When I was growing up, there were two science fiction series that I regularly watched—Star Trek and Space: 1999. I even bought the toys made for each series. When Star Trek: The Next Generation came around, I was shocked like many others that they actually managed to make another series. I never thought it would have the endurance to continue for many seasons, but I’ll be damned if it did. It ran from 1987 to 1994 and today is pretty much considered just as much a classic as the original series.
I was never surprised that Generation’s success spawned two more series, which followed soon after—Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001). I never got into Deep Space Nine, but Voyager, I really liked. I followed Voyager straight to the end. After that I thought we’d seen the last of any more Star Trek TV shows, but in 2001, without any serious lag time after Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise debuted. What sets this particular series apart from Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager was that it was a prequel. Enterprise takes place roughly a hundred years before the original series, and I was immediately sucked into the first season. When the second season debuted, for some reason, the stories didn’t interest me as much and I eventually, and reluctantly, stopped watching. I actually managed to catch up with the series a few years ago when the Syfy channel ran a weeklong marathon of it around Thanksgiving. I caught a few episodes I hadn’t seen, with no intention of seeing any more, but I couldn’t stop watching. I ended up seeing it all right to the end, and loved it. Go figure.
Paramount/CBS has finally begun to start releasing the series on blu-ray. Season One came out on March 26, and all 1.78:1 1080p anamorphic episodes look spectacular, and I had no problems with the 5.1 DTS-HD audio either.
It all starts off with “Broken Bow.” It’s April, 2150, and the Vulcans have been, for reasons unknown, keeping mankind from truly exploring the universe. It’s been roughly a hundred years since they first made contact with the human race, and mankind is now on the brink of conquering warp drive by creating the Enterprise, the first ship that can go warp 5.
All this is precipitated by mankind’s first encounter with a Klingon, when one crash lands and is pursued by two genetically enhanced Suliban. This whole encounter ends with the Suliban dead and the Klingon being shot and severely wounded. The Vulcans want to handle the matter solely, which entails pulling the Klingon off life support so they can ship his body back to the Klingon Empire as per custom, but Jonathon Archer (Scott Bakula) has a better idea. He’ll assemble a crew, and take the Enterprise out and deliver the Klingon, alive, to his home planet himself. The warp drive is ready; all it needs is to be tested.
He assembles his crew and off they go. Only four days there and four days back again, but that mission is prolonged when two more Suliban infiltrate the ship and kidnap the Klingon. Archer and crew go in search rather than admit defeat and prove the Vulcan’s right that mankind is not yet ready for interstellar travel. What Archer discovers is that there’s a temporal cold war occurring, with an unseen antagonist from another time stream directing the Suliban. This is our season long story arc, it appears. Archer and crew actually manage to deliver the Klingon home and alive, and with that done the series is off and running.
All the extras from the previous standard DVD collection have been ported over, but there have been news ones added and I will concentrate solely on these:
Disc # 1:
Audio Commetary with Brannon Braga (co-creator/executive producer), James L. Conway (director), Dan Curry (visual effects producer), and actors, Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) on the “Broken Bow” premiere episode.
In Conversation: Rick Berman And Brannon Braga (1:02:39): Filmed on 12/12/2012 this is the highlight, I’d say, for this first disc. It’s basically Rick and Brannon seated, sort of facing one another, discussing whatever comes into their head about Enterprise and the other shows. Couldn’t get a lock on whether they thought they did a good job on Enterprise until Brannon just comes out and says that he thinks it was a great show and should have stayed on the air longer. They also address how much the fans hated the song used for the opening credits. Personally, I did not have a problem with it. They also reveal their initial idea for a prequel never sat well with the network. They really wanted to do a series, or at least half of the first season anyway, at a stage where the Enterprise was still under construction, but they couldn’t get approval. The network wanted a show that was a future follow-up to the others.
They also discuss how the ratings actually started to go downhill on Deep Space Nine, and simply continued right through to Voyager and this new series. The network also didn’t like the series simply being called, Enterprise, so in subsequent seasons it became known as Star Trek: Enterprise.
The notes they got from the suits were the worst they had ever seen. The suits wanted a band to be featured on the show every week. All in all, this is a very frank discussion on what they think they did right and what they think they did wrong. Oh, and Shatner pitched them a Kirk story, and they loved it, but he killed it by asking for a butt load of money.
Cast Introduction (2:15): A short filmed during production where Berman, on the bridge, introduces, Bakula, in Archer uniform, who goes on to introduce the rest of the cast who are at their stations.
Network Presentation (3:17): Ad for Star Trek: Enterprise and the DVDs of the other shows.
Syndication Presentation (7:15): Same as above with more focus on Enterprise.
Audio Commentary with Andre Bormanis (writer/story editor) and Dan Curry (visual effects producer) on the episode, “Silent Enemy.”
Audio Commentary with Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong (writers/executive story editors) on the episode, “Shadows Of P’Jem.”
Audio Commentary with Brannon Braga (co-creator/executive producer), David Livingston (director) and actors, Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) on the episode, “Shuttlepod One.”
On the Set (28:32): This appears to be an episode from some kind of series called, On The Set. It doesn’t look familiar to me. It focuses on Enterprise and shows you from script to filming how an episode gets made.
The main highlight of this entire set is the multi-part documentary, “To Boldly Go: Launching The Enterprise. It’s spread out over all the seasons. In this season there are three chapters. Part 1: Countdown (30:00) deals with some of the same things Brannon Braga and Rick Berman talked about in their conversation on Disc #1, which is the creation of the show. It also goes on to talk about the creation of the Enterprise itself. Interesting to note that up till this show all the ships in the previous series were physical models. Enterprise broke that mold by making them all CGI creations. Pros and Cons for choosing this direction are discussed.
Part 2: Boarding The NX-1 (31:16) centers on casting the show; actors Dominic Keating & Connor Trinneer are interviewed telling how they got their parts. And this part also covers filming the pilot and all the stress and successes that went along with that.
Part 3: First Flight (27:51) wraps up talk about season one by discussing the scripts and stories that were written. Brannon is brutally honest here, and says even the though show was firing on all cylinders, the scripts, for him, just weren’t up to snuff, and he’ll point out which episodes don’t hold up. There’s also brief talk, again, about the song used for the opening credits. Brannon still hates it and takes all the blame for that happening.
I personally never had a problem with the opening song, as I mentioned before, nor did I find any of the stories lacking. But that’s just me.
I always had the feeling this series wasn’t as popular as the other Star Trek ones, it’ll never beat The Next Generation, but it’s a worthy entry in the franchise nonetheless.