For the first time in Star Trek history it was decided to dedicate an entire season to tell a single story. Following a recent trend started by hits like Alias and 24, Enterprise boldly went where many had gone before. The problem with this grand idea is that character development and Trek lore were all given a back seat. Rick Berman felt the need for Trek to become more epic. Unfortunately what Enterprise really needed to do was return to its character and socially driven roots. The show did finally start in that direction, but not before losing a legion of fans. On DVD, however, this story plays out much better. Now you don’t need to worry about missing an episode and spending the rest of the entire year feeling like you’re the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on.
Season Two ended with a shocking attack on Earth that destroyed much of my home area, Florida. The Enterprise embarks on its single mission to find and stop the mysterious Xindi. Along the way we are treated to plenty of stories that are in some way interrelated to this new big picture. The season is much darker in tone, both in script and cinematically.
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 audio 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 star fields. 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 with the exception be a handful of deleted scenes scattered throughout the set.
Another “Day In The Life Of A Director” features a second Trek alumnus in Roxanne Dawson. The former Voyager Klingon has become a prolific Trek director. Here she discusses her work on Enterprise.
“The Xindi Saga Begins” Enterprise co-creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga talk about the motivations for this season’s departure from tradition. They seem to understand the idea might not be popular among the fans but indicate a feeling that Trek needed to be shaken up a bit.
“Enterprise Moments: Season Three” Is the next installment of the expected season in review.
Connor Trinneer gets the character profile spotlight in this set. The actor who plays Trip in the show elaborates on a number of elements of Trek and his character’s development. Trinneer gets one of the series’ longest features at about 18 minutes. This feature really is a … Trip.
What Star Trek box set would be complete without yet another ad for the Vegas Borg invasion? Apparently Paramount thinks you don’t know about it yet, because here it is again.
It’s hard to watch these episodes again without thinking about the fact that all of these last two decades of Star Trek was winding down. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Anyone who has read my many Star Trek reviews knows I place a large amount of it on Rick Berman. While I can applaud the attempt to give the show freshness, I’m not sure a season-long story arc was the answer. If you stayed away because missing an episode or two made you feel as lost as the Jupiter 2, then the DVD is the perfect opportunity to catch the Xindi story. As for Berman? “He must be brought to justice if honor is to be regained.”