Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled 18 years ago today.
Star Trek: Enterprise was a wonderful show. It featured Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer, in his quest to explore the stars, meet new people, and eventually help create the entity that would become the United Federation of Planets. The first famous captain of Starfleet led a crew that touched the lives of viewers every week.
While the show had a lot of support early on, the network mismanaged it from the start, with the series just being referred to as “Enterprise” as opposed to “Star Trek: Enterprise”, and fans weren’t happy about that. They weren’t happy about it being a prequel or the theme song and frankly, those were all silly reasons to not give the show a shot.
The show would last for four seasons before being canceled on Feb. 2, 2005. The show was good, and the fans who gave it a chance loved it, but sometimes that’s not enough.
While some fans weren’t happy with certain elements of the show, what really sunk it was twofold. First, the prequel element. Fans wanted to see what came next with their favorite characters established in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. The prequel element took that from them. The other and less controllable element was the oversaturation of the franchise. By the time Enterprise was canceled in 2005, the television franchise had been going on for 18 years.
Not too mention the six original films and the four Next Generation films as well.
From the start of the Next Generation series to Enterprise, there were 18 years, 25 seasons, 624 episodes, and seven movies. Yeah, the franchise had reached its peak. Especially when the format of each series and episode was relatively the same.
So you can understand why Enterprise failed to maintain strong-enough ratings to survive on UPN. That doesn’t mean that it was a bad show, nor does it mean that its cancellation was justified. While it wasn’t doing great numbers on UPN, it was still doing great numbers in general.
That’s what makes its cancellation so hard, it had a fanbase, and it was turning out great episodes.
Star Tre: Enterprise was heading into its best era
There’s a misconception that Enterprise was just finding its legs in season four, but that’s not true. The first seasons of the franchise were just as impressive. It was just that the stakes and the lore were all finally coming together for what would’ve been a culmination of events.
Fan favorite Thy’lek Shran was expected to be promoted to a full-time cast member in season five, and the show was going to build to the Romulan and Starfleet war. A huge storyline that would have sown the seeds for so many future stories involving the Romulans into storyline plot points.
Not only that but the future man storyline, which would’ve revealed a futuristic Archer ultimately being shown as the series’ true villain, was set to start unfolding in season five as well. While that revelation may have been delayed, the latter seasons would have been a payoff to so many prior storylines.
Fans were ultimately robbed of so many amazing stories, and all because the folks at UPN mismanaged the series from the word jump.