Star Trek: Enterprise, in many ways, tried to do things differently. But not every gamble is worth the reward. Star Trek: Enterprise faltered so many times it is now seen as the franchise’s lowest point.
The Star Trek: Enterprise Opening Theme Sequence
In every Star Trek series till date, the opening theme song is very important. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s opening sequence is the stuff of legends. Star Trek: Enterprise decided to go the radical route and give us something unique. The Enterprise theme sequence involved a montage of humanity’s various scientific accomplishments culminating with the NX-01’s first spaceflight. But what really irked the fans was the show using a different song. It went with Rod Stewart’s Faith of the Heart. Previous shows always went with To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before. The montage and the different musical choice did not fit well.
Unlovable Main Characters
Star Trek, as a franchise, is known to give us iconic characters. Saru from Discovery, Spock of The Original series, and Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation are good examples. Star Trek: Enterprise did not have that luxury. Almost half of its regular character roster were totally unlikable. Apart from a select few like phlox, Trip Tucker, and Malcolm Reed, the rest of the characters were not up to the mark. Travis Mayweather and Hoshi Sato had so much potential but the writers just lost interest in the two midway. T’Pol, the Vulcan SIC and Jonathan Archer – the Captain, were both underwhelming. And they had the most screen time.
Star Trek: Enterprise Treated The Vulcans Wrong
Star Trek: Enterprise went out of its way to show Vulcans in a very negative light. The Vulcans were shown as antagonistic and cunning. They were shown to have a collective desire to impede human advancement by any means necessary. This was the reason Captain Archer hated the Vulcans. But his hatred was taken up so many notches it looked like he was a xenophobic prick. That is unbecoming of a Starfleet Officer. Star Trek has always shown Vulcans as beings of pure logic. Enterprise gave them a very human emotion – an illogical superiority complex. They tried rectifying it in season 4 of Star Trek: Enterprise. But by that time, things had already reached critical mass.
TV Was Changing, Star Trek: Enterprise Failed To keep Up
The Star Trek franchise, till Enterprise, hinged on a very dated model. The show would make standalone stories for each episode and then lease the rights of the episodes to networks. The show could run perpetually in any network that bought the broadcasting rights. In return, any non Star Trek fan could watch any Enterprise episode and make it his or her first star Trek adventure without the need to keep up with the lore. But the TV world was changing. Serialization and connected overall story arcs were the new norm. Battlestar Galactica showed us how a serialized sci-fi space opera could present higher stakes and a more streamlined set of character development arcs. Enterprise relied on a logic that no longer existed.
Very Low Stakes
The NX-01 was going through uncharted waters. The area of the universe it was exploring were full of unknown threats and entities. And yet, for the first two seasons, the ship had no casualty on board. There were some exceptions to this phenomenon like the episodes Minefield and Deadstop. But they should not have been exceptions. These episodes were the rare instances where Enterprise raised the bar. It should have been the other way around.
Enterprise Got Better After It Was Already Too Late
It is not to say that Enterprise did not try to correct its many errors. Season 3 and Season 4 were exceptionally better than the first two. The Xindi arc showed promise. Season 4 felt like what Star Trek: Enterprise should have been since the beginning. But the fans had lost hope in the show by then. So no matter how much the show tried getting back its footing, viewership ratings kept getting worse.