Trek: Enterprise (originally titled Enterprise) was a science
fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe that
premiered in the United States on September 26, 2001, following the
adventures of the crew of the pre-Federation Enterprise (NX-01), the
first human-built vessel to achieve Warp 5.
is a prequel to the other Star Trek series and movies. The pilot
episode, "Broken Bow", takes place in 2151, ten years
before the founding of the Federation and about halfway between the
21st century events shown in the movie Star Trek: First Contact and
the original Star Trek series.
was cancelled by UPN on February 2, 2005 after a run of four seasons
and 98 episodes, making it the first Trek series since the original
Star Trek to have been cancelled by its network rather than finished
by its producers. Despite the announcement, production of the series
was allowed to continue until the end of the season, with the final
two episodes on UPN airing on May 13, 2005.
first two seasons of Enterprise depict the exploration of space by a
crew who are able to go farther and faster than any humans had
previously gone due to the breaking of the Warp 5 barrier, presenting
situations which are not entirely unfamiliar to Star Trek fans but
allowing its characters to face them unencumbered by the experience
and rules which have built up over hundreds of years of Trek history
as in other Star Trek series. Enterprise takes pains to show the
origins of some concepts which have become taken for granted in Star
Trek canon, such as Reed's development of force fields and Archer's questions
about cultural interference which would eventually be answered by
the Prime Directive.
Vulcans are often close by to offer help when needed, but believe
that humans are not yet a mature enough species to begin exploring
the galaxy and initiating first contact with other alien races. This
generates some conflict as, in several early episodes, Archer
complains bitterly about the Vulcans looking over his shoulder all
recurring theme throughout the first three seasons is the
"Temporal Cold War", in which a mysterious entity from the
future uses technology to help a species known as the Suliban
manipulate the timeline and change past events. Sometimes providing
bad information to the crew of Enterprise and sometimes saving the
ship from destruction, the entity's true motives are unknown. A
(mostly) human from Earth's future, Agent Daniels, visits Captain
Archer occasionally to assist him in fighting the Suliban and undoing
damage to the timeline.
creators of the series also made the decision to focus increasingly
on the three core characters of the series Archer, Tucker, and
T'Pol in lieu of further developing the supporting characters
(Sato, Mayweather, Reed, and Phlox). This format, based upon the
similar "triumvirate" format used for the Original Series
(which primarily focused on the trio of Kirk, McCoy, and Spock),
began to emerge during the first season and has sparked further
criticism from fans used to the ensemble format of TNG, DS9, and
Voyager, and other recent SF series.
fact that Earth is not yet the significant interstellar presence it
would later become is underscored in the first two seasons with a
running joke: whenever an Enterprise crewmember says he or she is
from Earth, the alien's response is invariably, "Earth? Never
heard of it."
ratings encouraged the series' producers to seek a new direction. The
third season changes the series' name to Star Trek: Enterprise and
introduces a new enemy, the Xindi, whose goal is the annihilation of
the human race due to fears that someday humanity will wipe them out.
The entire third season follows one long story arc, which begins in
the second season finale "The Expanse" in which the Xindi
deploy a prototype weapon which cuts a wide, deep trench from central
Florida to Venezuela, killing seven million people. Enterprise is
refitted as a warship with the addition of MACOs, seen as the
precursor to the heavily armed Starfleet security personnel in other
Star Trek series, and travels through the Delphic Expanse to find the
Xindi homeworld and prevent another attack against Earth.
fans thought the Xindi storyline was a knee jerk reaction to the
events of 911 and took the series away from it's Star Trek roots.
Roots many feel they were rediscovering in the fouth season. Still,
the third season, especially later episodes, were received more
favorably by fans and critics. Some of these were written or co-written
by Manny Coto, a writer who joined the series in its third season.
Coto's other scripts, such as "Similitude" are also
considered to be of a higher caliber than earlier stories, which
likely contributed to his being promoted to
executive producer and show runner for season 4.
Xindi story arc carried over into the fourth season, being related
peripherally to the two-part season premiere, "Storm Front"
(being a detour as Enterprise returned to Earth), and "Home"
serving as a coda to the arc.
4 - regarded by many fans as the strongest - produced a mixture of
two- and three-episode arcs, along with a few standalone episodes.
The general theme of the season appeared to be a focus on the prequel
concept of the series, with many episodes referencing themes,
concepts, and characters from past series. Season 4 saw the finale of
the "Temporal Cold War" depicted in the previous three
seasons. The fourth season also saw the much anticipated return of
Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the
imprisoned scientist Dr. Arik Soong in a three-episode arc
("Borderland", "Cold Station 12", and "The
Augments") involving genetically enhanced superhumans known as
"Augments". Coto has stated that his intent was to push the
series towards the eventual founding of the United Federation of
Planets. It helped immensely that Manny Coto, unlike Rick Berman and
Brannon Braga, was a fan of The Original Series.
4 also addressed some discrepancies between the Vulcans of TOS and
those depicted in Star Trek: Enterprise. The "Vulcan Civil
War" arc ("The Forge", "Awakening", and
"Kir'Shara") was hailed as among the most interesting and
intricately woven plotlines of the series. In it, the characters meet
T'Pau (a character who shows up in The Original Series in the episode
"Amok Time") and the audience sees Romulans trying to
undermine the stability of the balance in power between the Andorians
exploration element of the first two seasons (and previous Trek
series) was downplayed in the fourth season, which was informally
referred to as the "Solar System Arc" due to the fact that
most storylines begin with Enterprise being assigned a mission from
Earth, rather than simply encountering adventure through exploration.
series cancellation was announced prior to the writing of the final
episode of the fourth season, which allowed the writing team to craft
a series finale. The episodes before this were welcomed by fans -
including a two-parter detailing how Klingons become more
human-looking during the period of TOS (as well as showing Section
31) and a two-parter taking place in the Mirror Universe and
featuring a starship from the TOS era.
final episode of Enterprise, entitled "These Are the Voyages
...", aired May 13 in the United States, and was one of the most
heavily criticized episodes the Star Trek franchise ever aired as a
series finale -- much of the criticism focusing on the premise, which
essentially reduced the finale to a holodeck adventure from an
earlier Star Trek series. The episode featured guest appearances by
Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis as their Star Trek: The Next
Generation characters William Riker and Deanna Troi. The show took
place during the TNG episode "The Pegasus". Brent Spiner,
another TNG veteran who had guest-starred earlier in the fourth
season, had a speaking role as Data.