Star Trek: Enterprise
- Franchise: Star Trek
- Directed By: Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman, Brannon Braga
- Original Release Date: September 26, 2001
- Total Episodes: 98
Star Trek: Enterprise is the sixth television series in the Star Trek Universe. It represented a number of changes from what was seen previously and ended up being the last Star Trek series fans would see for quite a long time. The series did not run concurrently with any of the prior series, like Star Trek: The Next Generation did with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and how Deep Space Nine did with Star Trek: Voyager.
Star Trek: Enterprise ran for four seasons. During the first two seasons, the series was simply known as Enterprise and the entire four-season run was broadcast on the United Paramount Network (UPN), a television network that eventually was replaced by The CW.
As a way to attempt to attract a bigger and wider audience, UPN asked for changes to the series, one of the first being a rename of the series to Star Trek: Enterprise.
Star Trek: Enterprise Changed Pacing After Two Seasons
As mentioned, with Star Trek: Enterprise came change. The first two seasons’ episodes harkened back to Star Trek: The Original Series; the episodes were standalone instead of serialized. But after waning numbers through the first two seasons, this was changed in season three to go from standalone episodes to single serialized storylines that would take the entire season.
As with both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, Rick Berman was the driving force in the creation of Star Trek: Enterprise. This time, he had creative help from Brannon Braga. Braga’s history with the Star Trek Universe goes way back to his days as an intern on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Another big change for the series came with the Star Trek: Enterprise theme music. Instead of using the familiar Star Trek theme or something similar, Enterprise instead used “Faith of the Heart,” a pop-influenced song performed by English tenor, Russell Watson. Perhaps fans weren’t ready for change.
With the first two seasons focused on standalone episodes, the following final two seasons shifted gears and felt it was time to focus on single storylines.
In season 3, Berman, Braga, and crew introduced a new alien species, the Xindi, who immediately became the focus for the Star Trek: Enterprise crew: the Xindi were threatening to destroy Earth.
But by the time this change was made, Star Trek: Enterprise had pretty much lost its fan base.
Scott Bakula Led The Cast
Star Trek: Enterprise, when conceived, was set up to be a prequel of sorts to the original Star Trek series. This one followed the crew of the very first starship, Enterprise. The crew was the very first to use a warp-five-capable ship and they were also Starfleet’s first crew to be deep space explorers.
The cast was led by Scott Bakula, who played Captain Jonathan Archer. Archer, who held no love loss with Vulcans, was a main cog in the Starfleet wheel as his father, Henry, designed the Warp 5 engine. At the time, Bakula was the only big name on the cast.
Joining Bakula was Jolene Blalock as science officer, and Vulcan, T’Pol. Also on board the Enterprise were Connor Trinneer as Chief Engineer Trip Tucker, Dominic Keating as Tactical Officer Malcolm Reed, Linda Park as Communications Officer Hoshi Sato, Anthony Montgomery as Helmsman Travis Mayweather, and finally John Billingsley as Ship’s Physician Phlox.
Star Trek: Enterprise Had Broadcast Issues
Unfortunately, the legacy surrounding Star Trek: Enterprise is that it is considered to be one of the lesser entries in the Star Trek Universe. There were a number of reasons for it, one described by Trinneer. “The problem was that for the nights that we were on, usually your Major League Baseball team was also on UPN locally. So, we would get preempted by whatever local sports were happening. There were also entire regions – it didn’t even play in St. Louis, Scott [Bakula’s] hometown. So, you had these pockets of where it wasn’t even on.”
Chances are, though, is that the series just didn’t find its audience. Star Trek burnout, perhaps? Since 1988 and until the end of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, there had been a Star Trek series gracing the television airwaves, not to mention the numerous features films.
Whatever the cause of the final nail in Enterprise’s coffin, it was one that would last. In fact, it would be for another 13 years before Trekkies would get to see another Star Trek series on television. Those 13 years represent the second longest “pause” between Star Trek series, right behind the 14 years between Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.