Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Introducing the Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch!

Twenty years ago, the United Paramount Network premiered a show that was simply called Enterprise. It was the fourth spinoff of Star Trek and the first of those four not to have those two words at the top of the title. That aesthetic decision was reversed for its third season, being rechristened as Star Trek: Enterprise, which is how it’s currently identified on home video and streaming services and the like.

Starting next week, I’ll be doing an Enterprise Rewatch once a week every Monday.

Enterprise differed from its predecessors in several ways besides its initial eschewing of the words “star” and “trek” in its title. For starters, rather than continuing the story of Trek forward, they decided to follow the lead of that other space-opera franchise that begins with the word “star” and do a prequel. Just as The Phantom Menace rewound the clock to decades before Star Wars, Enterprise went back to a century prior to the original series (and also a century after the time-travel portions of First Contact) to show Earth’s first forays into space travel beyond the solar system.

After moving away from the square-jawed-white-guy template for the spinoffs, we get in Scott Bakula’s Jonathan Archer a stereotypical manly hero type, having gone for the middle-aged cerebral captain in TNG, a man of color in DS9, and a woman in Voyager. (Having said that, Bakula was the same age when Enterprise debuted in 2001 that Sir Patrick Stewart was when TNG debuted in 1987, but Stewart was playing much older than Bakula was.)

Most distressingly for the franchise, Enterprise was also the first (and so far only) one of the Trek spinoffs to fail in the marketplace. Its three predecessors all ended on their own terms after seven seasons, and the five ongoing series that have been produced since are all still in production. Enterprise was ended by UPN after four seasons, and that cancellation in 2005 concluded an era of Trek on television that started with TNG in 1987 and wouldn’t come back until Discovery‘s debut in 2017.

Having at this point covered every prior Trek show in rewatch form (the original series from 2015-2017, TNG from 2011-2013, DS9 from 2013-2015, and Voyager from early 2020 until last month) and also reviewed every subsequent Trek show since 2017, it is pretty much inevitable that I complete the set, as it were, by rewatching Enterprise.

As with Voyager, my initial reluctance to rewatch the series is borne of my own dissatisfaction with the show when watching it the first time at the turn of the millennium. However, also as with Voyager, I feel the show deserves a second chance with the distance of two decades, and to be seriously reconsidered.

Screenshot: CBS

In the vein of my four previous Trek rewatches, the entries will be broken down into categories:

Captain’s star log. A summary of the episode’s plot.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? The science, and the technobabble, used in the episode.

The gazelle speech. What Captain Archer did in the episode.

I’ve been trained to tolerate offensive situations. What T’Pol did in the episode.

Florida Man. What Trip Tucker did in the episode, which will be done in the style of the Florida Man Twitter feed.

Optimism, Captain! What Dr. Phlox did in the episode.

Ambassador Pointy. What Ambassador Soval did in the episode.

Good boy, Porthos! What the best character on the show, Archer’s pet beagle Porthos, did in the episode.

The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined… For the use of Vulcans in the episode.

Blue meanies. For the use of Andorians in the episode.

Qapla’! For the use of Klingons in the episode.

Better get MACO. For the use of the MACOs in the episode.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. This will cover the sexual and romantic relationships on board the NX-01.

More on this later… Something from the episode that “establishes” something that we have already seen in one of the other series that came before but take place farther in the future.

I’ve got faith… A memorable quote from the episode.

Welcome aboard. Listing the guest stars.

Trivial matters: Various trivial matters, including continuity hits, some behind-the-scenes stuff, and other random thingamabobs about the episode.

It’s been a long road… My review of the episode.

Warp factor rating: The least important part of the rewatch entry, an out-of-ten rating for the episode, with 10 being one of the best Trek episodes ever done and 0 being one of the worst.

 

Thanks to various folks on my Facebook page who made suggestions for category titles (and categories). Stay tuned for the rewatch of “Broken Bow” right here on Tor.com!

Keith R.A. DeCandido will also be reviewing each new episode of Star Trek: Discovery season four when it debuts later this month.

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