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Monday, 7 January, 2002, 18:46 GMT
New Star Trek blasts off
The cast of Star Trek: Enterprise
The crew sport "practical" uniforms
The fifth Star Trek series lands in the UK on 7 January on Sky One. Entertainment correspondent Peter Bowes, who saw the programme when it premièred in the US in September, tells us what he thought of the new show.

It's the year 2151 and the intrepid space travellers are somewhat green around the gills.

One hundred and 50 years from now and about 100 years before Captain Kirk, Star Trek: Enterprise introduces us to the pioneering days of space exploration.

The crew display a sense of wonder as well as nervousness as they set off to explore deep space.

Scott Bakula
Bakula as the captain shares intimate moments with a Vulcan woman

The series is the first in the franchise, which started in 1966, to feature an on-going plot line from the beginning.

Enterprise stars Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer in a tale that's supposed to bridge the gap between present time and the distant days of the future, first envisaged by creator Gene Roddenberry.

Bakula appears alongside Connor Trinneer who plays Chief Engineer Tucker. He goes where no man has gone before - into a space shower shared with a vixen-like Vulcan, Sub Commander T'Pol, played by Jolene Blalock.

Technology

It is questionable whether her snooty character is truly emotionless as Vulkans are supposed to be.

The maiden voyage moves along at warp-speed introducing us to the Vulcans which have been thwarting humans' attempts to travel into deep space for a century.

The Enterprise's first mission involves repatriating an injured Klingon who crashed on earth.

Star Trek ship
The Enterprise goes on a mission of repatriation

A fun part of the new series is how we are introduced to the characters. It is also engaging to note how they come to terms with the technology that will be so crucial to their existence in outer space.

Phaser guns are still a novelty and the beam-me-up lingo that becomes common place in the years to come has a decidedly experimental ring to it. There is a running joke about crashing the ship into obstacles in space.

There is a striking sense of modern day space technology being incorporated into the control panel of the ship.

The look is more 21st Century Space Shuttle than futuristic science fiction.

The imaginative costumes appear to be more practical, with pockets and zippers, as opposed to the all-in-one jump suits used in previous series.

Questions

It is debatable whether it was a bold move for the Star Trek franchise to jump on the prequel bandwagon.

Certainly there are many questions to be answered about the decades that preceded the adventures of Kirk, Spock and company.

However, some fans may be disappointed by the emphasis on fast action rather than intellectual depth.

US TV critics have mainly praised the new series for breathing new life into the otherwise flagging sci-fi franchise.

USA Today's Robert Bianco says even non-Trekkies can enjoy Enterprise "as an involving space opera with a strong cast, a welcome sense of humour and a renewed sense of wonder".

Linda Stasi writes in the New York Post that Enterprise has "terrific special effects" and that the set "doesn¿t look like a cheesy Vegas lounge".

The LA Times TV writer, Howard Rosenberg, is less enthusiastic, describing the first episode as "mildly entertaining".

He criticises some of the action scenes, noting that there is a "cheesy shoot-out that earns a cease-fire well before it's finally brought to a halt".

Star Trek: Enterprise can be seen on Sky One at 2000 GMT on Monday 7 January.

See also:

07 Jan 02 | Reviews
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