Season Two of Star Trek Enterprise was without a doubt the weakest of the series. It’s no mystery that the show’s demise was already being talked about by the time Year Two was finished. The stories were unoriginal and it appears budgetary concerns often meant unimaginative bottle shows. The words Star Trek were finally added to the title. Rick Berman has always tried to distance himself from Gene Roddenberry. When Enterprise was first released he felt it was time to finally cut the umbilical cord and drop the franchise tag. If that doesn’t tell you something about his level of respect for Star Trek, then the countless instances of disregarding traditional Trek continuity should. The franchise officially jumped the shark with the episode “A Night In Sickbay”. Come on, Berman, that cute puppy in a fight for its life is so… Lassie.
The Earth is finally ready to send its first starship to explore the vast galaxy. This first Starship Enterprise is smaller than the ships we’ve become used to. There are no shields or photon torpedoes. The transporter has only been cleared for inanimate objects. Not that this stands in the way of its occasional “emergency” use. The crew is composed of Captain Jonathan Archer (Bakula), First Officer and Vulcan High Command liaison, T’Pol (Blalock), Chief Engineer Charles (Trip) Tucker (Trinneer), Tactical Officer Malcolm Reed (Keating), Denobulan Dr. Phlox (Billingsly), Pilot Travis Mayweather (Montgomery) and Linguist/Communications Officer Hoshi Sato (Park).
With no Prime Directive to stand in their way (did it ever stop anyone before?) this crew has carte blanche to discover the wonders of the cosmos. Most of this season finds the crew battling new enemy The Suliban. (Can anyone say Taliban?) A Temporal Cold War is also introduced that places the crew in the middle of factions from the future.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is pretty comparable to the previous Star Trek entries on DVD. Sadly, there is not a lot of separation. Ambient sounds tend to mix mostly in the mains, while dialogue flourishes well defined in the center. There seem to be more explosions on this show, and they do at times push your subs to make their presence heard.
There are a couple of commentaries, but mostly support staff.
Each episode is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Perfect for 16×9 screens. I must say I was extremely pleased with the video. The original broadcasts were always too dark and grainy. These transfers eliminate most of those annoying broadcast defects to deliver a stunning image. Darkness still dominates the overall look and feel of the show, but now these darks contain detail and excellent levels of shadow. Colors are quite vivid. Explosions provide a veritable brilliance fest against the dark starfields. Contrast was never better.
The packaging is identical to the first year design.All of the features can be found on the 7th disc of the set.
- “Enterprise Moments: Season 2”: is exactly like the season 1 piece. Interviews fill out a brief look at the overall structure of Enterprise’s sophomore season.
- “Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock”: This is the by now typical look at both the actor and character.
- “Levar Burton: Director” is a long overdue look at Next Generation’s LaForge now one of Trek’s best and most prolific directors. Levar Burton brings a unique perspective to Enterprise as he had done with Voyager. Unfortunately this feature examines one of the weakest scripts he had to work with, the 2nd season “First Flight”.
- “Enterprise Secrets”: Here we see the show’s recreation of the Klingon Penal Colony first encountered by Kirk and McCoy in Star Trek VI.
- “Inside A Night In Sickbay”: Adds insult to injury as the team expresses their pride in perhaps one of the dullest Trek episodes in the entire Franchise. I hear The Fonz revving up that bike now.
The menus are the kind we’ve gotten used to. They still take too long to load and cannot be bypassed. This time an early Klingon Bird of Prey is the template.
Fortunately for Trek fans everywhere, Enterprise did get better. While the season-long story arc of season 3 made following the show difficult as a broadcast show, it will make a fine home video set. It is worth owning this set simply because it compliments the other three seasons. I’d say I was sorry for writing such a less than enthusiastic review of a season of Star Trek; however, “They’re the ones who should apologize to me”.