Trek Trek: Free (of) Enterprise


I haven’t been posting “Trek Trek” updates lately, because no one seems to care. Well, more than that, people seem to actively avoid the site when I post about Enterprise. The good news for you is that I’m through with Enterprise now; the bad news for me is that, well, I’m through with Enterprise now.

You guys (what few of you were willing to stoop to the level of discussing this show) were right — Enterprise‘s fourth season actually was even better than the third despite the lack of a singular overarching plot theme. Or rather, an overtly stated theme; beneath it all was the driving motif of “let’s get to classic Trek,” and it did a vastly better job of this than I honestly could ever have expected from this show in its first two seasons. I’m going to attribute that to the presence of Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens’ names in the credits for the whole of season four — they’re veteran Trek folks who (if I’m not mistaken) got their start as fans trying to coax Paramount into resuscitating the franchise in the ’70s. Who better to see the classic franchise to its quiet finale before the loud, brash movie reboot than two people who helped bring it back from limbo in the first place?

In a lot of ways, I’m glad the first two seasons were the aimless mess they turned out to be; as with every Trek spin-off from Next Generation on, Enterprise needed about a season and a half to find its voice, and I don’t think it would have done the franchise’s legacy justice if it had tackled topics like the birth of the Federation and the Eugenics Wars right away. Season three served as a sort of crucible for the series, an entire season of the crew responding to their own unique threat far removed from series’ universe as we know it. It allowed the bland-beyond-belief cast to grow their characters and earned the ship the right to its name. Having come of age, Enterprise finally had the maturity to begin its real purpose of laying down the groundwork for the original series.


The downside, of course, is that those mediocre-to-miserable first two seasons killed the audience’s interest in sticking with the series (myself included), so no one was around to appreciate the fact that the franchise went out with some of the best Trek ever. The worst I can say about any episode of season four is that one or two were inessential; none were bad. Well, except perhaps the finale. I know the reputation that one has, and I’m not sure if I’m going to watch it. As I’m concerned, “Terra Prime” makes a perfect capstone for the series, even if it was cut down in its prime. The Romulans are out there, sowing discontent with shadowy tactics; the Klingons regard humanity with a wary tension that could burst into war anytime; Earth had begun its starship program in earnest with the launch of NX-02 Columbia; and the Federation Charter has finally come to into being. Archer’s speech to the proto-Federation delegates about “we’re all explorers” makes a much better capstone to this franchise than fat Riker trying to frame all of Enterprise as a loose recreation of events. I’m done, and it ended perfectly. Although I’m sad Robocop turned out to be such a racist creep.

The fourth season’s division into a handful of interlinked arcs was brilliant. Several narrative threads ran throughout the entire series, and it seems like the writers created arcs by putting two of them together. Humanity’s regrettable past plus Klingon tension equals an unnecessary — but much less embarrassing than I expected! — explanation for the cosmetic difference between original series Klingons and the rest. (I’d have accepted “differences in makeup tech between the ’60s and ’80s,” but I suppose Deep Space Nine put its foot in it by calling attention to the change, so whatever.) Romulans plus the birth of the Federation equals Romulans using subterfuge to drive a wedge between the various future species of the Federation. And so on.

I have some more specific thoughts, but I’ll have to finish the second half of this tomorrow when I have more time. Lucky you.

21 thoughts on “Trek Trek: Free (of) Enterprise

    • I’m not done writing about Trek, just Enterprise. I’m taking a break to finally watch Robotech (something I’ve wanted to do for nearly 30 years) and then it’s on to the Original Series and — yes — the Animated Series.

  1. I also totally enjoyed your thoughts on Star Trek sir, mostly because I never could get past that darned first season of Enterprise. I am considering just skipping straight to the third, since you found it so enjoyable.

    As I recall, you were planning to do it in canonical order or something. Does that mean you’re gonna hit classic Trek next, followed by Next Generation and then, some day in the far flung future, DS9?

  2. Three cheers for the weirdos!
    Honestly, only watch “These Are The Voyages…” if you want to remind yourself why Trek needed a reboot: between the Enterprise finale & Nemesis, the men in charge of the franchise had no idea what to do with it anymore.
    The last few minutes are kinda sweet though. And the NCC-1701-D done up in CGI looks hot.

  3. I’m agreeing with Daniel here – the last episode feels like terrible, studio-sanctioned fanfic despite producer Rick Berman’s assurances that the episode ‘would be a loveletter to the fans’.

    I guess 15+ years slaving away on a dead man’s scifi dream will eventually crush ANYONE’s enthusiasm for their work, though.

  4. Hey, I dig it and I don’t even watch the show. I just hope we get some more Eveangelion as well, those are neat too.

  5. No, these are great! Talk about any dang Star Trek you want, mister! Whenever I see you talking about anything Star Trek, i get excited about it. STAR TREK, ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

  6. I actually really enjoyed these. It gave me a new perspective on Season 3, even if the end of the Temporal Cold War was one of the worst things ever.

    Season 4 was indeed the best, and it seemed to hint at a lot of great things to come. Much of the season’s success can actually be attributed to Manny Coto, who took the reins of the show in Season 4 and really gave it a fresh voice. He had a lot of great ideas for Season 5, like the return of the Cloud Miners from TOS, etc.

    In a Mirror, Darkly is still one of my favorite Trek episodes ever. Period. Combining the plots from Mirror, Mirror and The Tholian Web was just great. Scott Bakula in particular seemed to have a lot of fun with that episode, even if he was just chewing scenery.

    In the end, Enterprise never got to make good on its promise, which is too bad. But it’s still better than Voyager.

  7. I love reading these! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed Enterprise, Jeremy. I had a similar experience when I rediscovered it a few years back. When it originally aired, Season 1 was just so relatively middling and there was so much franchise-fatigue that I fell off. I really regret it. Some of the stuff I’ve heard about the plans for Season 5 sounded really exciting, like Shran becoming a regular crew member.

    I look forward to hearing your impressions of Robotech, if only for the morbid curiosity to see if you like it or hate it. It hasn’t aged the greatest, and I personally find the editing of the original source material to be distasteful. But it’s a good piece of anime/cartoon history.

  8. I guess I should have commented sooner – I enjoy “Trek Trek”! Even when you watch Enterprise. I really think that if season 3 and 4 had been season 2 and 3 instead we might have had a full 7 years of Trek.

  9. I have also enjoyed these Trek musings, and I’m glad to hear you’ll be continuing the original plan to watch the entire series of shows in story-chronological order! I look forward to more.

    Is there any way I can convince you to simply watch the proper, unedited Macross rather than the amalgamation (abomination) that is Robotech? It’s just leagues better, and having seen both, I feel confident in saying its more worth your time.

    Seperately, can we expect more Evangelion recaps any time soon? I was really enjoying those!

  10. I love reading about Star Trek. I even thought about doing something in the lines of Trek Trek myself, but in my mother language (and I thought of it before reading the first of your posts). I also intend to watch everything canonical Trek, but in a less orderly fashion. Currently I’ve watched every movie, almost the entire original series, most of TNG, a bit more than half of DS9, a bit less than half of VOY and I intend to restart ENT. There’s much Trek for me to watch yet, but it never gets old reading about it.

    Live long and prosper! =)

  11. Man, I’m one of the biggest Macross fanboys around here (I run a freakin’ tumblr dedicated to it), but I am so staying out of any argument on whether Jeremy should watch the original or Robotech. I’m sure he’s watching for enjoyment as well, but these series are also for analysis and digging in to what makes a show tick – and there’s certainly plenty to talk about with either one.

    • I wasn’t really planning to dissect Robotech. I’m just watching it because I saw one episode in the show’s original U.S. run and it’s stuck with me ever since. I know about its legacy, but yeah, don’t care. Just want to watch the show I was so intrigued by so many years ago, for better or for worse.

  12. You should watch the finale because it is the ultimate, all-time classic example of executives trying to please the fans by undermining everything that was good about a show. You wouldn’t want to miss that!

  13. Recently I have been rewatching DS 9. And having reached the middle of season three, I can agree with Jeremy that at least this particular Start Trek-show needed some time to grow up too: While seasons one and two were mostly enjoyable, season three has not had a single dull episode so far and on top of that some of those were really brilliant.

  14. I’ve enjoyed your pieces on Trek a great deal! I just haven’t seen the show, so haven’t had anything to add. I think you’ve convinced me to check it out after we’re done with DS9, though — I never watched much past the first few episodes the first time around, and the talk about the finale’s failings put me off afterward.

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