All good things, they say, come to an end. And by the end, Star Trek Enterprise was very, very good indeed. Just as the show was getting into its groove, it was killed off – way before its time.
The season kicks off with a two-parter that ties up the temporal cold war plot thread that began way back in the first season. It's a great WWII story that imagines an Earth in which the Nazis invaded the US. We then see the Enterprise return to Earth as heroes, after the Xindi threat has been defeated (the storyline that dominated Season 3), but thanks to the Xindi threat, there is an outbreak of xenophobia on Earth. There's a three-part story that deals with the historic Eugenics Wars and sees Brent Spiner return to Trek playing Arik Soong (an ancestor of Noonian Soong, who created the android Data from TNG), the man behind genetically enhanced humans.
Then there's a story about an insurgency seeking to destroy the human's relationship with the Vulcans; a great three-parter that sees the return of the Andorians and Commander Shran (the enigmatic Jeffrey Combs); there are some great arcs involving the Klingons (and we get a great explanation for why some Klingons have forhead ridges, and some of them don't), Romulans, Orions and Tholians. And finally we see the birth of the Federation itself.
The fact that Season Four is so good is surprising, considering that the makers of the show knew they were facing cancellation. New showrunner Manny Coto was primarily responsible for making this season so good. There are many stories that ran across two- and three-episode arcs, giving them room to breathe and grow. There were plenty of nods to classic Trek, and even one to TNG with the always-welcome return of Spiner to the Trek universe, and even a visit from Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi (Marina Sirtis) in the season (and series) finale. And the two-part standalone mirror universe story is sure to fill every Trek fan's heart with joy, seeing the Enterprise crew on the bridge of one of The Original Series ships and wearing the classic 1960s uniforms that were worn by Kirk and his crew.
It's sad to see Enterprise finally coming good and showing so much potential for what it could have been. Its cancellation was certainly premature, and a real shame, leaving TV without a Star Trek series to carry on Gene Roddenberry's vision. But as a four-season collection, with more than its fair share of decent (and even some outstanding) episodes, it's a more than worthy addition to the Star Trek canon.
EXTRAS ★★★★★ As with seasons One to Three, Season Four has a plethora of mostly excellent bonus features. It's a mixture of new and old material that consists of: deleted and extended scenes; script galleries; audio and text commentaries on several episodes; the featurette Enterprise Moments: Season Four (16:26): the featurette Archival Mission Log: Inside the Mirror Episodes (15:42); the four-part featurette Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise - Part One: New Voices (26:49), Part Two: Memorable Voyages (29:42), Part Three: Final Approach (30:05), and Part Four: End of an Era (29:14); the feature-length documentary In Conversation: Writing Star Trek Enterprise (1:29:52), which sees Consulting Producer David Goodman, Co-Producer André Bormanis, Producer Michael Sussman, Co-Producer Phyllis Strong, Co-Producers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Co-Executive Producer Chris Black, and Brannon Braga talk about their days on the show; the featurette Visual Effects Magic (13:27); the featurette Links to the Legacy (4:27) the featurette That's a Wrap! (9:01); the featurette Enterprise Goes to the Dogs (12:44); the featurette Westmore's Aliens: Creating Dr Phlox and Beyond (5:18); a gag reel (2:17) a photo gallery; and the featurette NX-01 File 10 (4:43), which looks at a fan protest in against Enterprise's cancellation.