20 November 2007

Enterprise Season 4

Enterprise Season 4 Worthy of Star Trek Name
By Kristin Battestella

Sure Enterprise is considered by most Star Trek fans to be the ugly stepchild of The Original Series. I disagree. Still on a creative burnout from Star Trek: Voyager, creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga did miss the boat with their prequel when it premiered in 2001. Stunt appearances by the Ferengi, The Borg, and a silly Temporal Cold War most likely sent the show to its early grave. Although early episodes foundered, Season Four of Enterprise returned the show to its 60s roots.

Under new writer and executive producer Manny Coto, Enterprise’s fourth season hailed the Gorn, showcased Orion Slave Girls, and explained what was up with Vulcans 100 years before Kirk. From the Andorians to Kahn, Coto even fixed the Klingon ridges snafu in a late season two-partner, which also included a ship bound spy for Section 31. Instead of attempting a season long arc as in Enterprise’s third season battle with the Xindi, Coto focused on mini story arcs of two or three episodes at a time. Brent Spiner, know to genre fans as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, appeared in a trilogy of episodes highlighting the trouble history of The Augments.

Perhaps Captain Archer and crew’s best episodes are ‘In a Mirror Darkly’ and ‘In a Mirror Part 2’. Told entirely in the alternate universe introduced in The Original Series episode ‘Mirror, Mirror’, Darkly’s attention to detail and full blown recreation of Kirk’s era make the case for a second look at Enterprise. Coto’s love shows in the faithful replica of the TOS era Defiant. Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer even dresses in Kirk’s green wrap, and red shirts, are, well, red shirted. Even the opening credits for the Mirror episodes are different, and male fans will enjoy a long-haired, mini-skirted Jolene Blalock as resident Vulcan T’Pol.

Many Enterprise fans were displeased with the series finale ‘These Are The Voyages…’. Besides a silly and unfitting end to Trip Tucker (Connor Trinneer), TNG’s Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis take over an Enterprise episode that can’t be understood unless you are a TNG fan. As unpopular as the idea still is, Berman and Braga wrote the episode as a finale for all of Star Trek, not just this ill fated spin-off. Robocop’s Peter Weller guests in the prior two episodes, which serve as a much more fitting finale. In Coto’s final story arc, alien phobias and terrorism are finally defeated, and the steps towards what would become the Federation are orchestrated by Archer and company.

At a price tag of over $100 a season, Enterprise can be a tough investment for skeptical or non-diehard fans. Most series start slow, pick up form in the middle seasons, then fade in their final years. Had Season Four started Enterprise, it would still be on the air. Go against type and start with Season Four of Enterprise, the final but best season of the series.

No comments: