Star Trek ULTIMATE Review Thread
I would like to welcome everyone to my new Star Trek thread: the Star Trek ULTIMATE Review! What I will be undertaking will be a great and long process but one that I am very excited to be undertaking. I will be reviewing Star Trek in the order of the Star Trek time-line. What this means is NOT starting with the Original '60's show or even the famous Next Generation. Instead I will be start with Star Trek: Enterprise, set in the year 2151 - only 141 years in our future!
I attempted this once before on my Pax Player Community forums, but I made two mistakes. One, I began with the Next Generation. Second, my reviews were written quickly and not very detailed. It was done more as a quick write-up after watching the episode with not much thought put into it. I want these to be more thought-out and interesting as I try to share the passion I have for Star Trek with others, and possibly spark or re-spark their interest in the TV shows.
For those of you not well versed in Star Trek, this is the order I will be tackling the reviews:
1) Star Trek: Enterprise (4 Seasons)
2) Star Trek: The Original Series pilot, The Cage
3) Star Trek: The Original Series (3 Seasons)
4) Star Trek: The Animated Series (2 Seasons)
5) Star Trek movies I-VI (1-6 are set after Original Series 5 year missions is over)
6) Star Trek: The Next Generation (7 Seasons)
7) Star Trek movie VII (7 is set after The Next Generation series)
8 ) Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (7 Seasons)
9) Star Trek movies VIII-IX (8 and 9 are set during the years of Deep Space 9)
10 ) Star Trek: Voyager (7 Seasons)
11) Star Trek movie X: Nemesis (10 is set after Voyager)
12) Star Trek (the 11th movie, set in an alternate time-line thanks to a supernova)
Anyway, I hope you guys will enjoy the reviews and post your own comments/thoughts. And if the reviews tempt you to Netflix or buy Star Trek - hey, I did my job! Excelsior!
Note: The Reviews might come quickly, sometimes slowly - you never know. Especially now that Star Trek Online is out!!! But I will keep working on it, this thread could be years long in the making lol
Broken Bow, Review Part 1
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season One, Episodes 1-2: Broken Bow
The beginning of the dream that will turn into the Federation. The NX-01 leaves drydock for the Klingon homeworld...
Episode 1-2 Synopsis (I will include a synopsis for each episode to get people interested): Starfleet wants to launch their first Warp-5 starship. An incendent on Earth regarding an accidental shooting of a Klaang the Klingon serves as the perfect excuse to launch the Enterprise, Starfleet's untested flagship and return Klaang to Qo'noS, the homeworld of the Klingon Empire. Lots and lots of action ensues including: the kidnap of Klaang by the Suliban, the recovery of Klaang by the crew of the Enterprise, lots of zap-zap phase pistol shooting and thanks to the Enterprise - staving off a huge Klingon Civil War. Go Starfleet!!! :)
I will start with a discussion prior to the episode, and this deals specifically with Star Trek: Enterprise and how it alters canon. To some, this is a travesty and makes the show unwatchable. To me, its the continuing development of a 30+ year old franchise. For example, in the Original Series it mentions that the Earth/Romulan war was fought at long distances, using nuclear weapons. It was a bloody conflict, but it ended with a peace accord that created the Neutral Zone and during the whole war neither side saw the others face. If Star Trek: Enterprise had a 5th season, it would have dealt with the Earth/Romulan war, but because it didn't they are writing "season 5" as a series of books that I am reading - and the conflict is no longer simply "two sides hurling nukes at each other" but much more detailed, filled with close range starship combat and the drama you come to expect. What I'm trying to say is that some people will dislike anything that was made after Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek), and that includes Deep Space 9, Voyager and especially Enterprise. I do not feel this way - I embrace the whole franchise! So without any further adieu, episodes One and Two of Star Trek: Enterprise!
Our adventure starts out in the year 2121 with a young child putting together a model of a starship. This is our protagonist, Jonathan Archer as a child. He is with his father, Henry Archer who is one of the pioneers of Earth's Warp program. We find out that the Vulcan's have been on Earth for quite some time (since a pioneer named Zefram Cochrane activated Earth's first Warp Engine in 2063 and attracted the attention of the advanced and warp-capable Vulcans) and have been helping us build our first Warp 5 Engine, though by withholding a lot of information our progress has been slow. Henry doesn't know why the Vulcan's are holding back information but believes it must be for a good reason. Even though he's a child, Jonathan disagrees and his disagreement with the Vulcan's will last long into his adulthood.
With that, the story jumps thirty years into the future (though with Scott Bakula as Archer it should probably have been forty years - Archer is 39 and Bakula is 50ish) and the year 2151. The event that pushes us into space starts on our own homeworld, but the players are very much alien. We see a long-haired alien with a ridged forehead running through a field in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. For those of you who don't know anything about Star Trek, this is a Klingon and they play a rather big part in Star Trek (especially in The Next Generation and Deep Space 9). He is being pursued by two other aliens known as Suliban (who make their first appearance in Star Trek). The Klingon (Klaang) outsmarts his opponents but not the human farmer who shoots the Klingon in the chest with a plasma rifle.
Like all good Star Trek pilots, we see the Captain and his chief engineer on a shuttlepod checking out the first shots of the Enterprise. As a Star Trek fan I must say the NX-01 is a beautiful ship. You can see that it's smaller then any of the other Enterprises which makes sense because its the earliest model. The scene is nowhere as beautiful as the panorama of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (one of its redeeming qualities) but it's adequate.
Rushed to Starfleet medical, Klaang is put on life support. His fate becomes a heated discussion between Starfleet officers and the Vulcan ambassadors (Vulcans are another important race in Star Trek. Their most prominant feature is pointed ears and they believe in the pursuit of logic. What I really LOVE about Star Trek: Enterprise but is a heated topic is how the Vulcans are portrayed on the show - these aren't the completely logical creatures we see in the Original Series. They embrace logic but hide emotions that spill out from time to time. I actually prefer this version of the Vulcans, and in my opinion in makes sense that like every race they are still developing). The Vulcans want the humans to take Klaang off of life support and let him die, while Captain Jonathan Archer (now an adult) wants to use this incident as a reason to finally launch their first Warp-5 starship. Apparently humanity has been in space for a while now, but until the creation of this Warp-5 reactor, they had been travelling at Warp 2 which made a trip that would take weeks turn into a trip that took years (and most of those ships were simple cargo-haulers). After a heated debate, Archer perseveres and gets the nod - Archer will leave Earth and take Klaang back to the Klingon Homeworld of Qo'noS. The Vulcans are none to happy but the decision has been made and humanity is about to take a big step forward!
This is where we meet our crew - the crew of the starship Enterprise!
Captain Jonathan Archer: He's a bit disgruntled a the way the Vulcans treated humanity, holding back the secret of faster Warp technology for an entire century. He's kind of bitter because his father passed away before the Warp-5 engine became a reality and he blames the Vulcans. As he says in the very first episode: "I've listened to you Vulcans tell us what NOT to do my entire life. I watched my father work his ass off while your scientists held back just enough information to keep him from succeeding. He deserved to see this launch. You Vulcans have a lifespan of 200 years, we don't." He has the weight of the world on his shoulders - unlike the captain's in TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager he is traveling into a completely alien universe. His mission will determine the fate of Starfleet. Is humanity ready to take to the stars? The Vulcans don't think so.
Commander Charles Tucker the 3rd, or Trip: One of Archer's best friends, Trip is an amazing engineer and he treats the Warp-5 engine like his baby. A very likable character, Trip is featured in a many of the episodes along with Captain Archer. Though he tries to portray himself as serious, he often fails and is the center of a lot of comedy.
Sub Commander T'Pol: She is the Vulcan officer assigned to the Enterprise. Apparently, the Vulcans are fairly adamant about having one of their own on Earth's first foray into space. As the series progresses we see her slowly evolve - gaining an understanding of human beings and their nature - and how emotions can sometimes work to our advantage. She is also rather hot.
Lieutenant Malcolm Reed: The senior armory officer aboard Enterprise, Malcolm believes in the philosophy of "might makes right" and wants the Enterprise to always be prepared for any sort of engagement with hostile vessels. Unfortunately, he will find out soon enough that there are plenty of races out there with better weapons and shielding then the Earth's first Warp-5 starship. Thankfully, the Enterprise slowly is refitted with more powerful weapons (Phase Canons, which weren't even installed when they left space dock, eventually were upgraded to Phasers and Spacial Torpedoes were eventually upgraded to Photon Torpedoes). Always one to jump into a situation, he slowly learns that sometimes you have to take your time and learn more about what's going on.
Ensign Hoshi Sato: She is also a very attractive Asian female and a natural linguist. The Universal Translator still has a lot of rough edges and sometimes fails to translate languages and it is Hoshi's job to figure out what's going on and open up dialogues. Even when the Translator begins to work properly, she is still a very vital member of the crew and their communications officer.
Ensign Travis Mayweather: Though he is not the center of a lot of episodes, he is an exceptional pilot and saves the Enterprise on multiple occasions with his skill. A "space boomer" his family travelled the Galaxy for years on the old Warp 2 cargo haulers which allowed Travis to experience a lot of things the rest of the crew hadn't experienced yet. However, most of his life was spent on the hauler because of the months (or even years) it took to travel between worlds.
Doctor Phlox: Everyone will have their own opinion but to me Phlox is the best Doctor they've had in a Star Trek TV show. His character is dynamic and the actor plays the part like he was born to play a Denobulan (the alien race Phlox belongs to). He is part of the Interspecies Medical Exchange program, and has been on Earth for a while and was the doctor working on Klaang, the wounded Klingon. Archer sees him and asks if he would take an assignment on Enterprise. Phlox agrees, and the rest is history.
This is the end of part one of the review of Broken Bow. Stay tune for part 2!
Broken Bow, Review Part 2
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season One, Episodes 1-2: Broken Bow
The Klingon Klaang at Starfleet Medical. The Vulcans want to let him die, while Archer wants to return him to the Klingon Empire.
The journey to Qo'noS is not an easy one. The race that was following Klaang in Broken Bow continue to pursue the Enterprise - and it is apparent they can match Enterprises Warp-5 engine (though technically at the beginning of their journey the are travelling at Warp 4.5). Hoshi Sato tries to question a delirious Klaang, but during the questioning, the Suliban transport troops aboard the Enterprise and kidnap Klaang. Archer was able to kill one of the Suliban during the fight, and Doctor Phlox examined the body to discover extensive genetic modifications. Thanks to Hoshi they learn that Klaang was visiting a planet called Rigel X before his crash-landing on Earth and that he had received something that he was taking back to Qo'noS there. Captain Archer decides to set a course for RIgel X and this introduces the crew to their first alien community. Unfortunately, Rigel X is a hotbed of "scum and villainy" and isn't the best example of alien culture. It does have hot, almost naked alien women who dance and catch butteflies with their long tongues (and I do mean long), so that's a plus especially for Trip and Malcolm.
As they explore the deeper areas of the trade complex, Archer and T'Pol are captured by Suliban. However, after meeting with their leader, a female Suliban called Sarin, Archer finds out that there is a lot more going on then both he and Starfleet knew - events that could impact the entire quadrant. The Suliban leadership, known as the Cabal are getting their orders from a shadowy figure from the future - Sarin used to be on the Cabal but she did not like what was she was seeing and now is actively opposing them. Captain Archer learns that there is something going on known as the Temporal Cold War.
Note: Some Star Trek fans hate the Temporal Cold War. I'm the opposite - I usually hate time travel episodes, or rather dislike them, but as I've gotten used to watching Star Trek, I've also gotten used to time travel. Most time travel episodes are single episode events, or two-parters, but what I love about the Temporal Cold War is that its a big event that lasts through the entire show! It also answers a lot of the questions that are brought up due to continuity discrepancies... if history is tweaked a little bit, it could easily be because of this War. Some evidence points to the shadowy figure using the Suliban to be a Romulan (another important race we'll discuss in the future!), which would make sense. Throwing the galaxy into chaos would make perfect sense for a Romulan, and other evidence points out that if there were a 5th season of Enterprise it would have dealt with the Earth/Romulan war and the shadowy figure would have been revealed as being an important player in forcing a confrontation.
Sarin tells Archer of an imminent Klingon Civil War that could throw the quadrant into chaos and that the instrument of the civil war is the Cabal. Klaang was carrying documents that would bring an end to the conflict and stop a civil war from happening and that it was very important to find the Klingon and return him to Qo'nos. An attack by the Cabal disrupts their meeting and they flee toward the shuttlepod - unfortunately Sarin dies on the way, shot in the back by the Cabal. The next combat sequence is really awesome, as they fight their way out and into a snowstorm. They have to find their shuttle in the middle of blaster fire, and Captain Archer saves T'Pol's life as she is thrown far by the errant blast of a launching alien ship. In their escape Archer is also shot, and T'Pol quickly takes over.
Note: An interesting fact that I've never seen talked about in detail - Archer dreams and sees himself on the beach as a child with his dad, testing out the model he was building at the very beginning. It launches into the air and quickly hits the sand. We then see T'Pol watching them and Henry Archer tells his son he "can't be afraid of the wind." Everyone seems to think this is just a dream - but we all know the long lifespans of the Vulcans. I believe that T'Pol really DID see Archer on the beach when Archer was still a child - that this event DID occur, but Archer hadn't ever thought about it and this was his subconscious bringing it up. He also never mentioned it again, meaning just like most dreams, he forgot about it again.
When Archer wakes up, he half expects that the Enterprise is heading back toward Earth, having given up on its mission with T'Pol in charge but is pleasantly surprised when T'Pol replies that they are continuing the mission as per Captain's orders and that they are tracking a Suliban ship that launched from Rigel X. This leads them to a gas giant planet. The Suliban ship is nowhere to be seen, but a spectral analysis shows the warp trails of several vessels entering the cloud. Polarizing the hull plating, they laid in a pursuit course into the gas giant.
Note: At this point in time Starfleet did not have shields. Their technology included the ability to polarize the hull plate, which strengthened it against damage. A far cry from shields, polorized hull plating was still equal to or better then what a lot of races had in space - plus, I LOVED the idea of Starfleet having to use a technology that was not as advanced as shields - the same way they had Phase Cannons as opposed to Phasers and Spacial Torpedoes instead of Photon Torpedoes.
The Enterprise didn't have to travel far to discover a Suliban Helix - an impressive structure made up of thousands of cell ships (small one man Suliban ships that can interlock together) connected to a central base.
A lot of "original Trekkers/Trekkies" don't really seem to like the new races like the Suliban but I think they are a very interesting addition to the Star Trek mix, as are the Xindi which we will see in a later season. While I like the race, I hate some aspects of their ships. The cell ships are a neat idea but as later episodes will attest to they can go warp speed and keep up with the Enterprise... excuse me? Not only is a cell ship lacking any warp nacelles, its smaller then a shuttlepod so I find it hard to believe that they can reach warp 5. Perhaps they've gotten a "boost" from their associate from the future, who knows - but I still don't like ship designs that lack nacelles which has been an important part of Star Trek since it was conceived, or at the very least a large engine room placed apart from the crew (as warp speed creates a field that is dangerous to living beings around the warp engines). Anyway, they scan the Helix and discover a single Klingon signature - Klaang is very much alive and within the Suliban base!
In a very awesome space sequence, the Enterprise dives closer to the Helix and some cell ships and using its Grappler (another precursor to the Tractor Beam which Vulcan ships already have but a technology they aren't sharing). Capturing the ship, Archer and Trip prepare to use it to infiltrate the Helix. Malcolm gives them two things, a magnetic device that would be used to throw the Suliban into a chaotic frenzy, and two phase pistols... the latest Federation weapon, and again the precursor to what? That's right... phasers! Trust me though, Phase Pistols rock.
Leaving T'Pol in charge of the ship, Archer and Trip infiltrate the Helix in the captured Cell Ship and after surreptitiously moving about the giant structure, they follow their scanner and find the lone Klingon bio signal. Sure enough, they find Klaang. Freeing the giant Klingon they make their escape. Alerted to the escape attempt, the Suliban try to stop them. The initial confrontation ends with many Suliban casualities, but more are on the way. Archer convinces Trip to take Klaang on the Cell Ship and return to Enterprise, and come back for him - and as much as he doesn't want to Trip follows his Captain's orders. As their Cell Ship breaks free, Archer activates the Gravity Device Malcolm gave them.
Suddenly, all the Cell Ships lose their magnetic grip on the Helix and begin to break away, drifting apart in all directions. Complete chaos ensues as Trip escapes with Klaang! As Trip successfully reaches Enterprise, Captain Archer has been making his way through the Helix and finds himself in what I believe is some sort of Temporal room. It connects the present with the future, and everything acts out of sync with proper time and space while in there (later episodes they remove this effect - I guess they either didn't like it or it took too much time to process the spacial effects. I kinda liked it but I could see that it could get annoying after a while). Anyway, the leader of the Cabal, Silik, attacks Archer and they fight. The fight is brutal, and at the last second Silik opens fire on Archer as the Captain is running for the door - and a Star Trek mainstay makes it's first appearance!
In a blinding flash of energy, Enterprise activates its transporter and Archer is transported out of the Helix! What an awesome scene - and one of the few examples you'll see of human transport in Star Trek: Enterprise. Again, because transporter technology is so new - they only use it when it is a last resort. For most of the show you will see them using a Shuttlepod, which is another thing I really like about the show. Anyway, a desperation maneuver works as the Enterprise moved in close to the Helix to transport Archer aboard and now pulled back away, trying to escape from the gas cloud with Cell Ships in close pursuit. They break out of the gas giant and go to warp.
Broken Bow, Review Part 3
They finally arrive at Qo'noS, throne world of the Klingon Empire and the epicenter of what could become a Klingon Civil War. Klaang is led into the Klingon High Council Chambers along with Captain Archer, Hoshi, and T'Pol. Pulling out a knife, the Klingon Chancellor cuts Klaang's hand and collects some of his blood. Using a sophisticated machine, they scan his blood and find a wealth of hidden knowledge... secret Suliban plans that Klaang had secreted away from Rigel X that proved that they were behind some of the ominous machinations going on in the Empire, and that they were pushing the Klingon Houses toward a massive Civil War that would have destabilized the entire quadrant!
Having succeeded, Captain Archer and the crew of the Enterprise proved that humanity was ready to join the rest of the warp-capable galaxy. They were ready to explore the unknown. The Klingons owed humanity a great debt that wouldn't easily be repaid (which is probably why the Empire didn't attack Starfleet for a while!). Boarding the Enterprise, Captain Archer gave the orders to head toward unexplored space. They had a mission to begin. A mission of exploration.
The journey of the NX-01, the journey of the Enterprise... had begun!
Broken Bow Rating: 5 (out of 5).
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