“These are the voyages…” If there’s one phrase that conjures up images of ‘Star Trek’, that would have to be the one. But ever since 2005, the phrase has taken on some additional baggage for fans of ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’. This is because it provided the title for that show’s finale. Regardless of what one thinks of the show as a whole, ‘These Are The Voyages’ has long been the elephant in that particular room.
If you’re fortunate enough to have avoided any knowledge of the episode, it focused on Commander Riker and Counselor Troi as the former used a holodeck program of the 22nd century Enterprise’s final mission to deal with a crisis of conscience. I can (and have, and will again) go on at length about the myriad problems with ‘These Are The Voyages’, but suffice it to say that fans and cast members alike consider it a poor episode at best and insulting at worst.
Though he shares the writing credit with Rick Berman, Brannon Braga has often taken the brunt of the criticism for the episode’s flaws by virtue of being the more public of the two. At the recent Star Trek Las Vegas convention, Braga participated in a panel alongside fellow ‘Trek’ writer (and science consultant) Andre Bormanis. During the course of the discussion, ‘Enterprise’ naturally came up, which in turn led to the finale.
Braga recalled some of his thoughts at the time he was writing the episode and shared what he has realized with the benefit of hindsight:
“I thought it was the coolest thing ever when we were writing it, the idea of doing a “lost episode” of ‘The Next Generation’, but they’re going to the holodeck to look back at Enterprise. Rick and I thought it was a great sendoff to ‘Star Trek’, and it didn’t work out so well… It was kind of a slap in the face to the ‘Enterprise’ actors. I heard it from everybody. It was the only time Scott Bakula was ever mean to me. I regret it.”
The most interesting part of that statement (to me, at least) is the part about Scott Bakula’s reaction. At the time the episode aired, Jolene Blalock famously described it as “appalling”. The rest of the cast, though, has been considerably less public with whatever disappointment they may have at the finale. Which brings us to Bakula himself. Having been lucky enough to meet the man, I would describe him as friendly and easy going person. So for him to have been that upset at the finale speaks volumes. Not that I can blame him.
Moving on from the finale, Braga also shared some insights into what might have been had the show been renewed for a fifth season. Rather than focusing on proposed episode, Braga spoke about a pair of overarching storylines that would have defined the season. The first of these would have dealt with the changes reverberating through Vulcan society following a fourth season story in which Captain Archer was instrumental in recovering the Kir’Shara – an artifact containing the original writings of Surak, on which much of Vulcan culture is based. The other, unsurprisingly, was to be the continuing build toward the Romulan War.
This isn’t the first time a former ‘Enterprise’ producer has teased the season that never was. In particular, fourth season showrunner Manny Coto has described planned stories dealing with the construction of the first starbase, a return to the mirror universe, and a “previsit” to the cloud city of Stratos (originally seen in the original series episode ‘The Cloud Minders’). In addition to these episodes, Coto has also said that the writing staff was seriously considering promoting the recurring character Shran (played by Jeffrey Combs) to a series regular. This would have involved him joining the crew in a similar capacity to T’Pol.
Would you have liked to see these storylines come to fruition for a fifth season of ‘Enterprise’ or do you feel that the show had run its course? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Star Trek’ content!