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Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1 Blu-ray Review

Star Trek- Enterprise Season 1 Blu-ray

The first season of “Enterprise” is underappreciated.

“Enterprise,” for those that don’t know, is a prequel series to TOS, TNG, DS9, and Voyager. The introductory season primarily shows how the crew of the Enterprise NX-01 broke new ground by becoming the first Earth vessel to fully explore the far reaches of space. The crew of the Enterprise consists of Captain Jonathan Archer, the Vulcan Chief Science Officer T’Pol, Chief Engineer Charles “Trip” Tucker, Security Officer Malcolm Reed, Chief Communications Officer Hoshi Santo, Ensign Travis Mayweather, and the Denobulan Dr. Phlox.

Without giving away too much about what happens in the first 26 episodes, I will say that fans can expect to see plots about encounters with Klingons, Andorians, Vulcans, Suliban, Ferengi, a trip to Risa, a Temporal Cold War, a pregnant Trip, time travel, Trip and Malcolm stranded on a shuttlepod, other civilizations on alien worlds, a cargo ship, a pandemic, and T’Pol having a mind meld.

While many fans have come to respect “Enterprise” over the years, the series still unfairly gets a bad wrap. Yes, the theme song “Faith of the Heart” is decidedly dreadful and some episodes (like “Rogue Planet”) are a bit lackluster, but don’t hold that against the show. When “Enterprise” is firing on all cylinders, it’s a really rewarding viewing experience.

For me, the joy of ‘Enterprise’ is seeing how it all began. With the 2 hour “Broken Bow” pilot episode (which feels like a movie), ‘Enterprise’ really came out of the gate strong by establishing the pioneering characters, setting new conflicts, showing new aliens, and, of course, throwing in familiar faces and technology. There’s a real sense of wonder here in the first episode and I liked the fact that the series is more grounded. The characters are flawed and so is the technology. We don’t see the utopian society that we see in TNG. These characters have problems and not everything works properly which makes the journey (and the show) more interesting.

On the subject of the characters, there are several stand-outs in terms of the cast. First and foremost, Connor Trinneer steals the show as Trip (the Engineer). He’s a personable country boy character who brings humor and heart to the show. Jolene Blalock, who portrays T’Pol, could have easily just been another  actress brought on for sex appeal, but her Vulcan character is arguably the most intriguing and developed on the series (this is especially evident in later seasons). Scott Bakula (Captain Archer) can get a little preachy at times, but I liked the fact that he was a different sort of Captain. He’s outspoken, sometimes argumentative, and yet often very compassionate. We are constantly seeing different sides of the Captain (especially in his interactions with fellow crew members). Last, but not least, there is Jeffrey Combs who not only portrays a Ferengi (Krem) here in the fantastic “Acquisition,” but also the fan favorite Andorian character Commander Shran. Combs, who consistently stole the show on DS9 as various characters, is far and away the best reoccurring character on ENT and he really shines in two of the best first season episodes “The Andorian Incident” and “Shadows Of P’Jem.”

I can’t end this review without mentioning the first rate production values. While several Trek series are often noted for having cheap looking sets, ‘Enterprise’ certainly does not. The ship sets, the costumes, and the visual FX look entirely convincing and well crafted. It’s especially impressive considering how difficult it is to make the show seem futuristic and new while also making it more dated looking compared to the future ship designs in the other Trek series.  

Video/Audio:

“Enterprise,” which is presented in widescreen 1080p, looks slightly disappointing I’m sad to say. After the incredible picture quality for “Star Trek” TNG and TOS, ‘Enterprise’ looks a bit too inconsistent for my taste. Some shots look absolutely pristine while others appear fuzzy or grainy (especially the FX). Still, it’s certainly an upgrade from the DVD copies to be sure.

The English 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track could have been a tad more impactful. Again, I expected more here after the fantastic work done on TNG and TOS, but I felt the tracks for ‘Enterprise’ were a bit flat. Note: There are a total of 12 language options available for the episodes.

Extras:
* “Star Trek: Enterprise” season 2 and “Star Trek: The Next generation- The Best Of Both Worlds” ads.
* “Network Presentation”- A promotional ad that promotes ‘Enterprise’ and celebrates ‘Trek.’
* Deleted scenes from “Broken Bow,” “Fight or Flight,” “Unexpected,” “Sleeping Dogs,” “Shuttlepod One,” “Oasis,” “Fallen Hero,” “Two Days and Two Nights,” and “Shockwave Part 1.”
* “Syndication Presentation”- Another ‘Enterprise’ promotional ad.
* “Cast Introduction”- Rick Berman introduces the cast members of the series with this featurette.
* “Creating Enterprise”- Another archival featurette that contains footage from the “Cast Introduction” as well as other footage that covers various aspects of the show.
* “O Captain! My Captain! A Profile Of Scott Bakula”- Cast members (and Bakula himself) chat about Bakula and his Captain Archer character as well.
* “NX-01 File 02”- A short 2 minute piece about creating the Klingon World F/X.
* “In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga”- A newly recorded extra in which the two discuss casting, various aspects of other ‘Trek’ series and films, crafting a prequel, the Vulcans, different series concepts, episodes like “Shuttlepod One,” the theme song, Manny Coto, fans, network executives, stories that never happened, and more. This is a very frank, relaxed, and in-depth conversation that undoubtedly covers a lot of topics that I’m sure fans have always been curious about. A must watch.
* “Cast Impressions: Season 1”- The cast talk about their characters in the first season.
* Informative text commentaries for “Broken Bow,” “The Andorian Incident,” and “Vox Sola” by Mike and Denise Okuda.
* Two commentaries for “Broken Bow.” The 2005 commentary with Brannon Braga anad Rick Berman is from the DVD release. The other track is a newly recorded commentary with Brannon Braga, James L. Conway, Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating and Dan Curry that covers everything from the theme song to the FX.
* “Enterprise Secrets”- A neat inside look at the Warp Core and Replicator.
* ‘Admiral Forest Takes Center Stage”- Actor Vaughn Armstrong talks about Admiral Forest and other characters he has played on past Trek series.
* “Star Trek Time Travel: Temporal Cold Wars And Beyond”- A featurette about, you guessed it, time travel and the Temporal Cold War arc.
* New commentaries on “Sleeping Dogs” by Dan Curry and Andre Bormains, “Shadows Of P’Jem” by Mike Sussam and Phyllis Strong, “Shuttlepod One” by Brannon Braga, David Livingston, Connor Trinneer, and Dominic Keating,
* “Inside Shuttlepod One”- A featurette on the fan favorite, character centric episode.
* “NX-01 Files 01 and 03” covers the episode “Shadows of P’Jem,” graphic art work,
* “Enterprise Outtakes”- Chuckle worthy.
* “On The Set”- A look at what goes into making a 5 minute scene of “Enterprise.”
* “Celebrating Star Trek”- An extra that focuses on the Las Vegas Convention, the fans, exhibitors, guests, a virtual convention, and the now defunct Star Trek: The Experience.
* “To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise” is a 3 part documentary that contains interviews with Berman, Braga, Bakula and other crew members about how the show came about, the sets, the cast, season 1 episodes, writing troubles, the characters and a whole lot more. Another fantastic extra by Roger Lay, Jr. and Robert Meyer Burnett.

Summary: Going back and watching the first season of “Enterprise” has been a fun journey, but I can’t help but feel a little bummed after it ended. The show should have gone on longer and, more importantly, the TV landscape just feels empty without a Trek series on the air in the past 8 years. ‘Enterprise’ may not be perfect, but it’s vastly superior to “Voyager.” Give it a chance.

April 2, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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