John Billingsley, who played Doctor Phlox — one of the best “Star Trek” characters — spoke with TrekMovie.com last month about his experiences acting on “Enterprise,” why it struggled, and how the show holds up today. Billingsley revealed the “edict” that he and his cast mates weren’t allowed to direct. He attributes this to a risk-averse attitude at UPN, the home network of “Enterprise.”
“I don’t think that was a reflection on our particular cast. I just think by the time our show was on UPN, a dying network, the ratings were in the toilet. The word from on high was, ‘You don’t have the latitude that we might have given you back when we felt the franchise was really healthy.’ So to a certain extent — and I don’t want this to sound snotty, because [‘Enterprise’ creators] Rick [Berman] and Brannon [Braga] were nothing but gracious to me — but I didn’t ever get the impression that it was like, ‘Swing the door open and come on in, let’s hear [your pitches].'”
Indeed, UPN would be shuttered in September 2006, a little over a year after “Enterprise” wrapped its four-season run. Billingsley isn’t the first to voice this frustration — Scott Bakula, who played Captain Jonathan Archer, also felt the show was hampered by being at a dying network. Following its cancellation in 2005, “Star Trek” went off TV for 12 years, until the launch of “Discovery” in 2017.