Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!
Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!

The Ups and Downs that Followed the NX-01 Enterprise

It’s a show about the first Enterprise, which was made last.  Its a show that followed after three great entities of the franchise.  There were many established and amazing writers on the previous shows.  Yet Enterprise was severely lacking come season 1's launch. 


There were so many lines that made you cringe.  There were goofy episodes and situations.  And it was more geared towards a "younger, fresher" audience than the original fan base which launched the franchise in the first place.  Episode 1 gave you two actors down to their skivvies rubbing oil on each other's sweaty bodies underneath some suspicious medical mood lighting.  What the... what does that have to do with the plot?  Oh that's right, we're trying to get the young crowd to like this show. 


Season 1 was plagued with repetition.  I think every episode hailed some version of the line "those pesky human emotions."  I wanted to smack someone after a while.  Another thing was the fact that the ship itself kept getting pummeled.  It could not withstand any confrontation without outside intervention.  It got a bit frustrating especially after movies and the other shows in which Enterprise always had that last bit of strength to pull out a winning situation for the crew.  There were many overused lines and underused moments with season 1.  While it did have its highlights ("Dear Doctor" being one of my favorite episodes of the entire series), overall it felt like we were starting all over again for some reason?  The quality just was not there.  It seems as though there was a bit of George Lucas over managing going on. 


Of course, any episode with Shran was great.  Loved those Andorians!  They always provided some fun to each episode.  And Klingons.  Always a colorful brood!  I also liked the discovery elements.  The development of the red ("Reed") alert and how it would power up critical systems.  The origins of Star Trek commonplace practices and procedures was fun to explore!  Its just that the medium itself was at times a bit goofy and other times just shy of that "great" factor.  


One aspect my cousin brought up was the titles of episodes.  For the original series, the titles were almost always poetic or prophetic.  Next Gen had some of these titles as well.  But by DS9 & Voyager, many of the provocative titles seemed to condense into one-word lines.  Enterprise titles were even worse.  They were obvious and blunt.  They did not add that suspense or intrigue that titles from the past initiated in your mind.  Yes, this is a little thing, but its also a part of the overall tone the series set for itself.  It didn't seem like they tried too hard.  And perhaps they did, but it seemed like concepts were sometimes a bit easily discovered.  

"I can't find the Next Gen writers either.  These guys made me pregnant!"

If you're going to do a series about the past, why do you start with a temporal cold war and people from the future messing with the timeline?  That is the one thing you should not touch in Star Trek!  Do not mess with our beloved characters.  This never made sense to me... especially since they never answered WHO THE GUY WAS HELPING THE SULIBAN!  I remember at my last convention somebody asked Conner Trinner who that mysterious meddler was.  His answer: "Mark Hamill."  Hilarious!  I guess we'll never know as the writers never answered that!!! 


Perhaps the writers thought with Scott Bakula at the helm, they could do no wrong.  They had a strong cast and a large franchise to build from.  Yet, these episodes felt to be heading backwards in quality.  Plus Cpt Archer was always yelling at people!  Dang!  I would not have wanted to been serving on that ship!


Thankfully, things did go up.  Season 2 was better.  Season 3, while switching to that ridiculous folksy theme song while the destruction of Earth hangs in the balance (why in the world would they think star trek geeks - no offense as I am a proud geek - would listen to country/folk music?), was better still.  Season 4 was great... until the final episode that they cheapened into a TNG rip off.  And they kill Trip?  SOOOO sad. 


Okay, I'll be fair, I think the concept of the final episode could have worked if they would have taken more time with it.  Or at least done it for a different episode.  Perhaps something that was controversial that the Federation never discovered the answers to... something Riker's new ship (as he was not looking the same age when Enterprise season 4 filmed versus when he was on TNG) was coming across that was similar to an Archer mission.  Instead, the last episode was one that the writers tried to "trick" the audience into liking.  Look, here's Riker and Troi again!  Its the 1701-D!  It was a disappointing close to say the extreme least.  The NX crew was not giving the proper attention and send off the fans needed.  I did not mind that the setting was their final mission.  Fine.  Within the whole episode, there was constant chatter about Archer's final speech after the Enterprise was decommishioned.  Then they never read it before the episode closed?  No inspirational note to leave us with?  That part disappointed me the most.  I wanted to hear what Archer culminated from his missions along with his well wishes for the future Federation.  This final episode did not take time or care of the characters.  That was the most disappointing.  Especially after the T'Pol/Trip baby episodes.  Really?  They broke up after all that?  T'Pol is still the hard-nosed detached person?  No growth of any kind?  Again, so sad.


Regarding the highlights of season 4, let’s say things got back to what we loved about Trek.  Episodes with layers that resonated with you.  Episodes that affected character relationships.  Episodes that were awesome.  And if Trip didn't make you cry in the second to last episode... well, I just don't believe that statement!  Amazing cast performances all around. 

It’s sad that when things really got great, things also got canceled.  But let’s face it, this series sputtered at its inception.  It was slow to build up.  The characters were all very good, well cast, and overall made a good mix.  The writers of the early seasons just could not get things into warp drive.  I have purchased a few novels and hope to explore more post production development as the time allows (as some of these novels picked up themes the writers never got to revisit -- like Mirror, Mirror.  Oh yeah, and Trip is alive!).  Because after season 4, I was not ready to let this crew go. 

We're sad too, guys.  Gone too soon!


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