Why was Enterprise received so poorly?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by dcm, Jun 30, 2023.

  1. dcm

    dcm Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Jun 27, 2023
    I never watched the show when it was airing. Was it the whole unnecessary prequel thing? People just couldn't accept a non NCC-1701 Enterprise could they? I personally thought the show was Meh. Except when it was a Shran episode. I have no ill feelings towards the cast as atleast they could somewhat act. My only real problem with enterprise was that it took too long to hit it's stride(some people say it never did). The Xindi arc felt unsatisfactory. And the whole time travel cold war thing was kinda dumb(Dont get me wrong Enterprise-J was cool as shit. But it was really unnecessary to have archer go a thousand years into the future). And of course the finale felt like a lost tng episode. I know it was probably the writers trying to legitimize the series in the fans minds. But a good series legitimizes itself through excellence. If enterprise received the customary seven seasons do you think it would have improved or just piddled around in mediocrity for it's entire run?
  2. somebuddyX

    somebuddyX Commodore Commodore

    Nov 14, 2014
    A bunch of things (some of them I agree and some I completely disagree with) mostly from the first two seasons:
    Star Trek fatigue.
    The showrunners.
    The ship design.
    The cast, in regards to how young they were, good looking, acting abilities, how white they were, how the minorities were relegated to minor roles.
    Lazy recycled plots and plots that seemed stretched out.
    Decon chamber scenes.
    Lack of edge, like nobody died. Playing it safe.
    Use of races like Klingons that had been explored extensively, and the Ferengi and Borg that were well before their First Contacts.
    I have to mention the lack of Romulans because I know there was a segment annoyed at introducing the Xindi instead of using the Romulans.
    Portrayal of Vulcans.
    Lack of adherence to "canon" and fanon.
    It doesn't look like a prequel to the 1960s show.
    It airing on UPN.
    Competition from other sci-fi shows like Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape (?)
    Being a prequel.
    Temporal Cold War.
    No real secondary characters.
    Changing television landscape.
    Set before the founding of the Federation.

    First impressions are important. The show pulled in 12.54 million people for "Broken Bow", up from the 8.8m of "Endgame" but more realistically the 5.5m of "Renaissance Man." That's extraordinary. But they let those ratings erode until they were forced by the network to innovate and do some interesting stuff and by then it was too late. I have some respect for the guys making it because the guys in charge were told it was being made whether they stayed on or not, so that's not the ideal position to be creating something straight after nonstop work on Voyager and TNG, and Brannon did try a new writer's room for Season 1 and that fell to bits, but I also wonder what it would have looked like if Bermaga had fucked off and we'd got a new showrunner from the beginning.

    I don't think it being a prequel was a bad idea because I came up with the same idea in the 90s. I think the show had some interesting ideas but it was just too clean and often boring. I legit like the idea of the TCW and "Cold Front" to me is the one great episode of the season and I actually think Season 2 had at least half a dozen great ones too. People will often say Season 3 or 4 is the show we should have got from the beginning but to me, I think it should have been Season 1 and 2 with the grit and reverence for the franchise of 3 and 4.
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  3. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

    Nov 1, 2021
    If Enterprise had gone beyond four seasons, you can bet it would have focused on the Romulans; as a result, the ratings would have likely skyrocketed.
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  4. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 15, 2009
    well what we got was a Tng-Voyager in a new set of clothes, the premise was great, just like Voyager, but the execution was criminally poor. I enjoyed it, but it could have been alot beter if they leaned into the premise of the early years of exploration, the coming romulan war, etc. but what they did was just recycle, sometime almost verbatim, tng/voyager scripts.. they went the safe route, and doomed the show.
  5. suarezguy

    suarezguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 9, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    Yes, it was very derivative, and in particular of what had already gotten tired, and I also think its cast/characters were pretty unimpressive and/or unlikeable, even fans who did quite like 2 or 3 them were pretty unimpressed/disappointed with the rest and that they didn't improve.

    It tended to get bad comparisons with all the previous series (though some thought it a bit better than Voyager or another) and the spin-offs' ratings, and relatedly viewer perceptions, had been declining pretty consistently since around 1993. So its reception was more of following a trend rather than sudden disappointment but the trend was bad and getting worse. And in particular with being a prequel some of the fans were really expecting something more like the original show and so were particularly disappointed that it was more of 24th century shows style.

    I will say that while low and declining I think it was getting better ratings than Buffy so still doing at least OK for being on a netlet.
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  6. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Stupid Sexy Flanders! Premium Member

    May 1, 2001
    Staffordshire, UK
    I think Berman and Braga were burnt out on Trek, and they were easily the last people who should have been show-running a prequel as they weren't really Trek fans. I know Berman mentioned ideally having a year off to develop the series, as opposed to just starting up production right after VOY, and VOY had already been having its own problems. Perhaps B&B should have called it a day then?

    I think the portrayal of the Vulcans is pretty bad, and the introduction of the bland Temporal Cold War as an ongoing arc was misguided.

    The characters were a bit bland, with nobody feeling fresh and new.

    This problem didn't originate on ENT, but a lot of the scripts for the episodes seem to repeat verbatim from other series.

    Ethnic minorities being in small roles felt like it was out of TOS, but at least they had the 'excuse' that it was made in the 60s.

    The show felt too safe as well. There was no death of a crewmember in the first two seasons, which is bizarre when they are supposed to be alone on the frontier.

    I guess UPN was a poor excuse for a network, and were probably responsible for a lot of the stupid moments in the show. Decon chamber? Vulcan nuropressure? :wtf:
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2023
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  7. Anna Yolei

    Anna Yolei Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 15, 2003
    I don't disagree with any of this and they absolutely should've stepped down long before they did, but the studio probably would've found some other stooge to push out a version of ENT that was even worse than what we got. At least Berman talked UPN down from pushing pop tracks for incidental background music.

    Which is truly the most bizarre thing because the ingredients were all there to be unique, fresh takes. Hoshi had to translate everything manually! Travis was born in space! Phlox had to get creative in medical treatments because hyposprays weren't a thing!

    Instead, it just felt like the same ol, same old.
  8. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

    Nov 1, 2021
    Like spaghetti in the back of the refrigerator.
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  9. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 5, 2003
    New Orleans, LA
    Don't discount the effect of that stupid theme song. It put a bad taste in people's mouths at the beginning of each episode. Use Archer's Theme at the beginning, change nothing else and it runs 7 years.
  10. Okmyx

    Okmyx Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 10, 2022
    All of the above, and I agree, the theme song was horrible. I almost couldn't watch the show because of that alone (thank the lord for the mute button - and remote controls!). Add in Scott Bakula who I think was a horrible actor, Tripp's character was annoying, the dialog in general was ridiculous also. It's a shame, because it could have been a good show.
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  11. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 10, 2021
    People didn't turn off ENT due to a lack of Romulans. I doubt their appearance would have caused any skyrocketing.
  12. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

    Nov 1, 2021
    Maybe; post-DS9, people (i.e., viewers) loved a good "proper" war. At the minimum, it wouldn't have hurt.
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  13. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 10, 2021
    Maybe it wouldn't have hurt.

    But a season long war arc in the show's third year didn't make a difference?
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  14. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

    Nov 1, 2021
    There are two key differences here, the way I see it ->

    1. The Xindi-Earth conflict wasn't handled with great expertise; it's possible that the Romulan-Earth conflict would have been paired with better writers if the head honchos actually learned from past seasons (examining that which worked and that which needed to be discarded posthaste).
    2. Among Trekkies, there was built-in fondness for the Romulans (because of TOS and, to a lesser extent, TNG), whereas the Xindi were fighting upstream to prove themselves as iconic baddies.
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  15. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 10, 2021
    Again, I'm not totally disagreeing, but to get ENT to the kind of viewing numbers they wanted they needed to do more than bring disenfranchised Trekkies onboard. They needed to attract people that weren't part of the hardcore in the same way TNG (or for that matter TOS) did.

    As mentioned upthread, the main reason for ENT's dwindling viewership was the creative rut it was stuck in. A great premise that was quickly hammered into the shape of a reskinned TNG. As much as I would have liked to have seen the Romulan War, I don't think it would have caused a spike in viewers or reversed the fortunes of the show.
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  16. Space Socialist

    Space Socialist Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Apr 3, 2023
    No they wouldn’t have. No one cares about Romulans and the Earth/Romulan wars other than Trek nerds.

    ENT’s writers had the right idea in creating a new bad guy alien for the series. Unfortunately, the Suliban just weren’t interesting or compelling enough for us fans, let alone the regular mass audience. The Xindi came too late and suffered from similar issues, but at least they were much more interesting than the mushy pea faced Suliban.
  17. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 10, 2021
    That kind of crap is just as likely to have come out of the heads of Berman/Braga as it was UPN. It was Berman who used to send female leads to be fitted with special boob-boosting bras after all.
  18. Space Socialist

    Space Socialist Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Apr 3, 2023
    Rewatching Enterprise now, first time I’ve ever rewatched any of it since it first aired (in the UK on satellite television). It’s horribly sexist compared to DS9 and VOY. The decon scenes are horrendously cringeworthy and would’ve turned off more of the potential audience than it turned on, so to speak. Thankfully I can fast-forward such scenes on Netflix.

    Anyway, I think ENT was doomed when the pilot had the Klingons and Suliban as antagonists. The average non-nerd viewer wants a compelling, memorable enemy. We got Trek’s default bad guy alien (in popular consciousness) and lumpy-faced little green men in red leotards. Awful. Laughable even. Had a much more visually and conceptually interesting antagonist had been there from the pilot, one the mass audience found memorable like the Borg, ENT likely could’ve survived.
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  19. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 18, 2007
    IMHO, it was mostly Star Trek oversaturation fatigue, a lackluster premise, (IMHO all prequels are, but hey, it's better than nothing) & a production that initially wasn't much to behold
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  20. Jason_Adank

    Jason_Adank Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Apr 5, 2020
    For me, I had a bad taste in my mouth about prequels since SW:PHantom Menace came out a few years earlier. Like TPM, I guess I just wasnt really interested in 'origin stories'.

    The opening theme song was atrocious and I had a really hard time getting past that.

    I didnt like the ship design at all, and the CGI was piss poor. I know, it was the 90's/early 2000s, but I think there was way too much of a push to use CGI when it didnt look that good, especially when on a budget. If they had used miniature photography, I might have been better sold on it.

    I just couldnt get into Scott Bakula as a federation captain. He seemed to soft and feely. And all I could think about was Quantum Leap. To no surprise, his old costar appeared along side him on Enterprise which further reminded me of QL.

    Then there's the on-set tech. I knew it would happen and of course it did, the tech looked eons better than what TOS was and I found the continuity problem too jarring. I liked TOS, and so when watching Enterprise, it was like I had to forget that TOS and the Kirk movies ever existed. It was asking too much, I coudnt suspend disbelief and so I didnt like the show cause I felt like it was trying to rewrite Trek history. This is my biggest beef with prequels in general. Amazingly, SW:TPM avoided this problem successfully.

    I also thought that Enterprise was the beginning of juvenile behavior of bridge officers. Not as much as what we see in NuTrek, but I could feel the beginning pangs. Maybe it was Tripp's character. Maybe it was the obvious sexualization of the T'Pol character, ie a repeat of Seven Of Nine. It just seemed like, intellectually, things had gone down a notch. That this show was trying to cater to pubescent teenagers. I always felt Star Trek had been aimed at a more intellectual audience until that point.

    I hated the show after a few episodes and only checked in every once in a while to see how things were going. For me, classic Trek kinda ended with the conclusion of Voyager. And even in hindsight with NuTrek to compare against, I dont remember it very fondly. I see it as where 'the end' actually started.