I’ve finished watching all 98 episodes of Star Trek Enterprise some 15 years after it went off the air. Is it deserving of the moniker, “the show that killed Star Trek”? Probably not, but it certainly is my least favorite of the franchise. I do think it is a perfect example of a show that was never allowed to do what fans of the franchise wanted.
I am too young to have watched the original Star Trek when it first aired. For me it was already in syndication when I came to it in the seventies. Even then we knew if you wanted epic space battles you either watched Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars (in the movies of course). Trek was a show that told familiar stories in an interesting way and how the characters solved the problems in any given episode was the draw. That continued to some extent with TNG, but by the time of Enterprise apparently phasers and photons were the order is the day.
For any fan, a look at the earliest incarnation of the Federation of Planets would have been reason to keep watching. For some reason that was never the intention of Enterprise’s writers. We got glimpses and man did I love the episodes with the Andorians, but by the third season those hopes were dashed.
That’s not to say Archer and crew weren’t likable, they just went given anything approaching character development. Most of the Archer was the character that was the antithesis of what we expected Scott Bakuka to play. He tried his best but many times it just wasn’t there. For me the the standouts were Phlox and Ensign Soto. To say nothing of my new favorite Andorian, Commander Shran.
So, is it watchable, sure, but it is far from what it could have been. The good news is the lesson seems to have been mostly learned as evident in Discovery and Picard. Though I have my nit picks about those as well. Star Trek was and is about humans finding thier place in the grander backdrop of an immense galaxy.