New Star Trek Coming to Theaters – Which Enterprise Looks Best on the Silver Screen
Star Trek can be thanked for saving science-fiction fans, space enthusiasts, and television and movie buffs, from having to accept a hubcap hanging from a string as the depiction of future space travel. The starship Enterprise, in its various incarnations over the last 47 years, made us feel as if we really were traveling through space, boldly going where no one had gone before. Vote for your favorite Enterprise in our online poll.
- Registry: NCC-1701
- Commander: James Tiberius Kirk
- Crew Complement: 430 – 435 (depending on source)
Perfection: noun. The quality or state of being perfect: a: freedom from fault or defect, the quality or state of being saintly, an exemplification of supreme excellence.
The original Enterprise NCC-1701, commanded by Captain Kirk in the 1960’s series, is the embodiment of perfection. It was light-years ahead of its time. The concept had never been seen before; a vessel with specific, dedicated engines, designated crew areas, life support systems, bays for auxiliary craft, emergency systems, command areas. It was perfect. There was purpose behind its design. Her crew of 435, or 430, depending on your source, was there for a reason. Engineers made their home in the Engine Room, where even an Admiral was merely a tolerated trespasser. Sickbay was brilliantly located in the safest area of her hull. Audiences had never seen anything like her. They truly felt as though they could be a part of the her crew, venturing to the unexplored corners of the galaxy.
- Registry: NCC-!701 and NCC-1701-A
- Commander: James T. Kirk, Captain Spock, Captain Willard Decker (for like an hour and a half)
- Crew Complement: 500
Until such time as we saw her slowly revealed through the beams and moorings of her temporary home in space dock in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, we had assumed that perfection was something that couldn’t be improved upon. We were glad to be wrong. The Enterprise refit is a masterpiece, not just aesthetically, but structurally, practically, and in believability. One could honestly accept they were looking at a plausible future spacecraft. When she first fired thrusters and departed space dock, audiences stood from their seats and cheered.
- Registry: NCC-1701-B
- Commander: Captain John Harriman
- Crew Complement: 800 (depending on source)
Okay, we fully understand that Star Trek:Generations was very top heavy on payroll for its legendary cast, and didn’t have much money left over for production. We can also fully appreciate that the Enterprise B would be an Excelsior class, or in this case a variation on the Excelsior. This had been assumed all along. We can also appreciate adding on to the hull so they could do damage to the ship in the “Nexus” scene, without having to do actual damage to the production model. Still, this Enterprise is pretty butt-ugly. The name deserved better.
- Registry: NCC-1701-C
- Commander: Captain Rachel Garret
- Crew Complement: Who cares?
Doesn’t even merit mention in this article. Please read on:
- Registry: NCC-1701-D
- Commander: Captain Jean-Luc Picard
- Crew Complement: 1,000
From my perspective, the Enterprise-D always looked like someone took the original Enterprise from the 1960’s and ran over it. The color scheme with the red bussard collectors, and the blue on the nacelles, very much paid tribute to the original starship. The rest of the ship borrowed from the original’s concept, and then just kind of squished it. The primary hull became flatter and wider. The secondary hull, rather than cylindrical, sported a little bulge, a little, shall we say, mid-life-crisis around the middle. It was a beautiful ship, and a credit to the line. Unfortunately, throughout her voyages, the effects artists never really photographed her from her best angles. As a result, her true size was never realized on the screen, and she never soared quite as true as her predecessors.
- Registry: NCC-1701-E
- Commander: Captain Jean-Luc Picard
- Crew Complement: 750
The Enterprise-E was a welcomed addition to the Enterprise’s lineage. She paid tribute to the original Enterprise, yet made for a very sensible evolution in the line. She was sleek, fast, streamlined, and ready to fight Borg. She wasn’t quite the Holiday Inn vessel her predecessor, the Enterprise-D, had been. This, though, was a good thing. We didn’t want the Holidome in space, we wanted a vessel of exploration that could hold its own against an attacker. Once again, though, like the Enterprise-D, we never had the opportunity to see her photographed properly. Her best features were never accentuated, and we typically say a CG effect barely met the needs of the shot. There are those that would like to see one more film with the Next Generation cast just for the sake of giving this beautiful lady one more chance to soar.
- Registry: NX-01
- Commander: Captain Jonathan Archer
- Crew Complement: 83
For many of us, this Enterprise never really worked. It’s design is clever, just misplaced in time. This concept doesn’t work for Star Fleet’s first deep space vessel. The design never conveyed the sense of newness, unexplored territory, nor man’s attempt to overcome great obstacles and new terrain. The Enterprise NX-01 came off as a smaller version of Kirk’s Enterprise that was just a little more cramped and had real crappy phasers. It didn’t mold well into Star Trek canon.
Enterprise: Star Trek 2009
- Registry: NCC-1701
- Commander: Captain Christopher Pike, Captain James Tiberius Kirk
- Crew Complement: They never really made it clear, but some very unreliable sources put it at 1,100
This is a joke, right? Is this a belated April Fool’s gag? Given everything they had to build from, this is what they came up with for Star Trek 2009? Yes, we know; the new Star Trek is an alternate timeline. Things are supposed to look different. Okay, we get that. We also get the fact that things aren’t supposed to look like a festering pile of crap, either. This ship is stupid, it doesn’t work. When Lazlo Toth attacked Michelangelo’s sculpture Pieta with a hammer in 1972, the Italian sculptor Giacomo Manzu demanded the death penalty. I demand the same for the person responsible for destroying the starship Enterprise. This is blasphemy.
My personal “Writer’s Choice” awards go to the following starships, in order: