Enterprise NX-01

Why I Didn’t Follow Enterprise

Warning: my reason could and probably should be construed as superficial.

I never watched UPN’s Enterprise (You know, the Star Trek prequel with Scott Bakula), despite being a long time and rabid Trek fan. I’ve watched almost all of The Original Series, definitely all of The Next Generation, and a good chunk of Voyager. The franchise has always seemed like it would be a great one to be like America’s response to Doctor Who, because in the same way as every Who fan knows exactly which Who is “their” Doctor, every Trekkie can respond quickly to “So, who’s your captain?”

You may have guessed; Mine is Jean-Luc Picard. But really, if you put the words “Star Trek” on the screen, get me ready to accept a wholly optimistic future, and have some strong figure who knows right from wrong in the captain’s chair, I’ll watch it. I know I’m not the only one.

So why didn’t I watch Enterprise? After all, I was already a Scott Bakula fan from Quantum Leap, and I’m a sucker for a pretty ship (and yes, the NX-01 is *very* pretty). It’s because they were ashamed of the franchise. I didn’t watch DS9 because I was never as interested in politics and that sort of thing as exploration and contrasting the human condition, but at least it was positioned as part of the grander whole. I didn’t watch Enterprise because for three seasons, they didn’t even put the “Star Trek” label in the title with it. They made the opening inspiring, but ultimately too “today”–rather than timeless instrumental themes we we expect from the series. They were ashamed of the show’s heritage.

Star Trek is an unabashedly optimistic view of the future. It’s a world where people have resolved almost all of their differences on Earth, fixed our political troubles, and decided between us that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding is worth more effort than any petty squabble. And then we met other species who hadn’t decided this, and learned we had much left to do in order to live amongst them. That’s what those instrumental themes mean to me. As an example, here’s the Deep Space 9 opening, and the opening for Voyager. I didn’t watch as much of Voyager as I could have, but the Voyager intro really stands out as one of the best in the series. Everyone remembers that retro-futuristic warble over The Original Series, and The Next Generation‘s intro is pretty much the standard by which all others are measured for me.

Contrast with this.

The visuals are excellent. But the music does *not* feel like trek. It feels like I’m ten years old and I’m going on a school trip and the teacher turned on the radio to some music she thought we’d like so we’d settle down and let her read her paper. Not good. I’m just not prepared after hearing that song to really be in the Star Trek future. I might be ready for an optimistic sing-along, but my suspension of disbelieve that the world actually *could* be that good ends as soon as you bring some element of what the world *is* into it. Guitars and raspy singing voices just entirely break me from that feeling.

Ultimately, that optimistic belief is what I come to Trek for. To never get me set up to believe it is to have me approach your show as a cynic, which is *really* going to hurt any show in Star Trek‘s universe.

Anyway, here’s an opening for Enterprise that would have kept me watching beyond the first two episodes.

Anyway, since I don’t know much about the actual show… was it good? worth picking up for after I’ve exhausted what I’m currently watching?

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