Story: Broken Bow
Written By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2001

Paramount must have some bad management. Voyager limped into its final seasons, its ratings weren’t nearly as good as when it had began, and the movies weren’t even making as much money now…Star Trek was starting to look like it was tired. I attribute this to the fact that Berman and Braga were tired by this point. They spent years working on this program. Berman had been working on Star Trek since TNG began. I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to move on. But Paramount pushed, probably reminded him how much money he is making with Star Trek and he decided to go ahead and create and produce a whole new series of Trek.
The results are this prequel (George Lucas made a bunch a money…right?!). The feature length pilot gives us all our main characters, some recurring, and basic plot elements. Essentially Berman wanted to start fresh, so they struck all Voyager sets, and instead of redressing them as they had with TNG and Voyager…they built all brand new sets. They also set it before TOS so everything would seem new again.

But the problem is they built brand new sets…that look exactly like the old ones, and the writers didn’t know how to do anything new so the plot involves a “Temporal Cold War” which essentially means (and Archer even says something like this in the episode) that events are already being altered. So this show isn’t the best example of a prequel, of how the Federation came to be…because this stupid time war from the future completely changes how things will work. I bet Rick Berman and Brannon Braga praised themselves for their ingenuity here…by having a temporal war that screws up the timeline we can do what we want…like the Federation isn’t certain or something. But it doesn’t go anywhere. In this episode or in the future. It is also never interesting. Actually showing how really different cultures came together to form peace in the galaxy? THAT would have been interesting. But instead of that they went with the Temporal Cold War, with Suliban, and really lame reintroduction to the Klingons.

In contrast, when Doctor Who returned in 2005, a whole episode was used to reintroduce the Daleks, the Doctor’s longest running and scariest enemies. It really set the tone for how scary and badass they are, by making sure the whole episode focused on the Dalek alone. They should have done that with the Klingons here.  Just wait…don’t bring them in right at the beginning. Leave them out, then hint about them, then BAM bring in the big bad of the series and show how ill-prepared this new ship really is.

Much like Voyager before it, I don’t think the basic idea behind this series was a bad one…it just got executed as badly as it could. The pilot is dull, it isn’t the worst episode of any Trek series, but as all of the pilots go, it isn’t terribly interesting.

NEXT TIME: Settling In