Author Topic: Why Star Trek Enterprise Failed  (Read 1439 times)

Offline CX

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Why Star Trek Enterprise Failed
« on: December 15, 2015, 01:54:56 PM »
This is an interesting article someone posted over at WordForge, which is an interesting read, even if I don't entirely agree with it.  Still, I encourage everyone to give it a read.


The upshot, though, is something I think is pretty much on the money:

Enterprise was supposed to be a grand television series about exploration, about the spirit of adventure, about the triumph of the human spirit. Instead it kept getting bogged down in gimmicks, gimmicks which it never needed and gimmicks which its audience had long since grown weary of. The show’s producers, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, were locked into a formula which told them that they had to have a reason to fire phasers every episode or their audience would stop being interested. Enterprise’s producers never had any faith in Star Trek fans and so it wasn’t long before Star Trek fans lost faith in them.

Or, as SF Debris put it, they took the audience for granted.  I'd also add to that, they had this odd kind of double-think they used in running their shows.  And what I mean by that is that they loved to play up the fact many people who have gone into STEM since TOS's original run were inspired to do so by Star Trek in some way - all these smart people are into Star Trek which makes it a good show, right?  Yet at the same time, they also seemed to have the attitude that their audience was made up of idiots who would literally eat up anything they put out that was Star Trek - that Star Trek fans were made up entirely of teenaged boys who lived in their mother's basement and so they didn't need to put any real effort into the show, and if they did all they had to do was make sure there was some eye candy to keep their butts in their seats.
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Offline Bernd

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Re: Why Star Trek Enterprise Failed
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2015, 06:15:37 AM »
I am always careful when I read headlines like "Why it failed/succeeded" because people tend to mix their personal expectations with commercial and demographic criteria. But I agree with the latest paragraph "The Show That Almost Was", with the judgement that Archer was a clueless captain and with the criticism of how the Vulcans were treated - although the latter probably didn't have much of an impact on why the show failed.

Offline Jimi James

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Re: Why Star Trek Enterprise Failed
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2016, 04:06:29 PM »
I would agree strongly with the idea of the producers being locked into a stale, repetitive, and tired format. They brought what worked from TNG and VGR and applied it to ENT, which aired at the cusp of a time when Sci-Fi was transitioning heavily into more story arc driven plots and quite frankly and taking a lot more risks than anyone working on ENT wanted to take. Lost and Battlestar Galactica both started during the time that Enterprise was on and they were certainly not playing by the same set of rules that Star Trek abides by. Perhaps ENT didn't need to play by the same set of rules that BSG and Lost were using, but the producers certainly let ENT become stagnate in the face of more envelope pushing science fiction. Because no matter what your opinions of BSG and Lost may be, there is no denying that they marked the shift in how Sci-fi was done on TV.

I think it's worth noting in this instance due to the irony of the situation, that Ron D. Moore pushed more arc driven content in DS9 and wasn't kept on with VGR because he wanted to do something similar...and then went on to great success with BSG. I can't help but wonder what an ENT run by Moore might have looked like, if Berman had been willing to take more risks.

I think this is extremely important now more than ever that a new series is in development. One of my biggest worries is that they'll fall back on many of those same tropes that Star Trek has always relied on for the sake of nostalgia or familiarity while not striving to take risks and do anything really new or ground breaking. This new series needs to be a shift to something new, akin to the shift in tone and style that we saw from TMP to TWoK...or TNG to DS9.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 04:22:14 PM by Jimi James »
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Offline Razor

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Re: Why Star Trek Enterprise Failed
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2016, 06:01:09 AM »
To be fair the decision to not use arc based stories on VOY and ENT may have been a network directive rather than anything having to so with the show runners.  Remember they originally wanted to make "Year of Hell" a season long story arc but UPN nixed that idea.
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Offline TNC

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Re: Why Star Trek Enterprise Failed
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2016, 02:50:40 PM »
The network wanted ENT to have a story arc, and that's where the Temporal Cold War story came from.  Granted this was more of a "background arc" like SG-1 and Atlantis did (i.e. Daniel looking for his abducted wife while they go on random adventures, the Michael arc on Atlantis) than a "continuous arc" (ENT's 3rd season, nu-BSG, The Expanse).
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