Enterprise, Season 1, Part 1--Trying Out the New Car

Episodes
  • Broken Bow, Parts I and II (the Pilot)
  • Fight or Flight
  • Strange New World
Remember when you got your first car?  Not the car your parents may have let you drive, but the first car that was yours.  Prior to that, you had to abide by the limits placed on you by your parents--when you could drive, where you could go, who could be in the car with you.  All that ended when you got a car of your own.  Now you were free.  You could go where you wanted, when you wanted.  Even if the rules put on your by your parents were basically reasonable (mine certainly were) and you recognized that they had your best interests at heart, you couldn't wait to go out on your own, take road trips for no reason, see what was out there.

That's basically the plot of Enterprise.

Enterprise is set 100 years before the events of the Original Series, and 200 years before The Next Generation/Deep Space 9/Voyager.  One hundred years before the events of Enterprise, humans had their first contact with aliens, in the form of the Vulcans, i.e. Mr. Spock's people (see the movie First Contact for details).  In the intervening 100 years, Vulcans have acted like parents to humanity, and their human children are definitely chomping at the bit to grow up and be adults.  The Vulcans, for their part, feel that humanity is a bunch of stupid, reckless children who can't be trusted with the keys to the car.  The relationship between the two races is icy, which is an interesting departure from how other series have portrayed the Human/Vulcan dynamic.

But everything is different now, because humanity has it's own car, in the form of the experimental ship, the Enterprise.  All three of the first episodes (the double-length pilot, plus the next two) are basically about the Enterprise taking a somewhat reckless road-trip, for the purpose of having an adventure and "finding yourself."  Because you can't stop me, man.


The Captain of the Enterprise is Johnathan Archer (played by Scott Bakula, aka "the Quantum Leap guy," aka "isn't he now on one of those CSI shows?")  Archer' MO seems to be "fake it 'til you make it."  He comes across as "I've got this," when it is pretty clear he is making it up as you go along.  The foil for Archer, at least so far, is Sub-commander T'Pol, the Science Officer and XO that the Vulcans have sent to keep an eye of this little road trip.  T'Pol (played by Jolene Blaylock) has the ice princess schtick down, and thinks that all of these stupid humans are going to blow themselves up at any moment.  I am sure that the two sides will Come To Recognize and Celebrate Their Differences in time, but for now it's pretty touch-and-go.  T'Pol is also clearly filling the fan service role, wearing a tight jumpsuit that emphasizes her breasts very successfully.  There is also an entirely gratuitous scene where they have long shots of Enterprise crew-members rubbing some sort of "decontamination" gel over T'Pol's body for contrived reasons.  Highly illogical.

The rest of the crew consists of Commander Tucker, the Chief Engineer who adds the Southern bro quotient to the mix (he goes by "Trip," because of course he does); the generically British weapons officer Lieutenant Reed; the language savant Hisho Sato who isn't sure she is up to boldly going where no one has gone before; Travis Mayweather the helmsman who has lived in space all his life; and Dr. Phlox (a Denobulan per wikipedia, but if they said that in the first few episodes, I missed it) who kind of fell into being on the ship.  It's a likable group, especially the impulsive Tucker and the cheerfully down-for-whatever Dr. Phlox.  Reed and Mayweather are not super developed, but it is only three episodes in.  Sato is clearly the "will grow into her confidence" character, which is fine if that's actually what happens, but we've already had one episode of "I'm not sure I'm up to this."  More of that will get annoying, fast.

Thus far, we have been introduced to an alien race called the Suliban, who appear to have some role in something called the "Temporal Cold War."  Expect to see more from them to come, I suspect.  We've also seen Klingons, which is cool, and the crew has been able to make friends with a new alien race because Archer insisted on trying to do right by their dead compatriots.

Verdict so far?  I like it.  Archer is fun and compelling, the plots move along pretty quickly, the Vulcans vs. Humans angle is interesting, the ship looks cool and "retro" from the standpoint of later Star Trek ships.

I'm in.


P.S.

I reading the internet talk about the series, on the persistent themes is that people don't like the title montage and the accompanying song.  I get that the title and song for the Original Series and The Next Generation are iconic, but I think this criticism is completely wrong--I love the Enterprise title montage, and the song is fine.  Plus, the montage has Chuck Yeager (one of the all-time true badasses), Alan Shepard, and Amelia Earhart!  Judge for yourself.



Next Episodes

  • Unexpected
  • Terra Nova
  • The Andorian Incident
  • Breaking the Ice

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