth. That's a high concept. Everyone
knows exactly what that means. It arouses an emotional response, and,
in just eleven words, everyone knows what the movie is about.
Doomsday."

Taken from "http://www.writersstore.com/article.php?articles_id=9".

High-concept works are the norm in the entertainment industry because
they are easier to pitch to producers and market to an audience.

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