“Broken Bow,” the pilot episode of the latest Star Trek series, begins with an obligatory stupid scene. Little Sam Beckett, I mean, Jonathon Archer, future commander of NX-O1 Enterprise, is building model rockets with his scientist father. But the next scene shows how cool this show can get. A Klingon is running through a cornfield, chased by several extra-terrestrials, who have the power to slide under doors. Finally, the Klingon destroys the silo the chasers were in, and the owner of the farm shoots the Klingon with a plasma gun.
If “Enterprise,” UPN”s latest take on the long running franchise, can produce more of the second type of scene, and fewer of the former, then the show can be a blockbuster. It could be UPN”s dream show, an anchor between “Buffy” on Tuesdays and the highly underrated “WWF Smackdown” on Thursdays.
Taking place not too long after man achieves high-speed space flight, “Enterprise” takes a rather tongue-in-cheek look at life before the Federation pissed off numerous peoples, before Seven of Nine was turning people”s heads. Actually, the show seems to take a very similar approach that the “Star Wars” crew did with “The Phantom Menace,” in attitude and style.
Most of the premiere introduces the new characters, which are played by different actors than in the other series, but yet seem to follow the patterns of previous shows. The fiery second-in-command, Vulcan T”Pol, is perhaps the most intriguing. Watch as (Gasp!) she”s a vegetarian, finding it difficult to believe that people still eat meat. She”s the only female in the crew, and basically is Spock with a nice body. She has so many roles to play. She”s the logic queen, occasional bitch, and love interest to god knows how many of the male crew members. It will be interesting to see if they give her credible storylines, or if she just becomes “the female” on the ship.
The language expert, Ensign Sato (watch her tell a Klingon to shut up in English!), and the other Ensign, Mayweather, don”t have much to do right now. Chief Engineer “Trip” Tucker is the humorous Southern character (who, incidentally, has a VERY steamy rubdown scene with T”Pol), and his accent together with the British accent of Lt. Reed makes for a nice variety.
The doctor, Dr. Phlox, of course, is the funniest character on the show. He seems to genuinely love his job, and can make a nice discussion about Chinese food.
Of course, the clear focus is on the aforementioned Capt. Archer. His father did much for the fledgling space program, and he wants to make his own mark. Scott Bakula has clearly studied Kirk and Picard”s facial expressions to prepare. That doesn”t mean he”s a great actor, but he can at least look the part of “stubborn but well-intentioned American.” He”s rash, and T”Pol makes sure he knows it.
The cast appears to mesh quite well, and short of the god-awful theme music and shameful hamming by Bakula (“let”s hope that”s the last time someone takes a shot at us!”), is as entertaining as the first two Star Trek series.