Kevin Miller does a little math the Star Trek way -- but does it add up?

It's a foolish idea to judge a TV series by its pilot episode. But by the 10th episode its fair game to let the assumptions fly. Our first impressions are over, and we've got a pretty good idea of what the characters on Enterprise are like. And after a closer look at the core characters we see some striking similarities.

It's as if the creators of Enterprise stuck all the characters from the previous Trek shows into a blender, set the thing on frappe, and then poured their personalities into the seven different lead parts. Seven is of course the magic number of leads on Star Trek, and the number of stars TNG narrowed down to after its 3rd season or so. In most of the cases the characters on Enterprise were created by just adding 1+1.

Ensign Hoshi Sato=
Harry Kim + Ezri Dax

Race is a huge part of the Star Trek shows. After the first pilot was shot with Captain Pike, NBC told Gene Roddenberry to build up the characters, that they weren't distinct from each other. His response was to cast 7 different races. Voyager was the ultimate example of forceful multiculturalism, boasting a female captain, an Asian, and TWO Hispanics (even if one was half-Klingon and the other actually played a Native American). Now on Enterprise we see the starship transformed into a melting pot. Its rainbow of races is complete with Yamato Hoshi.

But her most defining personality characteristic is her fear of space. In fact, in Fight or Flight she is forced to stand up to her fears. Ezri Dax, who took over for Jadzia Dax after Terry Farrell's face left the show, was terrified of everything. She (like Hoshi) stood out from the crowd because most star fleet officers are overly confident, and very sure of themselves.

Dr. Phlox=
The Doctor + Neelix

In every Star Trek show there is one break out character, the one who writers use to show a counter perspective on the human condition. On Voyager the creators thought it would be Neelix, but the performance by Robert Picardo as the Doctor proved him to be a much more interesting character. And it's very odd that the writers on Enterprise virtually fused Neelix's quirkiness into the Doctor's programmed professionalism.

Dr. Phlox is the first alien doctor to be on a Star Trek show (Dr. Bashir was a genetically enhanced super human, and the Doctor was a hologram - but everyone's got to have a gimmick - Dr. Phlox is an alien). He is also the most interesting of the characters. We've been watching humans for 30 years on Star Trek. Some of us are humans ourselves. They're only variations on a theme. And T'Pol marks only the third Vulcan to be a prime character in five Trek shows. Dr. Phlox's everlasting optimism and alternative medicines make him the most intriguing character, and he's gotten just about as much air time as Captain Archer's dog.

Ensign Travis Mayweather =
Wesley Crusher + Jake Sisko

Helmsman Mayweather adds to the multicultural rainbow of Enterprise. The mixture of The Next Generation's Wesley Crusher, and Deep Space Nine's Jake Sisko is 50 - 50. He's probably a Trill (that's a pretty heavy trekkie joke). Mayweather is wide eyed but knows the ropes, just like Sisko did. They both grew up in space, watching their fathers do space stuff. And he's smart like Wesley Crusher. Every week we see Mayweather discover something about his job. Some piece of protocol he should observe, or have remembered. Just like Wesley. But it's doubtful he will join the Traveler after dropping out of Star Fleet (that's another heavy trekkie joke).

Lt. Malcolm Reed=
Dr. Julian Bashir + (Worf - Klingon)

The producers of Enterprise really like how the guy who loves to blow things up is all shy and quiet. To them it's the most original thing they've created. But they may have forgotten about Worf. Sure, he wasn't off in the corner blushing, but he certainly kept to himself. And when it came to women Worf was never overly confident. But boy, did that Klingon sure like blowing stuff up.

Reed also has a recognizable English accent, just like Bashir did on Deep Space Nine. Strangely enough Dominic Keating, who plays Reed, is English. Creepy. Up until about season 4 Bashir was still very wet behind the ears. He had just graduated from Star Fleet, and was shipped out to Deep Space Nine. And like Bashir, Reed has been tossed into this first exploration mission, not knowing exactly what is to come.

Commander Trip Tucker=
Bones + Scotty

"Trip," the good ol' boy, knows his ship, just as Scotty did. And he is a pioneer of the technology, just as Scotty was. It's as if the creators actually dreamed up Bone's son, and gave him Scotty's job.

Trip is perhaps the most authentic character on Enterprise (isn't it interesting that whenever referring to cowboys, they are "authentic"). His carefree attitude towards life and space travel is almost a Xerox of Dr. McCoy's behavior. In fact, they both have wacky nicknames (cowboys always do - it makes them more "authentic"). And his relationship with Commander T'Pol pulls the same amount of stress that Bones had with Spock, except that we never saw Spock and Bones rub ointment all over each other.

Probably for the best.

Commander T'Pol=
Seven of Nine + Kirstie Alley's Saavik

Needing desperately to add conflict to the bridge of the first Enterprise, creators borrowed the template of Seven of Nine, with all of her cool uninterested mannerisms and legendary bad attitude. Seven's expertise as an ex-Borg earned her bridge-officer rights. On any other star ship there would be no need for a Borg (in fact she'd probably be seen as a threat). So we toss in a little Kirstie and make her a Vulcan, the environmentally friendly pointed eared aliens.

Vulcans are the second most detailed alien in the Star Trek universe (first being Klingons, third being Bajorans). But in the over 30 years of Trek history we've never seen a Vulcan act the way T'Pol does, snotty, rude and arrogant.

According to producers, T'Pol is a proto-Vulcan. Her behavior marks an earlier edition of her species than the 23rd century. It will take a hundred years before Vulcans are secure in their logic. However, this doesn't add up. A Vulcan's life span is nearly 200 years. The Vulcan elders of Spock's day have to be in their mid-life crises during Enterprise. So a multi-thousand year old culture completes its growing pains in only half a generation? Fascinating.

Captain Jonathan Archer=
Kirk + Sam Beckett

Just as T'Pol is a proto-Vulcan, Archer is a proto-Captain. He gets frustrated with situations. He doesn't always know the right thing to do. Picard always had an answer. So did Sisko. And Janeway had a handbook that she was probably reading upside down or something. All of these mistakes are very human. They're not the sorts of errors we expect from our previous captains.

And yet, those captains had Archer to look up to. He's not only exploring the frontier of space, but the human condition. Archer is more like the people of the 21st century than the captains of the 24th century.

Bakula played just a guy on Quantum Leap (albeit just a guy who invented leaping technology). Plus he has a blatant disregard for the rules, and is much more interested in the adventure than following star fleet protocol, just like Kirk. And there are a few times in the heat of battle, when the room starts shaking, and the crew starts flinging themselves around, that Captain Archer busts out a little Kirk speech -

Act-ivate - photon - torpedoes! FIRE!

As we march forward into the next 10 episodes, watch for these similarities to grow. Maybe things will change for the super-dramatic, and the characters will begin to act like the cast of Earth 2.

Kevin Miller

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