Enterprise, the latest high budget spin-off to the most successful franchise in film and or television history opens to the tune of a 90-minute episode called 'Broken Bow'. First we are swept into a massive action sequence with a Klingon being chased by some Suliban (who are the main enemy in the first season of the show). From there the televised movie takes us on a journey that seldom gets as good as it is, with some of the best character development, story and action/visual effects ever seen in such a short amount of time.
The opening-credits is a debatable subject among the minority of Enterprise fans, whom some believe that the song is out of place. What they fail to realise is the lyrics themselves. If one listens to the actual song, instead of the theme, then they will begin to piece the parts of the puzzle together. And eventually as the series progresses further and further, and we learn more about our valiant captain and his crew, will the song actually become meaningful. Overall Diane Warren's theme is beautifully orchestrated and is sung just as well by opera singer Russell Watson.
What makes any television show watchable and worth watching time and time again is its characters and the way they become structured and layered. Enterprise is (in my opinion) one of the most well cast shows since The Next Generation. Choosing Scott Bakula, as Captain Jonathan Archer was the best decision since Gene himself cast Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard. As the captain always leads the show, Bakula adds a subtlety to his role and brings a huge smile to the faces of anyone with blood pumping in their veins. He simply is (both actor wise and character wise) a superb human being and his charm, wit, and compassion are overwhelming to watch. As for the other cast members, a favourite of mine is John Billingsley who plays Dr. Phlox. It's also nice to see a non-human playing a role, and the decision to give the captain a dog, named 'Porthos' was a well-received idea. Throughout the show character development was brilliant, it was fast, well timed and almost perfect. I say almost because sadly Travis Mayweather's character played by the Briton Anthony Montgomery is a little weak at the end of the first season. He does have some things to say here and there, but remains in the hands of the producers to make him more important. Jolene Blalock is wonderful as the sometimes harsh but equally loveable Subcommander T'Pol. Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed plays a strong role and is convincing as the armoury officer. Connor Trinneer plays Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker who always adds charm and comedic style to his character and finally Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato, who often plays a weaker character but thankfully quickly becomes interesting. All of these characters make up Enterprise, and all bring a quality that Star Trek hasn't seen in a long time. Each person makes this show worth watching. Smiles and feel-good senses are guaranteed right from the first time we see them all together on the bridge of the starship Enterprise NX-01.
The ship itself, the NX-01 is somewhat questionable in design. The series is set 150 years from now and 100 years before Captain Kirk. So why then does the ship appear to be similar in design to mid 24th century ships, namely the Akira class starship? Continuity has been an issue in Enterprise, but thankfully Rick [Berman] and Brannon [Braga] offer suitable explanations for each and everyone of them. Continuity is only a problem if you are forever scrutinising shows and are obsessed with the tiniest of details. If you see the show with and open mind, then you'll have no problems, but there is an urge to know 'why' all the time. So what did Berman and Braga offer to the Star Trek fan-base with the issue of the deign of the ship itself? According to them the NX-01 is how it is because of the incident in First Contact. When Zefram Cochrane saw the Enterprise-E through his telescope and from speaking with the away team lead by Commander Riker, it changed the ideas in his head. That's a good enough explanation for me.lets move on. Of course its not as easy for some fans to accept that sort of answer, some go as far as to refuse to see the show until they get a reasonable answer. Come on guys grow up.When George Lucas destroyed the Star Wars saga with the launch of his profit making new trilogy, fans couldn't do anything, only watch and sap it all up anyway. And then they learned that, well maybe its not that bad after all. If you can't accept a quality show for what it is, not what it should be in your mind, then go elsewhere. Or try becoming a producer on the show and then see what you can do.
The sets on Enterprise remind me very much of the Defiant from Deep Space Nine. They often appear cold and have an eerie look of modern structure to them and they cry out that they belong to the military. Perhaps that why the crew of the USS Enterprise (aka flagship of the American fleet) like it so much. They are striking sets, and represent the show perfectly.
Rick Berman 'the overlord of the empire' as John Logan so accurately put it and his counterpart Brannon Braga has hit the nail on the head exactly where they should have, and in all the right places. Whether that be technicalities, visuals, sound, editing or score. Enterprise is a fine demonstration to just how good televised science fiction can ultimately be, when in the hands of geniuses. The late Gene Roddenberry would be proud of this series and as a Star Trek fan, so should you.
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