The Long Road Cut Short?

Written by Dan

Published February 12, 2004

If you’d asked me two or three years ago whether I’d be sad to see Enterprise’s run cut short, my answer would have been a definitive “no.” Although the series premise seemed to hold a little promise (despite what I saw — and still see — as blatant continuity violations), I never really got involved in the characters, in the ship, or in the story as a whole. Despite the moving “Faith of the Heart” theme — again, I seemed to be running contrary to many fans — the series itself seemed to fall entirely flat in terms of characterization, consistency, and attitude.

And yet today, the news that Enterprise may be ending leaves me feeling annoyed. Not because a great show is being taken from me — no, Enterprise is certainly not a Farscape or a Firefly — but because this series is finally showing a glimmer of promise, of something that might turn into greatness.

For years, I’ve been arguing on message boards that Trek needs to adopt a stronger arc-based theme to its storytelling, much like how DS9 was handled in its later years. Although it does have its drawbacks, developing a central arc that spans multiple episodes definitely has its drawbacks. But the benefits — continuing character development, more complex plots, and in-depth story backgrounds — can clearly outweigh the pitfalls in many cases, including Enterprise.

Despite my concern about the show’s choice of theme for this third season, I have been nothing but pleased with how the show’s writers have chosen to develop the series for this third season in the technical sense. It may be five years behind, but modern storytelling seems to finally be coming to Star Trek.

I have a feeling we’ll only find out whether it’s too late until after the show has ended — either a year from now, or four years from now. And as surprised as I am to say it, I think that’s a real shame.