|Star Trek - Enterprise: The Complete Fourth Season (2004)
Starring: Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock, John Billingsley, Dominic Keating, Anthony Montgomery, Linda Park, and Connor Trinneer
If the third season of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” with its season-long arc that found the crew of the NX-01 battling the alien race known as the Xindi, was the show’s attempt to transform the proceedings into a proper sci-fi series which wasn’t so insulated that it required a great deal of “Trek” knowledge to appreciate it properly, then Season 4 was an endeavor to bring the diehard Trekkies back into regular viewership.
You may ask: why, if they were so diehard, didn’t they stick with the show through thick and thin? The answer is that, by Season 3, many Trekkies felt that “ST: Enterprise” was turning into a serious missed opportunity. A universe full of established history and mythos existed, courtesy of the original “Trek” series, “ST: The Next Generation,” “ST: Deep Space Nine,” and “ST: Voyager,” and, yet, it seemed as though producers Rick Berman and Brandon Braga were going out of their way to make the story more palatable for mainstream audiences. Nice plan, and even an understandable one – the end result was the single best season of the series’ run – but, ultimately, it backfired and managed to alienate the fans who’d made the “Trek” franchise so profitable in the first place.
Enter Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens.
The Reeves-Stevenses had long since made their mark in the “Trek” world as authors of several original novels – gaining particular notoriety for co-writing William Shatner’s “Trek” books – but their television credits included work on “The Lost World” and “The Hitchhiker.” The couple joined the writing staff of “Enterprise” at the beginning of the 4th season, also taking a co-producer credit, and with their assistance, the show finally delved into the various segments of “Trek” history that the fans had been clamoring for. There were visits to the Mirror Universe (as featured most notably in the original series; you know, it’s the one where Spock has a beard) and a trip to Vulcan which involved Archer being gifted with the katra – we humans call it “spirit” – of Surak, the planet’s most renowned philosopher; Orion slave girls shook their green asses, and we finally got some information about why Klingons looked different in the original “Trek” series than they did anywhere else. They even tied “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” into the show, using stunt casting via guest star Brent Spiner (a.k.a. Data). If you weren’t already a “Trek” fan, you might’ve been lost at times, but for the Trekkies, it was sheer bliss.
When it was announced that there would be no 5th season, it was absolutely devastating to fans, who, with the help of the Reeves-Stevenses, finally felt as though they were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and that the show would finally get around to showing that which had been hinted at from the get-go: the founding of the United Federation of Planets. Instead, the series wrapped up abruptly and unsatisfactorily, with an attempt to tie things into an episode of “ST: The Next Generation,” courtesy of cameos by Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi (Marina Sirtis), revealing precious little of the eventual fate of Captain Archer and his crew.
Still, despite the disappointing finale, if you’re a diehard “Trek” fan, “ST: Enterprise – Season 4” is definitely the season to get.