Star Trek: Enterprise Season 3 represented a change in direction for the show in attempt to revamp and boost ratings. Instead of mostly individual story episodes, the entire season is one long story, told in 24 parts, involving the Xindi and the crew of the Enterprise trying to stop them from destroying the Earth. Read More for the DVD set review.
Telling a season-long story is a gamble. You don’t want to lose viewers because they missed an episode, or lose potential new viewers because they can’t figure out what is going on. It has been done successfully (Babylon 5, 24) but its tough to do right.
There is a distinct advantage – it allows the characters to grow and change before your eyes – for instance, T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) gets to deal with emotions, Trip (Connor Trinneer) deals with his need for revenge and his own death, and Archer (Scott Bakula) deals with tough moral decisions that are regrettable but necessary.
Fans, like previous seasons, had mixed emotions for the season. I don’t remember most of the objections (I think discontinuity with “canon” Trek history was still a major sticking point), but I do remember that I still enjoyed it regardless and felt it had improved significantly.
The cast remained stable (except for the inclusion of the MACOs, although they remained minor/guest roles), and they have much for freedom of acting range this season.
Standout episodes: “Xindi” (season premiere); “Similitude” (Trinneer’s chance for emotional acting); “Twilight” (a “future” episode dealing with the relationship between Archer and T’Pol); and “Damage” (to steal or not to steal).
Special features merit a disc all of their own, with outtakes, photo gallery, and several featurettes, including one on Trinneer, and one on director Roxann Dawson – who fans will remember as Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres on Star Trek: Voyager.
In addition, the audio and text commentaries are back on several episodes, as are some deleted scenes. Also included are some “NX-01 File” shorts that you have to find by moving the menu cursor around and highlight some of the spaceship images.
Alas, the text commentaries, while still providing cool information (like how a set from the first episode resulted in them cleaning little blue particles from inside – and outside – the stage, and even after tearing down the sets after the fourth season, there were STILL some around), are still fixed size – so a block that obscures a fair portion of the screen comes up even for a single word.
Plot/Story: A step up from the individual episodes of the first two seasons. 3/5
Characters/Acting: A reasonable job, as the actors got more range due to the nature of the story. 4/5
Effects/Visuals: Excellent effects, with a number of CGI-created characters. 4/5
DVD Extras: Same as with Season 2 – plenty of interesting features, without any being too long to be boring. 4/5
Overall: A step up – its too bad it wasn’t able to pick back up the ratings. 4/5
Total: 3.8 out of 5. A good improvement from the previous season.