Why Star Trek: Enterprise Failed And How It Nearly Worked

fb share tweet share

When Enterprise debuted on UPN in 2001 it was with a self-assured sense of success. Sure Star Trek was in a bit of a decline after all the misfires of Voyager, but Enterprise promised to remedy all of that by taking Gene Roddenberry’s vision in a fresh direction, rewinding the clock back to where the Federation began to rediscover the spirit of adventure and exploration that used to be the hallmarks of an aging franchise now drowning in overwrought techno-babble. They were so certain this would work that, at least not until it became clear in the third season that it wouldn’t, Enterprise didn’t even bother to put the words “Star Trek” in its title. Their audience would find it, support it, and love it no matter what they called it.

They weren’t wrong. Had Enterprise turned out to be any of the things it was supposed to be, all of those things would have come true. We know that because five years after its cancellation director JJ Abrams pulled off all the things Enterprise originally promised, and more, in his 2009 movie. The 2009 Star Trek was, basically, everything Enterprise was meant to become but didn’t.

What happened? Where did they go wrong? I’ve spent the last few months re-watching every episode of the show and, seven years after its cancellation, I have answers. This is why Star Trek: Enterprise went wrong and how it so nearly didn’t.

Enterprise NX-01

A Fresh Start

There’s no denying in the wake of the 2009 movie’s success that they had the right idea. Enterprise was supposed to take us back to the beginning of the Federation, before the time of Captain Kirk to the first starship to bear that famous name, in a tumultuous galaxy humans were only beginning to understand. More than that, Enterprise was supposed to be different in style and tone. They wanted a stripped down approach, one that emphasized the strength of human determination instead of the excessive, over-reliance on technology previous Trek series’ had become lost in.

Unfortunately, instead of really embracing that fresh premise Enterprise quickly became a television series at war with itself. The show’s pilot, “Broken Bow” immediately went to the by then, played out time travel well and set in motion a series of events that would waste what should have been an interesting premise on a half-hearted temporal plot that went nowhere. Worse by focusing on time travel as the show’s primary plot device, they ignored the time period they’d worked so hard to set it in, telling stories that could have been told in any place at any time. Rather than exploring the possibilities of storytelling in the earliest, wild west days of human space exploration Enterprise all too often focused on the same meaningless technobabble that hamstrung Voyager, only it felt even more out of place here in a show that seemed so clearly designed not to be that kind of series at all.

Nothing embodied the show’s dual nature better than its much maligned theme song. Like the series itself, the Enterprise opening credits were meant to signify something fresh, to embody the spirit of excitement and adventure they hoped to recapture. Casting off the traditional, ship-flyby open used by all previous Star Trek incarnations, Enterprise created a visual history lesson which rocketed through the history of human exploration. Then it ruined that otherwise exciting visual feast by setting it to an awkward song about faith sung by a Rod Stewart knockoff, presumably because nothing says exploration and adventure like elevator rock. Later when they realized everyone hated it, they tried to fix it by speeding up the tempo. Like setting a Michael Bolton song to a Bossanova beat cranked out of a Casio, this made something bad even worse.

Yet even in amongst the mess the show’s producers made of it, the remnants of a few good ideas found a way to shine through… while Enterprise’s writers did everything they could to ignore them. Some of those overlooked remnants were minor, the crew’s fear of using the transporter for instance, was a nice little subplot which never really got properly explored. Some of them were major.

Jonathan Archer and Porthos

Captain Archer

None of those missed opportunities were a bigger problem than the show’s captain who started out as something interesting and, thanks to the series’ insistence on ignoring anything that might be worth watching, turned into a bore. Archer was played by Scott Bakula, an actor best known for his “aw shucks” persona, and the character he played reflected that . The thing about Captain Archer is that he’s not very good at his job. He’s the first Star Trek captain who seems to have absolutely no idea what he’s doing. It makes sense, he’s the first to be out there doing it. Starfleet had no way to know what kind of man they’d need sitting in their first Warp 5 ship’s captain’s chair. In Jonathan Archer, they picked wrong.

The Archer Enterprise introduced us to initially was careless and sloppy. He fraternizes with the crew and treats his mission like he’s on some sort of galactic pleasure cruise. He’s not a bad guy or even a bad officer, he’s just not very well suited to being a starship commander. When things start to go wrong, he pouts. When things don’t go as planned, he complains that aliens are mean. As the missions get tougher he gets increasingly unhappy, miserable, even morose. He starts to scowl, yells at his crew, begins holding grudges, shooting first and asking questions later. Enterprise responds by glossing over his mistakes and telling us how great he is.

As the show’s writers became increasingly out of touch with the character, Archer turned into nothing more than a placeholder for an already determined future success. His attitude didn’t matter, his mistakes didn’t really amount to anything, and his decisions were rendered irrelevant as Enterprise charted a course which forced him to go right when he should have gone left. They could have made an entire series out of watching Archer struggle with his failures but instead they kept pushing the character into Captain Kirk’s cookie-cutter mold. Archer isn’t Captain Kirk. He likes water polo. He spends his off-duty hours hugging a Beagle. He’s more comfortable talking about warp theory than negotiating with hostile aliens or making sweet love to green women. Enterprise ignored this and kept crafting Archer as something he never was and that Scott Bakula was never capable of playing.

T'Pol shows Trip her best assets.

Vulcan Fury

It wasn’t a bad idea to have a Vulcan on Enterprise. After all this is a Star Trek set in the very earliest days of the humanity’s journey out into the stars. Vulcans were the first aliens encountered by humanity and would, logically, be one of the few races they’d be well acquainted with during this period. It was, however, a bad idea to make that Vulcan Archer’s first officer. Enterprise is supposed to be, after all, a show about humanity’s first leap out into the stars. Instead it’s a show about humans reaching out into the stars whenever Archer’s on the bridge. When he’s not, it turns into a show about how a Vulcan named T’Pol told humans what to do on their first attempt to reach out and connect with other species.

That’s particularly ridiculous in light of Archer’s own resentment towards Vulcans. He sets out on his journey determined to have humanity start doing things on its own. And for his first act as Captain of Earth’s first warp 5 ship, he makes a Vulcan his first officer. Nothing about this makes any sense.

It makes even less sense when you consider what Enterprise made out of the Vulcans. Missing were the logical, peace-loving aliens we’ve grown to know and love as part of the Trek universe. In their place were a bunch of angry, pointy-eared, close-minded racists with an addiction to spray-tan and a penchant for murder and threats. In the show’s final season there was a last-minute, half-hearted attempt to reconcile all of this and turn the Vulcans back into creatures best known for their inability to lie… but by then it was too little, too late.

Maybe they could have sold the idea of Vulcan fury better if they’d cast an actual actress to play T’Pol, the aforementioned Enterprise first officer. Instead they cast glorified nookie girl Jolene Blalock. She’s useful whenever you want to photograph a Vulcan female in her underwear (something the show, wisely, did a lot of) but Blalock’s not much good for anything else. I’d like to think that no one ever actually got around to telling her that Vulcans don’t have emotions, but the truth is probably that she just can’t act. At all.

Jeffrey Combs as Shran

Character Matters

Luckily Blalock’s lack of talent wasn’t something shared by all of the Enterprise crew.

Charles “Trip” Tucker III (played by Connor Trinneer) the catfish lovin’ Southern engineer is a delight, like Han Solo with a monkey wrench. Trip’s the kind of guy who gets away with a wink and a nod and woos women with his southern drawl. His excitement over the possibilities of their mission are infectious, his sense of humor a welcome relief from his Captain’s increasingly dour demeanor.

Phlox, the ship’s Denobulan doctor is equally successful. Performed with an effervescent verve for life by the great John Billingsly, he’s one of the most truly alien crew members ever to show up on a Trek series. His freakishly wide smile is the sort of subtle special effect that deserves Emmys. Dozens of episodes could have been written about his complex marital arrangements (Denobulans have three wives, who also have three husbands) alone, but of course, they weren’t.

Enterprise managed to score great guest stars too. Some of them it wasted. A guest appearance by Scott Bakula’s Quantum Leap companion Dean Stockwell was blown on a generic character unworthy of his talents. Others the show took advantage of, but maybe not enough. Jeffrey Combs’ brilliant performance as the Andorian Commander Shran demanded he be used as a recurring character, but probably should have also prompted them to go a step further and find a way to make him part of the regular cast. Still others they shoehorned into the show over and over again, against all common sense. Temporal Agent Crewman Daniels was the ultimate deus ex machina, a useless character shoved down our throats repeatedly, whenever the series’ needed an excuse to engage in yet another useless, gimmicky, time travel plot.

As it was with almost everything that mattered Enterprise never truly took advantage of its better characters. Trip remained generally relegated to the engine room and Phlox was kept locked away in his sickbay chasing the occasional escaped Tyberian bat. Though none of the show’s better characters, like its phobic genius communications officer Hoshi, or the single-minded military man Malcolm, ever really got their due… their presence frequently resulted in genuine moments which succeeded in spite of the lukewarm episodes being written around them. Trip and Malcolm’s drunken shuttle pod discussion about the perfection of T’Pol’s “bum” remains one of the series’ best. Trip’s heart-wrenching, weepy, hand-holding finale to a limp episode which resulted in the death of his daughter was like an emotional punch in the gut that lingered long after the credits were over. A few perfect scenes with the great characters it wasted was the best Enterprise gave us.

The Enterprise crew at the birth of the Federation.

The Show That Almost Was

With the clock running down and cancellation imminent, in the latter half of its fourth season Enterprise tried to become the show it should have been all along. A sudden interest in exploring the universe it was supposed to be discovering resulted in a flurry of episodes involving the alien races Archer and his crew were meant to befriend in order to pave the way to the Federation we knew from Kirk’s Trek-era. The stories they should have been telling for the past four seasons were condensed into a few short episodes and shoved out the door at warp speed, a last ditch effort to win departed fans back.

It was too late. Nothing they did would matter. After four seasons of low ratings Enterprise, by then retitled Star Trek: Enterprise, was cancelled in 2005.

Enterprise was supposed to be a grand television series about exploration, about the spirit of adventure, about the triumph of the human spirit. Instead it kept getting bogged down in gimmicks, gimmicks which it never needed and gimmicks which its audience had long since grown weary of. The show’s producers, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, were locked into a formula which told them that they had to have a reason to fire phasers every episode or their audience would stop being interested. Enterprise’s producers never had any faith in Star Trek fans and so it wasn’t long before Star Trek fans lost faith in them. In the process Hollywood lost faith in the entire franchise, sending longtime steward Rick Berman to the unemployment line and Star Trek into the high-octane, style over substance hands of JJ Abrams. Thanks to Enterprise, Rodenberry’s vision will never be the same again.


  • http://www.facebook.com/geahk Geahk Burchill

    I don’t understand why they got a generally nice guy like Bakula and made him play an asshole. Archer is more than bad at his job, he’s a loose cannon (not to mention loosening canon) Archer is arrogant, angry, short tempered bully much of the time. The rest of the time he’s lazy, disinterested, goofy or naive. He’s like a hillbilly in space! Then you have T’pol who serves no purpose then to excite the 12 year old male audience. Her presence is insulting. As a ST fan I don’t want to be treated like a set of hormones that can be lead around by plastic bimbo. I want a story and characters with depth and Gene Rodenberry’s adventurous hopeful vision. Watching Enterprise just makes me angry to see the cynical strings.

    • Rich

      Wow, I’m starting to wonder if people of your opinion have even seen TOS. All those criticisms go for Kirk and the multitude of sexy crewmen and aliens in gogo boots and mini skirts that he bangs. Your criticisms are valid but your view of Rodenberry’s vision is purely nostalgia.

      • http://www.facebook.com/geahk Geahk Burchill

        Rich, you can say that for momentary incidents. Yes, you can find AN incident of Kirk being as ass or arrogant or a bully. Certainly you can find moments when he’s goofy or naive (can’t think of any lazy moments though) But Bakula’s character is consistently like that. Also he’s written as a moron. Kirk was never written that way. TOS was generally smart and well thought out, made by people who cared about the project in a time when there was no way to cash in. The fatal flaw of Enterprise is you can feel the laziness and disinterest of the writers and producers. It oozes through nearly every scene. Whatever you want to say about Rodenberry, he cared about what he was doing and knew how to make good television.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.sloan.940 Craig Sloan

    If Enterprise wasn’t star trek it would be classed as a really good show. It’s only because it’s star trek that it’s not. The show itself I think is really good. The first exploration of the universe from humanity’s perspective. The save earth from aliens make alliances and fight a war is all good. The tension of a new crew in the first ever starship in a new and open universe is also good.

    The fact that it’s all new and no one is really experienced or good at their job is good. The fact they are the underdogs who persevere is good. It’s just that it’s star trek it makes no sense as the new races are never mentioned in other star trek series’s, the Vulcans don’t act like vulcans why wouldn’t Archer savior of the world never be mentioned and why is everything wrong compared to the other series’s. This is what ruins it not because it’s a bad show itself but because it’s a star trek show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/StickySugarMcGee Charles Boettcher

    Interesting but…. UPN was already in financial trouble even when the show was started. All of the shows of the Star Trek franchise were expensive to produce, and a drain on a fledgling network. The biggest problem with all the shows, even from way back when Desilu produced the original was cost and story that were way too complicated for the short time allowed to explore them. The series Doctor Who worked, not because of the sophication of the visual production but because it told a good story and with the use of the arc system of linking episodes together, the story wasn’t cut unsatisfactory cut short. Enterprise learned this in it’s 3rd season when all the episodes were basically consider one large arc. With the 4th season showing several 2 or 3 episode arcs, the producers had finally hit stride.
    Also, the series went 4 seasons, with 98 episodes where as the original only had 79; it’s hard to consider it a failure.

  • Rich

    I disagree with the criticism of Jolene Blalock. Between her botched mind meld and trilium D addiction and the fact that Vulcans DO have emotions, she did a fine job at portraying her struggle to keep herself in control. I love Data and Spiner, but Data REALLY should have NO emotion but he constantly shows desire to be more human. No emotions mean no personality and where’s the fun in that? You got to let some shit slide, otherwise why bother with fiction of any form?

    Also, T’Pol being 2nd in command is a non issue. At first it’s by force when High Command makes it a condition for sharing their database with Starfleet. She gained Archer’s trust early on when he was knocked out and instead of turning the ship around and going home, she did what she thought he would want and continued with his mission. After she resigns her commission what choice does he have? She’s obviously the best qualified, even if you ignore that Trip is the engineer and Reed is the weapons officer. Hoshi’s only good with languages and Travis is driving.

    A hope I have for future STs is that the tone should be less kitchy and more gritty but with only 84 crewmen, there weren’t enough “red shirts” to last the series. There should be more episodes with Law and Order type grey conclusions. More pranks, fights, insubordination, undermining authority, smart assery, xenophobes, and tomfoolery like robot/insect battles, ENT missed the opportunity to be less refined than the later, more vanilla Starfleet.

  • Yes And No

    Great article but you really need to proofread. There is no reason to have so many grammatical errors. It’s atrocious.

  • Warp

    Star Trek Enterprise was suposed to be about learning what is out there not like the other before this Tv series this was beore Kick Pike and Piccard in starfleet they were reading up on those in the 22nd century starship captain’s what mistakes isn’t it this how you this generations learn from or do you expect instence knowlage like a Borg , well if you who wanted to build a real Enterprise someone needs to study up on techs and remember beofre we can get past the second half of this century NASA had the Shuttles but they first had to learn how to build them too ! i know my spelling needs work but i guess there are some bright young people who can do the job , but someone has to start from the beginning ?

    • Kelly Walker

      The horrendous Blalock always seems popular with the virgin fraternity … As an ‘actor’ it’s not her fault of course. I lay that at the feet of Berman and Braga …Enterprise could have been a great show..The casting of the two primary characters ruined the possibility of that …

  • Jim

    Wow you couldn’t have it more wrong. Although I think a better choice for Captain would have been someone like Kirk, the Vulcan was the best actor on the crew. Trip was absolutely horrible and so was every single other member besides the doctor.

    But youre making the classic newbie mistake. It is not the story….its the execution. Actors and directors are everything..not story. No one wants to see Trip or anyone else. The girl had all the mojo..the only star power..all the rest were plain white bread…stale. You put Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig on that bridge and it erases all the hindsight is 20/20 bs people use for why the show failed.

  • Joe

    Enterprise and Voyager were great in plot and in acting. It’s ashame that Americans rather watch the same old garbage that is put in front of them and except that there small minds can not grasp real acting and plot. As for the theme song to enterprise , they should have left it to the original song it stated with. Every time I herd that song it brought tears to my eyes and hope to Americans to want more from television. Funny how garbage tv thrives and well thought out tv gets shot down.

  • Andrew Brown

    I disagree with the negative review above. The Enterprise series fleshed out characters better than any series before. I enjoyed the multiple storyline threads that ran through their adventures. The characters were much better than the cardboard characters of Deep Space Nine and Voyager. In Australia we never saw the free to air tv broadcasts, but bought an online DVD to look at. As a family we found the series exciting and better than TNG which was unexpected. The intro song is great. My 11 yo son is doing a school project on space and relating where we are now and the possibilities of attaining Enterprise adventures. Pity the 5th season never eventuated, but the franchise is getting better and better. The failure of the series was more because the world was already bored because of Deep Space Nine and Voyager (excepting 7 of 9).

  • CheshireCat_Argentina

    Everything after the Voyager episode “Threshold” (the extremely stupid episode in which Tom Paris “evolves” into a giant newt), has been a trainwreck. That is the precise point in which ST jumped the shark. The problem since then, shared by VOY, ENT and the JJ Abrams lens flare fiasco, is the same: POOR STORYLINES. What used to be an insightful SciFi franchise, that was supposed to present us a hopeful future and make us question what it means to be human, was turned into a rehash of nonsensical time travel plots, technobabble deus ex machinas, and a stream of senseless constant action full of plot holes in the case of the JJ Abrams “reboot”. After TNG and DS9, it’s like they took the worst of Star Trek, expanding the technobabble (which used to be mild), discarded the best (the philosophical questions, the hopeful, scientific outlook), completely ignored the canon, and added action for the sake of action, turning it into an empty cash cow with no true substance left. I hope after that hack JJ Abrams leaves, the franchise can be truly revived by someone with more vision.

  • Richard Gomes

    IMHO, the only “problem” with Star Trek Enterprise was abuse of time travel in the story telling. It was used to cause troubles, to jump from one story line to another and to put everything back on track again when everything was hopelessly wasted. I’ve felt betrayed many times when writers resorted to time travel when their imagination and creativity leaved them alone.

  • GIJoe69

    haters at all

  • TJquarters

    The Timeline was screwed up on the pilot ………. utter Failure

  • Sevenpenny

    Perhaps one (of many) issues has to deal with the Temporal Cold War… whoever came up with this lazy plot device should never be allowed to write anything involving science fiction again.
    As for T’Pol, I think… if memory serves me… if the show had been allowed to continue they were going to explore the fact that she was half Vulcan and half Romulan… hence her “emotions”…
    Could the show have been better? Hell yes it could have been. I read somewhere how originally the show was originally going to spend the first season on Earth… One of the things I found really silly is when the Ferengi’s showed up knocked out the crew and started looting the Enterprise… and yet on ST:TNG when they supposedly made first contact they had no idea what they looked like and had heard only rumors about them… I mean come on…. continuity folks…. and the story arc about the Klingon Duras… how long do Klingons live any way? Hundreds of years? By my guestimation the live for a couple hundred years…. I mean Duras is introduced in ST: Enterprise and they are still talking about him in ST: TNG…. again continuity. If you ever get the chance watch them in chronological order… talking Enterprise, TOS, TOS: Animated, TNG, DS9 & Voy… some things tend to get out of continuity….

  • RobR

    Good synoposis! Imagine the show if Trip were captain, Malcolm second in command and T’Pau medical officer. Archer would have been the tactical officer. or chef.

  • Dalkri

    Enterprise should have been about Humanity’s early encounters with known and loved trek species. (Klingon,Andorian,Vulcan, etc). It failed because instead of using species people knew and loved it jumped straight into time travel and newly invented species nobody cared about. Personally I loved the Andorians and the Vulcans (I actually loved them in Enterprise) but there just wasn’t enough. The Romulan stories towards the end could have been amazing, especially about the Romulan infiltration of Vulcan. In short Enterprise is too much gimmick, not enough substance.

  • Adam Robert Jackson

    I sought this article out as I’ve been trying to see if I was the only one who had come to the same conclusions. As that sentence implies, clearly I am not. I particularly think this article hits the nail on the head when it states that right off the bat the series contradicted itself by saying: ‘yes, we’re a frontier show, that’s set before all those increasingly technologically advanced series’ before promptly going: by the way there’s a war going on with an advanced race of humans from a future that is more advanced than any of those other previous series.

    Also, as has been reiterrated in the comments section, series 4 did what series 1 and 2 should have been doing in the first place. Moreover series 3 did some things that were pretty innovative, and actually is the only series that I genuinely got hooked on.

    Where I disagree is:

    1. Geoffrey/Jeffrey (sorry, I can’t be bothered to scroll up to check the spelling) Coombs as Shran was great: Sorry, I found him (In comparison to Weyoun, probably my all time favourite Star Trek Character, at least) rather hammy.

    2. That Voyager was bad: Sorry, have I missed something? Everyone is entitled to their opinion (no seriously, I realise this is an unusually benign and reasonable comment on the internet, but I genuinely mean it), but when was Voyager considered to be bad? Mind you, I guess as my favourite series is DS9, I’m probably not in sync with most die hard trek fans anyway.

    • Warhead77777

      Why does everyone hate Voyager anyways? Is it because of the difficult choices that were made in a dangerous sector where everything wanted to kill them?

      • Adam Robert Jackson

        I have only become recently aware that everyone does, and when I say everyone I mean, everyone on the internet. No one I actually know dislikes it, and to be quite frank, it can’t have been that bad to have lasted the same number of series as Next Generation and DS9. After the recent nonsensical bashing of Star Trek Into Darkness as being ‘the worst star trek film ever’ which is at best hyperbole, and at worst small minded, I am beginning to think that there is a really nasty vein of trek fandom that simply doesn’t want anything to change ever. This vein seems to not want Star Trek to progress into anything new, but remain hermetically sealed in what would be (and which Enterprise indeed singularly failed to address) a collection of increasingly dated tropes. As someone who can see the good in Star Trek without the flaws, I find this type of fan that is, among other things incredibly boring, but more worryingly borders on the sociopathic on occasion. Along with the complacency of the producers on Enterprise, it’s this particularly type of fan that really has given Star Trek a bad name.

  • JaBinx

    Completely agree with the Lt. Daniels time travel excuse, but even though I view TNG as the apotheosis of ST, I found Q very annoying for the same reason. Was no one thrilled to see the incredible Brent Spiner, as the grandfather of positronic androids? Honestly, my biggest gripe with the show was that it was a constant slew of “To Be Continued” and the plots took too long to develop, which somehow seemed cheap. In other STs, I enjoyed the many instances in which the star logs were taken from the perspective of other crewmembers, and as far as I recall the only memorable such episodes in ST:E were with Dr. Phlox. Perhaps if supporting actors were more talented, there would have been more opportunities to let those characters develop. Still, overall, not terrible to watch. Just my two cents :)

  • JaBinx

    By the way, I feel it necessary to cast my vote for the theme song being absolute, total cheese. Sappy, whiny, exceptionalistic and just plain 80’s. Blech.

  • Jaffo

    I agree w/ colts fan. I know several people who started to watch the show but were complaining of falling asleep over the first handful of episodes and they quickly bailed. I refused to give in and thought it progressed well after that but it took some time. I could write quite a lot about my impressions of this show and the S.T. series overall but will try not to. I think for a series to succeed you need a good dose of character development/interaction, continuity, conflict and battle. For these reasons, My favorite of all is DS9 which the writers did to near perfection.

    Enterprise had a lot going on which made it difficult for many to get comfortable with. My big negative critique of the show is I thought the writers were trying too hard to fill in a lot of the gaps from previous series. To set the stage for everything from the 21st century thru the 25th century. Sprinkle in new story lines and the series was all over the place. This didn’t bother me as much as I suspect it did for others.

    I found it refreshing that right off the bat, these humans were fallible, opinionated and imperfect. After all, this series was set in the not-so distant future. ST-TNG had a shi(t)p-load of cookie-cutter crewmen who personified perfection but did so hundreds of years in the future when such a thing MIGHT be possible. Archers transformation of the happy-go-lucky “we’re all friends” expectation was shattered by the reality of alien agenda which gave him a suspicious, cynical temperament. This is perfectly feasible. This ain’t yer daddy’s ST.

    Due to the speed of all the different story developments, crew member interaction suffers (albeit Trip & T’pol ) and the lack of drama is exposed. Most of the temporal war episodes and that Nazi crap didn’t help the series. I’ve skimmed most of comments here and find it surprising that many didn’t like the third season zindi conflict. I thoroughly enjoyed that entire year.

    You never quite feel like “part of the family” here as opposed to the other ST series. If a viewer doesn’t develop at least SOME personal feeling with the characters in a drama series, it comes off a little empty.

  • Bec

    @ Article Writer: I agree with a ton of this. But one point that made sense to me, anyway, about Archer choosing a Vulcan as his first officer (despite his resentment of them) was that good people try to overcome or second-guess their prejudices. He’s not a good captain, but as you put it, he’s not a bad guy, and that actually is more creative writing than making him a great captain… we have so many already, why not start out shaky? The fact that later captains are an improvement is proof that humanity finds a way to grow. That’s what Star Trek is about fundamentally. However, your reactions are proof that the writers didn’t make the best of these concepts at all, so in that way, I agree, they don’t make sense because they were not examined. You do point out clearly how they neglect a lot of things that should have been a foundation for more of the plot. Definitely a low IQ show for when it was made, at least for how far ahead Start Trek shows were expected to be. Honestly, the show lost all it’s potential for me when Archer’s nosing into foreign politics and picking fights with bullies right and left was over-promoted, even though he admitted it wasn’t what they were out there to do. It just seemed like a way to brainwash viewers that what the US was doing in the third world at that time was to help people, when it was really an act founded on greed… to stabilize AKA conquer the gov. there, expand the global bank who’s conquest it would be – not the US. The same corruption holding us back from achieving a future like that of star-trek, free of bankers and profit-driven corporations. Some Star Trek viewers are in it just for naked T’Pol but I’m one of those fans who watches because I believe it’s a good example of mankind’s potential to end poverty and live for what we can achieve, not what we buy. The very fact that this show was used to promote any government power scheme is against the whole thing. Well that’s the end of my rant, and why I bailed on this joke of a Star Trek series.

  • EibhlínT

    Sorry, rant here: As much as I wanted the Enterprise crew to get down to
    discovering and exploring like they were meant to do, I think we’re not giving
    the show enough credit here. The Xindi/time-travel thing was all about what
    hindered these pioneers; remember that none of that was supposed to happen.
    T’pol’s presence on board, as well as the strict Vulcan high council present as
    constant shadow in the background re-enforced the fact that humans’ progress
    was continually being slowed from all angles. And if you remember, these flawed
    Vulcan’s were a result of corruption in the high council, the author of this
    article is ignoring the fact that the teachings of surak were supposed to
    change the vulans for the better. I think the peace loving vulans we got to
    know “later on” were a result of this change to their political
    system and to their teachings.

    T’pol, after being exposed to Trellium and having lived so closely with the humans on enterprise,couldn’t suppress her emotions. This too made her into a messy sort-of-human,exposed to all the emotional ups and downs that their new missions carried. These helped her, the high command and us to realise the unique capacity of humans to empathise, to be compassionate and to love. It’s T’pol who stops human space exploration from being put back on the shelf because she believes they are deserving of it. Her emotions also paved the way for another new frontier for humans, inter-species relationships. I really loved seeing Trip and T’pol’s awkward, unlikely relationship unfold and it made for really interesting, albeit heart wrenching,watching as the product of T’Pol and Trip’s combined DNA was unveiled to the world as an abomination in the midst of
    violent xenophobia. It was devastating and smacked of history repeating itself and really thought it was a very clever addition to the plot, the horrible teething problems of space travel.

    Finally, I don’t believe that Archer was a weak character. What
    I love about Enterprise is that everyone on board, bar T’Pol and Phlox, are
    messy, believable humans. Archer was a beagle hugging, waterpolo-following
    people-person and faced with attacks to his ship, to humanity, the people he
    cared about and his original mission -he, very realistically broke down, become
    quite volatile and lost his enthusiasm. He is no Captain Kirk, and rightly so,
    he’s new to all this and hasn’t had the chance to build up enough confidence, I
    like the fact he’s flawed. That never stopped him though from being a hero to
    his crew though. When they continually emphasised that Archer was a great man
    they meant it, especially since, we assume, that after the events on Enterprise
    when he formed the federation the true, peaceful exploring could finally begin.
    Enterprise shows how the federation had to struggle to be what we’ve seen in
    the future.

    One thing I disliked however, killing off poor Trip right at the end. Why?

  • EibhlínT

    Apologies for mistakes btw

  • Matt

    I rather enjoyed watching the show. Despite the drugs she was taking, it made sense that T’Pol wasn’t so great at suppressing her emotions. This is over two-hundred years in the past. Maybe they weren’t so much in control. There were a few inconsistencies though. Like where did the alternate reality come from? Instead of the federation it was the empire? Kind of confusing. The only thing I can think of is if this is the reality that Kirk and Sisko went to. But they don’t explain anything. And don’t get me wrong, I like action, but at one point that was all I was seeing. Blasting this and blowing up that. I found myself missing the science and the imagination behind Star Trek. And why did they have to kill off Trip in the second to last episode? That was uncalled for. They could have made that the first crossing of species wedding or whatever. Showing how humanity has grown to love other species as well as their own. And it wouldn’t have to be politics. Plus, I didn’t like how they didn’t get personal with the crew. They didn’t really give you enough “alone time” with the crew so you can learn to love the characters like in the other series. All in all, a decent show. I love all Star Trek series. But I did miss Roddenberry’s touch.

  • redc83

    I agree with everything you said, EXCEPT for your points about the Vulcans. Think Enterprise’s handling of the Vulcans, and its exploration of how their culture was changed by humans’ entry into the galaxy was one of the few genuinely interesting things ideas it put forth (although this plot was ultimately fumbled like every other one the show attempted). Exploring a similar plot with the Klingons would have been a great way to take up the time they wasted on the time travel theme.

    I also think you’re unduly harsh on Jolene Blalock. In spite of the gratuitous shots of her in her underwear, during the first few seasons I though she played T’Pol really well, and I had no problem identifying with the character dramas she portrayed. Her character fell apart during the final seasons, but I think that has more to do with the terrible writing and directing than it has to do with Blalock’s performance.

    Ultimately, I think your final paragraph is the perfect summary of this show and its effect on the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek started as an exploration of the human condition, and how it molds itself to changes in culture and technology. Enterprise was an opportunity to re-package that exploration for a modern audience that had grown tired of the repetitive tropes of previous series’. It failed, and the ultimate consequence of that failure was the hand-off to Abrams, who threw out everything that makes Star Trek Star Trek.

    • Philo Beddoe

      “and the ultimate consequence of that failure was the hand-off to Abrams,who threw out everything that makes Star Trek,Star Trek.”

      Can you please elaborate on this?Do you mean to say,that the prequel was not done to your liking,or that there should not have been a prequel at all?
      I think it would have been fine if Abrams had told the origins of the original characters and followed the Roddenberry story more closely….however though,it was Abram’s idea,that re-telling the old story might be redundant & bland and that creating the time travel concept would be fresh and more exciting,because the lives of the characters would be new and uncharted territory.
      I for the most part,agree with this idea and the manner in which actors like Zachary Quinto & Chris Pine approached their characters,was exceptionally impressive(as I don’t think that rigidly copy-catting the performances of their predecessors,would ever be a good idea).

      • redc83

        Oh I agree with you, Philo. Abrams’ prequel/alternate universe idea is an interesting one, and Pine and Quinto et. al. play their parts well. However, the essence of Star Trek is to explore how ethics and the human condition are affected by changes in technology and culture. All of Trek’s best plots have been some variation on that trope. Abrams’ “Trek” movies are about how explosions are affected by explosions in explosions and explosions. Explosions.

        • Philo Beddoe

          Understood,Red….as Abram’s action sequences are over the top & excessive,in contrast to everything preceding the re-launched franchise(but to me,this plethora of action is a nice counterbalance to some of the old Trek films that seriously lacked action),namely the first Star Trek film…wow,that was a terrible disappointment!
          Abrams of course,wanted to draw in the millennial generation with all of that action,as it was his way of luring in the young masses and generate an interest in not only his versions,but to the Star Trek universe as a whole.
          To use his words,he wanted to blend the action of Star Wars,with the cerebral elements of Star Trek(and I must admit,that when I was a kid,all I cared about was Star Wars) and it wasn’t until the late 80’s/early 90’s,that I took a vested interest in Star Trek.
          I never could get into the original Star Trek series,only because a lot of the episodes were so tacky and campy and I pretty much feel the same way towards the Next Generation TV series.
          At the moment,I am a little burnt out on the film series and I am seriously considering introducing myself to the Deep Space 9 and Enterprise TV series(I’m not sure how I’ll feel about Enterprise)…but at this point,any change is good(within reason).

  • Philo Beddoe

    Though I have yet to see this show for the first time(contemplating the series on DVD),it doesn’t seem fair to me,Josh Tyler’s distaste for how the Vulcan race was portrayed in Enterprise(particularly with regard to the racist attitude of Vulcans).
    Reason being,is that at times…Leonard Nimoy’s character in the film series,was in fact,very racist.Despite Spock being half human,he displayed disdain for humans and their illogical emotions and whenever he was referred to as having human characteristics himself,he always felt very insulted by the reference.
    Though I obviously have yet to see Jolene Blalock’s performance as a Vulcan,I think that perhaps,Josh trashing her as an actress,might be unfair(due to the fact that not all Vulcans behave quite the same.
    A prime example of this,is Spock’s half brother Sybok(who actually rejected the Kolinahr practice and to quote the film; “embraced the animal passions of his ancestors”.
    Leonard Nimoy’s character was…for the most part,robotic,rigid and very logic-minded….but though the course of the film series towards the end,Spock softened up a bit and in the new Star Trek film franchise,not only was Nimoy’s Spock more emotional,the film’s storyl revealed how in many ways,Vulcans were even more emotional than humans(which is what spawned the Kolinahr discipline).

  • Maylon Otis Mullally Jr.

    you missed the biggest mistake. it turned into a soap opera just like all the star trek series since next generation. and by the way, t’pol only had emotions cause she got into some trellium d, got addicted, and got brain damage.

  • Scott Thomposn

    Star Trek Enterprise failed because of lack of great characters,, and lame stories. Special effects were fine, but everything else needed a lot of work. It was at best, mildly interesting, and at worst, it was boring, and on top of all that, they tried to rewrite history, by having Phase Pistols, and transporters.

  • Jorge A. Torres

    Gone was the inspirational fanfare and the glorious music at the beginning of the show. Then they decided to give it the most boring song ever. To me, that lost the flavor of the series and thankfully I opted for not watching it. I mean, a passionate nearly naked Vulcan?

  • Greg Halderman

    Only problem I had with Enterprise was that there was no Paramount network locally here to watch it on until it was in the 4th season,,,, can’t watch the show if it’s not on a channel you get…… I have all seasons on dvd and love the show it was wonderful and all the weaknesses that the author claims are what I enjoyed, Starfleet struggling to mold itself….

  • verlaine tuieta

    What a crap wrote Josh Tyler, I think he still live in psychiatric hospital. Picky,petty,spoil,mama’s boy,weasel. All Startrek’s are fine,not 100% but most. I think it’s best tv show on this planet,ever. Drop dead Josh Tyler, or start cleaning restrooms. You have perfect qualifuckations…………………………………………………

  • Virtus-H

    You obviously had far too many expectations of the show! The only thing that bugs me much about Enterprise is the fact that they end up using their weapons almost every episode, and I love Star Trek battles. But it got to be a little tiresome. Other than that, I feel like the cancellation was uncalled for is responsible for making the last season feel rushed. They named it Enterprise for a REASON, it wasn’t supposed to be your personal idea of a perfect star trek show, it was supposed to be a NEW and DIFFERENT show based before any of the other star trek shows. They did a pretty remarkable job sticking with the timeline too.
    As for the 2 new movies? Absolute trash compared to this show, they were good as standalone movies, but easily some of the worst Trek material ever made. Not to mention, they absolutely trashed the timeline established by ALL OTHER TREK. Fucking thanks!

  • Mark Benjy Britton

    Totally disagagre with the article above, ST-E was different with the other Star Trek’s, & to me that was its fascination .
    As far as I am concerned next to ST-TNG, Enterprise was my second favourite out of all the franchise…

    • Dustin

      I completely agree with you on that.

  • kyle

    Enterprise was really winding up in the 4th season. The augments, the mirrior universe, how humans started to impact the galazy by getting the vulcans, andorians, telorites and others to work together for the first time showing the birth of the federation. The Vulcans finally becoming the Vulcans we were used to. They had other cool episodes like season 2’s “carbon creek”.

    We got velcro from the vulcans. =p Trip was not xenophobic..I don’t know where you people got that idea. Watch enterprise and you’ll see he is just fine around alien races when they went to risa he was all for getting down with them and he even had a love relationship with t’pol and was impregnated by an alien female in another episode.He even ended up liking the very man who killed 7 million humans.

    He had a resentment towards the vulcans at first because they DID hold humanitys warp program back but every human did. Hell remember the episode on DS9 when they asked worf what happened to the klingons? Enterprise answered that question with a very good 2 parter. We started to see more of the romulans in S4 aswell. Enteprrise was cancelled just when it finally became the show it should of been. DS9’s first 3 seasons were about the bajoran religious crap and had it been cancelled at the end of season 3 I wouldn’t of blamed them…but they stuck with it and it became a very good show.

    I think the characters did evolve over time. Hoshi went from being unconfident and scared to even leave the ship (she even was going to ask archer to take her back to earth) to being a very confident person that you wanted to see more screen time of. Reed became a more likable character and maybe the “yellow” alert and “red” alert started from him? =p mayweather was a good character who was always loyal to starfleet and you knew you could always count on him when the going got tough. Trip was a fun character and its bs that they killed him.The Doc was a fun character aswell I always enjoyed his screen time. T’pol wasn’t a very good vulcan when it came to not showing her emotions. Enterprise kind of screwed up in that department because I’ve never seen so many emotional vulcans before. The story got very good in S4 and they cancelled it anyway for a Brittany Spears reality show that bombed anyway.

    • kyle


  • Dustin

    Was this written by a group or just one person? Because it seems very biased. For my personal opinion, I think this was the best Star Trek series. But that is my opinion. This description of the series is very inaccurate of what the show was really trying to portray.

  • GillianAndersonCooper

    Interesting read. I disagree about T’Pol, in particular, though. I felt that Blalock did a fine job playing her, and that she was arguably the show’s best character. Also, the reasons for her being a part of the crew are quite logically developed (the Vulcans insisted on it, and Archer had to deal with it, then learned to rightly respect her). The other Vulcans, though, yeah. They were a petty bunch.

  • sounder

    I hate prequels. This show was a gimmicky time travel plot.

  • RK

    The show was very entertaining and kept you wanting to know what will happen next. I think they should have kept the series going. I believe it to be the best Star Trek series ever. I think it was a little ahead of its time for most star trek fans. Scott Bakula is the best Captain ever because he was the real deal. He didn’t always know it all and struggled with his decisions, in him was the true human spirit that we all have, As for T’Pol, she is awesome. Sexy and a fine Vulcan. Trip and Malcom had great comradery. Sham on everyone that have put the series down.

  • Michael Meeks

    Well for me, do to the awfull TV show called Star Trek Voyager, I was totally turned off to Star Trek drlbble. So with that I had no interest in watching Enterprise, when it was introduced and ran as a new show (completely ignored it).
    Then one evening after the show had been canceled, I was chanel surfing when I came across HDNet and the pilot “Broken Bow”, well to my amazement I loved it, crazed Klingon, resentful Volcans, a wonderious future Star Fleet Captain, blah, blah, blah.
    Well for the this artical’s writer, UP YOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Jolene Blalok, SHE CAN ACT and SHE IS HOT as well, way hotter than, Troy, Dr Crusher, or Tasha Yarr.and that awfully uninteresting Captain Janeway? of the Voyager, yuck. I really enjoy all of the ST Enterprise charactors. I loved “Carbon Creek” Jolene Blalok showed her best in that episode, it is one of my personal favorites as with “In A Mirror Darkly”, “Broken Bow” and a fue others and the whole” Xindi” saga.
    The whole series is quite enjoyable, I have been giving myself a marathon of the show on one of the internet-based movie, TV program sites
    One thing that gets me, a little down with the show is, the soap opera aspect, I never really liked that.
    I’m more into the single episodes with the focused plots and discoveries than the soap opera type of dribble.
    Even though I take excetion to the Xindi saga because of the episodes not being
    focused on the Xindy saga to rattle the cage so’s to speak during that seasons episodes.
    Well with that short summary of the show in my perspective (I could go on and on, but I won’t. Thank goodness, har, har) I believe the real reason why the show was shore lived IS ( if over 20 shows a season, with 4 seasons of episodes is what someone may call short lived, oy, how many hours of shows is that anyway? ).
    Is because of people like myself who didn’t watch the show when it was new do to flops like ST Voyager. The cast members were plain janes, the directing was awfull, story lines even worse.
    Star Trek Deep Space 9, I watched that show every week. After watching reruns of it, that show sucked as well.
    Why did I even like that show when it was new? A Star Trek that didnt go anywhere , REALLY ?, oy, oy, oy.
    Star Trek The Next Generation, well a good show at first. My favorites “The Arsenal of Freedom”, “The Borg” and the one with the charactor Mark Twain and a few more, but it as well became a weekly soap opera. That is what sent it to its demise.
    I hope you enjoyed my summation,

  • ilia

    Vulcans do have emotions, they suppress and control them, and Jolene Blalock is a fine actress

  • Westhun

    I can deeply agree with some of the above article mentions. I think the T’pol Trip love biangle and the emotional approach was a good idea as it shows that with understanding and knowledge humanity can win against prejudice (against vulcans). The new way that the show tried to explain the original series technical evolution from the start was also good (as the new movies try to make belivable those ridiculous cgi masking-at the time it was good 1980-90 but needed to be updated). And the new movies are big hits both financial wise both for Trek fans so I can say to continue this series should be considered for producers too. The biggest mistake for the series was the zindy story side and Bakulas well “bad casting”. Jolene Blalock’s acting skills well.. was not perfect, but she did a respectable performance against the fluctuating story line and she developed during the show I think(It is hard to play a vulcan person if the writers doesen’t unwrap the caracter rightly). I think as an outsider of the industry, the show’s unsuccess was mainly based on the good old story money.. and legal persuits and selling the frenchise rights. It is sad to see over and over again that potential sc-fi series fail because of lack of “leap of faith” and bad judgement from the “critics” and bad ratings (BSG, Firefly).
    I couldn’t imagine that a big strong frenchise like Star Trek could not see over their present pockets and see to the future! that even a bigger financial potent is to continue this series. There was much bigger mistakes and bad performances in the previous trek series but they stood still because the owners could see it is just a story (with good moral materials in it) not the end of the world if it presently not big of a hit. To mention a good example the fifth element was not a big income hit but history for the sc-fi movie industry and to fans forever.

  • freddawes

    It did work but UPS Killed the show the acting was not great but was good T.POL Made the show. some of the actors stared in SGA And SG-1

  • dracopticon

    It was totally in line with the times that Archer got hardened and rather emotionless enough to rob people of warp coils and kill outlying bases complete with people to avoid detection, etc. Star Fleet regulations didn’t have the nicer points written into it’s chapters in those days. So it fitted that Archer used murderous ways to get things done. It’s much later they get more idealistic. Otherwise, I also think all the time travel could’ve gone out the window. And that they really didn’t use the great war between Humans and the Romulans is such a galactic fumble. That’s one great conflict that can fill entire seasons with lots of good stories and action.

    • Wishes

      Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations….

      Is why WE love Star Trek, and is why the TREK will never end.


  • ProfessionalActor

    As a professional actor (including work on some network and cable series) and acting coach, it is obvious that Josh Tyler knows nothing at all about actors and acting. He is guilty of confusing the actor and the role they play. While Jolene Blalock is no Meryl Streep (who is?) She did a credible job with her role of a mainly emotionless Vulcan. I found her monotone portrayal to be quite believeable, while showing emotions as the plot line called for. If she can’t act at all as Mr. Tyler suggests, then he can’t write at all.

    His comments about Scott Bakula also missed the mark. Of course the captain of the first warp vessel in space would be a bit unsure of himself, as the later opening credit slogan said, he “went where no man has gone before.” Bacula is a very polished actor who did a fine job in portraying Jonathan Archer.

    Tyler’s assessment of the other actors in the seriesis accurate, but his misfires on Blalock and Bacula are too inaccurate to assess his writing ability as anything other than mediocre. Perhaps he would have done better as a pastry chef, as writing is clearly not his thing

  • Jesse

    The problem with this article is that it comes off as the definitive reason why Enterprise was cancelled. You are in essence wrong. I would need my own article to argue the points All in all Star Trek Enterprise was more of a success than the original series which lasted only 3 seasons. Whether they were right to cancel either series is not the question. We all know the parties responsible for keeping a show on the air have no idea what the public likes or dislikes. They cancel it on the personal opinion of a hand full of people.
    What I’d like to point out is your opinion should have been stated as your opinion and not presented as the facts.
    Personally I liked Archer. He did what most people in charge don’t do. He honestly cared about his crew. Very unlike most military leaders in every culture who follow orders and don’t care about the personal lives of their crew. Archer used others ideas, comments and thoughts of others to make his decisions. The qualities of a great leader. Sure he was at times lame, but he always thought of his crew first not orders. He was actually following the same attitude as Captain Kirk. Or should I say Kirk followed Archers lead. I loved the addition of T’Pol as a sexual focal point in the series. Blalock is an awesome actor. She (unlike 7 of 9 (Ryan) who’s real character is almost the same as her real personality. Stuck up and conceded. Blalock real personality is a giggly beautiful woman who smiles a lot unlike her character who shows no emotions. Look at the pictures of the crew. You will notice T’Pol was usually in a different color uniform than the rest. I think the show was trying to make her the focal point of the series. And I think it worked.
    Tripp was another story. He represented the cowboy in outer space and did a fine job. Hey he did so well he got the girl and not Archer. Unlike like the original Kirk who always got the girl.

    I think the worst part of the series was the intro song. After seeing the first episode I tried for months to get them to change the song and use either my version or a version that represented the Star Trek era. Who the heck made that decision. I’m hoping that person never works in the Star Trek arena again. I feel that was the main reason the show lost it’s audience. Star Trek music has always been orchestral. The music during the show complimented the Star Trek theme. I don’t understand why they played the orchestral version during the episodes and at the end of the episode, and a country pop song in the beginning. WOW! It was so bad that the only way I could watch it was to write my own intro music. You can hear it on You tube. Look up “Star Trek Enterprise Revised intro.” by Jesse Mendez/
    I would time the intro every time and play my version of the intro from my workstation every time I saw the series and mute the volume on my TV till the episode started,.and I can tell you I was more inspired to watch the show because I was not repulsed by their intro song. Now 13 years later as I rewatch the series I still play my version before every episode.
    Here’s hoping I can get a chance to write the opening them for the next Star Trek series…

  • Josh Riddle

    Give me a break you bunch wussyies I thought it was a good show you got to have combat I hope when they make another it’s in the future with a lot of action in it .