STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
How UPN allowed STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE to end after only four seasons is anyone’s guess. I guess the old saying that those who do not learn from history are forced to repeat it is true- the original STAR TREK series was cancelled after three seasons, because the bean counters didn’t see the show’s potential, and the same thing has happening here with STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE. Over time, syndication and DVD sales will only serve to increase the show’s following, so its premature departure from the airwaves is not only a disservice to fans, it is also a financial mistake, especially when one considers several decades worth of potential lost revenues from an additional three seasons.
Ok, so maybe STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE didn’t get off on the right foot with some, but I’ve liked the series since the beginning and the show has only gotten better with each subsequent season. Some didn’t like the fact that this STAR TREK series wasn’t contemporary to THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE and VOYAGER, but I liked the fact that show depicted an earlier generation; one that came even before THE ORIGINAL SERIES- the era of Captain Kirk and his Starship Enterprise. Sure, the series screwed around with Trek lore and the timeline somewhat, but the show proved to be an entertaining entity unto itself. Heck, one of my aspects of the show’s first season was the temporal cold war that had entities from the future, using their agents to screw around with the past.
Set 100 years after Earth has made contact with the Vulcan’s, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE depicts Starfleet’s formative years of early exploration, where mankind steps out on their own for the first time, after nearly a century of being the shadow of the Vulcans. The first Starfleet ship to explore strange new worlds is named Enterprise and is under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Amongst the crew of this early starship is Chief Engineer Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker (Connor Trinneer). Vulcan Subcommander T'Pol (Jolene Blalock), who serves as the Enterprise science officer, Armory Officer Lieutenant Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), Denobulan chief medical office Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley), Communications Officer Ensign Hoshi Sato (Linda Park) and Helmsman Ensign Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery).
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($130) comes to DVD in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-five episodes that were aired in that first year. The twenty-five featured episodes are as follows: Broken Bow, Fight Or Flight, Strange New World, Unexpected, Terra Nova, The Andorian Incident, Breaking The Ice, Civilization, Fortunate Son, Cold Front, Silent Enemy, Dear Doctor, Sleeping Dogs, Shadows Of P'jem, Shuttlepod One, Fusion, Rogue Planet, Acquisition, Oasis, Detained, Vox Sola, Fallen Hero, Desert Crossing, Two Days And Two Nights and Shockwave Part 1.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-four episodes from STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON in a 1.78:1 broadcast aspect ratio that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. ENTERPRISE being the newest Trek series and the only one to be offered in high definition simulcasts, it is not surprising that this incarnation of Trek was also the best looking on DVD. OK, so there are some slightly soft looking shots here and there, but for the most part, the episodes produce a crisp, smooth and detailed image quality. Colors are strongly rendered, appear stable and produce appealing flesh tones. Blacks are accurate, whites are crisp, plus contrast and shadow detail are pretty nice for a television level production. There is some graininess in places, but nothing worth complaining about. Digital compression artifacts are well contained, even with four episodes on a disc.
While certainly falling short of theatrical quality, the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks are top of the line for television productions. The forward soundstage is more active than the rears, which is typical of television mixes, but the rears do engage nicely for action sequences and space battles, not to mention the nice complement of ambient sounds emanating from the surround channels at other times. Fidelity is quite nice, with a strong musical component. Dialogue is clean and always understandable. English Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVDs, as are English subtitles.
3-D animation, plus sound serve to enhance the DVD’s interactive menus. Through the menus one has access to the set up and episode selection features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread throughout the set. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga provided a running audio commentary on Broken Bow, the maiden voyage of ENTERPRISE. Text Commentaries are provided by Star Trek Encyclopedia authors Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda on the following episodes: Broken Bow, The Andorian Incident, Vox Sola. Deleted Scenes are included along with the following episodes: Broken Bow, Fight Or Flight, Sleeping Dogs, Shuttlepod One, Oasis, Fallen Hero, Two Days And Two Nights and Shockwave Part 1.
Next come the featurettes. Creating Enterprise is an eleven-minute program that looks at depicting an early generation in the universe created by Gene Roddenberry. O Captain! My Captain! A Profile of Scott Bakula is a self-explanatory nine minutes. Cast Impressions: Season One features twelve minutes of interviews with cast members talking about their characters. Inside Shuttlepod One is a seven-minute program focused on the title episode. Star Trek Time Travel: Temporal Cold Wars And Beyond runs eight minutes and looks at the time travel in this series and the Trek universe. Enterprise Secrets clocks in at two minutes and provides a glimpse at some of the show’s effects work. Admiral Forrest Takes Center Stage spends five minutes with character actor Vaughn Armstrong, who has played a number of roles in the Trek universe. Enterprise Outtakes features nine minutes of amusing goofs. A trailer for the Borg Invasion 4D at the Las Vegas Hilton and some Easter Eggs close out the supplemental features.
Cut off in its prime, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE has boldly gone off the air way too soon. This reviewer liked the show from the beginning and was sorry to see it go. Paramount has done its usual fine job with the DVD set, making this collection a worthy addition to any Starfleet library. If you’re someone who has never experienced the series, or a longtime fan, then the STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON collection is the best way to become acquainted or reacquainted with the series.
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