The sixth television series in the Star Trek franchise, Enterprise met with a lukewarm reception when it premiered in 2001. The prequel show lasted 4 seasons and managed to tell a new story about the humanity’s race to the stars and beyond at the beginning of Earth’s warp age. Most critics and fans agree that the writing on Enterprise needed to improve, and that even the mostly excellent main cast couldn’t make bad writing good.
The series currently sits at 51% on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with season 3 attaining the highest rating with 67%. On Metacritic, however, Enterprise enjoys slightly higher scores and better reviews. Across both sites, reviews tend to list the same issues as the writing and overused themes.
Many of the actors - from the main to the secondary cast - were the perfect choice for their roles in Star Trek: Enterprise. From TV veterans to actresses who were huge Star Trek fans to actors who had appeared on other Star Trek series, most of the casting decisions helped give Enterprise the depth it needed to keep episodes interesting, unique, and sometimes lighthearted.
However, some members of the cast were not the best choice for their parts. This included some of the main actors or actresses. This list provides you with cast members from all four seasons, with some actors or actresses appearing in a single episode. But there are a few choices from Enterprise that may surprise you who held main roles through the entire series.
Here’s Star Trek: 10 Casting Decisions That Hurt Enterprise (And 10 That Saved It).
20 Hurt: Dominic Keating - Lieutenant Reed
Dominic Keating didn’t have a lot of acting experience for screen before Enterprise. Most of his time was spent in theater with parts in The Pitchfork Disney and Amongst Barbarians. Keating has won awards for his stage work.
Perhaps that’s why he was not the best choice for the role of Lieutenant Reed. With small guest appearances in TV shows prior to Enterprise, Keating most likely needed more TV experience in order to bring the right attitude to Malcolm Reed. Or to figure out what the character needed to make it exciting. The dynamic just wasn’t there.
19 Saved: Brent Spiner - Doctor Arik Soong
Having Brent Spiner play Doctor Arik Soong seems like the automatic choice. A veteran Star Trek actor playing Soong helped Enterprise find some footing in the Star Trek universe, especially when it came to develop androids for the shows taking place later in setting.
Arik was the great-grandfather of Noonian Soong, who created Data.
Arik believed genetically-enhanced humans were the answer to many of humanity’s problems. At first, there almost was no Arik Soong, as the character was supposed to be a Colonel Green. But Brent Spiner wanted to be on Enterprise, so Green’s storyline was slightly modified for Spiner. He played Soong in four episodes: “Borderland”, “Cold Station 12”, “The Augments”, and “Affliction.”
18 Hurt: Ada Maris - Captain Hernandez
Captain Erika Hernandez became the captain of the second warp five starship for Earth, the Columbia NX-02. The character also had the distinction of having a romantic relationship with Jonathan Archer. Archer got promoted and was her direct officer, so the couple broke up.
The captain of any starship needs to be a strong person. The character Hernandez was written as a tough leader of her crew, but Maris played her with hardly any excitement at all. As a character, Hernandez was ready to take on the universe, but the actress didn’t seem confident to do that in her portrayal.
17 Saved: Connor Trinneer - Commander Tucker
Connor Trinneer wasn’t a science fiction fan and stated he wasn’t a fan of the franchise. There was no fanfare in auditioning for the part. He simply walked into the room and the producers “happened to like what I did.” After a few auditions, he got the part.
In 2001 and 2002, Trinneer was nominated for a Saturn award for his acting.
The actor wasn’t sure what role he was going to get; Trinneer only had seven pages to work from during the audition. He was only told the character came from the South, so Trinneer had to basically flesh out the character using his experience and imagination. Because of that, the producers felt he’d be great for the part of Commander Charles Tucker III.
16 Hurt: Steven Culp - Major Hayes
Major J. Hayes, played by Steven Culp, was a hardcore military role that didn’t quite fit. While Culp had plenty of TV series experience leading up to Star Trek: Enterprise, the role may have simply gotten away from him. Culp probably would have been better for a different, more political character, since that’s what he was used to playing in previous TV shows. While Culp wasn't terrible as Hayes, the actor wasn’t as strong as he could have been.
Incidentally, Culp took the role over from another Star Trek guest actor, Michael Reilly Burke. Burke had gotten a role in Desperate Housewives and filmed the pilot, but Burke was replaced with Culp when the series premiered.
15 Saved: Jolene Blalock - T'Pol
Every Star Trek series has its Spock or Spock-like character: an intelligent, nearly emotionless character (alien or human or android) meant to bring stability and common sense to the all-too-human captain. Enterprise had T’Pol, played by the Jolene Blalock.
T’Pol was probably one of the best characters written on the show, and casting Blalock was perfect.
She portrayed the Vulcan just as you’d expect, but added in her own little mannerisms to give her Vulcan character recognizable features. The way Blalock delivered T’Pol’s humor was nothing short of hilarious: one-liners or short phrases that could get you laughing before you knew it. Blalock probably had a better eyebrow raise than Spock himself!
14 Hurt: Michael Reilly Burke - Koss
Before and after Star Trek: Enterprise, Michael Reilly Burke has had very few roles that lasted more than a couple episodes. His TV and movie acting history goes back to 1993, with his longest part occurring in Lincoln Heights for three seasons.
With most of his career as single episodes, Burke may not have been the strongest actor to play a Vulcan for three episodes of Enterprise. It takes a special conviction to play any Vulcan, and Burke’s experience couldn’t provide him with the chops to pull off the role. Koss was supposed to be T’Pol’s husband, but she repeatedly postponed the wedding.
He did have minimal experience with roles in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Maybe with more Star Trek roles, Burke would have been more prepared to play Koss.
13 Saved: Kara Zediker - T’Pau
Guest-starring in two episodes in the fourth season, Kara Zediker was the perfect choice to play T’Pau in Enterprise. She was in the episodes “Awakening” and “Kir’Shara,” which were part of the Vulcan Reformation story arc. T’Pau appears on a computer screen in the episode “The Forge.”
T’Pau was also in The Original Series, played by Celia Lovsky, and as a hologram in Voyager, played by Betty Matsushita.
Zediker was picked to play the younger version of T’Pau. One of the reasons Zediker was chosen to play T’Pau was because the producers felt that she looked “similar to [Celia] Lovsky.” It was a good choice because when you compare the young T’Pau and the older one, Zediker did a great job mimicking the mannerisms and facial expressions of the older actor’s portrayal.
12 Hurt: Scott Bakula - Captain Archer
Best known for playing Dr. Sam Beckett on Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula may not have been the best choice to play Captain Jonathan Archer on Enterprise. From Quantum Leap to Enterprise, Bakula has small roles on TV and a number of parts in TV movies.
Maybe it was the lack of lead roles in shows that lasted more than a season that caused Bakula to be rusty by the time he took the Archer part. He had won acting awards for Quantum Leap, and although he was nominated for Enterprise, it didn't work for fans. Bakula needed to play the part with more wonder than he did, as humans were just starting their cosmic journey.
11 Saved: Vaughn Armstrong - Forrest
Forrest was the guy overseeing the NX warp project, known for his close, professional relationship with the Vulcans. The actor, Vaughn Armstrong, played many characters in Star Trek, from The Next Generation to Enterprise.
In total, Armstrong played twelve different characters across Star Trek TV series.
It was his recurring character Maxwell Forrest who gave fans the perfect character to associate the actor with. Because of the early nature of Earth’s warp technology and space experience, Forrest was a gritty, confident Vice-Admiral who supports the loyal, backs who he believes in, and doesn’t take any guff from the Vulcans. The actor appeared in fourteen episodes, including the pilot and the popular episode “The Expanse”.
10 Hurt: Jack Gwaltney - Vosk
Vosk was a character who led a faction of the Temporal Cold War, the Na’kuhl. He wanted to use time travel to help his race and create benefits, which was against the Temporal Accord. The actor who portrayed Vosk has extensive TV and movie credits, since 1986, but mostly smaller roles or parts that lasted one or two episodes. In Enterprise, he played Vosk in the two-part episode, “Storm Front”.
Why did his casting hurt? Gwaltney came from a number of drama series, so his role as a faction leader – which required some of the same type of acting as his other parts – should have come naturally. Either more screen time for his character or another role entirely would have turned the role into someone memorable.
9 Saved: Randy Oglesby - Degra
Degra was a scientist who could command a room and his Xindi-Primate people. A colleague told Archer in the “Countdown” episode, "when Degra spoke, only a fool would ignore him.” He designed the Xindi weapon, and through his intelligence and moral obligation, was the first Xindi to trust Captain Archer.
Oglesby played other characters in other Star Trek series, but Degra fit him better than the others.
Degra had a quiet aggressiveness that Oglesby knew how to showcase on screen. Degra was difficult and uncompromising to his peers, and Oglesby’s countenance in creating that atmosphere need no words. The actor appeared in ten episodes of Enterprise, and had references in three others (”Countdown”, “Harbinger”, and “Zero Hour”.)
8 Hurt: Ruth Williamson - Sphere Builder
Ruth Williamson had mostly bit roles in comedy TV series and movies before Enterprise. Then she was cast as the Sphere Builder Primary for three episodes in 2004: “Zero Hour”, “Countdown", and “The Council.”
The Sphere Builders were trans-dimensional and tried to get the Xindi to destroy Earth. They were subtly warlike, but that is hard to determine from Williamson’s character. Sticking to family shows and comedy movies would utilize her strengths, not a serious part like the Sphere Builder Primary. Then again, there might have been a better part for her somewhere within Enterprise, if only she had been cast in it.
7 Saved: Gary Graham - Soval
Gary Graham is probably best known for his role as Detective Matthew Sikes on Alien Nation, the TV show and movies. As Sikes, he performed phenomenally, and he brought his superb acting to Star Trek with Soval. He was a Vulcan Ambassador to Earth, but prior to that, he was a member of a heavy force to take a Planet from the Andorians. When he took the position as Ambassador, Soval had a huge list of impressive accomplishments.
Graham played Soval's distinction as if he had those accomplishments himself.
Graham has played another role outside the Paramount Star Treks, as Ragnar in the fan-made Star Trek: Of Gods and Men and Star Trek: Renegades.
6 Hurt: Eric Pierpoint - Harris of Section 31
Eric Pierpoint, from 1993 to 2005, had five different guest parts on all the Star Trek spin-offs. Most of his work is in science fiction, so playing Harris as a part of Section 31 should have come naturally.
In the final draft of the episode “Divergence”, had Harris described as having a “hint of fanaticism beneath Harris’s outwardly friendly persona.” Now Pierpoint did fine with the “outwardly friendly persona bit” but didn’t quite nail the “hint of fanaticism.”
The Harris character just wasn’t for Pierpoint; just like many of the others on the Hurt side, he might have been better off as someone else on the Enterprise.
5 Saved: Matt Winston - Temporal Agent Daniels
Time travel is a staple of Star Trek. After multiple series and movies using the concept, an actor must truly make a new character in that storyline their own. Matt Winston managed to do that with Temporal Agent Daniels. He appeared in just two TV episodes, “Coldfront” and “Shockwave”, but brought a quiet presence as he served Captain Archer in an assistant-like fashion. Some fans get tired of the time travel trope Star Trek often employs.
Winston seemed to understand that in order to nail the role, he couldn’t be like any character before him.
Winston had had minimal science fiction acting experience, although it’s possible his role as Technician #1 in Galaxy Quest helped him with his role on Enterprise.
4 Hurt: John Fleck - Silik
John Fleck is also Star Trek alumni. He goes all the way back to The Next Generation, where he played the Romulan Taibak. After minor roles in Deep Space Nine and Voyager, Fleck’s casting as Silik in Enterprise didn't quite work.
This casting decision hurt the overarching story related to the Temporal Cold War. As a character, Silik has so much more potential than what we saw on screen. Although Silik changed to a Borthan and a Human, Fleck couldn’t rise to the challenge to play Silik as other races.
The episode is one of the more well-received of the series, providing new information about time travel, but as Silik, Fleck doesn’t add anything new.
3 Saved: Jeffrey Combs - Commander Shran
If there’s one actor who could pull up more than one character in Star Trek, it’s Jeffrey Combs. You might best know him as the different Weyouns in Deep Space Nine.
In Enterprise, he plays the Andorian officer, Thy’lek Shran. What makes Combs unique was that it sometimes took a second or third look to realize that Jeffrey Combs was in another Star Trek episode. It always worked as he brought a deep commitment to each character he played, whether it was a major guest appearance or a smaller role.
If you didn’t know, Combs was the first actor to appear as two different characters in the same Star Trek episode.
That DS9 episode was “The Dogs of War”; he played Weyoun and the Pherengi, Brunt.
2 Hurt: Gregory Itzin - Admiral Black
Gregory Itzin is an Emmy award-winning actor who originally was cast in a The Next Generation episode but declined in order to take a part on an episode of L.A. Law. He did regret this decision, and he went on to do five episodes as different characters in three different Star Trek series.
That may have been the issue with casting him as Admiral Black. As Llon Tandro (DS9), Hain (DS9), Doctor Dysek (Voyager), Captain Sopek (Enterprise), and Admiral Black, he looked exactly the same-- though at least Black had a beard. Not even playing a Vulcan changed his appearance much.
1 Saved: Kellie Waymire - Crewman Cutler
If there’s one actor and character who needed more screen time, it’s Kellie Waymire as Crewman Cutler. She played the character with such cuteness that comparisons to Star Trek: Discovery’s Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly are easily produced.
Even though she appeared in only 3 episodes, Waymire gave Cutler an immense depth that made fans yearn for more.
Her willingness to try Vulcan food and customs to befriend T’Pol were amusing to watch. Watching her respond to Phlox (who was already married to a few women) with a carefree attitude was priceless in the vastness of the Star Trek universe.
Unfortunately, Kellie Waymire passed away in her home in November 2003, at age 36.
What actor is your favorite on Star Trek: Enterprise for you? Let us know in the comments!