Top 10 Star Trek: Enterprise Episodes

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It’s been ten years since the final two first-run episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise aired. The prequel to the Star Trek phenomena was derided by many for its bland and derivative nature. But a careful and objective look reveals that Star Trek: Enterprise had many terrific episodes, especially its later episodes. These are the best episodes of the fifth and (to date) final Star Trek TV show.

leaving drydock10. “Broken Bow” The pilot episode of the series (which at the time was simply called Enterprise) introduces the crew of the Earth starship Enterprise, including Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), as they embark on an impromptu mission to establish relations with the infamous Klingon Empire.

9. “Affliction”/”Divergence” This two-part fourth-season episode answers the nagging question that has perplexed Star Trek fans ever since the late ’70s –why do the Klingons from the original series look different from modern incarnations of the warrior race? The answer was quite inventive.

xindi attack8. “The Expanse” The second-season finale introduces a radical shift in the show’s direction and has echoes of the then-recent 9/11 attack. A surprise assault on Earth by an alien race called the Xindi leads to the Enterprise being re-assigned to undertake a military mission to Xindi territory to prevent another more devastating attack that is coming within a year.

7. “Zero Hour” The Xindi super weapon archer vs xindicommandeered by an ill-tempered Xindi faction finally arrives at Earth in this thrilling third-season finale. The only hope to prevent Earth’s destruction is a desperate Archer and his crew, along with Xindi allies. The final moments were tense beyond belief and featured slam-bam space battles and the episode’s cliffhanger was way out of left field.

6. “The Forgotten” The personal ramifications and loss from the Xindi attack on Earth are seen through the eyes of Chief Engineer Charles Tucker (Connor Trinneer) whose sister was lost in the attack. Trinneer’s acting was quite memorable in the moments when his character broke down over his intense grief. Other standout acting came from T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) and Degra (Randy Oglesby), an Oppenheimer-like Xindi who has a change of heart about his race’s destructive plans for Earth.

5. “Twilight” An accident leaves Archer with the inability to form new memories. As time passes, the Xindi destroy Earth and humanity is scattered. As years pass by, Doctor Phlox (John Billingsley) discovers that curing Archer’s condition is the key to undoing the past. But will Archer be cured before the Xindi eradicate the last vestiges of humanity?

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From the shocking cold opener where a visibly older Archer witnesses Earth’s destruction to its final, nerve-wracking scenes, “Twilight” excelled in presenting us with a dismal future where the Xindi succeed and put humanity on the brink of extinction.

4. “United” This episode was actually the middle part of a three-episode arc where Romulans try to instigate war between Earth, Vulcan, Andorians, and other planets. As a prototype Romulan ship with the capability to alter its outer appearance attacks different alien ships, the Enterprise crew and alien allies try to discern what is actually happening before war breaks out.

The alliance formed from the effort was one of Star Trek: Enterprise’s best moments and this episode used its all shipsprequel status to its best advantage. The highlight of “United” was a lingering shot featuring an armada of Earth, Vulcan, Andorian and Tellarite spaceships after confronting the Romulan menace. Thus, the seeding of the eventual United Federation of Planets has begun.

azati prime3. “Azati Prime” Archer and the Enterprise finally reach the Xindi super weapon in the aliens’ territory and prepare to destroy it, but Archer is suddenly whisked into the far future by the enigmatic time traveler Daniels (Matt Winston). As this goes on, the Xindi discover the Enterprise and launch a devastating assault that ends in a nail-biting cliffhanger.

What made this episode stand out is the revelation that what Archer does has a pivotal impact in Star Trek’s distant future. Plus, a hint of a future Enterprise is shown for good measure.

2. “Demons”/”Terra Prime” As Earth and its allies begin its first steps to forming the basis for what will become the revered Federation, those plans are threatened with the emergence of a xenophobic human terrorist group that wants to keep Earth and humanity isolated.

tera primeEven though “These are the Voyages” was the official final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, this penultimate two-part story is a much more valid conclusion to the series. That is because it points the way towards Star Trek’s optimistic future and illustrates quite nicely how the characters help pave the way for what lies ahead with Star Trek.

1. “In a Mirror Darkly, Parts I & II” Starting with a cold opener where humanity’s first contact with Vulcan takes a more savage turn, and then showcasing a dark, militaristic opening credits in a mirror darklyfans were in for a treat as the cast chewed lines and reveled in playing evil versions of their characters. Amidst the histrionics, questions about the original Star Trek episode “The Tholian Web” were answered and we learned the origins of the brutal Terran Empire seen in other Star Trek shows. “In a Mirror Darkly” was a true treat for fans with its numerous shenanigans and shout outs to the Star Trek mythos.

Strange as it seems, the best episode of Star Trek: Enterprise doesn’t even feature the main cast. Rather this two-part story is solely about the Mirror, Mirror parallel universe versions of the Enterprise crew. It was easy to tell the cast had a great time portraying twisted, malevolent versions of their normal characters and that added to the joy of seeing “In a Mirror Darkly”.

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This fourth-season episode best shows the strengths of Star Trek: Enterprise when it fully realized its potential by being an actual prequel rather than recycling old storylines from other Star Trek shows. Sadly, the improvements the show underwent came too late since it was cancelled at the end of its fourth season. As lamentable as that was, at least Star Trek: Enterprise has a distinctive honor that other Star Trek shows lack: it ended on a creative high note.

Honorable Mentions: “The Andorian Incident”, “Awakening”, “The Council”, “Countdown”, “Dead Stop”, “Harbinger”, “Kir’Shara”, “Minefield”, “Observer Effect”, “Regeneration”, “Silent Enemy”, “Similitude”, and “Storm Front, Parts I & II,

José Soto

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Star Trek At 48

trek trioThis weekend marks the 48th anniversary of the premiere of the very first Star Trek episode on TV. The celebrations are unquestionably low key; I couldn’t even find any acknowledgement of this on the startrek.com website. But I expect things will be very different in two years time. At least, that is what we Trek fans hope. By then, it will be the fiftieth anniversary and we know for certain that at the very least a Star Trek film will be out in two years.

That is much better than what happened during the iconic show’s fortieth anniversary. Nothing happened then. Paramount Pictures didn’t put out a film because of the failure of Star Trek Nemesis, while CBS Television Studios also followed suit since Star Trek: Enterprise was just canceled a year before on UPN.

Cinematic Rebooting

During that time period both companies felt that the Star Trek franchise needed a rest from the public eye. As we all know, Paramount rebooted the film franchise in 2009 with Star Trek and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness was released last year. While both films were successful, there is a feeling of unease among a large segment of the fanbase. Under director J.J. Abrams’ guidance, they feel as if Star Trek has strayed far from what it’s meant to be; a story of space exploration and encountering the unknown. Instead, they say that the past two films were just modified Star Wars films. That is a hard viewpoint to argue against, since the films emphasized action and thrills over the more cerebral fare that creator Gene Roddenberry championed when he created the original show and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG).

 

The Star Trek reboot was supposed to reinvigorate the franchise and raise public awareness, but how successful was that goal? How much in the public eye is Star Trek? It’s there for sure but a lot of attention is being paid these days to the latest superhero film or the return of Star Wars, while any news of the upcoming Star Trek sequel gets shrugs. This was really clear when Paramount announced this year that the screenwriter for the past two Star Trek films, Roberto Orci, was tapped to direct the next sequel. He isn’t a big-name director, actually he hasn’t directed anything at all. Yet, he is being entrusted by Paramount to guide the next Star Trek film, which is coming out in the fiftieth anniversary of the original series. You would think that with that much attention the franchise will receive then, that the film studio will want to ensure that a topnotch director will handle the reins. But who knows? Maybe Orci will deliver the kind of Star Trek film its fans have been clamoring for.

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