Enterprise - The Complete Second Season Studio: Paramount Year: 2002 Rated: NR Length: 18 hours, 31 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Audio: Dolby Digital English 5.1, English 2.0, French Mono Subtitles: English Special Features: Audio/Text commentaries, Deleted scenes, Outtakes, Featurettes, etc. Estimated Street Price: $100 USD Release Date: July 26, 2005 When Enterprise season two aired in 2002, I approached the show with continued skepticism. As a lifelong Trekkie, beginning with the original series and moving up through the films and the string of new series which began in the 80’s, Enterprise just didn’t seem fresh. It’s ironic, really, since the producers of the program sought to provide something new and interesting - all the while providing rehashed plots that caused the show to gather little traction. If it didn’t become so tiresome, it might have been interesting to track how many times Captain Archer found himself held captive by one alien race or another. If it wasn’t so ridiculous, one could count how many times crew members of the Enterprise ran about the ship in their skivvies. These inane devices provide nothing more than fodder for a drinking game. Still, among all the retreads, there is the occasional instance of solid storytelling. And season two ends with a real shakeup - one that would lead to a long and often interesting arc for the whole of season three. For that season, even if the show went off track on occasion, it actually went where no Trek had gone before. That’s what this fan wanted - not more retreads... not a prequel to Voyager. I wanted something different. Something that challenged me as a viewer and engaged me as a Trekkie. Season two began on fairly solid ground, wrapping up the interesting two-part cliffhanger, Shockwave. While part two plays it a bit loose with some key resolutions, the episode is satisfying, and gets the season off on the right foot. The second episode, Carbon Creek, may not be a fan favorite - but I found it to be an interesting episode. The whole episode is an Earthbound historical flashback - or is it? At any rate, the lack of any boldly going makes this episode a bit of a sleeper - but it's interesting, nonetheless. Minefield flirts with the Trek timeline, in that it introduces the Romulans. It manages to do so in a way that doesn’t conflict with the established lore, and it provides a satisfying adventure to boot. Dead Stop is one of the more interesting episodes of Enterprise. In it, the Enterprise, having sustained serious damage in the previous episode, seeks repairs at a mysterious alien space station. The completely automated station effects repairs on the Enterprise at a record pace, and for a paltry sum. The station harbors a dark secret, though, which puts the lives of the crew at risk. Excellent episode. And here it is where everything goes horribly wrong for this, the sophomore season of Enterprise. A Night in Sickbay is a poorly scripted episode that fails in its attempts at humor and puts the leadership ability of the captain in serious doubt - not for the crew of the Enterprise, but for us, the viewer. When Archer’s dog, Porthos, takes ill, Archer loses not only his ability to command the ship, but also his ability to act as a diplomat in a first contact situation. He also, inexplicably, has sudden difficulty dealing with an attraction to T’Pol. Now, I love animals as much as the next guy - but really! Marauders and The Seventh take us out of a space show and put us in episodes of MacGyver. Sorry... that’s not what I watch Star Trek for. From there, too many of the episodes reek of familiarity, having been done at least once at some point in time in the universe of Trek. Add to that the “issue” shows like Stigma and Cogenitor, much of the season is hard to stomach. The few bright spots in the latter part of the season include episodes such as Future Tense, which manages to offset its brilliance by not knowing what to do with itself at the end, and not following up on an intriguing concept in future episodes of the season. The Crossing, Regeneration and First Flight are worth a look, and the exciting finale, The Expanse, is a good episode that will set the footings for future seasons. Viewscreen On The anamorphically enhanced image is sharply detailed and exhibits excellent contrast. Black levels are strong, with good shadow detail. Whites are bright and restrained, retaining detail in the brightest highlights. There are a few, very rare and mild, instances of mild artifacting, but they are hardly worth mentioning and will go unnoticed by all but the most scrutinizing viewer. This is very much the same quality as seen in Season One. Hailing Frequencies The Dolby Digital 5.1 track delivers an active, open soundstage across the front soundstage, containing panning dialog and effects and a nice, full range of frequencies. LFE effects are solid when called for. While rear effects are, on average, more subdued than other Trek TV DVDs (in terms of engine noise and general ambiance), there are some ear-catching effects, on occasion, that really pop. Note the escaped bat in A Night in Sickbay, for instance (if you can sit through the episode). Occasional space battles and ship flybys stand out, as well. The mix is clean and never allows music or effects to obscure the dialog. While you’ll find more active mixes on feature films on DVD, this is a good mix for TV on DVD. Special Features Commentaries Audio Commentary on Dead Stop by Michael Sussman and Phyllis Strong. This is the only audio commentary I listened to. I found it engaging and informative throughout. My favorite episode of the season is backed by a solid, revealing look in this writer’s commentary. Audio Commentary on Regeneration by Michael Sussman and Phyllis Strong. Text Commentaries are available on Stigma and First Flight. I assume these to be the usual Okuda commentaries. I did not view them, however, due to the serious future-season spoilers contained in these commentaries on the season one set. Having not seen the series through to its conclusion, I didn’t want to take any more chances. Deleted Scenes are available for a number of episodes. Featurettes Enterprise Moments: Season Two (19:08) The typical season recap, as seen on all prior Star Trek season sets. Includes comments from Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Michael Okuda, Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock and other cast members. Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock (14:25) Jolene Blalock talks about her pre-Enterprise experience, the auditioning process, and creating the T'Pol character. The handling of the Vulcans in the series is discussed. Typical shooting days, camaraderie with cast and crew, the usual stuff. Included are comments from Brannon Braga and several cast mates. Levar Burton: Star Trek Director (7:00) An interesting visit with Levar Burton... he discusses his focus on his producing and directing career since TNG. He goes in depth talking about the production of the episode "First Flight". Enterprise Secrets (4:48) 1st Assistant Director David Trotti, who was a DGA Trainee for Star Trek VI, talks about revisiting Rura Penthe for the episode "Judgment". Inside A Night in Sickbay (11:14) In inside look at a cost-saving "ship" episode. Frankly, there are better episodes which could have been profiled. Outtakes Some good bloopers, outtakes and practical jokes. A nice collection, lasting over 10 minutes. Photo Gallery 50 pictures Borg Invasion Trailer NX Files NX-01 File 04 Scott Bakula talks about visitors to the "Enterprise" set NX-01 File 05 Linda Park talks about the relationship between Hoshi and T'Pol NX-01 File 06 Anthony Montgomery talks about being awestruck by big-name visitors. Final Thoughts The second season of Enterprise is as ho-hum as the first. A couple of real standout episodes, and a gripping finale that sets up a new direction for the show make it palatable. The A/V quality and collection of extras should please those who liked season one.