Star Trek: Enterprise

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Welcome aboard the Enterprise NX-01.
"On this site, a powerful engine will be built. An engine that will someday help us to travel a hundred times faster than we can today. Imagine it -- thousands of inhabited planets at our fingertips... and we'll be able to explore those strange new worlds, and seek out new life and new civilizations. This engine will let us go boldly... where no man has gone before."
Zefram Cochrane, from a video recording shown in the pilot

It's been a long road, getting from TOS to here...

The fourth Spin-Off of the long-running Star Trek franchise, and the first of the spinoffs not to go seven seasons. It ran from 2001-2005.

A prequel series set in the 22nd century, about 100 years before Star Trek: The Original Series. Captain Jonathan Archer commands a new warp-5 starship, Enterprise (NX-01), seeking out new life and new civilizations. The key selling point of this series was that space travel was not as casual as it became later in the chronology. Most humans have never even left Earth and those who have rarely made it out of Earth's solar system. Unlike the other modern Trek series, these characters were prone to swear and walk around in their underwear. The series only lasted four seasons, making it the shortest lived Star Trek series since the animated series, and the shortest-lived live-action series in the franchise other than the original.

The first and second seasons dealt with exploration. The Enterprise was the first human ship to reach warp 5, and was therefore the first ship to visit many of the worlds explored in these seasons. Some episodes featured the crew encountering phenomena that Star Trek fans would be familiar with, but the characters wouldn't. The temporal cold war arc was also introduced during this time. Factions in the future were using time travel technology to manipulate the time stream in their favour. This plot was forced on the writers through Executive Meddling, so it unfortunately just pops up from time to time before finally being terminated the second the executives let them in season four. During season two, there was a sharp decline in viewer-ship which led to a retool for season three.

To lead into the third season, an alien race called the Xindi attacked Earth because of an unknown element of the Temporal Cold War arc. Enterprise was refitted into a more efficient battleship and sent to a chaotic region of space called the Expanse to either stop further attacks against Earth or enter negotiations. The entire season dealt with the imminent war and moral compromises the crew had to make, while ignoring the original arc featuring the Suliban.

At the start of Season 4 most of the writing staff was replaced and a new head writer, Manny Coto, was put in charge. This resulted in significant changes. Instead of a season-long Arc, most stories were spread over 2 or 3 episodes at a time. Sometimes these mini-arcs would carry over to a later mini-arc. First and foremost, the season dealt with the ramifications of the Xindi attack, with many humans becoming violently xenophobic. But likely the most popular arc was one dealing with social reform on Vulcan, which was a piercing look into their culture that hadn't been done since the original series.

Sadly, Paramount had no serious intention of renewing the series after season four. The writers had been batting around ideas for where things would have gone in season five (including the Romulan War which is a well-established part of Trek canon), and they do sound like they would have continued improving.

We do have a novel continuation. See: Star Trek Enterprise Relaunch.

Theories as to Enterprise's place after Star Trek split the universe's timeline are many. The simplest is that it takes place in both. Others are that the show occurs in the Star Trek XI timeline but not the original timeline, or even that Enterprise actually occurs in a third timeline. Word of God is that the events of Star Trek: First Contact did alter the timeline of Enterprise somewhat (also explaining the more advanced technology), though whether this actually puts it in a different timeline to the other Trek shows is still up in the air.

Tropes used in Star Trek: Enterprise include:

Trope-based episodes

Tropes A-G

  • Aborted Arc: The writers had no plan for where the Temporal Cold War was going and episodes connecting to it became few and far between. When the new head writer took over at the start of season 4, he had it quickly escalated into a full-scale conflict which ran its course and got resolved by the end of the two-part season 4 premiere.
    • There seemed to be the seeds of a plotline with the Tandarans, a race that had rounded up the Suliban and placed them in internment camps. Archer exposed a Tandaran agent and was drugged while the agent escaped. They were never seen again after Season 1.
  • Aesoptinum: Trellium-D (drug abuse), and Pa'nar Syndrome (AIDS).
  • The Aesthetics of Technology
  • Ambiguously Gay: Reed, who never is seen to have an onscreen relationships, and pointedly is mentioned as remaining a bachelor in "E2" on the alternate Enterprise flung a century back in time. Dominic Keating once joked that he intentionally played him this way. However, he was shown having or wanting relationships with women. Named exes included Ruby, Deborah, Rochelle and Caitlin and at least one episode showed him on Risa chasing girls with Tucker. In fact there was speculation amongst fans who had campaigned for a gay character in Enterprise that the powers that be had gone out of their way to make the point that Reed was not gay.
    • Asexual would have been an option too. Somewhat backed up as Reed is generally the least social of all the crew members (beating out even T'pol), making it possible that he wouldn't have been interested in any relationship at all.
  • Arc Words: "Somekinda," "somesorta," and its variants even in prepositions "of some kind," etc. All media has this, whether blatant or not. But it's especially noticeable for rabid fans of all five Star Trek series, particularly the spinoffs. Many of those arc words literally peppered throughout single episodes!
  • Ascended Meme: SF Debris coined the name "Future Guy" as a sarcastic name for the mysterious leader of the Temporal Cold War. Ironically the writing staff actually took this name and used it for the character.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Mirror Universe female uniforms are basically excuses to show off taut abs. Not that there was any particular shortage of Fan Service to begin with, as stated above.
    • This was somewhat justified by Canon; the female uniforms in the original Mirror Universe were also quite Fan Service-y.
    • Given that this is the mirror universe, the uniforms are quite likely designed this way for the specific purpose of fanservice in-universe.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As mentioned in Humans Are Special, Ambassador Soval reveals that this is part of why the Vulcans are so wary of Humans. They managed to rebuild their entire civilisation in next to no time after suffering a worldwide nuclear holocaust, discovered Warp Drive (due to efforts of an eccentric drunk in a shanty-town, no less) and are now on the way to forming the precursor to The Federation. The Vulcans are afraid of how fast humanity is progressing.
    • While they certaintly aren't nice by any definition of the word, Humanity of the Mirror Universe actually somewhat justifies this concern. The technology from a lone scoutship was all that was needed for humans to completely dominate the entire Vulcan race who were centuries ahead of them.
  • Blessed with Suck: Archer tries to claim that this applies to the human race with his infamous "gazelle speech" at the start of the second season. While his basic point makes sense on some levels, his attempt to paint it as a good thing just comes off as ridiculous. Fortunately, T'Pol then steps in and makes the same argument in a much more articulate way.
  • Brainwashed: Hoshi (brain parasite), the crew (space babes in "Rajiin" and "Bound"), Mirror Universe Trip (mind-meld).
  • Brick Joke: The Defiant (from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Tholian Web") makes an unexpected re-appearance over 37 years after that episode aired.
    • In the alternate timeline where the Xindi destroy Earth, the last human colony is located on Ceti Alpha V. The writers openly admitted to twisting the knife that much more - even if the humans were to somehow escape the Xindi, the colony would be destroyed anyways in less than a century.
  • Broken Aesop: Deconstructed. The Vulcan Mind-Meld subculture and related P'nar syndrome disease served as allegories for homosexuality and AIDS, including the scorn heaped upon the former and the stigma attached to contracting the latter. Archer and Phlox repeatedly expressed their distaste for the Vulcan bigotry related to this issue, but they themselves continually point out that T'Pol, who has P'nar Syndrome, is not a member of the Mind-Meld minority, and attracted the disease through a non-consensual attack. T'Pol eventually pointed out to them that, by attempting to "excuse" her having the disease, they are supporting and even justifying the Double Standard that the High Command has against the Mind-Meld minority.
  • Bug War: One of the Xindi races is insectoid.
  • Call Forward
  • Command Roster: Unique among the other Trek shows in that Enterprise had a regularly occurring Reasonable Authority Figure in Admiral Forrest that the crew reported to.
  • Communications Officer: Hoshi's job. Her linguistics expertise also came into play because the Universal Translator was still a work-in-progress, it appeared to be operated manually, and given that we rarely see anyone using it, it's possible that Hoshi was either the only one able to operate it, or that it only partially worked, and Hoshi had to 'fill in the blanks' on her own.
    • Unfortunately, the writers often couldn't find anything to do with her, and so she ended up doing random errands for several episodes. This was not helped as the show had an all but non-existent B-Cast for the first two seasons.
  • Conqueror From the Future: The Sphere-Builders. A whole race of them.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Radio Celebrity Bob Rivers appears as an extra in 2 different episodes.
    • The Other Wiki also says that a radio station contest winner also appeared in one of these episodes.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: Especially when compared to TOS.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: The crew of the Enterprise causes a faux pas with an alien representative, who leaves in a huff, apparently disgusted by something. Eventually, Mayweather finds out that they find eating offensive. When asked how they do it, the alien explains that it's the same, but eating in the presence of others is a disgusting act for them.
    • Amusingly, as they storm off, Hoshi translates some of their complaints about "You eat like you mate." Unless some of the crew had also had sex in public, this statement suggests some other unknown differences of culture.
  • Crossover: Will Riker and Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation in the final episode.
  • Culture Clash
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Trip and T'Pol's temporary baby, Elizabeth, after Trip's recently murdered sister.
  • Decontamination Chamber: Transporters with bio-filters hadn't been invented yet and are viewed with suspicion anyway as brand new technology, so these get used.
    • Really, given the 'bio-gel' used as a disinfectant, the real reason for this was for fanservice. The decon scenes all features the characters down to slightly more than their underwear rubbing each other.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect
  • Depending on the Writer: Characterization can vary greatly between episodes, most notably Captain Archers varying tolerance for Vulcans.
  • Designated Victim / Dude in Distress: Unlike actors playing previous Trek captains, Scott Bakula was more than willing to appear battered and bruised, until Archer getting thrown in prison and beaten up by interrogators became a series cliché.
    • Took a Level in Badass later on. In Seasons 3 and 4, Archer's fighting prowess considerably improved to the point where he could hold his own against anything up to a Xindi-Reptilian.
  • Distant Finale: Doubly so -- "These Are The Voyages..." is set in 2370, showing Riker and Troi observing events that took place in 2161 (when the previous episode took place in 2155).
  • Dream Spying: Trip and T'Pol pop into each others dreams in one episode, despite being on different vessels.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The pilot episode "Broken Bow" has a Klingon crash on Earth in Nebraska and was shot by a farmer with a plasma rifle that has the mechanical behavior of a lever-action shotgun. It gave the series a stronger Twenty Minutes in The Future tone that set it apart from other Star Trek shows.
  • ET Gave Us Wi-Fi: The second-season episode "Carbon Creek" implies that Velcro was given to us by stranded Vulcans.
  • Expanded Universe
  • Failsafe Failure
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Cogenitor and Dear Doctor both have these.
  • Fan Service:
  • First Contact
  • Fix Fic: The Expanded Universe novel The Good That Men Do fixes a lot of the problems with the series finale.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Mostly justified. Time agent Daniels leaves a holographic database in cabin E-14 that only is accessed when Daniels gives permission. Archer is probably inclined to not attempt to access it by force simply because it's probably well protected by extremely advanced technology. Not to mention, screwing around with time travel, even simply in the form of an information database from the future, is probably not a good idea. It's still odd that breaking in is never mentioned in season three, however, where the crew is often in extremely bad circumstances, where failure means the destruction of the Earth.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The bridge crew follows this formula pretty much to the letter, with the extra two coming into play as well:
    • Archer is Choleric
    • Tucker is Sanguine
    • T'Pol is Phlegmatic
    • Reed is Melancholic
    • Sato is Supine
    • Mayweather is Phlegmatic II
  • Genetic Memory
  • Good-Looking Privates: Something for everyone.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: In proud tradition...Orion slave girls return in the fourth season.
    • The Orion males we shall not speak of.

Tropes H-M

  • Hero of Another Story: Captain Erika Hernandez of the Columbia.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Chef, Future Guy.
    • In later seasons, jokesters added Mayweather to this list.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Sphere Builders, the Vulcans, the Romulans and Dr. Arik Soong try to plan to their benefit but end up causing the very events they're trying to avoid.
    • The Klingons, who in their attempt to create Augments, ended up creating a virus that nearly wiped them out. In the end, they managed to find a cure, but this still left them no longer possessing cranial ridges.
  • Hollywood Evolution: As standard per Star Trek.
    • Dear Doctor manages to provide an unusual instance of evolution being both the real life version, and the Hollywood version. The Menk are going to evolve into a superior lifeform to the Valakians, and so the Valakians 'evolve' a genetic defect to make room for them. So that the Menk can evolve due to their altered environment. Basically, it manages to mix evolutionary predestination and evolution influenced by environment into a single plot point.
  • Homage: In Real Life, the first Space Shuttle was called the Enterprise, with the second being the Columbia. In this series, the first warp-5 ship is called Enterprise, with the second called Columbia; and the semi-canon Expanded Universe materials indicate that the remaining warp-5 ships continued with the Theme Naming (Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour).
  • Hotter and Sexier
  • Humans Are Diplomats: While this era clearly stumbles occasionally, Series 4 has Starfleet begin to forge an interstellar alliance, even managing to unite the Vulcans and Andorians who have thus-far been at war for centuries. With the Tellarites on side, this eventually leads to the formation of the Coalition of Planets, the precursor to The Federation.
  • Humans Are Special: Like most Star Trek series.
    • Ambassador Soval and Admiral Forrest had a very interesting conversation in "The Forge" where Soval explains why Vulcans were so aloof and withdrawn to them despite being allies. Vulcans had a devastating world war and it took them sixteen hundred years to rebuild their race. Humans suffered a similar thing and within a hundred years discovered FTL travel, made contact with aliens, united as a single world government, solved world hunger, world poverty and eliminated all curable diseases. On top of that, they had started the makings of The Federation. Vulcans were concerned that they could either be powerful allies or end up like the Klingons.
  • Idiot Ball: The Xindi's entire goal seemingly is this. So, they want to avert the destruction of their homeworld by humans in the future. Reasonable, sure? So why do they decide to go all the way to Earth, attempt to blow it up, thus setting in motion the events that most likely will cause humanity to become so pissed off they now have a reason they would destroy them? If they had simply stayed put, the future would have been averted, they would likely never would have even met humanity and there would have been no point to go to all that trouble to build a planet-killing superweapon?
    • The Xindi did not stop there, however. You see, they didn't attempt to destroy Earth in their premier episode. They just decided to test the prototype of their planet destroying weapon on Earth. An Earth who had no idea who these people were, or that they were even out to kill them, alerting humanity to their presence and motivations. Had the Xindi just shown up with the completed weapon, Earth would likely have stood no chance.
    • The Enterprise crew in "E2". Thrown back in time a hundred years, they spend their entire time moping around the Delphic Expanse, a lone ship in dangerous territory, and naturally seem to have gotten their ass handed to them numerous times. Exactly what prevented them from attacking the Xindi before they are a threat, forging a powerful alliance with the local races and, as it was only a few years since the Xindi Homeworld was destroyed, going to aid the Xindi their time of need, earning enough points with them that they might not have even felt it necessary to go through with their plan in the end?!
      • To add to that, Starfleet's mandate was Archer was allowed to do anything to end the threat. While you could argue that T'Pol convinced him it'd be too dangerous to alter the past, we've seen Archer has used time travel to benefit him before in the show, so concievably this wouldn't be out-of-character. Not to mention, Archer has the chance to avert 7 million peoples deaths, a clear example that "the needs of the many". Even T'Pol couldn't argue with that logic.
  • Infinite Supplies: Mostly averted. Unlike Star Trek: Voyager, damage inflicted in one episode ("Minefield") meant they had to pull into a space repair dock in the next ("Dead Stop"). And severe damage in the third season meant that for the rest of the season they spend time repairing the ship but almost anything more then a hiccup and the ship starts to fall apart again. As well, there weren't any starbases around and any damage to the warp drive meant that help was months or even years away.
  • Invaded States of America: During the Temporal Cold War, intervention from aliens allowed the Nazis to invade the United States.
  • Issue Drift: Season 3
  • Kick the Dog: The infamous "One Night in Sickbay" has an alien race actually attempts to sentence Porthos to death for committing a crime and when its discovered he contracted a deadly illness whilst on the planet, they withold giving him the cure. Why? Cause he urinated on one of their sacred trees. Granted, this would be inexcusable behaviour for anyone else, but you have to remember, Porthos is a dog!
  • Kiss of Distraction: Archer is undercover on a pre-industrial alien world, and doing some covert work alongside an alien female. When his Universal Translator breaks and he can no longer understand her, he smooches the woman to shut her up and distract her long enough so he can fix the translator behind her back.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Well, Klingon Lawyers actually. In fact, this trope is actually brought up by the Lawyer, who is afraid he is seeing the destruction of his society thanks to the dominance of the warrior culture.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Trellium-D, for Vulcans, who for the last five series seemed impervious or substantially more resilient to anything that harms or afflicts humans and other humanoids. That, and mating cycles.
  • Kudzu Plot: Once again, related to the "Temporal Cold War." Even the producers admitted they had no idea where it was going.
  • Legacy Character: The Enterprise herself. Archer and Shran discussed that both of their ships were named after prior vessels and wondered if their own ships would inspire other vessel names.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: In the first seasons the Enterprise lacked a B-cast, meaning that they really did do everything. This includes Archer serving as a nurse, not having anyone trained to use the brand new, notoriously unreliable transporter, and sending Hoshi around to do random inconsequential jobs as though she were an intern.
    • If you want a good illustration of this, when they visit Risa in "Two Days and Two Nights", the crew had already cast lots so that half of them get shore leave and the other half has to be the skeleton crew. Among the winners? Everyone in the photo on the top of this page, minus the Vulcan who couldn't care less about recreation and would conveniently be in charge aboard the ship. The chances of this happening are approximately 1.3%.[1]
  • The Man Behind the Man: Future Guy in the first couple seasons, the Sphere Builders in Season 3.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In "Shadows of P'Jem", Archer gets a faceful of T'Pol's, umm...'class-D planets' as the pair struggles to escape their ropes.
  • Mauve Shirt: Major Hayes
  • The Mole: Archer's steward Daniels turns out to be a time agent from the 31st century. Malcolm Reed works for an early incarnation of Section 31, while reporter Gannet turns out to be working for Starfleet Intelligence and Ensign Masaro for radical Earth group Terra Prime.
  • Moral Dissonance: In Dear Doctor, Archer and Phlox are holding a cure to a disease that will almost certainly wipe out one race of intelligent life and, in their absence, force the other (less intelligent, but still sapient) race to evolve (That is to say, die off in great numbers while they slowly get smarter over millennia). They decide to keep this cure to themselves, dooming one race to extinction, and another to the cruel ravages of natural selection, and call it the moral thing to do.
    • Observer Effect brings this issue up again, where almost the exact same situation is brought up again, where two crew members have already died, and Archer is dying. A pair of Organians are watching this as a study of 'lesser life forms'. Archer asks them to cure them, and even berates them for not saving his two crew members when they could easily have done so. While doing this, he continues to defend his actions in Dear Doctor, despite the situation being almost exactly the same. Apparently, Archer thinks leaving an entire species to die is okay, but leaving him and his crew to die is unforgivable.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • T'Pol.
    • Trip took off his shirt off a few times too.
    • Trip is reduced to his undershirt and underwear on three separate occasions in season one alone. He even spends half of one episode saving the day wearing this under combo. Of course this doesn't compare to T'Pol's complete nudity...
    • Anybody in the decon chamber.
    • Mirror Universe's Hoshi Sato, proof that Evil Is Sexy.
      • And let's not forget Hoshi being able to not only crawl through a Jeffries Tube, but also manage to loose her shirt on her way out.
  • Mythology Gag: There were three major Admirals in the series, Admiral Forrest, Admiral Leonard and Admiral Williams. The original series Power Trio was Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Kelly was the first of them to pass away; Admiral Forrest is the most prominent of those Admirals in the series.

Tropes N-S

  • Never Trust a Trailer: Season 2 had trailers for three episodes ("A Night in Sickbay", "Cogenitor", and "Bounty") portrayed as light-hearted, sex-filled episodes. Sickbay was a disaster, and Bounty had the sex stuff as a cheap b-plot. Cogenitor, on the other hand, was very dark, but also critically very well received. "Cogenitor" actually tried to analyze the moral questions of oppression and whether non-interference is the best course of action, and is generally considered one of the few standout episodes from the first three seasons. Its just that fans look back and chuckle at how goofy the trailer looked.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Civilians and government officials typically dress in a style virtually identical to early 21st century (that would be now) business formal. Of course, this was kind of an intentional choice to highlight how this prequel series was only a hundred and fifty years from our present day.
  • Official Couple: Trip and T'Pol, in the third and fourth season.
  • The One With...: "Regeneration". Known fondly as the "The One With The Borg".
  • The Only One: Fully justified for once. When Captain Archer says that NX-01 Enterprise is being sent to a crisis in the Borderland because they're the "fastest ship with the most experienced crew" he's right - Enterprise is the first human vessel capable of Warp 5 (most others are around Warp 2). The NX-02 Columbia isn't available till mid-way through the fourth season, and its most experienced crewmember is an officer who transfers over from Enterprise.
  • Piggybacking on Hitler: In "Storm Front", the Na'kuhl find themselves back in time on 20th-century Earth, during World War II. They side with the Nazis, offering to build advanced weapons in exchange for the resources they need to build a time machine. When the Nazis complain that the Aliens aren't helping them enough, the alien leader lampshades the trope by bluntly stating that the Nazis conquer countries; they conquer planets.
  • Planet of Hats: Generally averted with the writers trying to give some depth to each. Most notably, the Klingon lawyer, who laments how the warrior caste so dominates his society.
  • Precious Puppies
  • Prison Ship: One episode had Captain Archer and Trip aboard one of these. The other criminals launched an escape and killed the guards, forcing them to make themselves useful to the criminals in order to survive. It was basically Con Air In Space.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Klingons, who because of the earlier time return to being the bad guys, or at least on much less friendly terms. In Judgement their warrior race status is deconstructed by a Klingon lawyer describing the culture degrading into pure warrior status, which leaves a large hole in the community for little things like doctors, lawyers, school teachers...
    • And, to make matters worse, they're also forgetting about all that "Noble Heroic Warrior" stuff that supposedly made the Warrior class superior in the first place.
  • Red Shirt: The crew never suffered any fatal casualties in the first two seasons (despite incidents like a Romulan stealth mine blowing away a section of the hull), no doubt to avoid the 'phaser fodder' cliche. All this changed in the third season Xindi war arc with 27 crewmen killed. The trope is lampshaded in "The Forgotten", when Trip has to write a letter to the parents of a dead crewmember but can't remember much about her, so he keeps getting her mixed up with his Dead Little Sister. There's also two classic redshirt incidents: in "The Council" three main characters and a MACO enter one of the mysterious Spheres, and in Season 4 "Daedalus" Reed goes searching through a dark room for a Negative Space Wedgie with an unnamed crewmember -- no guessing who gets killed on both occasions. Deliberately parodied in "In A Mirror, Darkly" where Mirror Reed puts on an Original Series redshirt with near-fatal consequences.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: You get no points for figuring out which of the Xindi species doesn't turn good, and there's a clear Shout-Out to the miniseries V when the Xindi Reptilians snack on live mice.
  • Reset Button
  • Retooled twice in response to bottomed-out ratings -- the first occurred in Season 3 and abandoned the Plot of the Week for a Darker and Edgier season-long "epic" story arc. When that failed, the show was retooled for Season 4 by bringing in new creative staff and focusing the season on two or three-episode long mini-arcs. Although the quality of the show improved significantly (Season 4 is usually considered the best of the show), it was too little too late and said season proved to be its last.
  • Running Gag: "Earth? Never heard of it."
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Suliban (terrorists), the aliens in "Chosen Realm" (religious extremists), and the fractious Xindi standing in for the Middle East.
  • Screwed by the Network: By Season 3, ratings were no longer steadily dropping, but they also hadn't rebounded either. Though renewed for a fourth season, the network opted to move the series to Friday nights, which was seen as a death sentence not just by fans, but by the production staff. It's been suggested that with UPN shifting more interest towards the female demographic, they had less interest in anything Star Trek-related. Combined with a lack of promotion, ratings hit their absolute lowest (with several falling below three million viewers).
  • Serkis Folk: Xindi Insectoids and Aquatics. Also Star Trek: The Original Series aliens the Gorn and Tholians are re-done as these in "In A Mirror, Darkly."
  • Shirtless Scene: Archer and Tucker in "Desert Crossing." The writers presumably thought "It's a desert world; it'll be hot." Obviously nobody gets sunstroke or sunburn in the future, and in the present, nobody considers what desert-dwellers wear on Earth.
  • Shoot the Hostage: A Mook has a revolver to T'Pol's head. Reed stuns T'Pol with his phase pistol and the Mook is left staring at Reed with a stunned expression. Reed shrugs and then stuns the Mook.
  • Shout-Out: "We might as well be firing holographic bullets", among many others.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: T'Pol and Trip.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The new, more upbeat, version of the Opening Theme coincided with the show's turn into Darker and Edgier territory in Season 3 as part of a general Retool. This was more often than not quite jarring when the teaser ended on an Oh Crap moment only to segue into a bouncy pop song.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Trip Tucker depending on the episodes, since they either portray him as an engineering genius and in another he can't do grade school math to save his life.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Space Is an Ocean, Space Is Noisy, 2-D Space, In Space Everyone Can See Your Face, and every other standard Star Trek misrepresentation.
  • Space Marines: The M.A.C.O. unit.
  • Space Mines: In the episode, "Minefield", the Enterprise runs into a cloaked field of Romulan mines.
  • Space Suits Are Scuba Gear: T'Pol wears a space suit with a gratuitous external air hose in "Damage."
  • Special Edition Title: "In A Mirror, Darkly." Even the song changed. Many people prefer that episode's opening credits to the usual ones and ads used the titles.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: This series is the only one not to be sent off by the previous series, but rather by one of TNG's movies, First Contact, with a recorded message from Zefram Cochrane.
  • Stable Time Loop: "Regeneration" reveals Star Trek: First Contact was one. Basically, the Borg attacked earth, going back in time, where several were shot down. Then, they wake up, and send the location of Earth to the Borg. It was estimated to take 200 years to reach them. 200 years later, basically, the Borg attacked Earth, going back in time...
  • The Starscream: Evil Archer and Evil Hoshi.
  • Straw Hypocrite: John Frederick Paxton, the leader of Terra Prime. He at least has the decency to admit to it when called on the fact.
  • Straw Vulcan: Over the course of four years, T'Pol undergoes a Mind Rape that brings up traumatic memories of losing her emotional control in a jazz nightclub, remembers repressed memories of a line-of-duty killing (that also led to a loss of emotional control), suffers from Pa'nar Syndrome that degrades her neural pathways (leading to loss of emotional control), becomes addicted to Trellium-D (which causes loss of emotional control), and is infected by a microbe that makes her undergo a premature pon farr (leading to loss of emotional control and clothing). It seems the writers believed that the only way T'Pol's character could develop was to take away the characteristics that made her different from humans.
    • Word of God says that T'Pol's issues with emotional control would have been "explained" in the fifth season by revealing that her father was a Romulan.
  • Stunt Casting: Bakula's Quantum Leap co-star Dean Stockwell in "Detained."
  • Subspace Ansible: Despite the fact that later Enterprises would take hours or days to receive a pre-recorded subspace message, communications with the NX-01 are all real-time. But they're not as far out, and we do see relay beacons being deployed at one stage.

Tropes T-Z

  • Teleporter Accident (but no Holodeck Malfunctions as they hadn't been invented yet. Unless you count Trip getting pregnant.)
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Much of the Temporal Cold War arc, brought to a conclusion in the beginning of the fourth season and even the characters who knew what was going on couldn't explain exactly what was happening.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A frequent complaint of fans was that the promos for upcoming episodes often spoiled key plot details, in at least one case even spoiling an ending. Additionally, going to break within episodes themselves, UPN would air previews that gave away plot details coming later in the episode.
  • Translation Convention (unless Hoshi's translating abilities are crucial to the plot). Also Expospeak Gag, My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels, Either World Domination or Something About Bananas, Pardon My Klingon, and Curse of Babel (any episode where Hoshi can't translate).
  • Universal Translator: Averted, in that it is a recent development in this series and needs to be backed up by Omniglot Hoshi Sato.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Warp 5-capable, cloaking device and tractor beam equipped Suliban Cell Ship they got in the Pilot episode. We see them use in again in the second season episode "The Communicator" with some lip service they still are trying to figure it out, but they never seemed in a hurry to bother trying to use the technology. On the other hand, their Mirror Universe selves apparently realised it early on, proving that the regular universe crew may just be Lawful Stupid.
    • Archer also came into possession of a second Cell Ship in "Shockwave Part 2"... so this even becomes even more of an issue of why they never did this.
      • Well, in that episode, Silik is released from captivity, so one ship's absence could be explainable. The other one, though...
  • Worst Aid
  • You Are Not Ready: Archer holds a grudge against the Vulcans for withholding information on warp technology, so his father (an FTL engineer) never got to see his work in practice. Even though Archer learns that it's all a bit more complicated than that, resentment on this issue is maintained by other humans (one Terra Prime operative mentions the Vulcans' failure to stop World War III as the reason he joined the xenophobic organization).
    • In the episode "Dear Doctor" a pre-warp civilization is trying to (very slowly) scout out other civilizations that might have access to technology that could cure their race of impending extinction. Archer takes one look at the guys and realizes, much to his chagrin, that they simply don't have the technological infrastructure to build warp engines, so just handing them the schematics would be worthless. Archer has just become everything he hated about the Vulcans.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: "Dear Doctor." SF Debris has some things to say on this (here and here). One thing to add is that if a species evolved something fatal, that is an accident. It's not something deliberate to make room for another species in that niche.
    • Not to mention, that for the other species to evolve to become more intelligent, they are going to have to be fed back into the engine of natural selection, i.e. dying in large numbers so that only the smartest survive.
  • You Fail Physics Forever: For one thing, Earth-like gravity on a comet, one of the characters breaks his leg after falling a yard or so.
  • You Keep Using That Word: T'Pol repeatedly invokes logic whenever dealing with the subject of Time Travel. T'Pol, you've met Daniels and seen his advanced technology and you yourself once parsed through a futuristic archive which included a complete history of Vulcan ships that haven't been built yet. You once encountered a pod thats Bigger on the Inside that contained a dead human corpse that had Vulcan DNA, something that is currently impossible by today's science. How can you still deny that every single bit of evidence points that time travel is not only possible, but frequently standing right front of you?! That is what is would be called a logical conclusion. However, she does later admit it is the only explanation when sent back to 21st-century Earth.
  • You Look Familiar: Jeffrey Combs, a Trek regular, plays the Andorian Shran. J.G. Hertzler (General Martok from Deep Space Nine) guest-stars as a Klingon defense attorney in "Judgement", then briefly appears again as a Klingon Bird of Prey captain (Hertzler makes a great Klingon). And naturally Brent Spiner plays Dr. Soong.
    • Combs was one of the pirates in "Acquisition" along with Ethan Phillips (Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager), Clint Howard (Grady from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Past Tense, Part II" and Balok from waaaay back in TOS' "The Corbomite Maneuver").
    • Rene Auberjonois (Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) guest-stared as Ezral in the episode "Oasis."
    • Vaughn Armstrong (Admiral Forrest) portrayed thirteen separate characters in twenty-eight episodes over four separate series; this was actually his first human role.
  • You're Insane!: Archer to the terrorist leader in "Chosen Realm": "You're out of your mind!"
  • Zeerust: The NX-01 actually seems more futuristic than the original series USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). Worth noting that the set designer openly admits that fact is true, simply because real-world technology has advanced past TOS in places, and that he tried to keep it a balance of TOS and real-world modern.
    • A lampshade is hung during "In a Mirror, Darkly", where evil alternate Archer encounters the missing Defiant from the TOS-era episode "The Tholian Web." The ship is accurate to the old Enterprise sets, and Archer is marveled at how advanced it all looks. He even takes to wearing a standard-issue TOS captain uniform. The original series sets make such a stark contrast from all of the other sets on the series that they're surprisingly effective at looking like mysterious future technology from a parallel universe.
      • Though even in Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations," the general look of that period seemed to be treated more as an aesthetic choice than anything else. Even so, while the NX bridge looks more advanced, in actual practice it, and the ship itself, are really not.
    • Interestingly, there was a conscious effort by set designers to subtly change background details over time to suggest that technology was progressing towards that of the TOS era. This is most obvious on computer displays in the episode These Are the Voyages....
  • Zipperiffic: The uniforms worn by Archer and co.
  1. If, as T'Pol insisted, the draw was fair, we can calculate this as a hypergeometric probability, getting these six main characters chosen (Archer, Sato, Mayweather, Tucker, Reed, and Phlox), selecting 42 out of a pool of 84 (Enterprise's complement minus T'Pol). Now with randomness, you can never be sure, but....