Star Trek: Enterprise – Editor’s Corner
I realize that Enterprise has its haters. Personally, I really love the series and feel that it’s the closest representation in the franchise to the original series. Like every other series, there are admittedly some weak episodes. However, I feel that its the lowest concentration of weak verses strong episodes of every other series, excluding, perhaps, the original. Interestingly, I often find that some of my favorites are those panned by others, and vice-versa.
With an untested crew surrounded by unfamiliarity and primitive technology, Enterprise was positioned well to present plots that involved old-fashioned ragtag-style action lead by character-driven elements. Its premiere episode was the boldest and most exciting of any Star Trek premiere by far.
Particularly with regard to the first season, there is an underlying theme of overcoming the biggest hurdles to achieve big dreams. I feel that the theme song, hated by many fans, was a perfect choice to reflect this theme… acknowledging that, while the road can be long and difficult, nothing will hold you down as long as you have faith. The show’s initial premise centered on mankind finally standing on its own after nearly 100 years of being held back by the Vulcans and other obstacles… a perfect allusion to the words of the theme song.
Beyond that, Enterprise had such an amazing cast. I would argue that only Deep Space Nine topped with a better overall cast. No one can ignore Scott Bakula’s successful career history, but I feel that the entire cast was comprised of strong performers, especially Connor Trinneer and John Billingsley.
I really enjoyed the premise of the Temporal Cold War and feel that it should have been explored in more detail. We never did learn who the shadowy figure from the future was, or really what drove the conflict. The mysterious Daniels character had great lure and the idea of a cold war that could one day turn hot presented a sense of looming danger.
I am admittedly in the minority on this, but I generally disliked the Xindi arc of Season 3. I thought that the premise was strong – Season 2’s cliffhanger was phenomenal and yielded a fantastic sense of immanent doom. For some reason, though, the Xindi never grabbed my attention. I felt that the Xindi characters propelling the story-line were unappealing and that much of the plot was chaotic as the writers struggled to stretch the arc to span an entire season. The entire season had this strong feeling of dread and depression… hardly adjectives that are often attributed to Star Trek. Even Deep Space Nine’s Dominion arc had breaks from the violence and doom. The Xindi arc would’ve been more appealing, to me, had it been confined to no more than 3-5 episodes.
Despite an overall dislike of the third season, I did welcome the faster pace and amped up action that started with the Xindi threat and continued into the fourth season, which I felt was Enterprise’s strongest season by far. The season had great action-driven plots that dealt directly with establishing the familiar canonical foundations we know to come. Above all, I loved the Vulcan Kir’Shara arc, but I always have enjoyed plots that deal with religion and politics. The xenophobic Terra Prime two-parter, which I personally identify as the series finale, also ranks among my favorites from the entire series.
With its best season as its last, it was quite a shame that UPN didn’t grant Enterprise one more season in an attempt to grow further awareness of what was fast becoming the best Trek series. It really echoed the early cancellation of the original series before it too had truly gained an audience. At the very least, one more season would’ve pushed Enterprise into its fifth – a great attribution to the original five-year mission.