This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is Jonathan Archer from Enterprise.(insert - It's Been A Long Road...)
Archer serves as Captain of the Enterprise NX-01. While acting as captain, Archer earned a reputation for being one of the great explorers in Earth's history, including making first contact with many species such as the Andorians, the Klingons, and the Xindi. Archer laid the groundwork for what would become the United Federation of Planets, the organization that all Star Trek series are centered upon.
Archer grew up in San Francisco as the son of a renowned warp scientist, and that kindled his interest in exploring and space travel. Archer is an Eagle Scout who was also an accomplished athlete in the sport of water polo. His experiences as a scout and as a star player shape his views and give him a confidence that he can win or survive, regardless of how grim the circumstances may look to others.
As a result of being the first Earth captain in command of a deep-space exploration starship, Archer has to deal with many moral and ethical dilemmas that begin to develop how the Federation will handle tough situations (for example, The Prime Directive). At times, Archer decides to let nature take its course instead of interfering with cultures. Although Archer is loathe to do it, he is also driven to torture a space pirate and steal a warp coil from another ship in order to stop the Xindi from successfully destroying Earth.
Archer owns a pet beagle named Porthos who he brings with him aboard Enterprise. Porthos is often a sounding board for Archer as the Captain prepares his entries into the Captain's Log. However, Porthos also gets to tag along on many away missions.
Archer was supposed to have the first name Jackson originally, but this was changed during casting because research turned up exactly one person in the USA with the name Jackson Archer. To avoid confusion, his name was changed to the more common Jonathan.
The best episodes featuring Archer include Dear Doctor, Cogenitor, Anomaly, and Shockwave.
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Impulse in season 3:
"We'll find a way through this. But I won't leave anyone behind, not
if I can help it. I can't try to save humanity without holding on to
what makes me human."
Actor: Scott Bakula played Archer, and he is best-known for playing the main character Dr. Beckett on Quantam Leap. Bakula more recently appeared regularly on Desperate Housewives (juicy!) and Men of a Certain Age.
Until next time, live long and prosper...