Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005)
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Out of all the Star Trek series, I generally keep returning to Enterprise for more. I'd like to think that's down to something deeper than knowing the Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine & Voyager inside and out.
I love these characters and while they're definitely not the perfect, moral human beings Gene Roddenberry might have have created, they do in fact hold true to his ideals. They're ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, stumbling and making mis-steps along the way with best of intentions.
Archer, interested me from the outset (being familiar with Scott Bakula's previous work) his Captain out there alone with no support, no rulebook or role models to learn from their mistakes. His 'quid pro quo' relationship with Shran (a blue-skinned Andorian), both skeptics of the Vulcan's agenda and yet building bridges that will ultimately lead to an interstellar alliance known as the Federation. Trip, likable Southern Engineer who's deep friendship with his Captain, manages to survive his occasional bouts of insubordination. T'Pol, initially an observer from a Vulcan government concerned about the impact of humankind's deep exploration. Growing more accustomed to the crew and their perspective. Her relationship with Trip, which manages to rise above its somewhat exploitive origins and her struggle to maintain control over her emotions. At this point, I should also make it clear I loved what Enterprise did with the Vulcans and how they are every bit the race seen all the way back to the Original Series. I could continue to outline traits of the various other regulars, who are anything but cyphers in my opinion. Under developed in comparison to the big three for sure, but I feel that was changing... even Travis Mayweather got in on the action by the end.
I love the technology - a grappler instead of tractor beams, phase pistols and EM rifles, airlocks and shuttle-pods deployed from bomb bay doors underneath. When you're at a disadvantage, you have nothing but your wits to rely on and this show was about as far from Voyager's technobabble saves the day approach as it was possible for Trek to realistically get.
I still believe there is unexplored potential left in Enterprise and indeed it firmly has feet under the franchise table, as a prequel to both the 60's TV show and JJ Abrams' motion picture based in an alternate reality. 2 reasonably good seasons, 2 excellent ones kept me watching and yet still barely scratched the surface. Had I been in charge of CBS/Paramount in 2005, I certainly would not have cancelled this... not considering how well the stories were coming along in leaps and bounds. I hope they're looking at the popularity of Star Trek in cinemas at the moment, and think back to that day fans held a rally outside the studio, sent emails and letters... all protesting the loss of a show that had finally turned the tide into fan acceptance, only to be unjustly rewarded with the axe. Shame on the Executive who made that decision.
The series is supposedly a prequel to all the Star Trek shows and shows the earliest journeys of mankind to the stars. I really liked what the writers did with the Vulcans, as in previous Star Trek shows, this race was super-noble. Here, however, they were less angelic--doing their best to keep humans on Earth as well as showing a deviousness that you only slowly came to realize. But perhaps the most interesting race on the series were the Andorians (who were only briefly seen on the original STAR TREK). These arch-rivals of the Vulcans seemed hyper-aggressive and unreasonable through part of the series, but after a while you come to see that the Vulcans really were jerks and dishonest in this series. While the Andorians were not the nicest of people, despite initial appearances, they could be reasonable and even allies. This plot element that was woven throughout the series was particularly effective and I loved how these beings were far more complex than you first thought (much like the Narn were on BABYLON 5).
The major plot running through most episodes involved a doomsday weapon that obliterated Florida when first tested and was destined to be used to wipe out the entire planet and this was an excellent and interesting plot idea. The voyage across unknown space to stop this carnage was kept my interest. Additionally, most of the crew members were interesting and well-written, though since it was made in the 21sst century, they tended to be sex perverts compared to earlier and more chaste series (including one episode where a male crew member got pregnant after making it with another species)! Still, there was a lot to recommend here--too bad it came on the heels of all this other Trek, as it couldn't help but fail due to audience overload.
By the way, there are MANY inconsistencies on the show if you compare it to the original Star Trek, such as the Enterprise looking far more high tech in this series (though it was set in an earlier year). Unless you are a major geek with no life whatsoever, this shouldn't be a major problem. If it IS, then you need to join Star Trek Anonymous!
Contrary to some other comments I've seen, Enterprise did NOT use its cast to its fullest potential. Mayweather has been virtually ignored since the first and second seasons (he wasn't even in most of the 3rd season episodes) and when he has been around lately it has only been to lift heavy things or hit something. Reed was just starting to get some good stuff this season. Enterprise had a wonderful opportunity to connect every Trek series together and revitalize the franchise but all it did (and most people believe this) was bury it. Despite Enterprise's accomplishments, its failures reign supreme. As much as I love Trek, it needs a rest. Maybe after a few years it will be brought back by people who have new ideas to bring to it. Then, hopefully, we will truly go where no one has gone before.
I was not that much Trek fan at all to understand that a new, prequel series was on its way back in 2000/2001. My first "contact" with Archer and the crew of NX-01 was somewhere in 2003 or 2004, when a friend of mine was watching an episode on his laptop during some lab exercise at university. I saw Scott Bakula and my prejudice was there, pronto: "What? Quantum Leap is the captain of an Enterprise? Forget!". Now I don't have the slightest antipathy to Mr Bakula: I think he was great in Quantum Leap and I always tried to catch the show on TV. But to see him being captain on that ship, where I already had seen Kirk and Picard (I learned to appreciate Picard only a few years ago), two men of so different, but so shaped character, made my opinion be clear: no way this was going to work. And then: a prequel! Please, no more, after I saw what Lucas did to his fantastic space opera! Why was Hollywood always trying to follow tendencies... even if they were proved to be flops from a content point of view? I decided to skip this Trek travel and turned my interest elsewhere. After some more years I learned that ENT was dead just after four seasons, because of commercial flop. I took notice and I thought I was right from the beginning.
Last New Year's Eve, the Italian channel LA7 aired a "special Trek night", showing an episode from TOS, the movie "Generations" and finally the pilot (episode one and two) from ENT. I knew the first two that good, that I skipped them from time to time (helping with dinner preparations), but I watched the pilot in full. It was not enough to make me crazy about, but I was getting curious. I recalled from 2003/2004, that I found the blue outfit ridiculous in a way. And I couldn't understand why they had used a song theme instead of the classic, instrumental Trek theme, of course adapted in some way. So I got the DVDs and started watching...
I am almost at the end of ENT's season one and I wish I to put in words precisely what determined my change of mind. Let's start right from the beginning: the title score. Simply magnificent. I particularly like the scene where Alan Shepard is smiling ironically at the camera (I would like to know when that one was taken) and it stands, for me, as a symbol for all that sacrifices made by countless women and men since generations in air- and spacecraft: very often paying with their own lives. Then, Robert Goddad, as he is writing some formula on a blackboard. Chuck Yaeger and Amelia Earhart. The complete short title sequence perfectly grasps the endeavors made by mankind to unfold the unknown. As to the series: I found the pilot's plot not particularly overwhelming, but the subsequent episodes are intriguing. Besides the episode character of the series, I now like the prequel character and can't get enough to learn how they dealt with first beam transportation, phasers and the necessity of having some sort of "protocol" when leaving the ship, encountering new races etc. This is real dedication to details from the writers/producers! The ship is also more fragile than any other Enterprise we saw, it does not have the defense mechanisms we have on TNG. And then we have the not so easy relationship with the Vulcans and I must admit Mr Bakula does a masterpiece of interpretation when he plays the bullheaded captain, who slowly but constantly transforms into a responsible and open minded captain. Jolene Blalock is the most stunning female Vulcan I have ever seen. Her presence adds a certain eroticism and mystery to the show I have never experienced before in any other Trek show. Sure, there may be some continuity errors, some more evident than others. But we're all human after all, and I am not measuring ENT against TNG and TOS: I just want new stories from the Enterprise and her crew!
As you probably already have understood, today I ask myself why this show has been canceled after just four seasons (if I recall well, TOS was also canceled after four seasons or so). Again, commercial success is the measure of everything. But now, if take myself as unit of measurement and ask myself why did I contribute to let this fail, I feel that there are many, complex reasons. But, evidently, I needed time to appreciate. Time to pull my prejudices down. Time, to remember the "Trek that was" (I watched the movies again and the entire TNG seasons in the meantime) and that is gone for good. Today, if there was a petition to bring ENT back, I would sign it immediately.
Since time is my so recurrent reason for ENT being "my" flop, when it was aired, I wonder if Hollywood should not apply more flexible time spans when it measures commercial success. To the cast and crew of ENT, I wish you to come back either as series or as movie.
I loved it from the first time it came on the TV till when it finished. If I have a criticism, I felt the last season particularly towards the end was rushed a bit so all the loose ends were tied up but on the whole, I really enjoyed watching the series.
It continued in the essence of the other Star Trek Series and was a very entertaining and unbeatable series. It was definitely not a weak series and I thought the writing and direction was brilliant but most of all it was the cast that kept me watching every week, they really did a good job and should be congratulated on continuing the spirit of what Star Trek stood for, so thank you Scott Bakula (Captain Archer), Jolene Blalock (T'Pol), Connor Trinneer (Trip), Dominic Keating (Malcolm), Linda Park (Hoshi), Anthony Montgomery (Travis) and John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox).
Back Off!!! A lot of the comments on this site have been nothing more than whining and nit-picking about what Enterprise "isn't." The concept of this show has apparently flown past your heads at warp 4.5! This isn't Trek as we know it! That is the point, the traditional Trek was a tired dog that was on it's last leg. The idea here is to do something new, something different that we weren't ready for. Stop analyzing what it should be, what it could be, and what it has already done wrong.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, I'm telling you that it is fantastic; it's thrilling, touching, funny, adventurous, and as interesting and curious as the original series. But, when you watch it, go in with ABSOLUTELY no preconceived notions of what Trek is or what it should be. Berman and Braga have done exactly what they have set out to do and that is to reinvent Trek.
And for those of you who apparently had to bite your lip through this, where the heck is YOUR sense of adventure. We are seeing the BEGINNING of Star Trek! This is a dream come true! I mean come on guys, we got to witness the FIRST time they ever see a Klingon!! How cool is that. If you would stop trying, endlessly to find something to complain about, you would find yourself enjoying little things like finding out where Kirk's famous speech "Space, the final frontier..." actually came from, or seeing how afraid they are of the transporters. How you can not be slightly giddy seeing Jonathan Archer pick up a "Phase Pistol" and ask, "What's this?" These are the nuggets that you are letting slip by because you have this notion that you know what is best for Star Trek. I have loved all the series'( though Voyager is by far my least favorite) but it was time for something new.
One last beef with the fans, lay off the theme song. I think its wonderful. This is another one of those preconceived notions we have of what Trek is supposed to be. Yes, it is different than what we are used to, but if you stop judging and actually watch the images being shown and actually LISTEN to the words, you may find it slightly inspiring. Not to mention the fact that it is actually a very pretty song, that is, when you haven't already canned it because of being close minded.
This series is not about the continuation of Star Trek, it is about the beginning of mankind's exploration into deep space; this is why it isn't called Star Trek: Enterprise, but instead it is just Enterprise. This is not the utopian society of past Trek shows. These people are flawed, curious, impulsive, and very far from perfect. They make many mistakes and that is their enduring charm. They want this so bad and are just learning how to swim. There are so many other things I loved, such as the grappler and the amazement of a pathetic warp 5, not to mention the fantastic cast and characters (Scott Bakula has always been a personal favorite of mine!,)but I just don't have room to go into detail.
So on that note, stop shooting them down before they get going; I have a feeling its going to be one Hell of a ride! Let's Go!
The steady evolution of T'Pols character is good too, it gives a view of Vulcan culture that adds some depth to the show. The long drawn out romance between T'Pol and Trip is more subtle than some of the others. Shame it only got to 4 seasons...it and TNG are my favorites.
I had hoped that Star Trek would be one of those life-long forces to take me from cradle to grave (and I still hope it will be eventually). When I learnt that Enterprise was cancelled, I felt as if part of me died. I felt empty (and angry). *SPOILER* The very last moments of the last episode of Enterprise (where the three captains recite those famous words) were so impossibly painful to watch. They simply left a permanent scar in me.
However, in all honesty, I do blame us for this cruel conclusion. Us, the fans that kept on nagging and complaining about this being wrong or that being inaccurate. We are (in a great part) responsible for Star Trek's demise. We, the people who actually loved it the most are the ones who actually violated its 'prime directive' by trying to interfere with its "natural" development. It is just sad to think that had we been more supportive, we would now be watching season 7 of Enterprise.
We get to see Earth meet new alien cultures, go through its first interstellar war, and see it develop. The show doesn't pull its punches either, when things die they are dead, characters can be irrational, immoral, and generally very realistic.
Enterprise succeeds where much TV fails, it created a cast of interesting, developing characters while still delivering the action that makes TV fun. But without people, action is Empty. Enterprise is perfect in my eyes at least, and deserves to be seen. Even if you don't normally like Sci-fi, you might enjoy this show. A lot.
I read once that 'science fiction is what science fact aspires to be, ' Enterprise, for me, encapsulates that profoundly!
Even though this series only last 4 seasons, it really sets the scene for the original series. From the explanation of the different appearances of the Klingons to Kirk's time to the 24th century. The various first contacts between humans and other alien races and the first steps of initiating achieving the united federation of planets. But I dare say the manner in which the unification of species is portrayed is far from far fetched. With clear signs of xenophobia problems along the way.
As for the crew itself. We have Captain Johnathan Archer, our fearless leader of the series. Enterprise's very own space cowboy "Trip" as the chief engineer, Malcum the weapons master, Travis the pilot, Flaux the doctor, Hoshi the communications officer and a very talented multi linguist, and of course Commander Tu'pol the Vulcan science officer.
So if you are a Trek fan I fully recommend this series. It is very under rated, but it is an excellent science fiction production. Watch it!
I'm surprised Rick Berman actually worked as a writer for a lot of this, some of his episodes were halfway decent as well, but I remember when this was Airing, I didn't like that from the start they had yet another "time travel" arc with the Suliban and the "Temporal Cold War" which heated up and sucked Jonathon Archer in from "time to time". I attributed that to Braga's writing, sometimes his time conundrums were good, other times, not so much. But I have to give the guy credit for an occasional "Horror" tale, those worked well in Trek. Especially in the time frame that Enterprise was supposed to be telling.
There were too many "24th century" anachronisms, Trek canon from TOS describes the technology of the time as being much more primitive. For example, in "Balance of Terror" we were told that the first war with the Romulan Star Empire was wrought with ships that had no sensors or visuals compared to the TOS era. But yet, the NX01 had a Screen that was comparable to NCC 1701's, or TNG. And TOS had transporters that were not instant like TNG's, yet the NX01 seemed to be almost 24th century quality. And Doctor Phlox, as much as I like John Billingsly, just had to many gadgets that were even ahead of TNG/DS9/Voyager tech.
Nevertheless, this show was still Trek, and now that I can watch it episode by episode, it appears to be much better than my first impression. So I give the whole series a high rating, maybe not each episode. And of course, I thought the last episode was a disgrace and an insult to the series and the actors who had worked so hard to make it happen, not to mention we had already known that Riker was not playing "Cook" on the Holodeck, he was doing calisthenics with Worf instead. The insensitivity of that episode shocked me.
But revisiting this series today, when it was good, it was extremely so. Especially when we get around to "Carbon Creek".
What Gene Roddenberry pitched, as "Wagon Train to the Stars" became much more than what WilliamShatner described on SNL as, "...just a TV show!" Roddenberry managed to address the problems of the day that would not have been addressed otherwise on TV, by using outer space as its backdrop. The show inspired many to reach for the stars by studying science. People of color and women seeing Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) on the Enterprise bridge saw a future that included them. The show inspired new technology and it's packaging. Imagine what your cell phone or home computer would look like without STAR TREK as inspiration. Gene Rodenbery's vision also showed us a future where people of all races worked and played together (including TV's first interracial kiss Plato's Stepchildren).
I know that I'm making this sound bigger than just the cancellation of a TV show. I liked Enterprise and was not bothered by the multiple episode story lines. I still saw Gene Roddenberry's original intentions realized in this latest STAR TREK franchise. I liked that Captain Jonathan Archer's (Scott Bakula ) Enterprise and crew was less sophisticated than Captain Kirk's or Picard's. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter if you are battling an unknown alien threat or debating the moral implications of interfering with the development of an alien species, as long as the show is well written and well acted, that's all that matters.
One of the great things about Trek is that you can never run out of story ideas. All you have to do is look at today's newsmakers, paint them green and stick them on another planet.
Fear not Trekkies or Trekkers. Even though we are saying goodbye to Captain Archer's Enterprise, the franchise will live long and prosper. There is now talk about an 11th STAR TREK feature scheduled for release in 2007. I look forward to it, just don't expect to see me at the first screening and I definitely wont be in uniform because to quote Groucho Marx, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member".
Stay Tuned Tony Figueroa
T'POL'S ACTING WAS AMAZING! It might be just me, but I could tell she was really T'Pol and not just acting to be T'Pol. Here face said more than words could. Simply amazed. The pillar of the series in my opinion.
This is one of those series I could rewatch and not get tired or bored of it. Awesome job from everyone who worked on this series. The new Discovery (which I could not watch because of so many issues) could learn something from it.
Not sure why this series got so much hate. Probably will be considered a classic in about 20 years, as is always the case with under-appreciated/underrated art or movies. I watched all the previous Star Trek's and in my opinion, this one was no worse, but even excelled at many things from its predecessors which I liked.
I was actually SAD at the last episode, both because of the ending but also because I knew this would be the last episode. I wish it could keep on going endlessly and that's a feeling I rarely experience with movies or TV shows.
I believe this brings Rodenberry's original vision back as it is more idealistic, as was his initial vision. Obviously, much of this won't be nearly as ground breaking as we live in a different time, but there are still the undertones of dealing with racism, fair play, and doing the right thing that we had in TOS.
The series overall features great plots, excellent characters, and a good ensemble cast. The situations they end up in are believable and play well in the established Trek universe. They even finally give an explanation as to why the Klingons had no bumps on their foreheads in TOS, something they only eluded to in DS9. The notable exception is season three, which deals with the Xindi, and some sort of expanse which is not in the established universe. As the entire year dealt with that, it was a bit difficult to swallow. It was also much further away form the idealism which is at the heart of Star Trek, similar to how the Borg are for Picard and the Enterprise in TNG.
The final episode is also a major disappointment. Instead of writing a quality finale, which the production team had ample time to prepare, they essentially turned it into an episode of TNG, with Riker and Troi visiting the holodeck. This was a very weak and disrespectful way to end a great show which stood up just fine on its own.
It was a disappointment that the show was canceled after only 4 years, where most of the other Treks had lasted 7. The show was far better than most other shows on TV at that time, and held its own amongst Trek fans. Perhaps general audiences had had enough Trek after 18 straight years of it on TV, and films.
Enterprise is almost as good as TNG and TOS, but better than Voyager and DS9. Well worth putting into your cue.
First of, choosing a prequel was a huge risk, Star Trek has an universe of it's own, and (re)writing the past leaves people often puzzling about their own ideas about it. And besides, with enterprise looking far more advanced then the enterprise in the old series, it's often hard to imagine it's a prequel. It is a well known fact that Braga and Berman hated the old series, and I get the impression it was just their chance to "rewrite trek history".
Secondly it was a huge mistake involving time travel and the Xindi, to me it was simply not a believable start of a prequel series. I would have expected a detailed plot regarding the troubles of starting up the federation. Yet 3 seasons where wasted around time travel, season 4 is a lot better and would have been a great start for the series.
Thirdly, the character development was only focused on t'Pal and Archer, the rest of the crew was pretty under developed most of the times. It it nice to see though, that in each Star Trek series the doctor is always an enjoyable character.
Fourthly, the show misses the "Star Trek" feeling, I found it typical that in the beginning the show didn't even carry the Star Trek label, as if it was never the intention of making a Star Trek show. What made Star Trek stand out was mostly the social criticism and idealism, and this show barely touched any of that.
And lastly it saddens me that the current fan base of Enterprise watches the series because the "the female characters are hot" or "it's action packed". Of course nothing wrong with both, but it shouldn't the main reason to watch the show.
All in all, Star Trek has gone pretty much downhill since Voyager, many people who disliked Voyager saw Enterprise as a second chance for the franchise. With Enterprise now canceled as a TV show, I can only hope the franchise is laid to rest for a long while. It should only be revived again when Berman and Braga have left, and someone with a true heart for the series steps in with some fresh ideas.