A Bit Of Backstory…
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge Star Trek fan. I am a huge fan of The Next Generation. Mainly because it was one of the only shows I could sit down and watch with my father as I grew up. I really enjoyed the cast, especially Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) and Johnathan Frakes (Commander Riker). It was something I could share with my dad back then and it always stood out to me as the best Star Trek had to offer. I had dabbled in Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and The Original Series and found myself always drawn back to Picard and his crew. It was tough for me to get into any other cast, aside from the Original Series which had a stand out cast that meshed well together.
Well, fast forward to this year and I found myself re-watching The Next Generation on Netflix. I finally was able to sit down and watch the whole series from start to finish. It was enjoyable, nostalgic, and overall a wonderful experience. Afterwards I felt that I wanted to watch some more Star Trek but my previous experiences with the other shows made me hesitate. Then I stumbled upon Enterprise on my Netflix feed. Being the most recent show, I remember vividly that my father would watch it but he never really had an opinion on it. The internet and other Trek fans I know did, however. Enterprise gets a beating from a lot of fans. Whether its the cast, Scott Bakula himself, or the inconsistencies with the other shows Enterprise just generally gets a bad rap.
However, I decided that I’d try it out. What’s the harm in just seeing what the first episode or two had to offer? After all, I knew next to nothing about this show aside from Scott Bakula being a captain and that it was the first voyages of the starship Enterprise, this time classed as NX.
The Crew And Experience
What I watched was interesting. Seeing James Cromwell reprise his role from First Contact was cool. The cast though seemed iffy. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this bunch. The one I did like off the bat though was Captain Jonathan Archer, played by Scott Bakula. This character is exactly what I thought the very first captain of the Enterprise would be: brash, curious, sloppy, stubborn, and adventurous. As a Captain in Star Trek you look at those characters thinking, “they’ll know what to do.” You can’t say that in Enterprise. This is the first time and Earth ship has left the area beyond Mars and the routine trips to Vulcan. No one knows what to do or expect, except T’Pol.
That was another wrench thrown at me in this show. T’Pol, one of two aliens aboard the Enterprise and the only Vulcan assigned to the crew, was the sole balance between the crew’s adventurous yet inexperienced selves and her knowledge and wisdom. It’s tough for a show to balance sides of a cast but to lean everyone on one character is risky. Again, I was iffy about this show.
I decided I wouldn’t do the same thing I did to Voyager and Deep Space Nine again, though. I stuck with Enterprise. When I got halfway through the first season I started to change my initial reaction to the crew. The way they conducted themselves during missions, ship work, and their everyday lives felt realistic to me. If I had been on that ship, I would have acted just like them. I started to see the strength that Enterprise had. It was a Star Trek show that you can relate to. You don’t need to think like a future human or have a different mindset to truly understand the crew and their decisions. These are the first humans out there exploring the galaxy. They are hungry for information and want to learn. Why? Because they’ve never done it before.
It’s just like how we are right now. Space is an infinite frontier that we want to explore. We want to go out there and see what’s going on. We want to learn. This made it very easy for me to get into the cast and crew members in Enterprise. This wasn’t a bunch of people who popped out gadgets, scanned something, and knew exactly what to do and talked in a quasi-alien/sci-fi language. Sure there are futuristic terms but nothing that ever made me once say, “what the hell is going on?” or “wow, they knew exactly what to do and when.” Every episode was a mystery to me. I never once felt that at the end of each episode the ship and her crew would be a-okay. It went from episode to episode of not knowing and that’s exactly how the crew in the show acted. It clicked with me.
Of the biggest themes in Enterprise is the “Temporal Cold War” that is happening in the future but also all over the timestream. Time travel is a constant thing in this show and while I feel the show never really hit its stride with the whole storyline, I very much enjoyed the episodes where these themes occurred. I was especially excited whenever Daniels showed up in an episode. I knew as soon as I saw him that the episode was going to be a wild ride and almost always, that was true.
I have read that Season Five, which unfortunately never happened, was going to focus on time travel and the Temporal Cold War. There were a lot of questions left unanswered after the show ended. The other thing I also didn’t like was how after every time traveling adventure, the crew would gather around T’Pol and basically say, “so what now about the Vulcan’s stance on time travel, huh? Do you still believe in it? It’s a bunch of bull hocky, isn’t it? T’Pol! T’POL! TIME TRAVEL, T’POL!”
Time travel and its place in Enterprise was exciting, nonetheless. I was hoping for even more than I got but I was satisfied with it. It’s a great theme that stretches across all four seasons. Plus, Temportal Agents have awesome uniforms.
Don’t get me wrong, though. It helps if you’ve seen some Star Trek before. Knowing some key events in the timeline of the franchise will help you better appreciate what you are watching. Knowing what races and species pop and seeing them in full glory with CGI and much better costuming, design, and make-up makes for a great modern interpretation of the franchise and its history. However, I also feel that I could walk up to anybody and tell them that Star Trek: Enterprise is a show for everyone. You don’t need to be into sci-fi or Star Trek to like Enterprise. This is a show about a group of humans (and some aliens) who go exploring in space and wind up in difficult situations that help them form the basis of what humanity needs to know and how to adapt and better themselves for the future.
I look at the new Star Trek films and how they are making the franchise name more accessible for people and bringing it into a new age for new viewers. I look at Enterprise as the best way to get into the shows itself for these viewers. It’s relatable, exciting, and interesting.
So you may be asking yourself after reading all this, “why does it get a bad rap?” Hardcore Trek fans and those who take the lore seriously are the ones who generally hate/rip on the series. Now, I’m not saying that in a derogatory way. I can completely understand the gripes. Enterprise changes up some of the lore in the other shows and movies. There are retcons in many places but to be honest, if you don’t fall into the previously said categories or just want to watch some Star Trek or a good TV show, Enterprise has more than you’re looking for.
What you’re going to get out of Enterprise is that humanity’s first steps into space beyond the closest planets were rough. It wasn’t easy and the expectations on the crew weighed heavy. It also shows you how the earliest space explorers in Star Trek history were not so calm, collective, and refined as we are accustomed to see with the other crews of the other shows. Enterprise gives viewers a glimpse into a very realistic future that is relatable and fun to watch.
I was sad when Enterprise ended. I had a lot of fun with the show and the characters. This is my number two series in the franchise now, still behind The Next Generation. However, it was a close battle for first place. I found myself really into Enterprise a lot more than I originally thought I would be.
I suggest you give Enterprise a chance. It’s a great watch and the more you get into the episodes, the stronger its grasp on you gets. This show really strengthens up as the episode numbers go up and up. By the tail end of Season 4 you’ll be wishing it didn’t end.
- Great intro to cast
- Easy to watch and get into
- A new and exciting adventure each episode
- Great cliff hanger
- Cool time travel storyline
- Starts off a tad slow
- Not enough Phlox
- Not enough crew interaction on ship
- Starts to get more complex
- Fleshes out characters more
- Interesting adventures
- Keeps up a good pace
- Amazing cliff hanger
- Still not enough crew interaction on ship
- Very out of place Borg episode
- Not enough fleshing out of time travel story
- A constant story throughout the whole season
- Edge of your seat episodes
- You can feel the intensity and importance of the mission
- You want the crew to succeed
- Desperate enemy
- Interesting time travel episodes
- Awesome locations in The Expanse
- Filler episodes can take you out of that “edge of your seat” feeling
- Needs more Daniels
- Weird cliffhanger
- That weird cliffhanger turned out to be the beginning of some great episodes
- Lots of arcs to give the crew a lot to do and accomplish
- In A Mirror Darkly
- Great ending
- Very abrupt ending of the time travel story
- The Vulcan arc is a bit slow
- Only two episodes of the mirror universe
- Ending arc could have been longer
- Needed more Peter Weller