Thursday, May 9, 2013

Scott Bakula Should Have Played The Spirit

So, Wonder Wife and I don't have any cable TV or satellite dish - all we get is what comes over the aerial (as my family always called it), and we don't watch much of that at all. We do have Netflix Streaming, and our usual wont is to watch one cancelled show from beginning to end. It usually winds up being science fiction or fantasy - we have watched Stargate: Atlantis, Farscape, and Legend of the Seeker, for example. Our current show is Star Trek: Enterprise.

Now I know this will possibly diminish my credibility as much as liking John Carter does, but we've enjoyed the show. I don't find it any cheesier than any incarnation of the ST franchise machine, and I have to say that it has displayed the tightest continuity I have ever seen on episodic television. Many have found Scott Bakula's Captain Archer wanting, but I find him the ST captain closest in affect and behavior (within the contraints of the genre) to real astronauts; he projects a bit of the same verisimilitude that Tom Hanks brought to Jim Lovell in Apollo 13.

Anyway, I have noticed that during the two-fisted space-opera action that is the hallmark of ST, Archer often gets the stuffing knocked out of him, sometimes for several minutes or more, before prevailing against his adversaries. Because of this, and the aforementioned tight continuity, he spends much of many episodes bloody and bruised from being smacked around or thrown across cargo bays.

The last time I noticed this, my mind connected it to a passage I recalled from Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes, in his section on The Spirit. I looked it up to make sure I got it right: "Much of The Spirit's charm lay in his response to intense physical punishment. Hoodlums could slug him, shoot him, bend pipes over his head. The Spirit merely stuck his tongue in his cheek and beat the crap out of them."

Given his performance across four seasons of Enterprise, I think Bakula could have captured that charm. He may not have been a typical action hero, but neither was The Spirit. Bakula's a little long in the tooth for the role now, a few years older than me, but I think it might have been a fine thing.

A battered Archer just before he beats the crap out of a Nazi.

No comments:

Post a Comment