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STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
Season Four

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars:  Connor Trinneer, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery, Dominic Keating, Jolene Blalock, John Billingsley, Scott Bakula
Audio: Dolby 5.1, 2.0
Video: Color, Closed Captioned, Widescreen
Anamorphic - 1.78:1
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Features:  See Review
Running time: Six Discs
Release date:  November 1, 2005

“I am returning Earth to its rightful owners.  I am giving Earth back to humanity, back to human beings.  It is my life’s work, it is what I was born to do, and there is no one, not an alien, not a human, that will stop me from achieving it.” 

Shows ***

The masterful Peter Weller is one of many guest stars in Enterprise Season Four who continues the tradition of guest stars raising the energy level of an aging series.  Weller’s performance as John Frederick Paxton in “Demons”, which discusses the origin of the “Fundamental Declarations of the Martian Colonies” is one of the best in the whole of Star Trek, and his haircut and cold business-like manner of speaking is chilling.  He pronounces the last word of the above lines as if he were pronouncing an absolute certainty.  Without good villains, there is not good Star Trek.  And humans make excellent villains, as the original series proved.   

The fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise was not only the final episode of the series but also the last season of Star Trek television and since there are no plans of any more movies, this may be the permanent sign-off.  The final episode, “These are the Voyages”, was actually written before the end of the third season since it appeared that the series would be canceled due to low viewership, which of course was largely due to moving the show to a late-night weekend time slot, thus sealing its doom.  This is also what happened to the original classic series.   It is a pretty good season and a pretty good final episode but a disappointment for the very last episode ever, especially compared with the final episode of Voyager.  There is no grand send-off or fight, but instead future officers watch the founding of the Federation through a holodeck, which to me brings the whole episode down to a foregone conclusion, so why bother watching it?   You would think that network executives would learn, but...what am I saying?  They never learn, do they?   Thus Enterprise became the only incarnation other than the original series to be canceled instead of ending of its own will.  Supposedly the network agreed to have the new series made at lower profit because four seasons means syndication and more DVD sales. 

One interesting episode that is a throwback to the “adult” aspect of the original series is “Bound” which introduces the famous green Orion slave girls, who of course enslave almost all male crew members with their pheromones and other pleasing qualities.  Nothing surprising or groundbreaking here, but a welcome change from the sexless atmosphere of some other Trek series.  Viewers often forget that the original series featured some of the most scantily-dressed women and sexually charged situations seen on TV in the late 1960’s.  For some reason the Trek reincarnations since assume that sexuality somehow got left at home on future space voyages, or that we did away with love and war at the same time in the future.  The truth is probably that the new writers and producers wanted to be more politically correct, which I am sure has made Gene Roddenberry turn over in his grave so many times that he has burns!

This season features more good storylines, including several about Vulcans.  We get to actually see the planet beyond the healing and Pon Far scenes from Spock’s time there.   We also get to see the brilliant Brett Spiner, better known as Data from the Next Generation series playing a villain with a wicked, sardonic sense of humor.   Three episodes feature this storyline. We find out that he is an ancestor of the scientist who invented Data himself, in a bit of poetic justice that will make every fan grin.   

This season is also unique in that since it was to be the last season of shows to pre-date the others, the writers and producers attempted to include explanations for future events such as the founding of the Federation and other bits which tie the whole mythos together.   Even the reasons for the difference in the appearance of Classic Trek Klingons and all others are given.  The Federation’s main stumbling block to peace seems to be man himself, which is the usual fall guy for all Hollywood mythology.  

Episode list:  Storm Front part I; Storm Front Part II; Home; Borderland (part 1 of 3); Cold Station 12 (part 2 of 3); The Augments (part 3 of 3); The Forge (part 1 of 3);  Awakening (part 2 of 3);  Kir'Shara (part 3 of 3);  Daedlus;  The Observer Effect;  Babel One (part 1 of 3);  United (part 2 of 3);  The Aenar;  Affliction (part 1 of 2);  Divergence (part 2 of 2);  Bound;  In a Mirror, Darkly part I;  In a Mirror, Darkly part II;  Demons (part 1 of 2);  Terra Prime (part 2 of 2); These Are the Voyages...

Video ****

This is another excellent transfer from Paramount without any splotching or other problems even though most of the lighting is low.

Audio ****

While the rear channels are used minimally, the mix of music and dialogue is clear and well engineered as we have come to expect from Star Trek releases.

Features ***

There are over three hours of special features.  The usual highlight reel of Season Four includes many interviews with writers we have not met previously and some brief reminisces from cast members, but it is shorter than similar programs in other sets.   Other features include special information about the “Mirror” episodes, Enterprise Secrets, the usual special effects magic section, “That’s a Wrap, very funny deleted scenes and outtakes, and a photo gallery.  But the most interesting feature by far is “Links to the Legacy” which attempts to show how seeds and ideas were planted in this series which led to plotlines in other series.  

Summary :

Short sightedness and all too truthful economics brought Enterprise to an abrupt end after Season Four, which is still well worth viewing.  Quality is not to be blamed for its demise in any way.  Complete your collection with this set, it may be the last Trek ever released.

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