June 15, 10:10 PM · 5 comments
With several active online fan groups more than four years since its cancellation, Star Trek: Enterprise, which aired 2001-2005 on UPN, lives on in many hearts and minds. The television prequel to the original Star Trek series received critical praise and a loyal following, but languished in the Nielsen ratings, especially after being moved to Friday night in 2004.
Enterprise, which starred Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer and Connor Trinneer as chief engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker, would perhaps not have been back for its fourth and final season without an outpouring of mail from fans demanding the network keep the show alive.Fans like to think so, anyway.
One of these fans, identified on imdb.com as Trombone482, has started a petition to series creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga to bring Enterprise back, either for a final episode or to kick off a miniseries, with the original cast. The petition asks that the new episode be based on the novel The Good That Men Do by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin, an interpretation of the events in Enterprise final episode "These Are the Voyages...". This final episode was widely seen by Enterprise fans as an unsatisfying conclusion that rang false in the context of the rest of the series. The Good That Men Do is characterized by one reviewer on Amazon.com as "damage control" for that disastrous final episode, in which "Trip" Tucker is hastened rather pointlessly to his final reward.
Obviously Berman and Braga would need to be convinced that the petition offers a workable idea, and with only 173 signatures so far it is all to easy to discard the notion. The effort--on the surface--is quixotic. Of course there should be as much Star Trek as possible in the world, and Enterprise should come back and run forever, but if it doesn't make economic sense for producers and a network, it's not going to happen. But the petition is not an act of total naïveté. If, for example, a group could deliver a commitment from a significant sponsor, there might be a different story to tell.
It hardly needs stating here that Star Trek fans can be quite purposeful and single-minded in pursuing goals; this is not the first time a fan base has agitated for something it wants to see. The difference today is that, as the definition of content evolves, direct fan involvement in what gets produced may come closer to reality. A wide variety of Star Trek-themed content might be produced, tailored to specific interests of the full spectrum of fandom, rather in keeping with the "long tail" theory of the marketplace advanced in 2004 by Chris Anderson in Wired. Shows produced, possibly on a much smaller scale, in response to fan demands, are worth considering as one of the possible futures of video content; and if we weren't futurists we wouldn't be here.
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