So, we finally watched the pilot (Broken Bow) for Star Trek: Enterprise.
I thought it was pretty good. (I’ll try to keep this as spoilers-low as possible.)
The pacing felt good, through the action scenes, I was actually (figuratively) on the edge of my seat, genuinely tense about what would happen to the characters.
I feel like they captured the feeling of exploring into a completely unknown and dangerous galaxy, that any moment, they could be overwhelmed by an alien force, if they should do the wrong thing.
It was also a really interesting choice having the Vulcans being almost reluctant parent allies. Not quite adversaries, not quite obstacles, but always watching and judging…
It’s also interesting to see the first real human/vulcan team start to really learn to work together. To see the first tentative steps towards actual friendship…Two peoples who know they’re better together, but are still learning to trust each other well enough to actually find the synergy they know is there somewhere.
I had been worried about the T’Pol & co. ‘Decontamination Chamber’ scenes, that they would be pure fan service, uninteresting/unrelated to the show. Instead, they were a very odd, fascinating confrontation between the Id (Tucker) and the Superego (T’Pol). I’m not sure exactly how well the scene worked, but it was fascinatingly brave, having two characters who have to rub decontamination gel on each other, a very intimate act, while having an intense emotional argument about Human/Vulcan relations going back decades and discussing the future of the Human species. As the canonical Superego would say: ‘Fascinating’.
Perhaps the most jarring parts of the episode was the slightly too wordy exposition, setting out the political and historical landscape of the early Federation, especially the Human/Vulcan conflict.
At the same time, the Klingon-Human first contact was handled well, with the imperfect universal translator adding a nice touch.
Scott Bakula was a good choice for captain (although the cast felt a little white male focused, with little differentiation between them, even compared with TOS or TNG.) He genuinely seemed a little more afraid, pushing through with more bravado than even Kirk. But perhaps that’s because he didn’t have his Spock yet. Some reviews described him as somewhat of a ‘pirate’, but that hasn’t come out yet.
I think the Temporal Cold War arc was introduced well, but I could see how it could get old hat if it becomes too commonplace.
Walking into the Rigel X Trade Complex felt like a very Star Trek experience. I couldn’t put my finger exactly on why, but something about the atmosphere of the music (or the visuals!) was very Star Trek.
(Neptune being around 4.5 billion km from Earth, that puts warp 4.5 as 9e12m/360s, or 83.3c. This is only slightly different from the TNG technical manual, which places warp 4 at 102c, which can be explained by the need to avoid using warp drive while close to gravity wells.)
I also greatly enjoyed the ‘mad scientist’ Doctor Phlox and his menagerie.
Overall, a good episode (and I believe lived up the ‘best Star Trek pilot’ that they were shooting for). It was more dramatic than usual Star Trek, probably more emotionally raw, but it worked well to keep the audience engaged, by having heightened emotion even while arguing important points of philosophy, almost like the best of the lightsaber battles.
4.5 stars, some of the best Star Trek I’ve seen. Even the opening credits, and their message of humans hopefully striving, made me cry.
Interestingly, very similar to the “Cineplex – 100 Years of Movies” trailer.