Scott Bakula: Star Trek Enterprise Was ‘Victim of Circumstance’

Debating the reasons for the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise after four years on UPN is another favorite pastime of Trek fans. And in a new interview promoting his appearance at this weekend’s Toronto Comic Con, show star Scott Bakula weighs in with his theory, saying the show was the "victim of circumstance."


Bakula on Enterprise’s Demise

Talking to Canada’s Canoe News, Scott Bakula weighed in on why Star Trek: Enterprise never saw a fifth season:

"I have to tell you, there were so many political things that happened in the time that we were on the air, with networks being bought and sold and studios changing personnel completely. I never really felt like we had failed as much as we were victims of circumstance. I felt like our show got better and better, and the overwhelming conversations I’ve had with people are like, ‘Oh man, that last season was the greatest. You guys were just hitting your stride.’ I said to the cast going in ‘Please don’t count on seven years. We’re on a network with completely different rules.’ We made 98 hours of television, a huge success by most standards."

So there you have it. It was all office politics.

Bakula and his fellow Enterprise ‘Victims’

Bakula helps end Desperate Housewives

Scott has a recurring role in the final episodes of the 8th (and final) season of Desperate Housewives, playing a lawyer defending Bree (Marcia Cross) on a murder charge. The series finale airs on April 29th.

Here is a clip of Bakula on the show.

Scott at Toronto Comic Con + Stockwell and Ryan

And this weekend Scott will be appearing at WizardWorld Toronto Comic Con. Also on hand will be Bakula’s Quantum Leap co-star Dean Stockwell and Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan. More details at   

Bakula at Wizard World Toronto this weekend

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April 12, 2012 10:54 pm

Bakula is a classy guy. He is right about Enterprise too. It is a shame it had to end the way it did…just wasn’t right:/

April 12, 2012 10:54 pm

I loved Enterprise. It was just coming into its own, tackling some great topics and arcs, when it was taken off…too early in my opinion.

April 12, 2012 10:57 pm

It was a Berman and Braga production, so we get stuff like aliens in WWII, lizard pituitary gland in poor Porthos, and the whole Temporary War waste of time and the Xindi garbage.
When they finally started acting like they were in the same universe as TOS, it was too little, too late.

April 12, 2012 11:01 pm

Here, here!

“Enterprise” was some of the best Trek aired. It was a travesty that they pulled the plug after four seasons. That being said, the glut in the market _was_ there. Still, it’s sad that some of their best work was right before the carpet got yanked out from underneith them.

April 12, 2012 11:02 pm

Not first I guess .;>}
But the problems with the show had nothing to do with the cast.
Bakula and the rest were top notch. They did the best they could with what they were given.

Anthony Thompson
April 12, 2012 11:07 pm

AP, your article has an uncharacteristicly snarky tone. You’ve gotta admit that the show did indeed hit it’s stide in that last seaon!

April 12, 2012 11:27 pm

The last season was the best Trek in many, many years. DS9 was my favourite of the new shows but it was a totally different kind of show. S4 of ENT was superb, IMO. But the seasons prior to that had too much of the “here we go again” factor. Just because they said “polarize the hull plating” doesn’t mean that they’re not giving us the same old schtick as “raise the shields”. Lazy writing. Shame, because the characters were among the most interesting in all of Trek. Only DS9 had better, more interesting characters, IMO.

April 12, 2012 11:31 pm

I finished seasons three and four of Enterprise last year. It was Star Trek and it was great. Putting those shows on UPN was a disaster. Here in Cincinnati, UPN was on a low power TV station that did not initially get carried by cable. This availability issue happened nationwide in various degrees. I miss Star Trek on TV. As our leader, Anthony Pasquale, puts it.

“I do believe that Star Trek is at its best on TV, a medium that allows for more complex storytelling and character development.” Link.

Amen, Captain Pasquale.


UPN’s lack of availability hurt Star Trek.

Buzz Cagney
April 12, 2012 11:48 pm

The cast might well have been good, but the characters they portrayed were just not compelling or likeable.
This show would appear to nail the theory that the best place for character development is on TV. They were dull to start with, and they remained dull.
Archer was quite easily the least characterful of all the Captains and its hardly a surprise that Bakula, an actor I had previously like in Quantum Leap, totally phoned it in. His heart just didn’t look to be in it. Reading his comments above I can see why now.

April 13, 2012 12:09 am

Interesting title. ;)

April 13, 2012 12:14 am

Sheesh, another Enterprise actor/writer/crew blaming the show’s failure on others. This is getting old. Bakula and the rest of them on Enterprise need to stop pretending it was about external factors and accept their responsibility for not doing a very good Star Trek series…period!

@6 “AP, your article has an uncharacteristicly snarky tone. You’ve gotta admit that the show did indeed hit it’s stide in that last season!”

If going from “this show sucks” to “this is now at least watchable” is “hitting it’s stride,” then sure. :-)

April 13, 2012 12:16 am

I loved the show. I found it funny that people were so upset over everything from the ship to Porthos, the Temporal Cold War. I agree the stories were repeating themselves with episodes having themes seen in other Trek series but it was a fun show.

I would have just liked a few more years & to have found out who Future Guy was. My guess was he was a Romulan wanting to change the past to stop that star from wipping oit Romulus & creating the most dangerous thing ever encountered in space: blinding lense flare.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
April 13, 2012 12:41 am

Enterprise was hitting it’s stride. As soon as Berman realised that he could no longer get away from Star Trek and let Manny Cotto take over and embrace Star Trek it got really good. But by then. It was to late.

mr. trek77
April 13, 2012 12:48 am

yeah it was.

shame they didnt maked a new series about nx columbia, during the romulan war with archer & co as regular guest-stars…..

ohh boy…………….

Dr. Cheis
April 13, 2012 12:57 am

UPN didn’t last much longer after they got rid of Enterprise. Even if the show had stayed around for a season 5, it seems like it was far too unstable an environment to make it to season 6 or 7.

Todd Culver
April 13, 2012 1:00 am

I loved Enterprise. Infact, I still watch it on DVD. It ended to early.

Jay El Jay
April 13, 2012 2:02 am

Not too late to bring it back….

April 13, 2012 2:11 am

Taking 4 seasons before hitting your stride is far too long, mr. Bakula.

Besides, TOS did that from episode 1 in the sixties, and they only had 3.

April 13, 2012 2:42 am

Enterprise was excellent.
It is the changing face of US tv that caused it to be cancelled.
American idol and X factor are what the bean counters want now.

Storytelling is no longer making the big bucks…..sadly.

Any news on a certain movie currently in production???????

April 13, 2012 3:00 am

17. I agree! Enterprise had found its way. It would be great to bring it back!

April 13, 2012 3:04 am

I know I’m in the minority here, but I think Enterprise was better Trek than TNG or VOY by a long shot. It had a sense of space being unknown, dangerous, wild–you know, the final FRONTIER instead of the final neighborhood?

In fact, I liked seasons 1 and 2 of Enterprise better than the 3 and 4. The whole Xindi arc was okay, a bit like reading a substandard Trek novel. Season 4 had lots of TOS nods, but it lost that frontier feeling and regained the talk-around-the-conference-table feeling of TNG. But the first two seasons felt dangerous, unsure, risky. Even Archer’s wildly erratic and questionable command style added something…for a while.

The characters were either starry-eyed or terrified of being “out there.” For example, the first-season ep where Hoshi freaks out about the dead aliens they find on another ship really worked for me. There was a sense of being the first humans to encounter these wonders instead of the been-there/done-that attitude of TNG and later shows.

Then again, I’m also a fan who think ST6 was a wretched film (almost as bad as 5), and that Insurrection was a better TNG story than any other TNG movie, and that First Contact was–despite the action–a stupid movie from the first moments, and that ST:TMP was the most “Star Trek” of all the Star Trek movies.

Yeah, I’m not in the mainstream of fan opinion anymore.

April 13, 2012 3:21 am

like it or leave it, what we had then was a hell of a lot better than what we have on now, NOTHING! The fan shows are as good as they can make them, the movies we have to wait forever for, we’re reduced to re-runs if/when you can catch them on TV or watching them on Netflix. I personally thought Season 4 was ripe and wish they had given Manny another year. I sure would love to watch new episodes of Enterprise compared to all these stupid Vampire, Warewolf, Faux Reality shows… TV is rapidly dumbing down the future of America… At least Trek provoked some intellectual thought and an admiration for others

April 13, 2012 3:30 am

18. Calastir “Taking 4 seasons before hitting your stride is far too long, mr. Bakula. Besides, TOS did that from episode 1 in the sixties, and they only had 3.”

In all fairness, that’s not true. Even ignoring the Cage/Pike stuff, TOS started off on unsure feet: Spock smiling while dismissing Earth emotions, saying “one of his ancestors” was human instead of his mom (true, an ancestor, I guess) and that he was a “Vulcanian.” Kirk’s middle initial was R, then was changed to T. Also, no McCoy in “Where No Man…”

So, they hadn’t hit their stride with the character details and histories, relationships and job duties, or any number of things.

TOS stumbled and fumbled a bit, just like Enterprise, before finding the “stride” that we remember so fondly. You should never wear rose-colored glasses while taking a walk down memory lane.

Lope de Aguirre
April 13, 2012 3:40 am

“Enterpris” shares the honor of being my favorite Trek show with “Deep Space Nine”. It really sadens me that this very good show had to end sooner than planed.

April 13, 2012 3:52 am

23. @ PaulB.
In all fairness, you’re mentioning nits while I was talking about overall quality and tone. I’m OK with nits. But TOS was unique and had no example or format to work from, while Enterprise had plenty. So taking 4 seasons to find your stride in my opinion is unforgiveable and cancellation after this much time was what it rightfully deserved.

I don’t think I’m looking at TOS rose-colored, unlike some folk I won’t stick to a 4 year bad relationship, just because my partner keeps promising betterment. Life’s too short and time is money.

April 13, 2012 4:23 am

25 – Well, I disagree with the idea that Enterprise took 4 seasons to find their stride. I think they found it in the first season, lost it with the Xindi stuff, and then changed strides entirely with season 4, taking on a TNG/VOY vibe (imho).

I gave examples that were nits, but they were illustrating the overall lack of a stride in TOS for much of the first season. And I specifically pointed out the character relationships, which is NOT a nit–it’s a big point. TOS didn’t get the main relationship really working for a handful of episodes, at least.

That’s all I was saying to you: I don’t think it’s an accurate claim to say TOS hit its stride from episode 1, especially when using that claim to criticize Enterprise. Both shows took a while to find their vibe, and both shows lost their mojo in season 3, but only ENT got a 4th season to re-find its footing. TOS found its footing in the movies, after stumbling at the start with TMP.

Oh, and I think I agree that Enterprise deserved to be cancelled. For me, it had lost the TOS-ishness it had for the first two seasons, while most fans loved the TNG-flavored TOS-canon-fodder stuff Coto & crew brought into season 4. Either way, it never really found its audience or delivered what that audience wanted.

April 13, 2012 4:23 am
The first two seasons sucked, to the point that even I (a die-hard trekkie) *almost* stopped watching. The market was ripe for Trek. The die-hards were oversaturated, yes, but most “regular people” hadn’t watched since TNG and were ready for some new Trek. A lot of my “normal” friends watched the pilot and loved it, and watched for a while after that. But the show just sucked too bad and they wandered away. From what I recall the pilot had good numbers, better than Voyager’s had been. The cast was good, and in a lot of ways it was a breath of fresh air, from the soft-rock title song (that Trekkies hated) to the NASA-like uniforms. But what finally drove people away (at least the ones I knew) were the lame plots. The TCW storyline was retarded, it never went anywhere. And so much was recycled from the other shows. Season 4 was fantastic. It finally felt like a prequel to TOS instead of a sequel to TNG. Too bad by then everyone had stopped watching. From what I’ve heard from other sources, both Voyager and Enterprise suffered from political interference from the network. The TCW for example, I’ve heard was forced on B&B by the network. They didn’t want it or know what it meant any more than we did, so of course it never went anywhere. Its ironic that TNG / DS9 ran in syndication to avoid that kind of thing, but eventually Paramount ran on their own… Read more »
April 13, 2012 4:42 am

3rd and 4th season rocked with the exception of the closing episode. That was a WTF.

April 13, 2012 5:17 am

#28 – They should have saved “These are the Voyages…” to use as a bonus on the TNG DVDs or Blu-rays. It’s okay as a TNG episode, but it’s terrible as an Enterprise episode.

BTW, I don’t dislike seasons 3 and 4, I just prefer the earlier, rougher, getting-their-feet-wet stuff a bit more. Crummy but fun, I guess, while 3 and 4 were quality but boring. To me. Mostly. Not entirely. :)

April 13, 2012 5:18 am

yeah the third and fourth was amazing i would loved to have seen a 5th season

Scott maybe right in some ways however the first two season did not help and it was down to bad writing “if it is not on the page it is not on the stage”

#21 i agree with you on the motion picture is the most trek film( i still love 6th the most)and yeah i prefer Insurrection over first contact
yeah both tos and enterprise needed time to find there feet however tos found it quite quickly enterprise took to long and given they had made tng,ds9 and voyager the team they had in place worked well together tos had to start from nothing

April 13, 2012 5:20 am

I enjoyed the first 2 seasons, because ,to me, it felt like they were going where no man had gone before. I enjoyed the the 4th season but it had more
of a TNG feeling to it. The final episode totally “Sucked” They should have closed out on the Romulian war and ended with an amazing cliff hanger.

James T. West
April 13, 2012 5:44 am

The pilot was ok. The rest was boring, seen-it-already for me.

Should’ve went with classic NCC-1701, retro velour shirts, and laser pistols and away team purple jackets! I would’ve tuned in for that.

But agree that the best part of the show is Bakula.

April 13, 2012 5:50 am

I wondered if they could have tied the TCW and Xindi War to the Romulan War. That it all happened to have to have the Xindi help win the RW. They would feel guilty for the attack on Earth.

April 13, 2012 6:32 am
#21 I have to agree with you on alot of what you said. Although I liked TNG, it was a different time. Late 80’s early 90’s I was in hight school and college. It was a fun show to watch at night when I got home from work and was sitting in my room. I liked the stories, although I never thought it was as good as TOS. Story-wise that is. Of course the visuals were better. As for ENT, I really enjoyed that show. And for alot of the same reasons you did. I liked being “with” the crew as they discovered things for the first time. Things that you as the audience kind of knew were out there because of watching the other Star Trek series. I agree that the best part of ENT to me was that element of discoverying the unknown. TNG certainly had alot of “meetings” and that element got to be boring. As for the movies, I mostly agree with you. Although I can enjoy TMP, I can understand why it was far too “boring” for most sci-fi/action fans. Of course I think II and III were far better. IV was good for it’s time and for what it was trying to do, but to me, especially watching it now, it is way too comic and makes fun of itself too much. V and VI were aweful, as were most of the rest. IMO
April 13, 2012 6:33 am

No Scott, it was just a bad show.

April 13, 2012 6:46 am

Just thinking about what I said on V and VI… which one was Undiscovered Country? That one was ok. But the one searching for God was just terrible. I think the TNG movies were all like special 2 hour TNG TV episodes. Really no difference to me at all. So they were all just OK. Not worthy of spending money to go see at a theater.

2009 to me was the first “movie” quality Star Trek since II and III. I loved it.

April 13, 2012 6:52 am

By the way, is it just me or are we getting far, far fewer updates on the new movie in production than we did in 2008 when the last one was in production?

Seems like we go 2 or 3 weeks between updates on the current film, and even those are just some comment one of the actors or producers say at some other public event.

Where is the viral website? Where are any updates on progress? Schedule? anything?

April 13, 2012 7:06 am

Paul b I love you

April 13, 2012 7:07 am

Bacula is full of shit. The writing was terrible for the show. The entire series should have been focused on setting up the universe for the original series. It should have concentrated on the Romulan War and the post war creation of the Federation. They could have explained how the fleet went from United Earth Space Probe Agency to Star Fleet and with good writing it would have worked. The temporal cold war and dumb an the ratings prove it. The fourth season was the best because it finally touched on TOS which is what interested viewers. Bad writing doomed this show.

April 13, 2012 7:18 am

Enterprise was stronger than Voyager. I liked all of Star Trek but Voyager took the longest to win me over. In all fairness, even the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (generally regarded as the better of the spin-offs) took until at least season 3 to hit it’s stride. Enterprise was no different. Season 4 was IMO superior, and you could finally see those links to the original series.

I still say the writers should have stuck it too UPN. Instead of TATV, I would have ended with the declaration of war on the Romulan Empire. It would have backed UPN into a corner. It would not have changed the fact Enterprise ended, but the producers would have been making a statement that it ended too soon. And the fans would have given UPN/CW a harder time about ending it.

April 13, 2012 7:26 am

Enterprise was clearly the victim of UPN.
no one watched the network which calapsed soon after- TNG & DS9 were syndicated & far more accessible.

It’s so weak minded of so many fans to say jump on the haters bandwagon & say Enterprise was “bad” because it didn’t get the same ratings as TNG.
If they had made the exact same show in syndication it would have rated higher & be considered “good” by the same muppets who dis it now.

If it had been syndicated like TNG & DS9 it would have been a totally different game.

April 13, 2012 7:32 am
The Xindi could have easily been tied into known TOS races rarely mentioned. The Xindi Reptilians? “Saurians”. The Xindi Avians and Aquatics? The TAS races of Aleek-om and the Aquans. The Xindi Sloth? Tellarites… etc. . The introduction of the Vulcan/Andorian cold war conflict was dead-on perfect. Having the humans bring that to an end, was ideal. And the building of the Romulan conflict was being done really well and made a hell of a lot of sense. . The Orions were done pretty darn well, too. I could even buy the whole Klingon arc of things when it was all said and done. Even the Soong and Augments tying together was great. Vulcan becoming the Vulcan we know. Coto’s doing mostly, eh? . If the Xindi had been a proto Federation which the humans also resolved as we saw, but had been races we knew by other names in TOS…. then the whole arc would have made much much more sense! . Had it been the story of humans actually bringing together the intelligent species together into the UFP, and those allies helping defeat the Romulans for 100 years… this show was going to have been perfect. . The Temporal Cold War wasn’t a hideous idea really, since we knew the “timeline was polluted” by Kirk and others. Should have had Dulmer and Lucsly and Braxton show up. Heck, Seven of Nine working for Braxton. And when Shatner couldn’t be brought in to be Chef… why the heck not… Read more »
Rocket Scientist
April 13, 2012 7:50 am

Just watched ENT from start to finish, and that really revised my original opinion. I really liked i*ALL* of it. A lot. The actors, the characters, the stories…sure it had a few klunkers and continuity issues but overall I found it to be a strong and fresh iteration of the Trek format. I might even say that it’s in now my top 3 Treks, which includes TOS and DS9.

No one is more surprised than I am about how much I found myself enjoying ENT.

April 13, 2012 8:00 am

Paramout was gready- in the end they sacrificed Star Trek for UPN.

They tried to launch a network on the back of Star Trek & eneded up burying it where none could find it.

Shannon Nutt
April 13, 2012 8:26 am

Yeah, we really shouldn’t complain…they got 4 seasons and the series had a conclusion (albeit a heavily debated one)…not many shows you can say that about.

April 13, 2012 8:55 am

I was deployed to Iraq during the last season of Enterprise. My wife would DVR the episodes and burn to a DVD to send to me.

Other soldiers picked up on that and whenever they saw me getting a package they would knck on my door asking if I had a new “Enterprise” to share.

Which I did, of course!

I’m re-watching them now on NetFlix.


Orb of Wisdom
April 13, 2012 9:23 am

@#3: that Temporal Cold War was being spun as a potential lead in to a Star Trek Enterprise/Doctor Who crossover had the series gone into Season 5.

Orb of Wisdom
April 13, 2012 9:28 am

#43 Star Trek: Enterprise was a sacrificial lamb for the creation of The CW, which was the merging of UPN and The WB. Star Trek: Enterprise was UPN’s sacrificial lamb, and Buffy spinoff Angel was The WB’s. funny, because The CW has had a higher TV show turnover rate than UPN and The WB had combined LOL

George Zip
April 13, 2012 9:34 am

“When they finally started acting like they were in the same universe as TOS, it was too little, too late.”

Got to agree; given the setting, this should have hit the ground running, even given an uneven first season.

Chris Peterson
April 13, 2012 9:37 am

Enterprise was something I took time out of my night to watch most weeks. There isn’t anything on now that I could say that about…