Star Trek 1321: Year Four, Issue 4

1321. Year Four, Issue 4

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Year Four #4, IDW Comics, October 2007

CREATORS: David Tischman (writer), Rob Sharp and Joe Sharp (artists)

STARDATE: Unknown (during The Animated Series)

PLOT: The Enterprise is tasked with a cultural exchange mission with the planet Viden, where televised entertainment is a planetary obsession. Because the public wants to see more of these "spacemen", Kirk is captured and his ship put in danger by television satellites. He strikes a deal with the network, which seems to involve a talent show featuring the entire crew. When the network doesn't approve of his budget (a ploy), they hold the ship to ransom by putting explosive cameras aboard. After two weeks of very boring reality tv as the crew only goes about normal routine maintenance, the network is despondent. However, by that time, Scotty has found a way to disable the cameras and things get back to normal.

CONTINUITY: None. Metatextually, there's plenty. Kirk doesn't want his crew tied up in a television show for 5 years (it lasted 3). Spock calculates that changing audience tastes would have canceled the show after 88 weeks (the number of TOS episodes if you count The Cage). One network is working on a derivative show called Eden 3 about aliens learning to coexist on a space station (a reference to DS9). There is claims the show cannot manufacture drama on such a tight budget. One background extra is drawn as Charlie Evans (Charlie X). The network characters are called Tinker (Grant Tinker?) and Brandon (Tartikoff?). The script for Starfleet Academy was written by IDW writer Scott Tipton (who did not do an Academy series).

DIVERGENCES: None.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Famous last words
REVIEW: An amusing issue that once again gives a TOS spin to a very current idea. At times, it gets just a little cute for my tastes, with too many knowing nods at the television industry and how it has treated Star Trek. On the whole, though, this is the best issue of the series yet, especially because of the clean but realistic art from the Sharp Brothers. However, being a Tischman script, it has its share of problems. How the heck did the Videns install cameras in every room of the ship when they were never invited there? And a talent show? As usual, complete scenes fail to develop, as for example, the crew walks onto a Dr. Phil-type show. And then we cut to later. Similarly, the ending is a botched affair. Either the Videns lose interest in Big Brother Enterprise or Scotty disables the cameras. Giving us both undercuts both resolutions. It's simply redundant and unsatisfying.

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