I thought "Broken Bow" was an entertaining action adventure opening for the series.
The promotion over the summer of '01 definitely whetted my appetite with all those cool promos. It felt like Trek might actually be hip. I also thought the show would be a step up from VOY as well as a series that could get back to the straight out adventure of TOS/TNG. Plus I figured that B&B wrote off VOY as a lost cause, handed over the reigns to Biller and poured all their creative energy for the last two years before its premiere into ENT in order to make it the best show possible.
Given the budget and advances in CGI this pilot was probably the closest to the look and feel of a feature with all of the on location shoots that took us from the cornfields of Oklahoma to an alien bazaar to the inside of a gas giant to the council chambers of Kronos. The production was top notch--the make up on both the old(Klingons) and new have never looked better. I loved the crimson suits the Suliban wore and the mottled make up design was one of my favorites.
The pilot also did an exceptionally good job at effectively evoking an attitude and atmosphere that really made one feel that they were in the 22nd century. The way the crew looked at the transporter with trepidation, their reactions to encountering new species, their ignorance of Klingons, the use of shuttlepods over transporters, the lack of a reliable UT resulting in the need of an actual linguist. The new jumpsuits the crew were sporting was a nice update on a contemporary NASA jumpsuit with appreciated Trek influenced flourishes like the pips and colored piping denoting the departments.
B&B also did a good job orienting us to this new era by efficiently and entertainingly introducing us to the players and letting us in on how the various dynamics had changed from what we had grown accustomed to in the 24th century with TNG/DS9/VOY. It really felt like we had taken a leap back through time and one of the things ENT did do right was capture the newness to the crew. This really did feel like a new frontier with an expansive unknown frontier.
I also liked the idea of giving us both familiar faces like the Klingons to new threats with the Suliban. Here the Temporal Cold War was intriguingly introduced that hinted at eerie meddling from unknown future forces. In hindsight, it also was one of the earliest forays into what shows like LOST, nBSG, Heroes would come to do as a matter of standard operating procedure--introducing dozens of unanswered questions leaving you whimpering in confusion as to who the players are, how they are connected and what their various agendas were.
The pilot was pretty simple and basic in its approach but I appreciated that since this series was all about getting back to basics. The action pieces--the firefight on the landing pad on Rigel, the boarding of NX by the Suliban, the showdown in the temporal chamber-- were exciting. The chemistry between the cast especially between the Big Three was there. The mystery of what was going on was interesting and attention-getting. I give it 3 stars out of 4.