April 25, 2012

The failure of Star Trek: Enterprise

Giant Freakin Robot has the pretty good synopsis.

I'm of mixed feelings about Enterprise. It always seemed to me that the writers didn't care about established Trek canon ... and worried about it all at the same time. For example, the show's very premise violates everything we'd learned about Trek and the Enterprise. I mean, the ship -- "NX-01"?? Since when? And who the hell was Capt. Archer? In the show's premiere, Earth/Federation history with regards to the Klingons is altered from what we know. On the other hand, when Archer is trapped in the past with the time-traveling Daniels, the writers seem to go out of their way to establish the canonical Earth-Romulan wars. The list is endless.

Nevertheless, BFR's Josh Tyler makes a good point in that the show's right-from-the-bat weakness is that it established time travel as the main plot device. Of the entire show. I'm a HUGE time travel aficionado, but even I saw that this was pretty weak -- and left too many "easy outs" for the writers if they needed 'em ... or, would allow them to just complicate the living sh** out of Trek canon even further. Honestly -- when news broke that the series was canceled, I seriously thought the whole Temporal Cold War stuff would act like the "Dream Season" of Dallas in which the whole series was erased from history.

And this all doesn't even address the insanity of dedicating an entire season (the third) to searching for a doomsday weapon. It gave "boring" a whole new concept.

As Tyler notes, the series seemed to have gotten its act together in season four, its last, but by then it was too late. It quickly (and very neatly) did away with the Temporal Cold War, and began to concentrate on story above all. Possibly the best episodes of the entire series were the "In a Mirror, Darkly" which used the long-established "mirror" universe (and, ironically, time travel) to tell an incredibly good story. But, alas, in the rush to tie everything up while running out of time, the finale hastily "established" the Federation ... with the lame plot device of the Enterprise-D's Will Riker using the holodeck to "live out" a history lesson.

But hey -- does any of this all matter, though? Star Trek has been rebooted, existing now in an alternate universe. Yeah, I know the Trek universe proper still exists (and many cool stories can be told!), but will we see any of it outside of novels, comics and fan fiction?

I tend to doubt it.

Hey -- I DID get a mention in the movie reboot, OK??

Posted by Hube at April 25, 2012 08:41 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I've always been on the fence about "Enterprise" as well. On one hand, it did start to improve in its final season, but on the other, I thought the whole Temporal Cold War storyline was kind of lame. And the whole thing never was adequately explained, either, and was quickly forgotten by the end of the season. Also, there were a few a politically-charged episodes that I didn't care for, either, such as the one where T'Pol got a disease that was pretty much an allegory for AIDS, if I remember correctly.

Posted by: Carl at April 26, 2012 02:29 AM

The Xindi were the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

The idea that they launched this major devastating attack on Earth that killed millions but nobody every remembered it to mention it in any of the other series?

Posted by: Steve Newton at April 26, 2012 01:59 PM

That's a great call, too, Steve.

Posted by: Hube at April 26, 2012 02:02 PM

Yeah, I often wondered about that, too. How no one remembered the Xindi attack... I suppose their intention was to erase it using the Temporal Cold War as an excuse, but that just makes things even more confusing than they need be.

Posted by: Carl at April 26, 2012 03:27 PM

I think it's safe to assume that Berman and Braga really drove Star Trek into the ground, which is why they had J.J. Abrams reboot the film in 2009. Bakula said in an interview that if Enterprise hadn't failed, the next movie would've been about his crew and the TOS crew.

Posted by: Carl at April 27, 2012 01:48 PM