Star Trek-Enterprise-Season 3 (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 14-Sep-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Michael Demeritt (Assistant Director) - 'North Star'
Audio Commentary-Manny Coto (Writer/Co-Exec. Producer) - 'Similitude'
Informational Subtitles-Text Commentary By Michael Okuda And Denise Okuda (3 Eps)
Deleted Scenes-Creating Enterprise
Featurette-The Xindi Saga Begins
Featurette-Enterprise Moments: Season 3
Featurette-Enterprise Profile: Connor Trinneer
Featurette-A Day In The Life Of A Director: Roxann Dawson
Outtakes-Enterprise Secrets
Gallery-Photo-Admiral Forrest Takes Center Stage
Trailer-Borg Invasion
Trailer-Star Trek: Original Series Box Set
Featurette-Behind The Camera: Marvin Rush
Featurette-Enterprise Secrets
Easter Egg-NX-01 Files
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 984:45
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (7)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Barrett
Levar Burton
Jim Charleston
James A. Contner
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Scott Bakula
John Billingsley
Jolene Blalock
Dominic Keating
Anthony Montgomery
Linda Park
Connor Trinneer
Vaughn Armstrong
Gary Graham
Randy Oglesby
Rick Worthy
Jeffrey Combs
Case ?
RPI $149.95 Music Paul Baillargeon
David Bell
David Bell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Text Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The finale of the second season took Enterprise in a whole different direction with the attack on Earth by the Xindi. This was a bold new direction for the show, steering itself away from the banal oft-told science fiction tales of the earlier seasons into a paradigm that would allow the writers to explore the War on Terror that was (and still is) going on around them.

    All the crew are still here - Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), Subcommander T’Pol (Jolene Blalock), Commander “Trip” Tucker III (Conner Trinneer), Lieutenant Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), Ensign Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery), Ensign Hoshi Sato (Linda Park) and Dr. Phlox (John Billingsly).

    You can get a complete episode synopsis at TV.com. The following is a breakdown of how these episodes fit on the seven discs:

Disc 1

1. The Xindi (41:01)     2. Anomaly (41:01)     3. Extinction (41:01)     4. Rajiin (41:02)

Disc 2

5. Impulse (41:00)     6. Exile (41:03)     7. The Shipment (41:05)     8. Twilight (41:02)

Disc 3

9. North Star (41:01)     10. Similitude (41:01)     11. Carpenter Street (41:03)     12. Chosen Realm (41:04)

Disc 4

13. Proving Ground (41:02)     14. Stratagem (41:02)     15. Harbinger (41:00)     16. Doctor’s Orders (41:01)

Disc 5

17. Hatchery (41:01)     18. Azati Prime (41:00)     19. Damage (41:03)     20. The Forgotten (41:03)

Disc 6

21. E2 (41:02)     22. The Council (41:02)     23. Countdown (41:03)     24. Zero Hour (41:02)

Disc 7

Special Features

    The third season of Enterprise is a drastic improvement on preceding seasons. By giving the crew an actual mission, not a vague objective, the series took on an overarching direction with an archplot that spanned the season.

    The show also broke away from its previous conventions by finally taking on some topical contemporary issues – how do you come to terms with a race that wants to exterminate you? Are they all inherently evil? Or are there shades of grey? By illuminating those shades of grey, the show proved its hitherto unseen depth and gave us some very gripping stories.

    That said, Enterprise remains firmly mired in its ‘Americanism’ for much of the season, which limits its appeal and taints much of what it has to say. This is a significant drawback, and something that does not sit well with the internationalism of previous Star Trek incarnations, which often went out of their way to embrace the beauty of other cultures and what they had to add.

    This reviewer’s own feeling on the matter is that Enterprise should have broken the conventions and shied away from the 24 episode paradigm it was following and reverted to tighter, more intense 13 episode seasons. This would reduce the number of ‘filler’ episodes and force the writers to hone their skills such that we would have more episodes like Impulse, Carpenter Street, and Doctor’s Orders and less like Extinction.

    More than that, however, the show really needed to embrace the trend of outstanding TV writing, indicative of shows like The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Shield and The Wire whose writers are really at the forefront of the game. That is not to say that Enterprise should have devolved into a show riddled with violence and coarse language. This is still a Star Trek series and as such its primary audience should still be able to tune in without being grossly offended. But the show should have had the courage to focus on the subtler aspects of humanity, evoking rather than bludgeoning. Only sparse and brilliant screenwriting ever manages to get a show to that level. The sad fact is that we occasionally see some of it here. But it’s all too little too late.

    I still have mixed feelings about this show, and I am a long time Star Trek fan from way back when I first saw Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan on the big screen when my age could still be recorded in single digits. I respect what it was trying to do in a lot of places, and its execution was at times outstanding. But it remains at its heart action-adventure science-fiction (albeit skilfully done) and never reaches the emotional peaks that Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine achieved in their day. Given the show had so much potential to do so, this is perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. Still, as late night entertainment, it definitely does the job.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Originally filmed on Super 35 then transferred to HD digital video (1920 x 1080 pixels – 1080p) with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and broadcast on Australian TV in 1080i HD, this DVD transfer maintains the original aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. Sadly, that’s the best I can say for it.

    Long ago, Paramount Home Entertainment released Band Of Brothers, a similarly high definition master (although filmed on film and transferred to high definition) with two episodes per disc to allow maximum space for the video information of each episode. Those transfers were stunning. More recently, Paramount Home Entertainment put together the first season of the HBO series Deadwood, also a native HD production, this time with 3 episodes per disc to afford enough space for video information. This transfer is likewise excellent. However, with this season of Enterprise, they have simply tried to cram too much onto the one disc, and as a result the picture is very bad.

    Pixelisation and graininess are almost unbearable, even with all the upscaling technology I am putting into play. Granted, I am using an 80 inch screen where most faults will show up. But even if you put it on a smaller monitor (I used both a 41 inch and a 20 inch LCD panel for comparison), the faults are still readily apparent. In lighter scenes, the pixelisation and graininess are not too distracting, although still noticeably present. But on darker episodes, of which there are a lot in this season, shapes just become MPEG blocks or a pixelated mess. For a prime example, take a look at T’Pol’s head at 20:50-21:40 in the outstanding episode Impulse. At times, it’s just a whole bunch of squares. This is, in short, unacceptable.

    Thankfully colour was well saturated and balanced, although it can seep a bit as the picture is a touch soft.

    However, this does not counterbalance the pixelisation, dot crawl, and persistent low-level noise in the background which completely ruin shadow detail.

    Film artefacts are non-existent.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired, and regular English. They appear as white with a grey/black border, are easy to read, and convey the meaning of the dialogue without word-for-word reproduction.

    The dual-layer pauses are between the episodes, with two episodes per layer. I would have more than gladly tolerated a dual layer pause for a higher bit-rate transfer for the video. This would have blown the set out to 9 discs or so, but considering how cheap the actual discs are to produce, and that most of the cost of producing a set is incurred in copyrighting and packaging, I must say I am unimpressed with this effort by Paramount Home Entertainment - particularly since they have proven that they can do such a good job with other HD source material. Better yet, why not do 4 layers per disc and have 7 dual sided, dual layered discs? Again, I feel we are getting the short end of the stick here, and hopefully Paramount Home Entertainment will step up for the fourth and final season of this show on DVD. Somehow, I think that decision has already been made, and we will just see more of the same.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    In contrast to the appalling video transfer, we do get an extremely good English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack encoded at 448Kb/s.

    Dialogue is excellent, with barely a sync fault to be found that is not clearly a source material fault.

    The range is excellent (more than enough to upset my neighbours, which is generally a good indicator – sorry guys) and there is a truly cinematic surround presence here, with lots of cues from the rears and surrounds to envelop you in the action.

    Subwoofer use is outstanding, giving a real life feel to many of the scenes, particularly the action sequences.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menus are a CGI recreation of a control panel on the bridge of the Enterprise overseeing a Xindi ship. The main menu and the episode menus have an ambient 2.0 Dolby Surround track.

Episode Audio Commentary – “North Star” (Disc 3)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this episode has an audio commentary by assistant director Michael Demeritt.

Episode Audio Commentary – “Similitude” (Disc 3)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this episode has an audio commentary by writer/co-producer Manny Coto.

Text Commentaries

    The following episodes contain the usual level of excellent text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda:

Deleted Scenes

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Surround, the following episodes have deleted scenes:

    Similitude (Disc 3)

    Chosen Realm (Disc 3)

    E2 (Disc 3)

    Some of these deleted scenes have unfinished special effects sequences, but for the most part are pretty good quality. I definitely think there should have been a reintegration option.

Disc 7

    As per usual, there are the usual array of featurettes and interviews on the 7th disc in this set. All features are presented in 1.33:1 or 1.78:1 letterboxed inside a 1.33:1 frame. Here we have the following:

Featurette – “The Xindi Saga Begins” (13:09)

Featurette – “Enterprise Moments: Season Three” (12:55)

Featurette – “Enterprise Profile: Connor Trinneer” (17:14)

Featurette – “A Day In The Life Of A Director: Roxann Dawson” (17:25)

Featurette – “Outtakes” (6:12)

Photo Gallery

Trailer – Borg Invasion (0:32)

Trailer – Star Trek: Original Series Boxset (1:43)

Featurette – “Behind The Camera: Marvin Rush” (15:42)

Featurette – “Enterprise Secrets” (4:11)

NX-01 Hidden Files

    There are a few hidden features here, although they’re not so hidden. Just highlight one of the panels on the left of the special features menu and you’ll find one. The numbering of these files carries on from the previous two seasons:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    In terms of content, the R1 and R4 releases would appear to be identical. I can only hope, however, that, given the lesser space required to record video information in NTSC, the image is better in R1 than here. If anyone can give me a clear answer on that, using comparable equipment to my own (see below), please let me know.

Summary

    Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 3 is outstanding Star Trek. Rather than trudging through well-worn scripts, the writers decided to take on political and social issues affecting the world today. In doing so, the stories not only improved, but so did the acting and the overall feel of the series. It is a shame it was only to get one more year, and not even a full year at that.

    The video is terrible, and leaves me feeling short-changed by Paramount Home Entertainment. Wait for an HD transfer or a remastered standard def re-release.

    The 5.1 Dolby Digital is outstanding, but cannot make up for the video faults.

    Plenty of quality extras here, and not just filler.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Monday, October 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Richard G

Comments (Add)
Great Review -
Visual quality - REPLY POSTED
im getting none of the artifacts you describe -
though i am using the r2/4 master - REPLY POSTED
thanks for the clarification...I suspect the r4 master is dodgy -