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Star Trek
The cast of "Star Trek: Enterprise." The show goes off the air Friday.
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Eye on Entertainment
'Star Trek'
Ray Romano

(CNN) -- Sometimes you can become a phenomenon without being a success. Other times you can be a success and never make a significant dent in the public consciousness.

The original "Star Trek" was a ratings failure, canceled after three seasons. (NBC originally canceled it after two, but a concerted letter-writing campaign -- and the network's inability to come up with a reasonable replacement to go after "Trek's" sought-after youth demographics -- earned it a third.)

The cast had no idea what was to come. William Shatner ended up in TV movies such as "Horror at 37,000 Feet" and the immortal "Pray for the Wildcats," while Leonard Nimoy took a job with "Mission: Impossible."

If somebody had told them then that Nimoy would go on to write two memoirs, "I Am Not Spock" and "I Am Spock"; that "Trek" would produce 10 feature films, four more series (five if you count the animated mid-'70s "Star Trek") and a popular series of paperbacks written by James Blish; that there would be a Las Vegas "Star Trek: The Experience" and countless catchphrases ... well, they probably would have assumed that person had inhaled a few too many blue drinks -- and been an easy mark in a game of fizzbin.

By becoming a phenomenon, the show became a success. Especially for Paramount, which has been "Trek's" studio of record.

Then there's "Everybody Loves Raymond." The show has been a ratings success since its second season and is the No. 1 sitcom on TV; Ray Romano is the highest-paid actor in television, making an estimated $2 million an episode.

Yet in its nine seasons, despite its popularity, it's never had the buzz of shows such as "Seinfeld," "Friends" or even something like "Ally McBeal." It's admired, it's well-acted and well-written, it's produced thousands of great TV laughs, but no catchphrases, no water-cooler conversation, no Vegas theme parks.

Both shows do have something in common -- they're ending on either side of the same weekend. "Star Trek: Enterprise," the only remaining TV entry of the "Star Trek" universe, has its finale Friday; "Everybody Loves Raymond" airs its 210th and final episode Monday.

Eye on Entertainment pays tribute.


"Star Trek's" finale marks the final gasp of an era.

Since 1987, when "Star Trek: The Next Generation" debuted, there has always been a "Trek" on the air. The show's spin-offs have included "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Star Trek: Voyager" and now "Enterprise."

There are signs that the public has wearied of so much "Trek"-king.

The last feature film, "Star Trek: Nemesis," was the first out-and-out bomb in the movie series' history. "Enterprise" has struggled in the ratings as it's tried to find the right balance between old-fashioned derring-do (the first "Trek" was pitched by creator Gene Roddenberry as " 'Wagon Train' to the stars," after a popular Western of the time) and the thoughtful "Trek" ethos.

Even producer Rick Berman has acknowledged "franchise fatigue."

It's not as if "Star Trek" will go away completely. There are the regular fan conventions, endless reruns of the other series, and that Vegas "Experience" for the faithful (which -- take it from a visitor -- is a lot of fun but not quite worth the $30-plus ticket price). But it will leave the universe a little emptier ... at least until the next "Trek" permutation.

Meanwhile, "Raymond" is getting a relatively quiet send-off that's all too fitting for the series (even given the engaging rancor of the Barone parents played by Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle). It was never about the hilarious arguments; the humanity of the show came through in its quieter moments between the parents, sportswriter Ray Barone (Romano), his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) and brother Robert (Brad Garrett).

CBS, which has spent the last several weeks airing "Raymond" favorites, will run a one-hour retrospective followed by a half-hour finale. "It's not like it was with 'Friends,' like whether Ross is going to end up with Rachel," Romano told Entertainment Weekly. "We want to recognize that it is the end of the show without really saying it. But we'll satisfy the audience's desire for a little heart."

And, though the cast has appeared on "Oprah" and CNN's "Larry King Live" to talk about the end, they've done so with plenty of class and only a little regret. There will be no drunken wakes on Jay Leno for the "Raymond" cast.

And then, like a generation of "Trek" fans, we can sit back and enjoy the reruns.

"Star Trek: Enterprise's" final episode begins at 8 p.m. Friday on UPN; "Raymond's" last show is 9 p.m. Monday on CBS, preceded at 8 p.m. by the retrospective.

On screen

  • Jane Fonda's first movie since 1990, "Monster-in-Law," opens Friday. She plays a former TV host who has a tough fall and takes her anger out on her son's fiancee. It's a comedy, also starring Jennifer Lopez. Lopez and Fonda = laffs.

  • Now, Will Ferrell really does equal laughs. He plays a driven kids' soccer coach in "Kicking and Screaming," getting in the faces of his charges. Robert Duvall plays his overbearing father, a comic turn on "The Great Santini." Opens Friday.
  • An interesting cast -- Jet Li, Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins -- leads "Unleashed," starring Li as a man enslaved by Hoskins' character (at one point he has to wear a dog collar) who then breaks free. Opens Friday.
  • "Mindhunters" was directed by Renny Harlin. As in "Cutthroat Island," "Deep Blue Sea" and "Exorcist: The Beginning." Opens Friday.
  • On the tube

    • "The Bachelor's" season finale airs live, 8 p.m. Monday, on ABC.

    Sound waves

    • System of a Down's new album, "Mezmerize" (Sony), releases Tuesday.

  • If you've ever had a desire to have "Photograph," "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" on the same CD, just hang on till Tuesday, when "Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection" by Def Leppard is released.
  • Paging readers

    • The apocryphal story goes that only 3,000 people bought the Velvet Underground's first album, but every one of them formed a band. A collection of articles and reviews about the legendary Lou Reed-led group, "All Yesterdays' Parties" (Da Capo), edited by Clinton Heylin, officially comes out Sunday.

  • From proto-punk to the Chairman of the Board: A new Frank Sinatra biography, "Sinatra" (Knopf) by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, comes out Tuesday.
  • Video center

    • The "Seinfeld" season you've been waiting for -- the fourth season, the one with "The Contest," "The Outing" and "The Bubble Boy" -- comes out Tuesday. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • "Kinsey" gets its DVD release Tuesday.

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