I haven’t really watched much of “Star Trek Enterprise” since its first season, but I have checked out a few scattered episodes during this farewell season, and I watched the two last episodes tonight.
The “Enterprise” cast members have complained publicly about the very last episode. What they believe should have been their swan song was overshadowed by cameos from Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis in their “Star Trek: The Next Generation” roles. In fact, (SPOILER ALERT) the events of the Enterprise NX-10’s last mission aren’t really being witnessed by us first-hand, so to speak; instead, we’re seeing a holodeck program about those events which Riker consults, at Troi’s suggestion, to help him work through an ethical dilemma of his own. (That dilemma is from a specific episode of “ST:TNG,” and no doubt Paramount will someday be able to package the “Enterprise” and “TNG” episodes together as a special event DVD. They might even edit them together, “Godfather Saga” style.)
So “Star Trek” is off the air, at least for a while. Most people, except for a few die-hard fans who tried to save “Enterprise,” seem to agree that this is a good thing. In a few years, a new version of “Star Trek” can come back and be fresh and engaging.
I am not a basher of Rick Berman, Gene Roddenberry’s hand-picked successor who oversaw “TNG” after the first few years and who created “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” and “Enterprise.” Many, including Roddenberry’s widow, have been critical of Berman and a few have even accused him of killing the franchise. The fact remains that he kept “Star Trek” on the air for a number of years. “Voyager” and “Enterprise” both had their ups and downs, and I certainly don’t consider them as good as “TNG.” But it’s a little silly to paint Berman as some sort of villain. On the contrary, he’s had a remarkable run.
I do, however, feel that the franchise would benefit from a fresh approach, and I’m hoping that Paramount will give someone else a shot at “Star Trek” the next time around. J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of “Babylon 5,” says he pitched a proposal for a new “Star Trek” series to Paramount a year or two ago — I think that could have been fascinating. But Straczynski now says his plate is full and he wouldn’t be available even if Paramount were interested.
Tonight’s episode of “Enterprise” ended with a little overture incorporating various “Star Trek” theme songs, and a creative editing of the traditional “Star Trek” / “TNG” opening narration. After seeing Riker make his decision, we hear Patrick Stewart start the narration (“These are the voyages …”) and see the Enterprise-D; then the narration switches to James T. Kirk and we see the classic Enterprise; then Scott Bakula’s character, Jonathan Archer, gets to do the “where no one has gone before” part before we see his Enterprise head off into the stars.
All in all, a nice ending.