Following our ranking pieces on both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, we cast our minds back to the last TV series before the advent of the recent Star Trek: Discovery – prequel show Star Trek: Enterprise, which went back to the very beginning and charted the early days of Starfleet, the first Enterprise starship, and the road toward founding the United Federation of Planets.
Here’s a (subjective) ranking of five of the best Enterprise episodes, part of a series which still divides opinion to this day…
Broken Bow (S1, E1/E2)
Oddly enough, Star Trek pilots historically have paled in comparison to the series that followed – you’re not likely to find ‘Encounter at Farpoint’ or ‘Caretaker’ on any top five lists. ‘Broken Bow’ bucks that trend and remains, even with Discovery now out there, the strongest Trek pilot (with DS9‘s ‘Emissary’ trailing a little behind). Over two episodes, the framework for certainly the first two seasons of Enterprise is really well established, introducing all the key players and getting the NX-01 on its mission of exploration via a strong, interesting story.
One of the reasons ‘Broken Bow’ works is because it feels a little like Trek ‘greatest hits’ – we have Starfleet Admirals, officious Vulcans, gruff Klingons, space battles, planetary gunfights, even a cameo from James Cromwell reprising his role as Zefram Cochrane from Star Trek: First Contact. There is also a level of familiarity which in the end causes the show problems but here, as a mission statement, is very well packaged together. Had the series weekly been at this quality level, it could have lasted much longer.