Many people think that Star Trek: Enterprise was the one major failure in the Star Trek franchise. But WHY did it fail? Longtime Star Trek producer Rick Berman has the answer.
Running from 2001 to 2005 (only four seasons, as opposed to seven for the previous Star Trek reboots), Star Trek: Enterprise was the fourth entry in the sci-fi franchise since The Next Generation (or TNG, if you prefer) began airing in 1987. It was also the third series to be created in a span of 10 years and was probably suffering from “franchise fatigue,” as Star Trek producer Rick Berman—who was really reluctant about creating Enterprise—explains:
I think Enterprise was embraced, but by certainly a smaller audience. It was not embraced by a lot of people. There are a lot of different guesses one could make about why. I always felt that whoever came up with the term “franchise fatigue” was right, that there was definitely some of that. There was just too much going on at the same time.
By then, DS9 had ended, Voyager was still on the air, a third TNG movie was coming out, and there was definitely a feeling that maybe we were pushing it. “Oh, my God, here comes another Star Trek show.” It was the fourth Star Trek series in a decade. The prequel idea I think was a good idea. After Voyager we certainly weren’t going to say, “OK, now it’s time for a new show. Voyager is going to go off the air in May and in September you’re going to get a new crew on a new ship in the same century.”
The idea of going back and learning a little something about what went on for the very first people who were stepping out into space … it seemed to us to be a great idea. … The show certainly had a great start. It got very good reviews and it had a huge audience for the first half a dozen episodes and then it started to slip. I could take the blame for it. I could put the blame into the scripts. I could put the blame into franchise fatigue. I don’t know why it didn’t work.