In the sector of planet Earth known as Hollywood, it was business as usual on the Paramount back lot. On a sunny day in early March, green-skinned aliens with zippers embedded in their faces were eating catered lunches, stagehands were disassembling lighting rigs labeled "Thorium Isotope Hazard," and all were doing their best to ignore the fact that the warp engines on the starship Enterprise would soon be shut down, perhaps never to start up again. "Welcome," a security guard said with heavy irony, "to the last days of Pompeii."

On May 13, UPN will broadcast the final two episodes of "Star Trek: Enterprise," the most recent spinoff of the genre-defining science-fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry nearly 40 years ago. The scenes filmed in March will bring closure to the story of a futuristic space vessel and its intrepid crew, but the end of "Enterprise" also casts into doubt the future of a venerable entertainment property that is entering a realm where no franchise has gone before.

Almost from the moment it was canceled by NBC in 1969, the original "Star Trek" set about defying television conventions: a three-season dud in prime time, it became a success in syndication, spawning a series of motion pictures, a merchandising empire, and three television sequels (the syndicated hits "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager," which helped start the UPN network in 1995).

The New York Times > Arts > Television > Its Long Trek Over, the Enterprise Pulls Into Dry Dock


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