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Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Welcome aboard the Enterprise NX-01.note 

"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 there to here...

Star Trek: Enterprise is 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 from the network—presumably so as to avoid the lack of suspense expected from a prequel typically having a Foregone Conclusion. Still, even the show creators didn't care for being forced into adding that kind of twist, 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.

Enterprise is, by all indications, the only Star Trek series to take place in both the "old" timeline — comprising the prior shows and movies — and the "new" timeline subsequently created by Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness, with its presence in the former timeline being confirmed by the series finale, and mentions of the now-Admiral Archer and a model NX-01 establishing its presence in the latter. Though creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga suggested early in the show's run that it occurred in an entirely separate timeline created by the events of Star Trek: First Contact, latter episodes of the show disregarded this explanation and depicted the series as being fully in continuity with the prior ones.

Additional pages:

Star Trek: Enterprise provides examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes #-G 
  • 2-D Space: Averted for once in "Acquisition". The Ferengi ship approaches the Enterprise from an angle unusual for the series.
  • Aborted Arc: 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.
    • Phlox was meant to develop a romance with Ensign Cutler, which sadly had to be abandoned after the death of Cutler's actress.
  • 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.
    • Aromantic or 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. He could also be bisexual, making numerous ex-girlfriends and Ho Yay with various male cast members perfectly compatible.
    • From what we do see of his onscreen interactions with women (and his drunken admission to Trip that he thinks T'Pol has a "nice bum" and that none of those women to whom he was writing his farewell letters ever really knew him all that well), he actually seems very attracted to women, but unable to form any lasting relationships with them, showing a lot of the classical symptoms of a socially avoidant personality.
      • Dominic Keating has stated that this was his interpretation of the character.
  • Antagonist Title:
    • "The Andorian Incident": At the end, the real villains are revealed to be the Vulcans, but the Andorians are still the antagonist for the majority of the episode.
    • "Silent Enemy": The enemy is an alien ship which attacks the Enterprise.
    • "Marauders": The Klingons are the antagonists.
    • "The Augments": The Augments are the genetically altered humans led by Dr. Arik Soong.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that Time Travel is impossible. It is illogical to think otherwise.
    • In the Mirror Universe, they've also determined that parallel universes are impossible.
  • 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!
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to the inventor of the transporter, "People said it was unsafe, that it caused brain cancer, psychosis, and even sleep disorders."
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Target practice frequently happens in the armory, where the ship's high-yield torpedoes and weapons are held. After target practice in "Sleeping Dogs," Hoshi points her phase pistol at Reed's chest while handing it back to him, breaking just about every rule of gun safety.
  • Artistic License – History: The alternate timeline in "Storm Front" makes use of this. The successful Nazi conquests of Europe and North America are made possible because Lenin was assassinated before Red October, ensuring Russia did not become communist. Except that anti-communism was the driving force behind the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy.
    • The implication being that fascism would have inevitably occurred anyway in Italy and Germany as a product of civil unrest and the aftermath of World War One, simply taking a different path to fruition, while without communism in Russia, the country would never have been forced through an industrial revolution that made it into a dominant power at the time - militarizing both Russia and other communist nations.
  • Ascended Meme: Fans coined the name "Future Guy" to refer to the otherwise unnamed mysterious leader of the Temporal Cold War who first appeared in the pilot and was known only as the "Humanoid Figure". Ironically the writing staff actually took this name and used it for the character.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: They did a Black and Gray Morality version of this for the Mirror Universe episode "In A Mirror Darkly" with everyone being villainous in one way or another. The "heroes" were the Vulcans T'Pol and Soval, made sympathetic in part by their being a conquered people, but T'Pol is shown being rather cruel and manipulative in her own way, and both Vulcans are initially working for The Empire against The Resistance in any case. To make a long story short, they lose to the megalomaniacal version of Jonathan Archer, who's shown laughing and partying with his "Captain's Woman" Hoshi Sato as he celebrates his victory and prepares to take over as Emperor. To keep the ending from being completely disgusting, however, Hoshi Sato gives him some poisoned champagne to drink, and then embraces Travis Mayweather as her new consort in front of Archer as he lies dying from the poison. Later, upon reaching Earth, she carries out what had been his plan, demanding that Starfleet surrender or be destroyed, and announcing that she is the new Empress.
  • Bare Your Midriff: In the Mirror Universe the Enterprise crewman still wear the standard jumpsuits (with added Bling of War) but in homage to Uhura's fanservice-y outfit in "Mirror Mirror" the women wear a two-piece, including a high-cut shirt that shows off their taut abs.
  • 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 civilization 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 certainly 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.
    • The "Gazelle Speech" was so uniquely ridiculous that "Gazelle Speech" might deserve to be its own headliner trope.
  • Book Ends: The pilot episode opens with a young Jonathan Archer saying "where no man has gone before." The last line in the series also belongs to Captain Archer, getting the "To boldly go, where no man has gone before" line after Picard and Kirk's respective parts of the speech.
  • 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 with T'Pol's Pa'nar syndrome. The Vulcan Mind-Meld subculture and related Pa'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 Pa'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.
      • The point behind Archer and Phlox defending T'Pol was actually a way of pointing out that rape victims are the victims, and shouldn't be treated with stigma because they were assaulted, which is an unbroken, if understated, aesop. At no point does anyone say that T'Pol is at fault for being attacked.
    • A straight broken aesop in "The Hatchery." A major theme of the Xindi arc is that humans and Xindi are Not So Different; Archer has met several who are decent people that are either horrified to learn that they're involved in the deaths of millions or hold serious reservations about destroying Earth. When the crew finds an Insectoid ship with a hatchery, they conclude that the crew pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to save the eggs. But Archer's comparison of insect eggs to humanoid babies and attempts to save the hatchery are portrayed as irrational, the crew has to mutiny, and the only reason he cared was because he got hit with egg gunk. So our enemies are people too... unless they're bugs, 'cause that's just weird. (It also nicely undercuts a general theme of Star Trek: even if life comes in an unfamiliar or creepy form, it deserves respect.)
    • In "North Star", the theme of overcoming prejudice and tolerance is slightly undone as Bethany, the only person willing and able to give them any kind of respect and consideration is later revealed (for no reason) to be a quarter-Skagaran herself. As a result, the Sherrif taking a level in kindness and becoming more tolerant is the only thing that preventing this aesop from being completely mangled.
  • Bug War: One of the Xindi races is insectoid.
  • Call Forward: Numerous, with their own page here.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Kellie Waymire died suddenly in 2003, but apparently, Crewman Cutler is still alive and well.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: A notable averting of the trope; as of 2014, Enterprise stands as the only Trek franchise series to not have had a single comic book adaptation.
  • Commonality Connection: In "United", Shran and Archer discover this about each other, after he inquires about the paintings of the various ships on the wall of his cabin. Archer explains they are vessels from across the centuries named Enterprise, leading Shran to reveal that his ill-fated ship, the Kumari, was similarly named after the first icebreaker to circumnavigate Andoria.
  • 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.
    • This is Handwaved in several places with explanations that smooth over the consistency issues with a couple of different theories - one is that the Enterprise is a very crude spaceship with no designer or creature comforts and all the technology out on display, while the look in TOS and other series are aesthetically-minded and designed to make things easier to use and less likely to break and come apart at the seams. This handwave is supported by the "Trials and Tribblations" episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which directly makes reference to TOS era have particular styles and designs, much as unique architectural styles such as art deco are referenced today.
  • Cowboy Episode: "North Star."
  • 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.
      • This is one of the areas where Hoshi may have "choked" under pressure: as a gifted linguist, she should be well aware that in a lot of languages, words used when speaking in the second person often double for imperatives. What they were saying, in other words, was probably "Eat the way you mate!" i.e. one should do both in private.
      • Of course, as any linguist can tell you, idiomatic expressions in any language can be a royal pain in the ass.
  • Crossover: Will Riker and Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation in the final episode.
    • While no actual characters crossed over, the Mirror episodes were a sequel to a Star Trek: The Original Series episode, and featured a TOS-era Federation Constitution-class starship, fully stocked with uniforms and quite operational.
  • Creator Provincialism: Most notably in the opening sequence which showed the history of space exploration - America's space exploration. Yuri Gagarin who? Sputnik? Gesundheit.
  • 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: Daniels says that massive changes in the timeline don't immediately alter the future.
  • Depending on the Writer: Characterization can vary greatly between episodes, most notably Captain Archers varying tolerance for Vulcans.
    • Story quality can also vary quite a bit between episodes as well.
  • Designated Victim / Distressed Dude: 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).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Reed Alert, that's not bad"
  • Double Meaning Title: Referring to the ship itself as well as the "enterprise" of venturing into the unknown and going where no one-ah you know the rest.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: The episode "Unexpected". Tucker becomes pregnant when an alien tricks him into activity which would be the alien equivalent of sex, impregnating him. Played for humor because of the male pregnancy, and the fact that Tucker didn't give meaningful consent is ignored. Of course, the female alien would have had no reason to suspect that Tucker's consent to sex didn't include an understanding of the consequences, as that was just normal to her. So, if you have sex with someone not your species, without having made a study of the risks this might entails (extensive biology classes), you've consented to unknown risks. The alien is very apologetic when she finds out, and didn't think impregnation was a possibility at all. It still doesn't excuse the fact that Tucker was made fun of by the crew of the Enterprise and a crew of Klingons over it.
  • Downer Ending: "Cogenitor"
    • "These Are The Voyages..." was a definite downer (and considered an insult by some fans) compared to the uplifting end of the previous episode "Terra Prime."
    • Even if you agree with Archer's decision, leaving the Valakians to die in "Dear Doctor" is definitely a downer.
  • Dream Sequence: T'Pol gets one in Season 1's "Fusion"
  • Dream Spying: Trip and T'Pol pop into each others dreams in one episode, despite being on different vessels.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In "Shuttlepod One", Trip and Reed find the bottom of a bottle of bourbon after they're stranded in space facing a slow death.
    "The Universe can laugh at us all it wants to; it's not getting my bourbon!"
  • Duel to the Death: In "United", a furious Shran declares this after the murder of his lover by one of the Tellarite ambassadors. Trying to save the conference, Archer, Hoshi and Travis figure out a loophole in the rules to allow him to substitute Archer in the ambassador's place and find a non-lethal way to settle the duel, which still respects Andorian tradition.
  • 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.
    • For better or for worse, "Dear Doctor". For better in that it firmly establishes that the rule of conduct we've come to know in Star Trek (i.e. the Prime Directive) do not yet exist in the Enterprise era. For worse in that many fans chose this episode as the point where they abandoned Enterprise and televised Star Trek (if they didn't jump ship with "A Night in Sickbay").
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The second-season episode "Carbon Creek" implies that Velcro was given to us by stranded Vulcans.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage: Denobulans (both male and female) tend to have three spouses each. Dr. Phlox, the Enterprise's chief surgeon, thus had a total of 720 people he was directly or indirectly married to.
  • Expanded Universe
  • Failsafe Failure
  • Family Un Friendly Aesop: Cogenitor and Dear Doctor both have these.
  • Fantastic Racism: A continuing theme of the show, as this prequel series dealt with mankind's initial reactions to new life and new civilisations. Early season episodes include the Suliban being treated like potential terrorists because of the actions of the Cabal, the Vulcans' patronising attitude towards humans (and the human response to it), and Commander Shran — an Andorian who despises Vulcans and Tellarians, and even refers to his friend Captain Archer as "pinkskin". He refers to all humans as "pinkskins" — did he not notice the variety of human skin? In "The Breach" Dr Phlox has to persuade a patient to receive treatment from him as the Denobulans committed atrocities against his species in the past, while Trip's attempt to help a repressed minority in a tri-gendered species has a tragic end. Virtually the entire fourth season touched on this trope in one way or another. Xenophobia on Earth increases after the Xindi attack, radical group Terra Prime tries to make political capital over the Trip/T'Pol relationship by squicking out humanity over the idea of Vulcan-human hybrids (even T'Pol's mother brings up "the shame" that such a mixed-race child would feel). And the whole Übermensch thing naturally comes up with the genetically-superior Augments. And let's not even get into Vulcans shunning those who use their telepathic powers because they spread Vulcan AIDS...
  • Fanservice: Mmm, let's see...
  • First Contact: Numerous instances, such as with the Andorians and several species only present in this series.
  • Fix Fic: The Expanded Universe novel The Good That Men Do fixes a lot of the problems with the series finale. Unfortunately, Paramount and Gene Roddenberry decreed novels are not considered canon, so the books can do whatever they want, it doesn't count, officially.
    • Luckily because the series finale is set a couple of hundred years in the future as a holodeck simulation, there's a degree of narrative uncertainty about the entire thing. For all the audience knows, the entire thing could have been made up completely or happen in an alternate timeline. It's very easy to canonically say "we have no proof that any of this happened in-universe." Thankyou, Framing Device.
  • 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.
    • Remember that Suliban Cell Ship that was capable of Warp 5, Cloaking and had a Tractor Beam, that they got in the Pilot? And the second one they got at the end of the first Series? It took until Series 2 before they mentioned they were still trying to figure out it's technology, but still, it seems it was relegated to the Enterprise's junk drawer since they are never mentioned again.
  • 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
  • Franchise Killer: The series ended an 18-year run of Star Trek series on US TV, and fandom pretty much imploded during its run due to its divisiveness. Although there was talk of yet another Star Trek series being commissioned after Enterprise's cancellation, this was soon put aside in favor of restarting the franchise anew with the 2009 film. It has been nearly a decade since a Star Trek series was last on television, with no sign of anything official suggesting a return to the small screen in the near future.
  • GagReel: This was the first Star Trek series to have official season blooper reels compiled for DVD release.
  • Genius Ditz: Tucker. In "Shuttlepod One" it's shown that he doesn't understand simple algebra problems, which you think would be required reading for anyone who happens to be in charge of an matter/anti-matter reactor?!
    • The problem in question is of the "two trains leave two different stations at two different times; at what time do they meet" variety, and Trip merely mentions that he never understood those. It's likely that he just had trouble sussing out those specific questions in tests, and probably doesn't have any wider problems with basic algebra, although the comment could be interpreted in multiple ways.
  • Genetic Memory
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: In proud tradition...Orion slave girls return in the fourth season.
    • The Orion males we shall not speak of.
    • Talas the Andorian gets an honorable mention as a Blue-Skinned Space Babe.

    Tropes H-M 
  • Handshake Refusal: Sub-commander T'pol does this to Trip Tucker in the pilot episode. Justified in that T'pol is a Vulcan, Vulcans being touch telepathic aliens who don't like touching members of their own species, let alone emotional humans. It pretty obviously doubled as a snub, however.
  • Hero of Another Story: Captain Erika Hernandez of the Columbia.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Archer absolutely adores his pet beagle Porthos. In "A Night in Sickbay", he's willing to throw away humanity's burgeoning relations with the Kreetassans when Porthos becomes infected with a virus after visiting their planet. Admittedly, it's not a very good episode but it does illustrate how much he loves his dog.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Chef, Future Guy.
    • In later seasons, jokesters added Mayweather to this list.
    • For a long time Admiral Gardner, until he turned up in the Mirror Universe. So it's He Who Must Not Be Seen In This Timeline.
  • 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 Goal-Oriented Evolution and evolution influenced by environment into a single plot point.
    • However, in the end, the small bit of realistic genetics gets overshadowed by Hollywood inventiveness.Evolution (in simplest terms) is the accumulation of genetic traits and mutations passed into successive generations by natural selection and adaptation. In other episodes Phlox seems to understand the fact that as soon as you involve anything external to an ecosystem (technology, medicine...doctors) you are changing the parameters for selection and adaptation, however he doesn't seem to realize how this applies to the situation at hand. What is truly frustrating is that in nearly all other episodes Phlox actually shows a good understanding of medicine and ethics, so this drop into Idiot Ball stupidity is particularly noticeable.
  • 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: Or at least, it tried to be. Unfortunately it was during its run that the "eww, girls are gross" fanbase and the "SF should have no romance" fanbase and the "shipper" fanbase and the "all romance in Star Trek is childish fanservice" all collided.
  • 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.
    • Soval also points out that humans remind the Vulcans of their past violent and emotionally turbulent selves before they embraced logic. Little does Soval or Forrest know that there's another expansionist species descended from pre-logic Vulcans that fits this description — the Romulans.
    • The episode "Observer Effect" returns the Organians, who study how different species react to a silicon-based virus. It's explicitly stated that humans display more compassion in fighting the virus than any other species that has been observed in 800 years.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Archer's actions in "Fortunate Son" where he tirades against Ryan for seeking revenge against pirates who have repeatedly attacked his ship and nearly fatally injured one of his crew, compared to "Silent Enemy" where Archer seeks revenge against unknown aliens who have repeatedly attacked his ship and nearly fatally injured one of his crew. Bad enough already, but the latter takes place only two episodes later!
    • On a more broad scale, Archer is always advocating open-mindedness and embracing other lifeforms, and yet as the series goes on, we find that he falls into the occasional habit of being suspicious, paranoid and almost hostile upon first contact with truly alien forms of life or humanoids that are very different from the human norm for absolutely no good reason (except maybe his "feelings"), while he is warm, welcoming and forgiving to more familiar humanoids for the exact same lack of reasoning. Sometimes his paranoia ends up being justified but not for any reason that he could determine beforehand. He really edges onto What Measure Is a Non-Human? in his interspecies treatment.
    • Hoshi also falls into the same trap in "Exile" - when a telepathic alien appeals to her and assumes a very human shape, she is eager to meet him and have him help them out, but when she finds out that he is a far less handsome and more alien humanoid, she becomes outright hostile and cold, despite how kind and compassionate the alien is.
    • In "The Breach", Phlox points out that Denobulan Medical Ethics prevent him from treating someone who does not want to be treated and that he must respect his patients wishes, even if they lead to their death. Which makes his actions in "Dear Doctor" even more shocking in retrospect, since the Valakians most certainly did want to be treated!
    • Likewise Archer in "Dear Doctor". When all is said and done, he is quite happy for him and his crew to have the services of an alien physician with advanced bio-medical knowledge to assist them as they explore the unknown and have to deal with the health threats inherent in doing so. But helping the Valakians is "playing God"! When combined with his long-standing complaints about the Vulcans withholding their technology from humanity, it comes across as the pinnacle of hypocrisy since Archer is just fine with humans receiving alien assistance.
    • Purposefully invoked and deconstructed in "Damage", where Archer realises that in order to reach Azati Prime in time to prevent the Xindi from destroying Earth, he must engage in piracy and steal a replacement warp coil from the Illyrians. In other words, become no different from the Osaarian pirates from "Anomaly" that he so despised.
    • John Paxton, the leader of the xenophobic Earth organization Terra Prime. He had unwavering dedication to his cause, and was willing to scorch half of San Francisco to make his demands known. Considering this was after a devastating alien attack, their concerns about an alien alliance had some validity. T'Pol deduced from a trembling hand that Paxton had a genetic disorder, one that should have killed him when he was a teenager, but didn't because of "freely given" alien medical technology. Paxton will only admit that he's not the first leader to fail to live up to the standard of an idol (in his case, a mass murderer from Earth's post WW 3 period), and refuses to back down. This fact exposed him as a man who was just racist.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • In "Babel One" Archer follows a ship that shot at and nearly crippled Enterprise without provocation and which he suspects destroyed an Andorian battleship. He finds the ship and it's floating in space trying to repair a malfunction. Their weapons and engines, however, are still active, and this ship is known to have formidable shields. So Archer just sits there in Enterprise and beams across his tactical officer, chief engineer and all of two makos to a known hostile and much more advanced ship so Trip can help them get power back online. Archer doesn't even try to take out their weapons, prepare his ship for battle or send across enough makos to protect two of his officers who have highly valuable and intimate knowledge of Enterprise and Starfleet. In fact, when the ship powers up its weapons and shields and Enterprise barely escapes, Archer transports out the two makos first leaving two highly valuable officers behind unprotected on a hostile ship. And of course, those two officers act like they are on some kind of rescue mission and go straight to the bridge unarmed and unsuspecting in order to help the people who have been trying to destroy them. ....Is there a reason everyone suddenly had their IQ points halved?
    • An in-universe version: the creator(s) of the Augments enhanced their aggression, ambition and tendency for violence (or in other words, all primal human instincts left over from basic humanoid evolution before higher cortical functions took over)) and didn't make sure that their dis-inhibition wasn't lowered at the same time? How was that a good idea at all? These geneticists basically made sure that the reasoning and complicated thought processes inherent in the cerebral cortex (particularly the frontal lobes) that makes humans human (also the limbic system and capacity for compassion) was enslaved to uncontrolled primitive desires. In their Augments they reduced humanity to a primitive animalistic group-society with the added cruelty and violence of intelligent humans and the disinhibition to not control that cruelty or violence. All that their "higher intelligence" did was make sure that they lived in such a manner with advanced technology. Yes, this was clearly the way forward for human evolution and genetic science.
    • In "The Expanse", unless Duras had caught up with them that very second, we have to assume that he'd intentionally waited until Enterprise had dropped out of warp in the Solar System before staging his ambush, instead of attacking them whilst in Deep Space. Naturally, this ambush occurring right in their own backyard means that Starfleet shows up in less than a minute.
      • Remember Space Is Big. He wouldn't have known exactly where they were when in deep space, but he knew they'd have to come into Sol system proper sooner or later. He probably didn't want to take a chance on wandering around in the Oort Cloud and missing them completely.
    • In "Bound", knowing that the Orion females are emitting a pheromone that allows them to manipulate the men onboard, they decide to lock them in the Decon Chamber as a safety precaution... then decide to post a male guard in the room with them.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Invoked at the end of "The Communicator", where to prevent cultural contamination by revealing their alien origins, Archer lets a highly paranoid military power believe that they are genetically engineered super-soldiers from their enemy nation, with advanced particle weapons, sub-orbital craft that is not only invisible to radar, but the naked eye as well! Archer reflects at the end of the end of the episode, that despite preventing them from acquiring advanced technology, with all the political tension on that planet, chances are that they probably made things a lot worse!
    • Keep in mind, before he span this lie, the military officers seemed perfectly willing to entertain that they were aliens and were more concerned that they were allied with their enemy, than by the idea that alien life existed!
    • The end of "Dear Doctor" has the holocaust occur because the crew refused to stop an easily preventable one, due to Phlox's Social Darwinist belief that evolution has slated certain people to die.
  • 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.
    • The alternate Enterprise from "E2" is shown as being even more battle-scarred, due to having spent over a century in the Expanse after being thrown back in time.
  • Insane Admiral: Averted. Uniquely among the other Trek shows, Enterprise had a regularly occurring Reasonable Authority Figure in Admiral Forrest that the crew reported to. Even his Mirror Universe counterpart was largely honorable (going down in a Heroic Sacrifice to give Archer time to complete the mission), if a bit brutal.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Genetic predestination"... Star Trek has always had issues with the idea of "genetic predestination" - an idea which by its very nature is a logical fallacy - but in "Dear Doctor" is where the full force stupidity of it comes into play. Basing an entire episode on an idea which has no inherent sense whatsoever does not a good outcome make.
    • Archer does some pretty impressive rhetorical gymnastics to convince himself that the Valakians simply are not ready to handle warp drive technology yet, and won't be before they become extinct. This despite the fact that they have what is definitely a late-21st Century level of technological development and slower-than-light space travel, as well as what appears to be a peaceful civilization. As shown in Star Trek: First Contact, humanity's first warp drive spacecraft was designed, built and flown by a borderline alcoholic living in a post-World War III shanty town in the wilds of Montana out salvaged materials in an abandoned missile silo! On what basis is Archer casting aspersions on the Valakian's being "ready"? Or does humanity privately acknowledge that there were fair odds that Cochrane might have blown up North America when he tried to launch the Phoenix and they just try not to think about it too much?
  • Inscrutable Aliens: In the episode Silent Enemy the Enterprise encountered an alien ship that did not speak when hailed and soon turned inexplicably hostile.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Disastrously averted. Enterprise was the only series in the Star Trek franchise that didn't use an instrumental theme. "Faith of the Heart" was poorly received. Many online petitions were submitted for its removal from the title sequence.
  • Invaded States of America: During the Temporal Cold War, intervention from aliens allowed the Nazis to invade the United States.
  • Irony: Terra Prime are a human-supermacist organisation, which promotes openly racist, highly xenophobic rhetoric, as well as the belief in maintaining racial purity. This is despite the fact many of their members are shown to be from ethnicities subjected to the same kind of harassment, throughout human history. Of course, this was probably the whole point.
    • In the Mirror Universe episode, evil Captain Archer proudly shows off the shotgun Zephram Cochrane used to kill the first Vulcan who stepped onto human soil.
    Archer: I wonder how history would have played out if Cochrane hadn't turned the tables on your invasion force. Humans might be your slaves instead of the other way around.
  • Issue Drift: Season 3 - A not-so-negative example of this trope. The Issue Drift is worked naturally into the storyline and there are no instances of Author Filibuster or any Strawman Political.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In Season 3, Malcolm sees himself having this with Major Hayes, the commander of the MACO detachment. Oddly, he keeps this attitude even after fighting alongside the MACOs on several missions, including going in with Major Hayes on the kemocite facility.
  • Kick the Dog: The infamous "One Night in Sickbay" has an alien race actually attempt to sentence Porthos to death for committing a crime and when its discovered he contracted a deadly illness whilst on the planet, they withhold giving him the cure. Why? Cause he urinated on one of their sacred trees. Granted, this would be inexcusable behavior for anyone else, but you have to remember, Porthos is a dog!
    • However, as Phlox noted, not all cultures or species have pets or creatures of limited intelligence acting in such a way as Porthos. The audience never really knows for sure if this species is aware of Porthos' role or if they are under the mistaken belief that Porthos is of equal or even superior intelligence. Considering the wide variety of different species Enterprise has met who have sensitive cultural mores, and the already standard problems of translation and Values Dissonance they've encountered, it was pretty reckless of Archer to take his pet to a diplomatic function for a race whose customs they are still learning. He apparently learned this lesson by the time they met the Tellarites in Series 4, which is lucky since their reaction to Porthos would be to try to serve him for dinner.
  • 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.
    • Played with later in the episode, where she reveals she realized he was fiddling with this translation device and just went along with it anyway, and at the end of the episode when they kiss for real and both of them joke that it's because his translator's broken again. She had no idea he was an alien the first time they kissed and he covered by claiming he thought someone was coming their way (they were hiding at the time).
  • 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.
    • Later on a Klingon Scientist - actually a Klingon Doctor - brings up a similar problem, that his house was a warrior caste and his family actually disowned him for becoming a doctor, even when he served in the Klingon Army as The Medic, and that the High Council delegates so few funds to medical research that he was not only forced to steal the Interspecies Medical Exchange database in order to help his patients, but he's not even allowed to ask for help from anyone because the Warrior Caste would see it as being weak, dishonorable and exposing their vulnerabilities to their enemies.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Vulcans refuse to lend Humanity any aid during the Xindi Incident, even though the Earth is certain facing destruction should the Xindi attack again. The destruction of Vulcan in the new Alternate Reality of Star Trek could be considered severe karmic payback for this.
  • Lawful Evil: Invoked by Sheriff MacReady in "North Star", who (initially) defends keeping down the Skagarans because it's the law and chastises his Deputy for deliberately antagonising or murdering Skagarans simply for fun.
  • 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%.note 
  • Made of Iron: Archer seems to repeatedly forget that Vulcans have superior strength and stamina than humans. Naturally, his attempt to try and out-jog T'Pol in "A Night in Sickbay" fails spectacularly.
  • 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.
    • Ironically, Phlox should know that there is no such thing as evolutionary predestination, and that if there were, any intervention by medicine at all would be interrupting natural selection and adaptation. Technology itself dooms this theory by interrupting natural selection and artificially determining who lives, who dies, and what genetic variants and mutations survive. By saying "We are not going to play God" Archer should be giving the cure, not withholding it and artificially determining the evolution of an entire planet. Whether the illness is genetic or not doesn't make any difference to whether it should be treated or not, and if the second humanoid race can't reach their potential with the first around, then that determines an interspecies conflict that is purely the purview of the people involved - neither of which want the first race to die by the way - and indicates an unjust system of governance that they have every right to fix or not fix themselves.
    • What makes "Dear Doctor" even worse is that Phlox is one of the most ethically conscious of any of Star Trek's doctors, surpassing Dr. Crusher significantly when it comes to patient care, patient autonomy, respect for cultural rights, beliefs and religions. His actions when it comes to this issue are at odd to his viewpoint and opinions in the rest of the series, and in fact in the rest of the episode prior to which he clearly states that the relationship between the two humanoid races is their own business and that humans have no right to decide what they should do from their own moral and cultural viewpoint (although not in such harsh terms). In fact the entire time he condones this opinion seems like an Out-of-Character Moment for him, or at the very least an Idiot Ball at odds with the rest of his character.
    • "Observer Effect" brings this issue up again, as almost the exact same situation occurs. Two crew members, Trip and Hoshi, were digging around in an alien garbage dump without protective gear. Before too long they have already died from an exotic disease, and Archer is dying as well. A pair of Organians are watching this as a study of "lesser life forms". Archer wants them to literally play God and bring Trip and Hoshi Back from the Dead, even berating the Organians for not already saving them from the disease when they could easily have done so. While doing this, he continues to defend his actions in "Dear Doctor", despite the similarity of the situation. Apparently, Archer thinks leaving an entire species to die from a medical problem is okay, but leaving him and his crew members to die from a disease they carelessly picked up is immoral and unforgivable.
      • And hence counts as hypocrisy. Significant hypocrisy, notably.
    • As a general rule, if an alien species is more advanced than humanity then Archer sees no excuse for them to not share their knowledge or render their assistance. However, if they are less advanced then "interference" is unjustifiable and humanity is righteous in withholding anything they choose. This would later become a core part of how the Prime Directive would be interpreted.
      • In the situation where the alien species are culturally isolated and/or the technology would alter their species or society in significant ways, or be dangerous to the less advanced species, this is understandable and is protecting the species, their culture and stops influence from more advanced races from smothering and destroying the less advanced ones. But this is obviously dependent on the situation, and where there is no danger to the species or their culture, there should be no issue with sharing knowledge etc. In fact, whether to share such knowledge shouldn't depend on technology levels at all, but instead by the level of advancement of the species/culture itself and whether they can handle such intervention without irreparable damage. Technology levels aren't indicative of societal development.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: In the pilot episode we are treated to Klingons running across the Great Plains of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Broken Bow is a real place in the hilly, heavily forested southeastern corner, one of the few areas of the state that actually DOESN'T look like this.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Trip took his shirt off enough times to count for this.
    • 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...
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • T'Pol.
    • 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 lose 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.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Enterprise has handrails that could accidentally sever fingers ("Unexpected"), the De-Con chamber is not located anywhere near the airlock, doesn't have a proper seal and can be hotwired to open from the inside ("Acquisition") and the manual overrides to vent plasma fires can only be reached from the outside of the ship ("Forgotten"). Furthermore, the highly dangerous and very experimental transporter doesn't have an officer specifically trained in it's operation ("Brave New World").
    • In Shockwave, the Enterprise crew are visiting a colony planet that, due to technobabble, is capable of blowing up if proper landing procedures are not taken. This would be bad enough, but on top of that, instead of having dedicated ships and pilots to transport visitors, they just let the Enterprise enter their atmosphere with no more precautions than an instruction manual.
  • Not Important to This Episode Camp: Porthos.
  • Not So Different: When Trip rants about Orion slavery in "Borderland," Soong points out that someone with such a strong Southern accent probably has ancestors who had a hand in that practice.
    • Many, indeed most, white Southerners descend not from slaveholders, but rather from indentured Irish servants and transportees; while these were certainly far better off than chattel slaves, to assume that anyone white and Southern must be descended from slaveowners glosses over a great deal of historical nuance, to say the least.
  • Novelization: The series' first episode, first season finale and second season finale were all adapted as novels. Enterprise is the only TNG-era series not to have its series finale adapted as a book.
  • 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.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: In "Cold Front", Trip apparently was under the impression that religious aliens must be automatically Space Amish, leading him to spend some time explaining the Warp Reactor in simplistic terms to a group of Borothan pilgrims, before one of them politely informs him that he's actually a warp field theorist.
  • Pardon My Klingon:
    • Hoshi cusses T'Pol out in Vulcan in the pilot. T'Pol's response is something along the lines of "Very impressive, but I thought we were speaking English on this journey."
    • From the episode "Terra Prime" (a basic form of UT had just been invented by Hoshi):
      "There are protesters chanting outside the Andorian embassy. And they're using words that aren't in the universal translator!"
  • 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.
  • Plasma Cannon: Used by the Enterprise before being replaced with Phase Cannons.
  • 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!.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Archer specifically. The show tends to go to great lengths to emphasize the good that will come from his actions in the future (i.e. the creation of the Federation) in order to rationalize away all the morally-dubious things he does in his present. He is also the subject of admiration in-show for the results of what his actions (especially when they benefit Earth), and is frequently praised and respected by other characters. This despite the fact that he often performs acts that he himself denounces others for doing and is incredibly arbitrary about what his values are.
    • Very much Depending on the Writer. Sometimes Archer's actions are moral and just, sometimes they are amoral and poorly justified or reasoned, and sometimes they are in complete conflict with each other. There is some effort to make things continuous but there is such contrast between episodes you'd almost think he was schizophrenic. Unfortunately this muddled moral compass makes Archer a hypocrite quite a lot of the times when in the context of the episode and other episodes with similar thinking, his actions are quite moral and dedicated. To say it's confusing in the least...
  • 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.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The theme "Where My Heart Will Take Me", not "Faith of the Heart" as widely believed, was originally from the soundtrack of Patch Adams.
  • 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.
    • This trope is played for drama after the afore-mentioned incident in "The Council". Malcolm Reed, usually The Stoic, is shown to be really very upset by the number of crew members Enterprise has lost since entering the Expanse and the seeming lack of response his fellow senior officers have to the most recent MACO death, and he worries that they're getting too used to losing people.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • It's revealed that the Suliban Cabal is this, as many Suliban don't agree with their goals. Didn't stop others from lumping them all in the same group.
    • Terra Prime for Humanity.
    • The Syrannites are this for Vulcans. Subverted as it's revealed that instead of the radical terrorists they're portrayed as by the Vulcan High Command, they're actually be a peaceful movement who desire to return the Vulcans back to the original teachings of Surak. And they succeed.
  • 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.
    • Also, the Gorn.
  • 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."
    • No mater how much he begs for it, do not feed cheese to Porthos.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: The Xindi Aquatics.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Suliban (terrorists), the aliens in "Chosen Realm" (religious extremists), and the fractious Xindi standing in for the Middle East.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: In "Terra Nova", we're told that the original 200 or so colonists objected to Earth sending another 200 people to settle on their world. While it's understandable why they might have felt they couldn't fit more people in the Conestoga colony, they apparently failed to realise they had an entire planet at their disposal!
    • Although the Terra Nova issue may be more about the colonists feeling they had a right to claim the planet and that Starfleet just couldn't send over more people to their home without permission than anything else. It wouldn't be the first time politics overshadowed pragmatism.
  • 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.
    • Malik crawling across the bridge in "The Augments" should remind you of the death of another Augment.
  • 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.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Space Is an Ocean, Space Is Noisy, 2-D Space note , In Space Everyone Can See Your Face, and every other standard Star Trek misrepresentation.
    • At this point, changing any of the traditional Star Trek standards would probably have resulted in a fandom civil war. In any case, a huge amount of space, spacial and temporal standards from the rest of the franchise are re-used, as well as similar cinematography and CG representation, so it does have a similar feel to the other series.
  • 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.
    • Justified by the nature of the show- TNG got sent off by McCoy, since it was a sequel to TOS. Deep Space Nine started during TNG's run, so it was able to get a proper sendoff from the crew of the Enterprise (NCC-1701-D). Voyager was launched from Deep Space Nine in their pilot. The only way that the show Enterprise could have had one of the crews send them off is through another use of time travel, as it starts long before any of the currently running (at the time) series was taking place.
  • 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: Pretty much everyone from the Mirror Universe in "In A Mirror, Darkly", but especially Mirror Archer and Mirror 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.
      • Ironically, in an effort to Hand Wave or explain away one inconsistency, they would ruin her credibility as a character and further invalidate the issues between Romulans and Vulcans. See YMMV for more detail.
    • The issue with T'Pol's characterization is more complex than it appears at first. T'Pol does develop as a character between these points of loss of emotional control and issues with emotional control, and her characterization is done as a Vulcan (not a human), but one of her chief problems as a character is confronting her emotions and learning to come to terms with them and the issue of emotional repression - control of violent emotions and coming to terms with those emotions being a Vulcan trait, despite the Vulcans being a seemingly emotionless people - and the manner in which this development is handled is very uneven. The intentions and landmarks for her characterisation as a Vulcan are notably in place, but the way her characterization is explored lends what should have been development of her character as a Vulcan on many layers - and the emotional implications therewith - to the Straw Vulcan trope more often than not. It unfortunately seems to be more a case of fault with execution than intent, resulting in problematic character development, to say the least. This gets an Author Saving Throw with the teachings of Surak and the issue of Vulcan emotional control being brought to light in season 4, after which T'Pol is seen being much more peaceful and having come to terms with her emotions, so luckily her characterisation until that point is made sense retroactively (although that doesn't mean the writers responsible for her problematic character development in the first place shouldn't be hunted down and force-fed lessons on creative writing).
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The two parter "Augments" episode ends on an unusually positive note. Although the Augments are defeated, Arik Soong (grandfather of Dr. Noonian Soong) is simply incarcerated. But while in prison, he changes his research interests to artificial intelligence. He also remarks that the fruits of his research may take a generation or two. That research, whatever it is, is implied to lead to the 24th century's Soong creating the android Data. This is significant as the episode made no indication that he had fathered any children previously. So it is possible that sometime before his death, he will be released from prison.

    Tropes T-Z 
  • Technically Living Zombie: The Vulcan crew in "Impulse." Long-term exposure to trellium-D has not only stripped them of emotional control, it's turned them into mindlessly violent shamblers.
  • 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.
  • Too Good To Be True: In "Dead Stop" T'Pol notices Captain Archer is visibly troubled about the mysterious repair station they've found which is able and willing to fix every bit of the extensive damage to their ship (and the injuries to its crew) in exchange for the amazingly low price of just 200 liters of warp plasma. His instincts are sound, as it turns out there's a "hidden fee" the station also tries to extract from them.
  • 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).
  • Two Girls to a Team: T'Pol and Hoshi, the experienced and emotionless Vulcan officer and (initially) nervous rookie communications specialist. Interestingly, as T'Pol learns to embrace her emotions more as she spends more time around humans, Hoshi becomes much more adept at dealing with her own fears and doubts as the mission progresses.
  • Universal Translator: Averted, in that it is a recent development in this series and needs to be backed up by omniglot Hoshi Sato.
  • Virtual Reality Interrogation: In the episode "Stratagem". Captain Archer tries to get information out of an alien by convincing him that they are now friends and that years have gone by. The alien ship they have supposedly stolen is actually set up inside a small shuttle in the ''Enterprise'' landing bay. The small touches making the simulation seem real include tattooing both their arms with prison barcodes.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arik Soong, who sincerely believes that Augments are the future of humanity and in the right hands, genetic engineering could be used to save countless lives. Despite his actions leading to a number of deaths, he tries to prevent causing casualties and is genuinely horrified when Dr Lucas' refusal to give up the codes consigns a fellow colleague to death.
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Averted thanks to the zipperiffic uniforms worn by Archer & Co.
  • 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.
    • In "Storm Front", it's theorised that the destruction of the Spheres were what sent them all back in time to 1944. So what happened to Degra's ship and the Xindi-Aquatic vessel that gave Enterprise a lift back to Earth in "Zero Hour", the previous episode? Did they remain in the 20th century or did Daniel's people return them to their own time? Oddly, the protagonists seem to forget about them altogether.
    • In "Shockwave", Daniels explicitly states that history never recorded the disaster that lead to 3600 Paraagan colonists being incinerated when their atmosphere ignited? After wrestling with the guilt for the entirety of Part I, they end Part II relieved that they aren't the cause and that the Suliban are to blame and become re-focused on finding them to bring to justice. Although understandable that they are relieved that they aren't the cause of the colony extinction, after grieving the deaths in the first half they just become determined to find who is to blame and no one mourns the fact that 3600 people are still dead, mentions the impact of their death or what will happen to the timeline and history now that an entire colony of people are wipe out. They also don't bring up the idea of going back in time to prevent it... or were they expecting Daniels to change history back later?!
    • What happened to the Automated Repair Station in "Dead Stop", which was shown rebuilding itself at the end of the episode?
    • On a franchise-wide level, what happened to the Xindi, the Denobulans and the Suliban in the next three hundred years?
    • What happened to the Illyrians from whom Archer stole a warp coil in "Damage"? Without the coil, they were left 3 years from home. While it might undermine the moral dilemma of "Damage" slightly, it seems unforgivable that Archer wouldn't ask the Xindi to help the Illyrians once he got on better terms with them.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Happens a lot with Hoshi, since Archer apparently is content to never let her do her actual job and force her to instead serve as Enterprise's errand girl.
  • With Friends Like These...: SF Debris takes great delight in pointing out in "The Andorian Incident" that, while the Vulcans clearly were wrong and spying on their adversaries, Archer intentionally reveals their spy array to the Andorians, which possibly gives them reason to start an interstellar war. He also points out that Archer seems to forget that, while he personally doesn't care for them, the Vulcans are Earth's closest allies and the Andorians have honestly done nothing to dispel the image that they're the aggressors in this conflict, since they've been literally beating the crap out of Archer since the moment they've met him. Why is interstellar policy being determined by a man, who honestly is most likely suffering a concussion at this point?
    • However, it is important to take into account the circumstances at the time: Archer was in a firefight and discovered the Vulcans' deception in front of both the Vulcans and the Andorians. So he had two choices: either kill the Andorians so they didn't tell anyone, or help them out and expose the Vulcans. If Archer had killed the Andorians and covered for the Vulcans he would have been condoning not only murder but the amoral actions of the Vulcans in violating a treaty, misrepresenting a surveillance centre as a spiritual temple and whatever actions are necessary to protect such deception, as well as sending the message that human support such activities – essentially giving Vulcans the permission to covertly spy on humans as well. By exposing the Vulcans and putting them under the microscope of the galactic community, they would (hopefully) be discouraged from both spying and illegal activities in the future. With Friends Like These... still applies, but in a different way: Starfleet and Earth are allied to the Vulcans who not only feel completely justified in covalently spying on anyone they consider dangerous enough to warrant it, they violate agreements and treaties as convenient as long as it gives them an advantage, and when their government-sanctioned illegal surveillance activities are unveiled they remorselessly blame their allies and lay the threat of interspecies war at their feet.
  • 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 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 that is 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.
    • All Vulcans do the same thing, even Soval when he has actual proof sitting in his hands keeps mouthing this. Unfortunately this is also an example of the writers not understanding the idea that "Science" - a word that they keep using in-series to mean a body of irrefutable facts - is in fact an ever-changing body of theories and hypotheses which are modified depending on available data.
    • She gets better by Series 3 however, admitting that it is the only explanation when she gets 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.
  • You're Insane!: Archer to the terrorist leader in "Chosen Realm": "You're out of your mind!"
  • You Won't Feel a Thing: In the episode "Similitude":
    Captain Archer: Dr. Phlox is going to have to perform an operation.
    Sim Trip at 8: Will it hurt?
    Dr. Phlox: Not at all. You won't feel a thing.
    Sim Trip at 8: Doctors always say that.
  • Word of God: Word 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.note . Not to mention whether everyone on the staff agrees with the statement or not, which is also up in the air.
  • Zee Rust: 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....
  • Artistic License - Biology: "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.
    • The fact that there is no such thing as evolutionary predestination is the point that no team of Star Trek writers has ever managed to get through their collective heads. That it is a stupid idea that makes no sense on the most elementary level of biology that any high school student would know, does not make it better.
    • 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.
  • Artistic License - Physics: For one thing, Earth-like gravity on a comet, one of the characters breaks his leg after falling a yard or so.

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alternative title(s): Star Trek Enterprise
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