These Are the Voyages...
|"These Are the Voyages..."|
|Star Trek: Enterprise episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Allan Kroeker|
|Written by||Rick Berman
|Original air date||May 13, 2005|
|List of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes|
"These Are the Voyages..." is the series finale of the UPN American science fiction television show Star Trek: Enterprise. The 22nd episode of the fourth season and the 98th of the series overall, it first aired on May 13, 2005, in the United States. The story takes place concurrently with the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus", set in the year 2370, in which Commander William Riker grapples with making a difficult admission to his commanding officer about a cover-up. Riker visits the holodeck and turns to the events of the 22nd century for guidance, where the crew of Star Trek: Enterprise travels home to Earth for the signing of the Articles of Federation and formation of the United Federation of Planets.
After a strong premiere, Enterprise had grappled with declining ratings throughout its run. By the fourth season, fewer than three million viewers tuned in each week despite what some fans and critics considered an increase in episode quality. After selling the syndication rights, UPN and Paramount announced in February 2005 that the fourth season would be the show's last. Series creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, who co-wrote the episode, conceived "These Are the Voyages..." as a valentine to Star Trek fans. The episode features guest stars Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, and Jeffrey Combs, as well as a vocal cameo from Brent Spiner. With no new Star Trek episodes in the fall of 2005, the 2005–2006 season was the first year without a first-run Star Trek in 18 years.
Reaction to "These Are the Voyages..." was negative. Critics and cast alike believed The Next Generation frame robbed the characters and their fans of closure, and that the death of Trip Tucker felt forced and unnecessary. The final episode attracted 3.8 million viewers, the highest number since the previous season. Despite the cancellation, Paramount hoped to revive the series, and Berman began work on a possible new Star Trek film, which was ultimately rejected in favor of the J. J. Abrams-directed Star Trek.
"These Are the Voyages..." is a frame story. The 22nd century events of the Star Trek: Enterprise are shown through a holodeck re-creation during the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus". In the 24th century, Commander William Riker observes a recreation of the events surrounding the formation of the United Federation of Planets, hoping the events of the past will help him make some important decisions. Chronologically, the 22nd century events of "These Are the Voyages..." take place six years after the previous episode, "Terra Prime".
In 2161, the starship Enterprise and its crew return to Earth on the eve of the signing of the Federation charter. After ten years of service, the Enterprise is due to be decommissioned. Captain Jonathan Archer frets over the speech he will give to the assembled delegates. The Enterprise is contacted by Shran, an Andorian whom Archer had believed dead. Shran's daughter has been kidnapped by shady business partners, and Shran asks for Archer's help in rescuing her. Archer decides to assist Shran, despite T'Pol's warning that they may be late returning for the signing.
While the Enterprise crew surprises Shran's enemies and brings his daughter safely to the ship, the business associates track and board the Enterprise on the return trip. To save Archer's life, engineer Trip Tucker offers to help the intruders but instead overloads two conduits. The result is an explosion that allows the Enterprise to escape but mortally wounds Tucker. Archer is troubled that he must write a speech about how worthwhile their explorations have been, despite his friend's death, but T'Pol assures him that Tucker would have considered it worthwhile. On Earth, Archer enters a grand hall to give his speech as Riker ends the simulation, now sure of what course he should take. The final shot is a montage of the ships named Enterprise as Captains Picard, Kirk, and Archer recite the "Where no man has gone before" monologue.
Background and cancellation
"Broken Bow", Enterprise's 2001 premiere episode, attracted 12.5 million viewers in its first broadcast, but ratings quickly dropped to a low of 5.9 million viewers. Enterprise was threatened with cancellation by the third season. The show survived by slashing its budget amid broadcaster UPN's schedule revamp. The show was moved to Fridays in 2004, while the rest of UPN's programming became more female-friendly, in part due to the success of America's Next Top Model. The third season introduced a season-long story arc, to some of the best reviews of the entire series. In the fourth season, Manny Coto became executive producer after writing and co-producing the show since 2003. While Coto's episodes were hailed by critics and fans as equaling the quality of previous Star Trek television series, the average viewership dropped to 2.9 million, with a series-low showing of 2.5 million in January 2005.
On February 3, 2005, UPN and Paramount announced that the fourth season of the show would be its last. The network waited until the series had been sold to syndication before making the announcement. The cancellation marked the first time new Star Trek episodes would not appear on television in 18 years, since Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. The fourth season continued production so that Paramount could sell an attractive 98 episodes to syndicates.
Actress Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) criticized the early stories as boring and lacking intriguing content. She felt that early Enterprise scripts ignored basic tenets of Star Trek chronology, and offered "revealing costumes instead of character development". UPN executives stated that the male-oriented episodes of Enterprise did not mesh with the viewership of its other top shows, such as Top Model and Veronica Mars. Brannon Braga suggested that the reason for the cancellation was viewer fatigue, noting that "after 18 years and 624 hours of Star Trek, the audience began to have a little bit of overkill." Fans, meanwhile, criticized Berman and Braga for ignoring Star Trek canon and refusing to fix their shows. Michael Hinman, news coordinator for SyFy Portal, stated that in addition to the oversaturation of Star Trek, there "also is an oversaturation of Braga and Berman. [...] They couldn't sit back and say, 'You know, we just can't keep this fresh.' No, it was more about their stupid egos, and their nonsensical 'Even if it's broke, don't fix it' attitude." Braga defended the series, noting that The Next Generation faced little competition from other science fiction shows, while Enterprise had to contend with a plethora of shows such as Battlestar Galactica.
"These Are the Voyages..." was written by Braga and Berman, the pair's only script of the fourth season. Enterprise writer Mike Sussman told TrekNation in May 2005 that Braga had considered the idea of an episode crossover featuring characters from other Star Trek series prior to the finale. Sussman's original idea for the episode was to have The Doctor of Star Trek: Voyager treating an ill patient who may or may not have been Archer trapped in the future. Due to the subject matter, Sussman said his version would not have been suitable for the final episode. Berman said that the episode had always been intended as the season finale regardless of cancellation, and that Trip would still have been killed if the show was to continue. In other interviews Berman said that if the show had been renewed for a fifth season, there would likely have been changes made to the episode.
Allan Kroeker directed the episode, his third series finale following Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "What You Leave Behind" and Star Trek: Voyager's "Endgame". "These Are the Voyages..." featured guest appearances by Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis as their Next Generation characters William Riker and Deanna Troi. Brent Spiner, another Next Generation veteran who had guest-starred earlier in the fourth season of Enterprise, had an off-screen speaking role as the android Data. Jeffrey Combs appeared as the Andorian Shran, whom Coto had wanted to be a permanent addition to the cast in the event of another season.
Filming of the final episode began on Friday, February 25, after the first half of the day was spent completing "Terra Prime". Principal photography took eight days to complete, one day longer than usual. The snowy complex set of Rigel X, first seen in the pilot episode, was used, as was the rarely seen Enterprise's galley. Enterprise-D locations such as hallways and the observation lounge were re-created. Frakes and Sirtis arrived at the lot at the same time that a "Save Enterprise" rally was being held outside the gates. Similar to "What You Leave Behind", many of the production staff cameoed for a large crowd scene at the end of the episode, as Archer prepares to give his speech. Fifteen "VIPs" including writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, André Bormanis, and Manny Coto joined two dozen extras in forming part of the audience. The rest of the digital set was filled by a computer-generated crowd. After their parts were finished, the final dismissal of each cast member was met with applause. Blalock and Bakula were the last actors to be released, and Bakula gave a speech thanking the production crew for making the cast feel welcome. Filming ended on Tuesday, March 8, and the sets were struck. Frakes and Sirtis returned on March 9 to complete green screen shots, which would be used when their characters entered or exited the holodeck.
A series-ending wrap party was held for the cast and crew at the Roosevelt Hotel in April. Cast members spoke about their feelings about the end of the series. John Billingsley said the show "was a great ride, and it changed my life. It's something that will last forever for me." He was happy to say goodbye to the two-hour makeup sessions to create his character, Phlox. Many of the cast were taking a break and going on vacation before seeking new acting jobs. Among the notable guests were Star Trek Nemesis screenwriter John Logan, who was not affiliated with Enterprise, and Peter Weller, who appeared as a villain in "Terra Prime". Before the episode's release, Berman would not elaborate on the final episode's content, saying "It's going to have some surprising twists and turns. It's somewhat of a valentine."
Reception and home media release
"These Are the Voyages..." was negatively received by both critics and the show's cast. Before the episode aired, Blalock called the episode "appalling." She followed up her remarks by saying she was upset over the finale being a The Next Generation episode rather than an end for Enterprise. Connor Trinneer, who played Trip Tucker, felt that the finale should have had a memorable farewell that he described as a "M*A*S*H moment", but that the producers did not want to focus on such an element. Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather) was similarly displeased with the finale and said "I feel there could have been a more effective way to wrap things up for our show as well as the franchise as a whole. It just seemed to take a little bit away from what the Enterprise cast and crew worked so diligently to achieve over the past four years." While Frakes enjoyed working with Sirtis again, he said that "the reality is it was a bit of a stretch to have us shut down [the Enterprise cast's] show," and that in hindsight it was a disservice to them. The early criticism forced the show's producers to hold a conference and address the issue. Braga admitted there was cast unrest, but defended the episode as a way to close not just Enterprise but Star Trek as a whole.
Reviewers were also critical of the Next Generation tie-in. Sci Fi Weekly's Patrick Lee said the framing story "reduces [the Enterprise cast] to the status of lab rats." Lee further noted that even without the guest appearances, the episode did not live up to the best offerings of the season, including "In a Mirror, Darkly". National Post's Alex Strachan called the Next Generation cameos reminders of better Star Trek, compared to the "bad make-up effects, bad acting, bad music" of the latest show. Rob Salem of the Toronto Star said the cameos served no narrative purpose, and that the episode "robs [the] characters (and their fans) of any significant long-term development or satisfying sense of closure." Reviewers also criticized the episode's ending, where viewers never got to see Archer's rousing speech. IGN said that the episode was "Berman and Braga's parting shot, making sure that everyone knew who was in charge," and that the sharp contrast between "These Are the Voyages..." and "Terra Prime" brought into relief the reason why both should not be allowed to produce Star Trek ever again.
The death of Trip Tucker was another object of controversy. Salem described the development as "a major character is pointlessly killed off in service of a pointless plot device," a complaint echoed by IGN. Actor Connor Trinneer, who played Trip, said during a convention appearance that the character had "gotten out of much worse scrapes than that," and the death seemed forced. The writers, Trinneer contended, wanted to kill off a character to "get the fans talking," and so Trip was killed off simply to manipulate viewers. Several critics ended their reviews by saying that whether fans would be disappointed or pleased by the episode, the majority of casual viewers would not care one way or another.
In response to some of these criticisms, Coto stated that he personally considered the two-part story "Demons" and "Terra Prime" that preceded "These Are the Voyages..." the actual finale of the Enterprise storyline. Berman said "I've read a lot of the criticisms and I understand how some people feel, but [Braga] and I spent a lot of time coming up with the idea and a somewhat, I would say, unique ending to a series, especially when you’re ending it prematurely. [...] You never like to disappoint people, but I think it's nonsense to say that it was more a Next Generation episode than an Enterprise episode. The only elements of [The Next Generation] that were present were there as a sounding board to allow us to look at a mission that took place six years after "Terra Prime"."
According to TrekNation, Enterprise's final episode attracted 3.8 million viewers, an increase of 69% over the previous season's finale. Newspapers covering Enterprise's cancellation and its final episode often said that the failure of Enterprise was evidence that the franchise had moved too far from its roots and grown too dark. Andy Dehnhart of MSNBC said that "while the writers and production designers deserve credit for offering worlds that were perhaps slightly more believable, they lost the fantastic, wondrous approach to space travel that The Next Generation borrowed from the original Star Trek and then perfected." USA Today's Michael Peck said that without the "dreams" of earlier series, "Star Trek becomes just another television drama." Melanie McFarland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, meanwhile, said the show "never found the sense of uniqueness within the Trek universe that every version that came before it possessed." Despite the cancellation, Paramount remained optimistic. Studio head David Stapf looked "forward to a new chapter of this enduring franchise in the future." Berman and screenwriter Erik Jendrensen developed a concept for a new film taking place after Enterprise but before the 1960s television show. Meanwhile Paramount asked Roberto Orci for ideas to revive the franchise, resulting in the production of a reboot film set in an alternate timeline from the 1966-2005 franchise simply titled Star Trek, released in May 2009 and directed by J.J. Abrams.
The episode was released on DVD home media as part of the season four box set on November 1, 2005 in the United States. The Blu ray release of the final season of Enterprise is due on April 29, 2014.
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- These Are the Voyages... at StarTrek.com