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Enterprise, on UPN
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The first Star Trek series without "Star Trek" in front of the title, though it added it in the third season. I thought it should have stuck to the original title, sans "Star Trek," as I don't really consider this series to be part of the official Trek continuity; I choose to consider the series apocryphal, in part or more likely in whole. In the list of shows at left, I put "Star Trek" in the title simply so that it makes sense alphabetically to group it with the other Trek series (even if I otherwise list them chronologically in order of premiere dates). This is my least favorite Trek series so far; but I still kind of like it. Some of the time. It's just not well written usually, full of unoriginal, derivative, cliched stories. Plus it often seems to be completely contrary to what's been established about Trek history by other series. Well, there are probably any number of things I could gripe about, but unlike many fans, I kept watching it til the end.

And like I said, sometimes it was good, or at least okay. Most memorably, I would say my favorite episode(s) must have been the mirror universe story "In a Mirror, Darkly," which was rather excellent. It even included revised opening credits scenes of alternate history, and cool new theme music written for the two-part episode. (A nice change of pace from the show's normal inspirational/treacly theme song, "Faith of the Heart," which itself was a less than welcome departure from the grand orchestral themes of the previous Trek series.) And I loved how the story ended, too.

Anyway... the show starts in 2151, nearly 90 years after Zefram Cochrane invented the warp drive (in the movie First Contact, which seems to contradict what we supposedly knew of the historical figure from an episode of the original series). And 115 years before the original Star Trek was set. Um, also, it's 10 years before the founding of the United Federation of Planets. Humans have been getting out into the interstellar community a bit since Cochrane first tested the Phoenix in 2063, but the Vulcans have been holding us back, somewhat. Now we have this new starship, Enterprise (no relation to the line of ships which started with NCC-1701 in the original series), which is the fastest ship we've ever had (capable of warp 5 in a pinch), and we set out to do some real exploring.

This is occasionally complicated, however, by the recurring story arc about a mysterious temporal cold war fought by different factions in the distant future, and we have no idea who to trust. In fact I don't think we can really trust anyone. One side can't get into the past, but they can communicate with the past and give orders to a race called the Suliban. Actually just some Suliban, members of a group called the Cabal. Many other Suliban are decent folks, without a home, many of them living in internment camps on alien worlds. But anyway... this faction from the future provides the Cabal with genetic enhancements that allow them to do many things. And so they do what the faction tells them. The main Suliban that we see from time to time is Silik. There's also a guy named Daniels who works for another faction from the future, and is against the Cabal. He seems to be on our side, but I don't think we can really trust him, either- or at least not his superiors. It's all very confusing and stuff. And I kept half expecting that at the end of the series, it would turn out that the temporal cold war would negate just about everything that would have happened in the series. I mean, I never took the idea that seriously, and of course I turned out to be wrong. I think; I don't really remember how it all ended, nor do I particularly care. Anyway, the third season was chiefly concerned with the search for aliens called Xindi, who are comprised of five races that evolved on the same planet, in the Delphic Expanse. At the end of season 2 they launched a devastating attack on Earth, and they meant to eventually destroy all of humanity, because someone from the future told them humans would wipe them out, in a few hundred years.

Now, as for the crew of Enterprise... the captain is Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Not a bad guy, really, but he doesn't exactly seem like starship captain material to me. Most of the time he just doesn't seem very commanding, and when he does toughen up, it seems forced. Plus he seems like a hypocrite to me, occasionally reprimanding crew members for doing the same kind of things he does himself, in similar situations. Oh, and he has a beagle named Porthos. As pets go, I prefer Data's cat, Spot, or even Picard's tropical fish, Livingston. Then there's a Vulcan science officer, T'Pol (Jolene Blalock), who serves as his first officer, assigned by the Vulcan High Command to sort of look over the humans' shoulders, as it were. Other characters include the Denobulan Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley), the only other non-human in the crew. He has a fair number of pets, himself, though not exactly of the cute and cuddly variety. I suppose my favorite character would be communications officer Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), who speaks a great many languages and has an incredible talent for learning new ones very quickly. Which is good, because universal translators are a new technology that isn't very trustworthy yet.

Actually, a lot of the technology is new, like transporters, which don't get used much. They haven't exactly got phasers yet. Anything that looks familiar is actually more primitive than what we've seen before. And lots of things we've seen before just don't exist yet. At least not on Earth or any human ship. So... we've got lots to learn, plenty of mistakes to make. There isn't even a Prime Directive to break! Which reminds me, I wanted to mention that though these characters are (mostly) members of "Starfleet," it's Earth's Starfleet, not the Federation's, which as I've said, doesn't exist yet. So it's really not the same organization, and shouldn't be confused as such.

But I digress. I need to mention the other characters. There's Charles "Trip" Tucker III (Connor Trinneer), the chief engineer; Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), the tactical officer; and helmsman Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery), who was born and lived most of his life on the Horizon, a cargo ship. There was also a recurring character named Ensign Elizabeth Cutler. No doubt I'm forgetting any number of important recurring characters, but that should do for now.

The show got cancelled after four seasons, and I can't think of anything else to say except that the last episode was one of the lamest things ever, a framework involving a holodeck simulation Riker was watching on the 24th century Enterprise (around the time of the TNG episode "The Pegasus"). He was watching a historical event involving Captain Archer, six years after the time of the series "Enterprise," as the Federation was about to officially come into existence. The writers intended the episode as a kind of great tribute or whatever, but personally I saw it as a slap in the face to both "Enterprise" and "TNG."

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