Season 4 would be the last series of Star Trek Enterprise and so far the last of the franchise. Things were already looking pretty grim for the series ratings wise and it was looking touch and go for a while whether or not the series would even get a season 4. However the odds were a little more in favor for season 4 as it would bring the episode count up to 98 close enough to 100 to put the series into syndication.The show was moved to Friday nights in the US much like the original series was in it’s 3rd season. A position where it’s ratings had little chance of increasing.
B&B seeing blood in the water took a back seat to production and Manny Coto took lead of the series. His plan was to produce mini episode arcs that spanned 2-3 episodes each. This would save cost on production and would represent a mini movie within the series. He being a big fan of Star Trek tried to fix the continuity issues of the series and brought in writers such as Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens to write some episodes of Star Trek.
Season 4 starts awkwardly leaving Manny Coto in a bit of a hole he needed to Dig himself out of. Space Nazis! The whole Temporal Cold War storyline up until this point had been a complete mess and the two part episode ‘Storm Front’ did little to change that fact.
The in episode continuity even makes a bigger mess of it. Reed mentions that Vosk must be stopped from starting the Temporal Cold War. What? Nobody said that. Did he mean the “time war”? Somehow Vosk’s future actions are what cause the mess to begin with and I can’t be bothered trying to explain this. It makes no sense, really and truly. A pretty poor start to series 4.
Brent Spiner returned to Star Trek as Arik Soong. As a bit of a ratings booster and probably as a favor to producer Brannon Braga whom he would shortly work with on a new sci-fi series (that got cancelled).
For all the good season 4 did something about it seemed a little off early on. I don’t know if it was the 3 episode story arc or the lower budget but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly was wrong. It was lacking some bit of intensity that the previous seasons had. Take the Augments arc. The main villains are pretty much a bunch of models with grunge type clothing, they had no screen presence. Of course at this stage I was being completely awed by Battlestar Galactica.
Things got awesome for Enterprise with the Vulcan Arc though and suddenly I felt like I was watching the Star Trek series I had wanted to see. The first episode of the Arc was written by the Reeves Stevens and they blew it out of the water. CBS, put these magnificent writers in charge of the next series and your pockets will never be empty.
Some puzzling things. Where did the Trip/T’pol relationship spring from? I know they had a bit of a fling in season 3 but come season 4 there seems to be some kind of relationship that we didn’t see form clearly. Unless we consider the one night stand in season 3 to be an actual relationship development.
The return of the Romulans was done so well, first in the Vulcan arc and then in the Coalition Arc. It’s quite an impressive idea to use Warbirds outfitted as Drone ships to attack others vessels and a nice way of planting the seeds for the unseen Romulan War. We also get the first hints of the Federation with a coalition of different Alien species as a response to the Romulan threat.
‘In a Mirror Darkly’ was a fun episode and was a bit on the fannish side, as some people might call fan wank. But never the less it was fun. Watching it by myself I thought it was just ok but watching it again about two years later in Tokyo with a few drinking buddies at a guest house it became a lot more enjoyable as the two other guys had no idea what was going on but loved all the twists and even shouting “yay Enterprise!” when the constitution class Defiant came on screen.
The final two episode worked on by Manny Coto and his crew was the Terra Prime two parter that was seen as the last hurdle humanity had to overcome, themselves. It would have been a perfect way to end the series but instead we got….
“These are the Voyages….” The final episode of Star Trek Enterprise written by B&B who called this a “Valentines to the fans”. The fans called it “a kick in the balls and a slap in the face”.
If we had ever gotten a Season 5 would would have seen such stories as the Borg Queen Origin, The Romulans as major villains, the return to the Temporal Cold War, Shran joining the crew of the Enterprise, The Kzinti, the first starbase, the return to the mirror universe and a possible crossover episode with Doctor Who! Bugger we missed that!
Favorite Quote: “Up until about a hundred years ago, there was one question that burned in every Human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what’s over the horizon, what’s beyond our own shores. And yet the more I’ve experienced, the more I’ve learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They’re within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. A final frontier begins in this hall. Let’s explore it together.” – Captain Jonathan Archer