Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Where ENTERPRISE went wrong

Space may be the final frontier, but Enterprise proved to be the final straw for the television voyages of the Starship Enterprise, not the Enterprise of Kirk, no not even that of Picard and his next generation. These were the voyages of the very first Starship Enterprise, the one that was the flagship of Starfleet simply because it was the only ship in Starfleet, the ship that first took mankind to the stars.

ENTERPRISE was the show that was going to reinvigorate the franchise after the frankly lacklustre effort that was VOYAGER by completely reinventing the show. There would be no shields, no phasers, no transporters, no prime directive, just a few hardy explorers out there trying to make a difference. Sounds quite an exciting idea, doesn't it?

Sadly, it all went wrong in the execution. The ship was crewed with the least interesting crew yet to the point that the lead three of Captain Archer (centre) T'Pol (not in uniform) and Tucker (right) took all the attention and the rest were completely sidelined.

The main issue, though, is the way that the timelines of all the previous (or later since this is a prequel show) shows were thrown out of the window in such a cavalier manner. When the show is dealing with Vulcans, Andorians and Orion slave girls it does what any STAR TREK should, but then it can't resist bringing in the likes of the Ferengi and the Borg, not to mention shapeshifters. Since these creatures were completely unknown when first encountered by Picard in THE NEXT GENERATION we can only assume that Archer's crew were particularly bad at keeping records or that Picard's crew don't know how to read.

Furthermore, all the things that made the concept exciting, prove to be too much of a hurdle for the writers and soon enough there are phasers and transporters and just about everything that later crews relied upon to solve those difficult plot puzzles.

ENTERPRISE is a perfectly serviceable space western and would have been accepted as such had none of the other STAR TREK shows existed. Since they do, it will remain the show that killed the franchise on the small screen until JJ Abrams' reboot is adapted for TV.

ENTERPRISE has just finished a complete repeat run on Virgin 1 (now Channel 1) and earlier episodes are still showing on that channel

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