Continuing the adventures of the first human warp-driven space ship to explore deep space, the "U.S.S. Enterprise" returned in high definition in Paramount's "Season Two" set that offers all 26 episodes of the show's season that aired from 2002 to 2003. Since to me, "Enterprise" is, in fact, the strongest of all the Star Trek franchises, I was very eager to check it out.
Season Two picks up finishing the episode "Shockwave" that concluded the previous season with an amazing cliffhanger and continues the story from there. There's no gap in the narrative at all and you will feel instantly at home as you continue to watch Captain Archer (Scott Bakula), T-Pol (Jolene Blalock), Tucker (Connor Trineer), Malcolm (Dominic Keating), Ensign Sato (Linda Park) and all the other crew members that make up the cast of the show.
Starting with all guns blazing out of the gates, time travel - a theme that plays a huge part in the entire "Enterprise" series - is on the forefront of the events as the season starts, as the Suliban, a hostile alien race, continue to sabotage the Enterprise at every turn.
From there, the episodes take the crew in all kinds of directions, visiting hostile environments, meeting alien species and getting shot at... a lot. The season is an incredible kaleidoscope of ideas and runs the entire gamut of what you can do with a cool science fiction show and a varied cast of characters. While some characters open themselves up to trouble, another character will complement the situation and fill the gap. It is a very dynamic dance between these characters and everyone gets ample screen time to make sure viewers are not getting bored by watching the same main character in every single episode.
More importantly, the episodes set the foundation for the events that are to come in the third season of the show, where the series changes from its purely episodic nature to a story arch that spans the entire season. Many of the episodes you see in season two will firmly establish the characters, their strengths and weaknesses, and set up events that will be referred to in future episodes, making "Enterprise" such a cohesive show when seen as a whole. Check out episodes like "First Flight" and "Cogenitor" to see how the characters are being fleshed out in detail, or take a look at "Regeneration," the episode the shows Starfleet's first contact with the Borg. Wowzer!
While the production values of the first season where still a bit limited, it was evident that technology had evolved and that more money was spent on making sure the special effects shots worked better than before. Sadly, the visual effects were not produced in high definition originally, and as such had to be upscaled for this high definition version, but at least, the live action footage was created in high definition, making sure the Blu-Ray version looks as good as the material allows. However, black levels are weak at times and there are hints of grain evident on many occasion, making this a good, but not perfect transfer. Still a vast improvement over the DVD version, however, and definitely worth the upgrade.
The Blu-Ray version revisits all the extras found on the DVD release and adds them as bonus features to this set. All the featurettes, deleted scenes and episode commentaries are there, so you get a solid package right there. However, Paramount has not stopped there and has also produced new extras for this release. New episode commentaries for three episodes - "Carbon Creek," "Regeneration" and "First Flight" - are included in this set but you will also get a brand-new full-length documentary called "Uncharted Territory." It features many interviews and segments about the making of the show and the implications, problems and goings on, but most importantly for fans, it also includes a cast reunion, offering up a discussion of the show and the events. This three-part documentary is a must see, if you're a fan of the show, because on-camera discussions do not get much more candid than what you will experience here. Laying open the politicking, the studio interference, and many other aspects that cause the show trouble, you will hear it all, and you will relish in it. In fact, it will give you newfound respect for the creators of the show.
"Star Trek: Enterprise: Season Two" is the set we've all been waiting for. Presenting the show in high definition with a clean transfer and great audio, the set is sure to please both casual viewers and fans alike with its feature presentations and the wealth of high quality bonus materials. If you feel like me and truly enjoy "Enterprise," there can be no doubt that you will need this Blu-Ray set of the show.