What Enterprise Could Have Been

Continuing the Trek theme for the week, I recently read a piece of an interview with Brannon Braga in which he talks about the original concept of “Enterprise”.

BRANNON BRAGAThat was not how we wanted to do it. We wanted to do a show that was set on Earth, and it was about building the first starship, a little like J.J.’s movie. There was going to be the Klingon attack and the urgency to get the ship off the ground, to protect Earth. The end of the first season was going to be the liftoff of the Enterprise.

Now, I’ve had some issues with the way Brannon Braga handled Star Trek.  Though, admittedly, what is Rick Berman’s fault and what is his, is nebulous. Their love affair with time travel is fairly annoying.

But, this concept sounds really awesome. If done right, this could have been a truly awesome show. Really get a more DS9 feel to it, with a primary central location. That would lead to more well developed characters. If true, and it was the network that pushed them down the route Enterprise went, that lends a little redemption to the man.

Sure, they may have done just as many stupid time travel episodes and made the whole thing really dumb. But maybe not. Maybe not having to do a ship, monster of the week, style show might have broken that trend.

I can see that a good drama filled story, with heavy character focus. You’re not traveling to a new planet each week, you need to really focus on characters otherwise you’ve got nothing. This would have allowed the whole Vulcan story to expand into the realm of, pun intended, logic.

The first season could have been about Archer trying to get the ship finished. The Vulcan’s could be interfering, without just acting like jerks. You could have time to really explain their side of it. Show them looking out of humanities interests by trying to shield us from doing something stupid. Like piss of the Klingons.

Then, through our stupidity, we piss off the Klingons. They send a warship to put us in our place, and Enterprise needs to launch early, at the end of the season like he suggests. We fight, and suffer horribly, but put up a good fight, convincing the Klingons we’re not a push over species, some honor in fight, blah blah, so they go away. End of Klingon story for now.

Actually scratch that. Replace the Klingons with Andorians. Forget about Klingons entirely. Earth and Andoria go head to head. Earth defeats the Andorian ship, captained by Shran naturally, we gain some respect from them.

Then, the second season, humans could be all arrogant, and begin the exploration. Have the introduction of the Romulans, but do it like they did the Dominion. A quiet background mention here or there. The season could mostly focus on Earth meeting the Andorians and Tellarites. It should even keep the concept of Archer causing tension between the Andorians and Vulcans.

This time, though, the Vulcans end the alliance with Earth. End of season 2. Season 3, we start seeing more signs of the Romulans doing their thing of manipulating galactic events. Andoria and Vulcan end up going to a real war with each other. So we follow some of our Vulcan characters through that story arc while Earth is now dealing with intergalactic relations on its own. For instance, Earth encounters the Tellarites and are very polite, offending them and causing conflict until we figure out to be rude to them.

We don’t lose the connection to Earth during any of this. One Vulcan on Earth has to be a Romulan, which no one realizes. Ever, as we can’t know what Romulans look like. That can be part of the tension, as the Vulcan/ Romulan is caught doing something. The Vulcans deny his involvement, as he’s not one of theirs, Earth doesn’t believe them, because hey, the dudes clearly a Vulcan. And then boom! Season ends with the guy escaping and reporting back to Romulus.

Eventually we get the Earth/Romulan war. Earth suffers but manages to hold our own. Romulan duplicity is discovered, the pre-Federation alliance is formed to defeat the Romulans.  Series ends with the formation of the Federation.

Through out all of this, have Enterprise not so technologically behind everyone else. Keep the number of species met down and keep everyone closer to the same level of tech. The Vulcans and Andorians can be superior somewhat, as they’ve been out there longer. But Earth, Romulans, Tellarites, and a small handful of other primarily Federation species, all at or just barely beyond Earth tech.

No shields, no photon torpedoes, no transporters. Nuclear based missile weapons, to correspond with “Balance of Terror”. Toward the end, we can have the introduction of phasers. Though, that could be flexible. Phasers are very iconic Trek, so it may be worth having those. No universal translator. Hoshi would be there to learn languages.

Very few, if any, new species could have been introduced.  Really focus on the Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, and Romulans. Throw in a few others as story necessitates, Orion pirates are always good.  Maybe a Trill character. Have them die and later meet the next host who pretends to be the persons kid or cousin or something. Could be involved in the development of the transporter storyline and not wanting to use it.

Yeah, Enterprise could have been awesome. I don’t think it sucked as much as many people believe. But its certainly had its problems. Maybe they weren’t all Brannon Braga’s fault.

Damn, now I want to see this show.


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