So, how has the final (to date) Star Trek series fared over the last decade?
My views on the series, at the time of its airing, are fully documented in our reviews section, but now is the time to turn an older, wiser eye on the Star Trek prequel. First, we’ve got to turn the clocks back and remember what life was like back then. Episode One of Star Wars made a several planet-loads of money in 1999, so the prequel idea was hot stuff in Hollywood. A Star Trek prequel was inevitable. Voyager was going off the air and to the fans, we were not surprised by the “Dynamic Duo” of Berman and Braga when the announcement came.
Still there was hope. There were hints about the formation of the Federation. Deep space travel was still new to humans. Space was, dare I say it, dangerous.
Then the attacks of 9/11 came. The premiere was delayed. The ship that shared a name with the series (and the starship therein) was on her way home, and was forced to turn around and remain in the Persian Gulf. For many of us, we were the farthest away from Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future we’d ever been in our lives.
September 27th finally arrived. I was pumped. In the atmosphere of fear and anger, I really need this. Now others have bashed the theme music. And, if it had aired at any other time in history, I too would lambaste it’s utter cheesiness. But, to be honest, it hit the right spot for me at that moment. The opening credits celebrate our accomplishments, then lay out a future where we don’t sit about naval-gazing.
You know, like the one we have now.
Sure the pilot was a mixed bag. Sure we bemoaned the over-use of time travel as a plot device. Sure we wanted to see more about the beginnings of the Federation. But, by God, we had Star Trek on the tube and it scratched the itch.
Season one dragged. The temporal cold war was lame. Season two picked up the pace, slightly. Then Manny Coto came on board and we hit Season Three at high warp. Finally, the show was worth watching. But the signs weren’t good. The audience had left after the first two seasons and only a handful could be coerced back. Season Four started to give us the juicy stuff we’d been begging them for all along. The foundation of the Federation.
And then, when our hopes were high and expectations were finally raised, we get “These Are the Voyages…” and then…nothing. The show was cancelled and Star Trek stopped being in production for the first time since 1987.
Every so often, I catch the show on Sci-Fi and it’s still decent. Without the weight of expectations, it’s fun and entertaining. Some of the internal relationships needed work. Reed was underused. Hoshi and Mayweather were overused (or miscast). T’Pol was wasted as eye-candy and should have been more of a foil to the Captain on logic and ethics.
In hindsight, I can’t fault the premise. There was a good story that could have been told. Somewhere, in that alternate universe with the extra 6 1/2 seasons of Firefly, lies seasons and an additional three seasons of Enterprise, complete with the signing of the Articles of the Federation and how we got there.