John Billingsley says greed killed Star Trek Enterprise
John Billingsley says that Star Trek Enterprise was killed because of greed.
The actor played Dr. Phlox in all four seasons of Enterprise which was a prequel to the original series (and subsequent spin-offs) and a sequel, of sorts, to the big-screen movie First Contact. The spin-off was the first Star Trek to be cancelled, rather than naturally come to a conclusion, since the original series which was axed in 1969 after three seasons.
In a recent interview with Indy Star the actor put the demise of the series down to greed on the studio’s part. He said ‘The reality is you can’t write a novel by committee. Any great work of art is the product of one man’s vision. The early series were Roddenberry’s. … But what happened with Voyager and our show Enterprise, and I don’t mean this in any way as a knock on our executive producers … but Paramount was saying more, more, more, more, more, because they viewed this as a commercial product. Nothing [in television] works when it is brought into being by the marketing department. Paramount kind of sabotaged itself. I think they got greedy, and that’s what studios do, unfortunately, because they are run largely by bean counters.”
The actor added, of the show’s survival for four seasons, ‘It’s a miracle we got four seasons. Any other TV show would have been yanked after one season. Our ratings were abysmal. We opened well, we had a great audience for the first episode, and they watched it and they said, “This is nothing new. It’s the same Star Trek I’ve been watching for years and years. It’s a retread.”
Enterprise was plagued by low ratings, poor critical response and wasn’t entirely well received by fans either. At the time the demise of Enterprise was put down to “franchise fatigue” as a version of Star Trek had been on-air since the launch of The Next Generation in 1987. By the time of Enterprise‘s launch in 2001 there had been two further spin-offs; Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well as several big-screen movies. It was widely said that audiences had merely fallen out of love with the franchise by the time of Enterprise.
The series was, as per the spin-offs before it, expected to run for seven seasons and also produce big-screen movies. The Next Generation cast would have handed over to the Enterprise cast for the cinematic movies – skipping Deep Space Nine and Voyager. The axing of Enterprise and the poor box performance of Nemesis put pay to those plans and the cinema franchise was put on hold until J.J Abrams reboot in 2009.