**** (4 stars out of 5)
Jonathan Archer (who should be thanking his lucky stars he wasn't born in the post-atomic horror like most people in the 22nd Century) is impatient to sail the skies. And why not? The skies are full of Klingons and shifty cantaloupe-faced goblins called Suliban. When multi-jointed, gene-altered alien terrorists can slide under your door, it might be time to start evolving!
Zefram Cochrane's warp engine changed everything (you guys remember ST: First Contact, right?). Earth is gradually de-crapifying in an attempt to impress the holier-than-thou next-door neighbours: those loveable nerds from Vulcan. Or, back in these days, those detestable shitheels from Vulcan. Without the Vulcanian non-interference policy, Cochrane or his protege Henry Archer might have lived to see a human starship fast enough to actually go anyplace.
Archer's son Jonathan completed the Enterprise NX-01 out of love and spite, and now he wants to rub it in the placid jerk face of every jerk Vulcan he meets. When it finally launches, even Cochrane smiles down from heaven and grumbles "That'll do, pig."
Jon gathers his crew, beginning with T'Pol, the duck-lipped science officer graciously foisted upon him by the aforementioned Vulcans. One free Science Elf with every Enterprise! Logically, she dresses like Seven of Nine and oozes disdain. Or is that supposed to be sex appeal? I find it hard to tell- T'Pol LITERALLY thinks humans are stinking up the joint! Smug, stand-offish, and incapable of enjoyment. Yeah, that gets me hot and bothered for sure.
Engineer Charles Tucker, we'll learn, has been in Starfleet for 12 years but he's only been to ONE inhabited world and apparently isn't trained in zero-G. So... Starfleet's not so much a fleet, and it doesn't really go to the stars very often, either.
Armoury officer Malcolm Reed has devoted his life to guns and ammo, so he knows all about plasma rifles in the 40-watt range, and about as much about the new phase pistol as any three year old: "It has two settings- stun and kill. It would be best not to mix them up."
Ensign Travis Mayweather was born in space and likes boobies! I'm sure in the next four years we'll learn much, much more about him! Ensign Hoshi Sato is a cunning linguist. Nuff said. Well, no, not really. She also cussed out T'Pol, so she won me over pretty fast! Archer badgered her into coming along, but she has more phobias than Reg Barclay. And she's cuter.
Speaking of cute, let's not forget quirky Dr. Phlox, the observant outsider whose catchphrase "OPTIMISM!" I've stolen for my own.
Our merry band is off to meet the Klingons, and make a marginally worse first impression than the Vulcans would have if they'd just held a cloth over Mr. Klaang's face and asked him if it smelled like chloroform. Also, they make a pit stop at the arm-pit planet Rigel X, where ladies dressed in paint eat butterflies with their Gene Simmons tongues. For Science!
And for good measure, the Suliban appear to be embroiled in something complicated and intriguing called the Temporal Cold War which means Scott Bakula gets to say "Time travel?" and remind us all to buy Quantum Leap on Blu-Ray.
"Broken Bow" (Broken Bow? Archer? How did I only just NOW notice that?) is dogged with uncertainty despite the certainty of its adorable dog (the captain's beagle Porthos). Even Paramount was no proud parent: like a bastard stepchild the program didn't even bear the family name until it was 2 years old! (The DVD's have boldly ret-conned history by inserting the 'Star Trek Enterprise' logo where stark and lonely 'Enterprise' once stood alone. But die-hards knew: it was the same old Star Trek. Tired, flawed, wonderful, old Star Trek- NOW WITH BASEBALL HATS!