Brannon Braga spoke about his time working on Star Trek: Enterprise, including favorite and least favorite stories and the early demise of the series.
Star Trek was at its best when exploring current day issues in the futurist setting and Star Trek: Enterprise was no exception. “…the AIDS-metaphor episode with T’Pol was very strong,” said Braga. “It had to do with Vulcan mind melds, at that point in Vulcan history, being something that was considered taboo. To me, that’s an interesting exploration of Star Trek and also tells us something about people who are ostracized.”
Another favorite Enterprise episode of Braga’s was Dear Doctor. “…Another early one that I really loved, that I thought was a classic was called Dear Doctor, where the framing device was Dr. Phlox writing to a human counterpart on his alien world,” said Braga. “It had to do with the co-evolution of two humanoid species on a planet and which would survive. It was just a great episode of Star Trek. That’s one I look at fondly.”
But an early episode of Enterprise wasn’t as fondly remembered. “Ironically enough, my least favorite episode was a very, very early one called Terra Nova,” said Braga. “There happens to be an irony there. It was about finding a lost colony of humans, but it was boring and it was unfortunate that it was such an early episode.”
Enterprise ended after only four seasons and while Braga is willing to take the blame for various bad episodes, he does not believe that either Rick Berman or himself are to blame for the early demise of the series. “I will take full responsibility for any flawed or downright bad storytelling or creative decisions that hurt the franchise,” he said. “I don’t think, looking back, that that’s the main reason it went away. So I don’t think Rick and I killed the franchise. That’s absurd. Did I stay on the franchise too long? Was the storytelling feeling feeble and familiar? I’m going to say no.
“I look at season three of Enterprise and say the whole Xindi species concept was really cool. That’s a science fiction concept I’d never seen before. You had insects and aquatics with intelligence and culture. I thought that was a fascinating idea and we turned it into a season-long arc that I thought was super-fresh. I thought Manny Coto came in and breathed fresh air into season four. So I thought, creatively, the show was not on life support in season four, very far from it.”
Given time, any show will wind down, according to Braga. “But I do think there comes a point, whether it’s Star Trek, Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy, when a show has run its course,” he said. “One day, even Law & Order will be off the air. Whether you want to call it franchise fatigue or whatever, it’s not always just about the show.”
Braga spent fifteen years working on various Trek shows, caring deeply about his work. “Do you think I would have spent fifteen years on something if it wasn’t in my blood and wasn’t the most passionate thing in my life?” he said in response to fans who have been critical of his efforts.
While fan criticism is an inevitable part of the job, Braga remains grateful to those fans who backed him over the years. “There are also fans who are really kind and supportive, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate those people. Those are the fans that kept me going for fifteen years.”
Braga is currently working on Terra Nova, which debuts Monday, September 26 at 8:00 PM on Fox with a two-hour premiere.