I never thought I’d ever say this but…I’m going to miss Star Trek: Enterprise.
So, let me back up and explain.
Back when Enterprise first aired, my husband and I gave it most of its first season to impress us. It failed, miserably. We didn’t hate the characters – which made it a huge step up from Star Trek: Voyager – but it was nothing like the advertised premise. There was nothing here about starting the Federation or the history of the Star Trek universe.
Instead, we got Star Trek: The Next Generation – light. Any of those first season plots could have happened on ST:TNG. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some ST:TNG, but that’s not what we were promised. And, quite frankly, Enterprise was damn boring. We never watched it again.
I did hear rumors about it getting better but by that time three seasons had passed and I just wasn’t interested in getting back to it. Well, in the past year, my husband started hearing even more about how it got better so we decided to watch it, from the beginning all the way to the end.
With our expectations much lower now, it wasn’t quite the disappointment it had been when it first aired. Again, we liked the characters so that helped keep us watching through the boring, generic first season and the forgettable second season (honestly, I can’t tell you without looking up episode descriptions about anything that happened in season 2).
Then we got to the third season and something finally happened – an intergalactic war with…a race we’d never heard of.
Enterprise pretty much wrote in a fail-safe from the very first episode – time travel. The writers could get away with anything and in the end fix it all with time travel and that is exactly what they did. It was a major cheat and we knew it was coming without even reading up on future episodes.
But, that didn’t make season 3 un-enjoyable. in fact, it was the first season where something happened. The Expanse, an area of space that didn’t follow the known laws of physics, was new and having a large, overarching storyline was welcome after the rambling of seasons 1 and 2. There was character development, questionable actions on behalf of the greater good and consequences to those actions. Boyishly optimistic Captain Archer became disillusioned and even bitter.
And it got exciting. Even though this still had nothing to do with the real Star Trek universe, we cared enough about these characters (and most of them are really great for Star Trek) that watching how they handled this war was fun and even nerve-wracking.
And now, we’re in season 4 and suddenly, it’s what the show had been promised to be. We’re not completely done yet, but so far in this season we’ve learned why Klingons looked more human in the original series. We saw how Vulcan society as we know it was formed. We’ve seen the start of the United Federation of Planets. We’ve learned more about Andorians and Tellurites than every before. We’ve even met the Romulans – and they haven’t been ruined by letting any other races see them. (If you don’t remember, in the original series it was a shock to find out that Romulans looked very much like Vulcans).
And even with all this plot, the characters have gotten even more interesting. This is solid Star Trek writing almost up to par with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my favorite series of the franchise. It’s a shame that Scott Bakula doesn’t have the same gravitas as William Shatner or Patrick Stewart, but really, there aren’t many actors who do.
Even T’Pal became a character I’m fond of. I never hated her and I thought Jolene Blaylock played it well but in the beginning she had no personality at all. The only thing that really annoys me about the character now is that she still won’t wear a damn Starfleet uniform, even though her character joined Starfleet in season 4. I know it was to please the fanboys who tuned into Voyager simply for curvy Seven of Nine and were now tuning into Enterprise for the same ‘feature’ but even on ST:TNG they finally put Deanna Troi in a uniform.
And now we’re down to about five episodes and I can tell I’m going to miss it when we’re done. It’s a shame that it was cut short just when it got really good. All other non-original series, no matter how bad they were (Voyager was awful, people, really really awful) got seven seasons but Enterprise only got four. At the time of its cancellation I didn’t care at all, assuming it was just as bad as season one.
I almost wish I had been right.