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Storm Front, part 1

original airdate: 10-08-04

It’s been a long summer. With threats of Enterprise being cancelled at the end of season three and then its new Friday 8:00 time slot announced, Fanboys have had a lump in their throats. Will Enterprise survive to live the standard seven year life span? Or will a Trek-filled market wash out a truly fantastic sci-fi show?

The producers promise new and exciting things in season four to grab the wayward Trekkies that have tuned out. Brent Spiner will appear in the weeks ahead. And there is even talk of William Shatner showing up.

But before we roll into the future episodes of Enterprise, there is the issue of the strange cliffhanger season three finale. The Xindi weapon has been destroyed. Earth is saved. The crew believes Captain Archer had been killed on the Xindi weapon. When they fly into San Francisco they’re attacked by World War II fighter pilots. Meanwhile, Captain Archer is discovered in a Nazi prison camp.

So very confusing. We spent the whole summer speculating. And we came up with two possible answers. One; the temporal cold war had turned hot and the time line has been knocked out of whack. Two; Gary Seven, from the original Star Trek, warped history and forced himself into the narrative line of Enterprise, giving him the spin-off show he was promised in 1969.

You guessed it. It was the first one. All though one still wonders; what ever happened to ole Gary Seven…?

The alternate time line seems like something borrowed from a Sliders episode. Aliens have helped the Nazis take over part of the east coast. Germany rules from Washington, D.C. up to New York, as well as half the European countries. Star Trek has played around with World War II stories since Kirk’s days. Even Captain Janeway was dumped into a two part episode as a French resistance leader.

But of all of them, this one feels the most believable. First of all the sets are expansive. As always on Enterprise, the technical aspect is top notch. Even with the reported budget cuts. The aerial shots of San Francisco, while totally CG, look fantastically realistic. This show LOOKS like a film.

The characters are as real as any of other nighttime drama. With three full seasons under their belts, and solid actors behind them, the personalities are rich with intrigue. The Xindi terrorist storyline of last year exposed the dark sides of the key characters. Archer is more dangerous. Trip is weathered. T’Pol is more emotional. And she didn’t even take off her top in the season premiere!

But the aspect that sets Enterprise apart from ANY other Trek and most television is its continuity. This show runs like a mini-series. Last season was a painfully extreme example of the producers' and writers' ability to focus on one really really really long story. It was like a season of 24.

Continuity has always been a big part of Enterprise. And the season premiere was no different. Sure, this picks up where the odd cliffhanger left off, so the story would naturally continue. But subtle characterizations speak volumes. Like Trip’s emotional state. “I was ready to come home. Not be dropped into the middle of another – situation.” It has no real relevance to the narrative of the show. But it definitely helps map his character arc.

It all adds up to a great show. This isn’t that crappy Trek everyone tells each other about. Those people that go around saying that this show should die probably haven’t even seen it! Enterprise is solid. And if you’re not watching it – watch it. And if your friends aren’t watching it – make them. Invite them over for a Friday night party and put it on. Put out some Cheetos, a wax Vulcan ear, talk about the debates, or whatever, then people will let their eyes linger over the TV and BOOM! They’ll be hooked by Enterprise. They’ll leave your party saying, "Gee, I shoulda been watching this LAST SEASON!” And you can say, “Watch it this season.”

Good advice. Watch Enterprise this season. You’ll like it.

Kevin Miller

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