STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
Itís somewhat ironic that STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE met with cancellation at the end of its best season. Itís also somewhat ironic that STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE is the only member of the franchise to boldly goÖ where only the original series has gone before- namely, the network chopping block. In similar fashion, I expect STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE to be vindicated along the same route, namely building a large and devoted audience through syndication, not to mention the DVD box sets.
Season three of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE concluded its story arc involving the Xindi, and ended with a bang of a cliffhanger. Season four starts by resolving the cliffhanger, which finds the Temporal Cold War suddenly becoming hot, and the Enterprise transplanted back to 1944, where they discover history changed via an alien assisted Nazi invasion of America. Season four features a guest appearance by Brent Spiner, as an ancestor of Dataís creator, who wants to resurrect the type of human genetic engineering that gave rise to men like Khan Noonian Singh and Eugenics War. Other season four highlights include a trip to the mirror universe; philosophical and political unrest amongst the Vulcans; the emergence of the Romulans as a threat to Earth, as well as the seeds of the United Federation Of Planets starting to take shape, despite a newly cultivated human xenophobia against alien species. The series final episode proves to be the only weak spot in the entire season, and works best if ignored.
In the Trek timeline, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE is set 100 years after Earth has made first contact with the Vulcans 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). Former 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 FOURTH SEASON ($130) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features all twenty-two episodes that were aired during year four. The twenty-four featured episodes are as follows: Storm Front Part 1, Storm Front Part 2, Home, Borderland, Cold Station 12, The Augments, The Forge, Awakening, Kir'Shara, Daedalus, Observer Effect, Babel One, United, The Aenar, Affliction, Divergence, Bound, In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 1, In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2, Demons, Terra Prime, These Are The Voyages....
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-two episodes from STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON in a 1.78:1 broadcast aspect ratio that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Unlike the previous three seasons, season four was shot on HD Video and actually looks all the better for it. The image appears somewhat crisper and better defined than the previous sets. Colors are also improved, with better-saturated hues and more appealing flesh tones. Contrast is excellent for a television production and shadow details are strong. Digital compression artifacts are always nicely contained.
All the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Season four may be the best implementation of the series soundtracks, with the mixes coming across in a somewhat more potent fashion than the previous three. This isnít to say that the mixes arenít front heavy; just that channel separation is cleaner in season four, and that the rears seem more engaging. Fidelity is terrific for a television production, with the musical component being strongly rendered and the sound effects coming across nicely. English dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. 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. Running audio commentaries are provided for the episodes In A Mirror, Darkly Parts 1 & 2 (with Mike Sussman & Tim Gaskill) and Terra Prime. Text Commentaries are provided by Star Trek Encyclopedia authors Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda on the following episodes: The Forge, In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2 and
These Are The Voyages.... Deleted scenes have been included for Storm Front Part 1, The Aenar and In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2.
Next come the featurettes. Enterprise Moments: Season Four runs thirteen minutes and looks back on the highlights of the showís fourth year. Inside the Mirror Episodes is a fifteen-minute look at the alternate reality of the Trek universe. Enterprise Secrets is a five-minute glimpse behind-the-scenes at the final moments of the show. Visual Effects Magic provides a thirteen minute overview of season fourís effects work. Thatís A Wrap is a near nine-minute farewell from the wrap party. Links To The Legacy spends four minutes examining the efforts to tie into Trek continuity during season four. Enterprise Outtakes is a funny two-minute blooper reel. 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.
Season four was the best, and sadly, final season of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE. Paramount has done their usual first-rate job with the DVDs, providing high quality presentations that outclass NTSC broadcasts. These were the finest moments for the latest series to bear the Trek moniker, so STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE- THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON comes very highly recommended.
reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.