Brannon Braga is the most prolific writer in all of Star Trek. He wrote over 100 episodes and two of Star Trek: The Next Generation films, he was briefly the showrunner on Star Trek: Voyager, and he was the co-creator and executive producer on Star Trek: Enterprise. He talked a lot about Enterprise, as well as his upcoming re-launch of the old Cosmos series, and what he thought about the piece of crap Enterprise series finale, “These Are The Voyages.” And that’s not me calling it a piece of crap either—that’s what he called it, and he wrote it!
What I wanted to know, though, came directly from the Enterprise Season 1 Blu Ray. So to find out, I asked my first convention question ever.
In the Blu Ray, Brannon said that the original idea for the first season of Enterprise, the idea that they pitched to the studio, was that it would be serialized and set entirely on Earth, with the season ending with the launch of the NX-01. They did this because they wanted to make the show more interesting, and to move away from the Alien of the Week formula that the franchise had always used. What I wanted to know is for season 2, after the Enterprise heads into space, did they have any plans for the second season and the series to continue avoiding the Alien of the Week format?
In a word? No, at least not that he can recall.
That doesn’t mean he didn’t go into some detail about the original pitch, though. What he said today, and on the Blu Ray, is that the studio didn’t like how it was different from the other shows. Star Trek had a proven record of success for nearly fifteen years at the time, and the studio wasn’t comfortable taking a chance and changing the style of the show and making it more serialized. Enterprise eventually did get more serialized, beginning with the Xindi conflict in Season 3, but the first two seasons retained that basic Alien of the Week concept. Brannon went into that with a great deal of humility as well, saying that the show was at its work when it was falling back on familiar ideas. A particular focus of his regret was the use of the Ferengi before their official first contact with the Federation in The Next Generation, which Brannon called a mistake.
I really appreciated what Brannon said. When I watched the Season 1 Blu Ray, I admired his candor and humility, and I felt that, as much as I like Enterprise, their original pitch showed that the series could have been so much more; Brannon and Rick Berman didn’t want to do the Alien of the Week format that they ultimately did, so imagine if they had been able to do the serialized pitch that they made—the pitch that they were most excited about.
If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the hour-long chat between Brannon and Rick on the Blu Ray. It’s very candid and very illuminating, and it talks a lot about what Enterprise could have been. If you’re an Enterprise fan, it’s must-see!