Why was Enterprise received so poorly?

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

  1. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    At the time Enterprise premiered, the franchise was getting tired. A prequel wasn't a bad idea, but it felt like a prequel to TNG instead of the original series. Klingons with ridges were the first thing I remember hearing bitching about. That "damned song" also didn't help, and fans were also turned off by "Star Trek" missing from the title.

    It wasn't a true prequel and didn't offer much new. I think, seeing it with different eyes, it works better today. But I still feel Bakula is lacking a certain energy.
  2. Korusan

    Korusan Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Jan 7, 2009
    I'm coming in as someone who first became a Star Trek fan when Enterprise was considered the black sheep. IE, just before the JJ Abrams movies came out (note the registration date). I thought the show was really out there and didn't fit in with what I had seen from the Kirk show and then 90s Trek. Granted, I was a teenager with very rigid ideas of what a franchise should look like. I also only had a handful of the "fan collective" DVDs to sample all of the shows with...this was before Netflix for me. Nevertheless, I remember an older family friend who had absolutely no attachment or interest in the prior Treks (despite coming up with them) talk up Enterprise as one of his favourite shows of the early 2000s.

    Anyways, I got more into the show last year. I usually put it on Sunday afternoons when I don't have a lot going on. I feel like it got a bad shake, at least from the fanbase. I really enjoy the gritty aesthetic of the show, and I feel like it can lead into the feeling of both TOS and the Discoverse shows without contradicting either. Now that the show has some distance and I have some age, it fits in with the mood of TV shows like The Wire which came out around the same time. Obviously it didn't have the same draw because otherwise it would've lasted at least 7 seasons, but it was already on borrowed time just when it started getting really good. Alas.

    My point is that it was in the unfortunate position of being a prequel (which doesn't bother me) and following up an established and beloved era of Star Trek that was still on when the show began. There was also a franchise fatigue after a considerably consistent run, not unlike the end of Dr. Who's first run. It had a lot going against it, and maybe if it came out just a year or two later it could've gotten things off to a better start and done well on the merits which made it unique. I certainly wouldn't mind a follow up one-off series if it were offered.
  3. Mr J

    Mr J Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 24, 2001
    I was a peak regular TrekBBS contributor around the time ENT was launching and throughout its run... it was not a pretty time.

    There were multiple factors I think:
    1. People at the time really hated Berman and Braga - Voyager was seen as disappointing by that point. They saw it as tired, and Berman/Braga unwilling to break from the norm (evidenced by DS9 being seen as trying to be new and without their involvement, and VOY stuck in the same old format and relying on catsuits and one-off stories over deep dive character development and arcs
    2. We had "nu" TV sci-fi emerging in the form of shows like Lost, nuBSG, Stargate was at a peak - all offering something different to the 90s ST format.
    3. Serialised story-telling with a huge character focus was seen as the new and trendy way to do sci-fi. Berman and Braga were seen as tired and unambitious compared to all the more exciting new offerings coming out - a view supported by lots of rhetoric by people like Ron Moore, who was quite open about the constraints of working on VOY and what he was trying to do with nuBSG after DS9. This is particularly ironic now, as then it was all "arc-based storytelling is the way forward", but now with nuTrek we have the "SNW is the best thing ever because its back to basics and standalone".
    4. The NX-01 - the "Akiraprise" design reinforced the view for lots of the above people that the design was lazy and out of place. I loved it personally, but it was clearly inspired by the Akira. That initial top-down shot they released during the pre-series PR in retrospect was one of the worst things they did in marketing the series to fans.
    5. Klingons & Time Travel - people saw using the Klingons in the pilot as lazy and out of place, they viewed the idea of the TCW as Braga relying on his time travel crutch yet again. All reinforcing this "they're tired and lazy" B&B view.
    6. Fear - a prequel in the ST world hadn't been done at that point. They feared canon and all sorts of things. They feared it being in the hands of "tired" Berman and Braga. They feared them in particular being the ones to write it, as they saw it as rewriting TOS (there was a perception, right or wrong, that B&B didn't give a fig about TOS)
    7. T'Pol - people saw this character as a personification of the fears above. "A vulcan on a Starfleet ship? But Spock was the first Vulcan in Starfleet!" Berman said in an interview she would be dressed "as a vulcan officer" - but she is in a catsuit! People saw this as signs that they would end up with a Seven clone, they saw it as an attack on "canon", and that Berman was a liar and a fraud.
    8. Fatigue - people were getting bored of the 90s ST format. It was continuous and just "there". Couple that with Point 2 above, and there was just an element of "I want something totally different now because I have other and newer options".
    9. The big one: it was time - the format of 90s ST was on its way out. The masses outside of ST fandom wanted something new - and they got it with all the new options out there at the time. They wanted a ST break. Had DS9 or VOY been in ENT's place in the production order, they would have had the exact same reception ENT got and the exact same fate (not that many within the fanbases for either of those shows would admit it). ENT was just really unfortunate that it came out when overall interest was waning, it was on an overly-controlling and little viewed network, and frankly people wanted to try other types of sci-fi. If ENT had been bolder and a bit more different would more of those 12 million or so "Broken Bow" viewers stayed for longer? Some would argue yes - my personal view is no, they wouldn't (at least not in the quantities needed to keep it going any longer than it did). The masses were Trekked out by that point, they had fresher and newer options available to them on TV, and it really needed to be rested for a while so it could come back as something totally new when people would respond to it being on screens again (which incidentally, is exactly what it did in the end)
    In short - basically there was a feeling (in the world at the time) of there being lots of newer, more daring, sci-fi emerging on TV and ENT was gonna be the same old same old from the same tired people that fans literally despised at that point in time. The hatred amongst a portion of the fandom against B&B at that time was pure venom, and I think people forget that now. As for the majority of TV viewers - there just wasn't enough enthusiasm left beyond "I might check it out" initial interest to see what the new show was about.

    Some of those fears ended up being true - though I think what a lot underestimated at the time was the level of interference UPN placed on B&B. I think those two got a lot of cop for what was actually imposed on them from above.

    More importantly though - beyond the fandom - the mass public was used to (and bored of) 90's ST. It had been a constant for 18+ years. Joe Public didn't differentiate between DS9/VOY/ENT/TNG. Even if ENT had been the most radical reinvention of the franchise - I don't personally believe the majority of those 12 million viewers who checked out the pilot would have stuck around regularly.

    For me, ENT was what it was - I enjoyed it, warts and all. I found it far more interesting than VOY, I loved the actors, the characters, the sets and the idea of a show about an Enterprise going off and having adventures. I enjoyed the effort to do something new even if the execution could have been bolder. ST should have had a rest for a while before they launched it, and in retrospect ENT basically became its best when UPN gave up on it. The Xindi arc was genuinely great stuff, and bringing in Manny Coto to add some layers of character really paid off.

    It does always tickle me remembering back to that time with all the B&B hatred and vitriol, but that nowadays with NuTrek you see all the "bring back Berman Trek" comments!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  4. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    I can remember what it was now that got me to sour on it early on.

    The pilot was great, even with a few continuity things I had trouble with and the ridiculous decontamination scenes. I liked the whole "The Right Stuff" vibe. I was looking forward to new, exciting, true first contacts.

    They go out and meet some aliens and....Trip gets pregnant.


    It took a long time for me to go back and see the (Admiral) forest for the trees.
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  5. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 24, 2011
    I really want to know how that urban myth started, because no one who worked on Star Trek ever said that was the case from what I can find.
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  6. Chovak

    Chovak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Jul 20, 2023
    I think it originates from a Star Trek Encyclopedia falsely citing a TOS episode. Attributing an on-screen quote to one all the while it wasn't in fact mentioned in it.

    Anyways it would also contradict the otherwise mentioned fully Vulcan crew of the Intrepid and it it wouldn't make much sense either as he might not qualify as "first Vulcan" as he is half-Vulcan.
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  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    First half-Vulcan in Starfleet. :p
    Richard S. Ta likes this.
  8. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Feb 24, 2005
    It's remarkable just how much "canon" was in fact just misinterpretation and fans making assumptions.
    Ianburns252, fireproof78, Sci and 4 others like this.
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    ^Language is flexible!
  10. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 7, 2020
    They couldn't handle doing a real prequel, so we got this bastardized version of one. Photon torpedoes, transporters, and a temporal cold war... ring any bells?
  11. Victoria

    Victoria Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 2, 2023
    Fiddler's Green
    Both Voyager and Enterprise suffered from having good premises which were rapidly abandoned in favour of doing the same as had already been done.
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  12. Mr J

    Mr J Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 24, 2001
    Absolutely this - and this continues to this day even with NuTrek!
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  13. FredH

    FredH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 23, 2004
    And in other fandoms, too…
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  14. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Apr 15, 2000
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    I finally got an episode where the Dog died, but it was a movie.

    I did not hate Porthos, but watching the crew become shredded emotionally, would have made my week.
  15. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral

    It gets better. Going back to Star Wars there, is the impact of what Yoda says in "Episode V" diminished if one watches in the order of "1-2-3-4-5-6" as opposed to how most people prior to 2000 had as they saw "4-5-6-1-2-3", or rather "Star Wars-4-5-6-1-2-3" since there was no "episode iv" until its re-release in 1980 just prior to "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back".

    So with that in mind, how would you do a Trek prequel that doesn't inadvertently fudge up the impact of the originals in their our-world/real-world order while telling something that makes its own and builds up its own impact? Not easy to do, especially when youtube people review TOS from production order and not airdate order and for not amazingly-dissimilar reasons... All that's the biggest reason, for me, why prequels generally suck. They try to answer questions out of the blue, of which there are a few that even the biggest nerds don't give a whit about either (who bloody cares if "Red alert" originated from Lt Reed being spazzy or whateverwhocares, or how the one season had the arc with Earth explodiing except this is a prequel so all will be put right and temporal kerblammy is pretty unexciting when you now have different characters to feel the same level of attachment to for any of the events to have a proper impact), but also inadvertently affect what aired before it despite un-universe allegedly coming later. One would truly have to map out a proper plan of developments truly ahead of time so that what's told later on won't hamper or harm what will be told later, which leads to the best tangent to come out of this: "Babylon 5". You know, the one where a five-year saga really was created and plotted full in advance, but where the network ended it for season 4 but reinstated the 5th year - but only after the writers scrambled to close plot strands and couldn't undo the new changes as this was mid-season 4 already, thus rendering a final season nowhere near as exciting, but inadvertently made something of an epilogue or coda... a shame, as I recall the Bester subplot being one of the more jarring changes... it's time for a rewatch...
    Richard S. Ta likes this.
  16. Sumire

    Sumire Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 12, 2022
    Rocky Mountains
    I cared that Reed invented tactical alert while under the influence of mind-altering radiation. I have never particularly cared about tactical alert previously as it usually signaled a battle sequence which, personally, meant a good time to get up and grab some snacks.

    Reed created something so influential it would reverberate for centuries while Sato finessed a recipe to distraction, Tucker fussed with a chair and Archer wrote a preface long enough to lose the attention of all but the most dedicated reader. That’s genuinely funny and an interesting bit of history to boot. That’s honestly what I was hoping to see while watching Enterprise, an entertaining tale that just so happened to influence history.

    That’s not to say I don’t love beautifully plotted story arcs, they’re absolutely amazing, but since I knew what I was getting as a very, very late arrival to watching Enterprise, I was expecting it to be made for the jumble of syndication and I enjoy it for what it is. Lilacs aren’t roses but I wouldn’t trade one for the other since I love them both.
  17. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Dec 27, 2018
    Back On The Shelf
    Bester was a better character than Chekov. :techman:
  18. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 24, 2004
    The Island
    Yeah, I’m thinking of that other Star franchise…
  19. Holopat

    Holopat Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 6, 2023
    The problem I had with Archer being "charmingly boyish" is that they set T'Pol up to sneer at the humans. Their "gee shucks" attitude and her sneering condemnation of Archer and others, smacks of Mary Sueism. Or the kind of idiotic attitude that to enhance one set of people - Vulcans, women - you have to denigrate others. You see that immature writing all the time now in the current productions and it is just a travesty to the spirit of the original Trek.
  20. Imaus

    Imaus Captain Captain

    Feb 27, 2020
    Around the late 80s, and maybe due to The first Adventure, but none of this is canon.

    I don't think spock was ever termed the first anything, in the dialogues, not even hybrid, just that he WAS one, and was serving on a human-majority ship, and I can't find any quotes for either, just summations of what we see on screen and the general hostility he gets (McCoy's racism, that Romulan War granddad guy)