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Billingsley: Paramount Bean Counters ‘sabotaged’ Star Trek + Enterprise a ‘retread’ December 9, 2011

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Celebrity,ENT , trackback

It has been over six years since Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled and in that time actor John Billingsley has formed some frank opinions about the show and how Paramount treated the Star Trek franchise. In a new interview, Dr. Phlox pulls no punches. See below for excerpts.

 

 

Billingsley: Paramount Bean Counters sabotaged Star Trek + Enterprise a "retread"

John Billingsley has a new interview up at IndyStar covering a number of issues, but the most ineresting bit is when he is asked if Star Trek needed a rest after 6 TV series and 11 movies, Billingsley said in part:

…what happened with “Voyager” and our show “Enterprise,” and I don’t mean this in any way as a knock on our executive producers, … but Paramount was saying more, more, more, more, more, because they viewed this as a commercial product. Nothing (in television) works when it is brought into being by the marketing department. Paramount kind of sabotaged itself. I think they got greedy, and that’s what studios do, unfortunately, because they are run largely by bean counters.

I say this, sounding harsh to my own ear: Everybody is in business to make a buck. But the idea that you have to have a product that has some artistic viability, that it just isn’t cash in, sometimes eludes the folks who are looking at the bottom line.

Billingsley went on very candidly to explain the demise of Star Trek: Enterprise:

It’s a miracle we got four seasons. Any other TV show would have been yanked after one season. Our ratings were abysmal. We opened well, we had a great audience for the first episode, and they watched it and they said, “This is nothing new. It’s the same Star Trek I’ve been watching for years and years. It’s a retread. And they ran away.

More from Billingsley at indystar.com


John Billingsley all smiles as Dr. Phlox on "Enterprise"
- now has some harsh words for Paramount "bean counters"

Comments

1. Allen Williams - December 9, 2011

I thought it was because the top level execs changed so much that Enterprise was the only Sci-Fi they had left. The new execs not liking it decided to cancel it as a result.

2. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - December 9, 2011

I loved Enterprise. The First and 2nd seasons were not all that great. The 3rd was better an the 4th was on fire and was what should have been for the 1st season. To bad. After the 4th season when Manny Cotto came on board it was getting really excitting and tieing in with TOS nicely.

3. William - December 9, 2011

Enterprise would have been much better without the Zindi. It wasn’t bad sci-fi but it wasn’t trek.

4. Commodore Adams - December 9, 2011

I agree with John in that is Enterprise was a retread. There were some new ideas but like other trek before it, there are always ideas borrowed.

I have no idea what kind of Star Trek fan would stop watching the show. Compared to Voyager, I thought it was fantastic. I was there at the premiere episode and I was there at the finale.

Are fans going to complain if Star Trek pulls a Battlestar Galactica and does something fresh and new? Because the same thing will happen, the fans will not watch it. Star Trek is about change, it preaches among many things that change is good, and yet most Trek fans want the same old same old. How can a franchise function like that? It can’t! Star Trek needed change and I am glad the 2009 movie was the way it was. It was fresh and new, I had no idea what to expect. And THAT is what attracts me.

I hope a new TV series will be very different than what has come before.
And to hell to all those who don’t want to leave the comfort zone. Have fun festering in the past.

5. Vultan - December 9, 2011

Phlox was easily my favorite character of the series.
An alien that was really alien at times.

6. Craiger - December 9, 2011

Enterprise should have been about the Romulan War. Or actually should have started a little bit after the Founding of the Federation. They could have launched the Daedelous Class ships and used them to recruit members to join the Federation.

7. Craiger - December 9, 2011

Or another way to go would be to have the Romulan War and then the last season recruit members to join the Federation and the last episode show the signing of the Federation.

However I am not sure if either of these ideas I suggested would bring in the general audience also. Unless they like the Romulan War because of the action?

8. Radioactive Spock - December 9, 2011

I’ve always been an Enterprise fan. Didn’t care for the opening theme song but it was much better than some give it credit for. Shame it got cancelled right when it was really starting to separate itself from cookie cutter trek. Was really looking forward to Romulan war!

9. Jonboc - December 9, 2011

…that pretty much sums it up. Same old song and dance. JJ re-invigorated Trek with the old school classic Trek sensibilities that had been all but abandoned and breathed new life into that dead horse. Phlox speaks the truth.

10. Jeffrey S. Nelson - December 9, 2011

Yeah, fourth season really amped up. If only The Shat had made that talked about guest appearance.

11. Phil - December 9, 2011

Have to agree with Billingsly. It took about three episodes for the storytelling to drop into Trek formula, and the ratings reflected that. Archer was the anti-Kirk, agonizing over every detail of command, and it got old, fast.

12. Phil - December 9, 2011

Have to agree with Billingsly. It took about three episodes for the storytelling to drop into Trek formula, and the ratings reflected that. Archer was the anti-Kirk, agonizing over every detail of command, and it got old, fast.

13. Pensive's Wetness - December 9, 2011

doesnt matter who humped whom back in the day. In the end, i just have reruns and movies to watch occationally. I dont have the power to ‘ZAP’ retards into the ether so i dont even b*tch about such things much anymore…

14. Craiger - December 9, 2011

Does anyone think Trek is done on TV and will just be relegated to the movie franchise? Would it be cheaper to do Trek movies than Trek TV series?

15. Gary S. - December 9, 2011

#14
No, but it will be awhile before we see the new series .
If they had waited two or even three years after Voyager and taken more time to develop The Early Federation threads, it might have worked .
Maybe.
Pity.

16. Craiger - December 9, 2011

#15 Gary how long do you think awhile will be? 2020?

17. Praetor Tal - December 9, 2011

John Billingsley is good people. And he’s totally right. Ditto also 2 and 10. I suspect we won’t see too many more Enterprise novels for a while, but I would like to see some of Manny Coto’s ideas for a fifth season worked into novel form.

18. John from Cincinnati - December 9, 2011

The problem with Enterprise was they yanked it just as it was finding it’s footing and getting really good. Had the show been allowed to progress and show a logical lead in to the original series, I think you would’ve seen the franchise invigorated.

As it stands now, at least the franchise is back with the movies. However, I still think a “retro” tv series or a more, nostalgic take from the original series injected into the new movies would be successful.

19. MJ - December 9, 2011

The creative folks working on Voyager and Enterprise need to look in the mirror and stop blaming the studio and others for the crappy Trek product they produced. DS9 was outstanding, and was under the same sort of financial pressures as these other two Trek series within the same overall time-frame.

And to John Billingsley, I found your character weak and not very useful to the storyline of the show. So stop whining about it being somebody else’s fault that your show was not all that great.

20. Dennis Bailey - December 9, 2011

“This is nothing new. It’s the same Star Trek I’ve been watching for years and years.”

True enough – and most people who might have formed an audience for the show were long since tired of Star Trek. There was no way for one more version of Trek as it had existed for decades to succeed.

Billingsley puts his finger on the reason that it was absolutely necessary to rethink, recast and reboot the entire franchise and start over from the beginning – whether hard core trekkies wanted that or not.

21. MJ - December 9, 2011

Just getting sick and tired of all these supposedly disgruntled folks like Garrett Wang and John Billingsly from the latter Trek series coming out of the woodwork to bitch, bitch and bitch. Just shut the F-up and thank your lucky stars that you got to work on a Star Trek series.

22. Dennis Bailey - December 9, 2011

Billingsley isn’t disgruntled, he’s simply observant.

And he’s absolutely right.

23. jas_montreal - December 9, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyF-ik2Cteg

This is a video of Robert Beltran ranting on about how Trek sucks. Any thoughts about this ? lol

24. BitterTrekkie - December 9, 2011

Enterprise got royally screwed over. It’s still getting screwed over with the novel line abruptly ended.

25. Odkin - December 9, 2011

Billingsley was the only thing I liked about Enterprise. I stopped watching mid-season one. I periodically checked in and found I wasn’t missing anything. I became a regular again with season 4, after a friend told me it had finally gotten watchable.

Trek is episodic TV. I remember the middle years featuring pointless mystery aliens crawling around the ship for multiple episodes, or some such unwatchable crap. And what was that nonsense about some undercover spy division? Just tell a story… forget the damn “arcs”!!

Another annoying distraction was Jolene Blalock. A terrible actress. Nice to look at, but there are lots better places to ogle women than in the middle of a show that’s supposed to have a plot.

26. Khan was Framed! - December 9, 2011

I disagree with Billingsly’s theory in part, despite my immense respect for his work:

There were definitely some who tuned into the pilot & didn’t see anything new so they didn’t keep watching, but the core audience that sat through seven seasons of TNG, DS9 & V’ger each, did.

Let’s face it, if we’re willing to tolerate Mulgrew for seven shrill years, we’d have sat through anything.

What killed Enterprise was that it’s fans (including myself) are nerds. Nerds who are enthralled by technology & were at the forefront of the downloading movement of the early 00′s.

Downloads, at the time did not register at all on Hollywood’s ratings radar, so those who were watching Enterprise online (so we could skip the horrific theme song) weren’t supporting the show from a commercial stand point.

Definitely the lack of distiction he is talking about played a significant factor in Enterprise not obtaining a new audience beyond the legions of loyal Trekkies already committed to the previous series, but ironically, it was the very technology that Trek celebrates which derailed it in 2005.

27. Browncoat1984 - December 9, 2011

#21 And if it was just another actor praising the series and saying nothing but good things about it and not understanding why so few liked it, your post would read more like “so sick of these guys not having a clue why we didn’t like it!”

28. Phil - December 9, 2011

@14. Yeah, Trek is done on TV for now. Not so much because someone dosen’t want to do it, but the expense is prohibitive. Think about it, for the ratings sci-fi draws, you can produce an hour of similarly rated reality broadcasting at a tiny fraction of the cost.

29. MikeTen - December 9, 2011

John is right. MJ, go dig around at Doug Drexler’s site and you will find stories about how CBS head Les Moonvies hated Star Trek so much he personally ordered all of the Enterprise sets destroyed by a bull dozer when the show was cancelled.

I don’t remember if it was Doug or someone else but they begged the guy on the bull dozer to let them go get a truck and they would take the Enterprise sets but the guy just kept smashing them. There were even pictures of this on his site.

30. Craiger - December 9, 2011

#27 I would think to justify the cost a Trek TV series would need at least 10 million viewers each week to stay on the air.

31. Craiger - December 9, 2011

Also in order to do that the next Trek TV series would have to be really, really, really good and both Trek fans and the general audience would have to love it.

32. Khan was Framed! - December 9, 2011

He is right about Enterprise & Voyager being retreads!

Why can’t they do a series in the trek universe that isn’t a remix of the same seven people on the same mission in a ship that pretty much looks the same?

it’s a show about the future of the galaxy!! surley there are other things going on that could be equally entertaining.

the DS9 writing team were so devoid of creativity that when they tried to do different, they caved & brought in a ship!

c’mon people!

33. Michael Hall - December 9, 2011

@ 9 Jonboc–

“…that pretty much sums it up. Same old song and dance. JJ re-invigorated Trek with the old school classic Trek sensibilities that had been all but abandoned and breathed new life into that dead horse. Phlox speaks the truth.”

Well, if you think Billingsley is hard on his own show (from what I’ve read elsewhere he doesn’t have a clue about what makes Trek tick, but in this case I think he’s mostly right), you should read what he had to say about Trek 2009.

34. JP - December 9, 2011

I don’t get the love for season 4 of ENT… To me it was even more a “retread” than the previous seasons. To me it was a step backwards from season 3 which was the only season that took any kind of chance. Season 4 retreated back to the safety of Trek’s past and was even more derivative than seasons 1 and 2.

35. Will_H - December 9, 2011

Enterprise and Voyager were both shows with great potential that they never lived up to. Solid cast, solid premis, just horrible execution by those in charge. I think especially had they left out the entire Temporal Cold War bit from Enterprise it would have been a solid show. But what’s done is done.

36. Show Syndication - December 9, 2011

@27 and @28
The shows are expensive in that the production values have to be high because audiences demand it. You can’t do things on the cheap with fakey backdrops as in TOS. The ratings don’t necessarily have to be @10M because usually shows like these do not make money until syndication. And to sell a syndicated package, you need at least 100 episodes and more, which is about 4 years worth of shows.

37. Driver - December 9, 2011

Enterprise works better now with the 2009 movie ahead of it rather than being behind TOS which made no sense technically. Flat screen monitors everywhere, warp nacelle illumination, phase cannons, a friggin’ grappler, technobabble decades ahead of its time, the Vulcan/Human relations. But it is non the less watchable. Netflix streaming looks really good.

38. Craiger - December 9, 2011

Should Trek just switch to video games only? This game company thinks DC Comics games do better than movies.

http://www.joystiq.com/2011/12/09/wb-montreal-focusing-on-great-dc-comics-games-forget-the-movie/#comments

39. Michael - December 9, 2011

Phlox is correct, imo.

I did try Ent for awhile, but even looking back now at the so-called great forth season, I still think it’s crap. Uncreative, immature, poorly acted, poorly written and just generally uninteresting.

Of course, I thought the same of Voy.

40. Dennis Bailey - December 9, 2011

Enterprise was pretty much the same as TNG.

41. Michael - December 9, 2011

#34

Sorry to double post, but completely agreed. I didn’t like season 3, but I could at least respect that they were trying. I’m baffled when people say season 4 was good. I thought it was awful, embarrassingly so.

42. AJ - December 9, 2011

Captain Archer was such a sap- a groveling little corporate sales manager with no sex appeal, and nothing in his personality to make him believable as the CO of a Starship. He played with his dad as a kid, for sure, who invented the NX-01′s warp drive. And….? Exactly.

On the Bridge? Generic Korean (linguist!), generic black guy (black guy!), generic English(!) dude with a lisp, and generic Vulcan(!), sorry, I mean generic cat-suited T&A(!) with an attitude. Or both. No chemistry at all. Phlox was thankfully separated by several decks. Trip Tucker was only slightly less annoying than his cohorts.

Then you had the newly-constipated Vulcans and the wimpy Earthers adding an annoying subplot which Manny Coto finally flushed down the can in S4, along with the onerously mis-handled ‘Temporal Cold War.’

In the end, Seasons 1 and 2 were shite, Season 3 is a blank because no-one cared ( I watched it straight through, and all I remember is the Enterprise-J and some dudes in a fish tank), and Season 4, which is still in my regular rotation despite the weak main characters.

43. Colin - December 9, 2011

Enterprise wasn’t helped either by the fact that both Berman and Braga disliked the original series, and refused to watch the first series. To explain the apparent discontinuity that existed between Enterprise and TOS, Braga said that First Contact changed the timeline. Unbelievable.

IIRC, the reason that we didn’t see DY series starships and Daedalus-class starships was that TPTB didn’t want to use these designs in the series. However, they were very happy to use a retcon Akira-class starship and Romulan Bird-of-Preys.

In the end, the series was terrible, and won’t be remembered.

44. Thorny - December 9, 2011

14…

Yes, I think Trek on TV is done. TV itself I think is on its last legs, the unlikelihood of a future weekly Trek is just a byproduct of scripted television’s decline and fall. Syndication was responsible for the revival of Trek, but syndication of scripted programming is dead as a door nail, replaced by original cable programming. But no cable channel has remotely the audience to justify a new high-budget series like Star Trek (SyFy could not even support Galactica, which was a cheap show by Trek standards.) The “Big Five” networks are launching fewer and fewer scripted shows, Their audiences are declining at an alarming rate, and in response they are replacing scripted shows with cheap reality shows that only serve to drive even more of their audience away. Their few recent attempts at weekly science fiction (“Terra Nova”, “V”, “Sarah Conner”, “FlashForward”) have been commercial failures, with only “Fringe” surviving beyond about 20 episodes, and that at extremely low ratings. The only chance for a Trek series now would be on something like HBO or Showtime, but I think even that is a very remote possibility.

Trek on TV is consigned to history. TV as we know it… I give no more than 8-10 years. The first to go dark will be The CW, followed within a year by NBC.

45. Michael Hall - December 9, 2011

“TV as we know it… I give no more than 8-10 years.”

And, maybe, lots of other things we’re accustomed to, as well.

46. Vultan - December 9, 2011

#44

I’d be interested to see what AMC could do with a weekly sci-fi series. Of course, they may not have to budget for such a thing. Going to space may be a tad more expensive than going back to the ’60s or building the transcontinental railroad.

47. VZX - December 9, 2011

@44: NBC? Really? I doubt it.

But, yeah, scripted TV shows are a thing of the past.

I think the future of episodic story-telling lies in video games.

48. Vultan - December 9, 2011

Correction: “THE budget for such a thing.”

49. Thorny - December 9, 2011

VZX… Yeah, NBC. I’m actually not even sure The CW will go first, NBC is in such dire straits. NBC is a train wreck of a network now, surviving almost entirely on Sunday Night Football.

50. njdss4 - December 9, 2011

Enterprise was awful. Seasons 1 & 2 were nauseating, season 3 was better but had a terrible ending (alien Nazis?), and season 4 was watchable but that’s it. They rushed it in every way possible. The casting was bad therefore the acting was poor, the writing was worse, and it stepped all over the shows that had come before it.

Season 5 would have been where the show broke through into something worthwhile (Romulan War), but they never got their chance. Figures that the “bean counters” would pull the plug right before the show hit its stride.

I bought the first Romulan War book thinking it would be what Season 5 would have been, but now I’m reading that the book series will never be finished? Can Enterprise ever get to the end of a run without being canceled?

51. Doctor Leonard McCoy - December 9, 2011

No, the reason many die-hard Star Trek fans like myself ran away after the first episode was due to the horrific theme song. Seriously. That’s pretty much it.

Thanks to the magic of Netflix I have now watched all of Enterprise and think it was a pretty decent show. And Doctor Flox was one of the best characters. And I know it was a prequel to TOS. But the audience potential of the show was seriously damaged by making such a ridiculous change in tone from all of the other series. The stupid theme song cheapened it and took away from the “epicness” that the rest of the Star Trek series’ have.

52. Serial Satire - December 9, 2011

The next series should be like BSG where everything is all dark and gritty. And in the end we find out that Starfleet is actually staffed by a bunch of robots angels and whoever is the captain of the starship is Jesus.

53. Greg2600 - December 9, 2011

I loved the premiere of Enterprise. The second episode was a horrible retread, and I never watched again until season 4 when Manny Coto took over.

54. John Kirk - December 9, 2011

If they had done from the start what they did in the final season, Enterprise would have been a hit from day one.

55. Odkin - December 9, 2011

I actually liked the theme song. I thought the idea of mankinds’ heart and dreams and hope and progress was very “Star Trek”, and very well represented.

56. DestinyCaptain - December 9, 2011

He is completely right and completely wrong. He just doesn’t know why. ENT was a retread…of the TNG era or more specifically, Voyager. It is precisely because Berman and Braga have no true love of Trek or understanding of it, even their own wing of it, that Enterprise failed. There is reason upon reason that is was so much less than it could have been. Oh and the Sub-Prime Universe is just as poorly conceived as ENT. It just benefits from being loud and flashy much like ANY Micheal Bay film of the last 10 – 15 years. I remind you that EACH one of the Transformer movies made hundreds of millions of dollars. Each one of them are crap, pure unrefined crap. The fact that they are shiny and have kewl splosians doesn’t make them good.

57. chrisfawkes.net - December 9, 2011

The problem with Star Trek toward the end was it failed to maintain the line between Trek characters and trekkies.

Most trekkies are geeks, nothing wrong with that but suddenly starships were staffed by geeks and beating out villains week in week out. It just got silly.

Think of it like this. If you had told high schoolers ten years ago that kids their age would be using phones worth several hundreds of dollars most would not believe that day would come. Bring on the iphone and the rest is history.

That is because people always gravitate to nice things, stuff that is better. And this applies to people or leaders too.

We gravitate to people we think are better than us and no one wants to be a nerd.

Yes big bang theory is huge but the difference is big bang is about laughing at ourselves or our relatives. Star Trek like sports is about wanting to be the hero.

Leave trekkies where they are and cast people who are socially together, who others want to be. Then you might have a show again.

58. Ugly Christmas Sweater - December 9, 2011

The biggest problem that Enterprise faced was Voyager. That series so alienated many Star Trek fans that they didn’t get Enterprise a chance. Kate Mullgrew’s and Robert Beltran’s horrifically bad performances didn’t just destroy Voyager–they also killed Enterprise.

59. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 9, 2011

@#51

YES! Sad but so true. It took a good little while for me to watch any of the show because that song soooooo did not fit the series. It’s not a bad song, but it was like having a hair metal band doing a set right before serious play. It was very jarring. Words for the wise: Music matters. :-/

Once I finally got past the opening and watched the show for a bit, it was okay. It will never be my favorite, but what I saw of it was okay.

60. Red Dead Ryan - December 9, 2011

I really liked the music theme they used instead of Russell Watson for the Mirror Universe episodes.

Overall, “Enterprise” was a good show. Especially in the third and fourth seasons, where they added more action, suspense, and TOS references to the mix.

The Xindi storyline was great, as we got to see some non-humanoid and humanoid aliens from the same planet.

61. Jim, London - December 9, 2011

If it had been a tad darker it would have worked – the federation was utopia and man at his best, the years prior to its forming should have shown humans as not perfect but getting there – Enterprise for the time frame it was set was just far too optomistic. I

62. The Unknown Poster - December 10, 2011

The Xindi arc was terrible. It was people trying to do episodic TV but not understanding how, creating false drama through plot-driven means rather than character-driven.

Honestly, Enterprise should have started on Earth (as it did) and it should have stayed there most of season one. Go into space on board Vulcan ships, freighters, the Deadelus (sp) class ship etc…but show us Star Fleet growing and evolving, show us the “Enterprise Project” developing and building to the launch of that ship.

Enterprise should have been about showing us the development of the familar universe we all loved. Instead, it was a false premise designed to fool fans into feeling emotionally connected. It failed.

Only when Coto came on board did it start to realise it’s potential and by then it was too late.

63. JP - December 10, 2011

#41: To further the point, it felt like season 4 the thought was, “add references to TOS, rinse, repeat”. The problem was, the episodes were duller than dishwater. Adding TOS references does not a great episode make. The episodes in season 4 felt more lifeless than ever. The Vulcan arc should have been riveting, but ended up boring. The Soong arc started off promising, and ended with a thud (and not in a good way). And on and on.

People say season 4 is where it got good. I just don’t see it. It felt more tired than ever.

64. Hugh Hoyland - December 10, 2011

I was excited when I heard they were doing a story about the first Enterprise, imagine the possibilities! A show that hearkened back to the TOS era style, but even more rugged perhaps.
But it didn’t. In fact it felt like they skipped the TOS theme all together and attempted to do a prequel to TNG/Voyager, and really didn’t do a good job at that. A missed opportunity IMO.
It lost me with the Zindi arc and never got me back. And while I think Coto did an admiral job trying to save the show (esp. Season 4) the basic premise was just to flawed to salvage. To bad.

65. Jim Nightshade - December 10, 2011

i liked enterprise n loved phlox he was a great first doctor–loved how many of his meds were live critters hahah–funny thing calling something a retread walks a fine line–presumably–trek fans would want some things similar or familar if not whats the point of calling it trek..or any franchise–fine line between retread n beloved franchise–billingsley should feel honored to be a part of trek history–he played a scientist in 2012–not one of his better roles-not a move up–bet it paid well tho

66. John - December 10, 2011

I ran away!

67. Greenberg - December 10, 2011

Finally, an Enterprise actor who isn’t in denial. I’m sick of hearing from Trip “Our Show Didn’t Kill Trek” Guy.

68. Christopher Roberts - December 10, 2011

Completely agree with Mr. Billingsley’s points about Hollywood, but not much else I have to say. The Star Trek he was on, was a good one as far as I’m concerned. Enterprise still pulled more viewers week after week, than Battlestar Galactica or Stargate. So considering the ratings to be abysmal is entirely a matter of perspective.

Funny how Trekmovie know how to pick their stories. Based on favouritism. Was there anything celebrating the 10th Anniversary last September? No. Scott Bakula’s birthday? No. Avery Brooks’s. Yes. ‘Nuff said.

Lean times and we’re gonna start seeing more and more of this, I suspect. Cast members from the various spin-offs basically venting in frustration over dwindling numbers who can afford to do the whole convention scene. Sad that they devalue their own work in this way, with some ill considered words haters tend to have a field day with.

69. Jacqueline Sammut - December 10, 2011

I am a huge Star Trek fan and I loved all of them even Enterprise and I wish it could have gone on for a couple more years. The only problem that I have with it is that as the seasons went by it became like one is watching an erotic film…what’s with the steamy scenes and nude backside of T’Pol??!! Is that what Star Trek is all about?? To bring in more ratings?? Come on!!….I am not a prude and I watched it but what made me angry is that Star Trek is suppossed to be a family series and my children who have watched all the other ST serieses and loved them….cannot watch Enterprise..I won’t allow it for now.

70. Adam C - December 10, 2011

Kudos to John Billingsley for speaking with an honest mind

71. CmdrR - December 10, 2011

Enterprise suffered from exhaustion, mostly in the writing. It had some very fine episodes, just not enough of them. The Xindi arc in season 3 was deadly dull about half the time. Later, the studio forced all attention on Archer/T’Pol/Trip, ignoring the fine supporting cast in what had been a good ensemble show. And I’m sorry, but Blalock was not up to being a centerpiece of anything. They needed to stay with a variety of character-driven stories, but came out with too many gimmick shows. The lost son in the transporter ep in season 4 is — again — deadly dull.
Anyway… bean counters will alway run the show and drive away in shiny new sports cars.

72. its me - December 10, 2011

I loved Enterprise, too. After all the first seasons. Everyone said, they became better in the third. Well, not my opinion. The first was the best, I think.

The first part, Billingsley said, …. oh yeah, I do agree!

73. MC1 Doug - December 10, 2011

I’ll agree that “Enterprise” suffered at the hands of “bean counters.” I’ve said so myself. I do not, however, agree that the show was a re-tread. I liked the show very much. I never missed it. AND I do miss it now, wishing it had, like its sister programs, ran a full seven years.

The show should have covered the Romulan War years! That would have been grand!

74. Chris Basken - December 10, 2011

Regarding season #4 — sure, it lived off of TOS references, but it was also the only time the series felt to me like it actually took place a century prior to TOS. The first three seasons could have been at any time in Trek’s timeline.

75. Basement Blogger - December 10, 2011

I finished up seasons three and four of Enterprise on Netflix. It was fantastic. There were ideas, scientific and philosophical. It was Star Trek.

One big reason why Enterprise was cancelled was because of the availability of UPN. Link. Here in Cincinnati, it was on a low powered TV station and not always carried by cable.

Anthony Pascale has always said Star Trek belongs on television where more complex stories can be told. I agree. I believe a new Star Trek show will do better on a basic cable network like TNT, AMC, or SyFy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPN#Availability

76. Sebastian S. - December 10, 2011

# 22.

“Billingsley isn’t disgruntled, he’s simply observant.

And he’s absolutely right.”

Exactly!
And it’s ironic that his Phlox character (whom I thought I was going to hate at first) turned out to be surprisingly likable. He was more memorable than most of the other mannequins on the show (I still don’t recall the helmsman’s full name). Dr Phlox was one of the few high points in a largely uninspired show (although IMO the 4th season really got things back on track; shame it was too little too late…).

77. Sebastian S. - December 10, 2011

# 72.

Doug, have you checked out the Romulan War book, “Under the Raptor’s Wing?”

It’s pretty good (and there’s a new one on the way soon). Kind of like a ‘sneak peek’ of what the Romulan War would’ve been like if the show continued…

78. Horatio - December 10, 2011

Billingsley is dead on. Enterprise was an opportunity for the franchise to reboot itself without having to dip into mind bending time travel/alternate reality esoterica.

When Enterprise premeired I was hoping for something different and edgy. I knew immediately that it was just a retread. It looked and sounded the same as V’ger and TNG – not just in its scripts but also in its look, music, sound fx, visual fx, etc. I stayed with the show for the full run out of support for the franchise. It wasn’t until the 4th season that I thought they finally had gotten around to where the show should have started at.

Berman and Braga blew it. Oh, the shows production values were always top notch but the stories – the scripts – were often sub standard. I still think the prequel concept could have been glorious.

79. soonerdew - December 10, 2011

Absent all the Trekkie analysis, isn’t it enough just to say Enterprise want very good TV? It was a ho-hum sci-fi show Paramount wanted to produce on the cheap, and sell it by slapping the Trek franchise name on it, albeit indirectly. Of COURSE it was a retread; that’s what the suits wanted.

Trek lost its soul when it became less about exploration and adventure and more about blowing up bad guys. Sure, Trek can do villains (Khan) , but when that’s all you do, you quickly realize there’s no creative depth…and you end up with this war followed by that war followed by another war…and there you have Berman’s Trek, in a nutshell, from TV series to Nemesis. Yawn.

I guess that’s why I’m only cautiously exited about Trek 2013, with its fresh alternate timeline yet an apparent inexorable drive to a retread villain. And a recent Lindelof tweet about writing Trek script dialog being about “evasive maneuvers” and “full impulse” doesn’t exactly brighten my expectations fire an original story.

We’ll see.

80. alec - December 10, 2011

Exactly right! The first episode was quite good and the show got progressively worse. ENT and VGR were tired remakes…

TOS was revolutionary. TNG was evolutionary and more consistent. DS9 was a new, interesting take that foreshaddowed future events..

81. trekologist - December 10, 2011

Enterprise ended just when it got good. The 4th season was great. If only it caught that wind in the second season.

82. DS9 Forever - December 10, 2011

In reply to #32, the introduction of the Defiant was one of the best things DS9 (and Star Trek) did. The runabouts weren’t able to defend against the Jem’Hadar, who had destroyed a sister ship of the Enterprise. Many episodes still took place on the station.

83. D.J. Ammons - December 10, 2011

I agree with Commodore Mike that the first two seasons of Enterprise were not very good, the third was much better and by the time they cancelled it the show had hit its stride and was very good.

I never liked the bland asthetics of the art design of Enterprise. I know they said they were going after the feel of a submarine for the ship itself but everything was just too muted and boring in my opinion. The lighting was dark and it all resulted in a rather drab look and feel.

84. Jack - December 10, 2011

80. And everything just looked and sounded (dialogue, stories, music) like it had come from the same factory — like how all McDonald’s or Starbucks sort of look the same even after renovations. Zimmerman’s designs went back to the first movies, the costumes had the same lines as all of Blackman’s other costumes, heck, they even recycled the Captain’s chair from that cut nemesis scene. They recycled props, makeup and costumes. They recycled guest stars.

And THAT was probably the best thing about Star Trek 09 — it broke, visually with 25 years of uniformity.

If I ever see another wall sconce, forehead prosthetic, bordered carpet, backlit black posters with meaningless stripes and numbers, or upholstered wall panels ever again, well, I’ll be a little sad.

Maybe that’s why i lose patience with the how dare jj change things posts on here, because, heck it needed changing.

PS. I wish Trek 09 would have avoided recycling some of the graphics from TNG and the TOS movies… the federation symbols, that transporter symbol, some of the random numbers etc. on the bridge displays…

Oh, and I hate the banks of leds on the new enterprises helm — i get it, radio shack is alive and well in the 23rd century. They remind me of those damned rented computers they used for Regula 1, which then reappeared on Knight Rider and every other crappy Universal studios 80s TV show. So, yeah, pet peeve, whether they’re jammed onto a TNG tricorder, data’s head, random medical instruments, those new pillars on the Ent bridge — they still just look like a bunch of stick on leds

85. Craiger - December 10, 2011

I think the Enterprise premier should have been about a Romulan crash landing on Earth but his body would be so badly decomposed he would be unrecognizable as a Vulcan. Then Starfleet would decide to send the NX-01 to investigate were this alien came from. They could have done it kind of like the Xindi premise except part of Florida wouldn’t have been destroyed.

86. T'Cal - December 10, 2011

I watched all modern Trek in first run – from “Encounter at Farpoint” to “These are the Voyages…” I wanted ENT to be a great show because I knew that the producers, directors, writers, and actors had been successful so many times before. ENT started strong for me but it waned fast. It had some excellent episodes here and there but I didn’t care for many of the regular characters. I usually enjoy Bakula’s work but Archer was not written to be the leader that the other captains were and that’s a shame. He should’ve been more heroic, more of a natural leader, more daring, more of a risk-taker. T’Pol was annoying from beginning to end and the catsuit was ridiculous; she should’ve been in a Starfleet uniform at least by the time she left the VHC and she should’ve grown to trust Archer but instead she constantly questioned his motives and abilities. Malcolm had his moments but TPTB regulated him to the background almost as much as they did to Hoshi and Travis; what a waste. Trip and Phlox were my favories in that they were interesting, likable, deep characters and the actors played their parts extremely well. This show had so much potential but it was wasted a lot of the time.

87. Dr. Image - December 10, 2011

Refreshing to hear some truth and honesty.
Go John!

88. Fatherkc - December 10, 2011

Its a shame they didnt get 7 seasons. Now we have nothing new to watch.
I hope one day, there will be another StarTrek series to enjoy and people stop digging in the past. A real StarTrek fan looks to the future.

89. JP - December 10, 2011

I think Trek on tv has suffered a number of constraints that have caused it to go stale. If I had to run down a couple I’d say the big hitters are:

1) Trek has mostly been aimed at kids and young adults. I feel like this limits the places stories and characters can go. Trek often feels immature in its dealings with things like relationships and sexuality. The decon gel scenes felt like a 12 year old boys notion of sexuality rather than that of a grown adult. I want to strongly add that “adult” does not mean “violence, profanity and sex” though Trek shouldn’t artificially shy away from those either. Just keep in mind that adding them does not make the show “grown up”. It goes deeper than that. Likewise the interpersonal relationships are often surface level and tend not to have long term consequences.

2) While we’re on the subject of long term consequences, in Trek there often are none. I realize there are reasons for this with syndication being the big one. But without it you get what we got with Voyager where the ship inside and out always looks brand new despite being shot to hell every other week. Its hard to feel any investment in the shows or their characters when everything is reset weekly.

3) Staying away from the safe and soggy of what has come before. Trek 09 took a bold step in stepping away from some of the prior conventions. It was a step in the right direction to get away from how stale Trek had become. However it too is yet another retread and it could quite easily fall into the trap of simply aping what’s come before. Any future Trek needs to be bold if its to go anywhere interesting. There’s a certain contingent of the fanbase that simply wants more of the same. To the keepers of the flame, I beg you to ignore them.

Trek needs to boldly go. Its time to work without the safety net.

90. Kirk, James T. - December 10, 2011

I think he talks A LOT of sense. It seems however, Paramount have changed their attitude toward’s Star Trek – perhaps because Paramount now is different on the whole as Paramount back when Enterprise and Voyager were on the air.

His opinion on how Enterprise was a retread is entirely accurate as far as Im concerned. The artistic and creative vision of Star Trek became stale and stagnant and it showed. I really enjoyed Enterprise but felt that it could have been any of the prior Trek TV shows.

Its great that now we have an entirely new creative team behind Star Trek and that their idea of what Star Trek should be is completely different to what Berman’s idea of Star Trek was. We may be retreading old characters but credit where credit’s due, Abrams and his team have come up with a neat concept and regardless of whether we see familiar characters from Trek’s gone by, the way we see them play around on screen will be totally new for a new audience which is great and what Paramount should have done decades ago…

91. Craiger - December 10, 2011

One thing I never understood how TOS got past Season 1 with Roddenberry’s no conflict rule. Good Drama and Action shows have conflict.

92. Vultan - December 10, 2011

Each series has had its high points, but Trek has a bad habit of settling into the safety zone and becoming too self-referential and cozy with itself. Maybe it’s inevitable though. As Jerry Seinfeld once said:

“My idea of the perfect living room would be the bridge on the Starship Enterprise. You know what I mean? Big chair, nice screen, remote control… That’s why Star Trek really was the ultimate male fantasy. Just hurtling through space in your living room, watching TV. That’s why all the aliens were always dropping in, because Kirk was the only one that had the big screen. They came over Friday nights, Klingon boxing, gotta be there.”

93. Scott Umsteadt - December 10, 2011

Enterprises problem wasnt that it was a retread but that it was trying to be like the new Battlestar Galactica & Babylon 5. The powers that be tried, in some respects, to give some thought to the mis en scene and stories of what “pre-Federation starfleet would be like but they fell short. For one thing, the sets were far too dark. The color scheme was darker than the typical battleship gray that is used on modern naval vessels. the stories halfway tried to keep continuity but definately stepped on previous canon. And most of all Star Trek is supposed to be fun! It really took itself too serious!

94. Keeper of the Katra - December 10, 2011

I have really tried to like enterprise but I’m just kidding myself. The writing was bunk, the acting was bad mostly due to the adolescent writing but I really felt that Scott Bakula was there to bring Quantum Leap fans in and not the explorer he needed to protray.

just my feeling

95. Dennis Bailey - December 10, 2011

Enterprise wasn’t anything like B5, and the new Galactica didn’t exist until years after Enterprise premiered.

The sets and costume design for Enterprise was remarkable, probably the best and most original of all the post-TOS shows.

The problem Enterprise had was, purely and simply, thirteen years and hundreds of Star Trek episodes continuing in an unbroken stream from 1987 onward. The premiere episode pulled in millions more people than had watched Star Trek since around 1994 – look up the numbers – but quickly fell to the levels of DS9 and Voyager after their first couple of seasons. Hard core trekkies were watching it, and no one else.

96. Mateo - December 10, 2011

He is exactly right. I watched the first episode with my dorm mates and then I watched two more and quit full stop after that. The show was dreadful and tedious. Just another re-hashing of old plots and themes. I wish it never existed lol.

97. Dunsel Report - December 10, 2011

#84 is dead right.

98. ME!! - December 10, 2011

“Have fun festering in the past.”

The only thing festering in the past, ‘Commodore’, is Rick Berman’s bastardization of Trek. The man butchered what was a great concept and a fun series of, well series’. Had DS9 continued after seasons 1 & 2 with Berman’s version and concept, it would have died after season 3. What saved that show was Ira Steven Behr. He, unlike the producers of Voyager or Enterprise, was actually given pretty much free reign and turned the show around into a fun, exciting and very watchable series. Voyager was run by Berman and a woman’s lib spewing nepotist who shoved great characters & actors aside to bring in her son and give him more lines and things to do than some of the supposed “main” characters. In my opinion, the WORST Trek series so far. It stayed in the “safe zone”. In fact, all of Berman’s garbage stayed in that safe zone even when he was running TNG. Presenting the viewers with some sort of game changer only to take it all back and make everything back to normal by the end of the episode, effectively making the episode pointless. Case in point, the episode ‘Bloodlines’.

Enterprise suffered from Bermanitus as well, at least until season 4…and then conveniently returned to that “safe zone” with the worst series finale in history…written by, you guessed it, Rick Berman.

That was what was wrong with Star Trek: Nemesis. Berman to this day thinks we were tired of Star Trek. On the contrary, Rick, we were tired of YOUR version of Star Trek.

The Original Series is still the best. It’s the greatest of the Trek shows. DS9 comes in second for me.

As for your comment, ‘Commodore’, Classic Trek Is a comfort…just like a grilled cheese sandwich. The new Abrams-verse is pretty cool and I do look forward to more, but I’ll always prefer the classic stuff. It’s nice once in a while to sit back and wrap yourself up in the ‘blanket’ of classic Trek.

99. Cafe 5 - December 10, 2011

The first two seasons were not Star Trek they were the Berman/Braga Hour. That lame theme song didn’t help and all that potential wasted. I love what Manny Coto did but as stated earlier too little too late. If TPTB had just brought in writers that knew “Star Trek ” things would have been a great deal different. All what could have been will never be…all because ego’s of the people in charge who thought they could do no wrong. Its such a shame because a fifth season would have brought us the Romulan wars and a truely glorious series

100. Star Trek Nemesis blows, is the point. - December 10, 2011

I thought the first season of Enterprise did pretty well in the ratings. Perhaps I misunderstood that at the time.

The fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise was by far the best. And season 3 is badly underrated. I know that the whole Xindi plot really broke away from what we thought of a prequel series being (though the way the wrote the Vulcans certainly was awful in seasons 1-3), but that was some pretty good story telling. I just wish the writers would have done a better job with Archer.

I would have loved to have seen a fifth season of Enterprise as a set of miniseries that would be played over a two or three day periods throughout the normal season as a way to save the series…since Berman was saying it was too expensive to take the show to Sci-Fi. Manny Coto staying on as head writer would have been excellent.

101. Star Trek Nemesis blows, is the point. - December 10, 2011

And, for what it’s worth, I think John is spot on, except for the ratings.

Enterprise after season 1 was #115 in the ratings. Of UPN shows, it was 2nd, only behind WWE Smackdown. Of WB and UPN shows, it was 3rd (7th Heaven then WWE). It was tied with shows such as Smallville and Futurama. John is right though…if it were a network show it would have gotten the ax. But given the network it was on, it was in great position.

102. Dennis Bailey - December 10, 2011

Fannish hatred of Berman is ingrained, irrational and uninformed.

103. Red Dead Ryan - December 10, 2011

#102.

Unfortunately, their hatred for the man stems (and still centers around) Kirk’s death in “Generations”. That’s never going to go away, since Berman was the “face” of Trek at the time, for good or bad.

Everything else is a red herring, though some of the complaints and issues about the various shows are legitimate and valid.

Things like technobabble, set design, etc. wouldn’t be brought up so much if Kirk hadn’t been killed off in “Generations”, which, unfortunately, is now a permenant stain on a lot of other good work done in the ’90′s, specifically the TNG series, DS9, and “First Contact”.

I think once “Generations” came out, and audiences witnessed the death of Kirk, it was seen as blasphemy of the highest order and after that Rick Berman was target number one for many fans’ rage. And so the relatively minor mistakes/questionable decisions made after that was magnified ten fold.

104. Red Dead Ryan - December 10, 2011

I would also use George Lucas as a similar example. A lot of “Star Wars” fans have NEVER forgiven him for Jar Jar Binks. And as a result, anything he’s done since has been crapped on, even though I thought Episodes II and III as well as “The Clone Wars” have been pretty good.

105. John - December 10, 2011

I think he’s right. Paramount does tend to, occassionally sabotage themselves, on purpose. They get away with it, because they convincingly deny it.

106. Brett Campbell - December 10, 2011

Well, we all know what happens as a result of too many beans.

107. Steve T. in NY - December 10, 2011

I have to say that I disagree with most of what I am reading here. Enterprise Season 1 was imo the best.. followed by season 4. The reason it was good is because they were having episodes that were dealing with “firsts”. First contacts, first time dealing with other spacecraft and races. They treated it with wide eyed optimism and fear. Ensign Sato’s screaming.. although annoying, was realistic as she had’nt encountered things like that before. I felt there was sufficient break with tradition that Enterprise could have been a very good show. The problems arose when they were forced to shoehorn stuff to tie in with TOS that it became ponderous and forced. There should have been few episodes dealing with TOS subjects..Although I felt that the story regarding the Klingons and how we came to be in a cold war with them would have been interesting.. and yes The Romulan War would have also been fun, but I felt they were at their best when they were doing their own thing. I felt “the black guy” ( yes i cant remember his name at the moment) was absolutely HORRIBLE!! Terrible actor, and just so miscast for the show. I think anyone else would have been better. As to T’Pol.. She was HOT.. but I hate how they make the alien female characters wear different clothes (catsuits n such) when she became a member of Starfleet she should have been in a uniform. I know the fanboys would hate it.. but it just didn’t seem realistic.

The ship itself did look too modern, and eclipsed the Enterprise from TOS with tech n such, but we have to remember that TOS was in the 60′s on a shoestring budget by todays standards.. But she didn’t FEEL like the Enterprise.. if you get my meaning.

As to scripted TV. I think we are seeing a backlash against Reality TV for the first time this season. Shows like Hawaii 5-O, Person of Interest, Castle, and even Law n Order SVU are seeing great ratings. Lets not forget The Walking Dead and shows on HBO, hell even the TNT shows get good ratings. Will Star Trek be on TV again?? I say YES! and Before we think it will be. It will because it needs to be. To examine the human condition, and provide good story telling from a trek standpoint requires it. It will never be a three movie trilogy and then start over like Batman, or Spiderman. It will endure.. it will change, but it will be in episodic form because it just has to be.. Not wishful thinking.. but I really BELIEVE it will happen..

108. Joelist - December 10, 2011

I guess I am going to be open to some flaming here, but that’s ok. My thinking on Trek is somewhat different than what has been written here but it is shared by a lot of my friends who are sci-fi fans all.
Point one: To me, Trek has a “spirit” or “mood” that is essential to it working properly. That is a mood of underlying optimism and also of wonder – the feel that we are going “where no one has gone before”. TOS captured this well (after all as the original series it established it). TNG while having its bad moments overall kept to this. So did Voyager (an underrated series in my estimation). Without this optimism and sense of wonder and exploration the show just does not work.
Point Two: Based on the above point, to me Trek started to run off the proverbial rails with DS9, starting in the second half of Season 2. This is because Deep Space 9 started becoming more and more moody, dark, “edgy” (a catchphrase for overwrought characters) and instead of a sense of wonder and exploration we got power politics, genocide, murder of main characters, shipping, and an overall foreboding feel to the show. I know many here think DS9 was some sort of pinnacle of Trek and its ratings were healthy – and had they left the dark, moody slop with DS9 it’s possible Trek may have survived. But they didn’t as we will see.
Point Three: Enterprise after starting with an honest attempt to create again the wonder and exploration degenerated late in Season 2 and through Season 3 into dark, moody, shipping infested slop. IMHO they were trying to boost it by giving it some “DS9” spirit – the result was actually robbing the show of any chance of having an identity of its own. Enterprise died (and yes the finale was insulting). But the final depths were still to be plumbed….
Point Four: Star Trek Nemesis (spit). This is the worst piece of Trek ever committed to any sort of medium. It tried to capture the Wrath of Khan character dynamic but TWOK still had a sense of wonder (Kirk’s whole reaction to the Genesis experiment) and all in all was still optimistic. Nemesis was DARK (death, mass murder, rape, more death), moody slop. The fact that most of the cast performance screamed “I’m here for a paycheck” didn’t help.
My point so far is Trek killed itself by getting away from its own core values (Optimism, wonder, bonds of friendship, etc.). It became dark and moody which won’t work in the Trek universe premise.
Enter Abrams and Orci.
What Trek 09 achieved should not be underestimated. The “timeline” plot device was the only way to get Trek back in its moorings and it worked well. Our characters really are going “where no one has gone before” again. The underlying optimism is back. The friendships feel right and the character feel right. I can forgive some visual style choices when they got the ESSENCE right. They stripped Trek down to its core elements and now we have a good place from which future Trek can proceed.

109. Joelist - December 10, 2011

Sorry about the spacing problems above. I composed the post in Google docs then pasted it in.

BTW, if you like to talk Scifi I am also on GateFans.net, which has a good community.

110. Keachick - rose pinenut - December 10, 2011

#108 I have to agree with what you have said.

While I enjoyed a lot of DS9, I think it lost its way in terms of an optimistic, light, open and exploratory sci-fi show. Everything and everyone got too serious. I liked Enterprise, although I agree that the Enterprise interiors needed brightening up – very dull, drab, grey, but once it got into the temporal war, etc, it was dark, silly, uninspiring. They took themselves far too seriously most of the time and it is something you don’t see in TOS. Perhaps some of it may seem too cheesy to some, but most of the time they seemed to get the balance right, which is why it has survived 45 years.

It seems that a good lot of sci-fi start off light and bright and get dragged down by *people’s overall negativity and cynicism about the future and humanity in general.
*People – I mean writers, producers, studios and joe-public.

111. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 11, 2011

Re: DS9

Well, my favorite of the bunch is Deep Space Nine because in my opinion it did the best job at showing precisely what joelist says it lacks.

The tone or mood of DS9 was more serious because it took on very serious issues in a way and at a length that had not quite been done before – BUT there was optimism and hope in the midsts of what seemed like hopeless situations. There was honor and dignity and forgiveness at times when it would have been easy for the members of the DS9 crew to fall prey to bitterness and spite.

Joelist, I think you are looking at this show far too superficially. Genocide, murder, shipping, etc., were of course plot points, but it seems as though you have not seen the message of humanity that was the main point all along.

I think that DS9 took us on a type of exploration that hadn’t happened so in-depth before. To me, the series was about boldly going on a journey within.

It never lost its way. It was never supposed to be a fun, light, sci-fi experience. Not from episode one. Sure, there were many fun and lighthearted moments along the way, but that was never the main premise of the show, and to expect that in my opinion means that perhaps those doing that missed the point somehow.

The only thing I didn’t like was the main character death, but the actress wanted to move on, and the death added to the grim reality of being in the midst of a war. The only people that die or lose a leg are not the unknown red shirts. Sometimes its the person you love, the person you came to know as a friend over the years, the one that didn’t deserve it, and it can happen just like that. That is what each Starfleet officer is willing to sacrifice when they put on the uniform, and I think the series did a wonderful job of showing the other side of the job in a way that worked.

I know I’ll probably catch it from some of the TOS purists for saying this, but DS9 was the best Trek. There is something to like or enjoy about them all, but DS9 was the one.

112. Keachick - rose pinenut - December 11, 2011

I agree with both comments #108 and #111. It depends on one’s perspectives and mood at the time of watching the various Star Trek incarnations.

There have been so many movies and TV shows dealing with war and crimes of various kinds. Star Trek represented something a little different, especially TOS. That is what I loved. I just hope that the present team remember the optimism, the whimsy, the humour, friendships and love that were also so much part of TOS and that the universe may well contain a very beautiful place or two. “Seek and you shall find”, I’ve heard it said.

113. James T. West - December 11, 2011

I am one of those viewers who tuned OUT after the first episode!
Same old, same old! Shame on Paramount!

What I wanted? Capt. Robert April, NCC-1701 (no bloody A, B, C…), velour shirts, black pants, and fisticuffs (James T. style)

This show was an epic failure before it began.

114. Hat Rick - December 11, 2011

I’ve avoided this thread because I don’t want to read negative news about Star Trek, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, upthread, there is a raging debate about how Paramount did/did not ruin Star Trek and how Billingsley is right/wrong about what he said.

I have an internal, Robocop-like directive that prevents me from reading about stuff I know I can’t do a damned thing about.

115. the Quickening - December 11, 2011

#102
I agree completely, and it’s so silly. Berman and Braga made mistakes for sure; they should have hired fresh new writers and turned the day-to-day running of ENTERPRISE to someone else much sooner. Hindsight is 20/20. But let’s not forget, Berman produced TNG and DS9, both great shows.

#103
As for Kirk’s death in GENERATIONS being the cause of the Berman and Braga hate machine, I don’t know if I agree. I’ve been a fan of TOS since it began, and had no problem seeing Kirk die. It was the way he died that was dreadful, and I blame the writing of Ron Moore and Braga for that, not Berman.

116. the Quickening - December 11, 2011

#111

Well put. DS9 rocked!

I never agreed with this notion that TREK has to always be optimistic, or it’s not TREK. I think the concept of a hopeful future grew because people needed an explanation as to why TREK worked and was so endearing, and they needed to make it relevant (perhaps even a false relevancy), and it just caught on. Of course, Roddenberry proliferated it by turning TREK into a religion–for profit of course. In the end, TREK is just a bunch of fictional stories that we as fans love.

117. Cafe 5 - December 11, 2011

At The time STAR TREK:Enterprise was the highest rated series that UPN
had on the air. Les Moonves for some reason at the suggestion from his wife who didn’t care for that “science-fiction” show expidited the demise of Star Trek on television. Sumner Redstone said if it ain’t making us money its gone…so all the sets all the props and costumes went on the auction block and making any new series it would have to begin from square one, making it cost prohibitive. A great many mistakes were made during the shows production. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time is the definition of insanity. Egos and greed were the main reasons Star Trek is not on the air.

118. Joelist - December 11, 2011

Hi again!

#111, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

The optimism I speak of in Trek is it always had an “up” view of people. DS9 went in a rather different direction in that it seemed to promulgate a negative view of humanity by virtue of all the dark characters, corruption. treasons and yes the death everywhere. The show developed a grimness to it that just does not work in Trek.

Now you can have war, death, genocide and such without making the whole thing dark – ST09 is proof of that. The mood change from DS9 and especially Nemesis was like night and day.

I suspect DS9 will always divide the fandom. Many liked it but many also detested it. While I did not like its mood and such I do respect the work that went into it. The pity was that they tried to export that darkness and grittiness into Trek as a whole and like a cancer it killed it.

119. Red Dead Ryan - December 11, 2011

I happen to agree with those saying “Deep Space Nine” was the best Trek series. I feel this way because the show actually dared to depict some serious topics, such as war, and how people deal with the trauma of it, whether physically, or emotionally much more than either TOS or TNG.

I think the optimism from the show stems from seeing how people work through the worst of conditions for a common cause.

And it’s not like it was all war all the time on the show. They did a number of episodes featuring Ferengi, exploration, and discovery. As well as silly Ferengi episodes.

Characters like Quark and Odo were almost like us today, people the audience can relate to, especially Quark, who embodies qualities of today’s human, with his flaws, such as sexism, greed, and yet, his often unexpected compassion, and even wisdom. Odo was the refugee, someone that people from countries run by evil dictatorships can relate to.

But the main theme of the show was, if you want to live in paradise, you have to fight, and be willing to sacrifice for it. A more pragmatic take on Gene Roddenberry’s hopeful theme.

120. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 11, 2011

Oh joelist, #118, the Federation did have an ‘up’ view of sapient beings in general, but what we were dealing with on DS9 was having those ideals being challenged and the Federation’s, particularly Starfleet’s commitment to those ideals tested, and they passed the test.

Please tell me that you do not want pre-programmed individuals that represent the best of the best and they never have that truly tested over an extended period of time. That seems to be what you are looking for, and that’s fine, but then please don’t say that a series that did test the ideals born of ‘paradise’, that did test the resilience of a crew that had to continually walk the line between shades of gray, a show that did not ‘work’ because that was the subject matter, and of course you are not going to have a happy-go-lucky tone with that. That would have just been silly.

DS9 did work; it just didn’t work for you. It was a complex show with richly dense content and character growth. It’s easier to be the best you you can be when you’re just passing though as you explore space, but when your assignment is to stay, to hold the fort, to make things work for the long haul where you are at, that is when you get to meet the real you, and you might not like everything you see. You might not be as squeaky clean as you thought, but with the DS9 captain and crew, we saw great individuals that had to come to terms with themselves and in doing that, they found that they did meet their ideals, not perfectly because no one is perfect, but they met them and that’s what counts – that and how.

I believe that this is why DS9 is typically referred to as Trek for Adults, because it is not meant to be a repeat of what came before it and in the same ways. It also happens to be the most critically acclaimed because of how well it dealt with all of the many issues it took on. The show was not about darkness, it was about the light at the end of the tunnel, and getting to that light, believing in it when you can’t see it (think of episodes like The Ascent), and the faith that you have in yourself and your comrades that you can and will make it. That works, and it worked very, very well.

121. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 11, 2011

@#116 & 119

Thank you, and I concur. :-)

122. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 11, 2011

As an add on to #120, the mood change between DS9 and ST 2009 is not all that different. They have more in common than they differ. I’m willing to go over this point for point if you like.

123. Dennis Bailey - December 11, 2011

“I happen to agree with those saying “Deep Space Nine” was the best Trek series. I feel this way because the show actually dared to depict some serious topics, such as war, and how people deal with the trauma of it, whether physically, or emotionally much more than either TOS or TNG.”

And treated it just amazingly superficially compared to just about any war movie or drama of the last thirty years.

124. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 11, 2011

@#123

In what way? That’s not what I saw.

125. Michael Hall - December 11, 2011

@ #123

Same question as #124. How so?

126. Damian - December 11, 2011

I thought Enterprise was a decent show. Like all the series, it took until the 3rd season to start finding its footing, but Paramount had enough. UPN was changing its focus and sci-fi just didn’t fit the bill anymore.

I keep thinking, one more year and we would have had the Romulan War. Just one more year. Fortunately the novels took us over that hump, but I still would have rather seen that on screen, Some people have complained about the story arcs and some of the changes, but the producers had to make changes to keep the series alive. The single episode story format was clearly not working anymore. The dynamic of TV watchers had changed from what it was in the 90′s. I liked the format of the 4th season. 2 to 3 episode story arcs worked for me.

In any event, I enjoyed Enterprise. I thought it had potential and I always tell people to start with Season 4 and work backwards.

127. Christopher Roberts - December 12, 2011

126. Damian – 100% agree. ;-)

128. Jack - December 12, 2011

113. Agreed! I wanted it to be like it was 100 years before Pike etc. but with that 50s-ish, Forbidden Planet/ 60s NASA feel. But, yeah, I wanted to see those tans and blues from the Cage.

129. SoonerDave - December 12, 2011

@91 Although Trek was obviously Roddenberry’s baby, the best Trek product often came when he was kept at a considerable distance. From everything I’ve read over the years, his creativity was well-respected, but his writing skills…not so much. The very notion of subtracting conflict from humanity is/was ludicrous.

For whatever reason DS9 just never caught my attention. I watched it a few times, but it just never caught on for me. Obviously plenty of folks did, and that’s great, but to say it was a “better” Trek than TOS is kinda silly. Apples and oranges; or, more precisely, you’d never have had one without the other.

As far as the “Berman hate” being uninformed, I must disagree. I started disliking TNG early on for its poorly executed retread TOS scripts, enhanced by all the bad things Roddenberry had always said *not* to do (explain how everything works, aka Treknobabble – or more accurately – Bermanbabble), creating an extremely engaging but unrealistic captain who couldn’t make a decision without three staff meetings and a week’s notice. It was only as TNG’s repertoire of writers expanded that it really found its own way and *overcame* Berman. And I still don’t know how “First Contact” was made under Berman’s influence, because it couldn’t have been more departed from his own imprimatur.

Ultimately, however, the discussion is moot, TNG et al are gone, TOS is rebooted, and what we have is the Abrams incarnation of Trek, good and bad, warts and crowns, lens flares and Spock-Uhura (gaack), and brewery engineering sets. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it, whenever it comes.

I think the best advice is to not take the whole thing so seriously, myself included, and enjoy it for what it is – escapist entertainment that, once in a while, produces something as lofty as the expectations set before it.

130. Blake Powers - December 12, 2011

I never could get past the theme music… It was awful.

131. Horatio - December 12, 2011

Regarding Berman-Braga hate…..

I admit i’m one that piles on Berman and Braga with what happened on the latter shows of Voyager and Enterprise.

However.

I think that Berman and Piller saved TNG. The first season of TNG was very weak. When Berman and Piller came aboard they saved the show. Its amazing how well the scripts improved at season 3.

I think what Berman’s problem was that he had found a winning formula and just milked it to death. Thus, the sameness that was Voyager and Enterprise. He didn’t want to mess with his formula. Unfortunately the majority of those who watched Trek on TV got tired of the old forumla.

Rick Berman gave us some good Trek. So did Brannon Braga. Their only fail – and it was a doozy – was realzing when to change the recipe.

132. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 12, 2011

It’s not silly at all for me or anyone else to state which Trek (apple) is the best to them versus other Trek shows (apples). TOS coming first has nothing to do with that.

I reject this notion that just because something came first it can’t be improved upon. If you have a laptop with a wireless connection, it’s waaay better than the first computer ever created. That doesn’t mean that the original was not important, but it does mean that growth and/or progress is natural, and DS9 showing a different side of things was progress and growth from the original.

And of course, I think that Spock-Uhura is another kind of growth and progress. Their relationship or even a serious attraction would not have been allowed in the 60′s when the series was airing, and maybe that’s why it didn’t get to happen until 40 years later. All I know is that I am glad that it has come this far.

133. Shannon Nutt - December 12, 2011

I don’t think it’s in dispute that Paramount really overexpanded the show…there should have never been more than one series on the air at one time, and there should have been a three to five year gap in between each series.

The irony in all this is that now there’s not ENOUGH Star Trek…waiting four years between movies? Too long!

134. Nano - December 12, 2011

I loved the characters on Enterprise but not the stories, Voyager was just the opposite. Tuck was one of my favorite characters….

135. Lt. Bailey - December 12, 2011

Ent was a very good show and its right up there with TOS, but that is just how my wife and I feel. When it first came out, I did not care for the song but it grew on me when I got all the DVDs of ENT at The Experience in Las Vegas. Its even our ring tone on our cell phones and she is the only one to have it… that way I know to answer it. Just as she knows it her husband calling.

I only wish that ENT got 2 or 3 more years. There is some much stories to tell before the Kirk era. Some may take umbridge with what I am about to write, but StarTrek did not start with Kirk. I love TOS as that is what I saw in first run on TV. However, you have to think what went on before Kirk got the center seat?

Just as you have to think what happened after Kirk dies in Generations to the time TNG/DS9/VOY took over? There is 80 years of history (stories) to be told. Sure they wrote a lot of novels about the non tv or film history but fans do not consider any of the novels canon. I, on the other hand, do consider the novels canon as all that adds up to the history of Trek.

136. Todd Culver - December 12, 2011

I loved enterprise too. I am still watching it from my DVD’s. Great show

137. Craiger - December 12, 2011

Anyone think adding the Romulan War in Season 5 or 6 would have brought the ratings up?

138. Christopher Roberts - December 12, 2011

137. That Shatner revealed to be the Chef (or Emperor Tiberius) episode, would’ve boosted the ratings and secured it a fifth season.

139. Christopher Roberts - December 12, 2011

138. (continued) http://i696.photobucket.com/albums/vv330/Christopher_Pike/UnmadeENT.jpg

140. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 12, 2011

@#139 – Christopher Roberts

Thanks for the read. :-)

141. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - December 12, 2011

As a life long Star Trek fan i never gave enterprise a chance untill all 4 seasons were given to me for christmas one year on dvd. I actually watched the show and it is now one of my favorite!!!

142. Simon - December 12, 2011

He’s right in the way it was a retread: TNG & DS9 seasons 1 & 2 were pretty poor. It took the 3rd season for each show to find its footing, and ENTERPRISE wasn’t any different that way.

Unfortunately the fans were different. Snotty, spoiled. They thought that they knew better and took the show for granted. Paramount thought differently and canceled it.

143. Craiger - December 12, 2011

I remember reading Rene Arbinjonous saying Enterprise copied a DS9 episode when Bakula thought it was an original idea.

144. Christopher Roberts - December 13, 2011

143. “Oasis” from Enterprise’s first season, and “Shadowplay” from Deep Space Nine’s second season. Both amount to a survivor who recreates his family and friends using hologram technology, after they’ve died.

“Oasis” differs however a few way. For one the whole episode is devoted to it. While DS9 splits it between the A/B plot structure. Enterprise spends most of the episode promoting a supernatural explaination, with the NX-01 bringing aboard an escape pod containing the corpse of somebody, who appears to be very much alive on the planet below. In addition, there are two survivors both Rene’s character and his daughter, who’s relationship with Trip is where the mystery develops.

145. Christopher Roberts - December 13, 2011

DS9 fans will go ballistic, but I prefered ENT’s take on this type of story. It’s a better execution. “Shadowplay” isn’t one of the better DS9 episodes and the child subplot is too Disney for my taste. “Oasis” had a spooky vibe to it, and the Trip/surviving woman stuff reminded me of Pike/Vina.

146. Spock/Uhura Fan - December 13, 2011

Oh, Chris, no one is going “ballistic.” Nothing is wrong with stating your preferences. I tend to disagree with the “Disney” comment, but again, it’s good to read what you think.

147. David Jones - December 14, 2011

“This is nothing new. It’s the same Star Trek I’ve been watching for years and years. It’s a retread. And they ran away.”

Yep same thing with Abrams vision, that’s why the old fans mostly rejected it.

Your just going to read their comments here. Look at how the conventions are all but gone, how’s Abrams “new” trek helped the franchise?

1 movie every few years. And most of you love and support this. Amazing.

148. Sid - December 14, 2011

I think Enterprise was a noble effort at making an old school sci-fi adventure show, and damn good after its first 2 seasons.

149. David Jones - December 14, 2011

Enterprise was a great show post season 3. The first 2 seasons Archer was written too soft and the stories were flat. There were a few exceptions but overall bland. The Vulcan was a stripper ?

It was obvious season 4 was written by somebody who was a fan and could write involved back story plots that revolve around 2 or 3 episodes. Something you see now on every great show.

150. MikeB - December 14, 2011

I gave up after season 2, but when I heard there was new blood for season 4, I tuned back in. Glad I did as it was the best season of any Trek for years.

Enterprise had the golden opportunity to change everything and they changed very little. We had original series and the Cage to give us ideas about how things looked, but what we got was more of the same. The new ship looked more TNG than TOS. Phasers unchanged, everything about it felt like I was watching another post TNG series not a pre TOS series.

Finally in season 4 they started trying. They started tying in better and showing us the beginning of things we knew came later in TOS. The show finally started expounding on what we knew and stopped trying to expand to show us lots of things we’d never seen. They couldn’t have been that important if we’d never heard of them later. Wasn’t there a Ferengi episode? Didn’t Picard state in Encounter at Farpoint that we’d never seen them? Honestly, they were lame anyway and you’d given yourself an excuse never to show them but you did it anyway. As for Phlox, he was a bad character, but that was entirely the fault of the writers and producers, not the actor. T’Pol was fine except we had to make her look like a babe. Ridiculous. IMO.

151. TBW - December 15, 2011

25, that’s pretty ridiculous. You can tell a story with an arc…that’s why they’re called “story arcs.”

152. Of Bajor - December 16, 2011

DS9 was Star Trek at its absolute best and simply set the bar too high for others to follow. Voyager and Enterprise never stood a chance.

153. Mr. "There are always possibilities" - December 16, 2011

I was a faithful ST:ENT viewer. I wasn’t so for ST:VOY or ST:DS9, although I did occasionally watch those shows, especially in the 6th and 7th seasons.

It was hit or miss, but I did find myself rooting for the characters more that ST:VOY or ST:DS9. I started to enjoy it in Season 3 after the attack on earth and the story arc that followed. I REALLY started to like it when they started to link it to ST:TOS. I think that it would have only gotten better as we learned about Archer & Co.’s place in the “history of the future”. I really enjoyed the finale.

From a techie point of view, I liked the “low tech” aspect of the uncertainty of using the transporter and the grappling hook in lieu of a tractor beam. I would have liked it better if they had built in some predecessors to the trek technology we love. I used to say to my fellow fans that it would be great if in one edpisode someone showed up with a “duocorder” that was a handheld device attached to a backpack sized apparatus. Fans would know that in the decades to follow it would evolve into the tricorder we all know and love in ST:TOS.

As to the “flat screens” issue, I liked it because I could relate to the technology. It made me think differently about the TOS bridge. I used to think that the TOS bridge was a cheesy low-budget set. However, after ST:ENT I realized that as someone living in the 20th and 21st centuries, I wouldn’t recognize 23rd century technology and probably would not understand it without explanation. Something to me that looks like a box with glowing buttons could be a very sophisticated peice of equipment. Think of it this way: if George Washington were to time travel to our century, he would only be able to descibe some of our techological marvels in language that he knows. How would he describe computers? Glowing boxes with buttons. How would he describe an authomobile? A device that transports things and people by use of a machine instead of horses.

Enough for now.

154. Captain Conrad - December 18, 2011

Um, it’s because it WASN’T Star Trek is why we walked away. It tried not to be Star Trek and that’s why it started to fail. It wasn’t until later season that the show started to get back to Trek that it was getting good again, but by then it was too late.

155. " The Captains Neck is broken " - January 2, 2012

I wish they had this one “fall closer to the (original) tree”. Since we had never heard of the NX-01 in all the years of Star Trek, I never bought into this one. I watch it more now because this is all we have left in the Trek universe. I liked the crew, I like the actors that played them. Voyager’s crew were so 2 dimentional I quit watching it after the second season. I wish it had gone more like this…Captain April, and crew of the newly christened U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701. I also felt there was too much conflict and not enough stories about helping people. I loved the references to the original show, that made it fun. I feel bad for the cast, and Rick Berman and Manny Coto, but it was on shaky ground before it even started. There is so many stories to tell about the Star Trek universe, I hope someday that they will be told.

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