The same year Star Trek Voyager turned off the lights, and packed up the sets, a new show was being created. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga quickly knocked together the idea of having the new Trek series be a prequel – a controversial decision to say the least.
The first season opened to some spectacular ratings in the US, dipping dramatically and suddenly. This continued until this year, when the show was eventually cancelled for its lacklustre performance in the Nielsen ratings. That’s not to say the ratings fell due to show quality – UPN never did any decent advertising after the premiere. The result is a high budget Trek series that tends to twist and turn with exactly what it wants to be. Season One has a clear theme, however – exploration. Season One is the year that shows what the show would probably have been like, had the ratings not fallen. The wonder and excitement is there, there isn’t much danger – it’s all about “seeking new life, and new civilisations.”
This, the first season does tremendously. The atmosphere is fantastic, and characters like Trip (the southern Chief Engineer), Archer (the naive and reckless captain) and T’Pol (the alien voice of logic and reason). Even the less important main characters get roles in the earlier years – an aspect of the show that was later dropped, in favour of action packed storylines (in order to pull in more ratings).
Season One does have its highs and lows. Broken Bow is a fantastic pilot, Strange New World, Unexpected (In which Trip, a man, gets pregnant) and Cold Front are all excellent episodes. For me, however, Shuttlepod One is the real gem. Clearly a budget saving episode, show creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga took two characters (Trip and the armoury officer, Malcolm Reed) and put them in a shuttlepod, and put them in a hopeless situation. That is it. The entire episode revolves around this one plot. But it’s excellent. Rick and Brannon were greatly criticised in later years by fans for their “abuse” of the franchise and “painful plots”, but it widely accepted that this episode is magical. And Dear Doctor is widely regarded as one of the greatest Trek episodes of recent years. The season rounds of with Shockwave, an explosive finale that raises the stakes for the next season. It’s excellent also.
There are, as with every Star Trek season, there are duds. Acquisition is one that positively leaps to mind.
The special features on the DVD set are excellent (they have to be, given the price).
- Creating Enterprise
- O Captain! My Captain! A profile of Scott Bakula
- Cast Impressions: Season One
- Inside Shuttlepod One
- Star Trek Time Travel
- Enterprise Secrets
- Admiral Forrest Takes Centre Stage
- Enterprise Outtakes
- Deleted Scenes
Contray to what you might think, the outtakes are actually very extensive, and very amusing. Enterprise Secrets gives you a short look at the way some of the “hi-tech gadgets” actually work.
Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, the set sounds, and looks, superb. If you’re willing to shell out the cash, this is absolutely worth your time and effort – Enterprise was one of the strongest sci-fi shows on TV at this point in its run.