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a blog by ken pardue

These are the Voyages

Star Trek: Enterprise has ended it’s relatively premature run, after only four seasons where every Trek series since Next Generation have lasted seven. I have mixed thoughts of the final episode, as I have had for the entire series, but overall I think they did a pretty good job of tying up the series.

To first be critical, the last episode was missing something. It featured cameos by Will Riker and Deanna Troi, under the guise that Riker is playing this period as a holodeck program on the Enterprise-D during the Next Generation episode The Pegasus. With that, the episode seemed to be a hybrid of Enterprise and Next Generation. Two different generations (screen presences) were constantly vying for attention from one another. On top of that, because the episode was shot from the point of view of a holodeck simulation it was difficult to really get into the episode as something playing in the here and now.

On the positive side, this episode really accomplished something that Enterprise had barely accomplished before: making the crew seem like family and inviting the viewer into that family. I’m not talking about the romantic or sexual episodes that earned Enterprise the moniker “Dawson’s Trek” early on, but a real bond between the crew members and their ship that we’ve seen since the Original Series. What Enterprise did all too often was to try to gain ratings with sex and violence episodes that rarely touched on the moral and “feel-good-about-humanity’s-future” high ground that Trek has always been good at addressing.

The episode was appropriately capped off by a newly recreated Galaxy Class Enterprise-D flying out of an asteroid field as Picard began the Trek theme, “Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages…” The scene changed to a newly recreated original Constitution Class NCC-1701 as Kirk’s voiceover continued, and finally we see the NX Class Enterprise flying toward a nebula as Archer concludes it. It was an appropriate nod to Enterprise’s forbearer series.

So, all in all, did Enterprise do good things for Star Trek? Again, I have mixed feelings. Enterprise didn’t touch on morality or meaningful episodes as much as it could have. T’Pol showed way too much emotion (and sexuality) for being a Vulcan, and there were many missed opportunities and open ends. Were it not for the low expectations of the rest of the series I have a feeling I would have been more disappointed with the last episode.

However, in spurts it did a terrific job of tying into other story lines, such as showing what happened when some of the Borg escaped to earth after First Contact, explaining why the Klingons have no ridges in the Original Series but do have them in the movies+, and showed us new glimpses of Original Series cultures such as the Andorians, Romulans, Tellarites, Gorn, and so on.

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