Voyager might be seen as Star Trek’s redheaded stepchild, but Enterprise is its bastard offspring. If Trek fandom could force Enterprise to take the black and go to the Wall it would. Never have I seen a Trek show so dissed by fans, and I suffered the indignity of seven years as a die-hard Voyager enthusiast who never went anywhere on Wednesday nights.
Enterprise deserved better ratings than it received. The crew had good chemistry, the episodes were well-written, and the exploration of Starfleet’s early days made for interesting watching. Here’s why Enterprise has an important spot on my shelf.
Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
As a Quantum Leap fan, hearing that Scott Bakula was going to captain the next Star Trek was like being told they were going to bring back Doctor Who. (Wouldn’t that be cool?) I’m just sorry we never got to hear him sing.
The Enterprise NX-01
It’s a sweet little ship. No wonder Archer stole it from Starfleet and took it for a bit of a joyride (just to prove a point, mind). Trip Tucker will scold me if I don’t mention that the NX-01 has the first Warp Five engine, designed by Archer’s father. Just don’t stay at top speed too long. It’s very much like Microsoft system requirements: technically it’s a Warp Five engine, but you really don’t want to go above four point nine.
How can you not love Shran? He’s blue. He’s Andorian. He’s Jeffrey Combs, for pity’s sake. Cut off his antenna and it only makes him more cynical. His blood runs cold and his weapons run hot, and he doesn’t have much tolerance for pink-skins.
No holodeck. No replicator. The captain doesn’t even have a swimming pool to play water polo. But we get to see Hoshi invent the Universal Translator and Phlox discover medical breakthroughs that will affect Treks to come. It’s nice to see how it all starts, especially the interactions between original alien races like the Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites.
Why does everyone hate the Enterprise opening credits? It’s a montage of important figures and events in space history (including a few fictional ones as segue into the Star Trek universe). Considering what real-life people go through in the name of space exploration, the least you can do is sit there and offer a moment of silence on their behalf. </rant>
Honorable mention: Gary Graham as Vulcan Ambassador Soval. After Alien Nation I kept expecting him to shout and pound on things.
Plus, five don’t-miss Enterprise episodes:
The Enterprise discovers a long-lost Earth colony, where the inhabitants have forgotten they’re human. A good early episode that gives us a chance to get to know the crew, plus intriguing backstory about the Novans and their colony.
The Andorian Incident
This early episode, in which Archer, T’Pol and Trip are held hostage by Andorians at a Vulcan monastery, exemplifies a lot of what makes Enterprise worthwhile. We’ve got some nice interactions between our three top officers, quick-thinking military maneuvers by Reed, and sulky, sneaky Vulcans sparring with uptight, gun-wielding Andorians. And we get to meet Shran for the first time.
“The universe can giggle all it wants, but it’s not getting any of our bourbon.” Trip and Reed end up trapped in a shuttlepod and running out of air, after believing the Enterprise destroyed. So much fun you’ll forget it’s The Galileo Seven without bothering to file off the serial numbers.
The Enterprise encounters their own ship from seventy years in the future, now crewed by descendants who are determined to help them prevent the Xindi from destroying Earth. Timey-wimey episodes are always fun and this one has a lot going for it, especially the fabulous acting by David Andrews as Lorian.
Shadows Of P’Jem, Fusion, Minefield, Regeneration, First Flight, Twilight, North Star, Home, The Forge/Awakening/Kir’Shara
Somebody out there owes us three more seasons of Enterprise to bring it up to the Trek standard of seven. I want to find out how Travis Mayweather’s family is doing, if Hoshi’s students miss her, if Trip and T’Pol are ever going to end up with a halfway normal relationship. (Yeah, I know, never mind the final episode or the retcon in the novels.) Enterprise may be underappreciated but I suspect that, like the original series, it will become more popular over time.
Meanwhile, we Enterprise fans will be here, enjoying our chamomile tea and Chilean sea bass. Drinks at the 602 Club? Be sure to ask for Ruby.