September 24th, 2003

Eye of the Dragon

Enough Politics. On to IMPORTANT matters!

This season, The WB has moved Smallville from its Tuesday night timeslot over to Wednesday at 8 (7 Central and Mountain). For those of us who enjoy intelligently-written, character-driven, SF-related shows, this makes a nice, two-hour block: Smallville at 8, Angel at 9.

Of course, it also puts "I Was A Teenage Kryptonian" smack up against another genre show: Enterprise (which they've finally decided to go ahead and designate "Star Trek: Enterprise" -- maybe they thought they needed to remind people that this was part of a Branded Franchise?)

For me and mine, this is no contest. Enterprise is no prize -- as I said, we prefer our genre fiction to be intelligently written. Frankly, in seasons past, we've done our best to avoid catching the end of it while waiting for Angel to start.

While I know which show I think will win the ratings war, I'm biased. How much of an overlap is there, really, between the genre fans who like Superman's childhood recast as a teen drama in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer goes to Dawson's Creek" mode and the people desperately clinging to the one last vestige of space opera in general and Roddenberry's Legacy in particular currently on the air?

My personal prediction: Enterprise will find a new night by mid-season. UPN can't and won't cancel it. For one,too much of the public awareness of their very existence is "The Network That Shows Star Trek". franchise However, they're not going to sit idly by whilst it hemmorages audience to Clark and Lex's Excellent Adventures. For another, if Viacom lets the only extant Trek franchise lapse into oblivion, they weaken their defense against the lawsuit filed by Activision, claiming that their bungled handling of the Star Trek property has undercut the value of Activision's license to produce Trek-related computer games.

The question then becomes... will it survive in the new slot? Will they be able to carve a new niche in the week for Trekkies when UPN's Wednesday Night has been Trekcentric since the early seasons of Voyager? I know that I, personally, don't watch a lot of non-genre shows, so there are several nights during the week that I don't watch anything on the networks.

So... what do you think? Which show will you watch? Which show will come out on top whilst the other is forced to stake a claim on a new night? Will this spell the end to the feeble flagship of a flagging franchise, if not the flagship as a whole?

Do you even care?

(Those who proudly proclaim "I don't watch television!" need not respond.)

Yes, I've had more than a few people tell me that "Enterprise has gotten better, and it's supposed to get really good this season". I see no reason to pay any attention to Bernon and Braga's braggadiccio. If I hear that they've hired writers like, oh, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, Joss Whedon or J. Michael Straczynski, or if they've hired back Sternbach and Okuda and decided to listen to them, maybe, just maybe, I'll tune in.

Assuming that "Luthor's Creek" is in reruns, of course.
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