Star Trek: Enterprise appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. Though not stunning, the visuals looked pretty good.
Sharpness was usually positive. A few shots tended to be a bit soft, though some of that stemmed from photographic choices. At its best, the image was never razor-sharp, but it usually seemed more than acceptable in terms of definition. I saw no issues with moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. No signs of obvious digital noise reduction marred the proceedings, and source flaws never interfered beyond a smattering of small specks.
In terms of colors, Enterprise went with fairly earthy tones. These didn’t dazzle, but they offered fairly nice clarity and accuracy. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows offered reasonable smoothness; a few low-light shots seemed a little thick, but those instances weren’t a problem. This tended to be a good but not great image.
Though not amazing, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Star Trek: Enterprise worked well. Actually, I’ll admit that I felt a little disappointed by the audio. Since Enterprise is the most modern of all the series, I expected more razzmatazz from the track, but it seemed very similar to what I heard for other older Trek programs.
Relative disappointment aside, the audio supported the shows just fine. The soundfield emphasized the forward channels and worked quite well within that realm. The front spectrum was nicely broad and blended together cleanly. The elements remained in the appropriate locations and panned smoothly across the channels.
Surround usage tended toward general reinforcement and atmospherics, though the rear speakers came to life pretty well during action sequences. As usual, ships flew back and forth, and blasts popped up in accurate spots. The surrounds didn’t dazzle, but they brought some life to the mix.
Audio quality always seemed good. Speech was consistently natural and crisp, with no signs of edginess. Music was clean and concise. The score appeared well-recorded and dynamic. Effects also came across as lively and distinctive, and they lacked distortion. Bass response was deep and firm. Overall, the audio worked fine.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVDs? Audio was similar in scope but came across as smoother due to the lossless option, while visuals appeared tighter and more natural.
Note that the Season 3 Blu-ray looked better than Season 2 - I guess. I felt pretty unimpressed with the S2 picture quality but didn’t experience similar levels of disappointment when I watched S3.
Was this because I entered my screening of S3 with lowered expectations? Possibly – I figured S2 would’ve looked great, so when it didn’t, that meant I wouldn’t expect terrific visuals from S3. That said, I still think S3 offered objective improvements over S2.
The Blu-rays mix old and new extras. We get eight audio commentaries for seven episodes, two of which appeared on the 2005 DVDs:
“North Star”: assistant director Mike DeMeritt. DeMerrit proves extremely informative during his commentary. He covers many aspects of the production in his lively chat. He goes into sets and stages, guest cast and extras, script and plot issues, stunts, cinematography and photographic topics, and a myriad of little trivia bits. He seems very enthusiastic and gives us a nice picture of the production.
“Similitude”: writer/executive producer Manny Coto. Coto’s discussion of “Similitude” proves less informative. He relates story development and script issues, changes made along the way, goofs and challenges, and some general production notes. Coto offers some good details about his work and the episode, but he also provides a little too much praise and also goes silent too often. There’s enough here to merit a listen, but it’s a bit of a disappointment after its predecessor.
The remaining tracks didn’t appear on the 2005 release:
“Impulse”: director David Livingston and consulting producer David A. Goodman. Some notes about cast/performances emerge here, but we mostly learn about story/character areas and the challenges in making a Trek “zombie movie”. This means a fair amount of into about makeup and effects as well as production design. The track’s a bit heavy on technical elements, but it proves to be reasonably informative.
“Twilight”: writer Mike Sussman and StarTrek.com director Tim Gaskill. This one talks a little about cast/performances and technical areas, but it mostly concentrates on script/character/story domains. In that vein, it does well, as it covers the original text and changes well. A few dead spots materialize but the chat usually succeeds.
“North Star”: writer David A. Goodman and co-executive producer Chris Black. This track seems similar to the Sussman/Gaskill discussion of “Twilight” in terms of content, though it’s a bit looser. We get a glimpse at the “writing room” process that existed on the show and learn about the challenges related to a Trek western in this engaging track.
“Similitude”: writer/executive producer Manny Coto and actor Connor Trinneer. Coto ensures that we learn a lot about story/character areas, and Trinneer digs into some acting issues as well. The script/production side dominates, but we get a good mix and the commentary becomes pretty worthwhile.
“The Forgotten”: writers David A. Goodman and Chris Black and actor Connor Trinneer. Usually when actors appear on commentaries, they don’t add much, but that’s not the case with Trinneer. He contributes many good insights into the series and his role, so he more than carries his weight. Add to that useful, fun thoughts from Goodman and Black and this winds up as probably the best chat of the package.
“Countdown”: writers Chris Black and Andre Bormanis. Like the prior commentaries, this one touches on writing/story/character elements and tosses in a few other areas along the way. It’s probably one of the less informative of the bunch, but it still has good moments, so it’s worth a listen.
Also found on the DVDs, text commentaries by Michael and Denise Okuda come with three episodes. We find these tracks for “The Xindi”, “Impulse” and “Countdown”.
Don’t expect surprises from this presentation, but that’s a good thing, as the Okudas always offer strong text discussions. They talk about set design, guest cast, visual effects and stunts, connections to other Trek series and Enterprise episodes, props, and factual details. As always, these give us good background and notes as they help tie in the episodes and the series to the bigger world of Trek. They’re consistently satisfying.
Three episodes come with deleted scenes. These accompany “Similitude” (three scenes, two minutes and 30 seconds), “Chosen Realm” (1, 1:07) and “E2” (2, 4:41). None of these seem significant, though some are reasonably interesting. We see more of the adult Trip clone in “Similitude”, which is the best of the clips.
When we shift to various featurettes, we start with The Xindi Saga Begins. This 13-minute and 12-second piece includes show clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We hear from Coto, co-creator/executive producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, producer/writer Mike Sussman, writer Phyllis Strong, and actors Scott Bakula and John Billingsley. We hear about the studio’s desire for the producers to revamp the series, inspirations for the Xindi storyline and developing those characters, 9/11 influences, changes in the main roles, and some story/episode particulars. We get a good feel for why the series pursued the Xindi plot and learn some nice insights into the year’s choices.
Enterprise Moments: Season Three runs 12 minutes and 58 seconds and includes comments from Berman, Sussman, Billingsley, Coto, Bakula, director David Livingston and actors Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer. They discuss “Twilight”, “Chosen Realm”, “Similitude”, “Harbinger”, “Azati Prime” and “Countdown”. We get some good episode specifics as well as more about the overall story arc for Season Three. As usual, there’s too much generic praise here, but we find enough useful material to make the show worth a look.
Enterprise Profile: Connor Trinneer lasts 17 minutes, 14 seconds and includes remarks from Trinneer, Berman, and Braga. We find a few notes about his casting but mostly look at Trip’s development over the years as well as Trinneer’s take on the part and some specifics of particular elements. This show avoids the usual banal happy talk most of the time and presents a solid examination of the Trip character and Trinneer’s work.
Some background for the actor turned director turns up in the 17-minute and 27-second A Day In the Life of a Director – Roxann Dawson. It includes statements from Dawson as she discusses shooting the “Exile” episode. We follow her through her day and see the creation of parts of the show. This means we get many good behind the scenes elements in this fun examination of the production.
In six minutes and 14 seconds of Outtakes, we see a standard collection of mistakes and chortling. I don’t usually like these things, but if they’re your cup of tea, you’ll probably enjoy them.
Behind the Camera: Marvin Rush looks at the director of photography. It lasts 15 minutes, 44 seconds as it follows cinematographer Rush on the set of the show. We get a good look at his day-to-day work in this fun glimpse behind the scenes.
Under Enterprise Secrets, we get a four-minute, 12-second look at sets from 2nd AD David Trotti. He talks about creations that were accomplished on the Paramount lot. This becomes a quick but enjoyable overview.
In addition to a bland 50-shot Photo Gallery, we find three NX-01 Files. They include remarks from Billingsley, Sussman, and costume designer Robert Blackman. The pieces cover Phlox’s nude scene, the design and execution of the crew uniforms and other costumes, and the Lorian character in “E2”. They fill a total of 10 minutes and 30 seconds and offer some nice notes. The costume design feature is the best, as it digs into that area well.
Two Blu-ray exclusives come next. The three-part In a Time of War fills a total of one hour, 26 minutes and 34 seconds and features Bakula, Strong, Braga, Bormanis, Sussman, Goodman, Berman, Black, Livingston, Coto, Billingsley, Keating, Trinneer, visual effects producer Dan Curry, visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore, and actors Jolene Blalock, Anthony Montgomery, Linda Park, Randy Oglesby, and Scott MacDonald.
“War” looks at 9/11’s impact on the series and how it spawned various Enterprise storylines. It also examines issues with the network, complications related to the Xindi arc, the impact Coto’s arrival had on the series and other administrative topics. We also learn about cast and performances, ratings issues and controversies, visual effects, makeup and production design, and additional story possibilities.
Prior Trek programs similar to “War” offered lots of good information, and that continues to be the case here. I like that we get an unusual amount of criticism; usually retrospectives tend to consist of happy talk, but “War” goes for more of a “warts and all” take. The thoughts about unexplored paths offer intrigue and we learn quite a lot about the season. This becomes a strong documentary.
Temporal Cold War: Declassified runs 20 minutes, 17 seconds and includes comments from Braga, Livingston and actors Matt Winston and John Fleck. As implied by the title, this piece examines areas related to the series’ “Temporal Cold War” subplot. Mostly it examines the world of the guest actor, which means Winston and Fleck talk a lot about their experiences. They deliver some fun notes – and it’s amusing to see how much Winston now looks like his dad, effects wizard Stan Winston – but I’d have liked “Temporal” more if it’d gotten into story elements better.
Disc One opens with ads for Enterprise Seasons One and Two, Next Generation Season Five, and Next Generation: Unification.
Too bad only one year of Star Trek: Enterprise remains. The series got moving well in Season Three, as the year featured an interesting running story and a lot of good shows. The Blu-ray offers mostly positive visuals and audio along with a satisfying set of supplements. I like this season of Enterprise and feel the Blu-ray serves it well.
To rate this film, visit the original review of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE - SEASON THREE