Much like Voyager, the whole idea was that it would be completely different, but the ultimate problem is that it is just more of the same. Voyager tried to be different by pitting Federation against Maquis and stranding them in a whole new quadrant of the galaxy. But saying the setting is different and just retelling the same old story with new faces is just a waste of time.
Enterprise attempted to be a whole new brand of different, this time it is Pre-Kirk. But there was a huge contradiction in the point of the series, it tried to act as if it was completely different by using a back-to-basics approach…but Voyager was pretty much employing the same format as both TOS and TNG…so having Enterprise just do that same thing isn’t different at all.
Of all the spin-offs, DS9 is the most unique. It tried something different by actually BEING different. Enterprise is more of the same, and much like Voyager before, it lacks interesting central characters to make the show enjoyable when the story is weak. TNG could have bad episodes quite often, but sometimes they were still ultimately enjoyable because Data and Geordi, or Worf or Picard would have some great character moment that would make us have that “I can’t stay mad at you” feeling.
Enterprise had a lot of potential, and the idea of saying “okay we’ve exhausted our efforts in the 24th century lets try something new” is noble and bold…but they fell into old patterns quick, they have a Ferengi episode! Ferengi! They were totally unknown pre-TNG and now they can just WALTZ in and be in the prequel. I usually don’t get too uptight about continuity things like this, but it just felt like a big mistake this time.
The main cast is also hit or miss. Blalock is pretty bad as a Vulcan, and doesn’t really improve until the third season. So often she makes the mistake many have made, that Vulcan means boring. Spock was never boring, but most actors play the species as completely emotionless...but they aren’t emotionless...they just suppress their emotions. Bakula is good, but you can often tell he is just as puzzled by the stories as the audience is...I don’t blame him. Trineer and Billingsley both give their all very often, and prove to be interesting characters in spite of the lack of character development. Keating, Park, and Montgomery are often overlooked and their characters are fairly uninteresting and unknown.
So Enterprise begins, and it will maintain this level of quality for the bulk of it’s run...only beginning to get truly on the right track until Season 4. It’s a long haul.
NEXT TIME: Timed Out