Enterprise (retitled Star Trek: Enterprise at the start of the third season) is a science fiction television series. It follows the adventures of humanity's first Warp 5 starship, the Enterprise, ten years before the United Federation of Planets shown in previous Star Trek series was formed.
Enterprise premiered on September 26, 2001. The pilot episode, "Broken Bow", takes place in the year 2151 (exactly 150 years from the then current year), halfway between the 21st-century events shown in the movie Star Trek: First Contact and the original Star Trek television series. Low ratings prompted UPN to cancel Star Trek: Enterprise on February 2, 2005, but the network allowed the series to complete its fourth season.
The final episode aired on May 13, 2005. After a run of four seasons and 98 episodes, it was the first Star Trek series since the original Star Trek to have been cancelled by its network rather than finished by its producers. It is also the last series in an 18-year run of back-to-back new Star Trek shows beginning with Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987.
On May 14, 2001, shooting began for the pilot episode, "Broken Bow", on stages 8, 9, and 18 at Paramount Studios. Three days later, Tom Nunan, entertainment producer at UPN, held a press conference formally announcing Enterprise to the world at large. Featuring a video on the history of the Star Trek franchise, Nunan held up previous installments of the franchise as proof-of-concept that Enterprise would succeed.
On September 26, 2001, the premiere episode of Enterprise, "Broken Bow", aired on UPN with an estimated 12.54 million viewers.
Season 5 plans:
At the time of its cancellation, planning for a proposed fifth season of Enterprise was underway. Most details of this never-made season come from comments made by producer Manny Coto who in 2009 stated that two arcs of this season may have been to show the 'origins of the Federation' and 'whispers of the Romulan war', and consequently, the Romulans would have been the major villains of the season. Coto also stated that had the series been given a fifth season, the recurring Andorian character of Shran may have joined the Enterprise in an advisory role.
Other possible plans for the season included: an episode showing the construction of the first starbase; a Borg Queen origins story with Alice Krige as a Starfleet medical technician who makes contact with the Borg from Season 2's "Regeneration" and becomes the Borg Queen, and a Mirror Universe arc spanning four or five episodes.There were also hopes for an episode in which T'Pol would finally meet her father and discover that he was in fact a Romulan agent who had posed as a Vulcan officer prior to faking his own death. The revelation that T'Pol was half-Romulan would have shed light on her affinity for humanity and as well as her interest in experimenting with emotions.
By the third season, ratings were continually declining, and the threat of cancellation loomed over Star Trek: Enterprise. This, along with the poor box office performance in 2002 of the film Star Trek Nemesis, cast an uncertain light upon the future of the Star Trek franchise in general.
TrekUnited, headed up by Tim Brazeal rallied fans from across the globe and launched a letter writing campaign similar to the one that saved the third season of the Original Series. On May 20, 2004, it was announced that Enterprise had been renewed for a fourth season, but that the show would move from Wednesday to Friday nights. This move echoed the rescheduling of the original Star Trek to a Friday night time slot for its third season prior to its ultimate cancellation, as Friday nights have traditionally been considered "death row" for a major TV production.
Hired as a writer during the third season, Manny Coto was promoted to co-executive producer, becoming the series showrunner for the fourth season. Coto decided to retain the "arc" concept of season 3, but reduce it from one season-long arc to several "mini-arcs" of two or three episodes, with few standalones. The producers attempted to attract viewers by terminating a long-running story arc (the Temporal Cold War) and scheduling numerous episodes that served as prequels to storylines from The Original Series and The Next Generation.
Beginning in the summer of 2004, and continuing throughout the fourth season, there were reports that William Shatner would reprise the role of James T. Kirk or perhaps an ancestor in the series, but an agreement could not be reached. The fourth season got off to a slow start in the ratings on October 8, 2004, due to the Friday time-slot, preemptions by local sports in some markets, and by coverage of the second presidential debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry in others. As well, Enterprise fans continued to indicate they chose to watch the weekend showing rather than the Friday broadcast, or chose to "time-shift" the program using their VCR or DVR equipment. In October 2004, it was announced that Enterprise was the 25th most popular Season Pass on the TiVo television recording system in the United States.
Speculation as to the future of the series came to an end on February 2, 2005, when UPN announced the series had been cancelled and its final episode would air on Friday, May 13, 2005. Fan groups such as "Save Enterprise" and TrekUnited joined forces and announced a drive to raise money to finance a further season of Enterprise. Approximately $30 million was the goal of the campaign, based upon estimates of the cost for a full season cited by John Billingsley and others. In addition, Washington, D.C. lobbyist Dan Jensen circulated a letter on Capitol Hill in an effort to appeal to the sentiments of legislators. As a result, then Florida Congressman Mark Foley (R) agreed to sign the letter. The Washington "lobbying" effort garnered considerable press, and had a feature article on the front page of Roll Call.
Production of the fourth season concluded on March 8, 2005, and by the end of the month, Startrek.com was reporting the Enterprise sets had been taken down, marking the first time that Stage 9 at Paramount Studios has been without Star Trek sets since the late 1970s. The website did not indicate whether the sets have been preserved in storage (the industry term being 'fold-and-hold') or if they have been destroyed.
As of April 13, 2005, Paramount and UPN remained adamant that the cancellation of the series was final and that the studio was not interested in continuing the current incarnation of Star Trek. TrekUnited officials, however, still claimed to be in talks with Paramount over the future of the series at the time. The website IGN Filmforce, reported on rumors Paramount had actually decided to cancel Enterprise after its fourth season as early as midway through the second year, quoted an unidentified "executive involved with Enterprise" as saying this scenario was "very likely".
Although widely reported as the death knell of the Star Trek franchise, the cancellation of Enterprise was followed within months by the announcement that Paramount was in pre-production on an 11th Star Trek feature film. After a false start involving Berman which would have set the film in a time period after the events of Enterprise but before TOS, Paramount recruited a new producing and writing team, which ultimately led to the release of a new Star Trek film in May 2009.
Like Enterprise, the new film (which did contain an indirect reference to the series when Scotty references losing Admiral Archer's "prized beagle" in a transporter mishap, while in its 2013 follow-up, Star Trek Into Darkness, a model of an NX class ship, possibly the NX-01 is visible on a Starfleet admiral's desk) also adopted a prequel concept, with a different approach based primarily on being an alternate reality reboot of the original Star Trek series that featured Spock travelling back in time and inadvertently changing the future for his younger self.