Trekathon Season Review: Enterprise, Season 3

April 19th, 2013

Star Trek finally tries the ‘serial story’ thing without reserve.

There are two big problems with the Xindi arc. Firstly, it comes out of nowhere. By that, I mean that we’ve never heard of this species before, don’t know anything about them. Wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to use Romulans, or some other race established as a clear threat. Not doing that leads into my second problem – at times this doesn’t feel a lot like Star Trek. It feels more like Battlestar or Babylon 5 at times – and those are good shows, but Star Trek should be Star Trek.

(Prior to this long exercise I used to be more dismissive of the ‘Roddenberry vision’ – and while I still think that TNG in particular uses that ‘vision’ to construct an antiseptic view of humanity, there is more to it that I realised. In a sense, this season helped with that – it’s easier to notice something when it isn’t there any more).

But the story itself is pretty good. In fact, the season is generally at its worst when it’s furthest from the story arc, doing an episode that could have been in any season: Extinction, North Star and Carpenter Street (the opening episode was fairly weak as well). Against that are some truly great episodes that are integral to the arc: Twilight at the head of the list, but the five episodes of the final arc (excluding E2 and The Forgotten) are all very strong.

I’m worried about Season 4 (not least because I know it was canceled after that Season). Zero Hour sets up a potential story for the season that could be very annoying. What I’d like is for them to ditch this silly time travel stuff, and instead try and be more of a prequel show. Enterprise makes surprisingly little use of the setting.

In terms of quality this season is pretty neck-and-neck with TOS Season 2 – not always great, but showing considerable promise. Probably just a little behind it, but ahead of TNG’s more uneven fourth year. Yes, that’s better than any season Voyager turned in, and ahead of all but two of DS9. It was a good year overall. That takes the rankings to:

The very best of Trek:

  • TNG Season 6
  • DS9 Season 2

Strong performers:

  • DS9 Season 5
  • TNG Season 3
  • TNG Season 5
  • TOS Season 2
  • ENT Season 3
  • TNG Season 4
  • VOY Season 4

Mixed bag:

  • TOS Season 1
  • DS9 Season 4
  • DS9 Season 1
  • VOY Season 5
  • ENT Season 1
  • VOY Season 1
  • TNG Season 7

Not good:

  • DS9 Season 3
  • DS9 Season 6
  • VOY Season 6
  • VOY Season 3
  • TNG Season 2
  • ENT Season 2
  • TAS Season 1

Really just awful:

  • VOY Season 7
  • VOY Season 2
  • DS9 Season 7
  • TOS Season 3
  • TAS Season 2
  • TNG Season 1

That’s 714 watched, 31,630 minutes, and 96.85% complete. 111,473 words written. 23 to go. And next is the final year of TV trek. For now, at least.