Within this seven DVD collection are the 25 shows of the first season, starting with the pilot entitled ‘Broken Bow’ and ending with the season cliff hanger ‘Shockwave Part 1’. Following the final show, special features add insight to the cast and sets. Scott Bakula, the captain and apparent driving force of the show, provides a personal monologue on his views of the casting and thoughts of the early days. A perennial Star Trek guest actor, Vaughn Armstrong (here Admiral Forrest), also waxes a little bit on his times with the genre. Surprisingly, there is little time given for other actors to present their off-stage personalities and perceptions. The Shuttle Pod construction and engine room layout get a greater presence. However, a set of out takes, the now classic addition to any DVD, shows the lighter and more natural side of most of the main characters as they closely worked together in this first season.
Aside from this additional footage, there are optional overlays. Text commentaries by Michael Acadia (Scenic Art Supervisor/Technical Consultant) and Denise Acadia. (Video Supervisor) provide relevant on-screen notes for three episodes. The information regards actors, sets and props, as well as of the Star Trek storyline. The actor notes include previous roles (in and outside Star Trek). Sets and props show the continual transmogrification of equipment for this 18 year old series, particularly as stages and sets moved from Voyager’s realm to Enterprise’s. And, perhaps best of all, the storyline notes link a character or event to other shows of this season or elsewhere in the franchise. Whether interested in some minutia about the set’s background or discussing trivia about the flow of Star Trek history, these overlays make for a pleasant diversion.
Much more rewarding is the audio commentary by the show writers/producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman which (optionally) plays overtop the dialogue of the season opener. This running commentary, for the duration of the show, explains the rational for the show’s premise, the choice of actors, the process for writing shows and best of all, the scene definition and selection (e.g. the use of computer generation and/or actors). Amongst many other tidbits, Braga and Berman describe how their main objective for this series was character development. Also, continual reference to interweaving today’s functioning technology with perceived novelties from the original series highlights some of their challenges. For example, today’s digital cell phones/cameras provide more functionality in a smaller package than Kirk’s communicators. However, because of the dialogue overlay, the show is unwatchable so, first, watch the season pilot without the audio commentary and then re-watch it with the audio commentary.
Deleted scenes follow eight of the shows. Presumably these (and likely much other footage) were cut as being inappropriate. Yet, by including them as separate segments they are still inappropriate, if not more so. If these were instead part of an optional extended version then they and the DVD collection itself would have had original and noteworthy elements to add interest for regular and new viewers.
The Star Trek Enterprise series went boldly onto a path that many series had gone before. Writers and actors knew that they had to provide something new and entertaining to continue the Star Trek genre. As a prequel, this series does offer a new, refreshing view point. Emphasizing character (and racial) development over exploration and discovery expands on this novelty. On top of the story itself, this DVD collection of Enterprise’s Season 1 contains background information about the plot, filming and actors that helps the initiated and neophyte learn about the path being taken and the difficulties in staying aligned.
A little faith of the heart and you can be dancing amongst the stars. Waiting for that warp drive engine though might be long and depressing so keep your spirits up by enjoying the works of some of Hollywood’s stars. Star Trek Enterprise Season 1 is the 7 DVD set with the 25 shows of the latest and perhaps final installment of the Star Trek, another in the warm tradition of guessing how we might visit other sols and who we might be dancing with when we arrive.
Review by Mark Mortimer.