Site ColumnsBy Michelle
May 26, 2004 - 5:28 PM
Since I last wrote this column, big things have happened in the Trek world. Enterprise was renewed for a fourth season. Brannon Braga admitted that he was thinking about stepping back and handing the reins of the series over to another writer. Rick Berman confirmed that he had plans for a prequel Trek film in the works. That's all well and good, but - notwithstanding the exceptional success of The X-Files - Friday night is traditionally a death slot for a series. There's a widespread perception in the media that Enterprise is being moved there, with a lead-in show completely outside its target demographic, to run one more season so that a syndication package can be put together. The axe is already falling for Enterprise; even most of the actors have suggested that they believe next year will be its last.
Renewal is a temporary reprieve, not salvation. The Xindi arc may have been a critical success but it's not drawing in viewers. Look at the ratings: audience numbers are way down in every demographic. What do you do when your series is floundering? I know what I'd do, if I were the executive producers. I'd kill off a series regular. Something like what Voyager did with Kes, only bigger and more dramatic: something TV Guide would want to put on its cover. Enterprise can't just bring in a woman in a catsuit to propel an action storyline because it already has a woman in a catsuit and has tried using an action arc to bring in viewers. It needs a more fundamental change.
It's not that I want to see any of the main cast go. I like them all, think they're all excellent actors and enjoy all the characters. But if Enterprise is going to persuade viewers to give it a second chance, it needs a big change - a bigger change than a new storyline. It needs a total shakeup. That might be accomplished by bringing in a big-name actor to play a recurring character, perhaps an admiral who creates problems for Enterprise or a new crewmember who generates tension on the ship, but such a change wouldn't generate the same level of buzz as a character death and replacement.
To bring back audiences who've already rejected this show and to attract audiences who have never watched it, something fundamental in the formula must be changed. Enterprise has already tried juggling its writers and stories. Much as I like this cast, I like the show even more...and as far as I can see, the best way to make the show stronger among viewers is to make a drastic alteration and change its stars. The relatively small number of current fans lost in anger would be a worthwhile risk to attract much bigger numbers.
There's a part of me that can't believe I'm writing this column - me, who has never forgiven Berman et al for the changes in Voyager between the third and fourth seasons. But Voyager was never in danger of disappearing and taking the franchise along with it in the way that Enterprise was just a few days ago. This is a case of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few or the one. There's not a single person on Enterprise I wouldn't sacrifice for a fifth season.
Trek BBS Today
Below are some of the topics currently being discussed at the Trek BBS:
More topics can be found at the Trek BBS!
Trek Two Years Ago
These were some of the major news items from May 2002:
- Critics: We Have A Winner!
"Shockwave" was almost unanimously praised by reviewers as an exciting, dramatic, and fitting conclusion to Enterprise's first season.
- Keating Wants More For Malcolm
Dominic Keating said his greatest hope for season two was to see Malcolm Reed "find his voice, so he has a place at the captains table along with Archer, Trip and T'Pol."
- Stewart: 'Nemesis' Not Last TNG Trek
"As far as the studio is concerned, and our executive producer is concerned, and indeed as far as all of us are concerned...there is nothing official at all about [Nemesis] being the last," Patrick Stewart (Picard) insisted, saying that if the film did well, there would be another one.
More news can be found in the archives.
Below are the results of the most recent TrekToday poll:
Please vote in our new poll and rate 'Zero Hour' once you have seen it!
On May 30th, Colm Meaney turns 51. Happy Birthday, Chief O'Brien!
Today's Television Listings
Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, UPN will show the Enterprise third season finale, "Zero Hour". Here's a synopsis of the episode:
With Earth in sight, Archer, Hoshi, Reed and a small team race to intercept the charging superweapon, sneak past the Xindi Reptilian onboard and disarm it from within, but while the gambit could save humanity, it may cost Archer his life. Back in the Delphic Expanse, T'Pol and Enterprise attempt to obliterate a key Sphere in the region before the furious Sphere Builders tear the ship apart and the region's degenerative effects kill the crew.