Depart a Remark
Star Trek has been considered one of our most enduring franchises since The Authentic Sequence launched manner again in 1966. Whereas motion pictures have been the dominant power within the franchise for nearly two full a long time following that present’s demise, 1987 introduced Trekkies Star Trek: The Subsequent Technology and a string of TV reveals that may final for 18 years. Sadly, the final sequence of that run, Star Trek: Enterprise, didn’t see the success of the opposite reveals followers had loved for therefore lengthy, however actor John Billingsley, who performed Dr. Phlox on the sequence, thinks he is aware of why that’s.
Enterprise got here on the tail finish of the run that included TNG, Star Trek: Deep House 9, and Star Trek: Voyager, with every of these reveals seeing numerous success and clocking in at seven seasons every. Enterprise, nevertheless, solely noticed 4 seasons and was cancelled by UPN, and even wrapped with probably the most hated finales in tv historical past. So, why does John Billingsley imagine the present didn’t get the identical quantity of affection from followers because the reveals which got here earlier than? He not too long ago spoke in a Galaxy Con Dwell digital panel (through TrekMovie) about Enterprise, and had this to say:
We got here on after so a few years of Star Trek, and in plenty of these years, double-dipping. Deep House 9 really overlapped with Voyager, for example. I believe by the point we aired there was fatigue, comprehensible fatigue. The present did actually at the very least want a yr off. I at all times felt badly for [co-creators/executive producers] Rick [Berman] and Brannon [Braga] that they weren’t given that point.
John Billingsley could have some extent. Voyager ended its run in Might of 2001, whereas Enterprise began up in September of that very same yr. Positive, the franchise had been going sturdy since TNG, however lots of the similar creatives have been concerned behind the scenes for what ended up being a mixed 21 seasons of tv (excluding Enterprise). If my numbers are right on the episode counts for the three reveals which proceeded Enterprise, it might imply that the folks behind these Trek classics had assembled over 500 hours of TV by the point they started engaged on Enterprise. And, truthfully, that does sound like an excessive amount of.
Billingsley went additional in his interview, noting that he felt just like the creators of Star Trek: Enterprise have been heading in the right direction with the characters and fundamental concepts for the sequence, however a number of the overarching premises wanted extra time to be locked in, together with the tone of the sequence total:
I believe there was a bit of bit extra work wanted on what the tonal steadiness was between the darkness of, we’re the primary fucking ship and we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, and the character of what Star Trek is meant to be, the optimistic spirit… It’s a exhausting tone to strike for what they have been attempting to do.
In fact, Enterprise was a prequel present, devoted to following the crew of the primary such named starship which was able to touring at warp 5, and set a century earlier than the occasions of The Authentic Sequence and only a few years earlier than the formation of the Federation. Due to that, there have been numerous tense moments merely concerning the nature of what the crew was doing by going out to discover the galaxy and coming throughout a number of new alien races. However, the sequence wanted to discover a solution to steadiness that pressure with the hopeful nature of Star Trek, and John Billingsley does not fairly suppose the suitable steadiness was set.
It needs to be famous, although, that John Billingsley does not suppose the entire blame is on the creators or writers for Enterprise. He additionally recalled a particular episode which obtained sufficient push again from the studio and UPN that the top outcome wasn’t practically as daring because it was initially deliberate:
And the studio itself additionally wanted to form of grapple with what they needed to attain. I keep in mind there was an early episode the place a crew member is transported and so they come again. And within the first draft… it was fairly cool as a result of this man comes again and his head is the place his ass is meant to be and [flails around] ‘what the fuck!’ and we’re afraid of the transporter. By the point it emerges and we’re taking pictures it, the man comes again from the transporter accident and he has obtained a bit of twig protruding of his brow. And that to me early on crystalized the place I believe the timidity of the community really fucked us. To me there was one other degree of scariness that the present needed to maneuver in direction of, and I felt that the powers that be mentioned, ‘However, however, however.’
The episode Billingsley appears to be referencing is “Unusual New World,” which was the fourth episode of Season 1. In it, the crew is learning an Earth-like planet they’ve discovered, however those that’ve stayed on the floor in a single day start to hallucinate and turn into paranoid. Apparently, when a crew member is beamed again to the ship through the emergency, he was alleged to return together with his butt and face components switched by the transporter, which was nonetheless experimental know-how for the time interval of the sequence. However, the upper ups made the writers accept having some leaves and twigs stick out of the person’s face.
I’ve to confess, I, like John Billingsley, really feel a bit cheated by this selection. Oh, nicely. Nothing to be executed about it now.
After listening to what Billingsley has to say about what might need gone mistaken with Star Trek: Enterprise, it does appear to be the present had a bit extra of an uphill climb than I have been considering it did for all of those years.
If you would like to revisit Star Trek: Enterprise, you’ll be able to stream the sequence on Netflix or CBS All Entry. For extra on what to look at proper now, see what’s new on Netflix this yr, and look into your choices for summer season TV!