Contains Mild Spoilers.
See also 20th Anniversary Blog
I remember that 20 years ago I wasn’t too thrilled about the 5th incarnation with the name Star Trek, although the first two seasons it was just called “Enterprise”. I wasn’t too thrilled for a few reasons. I wasn’t a fan of Scott Bakula, so him as a captain was not something I was looking forward to. Furthermore, I did not like the fact that they went back instead of forward in time. Also at first glance, this did not seem to be a crew I was going to like very much! So yeah, I did have pre-conceptions about this new Star Trek show. With my first time watching the first season, I really wasn’t very impressed if I remember correctly.
However, I really learned to appreciate Star Trek: Enterprise and at this point it is my second favorite Star Trek show and I don’t care what others think of this, I really love the show now, even the not so good episodes I engulf. Scott Bakula turns out to be one of my favorite captains as captain Jonathan Archer, I got used to him very fast and now he too, like the show itself, is my second favorite captain (Sisko remains my first favorite captain of course). I still am not a fan of going backwards in time, but I accepted it and I do not mind so much the inconsistent timeline Enterprise has caused. Regarding the characters, only Trip (Conner Trinneer) I am still not a real fan of but 10 years ago or so, I really hated his guts so there is progress, I guess.
Lt. Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating) is one of my favorite Enterprise characters, I really like way he presents himself, hands on kinda guy. He also has my sense of humor and has become the action guy which suits him. Dr Phlox (John Billingsley) is another of my favorite characters. He loves the adventure, has a unique way of looking at things, has a very open mind and humor! Ensign Sato Hoshi (Linda Park) was also an interesting character, she started out an insecure woman who does not seem to wanna be on Enterprise. She grew into a confident woman, perhaps a bit too fast. That is what I also liked about the first half of the first season, there really were language problems to overcome, Hoshi of course, being the communications officer, had some tense moments when her Captain and the whole crew depended upon her. T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) was not only beautiful but also a very interesting character, she brought much depth into being a Vulcan, think she (Jolene Blalock) did a terrific job with this character. What bugged over the course of seasons 2, 3 and 4 is that she became so thin! I don’t know if she was ill at the time or if she did this on purpose, but it really bugged me she lost so much weight. Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery), I like the character, but I think he really was underused which is a shame.
Enterprise also has an impressive recurring cast and also equally impressive guest stars in this first season. Of course the first one I need to mention is Shran played by Jeffrey Combs whom we all know from his roles on Deep Space Nine, Weyoun and Brunt. He also played another Ferengi in the one and only Ferengi episode “Acquisition”. Admiral Forrest, played by Vaughn Armstrong, besides an impressive career he also landed a lot of Star Trek guest roles, he also played the Kreetassan Captain in episode “Vox Sola” and in the season 2 episode “A Night in Sickbay” on Enterprise. Ambassador Soval, played by Gary Graham, did so much, he also was on Prelude to Axanar as Ambassador Soval! Not to forget, John Fleck as Silik. Of course there also were notable one-time guest spots. Rene Auberjonois, Annie Wersching, Erick Avari, Clint Howard and Ethan Phillips, Fionnula Flanagan, Clancy Brown and Dean Stockwell. Probably a bunch more I forgot, I’m sure. I noticed that there also were a number of Star Trek actors from previous shows who were directing an episode, which was nice to also see happen.
Overall, I think the first season of Enterprise is quite entertaining. Of course, it has some episodes which are mediocre at best, but I feel Enterprise has a way better start than TNG, DS9 or Voyager. Compared to the first seasons of the beforementioned I feel Enterprise’s first season is by far the best season of these four shows. What I liked about the first half of the first season you really get the sense that they really are anxious to start exploring, that the crew of the Enterprise obviously is new at this exploring and as I said earlier here, the language barrier has certainly been used in the first season more than once. Sadly, in my opinion, this has been dropped too soon and the crew gets more in the same rhythm as TNG and Voyager. What I mean by that is that these stories are not unique, they could also have been told on Star Trek: Voyager. Would have liked to see this continue a bit longer.
There are some episodes that didn’t work but let’s first focus on the episodes that I believe were quite successful, I mean, I enjoyed them! I thought the pilot worked really well, it was an exciting story, I really liked the fact that the Vulcans really were the ones who held us back for so long to go in space because they did not think we were ready yet. Suddenly we view these Vulcans a bit differently because of how they act on Star Trek: Enterprise. “Unexpected”, Trip pregnant was fun episode. “The Andorian Incident” really was an interesting episode. The Vulcans and the Andorians really don’t like each other! Directed by Roxann Dawson. “Cold Front”, “Silent Enemy” were two exciting episodes and “Dear Doctor” is probably my favorite episode of the season. It has everything what makes good Star Trek. I also liked “Sleeping Dogs”, don’t know why I now rate it higher than with previous viewings but I did. “Shadows of P'Jem” was another entertaining Andorian/Vulcan episode.
I thought “Detained” was a good episode about the Sulliban, it mirrors a bit what currently is happening in our own world so perhaps that’s why I rate it a bit higher because it is so recognizable. I thought “Fallen Hero” was also one of my favorites of the season. With a Vulcan female who behaves quite differently than you would expect from a Vulcan. The Season finale was quite exciting too, especially when the crew believes they are responsible for so many deaths, very well done, really like Scott Bakula’s performance in this.
There are a lot of episodes which are just entertaining, solid episodes, not a “Dear Doctor” or a “Fallen Hero”, buts still entertaining. I think of episodes like: “Fight or Flight”, “Breaking the Ice”, “Fortunate Son”, “Shuttle pod One”, “Fusion”, “Oasis” and “Desert Crossing”.
Few episodes didn’t work really well, first one “Strange New World”, thought this episode was quite annoying even, mainly because Trip’s behavior, while he was under the influence. “Terra Nova” is also not that interesting, although I have to admit, this time the episode was more entertaining to me than past viewings. Perhaps something to do with the state of mind of oneself, you get older, wiser and so on! 😊 “Rogue Planet” was not that interesting and also “Acquisition” was not an episode I really enjoyed. “Two days, two nights” was also not a really inspiring episode.
The Picture Quality of the Blu-ray release of season one:
I have to say I was really happy when Star Trek: Enterprise was announced on Blu-ray back in 2013 or something. I however was quite displeased with the fact that the PQ wasn’t up to Blu-ray standards I was used to. Seasons 1-3 weren’t particular stellar in that regard. Only season 4 looks great in HD but that is supposedly the first season that has been shot in HD. I however recently purchased a 4K Blu-ray player while still having a 1080p television and I swear to you, the first season looks much better with the 4K upscaling, I thought it was really obvious how much better it looks.
Special Features on the Blu-ray release of season one:
All the special features you’ll find on the older DVD sets are here too, but there also new special features, deleted scenes, all in HD! Also 3 new special features, 90 minutes in total:
- To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part One: Countdown (HD, 30:45): A detailed look back at the show's origins, unique traits new to Star Trek while remaining true to the established world, discarded ideas and the shape the series eventually took, clashes between the studio heads and the series' creators, set construction and designing with "future" series in mind, NX-01 design, and the theme song and opening titles.
- To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part Two: Boarding the NX-01 (HD, 31:16): A close look at casting the lead roles and the qualities the actors brought to the show. The piece ends with some looks at set design and special effects.
- To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part Three: First Flight (HD, 27:51): Cast and crew speak on the lower quality scripts from season one, the good episodes and the bad ones, the initial high ratings, and the drop in viewership.
For any Star Trek: Enterprise fan, this really interesting, I thought the last part was the best and these features will continue on the second season. Brannan Braga is really honest about his feelings towards the first season. I really can recommend it if you are an Enterprise fan! Especially because on the second season you’ll find a roundtable interview with the whole cast!
I don’t think it’s hard for you to realize that Enterprise is a show that is close to my heart, I really find it very enjoyable, it’s in my top 10 of favorite shows of all time. Watching it now for the third time on Blu-ray makes me appreciate it even more, and the 4K upscaled discs really do seem to give a better picture! HIGHLY recommended!
Screencaps taken from TrekCore / Blu-ray info