STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
As I stated last time around, I donít think the cancellation of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE was the smartest maneuver on the course charted by UPN. If history is any guide, then in the long term, corporate parent Viacom will be losing out on the syndication and home media revenues of an additional three seasons STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE for untold decades. Story wise, the series really came unto itís own during the third and forth seasons and continued to enjoy a whole lot of positive buzz, that really would have paid off in the long haul. All right, even I have to admit that there were some mediocre episodes along the way, but I stand by my guns and say that I genuinely liked this incarnation of the universe created by Gene Roddenberry and was sorry to see it go prematurely.
In the Trek timeline, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE is set 100 years after Earth has made first contact with the Vulcanís and prior to the formation of the United Federation Of Planets. The series depicts Starfleetís formative years of 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 SECOND SEASON ($130) comes to DVD in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired in year two. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Shockwave Part 2, Carbon Creek, Minefield, Dead Stop, A Night In Sickbay, Marauders, The Seventh, The Communicator, Singularity, Vanishing Point, Precious Cargo, The Catwalk, Dawn, Stigma, Cease Fire, Future Tense, Canamar, The Crossing, Judgment, Horizon, The Breach, Cogenitor, Regeneration, First Flight, Bounty and The Expanse.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-four episodes from STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON in a 1.78:1 broadcast aspect ratio that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Similar in appearance to the episodes contained in the season one collection, season two boasts good levels of sharpness and detail, with occasional bouts of image softness across the episodes. Again this is all very good for a television production and this series really benefits from being produced in the wide screen aspect ratio of high definition. Colors are strongly rendered and flesh tones on the human characters are pretty appealing. Blacks are accurately reproduced, as are the whites. Contrast is good for a television production and picture lacks the flatness one generally associates with television lighting. There is a bit of grain in the episodes, but blemishes were generally non-existent. Digital compression artifacts usually kept a very low profile.
All the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Again, there is a bias towards the forward soundstage, as there was with the first season and most other television productions. The rear channels do engage for the more action-oriented moments, and they do come into play to provide the episodes with ambient noise and musical fill. Fidelity is strong, with the musical component being rendered with a nice sense of presence, plus the sound effects are generally rather convincing. 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 DVDís 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. Writer/producers Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong are on hand to provide running audio commentaries on the episodes Dead Stop and Regeneration. Text Commentaries are provided by Star Trek Encyclopedia authors Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda on the following episodes: Stigma and First Flight.
Next come the featurettes. Enterprise Moments: Season Two runs nineteen minutes and looks back on the highlights of the showís sophomore year. Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock is a fourteen-minute program that features the actress discussing her character and the Trek experience. LeVar Burton: Star Trek Director clocks in at seven minutes and features the Trek vet talking about working on the other side of the camera. Enterprise Secrets is five minutes in length and ties the newest series to one of the feature films. Inside A Night In Sickbay is an eleven-minute look at the making of that particular episode. A trailer for the Borg Invasion 4D at the Las Vegas Hilton, Outtakes, a Photo Gallery and some Easter Eggs close out the supplemental features.
Cut down in its prime, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE is a series I am sorry to see leave the airwaves. Fortunately, the DVD make it possible for the show to acquire a new following, as well as letting established fans to relive the adventures. Paramount does their usual great job with the discs, providing solid presentations that outclass NTSC broadcasts. As with year one, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON comes recommended.
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