InsidePulse DVD Review – Star Trek Enterprise – The Complete Second Season


Credit: Amazon.com

Created by
Rick Berman
Brannon Braga

Cast
Scott Bakula …. Capt. Jonathan Archer
Jolene Blalock …. Sub-commander T’Pol
John Billingsley …. Dr. Phlox
Dominic Keating …. Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery …. Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park …. Ensign Hoshi Sato
Connor Trinneer …. Cmdr. Charles “Trip” Tucker III

The Show:

conӢtiӢnuӢiӢty Рn.- 1. A detailed script or scenario consulted to avoid discrepancies from shot to shot in a film, allowing the various scenes to be shot out of order.
2. Spoken matter serving to link parts of a radio or television program so that no break occurs.

The above definition is a hallowed one for many Science Fiction fans. Most of the time continuity is referred to as the entire storyline of a particular franchise or series. Whether it be in book form, comic book, television, or film, a new story has to be careful not to add an element that will make what has come before it or what supposed to happen in the future ring false. Continuity is at the heart of the controversy with the second season of Star Trek: Enterprise.

In the season’s 23rd episode, entitled Regeneration, a group of scientists find the remains of the Borg Sphere from Star Trek: First Contact. A few of the Borg are intact, wake up, and start creating havoc in that way that only the Borg can. When this installment of Enterprise aired, it created a huge in rift in the show’s fan base. According to Star Trek continuity, humans and The Borg are not supposed to meet up until the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation meet up with the cybernetic villains in the 24th Century.

If the Borg and Starfleet have already encountered, why are the cast of Next Generation caught totally unaware when the Collective tries to assimilate Captain Picard and his crew? Did the Federation lose their materials on the Borg? This is the major sticking point of the episodes as well as the season. The outrage over the episode was so severe that many consider the season a wash due to the break in the holy continuity.

What those fans are missing is that Regeneration is a superior episode in a season with many high spots. The episode is filled with taut action and suspense as Enterprise tries to reel in the lone vessel of Borg trying to assimilate all in their wake. The episode typifies the main strength of Enterprise’s 2nd season; nostalgia.

Because the series is a prequel to the Trek shows and films that have come before it, many of the season’s best episodes rely on the viewer to be able to reminisce on what has already gone on n Trek’s past on TV and in theatres. For instance, the episode entitled Minefield, has the Enterprise encounter perennial villains, The Romulans for the first time. The Romulans are major heavies during the James T. Kirk years from original series of Star Trek and also on Next Generation, but here the Enterprise is caught completely unaware by the villains. The episode is the most tension-filled installment of the season as a Romulan mine is actually attached to the hull of Enterprise, with booby-traps galore waiting for Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) and his crewmen.

The next episode is also a lot of fun as the damage the Enterprise suffers in Minefield has to be repaired. The ship comes across an automated repair station, which turns into a haunted house episode. The installment is very reminiscent of many of the first series episodes of Star Trek, such as Man Trap. There is a definite sense of the unknown, and that gives the series a sense of exploration that hasn’t this distinct since Gene Roddenberry first let loose his creation on television.

Another fun highpoint of the season comes with the episode Judgment which is eerily similar to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Captain Archer is captured by the Klingon Empire for helping refugees from a Klingon ruled Planet. The episode is fun for those fans of the olden days of Klingons and their Cold War with the Federation. Judgment elicits a lot of fun as Archer defies his captors. The best moment of the episode has a Klingon Commander giving his ridiculous account of the incident that Archer is on trial for.

The season is so good that it’s even very tough to pick which is the best episode of the season. Overall the best may have to be a sequel to a first season installment. In the first season of Enterprise, Sub-Commander T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) is assaulted and forced to mind-meld against her will. This incident has her contracting Pa’nar Syndrome, a Vulcan disease affecting the mind. In the second season episode Stigma, T’Pol’s secret is found out by Vulcan dignitaries that threaten to take away the Sub-Commander’s commission.

While this plot synopsis of the installment is not very exciting, the episode is at the core of what makes an episode of Star Trek great. Stigma ends up being an AIDS allegory as Vulcans treat T’Pol as if she were a subspecies and ridiculing her instead of trying to help her. While T’Pol would be treated differently if she would tell them the mind-meld was forced upon her, she does not want to reinforce the prejudice of the Vulcan diplomats. This episode is “old school” Star Trek, with the characters dealing with issues of bigotry and prejudice. If Stigma were more typical of the quality of episodes in this set, the series reputation would have no problems.

Unfortunately the second season has its share of misfires. Most notable is A Night in Sickbay, in which Archer’s dog is becomes deathly ill. Carelessness on the part of both Archer and an alien species has caused the dog’s condition, but Archer is bull-headed in blaming the aliens. The situation keeps escalating as Archer is unable to meet the needs of his crew due to his ill temper toward the aliens. While Archer is supposed to be a less enlightened version of humanity than has ever been on a Star Trek show before, the episode weakens his character, making him selfish by putting his own dog ahead of his starship.

This is the most frustrating episode of the season, but the bitterness doesn’t last that long. The last eight do a lot to save the show’s credibility. The DVD may be worth owning solely for the episode First Flight. The installment has a very Right Stuff feel to it as it explores Captain Archers earlier days in the Warp Drive program. The Episode features a guest starring role from Keith Carradine, as a rival pilot and close friend. The installment is a great example how entertaining this series can be. Instead of just swashbuckling or nonstop action, this show strives to be about ideas and an age of discovery.

So despite the controversy surrounding it, Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 2 is surprisingly solid. The show has its low points (A Night in Sickbay, Vanishing Point), but never has two bad episodes in a row during the entire 7 disc set. For Trek lovers, this is a nice mix of old and new versions of the series. For those that just want to see some old school Klingons Vs. Starfleet action, this is the set to own also.

Score:8.5/10

The DVD:

The Video
The DVD transfer here is great. The 1.78:1 anamorphic Widescreen makes the show look really cinematic. The picture is crystal clear and makes for a really nice viewing experience.

Score: 9.0/10

The Audio

The audio comes in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. These both sound pretty great.

Score: 8.0/10

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Enterprise Moments: Season 2, Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock, Levar Burton: Star Trek Director, Enterprise Secrets, Inside A Night in Sickbay, Outtakes, Photo gallery

Commentary by Michael Sussman and Phyllis Strong on Dead Stop and Regeneration :
These are both pretty good commentaries. The Dead Stop commentary is filled with nice little anecdotes. It goes through the origin of the story and how the episode came about from a need to show the Enterprise being repaired after the clash with the Romulans in Minefield, and then turned into a haunted house installment. The Regeneration is a commentary where the writers defend including the Borg in the series. A good defense come from the duo as they explain by the 24th Century, many cybernetic species will have been in existence and therefore the Enterprise will not have automatically recognized the villains.

Text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda on Stigma and First Flight:
Of the two text commentaries, the First Flight one is really informative. Little tidbits of info like how the episode aired just weeks after the NASA lost the Columbia Space Shuttle and others are pretty interesting.

Enterprise Moments: Season 2: This is the main featurette on the Special Features disc and runs about 20 min. It highlights most of the important episodes of the season. A great deal of time is spent on the episode Carbon Creek, in which the Vulcans land on Earth in 1957. Each episode is discussed in good detail from its inception to the airing. It’s cool to hear about how Stigma was actually first conceived during Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the cast included no Vulcans.

Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock: For those male fanboys that can’t get enough of Jolene Blalock, here is an entire featurette devoted to her. She speaks about how she began here career in modeling and wanted to do feature films, but when the call came, she jumped at Star Trek. It’s a nice featurette and actually has some entertainment value for those that want to see Miss Blalock without the ears and the wig.

Levar Burton: Star Trek Director : This is a detailed account of Trek alumni Levar Burton’s experience directing First Flight. Trek has always been noted for letting their get their feet wet directing. Burton join’s a list that has already included Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes and others.

Enterprise Secrets This featurette deals with the Judgment episode and the recreation of the Rura Pentha set from Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country.

Inside A Night in Sickbay: This is a short look at the origins of the worst episode of the second season.

Outtakes: Ten minutes+ of goofy outtakes. The results are pretty amusing.

Photo gallery: Not the most popular of features. There’s nothing really special to talk about here.

Deleted scenes: This set features several deleted scenes from six episodes.

Minefield: A deleted scene in which Dr. Plhox (John Billingsley) calms down Hoshi (Linda Park) in sickbay during the attack.

A Night In Sickbay: The first deleted scene is pretty funny as Captain Archer is having an issue with being attracted to Sub-Commander T’Pol and is questioning Commander Tucker (Connor Trinneer) about it in a round about way.

A second deleted scene has Archer discussing alien grammar with Hoshi.

Dawn : This scene has Captain Archer asking for assistance from an alien Captain. The scene is not finished and goes in and out of color.

Stigma : A great deleted scene here has Archer and T’Pol discussing her condition. Archer seems regretful here about not being able to protect her.

Cease Fire : This scene has Archer and T’Pol discussing his handling of a diplomatic situation.

The Expanse: The first scene has Archer on a date after the Enterprise is recalled to Earth following an alien attack. The scene is good at showing the state of fear on Earth after a 9/11-style attack on Florida.

The second scene is a good little moment with Hoshi and Archer. Archer expects Hoshi to leave the ship and gets a great surprise when she decides to stay.

Score:8.0/10

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