Star Trek: Enterprise – Season I (2001-2002)

by | Aug 29, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Star Trek: Enterprise – Season I (2001-2002)

Starring:  Connor Trinneer, Anthony Montgomery, Dominic Keating, Jolene Blalock, Scott Bakula, John Billingsley, Linda Park
Studio:  Paramount
Video:  1.78:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio:  DD 5.1
Extras:  Audio Commentary (pilot), Deleted Scenes (misc episodes),
Text Commentary, Outtakes, Creating Enterprise (11 min), Profile of
Scott Bakula (9 min), Cast Impressions: Season I (12 min), Inside
Shuttlepod I (7 min), Star Trek Time Travel: Temporal Cold Wars and
Beyond (8 min), Enterprise Secrets (2 min), Admiral Forrest Takes
Center Stage (5 min), Borg Invasion Trailer (Las Vegas Attraction)
Length:  19 hours, 7 minutes–43 minutes per episode, 26 episodes
Rating:  ****

Enterprise is the fifth incarnation of the Star Trek series. 
Unlike the other shows (Voyager, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine),
Enterprise takes place in the year 2151—before the original
series.  The first human warp flight took place in 2063 at the
time when first contact was established with the Vulcan race. 
Since that time, Earth’s space program has been developing a much
faster warp engine that is designed to operate at warp factor
five.  The Vulcans have been cautious about giving information to
the humans and Henry Archer, an early warp engine pioneer, died before
its completion.  His son, Captain Jonathan Archer (who harbors a
disliking for Vulcans), takes the initiative when a Klingon pilot
crash-lands on Earth while being pursued by the Suliban.  Archer
intends to be the one to take him back to the Klingon home planet in a
new starship, the NX-01, and begin the exploration of the galaxy with
Zefram Cochrane’s (the first man to fly at warp) purpose in mind: “To
seek out new life, and new civilizations.  To boldly go where no
man has gone before.”  Thus begins the first episode of the series.

The new crew consists of some interesting characters.  Commander
“Trip” Tucker is the chief engineering officer and is the “action”
man.  This southern fella doesn’t mind speaking his mind or
getting into sticky situations.  He’s known the Captain well
before this mission began and they often have a camaraderie that isn’t
shared with other crew members.  The Captain, played by Bakula, is
a bit hard to chew on at times.  He plays the role with verve and
a boyishness that doesn’t quite befit most people’s idea of a
Captain.  At times he seems a bit silly as a character and you
might call him a “dork.”  His character is acted much like his
role in Quantum Leap—for those who remember that show.  Ensign
Mayweather is the young navigator who grew up on a cargo ship and this
tempers his opinions on many things throughout the episodes both good
and bad.  Lieutenant Malcolm Reed is English and is the Security
Officer.  He’s aggressive yet mysterious in some ways and a few of
the episodes explore this aspect of his personality.  He’s quick
to question the Captain’s (and other character’s) positions when it
comes to military actions.  By introducing the idea of a foreign
exchange program, two characters are introduced.  The first is Dr.
Phlox, an alien who offers a balanced perspective on other cultures
facilitates discussion and new directions for the story.  The
other is a Vulcan, Sub-Commander T’Pol.  In the pilot, she seems
to be thrown in as another beautiful and sexy strong-woman character
like the Seven of Nine character (played by Jeri Ryan in the Voyager
series).  However, as the season progresses, her character is
developed more than any of the other characters and is well done. 
Lastly, there is Ensign Hoshi Sato, the Communications Officer. 
She is reticent about the joining the crew at first and is challenged
on many occasions—her insecurity being one of the many recurring
themes.  But with T’Pol’s harsh encouragement, she starts to come
into her own.

Being a prequel to the original series there are many occasions to
introduce items and aliens that many fans of the show will undoubtedly
recognize.  This includes the transporter, phase pistols,
Klingons, Ferengi, the idea of a prime directive, and many other
technologies.  The recurring theme of a Temporal Cold War is
introduced and appears in a few episodes including the season
finale.  The alien race, the Suliban, take orders from the future
and Enterprise keeps crossing paths with them.  Individual episode
summaries can be viewed here:
https://www.tv.com/star-trek-enterprise/show/2498/episode_guide.html. 
There are some other differences between this series and those that
have come before it.  For starters, there is the opening music
(“Faith of the Heart”) which was written by Dianne Warren and sung by
Russell Watson.  It was a little off-putting at first, but you can
skip right to the beginning of the episode by pushing the skip button
on your DVD player.  A minor irritation is there is no “play all”
option on each disc.  Instead, you have to navigate through
menus—back from one episode to then select the following episode. 
I’d prefer to go back to the special features if I care to at the end
and watch all the episodes straight through.  Also, the gray,
rounded, plastic case that the discs come in is slightly bigger than a
standard DVD case and may not fit in certain media racks.  There
is a blue insert that is about the right size, so you can always pull
this out if desired.

The audio commentary on the first episodes by Rick Berman and Brannon
Braga cover many of the differences and changes that were intentionally
made in this new show.  The pilot is excellent and will probably
get some viewers (like me) hooked on the series.  I’d say it was
better than the last Star Trek movie that played in the theater. 
There are several really good episodes that follow and none of them are
bad.  I feel a bit foolish for not giving this series more of a
chance when it first came on—I guess I was tired of the last two
shows.  In many ways Enterprise is a fresh start and should please
many Star Trek fans.

-Brian Bloom
 

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