on February 11, 2007
On September of 2001, the UPN network and Star Trek producer Rick Berman with writer/producer Brannon Braga introduced viewers to Enterprise (later renamed Star Trek Enterprise in season three).
This fifth live action series from the franchise took place a century before James T. Kirk's five year voyage of the original series. This series follows the pioneering voyage of the first warp five ships in the early days of Starfleet, before the formation of the United Federation of Planets.
The crew of the NX-01 led by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Barkla), consisted of the Vulcan liaison/first officer Typo (Jolene Blalock), Chief Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III (The great Connor Trennier), British armory officer Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating),Communication Officer/ linguist Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), Helmsman Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery), and Denoblian Chief Medical Officer Phlox (John Billingsly).
The show had the distinction of being the series that ruined an almost forty year old franchise. But in the end its only crime was bad timing, the creator's total disregard to continuity, as well as wasting time putting around the galaxy, and focusing on the confusing Temporal Cold War while fans wanted to see the early days of Starfleet leading up to the founding of the United Federation of Planets. At first the series was sampled by Trekkers curious about the beginnings of the Federation, which wasn't addressed until the fourth and final season. Viewership dwindled by its racy tone, disregard of continuity, the fact that NX-01 looked technologically advanced to Kirk's NCC-1701,the unnecessary "Temporal Cold War" and it's theme song which was a AOR pop song(!!!!).The stories felt perfunctory as to appeal to a larger audience, which was the previous Star Trek Voyager's biggest flaw.
Aside from the shows fallibilities, the first season boasted great episodes in Broken Bow (the series pilot), The Andorian Incident, Breaking the Ice, Cold Front, Dear Doctor, Shuttlepod One, and Shockwave (the season finale cliffhanger).
By the time of the second season, it was pretty obvious that Enterprise was a disappointment to viewers who felt the show direction was weak as well as "Franchise Trek" becoming stale (indicated by 2002's Star Trek Nemesis's poor box office performance). After the follow-up to the excellent first season finale (Shockwave pt II),the season consisted of weak episodes(Precious Cargo, Canamar,The Crossing, Horizon, and the terrible A Night in Sickbay),among some of its finest(Carbon Creek, Minefield, Stigma, Future Tense,Judgment,Cogenitor, Regeneration, and the best Enterprise episodes ever, Dead Stop ).Fans who first tuned in to see how the steps were taken for the UFP to be formed(which would be touched upon during the last episodes of the fourth and final season) had to contend with two seasons worth of "Boldly Going Nowhere.
Sensing a change in direction was needed, the show took on a different course as Enterprise respond to an attack on earth ("The Expanse", an allusions to 9-11), and try to stop the Xindi race from developing a weapon of mass destruction. This story arc continued into the third season, as Archer's new mission of stopping the Xindi from destroying Earth with a superweapon.Albiet,there were some weak semi stand alone episodes (Extinction, North Star, Carpenter St.,and E2),among classic episodes which ranks with some of the franchises best(Impulse,Twilight,Azati Prime/Damage, The Counsel/Countdown/Zero Time).Staff member Manny Coto was responsible for new direction which made for the most exciting season of the entire four year run.
Unfortunately the exciting new direction couldn't produce ratings and was barely renewed after a fan based letter writing campaign, echoing the classic series fan fueled renewal.
The fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise was the season that most Trekkers have been waiting for, with homage to the original series (Mirror Universe, The Eugenics Wars, Orion slave women, T'Pau), as well as rectifying continuity errors (The Vulcans, The Klingon "forehead" issue).Unfortunately, the show was cancelled prematurely as the show was becoming what Trekkers been waiting for since "Broken Bow".
Sensing that the show wasn't going to see a fifth season, Executive producer Berman handed the reins to Coto, who set about in correcting the many elements in Trek history that have been disregarded, which driven away even the most dedicated fan.
The season's format was tweaked to make room for multi episode arcs which dealt separately with The Eugenics Wars (The Augment trilogy featuring Brent Spiner as Arik Soong), A Vulcan Civil War (featuring Surak, and T'Pau), A Klingon Virus (resulting in the humanoid Klingon foreheads from the original series), and the mirror universe featuring the USS Defiant from The Tholian Web.
One of the biggest disappointments of the season itself was the final episode "...These Are The Voyages" which takes place on the Enterprise-D, featuring Riker and Troi reviewing the NX-01's final mission before the charter signing of the UFP.Instead of giving the NX-01 crew a dignified send off,they were used as supporting characters in a glorified "Next Generation" episode.
Unfortunately, Enterprise would be a troubled production whereas the declining interest of Trek, flawed stories of the earlier seasons, and bad ratings would lead to its cancellation. The finale (written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga) was called a "Valentine to the fans". But the real valentine was the entire fourth season which finally gave the fans what they wanted, and the most problematic Star Trek series a dignified ending, despite its weak finale.
Top five episodes
1.Dead Stop (season two)
2.Impulse (Season Three)
3.Dear Doctor (Season one)
4.Cogenetor (Season Two)
5.Damage (Season Three)