See also Season One Blog
On September 26th, 2001 Star Trek: Enterprise had it's debut, 20 years has passed since and I still long for 3 more seasons of Enterprise. Now we are 20 years later, Enterprise has become more popular and I even heard and read rumors about a fifth season in the last few years! I know it won't happen but still it means Enterprise still matters!
Question in hindsight, would have made it a difference if Star Trek: Enterprise launched two or three years later? I mean, at the end of Star Trek: Voyager, you could read it everywhere, people were tired of Star Trek. In part perhaps because the last 1.5 season of Star Trek: Voyager were far from stellar with the exception of a number of episodes. Furthermore the last two Star Trek movies, Insurrection and Nemesis had lackluster box-office numbers. Of course in 2001 we were blessed with 14 years of Star Trek. They called it I believe Star Trek fatigue. So right at that time, in September 2001, Star Trek: Enterprise was launched, a show that was called Enterprise, instead of Star Trek: Enterprise. The creators, Brannon Braga and Rick Berman, apparently believed that this would be an acceptable risk because the fans immediately would know that Enterprise meant being a Star Trek show. Against the fans wishes, it was set before the Captain Kirk era. One of the biggest reasons of course was that it was inevitable that there would be stories that would mess up the already established timeline. This indeed did happen a number of times, but for me this never has been a big problem.
At first I wasn’t that happy with Scott Bakula as the captain of the show. I can’t really explain it but I didn’t see him as captain material on a Star Trek show. Very soon I was proven wrong, at least in my opinion, soon Captain Archer became one of my favorite Captains, he was someone I would blindly follow, would I have served on his ship. He really grew from season to season, from a little bit innocent, inexperienced Starship Captain to a more seasoned Captain who wasn’t shy of making the difficult decisions. I have to say Star trek creators have a knack for picking the right Captain. Of the rest of the cast, at first I really did not like Trip much, he annoyed me immensely. In recent years this has changed bit in his favor. Perhaps in part because of his role on Stargate Atlantis as Michael, where he was even more annoying! Doctor Phlox was one of my favorite characters, I think I am not alone in that. T’Pol was a strong character also, what I found pity was that during the course of the last two seasons Jolene Blalock got so skinny, too skinny. I don’t know if she was sick or if she lost weight on purpose but it was not becoming. Malcolm Reed also became one of my favorite characters, really liked that Section 31 bit, especially because of course it’s linked to my favorite Star Trek show, Deep Space 9! Hoshi also became an interesting character over the course of four years, although perhaps a bit underused. Travis Mayweather definitely was underused if you ask me.
The pilot “Broken Bow” was a big success, it had big numbers, 12.5 million viewers were watching the pilot . This was a 42% increase on Star Trek: Voyager’s series finale “Endgame”. From the pilot onwards the ratings dropped from an average of 12.5 million during the pilot, to 5.3 million viewers in the season 1 finale. Season 1 certainly was not perfect but it had some very enjoyable episodes like “The Andorian Incident, Dear Doctor, Shadows of P'Jem, Fallen Hero” and the season finale “Shockwave Part 1”. Worst episode of season 1 is undoubtedly “Terra Nova”. The second season went on were the first season left of in regard of viewers. Although the second season opened well with “Shockwave part 2”. Also the next 3 episodes “Carbon Creek, Minefield and Dead Stop" were solid episodes. Episode 5, “A Night in Sickbay”, people love or hate this episode. I think if you have a pet yourself, you’ll at least appreciate this episode. I thought “Carbon Creek” was an exceptional good episode were 3 Vulcans, one of them the great grandmother of T’Pol, crash land on earth.
During season 2 Star Trek: Nemesis came out and it was a huge box-office letdown. Also during first half season of the second season of Star Trek: Enterprise, there were a couple of really mediocre episodes. Episodes like “Marauders, The Seventh, The Communicator, Singularity, Vanishing Point and Precious Cargo”. Six episodes in a row which were not Star Trek worthy, were mediocre at best. Now every Star Trek has these kinds of episodes, but six in a row is almost unheard of. Only Star Trek: Voyager’s second half of season 6 has had the same run of mediocre episodes. Given the Star Trek fatigue there was and the 10th Star Trek movie which most Star Trek fans didn’t like, Enterprise’s popularity was only hurt even more by that. Now on a sidenote: Star Trek fatigue, in my book it’s a load of crap, I believe that if the quality of the stories are good, the episodes are engaging, there phrase Star Trek fatigue would not have been invented. But to be honest, in the last 2 seasons of Voyager, there also are a lot of mediocre episodes, forgettable episodes, episodes I don’t need to watch them ever again. Star Trek: Enterprise also had a number of these kind of episodes, especially in the first half of its second season.
However, at the end of season two, finally we see the quality of the stories improve significantly. Mid-season also has a few good episodes, episodes like “Catwalk, Cease Fire and Future Tense”. And towards the season finale the stories vastly improve with episodes like “The Breach” where Phlox has an ethical dilemma. “Cogenitor", "Regeneration”, an exciting Borg episode. “First Flight”, episode 24 is perhaps one of my favorite season 2 episode, really like this episode about a younger Archer. The season finale, “The Expanse”, is a wonderful set-up to its third season, a season which I found to be fantastic, still not sure what my favorite season is, the third or the fourth.
With its third season Enterprise became Star Trek: Enterprise, when Star Trek: Enterprise’s third season aired, continued story arcs were still not the standard as we know it today. There are examples of course, the best example is Babylon 5, which did not just one season but 5 seasons. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is another example, Space: Above and Beyond, Dark Skies, Farscape and probably a few more. I really welcomed the one season story arc, I thought it was very well done. Still there are a few episodes which are mediocre at best in season 3, episodes like “Extinction, Exile and also Hatchery” come to mind. These are mostly forgettable with “Exile” being the best of these three. By now Archer has been transformed to a “Captain John J. Sheridan (Babylon 5)” kind of Captain. Archer, always the understanding Captain, now really has been changed to a bad-ass Captain you rather not cross. Archer made some questionable decisions and that’s exactly what attracted me about this season and Archer’s development. We do not need flawless Captains, they too are human and they too have emotions.
Like the Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise also had a multi layered villain in the Xindi (pronounced as ZIN-dee), which made them very interesting as a species. Six different intelligent species developed on Xindus; one of them, the Xindi-Avians, was believed extinct by the 2150s, as a result of a brutal civil war between the six species that destroyed the planet. The Reptilian Xindi are the most aggressive ones and probably best to compare with the Jem’hadar. Of course the Xindi were also manipulated by another species, the Sphere Builders. The Sphere Builders, not a definite name has been given to the species, discovered that, in the 26th century, their invasion of the galaxy would be repelled by the United Federation of Planets. To avert this future, the Sphere-Builders decided to manipulate the Xindi species into destroying Humanity before the Federation's founding.
Although the Xindi storyline has mostly been completed with season 3’s season finale “Zero Hour”, the last episode does end with a surprising cliff-hanger! Jonathan Archer finds himself in Nazi Germany and in the finale moment an alien, in a Nazi uniform, steps out of the shadow as him is being asked if he recognizes his (Archers’) uniform. Manny Coto became the showrunner for season 4. Manny Coto just came of a SCI-FI show called Odyssey 5, which unfortunately was cancelled after only one season. Coto joined Star Trek: Enterprise and created a wonderful season with almost only 2 and 3 part stories with an exception here and there. Season 4 had some fantastic stories and some great guest spots. One springs to mind immediately is of course Brent Spiner. But also Peter Weller (Manny Coto of course worked with him on Odyssey 5) and even a small part for Star Trek fan Seth MacFarlane who now has a big SCI-FI hit with The Orville.
It was certainly a different season than the third season but it was just as good, it really is a shame that Star Trek fans dropped Enterprise. Would have loved to have a few more seasons, especially with the Romulan Wars what would at least start within the lifespan of Enterprise had we been blessed with 7 seasons. Of course, I also have to say something about the series finale. As a series finale, it’s devastating, disastrous. The one who thought this up, could only have been insane! The crew deserved their own finale, really beyond me how they did what they did with the series finale. As an episode in the middle of the season, I think “These are the Voyages” would have been an okay episode.
The Enterprise song is always been a hot item, even the creators, were not happy with the intro song, you can see this in interviews on the Blu-ray release of Enterprise. I myself don’t mind the original intro song, I do however dislike the faster version in later seasons.
Star Trek: Enterprise is my second favorite Star Trek series, don’t care what others think of that. I’m really fond of this show and it’s already itching to watch Enterprise for the 3rd time on Blu-ray. That’s the last thing I want to mention, if you are Enterprise fan and only have the DVD’s, you are missing out on a lot of extra’s like for instance “In Conversation: The First Crew” a 90 minute reunion of the cast, which is truly amazing. Much more extra’s on these 4 seasons which aren’t on the older DVD releases. In recent years Enterprise became more popular, probably due to streaming services like Netflix & Amazon, which in my opinion, they richly deserve. Star Trek: Enterprise is certainly not less than any of the other incarnations, so again I say, happy 20th Anniversary, let the Enterprise documentary become a reality soon!
Taken from screencaps TrekCore.com