As May 20th draws nearer, every day sees new reports on the future of Enterprise. They continue to fly in thick and fast, some predicting imminent cancellation, others telling a much more optimistic story. On the same day Rick Berman announces he is "confident" of a fourth season, SaveEnterprise.com announces the show is about to be pulled off the air. With all these conflicting views, itís difficult to see whoís telling the real story. But does anyone really have a clue about whatís going on?
Every Star Trek forum on the internet is split in two. There are members who watch Enterprise happily every week, taking in what I believe to be good Star Trek, and then there are those who will not watch it. They just refuse to have any part in Enterprise because itís "not Star Trek". I actually read a post from someone on a forum that just made me laugh at these people. There was a poll to gauge how many members actually thought Enterprise should be cancelled. One particular member said, "Itís useless! It should be cancelled! I havenít watched it since Broken Bow itís so bad!" Note that they hadnít watched it since the pilot, so how could they have any idea on the quality of the show? I strongly believe that some of these "proclaimers of doom and gloom" only complain about Enterprise because they have to say something. As the saying goes, a wise man speaks when he has something to say, a fool speaks because he has to say something.
Itís a crying shame, Enterpriseís third season has been of such high quality that cancelling it would verge on being a crime. But as Firefly showed, networks donít care about quality, only the Nielsen ratings.
As Tim from SaveEnterprise.com said, "I have NEVER known anyone that has had the Nielsens box in their homes." As I live in the UK, I am unfamiliar with these boxes, but if they are as scarce as Tim believes, how can they be a true indication of the number of viewers?
Enterprise deserves to stay on the air. Many of those who bad mouth Enterprise say they "want good Star Trek back on the air ," but they appear to be missing something. Refusing to watch a show, will not mean it will be cancelled and the network jump into a new series. The network will not make a new series if its previous incarnation was shot down for poor ratings. These people are causing the death of the Trek franchise!
It also angers me to see these "fans" criticise Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. Sure, they have made some poor episodes like "A Night In Sickbay". As soon as these air, the "fans" are on the net preaching doom and gloom and hurling insults at the powers that be. Did no one notice the credits for "Azati Prime"? Perhaps I was seeing things, but I am quite sure it was written by Rick Berman, Brannon Braga and Manny Coto . Where do these people go after these episodes? The insults suddenly stop. You might think this was good, but as soon as the next poor episode airs, the fans will be back at the producersí throats. Everyone slips guys, give these people credit for the great Star Trek they have produced.
The question of advertising is also an issue. UPN act as though they actually want Enterprise to be cancelled. They never give the show any decent promotion, and look at the results. Ratings fall. UPN did not advertise for the episode "Damage" which aired six weeks after Azati Prime. Without advertisements, how are viewers supposed to know when new episodes return? We can see the results quite clearly. A loss of 1,000,000 viewers and the lowest ratings the franchise has ever pulled in. Of course, all the "proclaimers of doom" are quite happy about this, and blame all the same things. "Awful writing, dull characters etc." When the true fans realise the show is back on, and the ratings rise by half a million, the proclaimers fall silent. They do not give the show praise when it deserves it. There are those online who grade each episode with an F even though they did not watch it. What do they think they are achieving? They think that Enterpriseís cancellation will bring better Trek. As I explained above, their logic is flawed.
So many factors have contributed to the declining ratings of Enterprise, it is hard to sum them up. However, at the heart of everything, the issue appears to lie with UPN. Enterprise had two seasons that left much to be desired. Ratings fell. I can understand that. They fell with good reason. What is a terrible shame, is that the ratings have not risen this year. The episodes have been so good. I urge everyone who has ever watched Star Trek, give Enterprise a chance. Watch it. Save it. And most of all, keep Star Trek alive.
Keep Enterprise Flying.