Two further episodes in the prequel series to the original 1960s 'Star Trek' adventures. In 'Unexpected' the crew discover that they have a secret hitchhiker nestled between their engines. In 'Terra Nova' Archer's team go in search of a group of colonists who have been missing for seventy years.
, the fifth live-action series to hail from the Star Trek
universe, is without doubt the bravest concept since The Next Generation
. Here we boldly go back to the future, 100 years before Captain Kirk, to the very first voyage of a starship called Enterprise. In fact, the concept--once announced at long last--caused an enormous furore among both fans and critics. Would the costumes and sets be primary coloured like the 1960s' original? Would the ship look like something made on Blue Peter
? Would the Klingons look like Fu Manchu in boot polish? No, no and no came the official word at the same time as announcing that Scott (Quantum Leap
) Bakula would be sitting in Captain Archer's squeaky new chair. He's accompanied on the new/old ship by his cute dog Porthos, antagonistic Vulcan T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) filling the obligatory pin-up-babe role and an alien Doctor with indeterminate head make-up and mysterious origins.
It took some time for the show to lift off. An over-familiar format (too much like Voyager) and too much involvement from previous cast and crewmembers were sources of dissatisfaction. But lurking behind the brand-new/old adventures there was an insidiously intriguing subplot. Why are the Vulcans so darn manipulative? Who are the shadowy time-travelling baddies? How will matters build toward the Romulan War? The show also attracted guest B-star power from the likes of Dean Stockwell, Clancy Brown and Clint Howard (Blalock in the classic original series episode "The Corbomite Manoeuvre"). It boasts consistently cutting-edge CGI effects work and survived the marketing-driven placement of a dull MOR pop song over the opening credits. Either despite or because of these warped factors, Enterprise has been a literal flagship for the franchise in a period when many thought Trek's star was dwindling. --Paul Tonks