“Enterprise”: Season Four was a big step forward for the series producing some of the best and most memorable drama maybe through all of the “Trek” series. Unfortunately, thanks to so-so ratings and a floundering network, it was too little too late; at least now it’s memorialized on Blu-ray high-definition and filled with a plethora number of features.
Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 4
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Drama, Adventure
Paramount | NR – 1009 min. – $129.99 | April 29, 2014
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
“Star Trek: Enterprise” probably the black sheep amongst the “Trek” shows and although the series, which ended its run after only four seasons, certainly had more than a few mediocre episodes, there were moments of brilliance that came in season three and continued in this fourth season. However, season four might’ve started off with a bang but it ended with what most considered, me included, a major bust.
The season begins with the conclusion to the third season cliffhanger with a two-part season premiere as on Earth, during the 1940s, finds the Nazis invasion further than they had historically, taking over the eastern part of the United States even with the aid of an alien species helping the Germans, who have captured Captain Archer (SCOTT BAKULA), build a time portal back which would spell all sorts of doom if the Enterprise and her crew hope to get back to their own time unaltered.
It’s a great hook and start of the season purporting what’s to be expected with strong storytelling and even stronger character development, in particular the growing relationship between T’Pol (JOLENE BLALOCK) and Tucker (CONNOR TRINNEER) which gets explored, and tested, in ‘Home’ where Tucker visits Vulcan and meets T’Pol’s mother and also is forced into an arranged marriage a Vulcan hierarch d-bag.
The fourth season, perhaps because they knew it was on the chopping block, seemed pretty liberated in its storytelling, expanding on the universe and even delving into the development of the Federation; I also enjoyed the multi-part episodes that, from my reading and watching the bonus material, was done for budgetary reasons when building multi-used sets. The best of the season in my non-Trekkie book was ‘In the Mirror, Darkly’ which allowed not only for compelling drama but for the cast to change personas. Another highlight was the Augment storyline featuring guest starring role from Brent Spiner who is absolutely incredible in the villainous role.
One reason, outside of fearing it being cancelled, was the change show runners with Brannon Braga stepping aside, maybe out of fatigue, and handing the reins over to Manny Coto who had many new and innovative ideas of where to take the season; Coto certainly opened things up to the point if one wonders if any one of these storylines were implemented in the second season, if not the first, whether the series would’ve gone forward.
Episodes (favorites marked with an asterisk):
1. Storm Front, Part I*
2. Storm Front, Part II*
5. Cold Station 12
6. The Augments*
7. The Forge*
11. Observer Effect
12. Babel One*
14. The Aenar*
18. In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I*
19. In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II*
21. Terra Prime
22. These Are the Voyages…
In the end, “Enterprise”: Season Four at least had the season to make up for the missteps made in year one and features some great storylines, in-depth character development and just an all in all fun adventure even if the series finale fell short despite the best of intentions.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
Matching the other three sets, this comes with a semi-reflective, title-embossed slip cover.
Deleted Scene (2:45; SD) for ‘Storm Front, Part 1’
Extended Scene (1:17; HD) on ‘Home’
Script Gallery containing pages with the original ending for ‘Home’
“Enterprise” Moments: Season Four (16:26; SD) which recounts some of the highlights from the season.
Audio Commentary by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (writers) and Mike & Denise Okuda on ‘The Forge’
Text Commentary from 2005, also by the Okudas, for the episode ‘The Forge’
Audio Commentary by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (episode writers) and Mike & Denise Okuda on ‘Observer Effect’
Audio Commentary for the episode ‘United’ by David Livingston (director) and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (writers)
Deleted Scene (0:53; SD) on ‘The Aenar’
+ ‘In the Mirror, Darkly, Part 1’ – James L. Conway (director), Mike Sussman (writer) and Mike & Denise Okuda
+ ‘In the Mirror, Darkly, Part 1’ – Mike Sussman and Tim Gaskill (2005)
+ ‘In the Mirror, Darkly, Part 2’ – Mike Sussman and Tim Gaskill (2005)
+ ‘Demons’ – Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating
Text Commentary from 2005, also by the Okudas, for the episode ‘In the Mirror, Darkly, Part 2’
Deleted Scene (2:28; SD) on ‘In the Mirror, Darkly, Part 2’
Inside the Mirror Episodes (15:42; SD) is a featurette covering the two-part ‘In the Mirror’ episodes with comments by the cast and crew chatting about its uniqueness and ingenuity.
+ ‘Terra Prime’ – Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating
+ ‘Terra Prime’ – Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Tim Gaskill (2005)
Text Commentary from 2005, also by the Okudas, for ‘These Are the Voyages…’
Before Her Time: Decommissioning the Enterprise (TRT 1:55:47; HD) is an extensive four-part documentary (New Voices, Memorable Voyages, Final Approach and End of an Era) containing new interviews with the cast and crew as they recount their time on the series, specifically the fourth season, and its conclusion.
In Conversation: Writing “Star Trek: Enterprise” (1:29:52; HD) – This lengthy featurette finds the old writers and producers coming together to reminisce about the series, working together and coming up with new ideas for the final season.
Under Archival Mission Log, we get some older but still well done featurettes (all in SD): Visual Effects Magic (13:27), Links to the Legacy (4:57), “Enterprise” Secrets (5:53), That’s a Wrap (9:01), “Enterprise” Goes to the Dogs (12:44), Westmore’s Aliens: Creating Dr. Phlox and Beyond (5:18), Outtakes (2:17), Photo Gallery with on-set and production stills and lastly NX-01 File 10 (4:43).
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Paramount releases “Enterprise”: Season Four presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio (1.78) and in a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture, like the previous seasons, is fairly sharp and detail levels well established throughout the season. Colors are bright while darker levels are pretty stark yet details are still well refined. It’s a solid transfer that any fan of the series would love. Obviously the main downside is the visual effects and some of the lower end set designs doesn’t quite look right yet it’s only minor in the grander scheme of things.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track offered up has clear dialogue levels, a marked improvement from its first season which at times topped out IMO, while the special sound effects come through the center and front channels nicely enough. The rear channels are mainly reserved for ambient noises, such as the ship’s engines or computer sounds, or the score/soundtrack including the theme song.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, “Enterprise”: Season Four was a big step forward for the series producing some of the best and most memorable drama maybe through all of the “Trek” series. Unfortunately, thanks to so-so ratings and a floundering network, it was too little too late; at least now it’s memorialized on Blu-ray high-definition and filled with a plethora number of features.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.