Star Trek: Enterprise, originally called Enterprise, is the most recent incarnation in the Star Trek TV franchise, running for four seasons from 2001-2005. The action is set in the future but before the time of Captain Kirk (of the original series), making it a prequel.
Enterprise is the story of the very first U.S.S. Enterprise, equipped with recently developed warp drive technology, all set to leave Earth and the solar system for deep space exploration.
The alien, technologically superior and emotionless Vulcan race has been on Earth for a while, holding back the Earth’s space program because the ‘overly emotional’ human race wasn’t ready for extended inter-species contact.
Captain Jonathan Archer doesn’t like how Vulcans have been stalling humanity for years, but initial tensions between Archer and his Vulcan Science Officer, T’Pol, gradually resolve into mutual respect.
The series initially received encouraging reviews but its fan base dwindled and, despite attempts at innovation, the show became increasingly lackluster and Enterprise eventually fell out of warp in the TV ratings.
However, Enterprise did have some bright moments amid its steady decline, especially when dealing with the topic of time travel. And the cultural and mythic importance of the entire Star Trek franchise is hard to overlook. The Oxford English Dictionary, for instance, now includes in its database the word Klingon.
Here’s some more information from the entry, Jonathan Archer:
Some critics of Star Trek: Enterprise, a series initially with good ratings that steadily dropped, said [Scott] Bakula was miscast or, worse, unworthy of the role. The series was canceled after four seasons, which in the Star Trek universe isn’t a total flop nor a great success.
From watching reruns today it seems the commercial demise of the show wasn’t about casting Bakula as captain. If anything, it was about inconsistent writing (sometimes lapsing into formulaic trash), bad timing and other factors. Co-creator and executive producer Branon Braga once said it pained him when his series wasn’t up to scratch. So even he knew it had problems.
Newer programs like BattleStar Galactica: Reimagined, Kyle XY, Dr. Who (series 1) and Oprhan Black suggest that sci-fi was heading in new directions at warp speed, whereas Enterprise and its writers seemed to be stuck in impulse drive. And for a while, it seemed like the franchise had gone the way of the dinosaur.
Enter director J.J. Abrams with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and others to reboot the idea [in 2009] for a whole new generation.