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Boldly Gone
UPN Cancels Enterprise

February Second, Two Thousand Five. The day Star Trek died.

It’s all over the world wide web. Star Trek: Enterprise, after too many close calls to count, has been cancelled. Even though the writing has been on the wall for months it still comes as a shock. Star Trek, in one form or another, has been on the air for seventeen consecutive years. The legacy of the next generation of trek shows has been a memorial for the early demise of the original Star Trek. And now the fourth spin off has been taken before her time.

Enterprise was in troubled waters from the start. The numbers for Star Trek franchise numbers had been sliding. People, on the whole, have been losing interest. And many fans just didn’t make the jump into the past. Enterprise has tried everything to spark an audience. Klingons in the series pilot. Last season it was an entire year long story, in the vein of 24 and Lost. This season they’ve brought in Brent Spiner (Data on TNG) and featured story lines centered on the Eugenics War. Right now they’re airing a three part story showing the origins of the Federation.

But no one cares.

Jolene Blalock, T’Pol, smelled doom last year. In an interview at IGN, she went on record back in November of ’04 saying she felt it was their last season. She’s a self proclaimed Trekkie, and has been watching the shows since she was a kid. She knows Star Trek and felt Enterprise wasn’t living up to standards. That can’t be good.

UPN wanted to cancel Enterprise at the end of the third season, but Paramount reworked the budget and dropped the price per episode almost to half. It was a deal UPN couldn’t pass up. But to keep the show on the air, they’d have to make one small adjustment.

The first three years of Enterprise were slotted for Wednesday nights at 8:00. And when they bumped it to Friday at 8:00 in the fall of ’04, the stench of doom became so strong the fans could now smell it. But The X Files lived happily on Friday nights. Friday may just be a good sci fi night. Well, the Sci Fi channel agrees, and in January launched its biggest night of Sci Fi… on Fridays at 8:00. They pitted Star Gate: Atlantis, Star Gate: SG1 and the new Battlestar Galatica up against poor little Enterprise. Homer Simpson stole Cosby’s audience but Sci Fi finished off Enterprise.

Some small part of me prays that Sci Fi will pick up Enterprise. It already runs the original Star Trek eight million times a week. Or perhaps it’s just better to let the show die, peacefully.

It seems so unfair. TNG, DS9 and Voyager all RETIRED after seven years. And if Voyager could last seven, why not Enterprise? I've tried to refrain from bagging on Voyager, but these are emotional times. If a show with bland characters, obvious plots and boring villains can last seven years, why can’t Enterprise, a show stretching the boundaries of Star Trek, creating original characters and interesting story lines with thick continuity, last seven?

And to have it die before its fifth season is the real kicker. As a rule the later half of a Trek series hosts the better episodes, Deep Space Nine being the best example. It’s the year when they sorted out the Klingon war and establish the direction for the final three years. Enterprise’s Xindi story arc of season three was the sort of thing we’d laugh at in the final episodes of season seven. “Remember when we wasted a year on the Xindi?” Now we’ll never learn how the Earth-Romulan war unfolds. Or how the Federation evolves. Or any of the other prequel mysteries left undiscovered by Archer’s crew. Honestly, we’re getting robbed.

No Star Trek show has ever hit the air waves without someone saying, “It won’t last.” And three times Trekkers and Trekkies have proved them wrong.

And now… we’ve failed.

Enterprise is scheduled to start syndication this fall. It’ll show up late nights after reruns of Frasier or Everybody Loves Raymond. And people will start to watch it, and think, “Why didn’t I get into this show?”

After 98 adventures, the final episode of Enterprise will air Friday May 13th at 8:00.

Reception in the funeral parlor to follow.

Kevin Miller

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