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TrekToday - Extensive 'Enterprise' Pilot Script Review

Extensive 'Enterprise' Pilot Script Review

By Christian
April 21, 2001 - 12:35 PM

Ever since it became known that the next Star Trek show would be set before the Original Series, the concept has been the subject of heated debates among Star Trek fans. The scope of those debates was often limited, as little information was known about how the series would actually turn out. Now, however, we are able to present you with the first review of the entire Enterprise pilot script.

The review was sent in to us by one of our sources, and is based on one of the final drafts of the script. The review is split up in two parts - one providing plot information (including spoilers) on the opening episode, and one providing a commentary on it. Click here to jump directly to the commentary, if you would like to avoid spoilers.

Plot Information

A few weeks ago, I was able to read the pilot script for Star Trek: Enterprise (although the series will probably just be called Enterprise). The basic version of the pilot script was locked down quite a while before the casting calls went out, so all the information in the casting sheet matches perfectly with what I read - there is not a single difference with the script.

The series is set before the founding of the Federation, as previously reported. If the producers keep to the canon founding date of 2161, the pilot will be set five to ten years prior to this. Of course, this opens up some great possibilities for the eventual series finale. Additionally, this removes the continuity problems associated with Spock being the first Vulcan and Kirk's Enterprise being the first ship with that name in Starfleet. For in 'Enterprise,' Starfleet doesn't even exist yet.

Looking at the pilot script, character development and relationships seem to be at the forefront of Enterprise. One of the things I liked most about the script is the sense of humor that is reminiscent of TOS. Friends and adversaries spar with each other - remember the Spock-Bones relationship? The series certainly has a lot more character drama than what we've seen on Trek in recent years.

At the time the pilot is set, Vulcans and humans are in a bit of a strained relationship, best likened to a parental relationship, with the Vulcans holding back the humans for fear they are not ready. The Vulcans, ever logical, don't think humans are ready to make the jump into space yet, despite the fact that they're raring to go. The T'Pau character is assigned to the Enterprise as a supervisor, in order to give the Vulcans some control over the proceedings.

The premiere starts off with the Enterprise at Spacedock, preparing to go out into space. While this is happening, a Klingon crash-lands on Earth, after being chased by two members of the Suliban, a new alien race to be featured in the series. This certainly provides a new dimension to McCoy's comment in 'Day of the Dove' that Klingon first contact was a "disastrous event."

The Klingon is critically injured by a human soon after the crash. He survives only because of his secondary organs and the life support systems - but his life hangs by a thread. Another conflict erupts between the humans and the Vulcans, as the humans insist on returning the Klingon to his homeworld. The Vulcans, on the other hand, are afraid that the Klingon government would view this as a disgrace, getting the relation off on a very bad foot.

However, the humans triumph in the end, and the Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jackson Archer, makes its way to Qo'noS, in order to return the injured Klingon. Hence, it's possible to see how the poor relationship between the Klingons and the Federation in Kirk's time was begun by this small diplomatic incident.

The Suliban, the new species featured in the series, are fresh and original. They can change their skeletal structure, and this is showcased in the pilot, though I'll leave the exact details a surprise. One of the Suliban, a character known as Silik, will recur throughout the series, according the casting sheet. Overall, they're pretty cool!

The Enterprise itself is fascinating. Its maximum speed is warp four, and it gets beaten around a fair bit - a far cry from the later starships in TOS and TNG. Artificial gravity on the ship is generated by a gravity well, which is also the one place on the ship without any gravity. If you're looking for Okudagrams or LCARS interfaces, you'll be disappointed, for the Enterprise is all switches and buttons!

A lot of the familiar technology we see in the later Trek series won't be around. However, we'll get to see the origins of some of those elements that we know and love so well. For instance, the phase pistol, an early ancestor of the phaser, puts in an appearance. Of course, there are no tractor beams, so the ship uses a sort of grappling hook. You'll be pleased to hear that transporters do exist in this time, as do the flip-open communicators, so familiar to fans of the original series.

There's no universal translator, though. We do have an early translation device that allows the humans and Vulcans to communicate but this doesn't help with the injured Klingon - because this primitive translator must be programmed with a specific language before it can function. Enter Hoshi Sato, who, with her exo-linguistic skills, is able to communicate with the Klingon.

Commentary

There are a few things I'd like to clear up. This show will not look like TOS did - this is a futuristic series with state of the art special effects, just like those we saw in DS9 and Voyager. The series will feature more primitive technology, but that does not mean production values will be compromised. Of course, it'll still be miles ahead of what we have today.

I am convinced that Enterprise could have a crack at being the best Star Trek series to date. It'll be like a second Renaissance for humanity - the chance to go out and really seek out strange new life and civilisations, something that the more recent series have lacked. These characters will be facing a real New Frontier. Also, the ship will be in the Solar System quite a bit due to speed limitations, so we'll get a first hand glimpse at how this technological revolution affects humanity, and our reactions on meeting all these new races.

We must be realists here - there just isn't much to explore in the 24th century universe anymore. With Voyager's premise, there wasn't really enough time to get to know any of the races - just look at what passed for an enemy with the Kazon. And let's face it - the Borg just don't pack the punch that they used to.

I'm positive about this prequel premise because we'll escape from the hole that Trek's been written into in the last 10 years - there's no more story material in the future. In Enterprise we'll be exploring a region of space we know next to nothing about - our own backyard. The new series will be able to showcase minor races that we've always seen in the Trek saga, yet whom we know very little about. Enterprise will be history in the making!

Gene Roddenberry's philosophy has always centred around the question of what it means to be human, and by returning to Trek's roots, that question will once again be at the forefront. There's no better way to explore humanity than to visit mankind at a time when we were just beginning to stretch our limbs and reach out into the galaxy. This fresh premise will bring the new perspective on Trek that it needs so badly, with new story-telling possibilities and long running arcs.

Looking back at the pilots for the three newest Trek series, Enterprise raises the standard considerably, even though it's still only in script form. There were a few continuity errors in the draft that I saw, though they should all be corrected by now. Even so, there's a lot of background to Trek, so they can be forgiven for a few minor mistakes. Everything about this show is fantastic - the setting, plot, characters are all sensational. Of course, it remains to be seen how the script will be realised on film - but given Trek's usually excellent track record with production design and directing, that shouldn't be a problem, and the acting can hardly be worse than on Voyager. For now, this script gets a 9/10, with just one point off for the few timeline problems.

So what can we expect when all these pieces come together? Watch this Fall to find out!


Major thanks go out to our source for sending the above plot info and commentary in! Please note that the opinions expressed in the above commentary are not necessarily be the opinion of TrekToday. Also, as usual, please do keep in mind that Paramount hasn't officially announced the next series yet, and until that happens any Series V news from unofficial sources should be treated as you would any rumour.

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