Star Trek: Enterprise is the first show of the franchise to get canceled due to some bad decisions.
Star Trek: Enterprise was the second series in the franchise’s history to be canceled by its network – but why?
It was launched in 2001 following the end of Star Trek: Voyager. Set a century before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series. It chronicled humanity’s first steps into deep space exploration.
The show featured some daring new elements, such as a cheesy pop song for its theme song instead of the usual grand orchestral pieces. It was called Enterprise until the third season, an effort to distance from the franchise made it worse.
The show’s first season was an unqualified success for network UPN. By the second season, viewer ratings had dipped significantly. In an effort to reflect the darker mood of post-9/11 America, UPN mandated significant changes for the third season. The show transitioned from standalone episodes to a serialized war story of the Xindi.
Fans of the show were divided over the show’s new direction, but ratings continued to fall. Enterprise would endure yet another upheaval. The Star Trek masterminds Rick Berman and Brannon Braga were demoted in favor of new showrunner Manny Coto which made it worse.
The fourth season of Enterprise explored the formation of the Federation. It offered an explanation for the Klingon’s wildly different appearances in The Original Series. The later Star Trek series and even managed to sneak in a Star Trek: The Next Generation cameo in an episode that was highly polarizing. Ratings were no longer sustainable. So UPN canceled the series.
Star Trek Franchise revived!
Fans launched an effort to convince the network to revive Star Trek: The Original Series for a fifth season. But there would be no eleventh-hour reprieve this time—Enterprise and the Trek franchise as a whole were dead. Since 1987, there was no active Star Trek television production. The failure of the two movies and Enterprise’s cancellation put the franchise on ice. It was revived again by J.J. Abrams in 2009.
Why did Enterprise end up being such a failure? The show was fatally flawed right from the start. The prequel setting lost its novelty, and fans felt they knew where things would lead. The cast was the least memorable in Star Trek history. The show never had an identity and felt more like a grab bag of science fiction tropes rather than an actual Star Trek story.
Network meddling, poor creative choices, and a franchise running on fumes led to a bland, forgettable show in the Star Trek: Enterprise television series. The show stands as Star Trek’s only true small screen failure. Hopefully, they learned from their mistakes and revived the franchise.