The creation of Netflix, probably the greatest innovation for movie and T.V. fans since the introduction of HBO and similar channels, has given people like us at JPFmovies the ability to “binge” watch movies/T.V. series. Well, we went on an Enterprise “binge” in “the blind” so to speak—not having followed any of the trials, tribulations and fan/producer politics. If you look through our reviews over the years you will find very few T.V. series, much less American produced television. In other words, we were not influenced by all the political machinations surrounding the three previous Star Trek series beginning in the 1980s and running though the late 1990s or by the opinions of their fans and producers. So when we went on our Enterprise “binge” it was really with a fresh eye. And you know what? We thought it was a decent show (except for the theme song).
That said, when we searched the Internet for information about Enterprise, almost all the content we saw was invariably negative. Enterprise was blamed for the end of the Star Trek franchise that had been running since the 1980s. Fans blamed the show’s lack of continuity and rather thin plot while producers Berman and Braga argued it was some sort of “franchise fatigue”—a position we here at JPFmovies find self-serving, trying to avoid taking responsibility for the show’s short run.
So when we watched the show with a fresh eye, JPFmovies thought the show didn’t deserve all the criticism it received and should have been given some more seasons to let the show get some more traction. Those of us at JPFmovies thought that T’Pol (the ever present Vulcan) was an interesting change of pace from the traditional steely-eyed monotoned alien who spouted nothing but “logic.” As a Vulcan, she walked the line between Vulcans repressing their emotions and having them. Frankly I didn’t mind seeing some emotions underneath the typical Vulcan surface. We also read a lot of complaints that the actress playing T’Pol could not act and was there only for her eye candy appeal. To deny she was eye candy would be foolish, but she also did a good job playing a full time female Vulcan. In fact, a JPFmovie consultant found an interview with her where she herself said that you need more than eye candy to make a Trek series—you also needed decent stories. So she was aware of the limits that she could provide as a model.
We also found Enterprise a nice change of pace in that the Capitan was not an all knowing, never making any mistakes character, i.e. larger than life. Scott Bakula, as Capitan Archer, screws up all the time—as he should, because Enterprise was humanity’s first venture into space beyond our system. Picard, Sisko, and Janeway always made the right calls—never faltering. Archer was constantly screwing up, as the Vulcan delegation on earth was quick to point out. A human out there in space interacting with aliens (hostile or not) is going to make mistakes—and lots of them. There was also the ship’s doctor, Phlox, an alien who proved quite interesting—a “Denoublan” who used odd creatures in the course of his medical treatments and had three wives who each had three husbands. He was always a great one to watch. Then too, Jeffrey Combs, who played many roles on DS9, was great as Commander Shram—the head of an alien race called the Andorians.
To keep this review at a readable length, the last thing we will comment on was Enterprise itself. The ship, unlike Voyager, TNG’s Enterprise, and DS9’s invulnerable space-station, was fragile—prone to damage and breaking. The ship never had shields or phasors (until several episodes in). Much more often than not, Enterprise was no match for many of the alien ships that it encountered. Again, something that one should expect when humans first begin to explore space outside of our solar system.
We read an article on Syfy’s site which also brought up some good points as to why Enterprise didn’t go the distance: The Internet! TNG, DS9 and Voyager were essentially all pre-Internet boom shows, while Enterprise was subject to hypercritical analysis, which was like a cloud of noise that had a profound impact on the ability of others to just enjoy Enterprise, and also created the perception that the show was more reviled than it actually was. Another interesting fact we didn’t know about Enterprise that sprang from the Internet was that it was unsurprisingly, one of the most pirated shows from 2001–2005 on sites like the Pirate Bay—so many viewers would not be reflected in the ratings. Two ideas that JPFmovies put some serious stock in.
Despite all the “bad press” Enterprise was subjected to, it seems that the show is having a renaissance, many people are going to back to watch the show streaming on such outlets as Netflix, and the “bad press” is starting to be replaced with more positive posts—a long overdue interpretation of the series.