On The Doctor and the Enterprise, and FOX

I read Jean Airey’s The Doctor and the Enterprise recently. 🙂

The Doctor and the Enterprise (tDatE) is frivolous fun. I’d slot it right after “The Deadly Assassin” and before the Doctor picks up Leela, but there’s a reference to K-9, so perhaps it would be best after Leela and before Romana I, so right before “The Key to Time”? Anyway, the story isn’t anything to write home about. It doesn’t have a plot, just a series of interconnected scenes (sounds like Doctor Who, doesn’t it?) that seem to happen. But it’s handled well enough that you can forgive the story for that.

There’s not any sort of sensible plot, instead there’s a series of events that just seem to happen one after another, and it doesn’t really all hang together. The Enterprise gets tossed into another universe, they fight the Sontarans, the engines are going to blow, the dilithium burns out, they visit a world under attack by the Daleks, there’s some tribal ritual, etc. Not exactly a linear progression. But it’s done with some style, rare enough in fanfic.

I’ve sometimes wondered if the reason the story seems to wander as it does is related to the fact that Jean Airey stumped during the writing of it and put it away for a time. It’s certainly possible, to lose the initial muse, then to go back months or years later and try to figure out where the story was going when it was stopped.

I had some problems with Kirk’s characterization. He seemed way to diffident and dismissive towards the Doctor. I admit it’s the reader bias creeping in–we know that the Doctor’s one of the good guys, but Kirk obviously doesn’t. However, you’d think that once the Doctor had done some good for the Enterprise and proved his worth that Kirk would have come around, rather than at the very end. I mean, saving the Enterprise from the Sontarans has to count for something, don’t you think?

I’ve discovered that Trek/Who crossovers are fairly common on the Internet. Most are forgettable, thankfully. There’s a sequel to tDatE I’ve found that’s positively wretched. The Fourth Doctor remembers the events of tDatE when the TARDIS lands on the Enterprise-D, but he’s travelling with Sarah Jane. (Uhm, no, because he’s travelling alone and with K-9 in tDatE, and K-9 didn’t show up until Leela’s day.) And then when the Doctor leaves the TARDIS throws the Enterprise-D into a confrontation with the Cybermen and the Seventh Doctor appears. It’s a dreadful story; about the only useful thing in it is the suggestion that the Celestial Toymaker was Q. (Random observation. I’ve seen pictures of Michael Gough as the Celestial Toymaker, and I’d be damned but he looks like Leonard Nimoy way back in the day!)

Jean Airey herself wrote a sequel to tDatE, entitled “The Lieutenant and the Doctor.” My guess is that Dorcy Stephens stowed away aboard the TARDIS when the Doctor left, and she traveled with him for some period of time before he dropped her off somewhere and then got on his with normal adventures. I haven’t read this one; I’ve never been able to find it, and I’ve been checking eBay regularly. Published in “The Blue Guardian,” issue 13 if you ever run across it.

Switch gears, to ranting about the FOX television network. My opinion of FOX is this: they have their heads up their asses. Doesn’t matter what we’re talking about. If FOX shows it, they’re going to find a way to fuck it up, unless it’s so established that they can’t fuck with it. I think the problem with FOX (and with television in general these days) is that shows aren’t given the time or the opportunity to find and build an audience. It’s the drive to get the great ratings now, to win the timeslot and win it big, that’s causing promising concepts and shows to languish for a few weeks and then vanish without a trace. Sometimes, pulling the plug is a mercy-killing; Action! deserved to be yanked when it was (the Jay Mohr sitcom FOX showed last year about a film producer). But other times, the networks are pulling something that has potential and if marketed correctly could be the next-big-thing.

It’s an unfortunate cycle, and it is a cycle since we see this happen every year. Short of giving up on television completely, I don’t think we’ll see matters change. That would mean changing the entire culture of Hollywood, and that’s not going to happen. The only thing that could would be the impending strikes, and I don’t think even the strikes could alter in any fundamental way the manner in which the studios and networks do business.

Will we see The Lone Gunmen go the way of so many other FOX shows. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it didn’t, Chris Carter’s protestations to the contrary.

In retrospect, I’m sort of glad FOX didn’t pick up Doctor Who, not that they were going to. I shudder to think what they might have done with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *