Sunday, 2 December 2012


Into the new frontier: the cast of Enterprise. Images: CBS PARAMOUNT.

Readers note: this is a held over and revised feature from 2011

By the summer of 2001, STAR TREK fans had wondered if PARAMOUNT’s TV division had truly drained the franchise of every last coffer of profit with the conclusion of its second spin-off from Gene Roddenberry’s universally beloved NEXT GENERATION: the critically divided, lost in space crew of STAR TREK: VOYAGER. Fans and audiences had wanted to take a break from the heroism of Star Fleet’s finest, wanting the corporation and its producers to reassess the franchise as a whole in it’s then state and work out its next steps carefully and properly for the future, to keep it the successful and world-admired science fiction series it was, rather than lose itself in a quagmire of drained fatigue where it would surely lose its notable status. The hiatus would ultimately only last a few brief months, as PARAMOUNT soon initiated long-time TREK custodian and keeper of the flame, Rick Berman, and equally long-serving producer Brannon Braga, with the highly difficult task of coming up with one further spin-off. 

Thinking that another series set in the current 24th Century time era of TREK wouldn’t work, and with no real idea as to what they could do with the show if they set it in a further-off, future period, the duo decided to look to the past, and their prior success with the NEXT GEN’s first standalone movie, First Contact. That film’s finale, showing Earth’s premiere, history making encounter with the logical eye-brow raising Vulcans would be the genesis steps of what would become TREK’s longtime United Federation of Planets and was quickly deemed the way to go for the next series-to carve out a STAR TREK realm of characters and events series that would ultimately be the first of all its proud forebears, even those landmark adventures of Captain Kirk and his illustrious crew. This new TREK would embrace what had gone before in its various incarnations, but would be primarily aimed at capturing new audiences, some of whom had probably never seen of experienced the TREK phenomenon. It was quickly decided that, in trying to start such a fresh page, distancing the project from the previous entries in the franchise was, to quote a certain Vulcan, “the logical thing to do”, of which the new show was no longer to have the TREK moniker and would be simply known by the title of the classic ship that launched a TV franchise into the stars: ENTERPRISE. (Accompanied by a radically different kind of title sequence (showing us the various iconic explorers and craft of Earth history stepping up to the challenge that would lead to the future, out into the stars, alongside a love it or hate it main theme tune composed by American song writing legend Diane Warren, and performed by British classical singer Russell Watson.)

Titles: Star Trek Enterprise - opening credits - YouTube

The new bridge set of Enterprise.

The series heavy duty production design would be handled by veteran TREK talent Herman Zimmerman, but I have to say that it’s this all-important element to the show, the one most needed to give it it’s all-important identity, that falls a little short of the mark for this reviewer. Basically, the new Enterprise bridge set, corridors and quarters, though maintaining decades old continuity, just look incredibly bland and lifeless. Okay, this was trying to be the most realistic of all the TREK series, but did it all have to be so colourless with its heavy metal greys, dark blues and steels?

First of it's kind. The new Enterprise.

Now, finally being shot in widescreen, I gather ENTERPRISE as a series was trying to make some logical, evolutionary deductions that were supposed to lead to the Classic TREK look, but it actually feels less like the innovative and excitingly Technicoloured hues of the Kirk and Spock era than it should, seemingly nodding more to Zimmerman’s more clinical and VOGUE-ish time on THE NEXT GENERATION instead. The same could also be said with the practical but bland blue jumpsuits worn by the cast for the next four years, though kudos to costume designer Robert Blackman for those lovely grey patterned jackets the crew wear in early seasons away team missions, heralding back to the Original Series pilot, The Cage, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike. On the visual effects side, however, things couldn’t be better, and certainly modern TREK’s effects had evolved to become more ambitious and cleverer than ever with its CGI work, which truly helped bring vitality to the way alien planets and civilizations were realized in the new series. The overall CGI design of the Enterprise exterior proved strong, too, as were the host of new and old ship recreations, from classic Klingons warships to Andorians combat craft, plus unknown space pirates and even more unusual than ever alien lifeforms.

Finally, adding vital music flavor to the series, TREK incidental score veterans Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway returned to provide competent but mostly forgettable incidental episodic scores, though Paul Baillargeon, David Bell and Kevin Kiner showed future talent.

A fugitive Klingon arrives on Earth in the season/series opener: Broken Bow.
New villains threatening the Federation are the red suited Suliban.

As the series begins, the timeline is firmly established as being in the early part of the 22nd century, with humanity, having rebuilt itself after the devastating wars that plagued it in it’s 21st, now firm partners with the Vulcans. But the pairing has not yet achieved the level of friendship and trust reached by the time of Kirk and Spock’s era. If anything, there is a huge amount of mistrust and resentment by the human race against the logicians, who think that their advances into space and contact with other life forms are being stifled with over caution. But then a complicated relationship gets worse-all hell breaks loose- when the small farmland community of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, encounters one of the savage war-like race that is the Klingon Empire, of which one of its race suddenly crash-lands and emerges from the towering cornfields, pursued by another as yet un-encountered species-the shape manipulating reptilian humanoids called the Suliban, under captive pursuit orders from a mysterious and shadowy benefactor soon discovered to be from the future, manipulating events to his own race’s advantage, operating from another time and place shrouded in enigma and danger. Caught in the mother of all first contact scenarios and it’s resultant dangers, the first captain of humankind’s new deep space probing starship, Enterprise - the intrepid, zest for exploration figure of Jonathan Archer brings together a raw but talented crew on a mission to take the Klingon back to his home world in a show of good will to the Empire, before all-out war breaks out.

Spaceman! The new Captain: Jonathan Archer, as played by Scott Bakula.

The hunt for a new actor to play the next iconic Captain of TREK history was never going to be n easy task, and all of Hollywood was naturally scouted out. Old and fresh faces alike would have their photos pored over and their filmed screen tests analyzed by Berman and an investment interested PARAMOUNT. In the end, stalwart TV face Scott Bakula was seen as an amiable and trusted actor of note to play Archer, and no stranger to science fiction and fantasy after his stint in the popular series QUANTUM LEAP. Originally, though, Bakula, a huge fan of the Kirk and Spock era growing up, would turn down the chance to be a TREK Captain, but soon changed his mind when he was told he would, chronologically, be the very first one of the entire series and franchise; the prototype for what would be the classic Star Fleet mould. The actor would also be further intrigued by the prequel storytelling ideas that could be mined. His enthusiastic signature was soon on the contract dotted line and his later space suit wearing photo shoot for the premiere season had worldwide fans suitably looking forward to the next TREK entry…
Easily capturing the hearts and minds of the all-important US TV viewing male 18-24 demographic, the lovely Jolene Blalock as T'Pol.
Loyal Chief Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III, played by Connor Trinneer.
Linguistics and communications officer Hoshi Sato (Linda Park)
Security Chief Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating)
Navigator Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery)
The new alien Doctor, Phlox (John Billingsley)
THE NEXT GENERATION had Spot the cat, ENTERPRISE has Porthos the dog!
Early Season One attempts at audience titillation failed to impress, most notably in scenes set within Enterprise's decontamination area.
Full cast Season One promotional shot.
Continuing the TREK tradition, the series writers and producers once again cast a satisfyingly diverse mix for Archer to connect with and command. At first acting as a liaison and potential spy for the Vulcans their noted ambassador turned science officer, T’Pol (the very shapely and very sexy model/actress Jolene Blalock-a natural successor to Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine sex symbol on VOYAGER, and the best on-screen actor to portray a Vulcan in TREK for a while: the actress clearly having done a great deal of research and preparation to inhabit the often difficult to play role), starts off as cold and emotionless but soon becomes more interesting and multi-layered over time, becoming one of Archer’s most trusted confidantes and eventual lover to his engineer and friend, Commander “Trip” Tucker (father to their sadly short-lived child in Season Four), played with southern charm and an amiable twinkle in his eye, by Connor Trinneer, alongside Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), the ships stiff upper lipped but talented British security officer, exotic and lovely Linda Park as ships all important linguistics and communications officer Hoshi Sato, at first wary of spaceflight and the mission ahead but soon gaining confidence, and Anthony Montgomery as young and inspired navigator/helmsman Travis Mayweather, who has a passion for space exploration from working with his family in a transport freighter business. Rounding the cast out would be another fine actor joining the pantheon of legendary ship’s miracle working doctors, John Billingsley as the big-headed, big-hearted, intuitive and resourceful Denobulan, Dr. Phlox.

A host of new dangers await Archer and his crew...

With this earlier timeframe, potential-packed characters and relatively fresh new look, of which an influx of eager behind the scenes people joined the team, here was the chance by Berman and Braga to finally start again with Gene Roddenberry’s legend: to introduce brave new worlds and aliens, but also, just as important, have the rare opportunity to bring a fresh and hopefully exciting new perspective to many of the classic characters, planets and technology of TREK’s past, on a gradual tone building basis, and putting the new heroes in drama and action scenarios before the establishment of the all-consuming and restricting Prime Directive policy of the Federation, both loved and hated by writers over thirty years. There was also the opportunity, with the technology around them so less advanced (shuttlecrafts often being the main mode of travel, with the recently developed transporter system only sparingly used), to see the newbies having to rely more on their ingenuity and wits in the hostile, relatively unexplored areas of deep space. The red costumed, wall climbing chameleon-like Suliban, headed by excellent character actor John Fleck as their leader, Silik, would be the primary villains of the first season, given orders by that aforementioned mysterious unseen humanoid figure from the future (voiced by James Horan), though other classic TREK series aliens would be seen on and off, primarily the aggressive blue-skinned, white haired, antenna-eared warriors, the Andorians (one of their leaders, Shran, played by regular modern series actor Jeffrey Combs), who, though seen occasionally in Classic TREK, were never really given the chance to develop as a species. With ENTERPRISE, that scenario would happily change for the better: especially cool was the idea that they too were distrusting of the Vulcans and had even entered into conflict with them, as they made their fine entry into the series with the highly successful episode, The Andorian Incident
Archer is captured by the ruthless Andorian leader Shran (Jeffrey Combs) in The Andorian Incident.

Later into Season Two, the Klingons gained an even greater footing and historical bridgehead unifying the series into the overall TREK franchise, but THE NEXT GENERATION’s classic nemesis, the unstoppable, ever technologically augmenting themselves life forms known as The Borg, topped that, making a one-off but truly thrilling return- written by new series stalwarts Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong- in a clever and exciting adventure that acted as a fine lead-in to their future conflicts with successive Federation starship crews.

Always a ratings winner, the dreaded Borg made a memorable one-off appearance, in Regeneration.
The Klingons also returned to cause more trouble.
The Temporal Cold War story arc still mystified in parts of Seasons Two and Three.

Having started well with a strong and promising run of stories, the first season ultimately started to lose some of its original vigour and inventiveness as it went along, with unintentional retreads of previous series episodes now starting to show. The same old problems of the past that NEXT GEN writers had- of introducing solid high-concept stories that would end just as they were getting interesting- also proved to be a further curse. As the Suliban/Temporal Cold War concept- which I never thought was truly mapped out properly, and which, at first, I thought might end up wiping the Kirk and Spock era out completely, in a deliberate scheme by Braga and Berman- started to wear down and prove less successful with viewers with the shows second season renewal. The return of the Klingons similarly never quite got the development or success they deserved, either, and certainly failing to live up to the “disastrous first contact’ scenario concerning them towards the Federation previously mentioned by Captain Picard in an early episode of THE NEXT GENERATION.
A Xindi warrior fraction has plans for Hoshi's linguistic skills in the finale episodes of Season Three.

Fortunately, as the ratings stared to decrease from the shows early-on big-time audience numbers, the series writers decided to take a bold risk for the eventual Season Three renewal. Playing on the aftermath paranoia and pain of tragic and world-changing real-life events of 9/11, it was decided to have a new alien race come into the series: called the Xindi, here was a gestalt of varying weird and wonderful humanoid and non-humanoid species, who, fearful of humanity and their rapid development, would launch a swift and devastating sneak attack on the Earth, literally carving up a section of it with their deadly atmospheric weaponry probe. From here, the Enterprise crew, accompanied by a team of top soldiers (who, in a first for modern STAR TREK could actually shoot straight and hit a target!), would embark on a do-or-die mission to enter the dangerous spatial realms of their new enemy, and find out why they were attacked. And, if necessary, stop them once and for all from making a second more devastating blow to Earth and the evolving Federation.

With the series now a more action based entity, and soon fully rebranded as part of the franchise (soon to be firmly known as STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE), the overall mission of the behind the scenes team was just as perilous as that facing Archer’s bold men and women: to now hold onto the oldfan base, retain the shows existing fan base and still try and attract newbies. The Xindi arc presented a darker, bolder idea as a season long story arc with one-off episodes adding flavor to it. Perhaps previously seen as being too lightweight, Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer got a harder, more determined edged to his persona than we’d seen before, whilst Trip also underwent a transformation: embittered, edgy and wanting revenge against the people that had killed so many people, including his sister, in the sneak attack on Florida. Getting off to a fine start with the mystery of the Delphic Expanse and trying to locate the Xindi base and its leaders, early episodes showed promise. It stated to lose its way a bit plotting wise in the middle, with some budget-saving arc episodes that proved pointless, but a well written and exciting conclusion and finale wrap-up- with Archer literally making an explosive move to save Earth from a deadly Xindi planet killer- made the 22 episode season a worthwhile viewing investment, given an added bonkers time travel cliffhanger to be resolved should the show continue for a potential fourth year (involving aliens disguised as World War II Nazis discovering the injured, out of his time period Archer. By this time, Brannon Braga and his team were clearly going far out with their ideas: presumably due to lack of oxygen in their offices!).

An early Season Four promotional shot for the main cast.

Fourth season renewal for ENTERPRISE was to prove a very close run thing. Shaky ratings from the Xindi arc indicated that, despite the creative renewal and increased action/adventure, general audiences had almost tired of the current incarnation of TREK on the airwaves, but PARAMOUNT, seeing how much the series had indeed improved and making strong profit in worldwide sales, as well as noting its very strong, highly vocal fan support via an encouraging letter-writing campaign, decided that the show would continue to fly a little longer…

A tense bridge situation for Trip and regular guest star Ambassador Soval ( Gary Graham).

The make-or-break feel of the year gave way to an even more determined vigour from the behind the scenes team, given a fresh creative boost by the arrival of new series producer Manny Coto, no stranger to writing sci-fi with his short-lived but enjoyable ODYSSEY 5, as well as penning a very popular ENTERPRISE season three script that showcased his potential. A die-hard fan of the Original Series, Coto’s clear love for that particular and highly important part of the franchise was a genuine breath of fresh air, and, working with Braga and Berman, it was decided that this fourth year would be more intrinsically linked to Kirk and Spock’s generation than ever before, with more two or three-parters to give the show the epic scope it had started to enjoy with the Xindi arc, further character development, especially with regards to the relationship between Trip and T’Pol, which had proved popular with viewers, and the return of lots of re-imagined and iconic aliens (like the Gorn and the Tholians later in the season). New story editors Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, with original series TREK firmly in their blood and with several outstanding novels on their belts, would act as fine keepers of the continuity flame, working alongside the producers in coming up with many bold ideas that would work around existing themes developed in both the various old and modern series.
Watch out, there are alien Nazi's about! An image from the Storm Front two-parter launching Season Four.

Having developed a strong working relationship with William Shatner, penning several original post death/resurrection Captain Kirk adventures with him in the nineties and noughties, the writing couple were part of a concerted effort to get him to make an appearance within the series, hopefully as Kirk or another important character, and planned for near seasons end, but a set of production circumstances ultimately stopped it from happening, though a return to the popular Mirror universe (of which Shatner was most likely to have been a part) went ahead regardless and proved to be one of the show’s finest two-parters.
Archer, now a fugitive on Vulcan with the soon legendary T'Pau ( Kara Zediker).
Can peace last between the Tellarites and the Andorians?
Settling the unfinished business of the previous season cliffhanger and ending the Temporal Cold War plot, Season Four of ENTERPRISE got underway in entertaining, if hardly classic style. But from episode three and four onwards, the shows new team mix really started to deliver the story-telling goods, forging a new identity that built on the shows prior tougher overall edge and giving a new adrenaline boost to proceedings, which was subtly satisfying. Now not wanting to alienate viewers from THE NEXT GENERATION, and attract that fan base over to the improving series, versatile talent Brent Spiner made a fine return to the series, away from his excellent persona of Mister Data, playing that characters human great grandfather, the genius but slightly insane figure of Dr. Arik Soongh, a dangerous scientific manipulator previously captured by the Federation now forced into an uneasy alliance with Archer in order to find the formers race of rampaging, genetically enhanced supermen and women, in what would become an exciting and action-packed Augmentstrilogy. Following on from this impressive arc was an enjoyable, if perhaps overlong, three-parter about Vulcan revolutionaries (with the debut of pre Classic TREK Vulcan leader T’Pau, and the ghostly/living Katra return of the species legendary founder of their society's logic over emotion stance, Surak), then a cleverly conceived arc which saw the return of the Romulans in a way that didn’t contradict Classic TREK lore, as they behind the curtain manipulated the Andorians and another favourite classic alien race, the lion/pig-like Tellarites, into a war that would drag the Federation into chaos. From that experiment, came a partially successful attempt (that just about stayed away from looking like fan fiction) by the Reeves-Stevens to explain why the modern series Klingons look so different to their Classic Era human looking incarnations.

Dr. Phlox is kidnapping by desperate Klingons...
...whilst Peter Weller makes a memorable guest villain in Season Four.

The penultimate arc saw an excellent and highly ambitious return to the parallel Mirror, Mirror universe-always a great opportunity to see our established heroes play bad versions of themselves, whilst film-star and sci-fi icon Peter Weller, a friend of Manny Coto from ODYSSEY 5, made his TREK debut in the final two-parter, as a xenophobic businessman on Mars ready to strike a deadly terrorist blow against the building power of the United Federation of Planets-a conflict which sees T’Pol and Trip discovering that they have a baby!

T'Pol looking pretty darned hot in her Classic Series era outfit.

Unfortunately, after all the creativity, and a cast that was really getting to enjoy their work, alongside a dedicated fan base for the most part liking the new direction the show was heading, Berman and Braga unintentionally threw a spanner into the works with their final season episode, almost wrecking all the fine work that they and the compatriots had done at that point, by the time PARAMOUNT announced that ENTERPRISE was coming to the end of the road.
At a Season Four press conference, Producer Rick Berman speaks, as Bakula, Blalock and Trinneer listen on.

Intended as a celebration of ENTERPSIRE and her crew, as well as the birth of the Federation and its legacy into the 24th century and beyond, the script for These Are the Voyages… should have been a joyous winner showcasing the series. Instead, it ended up being a celebration of THE NEXT GENERATION, with a strong focus on iconic characters Riker and Troi, once more played by Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis, as they used their own Enterprise’s advanced holodeck to look at the history of the ship, during an adventure set during their final season. To say that the finished episode went down like a lead balloon would be an understatement, of which Brannon Braga himself would later publicly express his regret and disappointment at how things turned out. That overall storytelling decision, featuring the resultant death of Trip-one of the shows most popular characters, and killed in the most hamstrung of ways-combined with the fact that Archer and co. were seemingly sidelined from their own series, generated a lot of negativity from the fans and critics watching the mess unfold on their TV screens, so much so that when ENTERPRISE made its eventual transition to the world of original novel adventures, Trip’s death was officially ignored by the licensed publishers in order to placate upset fans.
The United Federation of Planets alliance is cemented in the series final episodes.
Our heroes assemble for their last bow...
Despite such last-time problems, a genuine sense of pride for the series had been achieved and recognized by the cast, crew and fans, though there was also a strong sense of regret about the way the series had ended so painfully shy of the seven seasons edict that other modern TREK’s had successfully reached.

Amazingly, in the end, not turning out to be one trip too far to the well, ENTERPRISE, having had the chance to successfully lick its wounds clean, has stood the test of time and finally managed to become a popular STAR TREK series in its own right (Firmly part of the mythos, Captain, now Admiral Archer and his trusty beagle dog, Porthos, would even get a fun mention in the most recent re-imagined TREK film from J.J. Abrams!). It was, however, a genuine shame that the show was axed just when things were really getting in to top gear...if it had originally debuted after a longer break from television audiences, so as to build momentum for all things TREK, it’s life may have been better assured and better viewing rated with American audiences. Outside of the States, though, and particularly in Europe, ENTERPRISE would be a popular mainstay of TV repeats and video/DVD sales, with a huge, resilient and very loyal audience, all looking forward to what will surely be a stunning HD debut for the series in Blu-ray from 2013 onwards...

Here are KOOL TV’s top ten favourite episodes from the shows four-year duration…

Up to their necks in danger, the Enterprise crew's first mission is no picnic. A scene from Broken Bow.

1. BROKEN BOW (Season One. Pilot episode)

The new series gets off to a fine start with a solid script (probably the best overall storyline launcher the modern TREK TV series has ever had), a consistently pace, lots of glistening new CGI effects and some solid action, though the overall production values don’t feel quite as bigger budgeted as previous TREK pilots. The premiere Enterprise team works well as an ensemble, though the character of Captain Archer, at first the frustrated explorer, feels a little lightweight in tone compared to the likes of street-wise Kirk and universe sophisticated Picard. Over time, Bakula's role would stengthen.

Archer encounters a dead space farer in Fight or Flight.

2. FIGHT OR FLIGHT (Season One)

The series second episode solidly builds on the strengths of the pilot, and continues Brannon Braga and Rick Berman’s darker themes for the old/new TREK universe: a big universe with no Prime Directive yet established, and STAR FLEET not yet the “intergalactic policeman” they would become known by during the time of Kirk and Spock. With no back up, and only their ingenuity to keep them going, the Enterprise crew have a fight on their hands as they take on hostile aliens who have been routinely attacking the space lanes and absorbing their captive prey’s blood.

3. FUTURE TENSE (Season Two)

A terrific time travel-centric episode with strong and inventive ideas from series writing regulars Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong, as a mysterious vessel, not unlike DOCTOR WHO’s TARDIS in many ways-bigger on the inside than the outside- provides the Enterprise crew with an intriguing mystery, whose future potential would be mined in Season Three…

Malcolm goes head to head with a deadly Borg in Regeneration.

4. REGENERATION (Season Two)

Those dreaded man/machines- The Borg- are back, and more cunning and deadly than ever in another winning Mike Sussman and Phyllis strong script. With its echoes of THE THING and the original 1979 ALIEN, Regenerationacts as a terrific sequel to the popular First Contact movie and a fine prequel set-up first concept for their eventual first appearance in Season Two of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION’s universe. The shows resident classy director, David Livingston, skillfully generates lots of action and atmosphere.

Slimed! Captain Archer makes his escape in The Xindi.

5. THE XINDI (Season Three)

ENTERPRISE as a series, and its cast/crew, get a major shot in the arm creatively, as Archer and co., with their new military commando squad (headed by DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES veteran Steven Culp and LOST’s Daniel Dae Kim), lost in the unhealthy Bermuda Triangle of space known as the Delphic Expanse, head to a mining colony, and tackle a corrupt alien overlord, in the search for clues to their new enemies location. An exciting episode, well handled by Allan Kroeker hints at lots of potential to come, as well as properly showing us the many alien faces comprising the Xindi alliance.

T'Pol's Vulcan training will be tested to the full in Impulse.

6. IMPULSE (Season Three)

Zombie Vulcans run amok! Another eerie, exciting and dangerous episode from director David Livingston, working enthusiastically from a great standout script from Jonathan Hernandez, puts Archer and T’Pol into a terrifying situation, stranded on a dark and creepy Vulcan ship whose emotionally repressed crew have gone thoroughly, murderously insane...terrific stuff!

7. SIMILTITUDE (Season Three)

The dangerous, moral and ethically shady problems linked to cloning make for a fine topic for the series and STAR TREK in general, in this noteworthy script, which, taking a break from the Xindi plotline, came from then newcomer Manny Coto, whose work impressed the behind the scenes team so much he quickly landed an Executive Producer-ship role with the shows innovative fourth season. The episode has a superb, often moving, TREK career best performance from Connor Trinneer who plays the role of a critically injured Trip and the engineered clone who wants to live his own life and not have his organs harvested in order to save his other selves life. It’s an emotional roller-coaster of an episode that’ll bring a tear or two to the eyes…

T'Pol is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in Zero Hour.
An explosive situation for Archer in Zero Hour.

8. ZERO HOUR (Season Three-Season Finale)

It’s a race against time for Archer as he and his battle-damaged ship ready to sacrifice their lives to stop the rogue Xindi, with help from another mysterious race-the Sphere Builders, from launching their final planet-killing weapon against the Earth. The harder-edged, often desperate Archer finally cements his courage and heroism this season (managing to do the classic run from a big explosion bit at the end, too!) in a script from Braga and Berman that proves a fine top-off to Scott Bakula’s hard work this season.

Playing a baddies for a change, Brent Spiner makes a fine three-part guest turn in Season Four's Augments arc.

9. BORDERLAND (Season Four)

The proper re-launch of the series –the Temporal Cold War now closed with the resolved cliffhanger-begins with Season Four’s fourth televised episode, as Brent Spiner brings some zest and dark humour to the role of captured scientist Arik Soongh, forced into helping Archer and co. find the genetically enhanced humans he created, now wreaking havoc across the galaxy. David Livingston once again proves a safe pair of hands, whilst Ken LaZebnik script has some exciting touches, what with its links to the genetically altered super-villains led by Khan from the Classic TREK era, and a look at those nasty Orion slavers, who have fun putting the captured T’Pol on their auction list!

The Mirror Universe crew of Enterprise hatch deadly plan in In A Mirror, Darkly

10. IN A MIRROR, DARKLY- parts one and two (Season Four)

In a superb fusing of classic TREK and ENTERPRISE, the franchise’s final (so far) on-screen visit to the alternate “mirror” universe shows an ambitious Captain Archer making a bold mission into the mysterious domain of the Tholians to capture the “other” universe’s now inter-spacially trapped U.S.S. Defiant (seen in the classic Season Three TREK episode The Tholian Web), planning to use its superior future technology to change the balance of power and overthrow the cruel and sadistic version of his Federation into his own unique shaping...

Archer interrogates the ambitious T'Pol.

A writing, continuity and production triumph from start to finish-the adventure even has its own different music and title sequence! - In A Mirror, Darkly is ENTERPRISE’s crowning achievement, courtesy of writers Mike Sussman and Manny Coto and directors James L. Conway and Marvin V. Rush. This classic two-parter brilliantly recreates the Kirk and Spock era costumes, sets and technology of a Constitution Class starship, right down to the stunning and colourful bridge of old, also bringing several classic series aliens back into the fold via CGI (notably the Tholians and the reptilian Gorn). But it’s the main characters that are the most fun here, all of whom clearly enjoying, thriving, playing their new evil personas, especially Scott Bakula and Linda Park, who, as “The Captain’s Woman”, is desperate to have power for herself. Oh, and Jolene Blalock looks delicious in her Classic Era mini-skirt, too!

All four seasons of ENTERPRISE are available on DVD from CBS PARAMOUNT. A planned Blu-ray release of the series is on the cards from 2013 onwards. Check out the preview: The Enterprise Blu-ray Project

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