Soaring to Cosmic Glory with Enterprise

Enterprise is Paramount’s attempt to revitalize the Star Trek franchise by returning to the adventurous, thrill-seeking, curious days of the Federation’s youth.

The series, which follows the crew of the original starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage, has been largely successful. The technobabble of Voyager has been exorcised, and – on average – the stories have been stronger than Trek’s seen in years.

The soundtrack for the series’ opening episode, “Broken Bow”, attempts to capture the senses of awe, excitement, and wonder associated with Enterprise’s great adventure, and for the most part, it works. Or at least, the instrumentals work.

The series notorious theme – “Faith of the Heart” – is featured in not one, but two tracks on the soundtrack. It’s two more than it deserves. While I understand the feelings the creators were trying to evoke with this folksy, heart-string grabbing song, it failed. The best of the Star Trek themes – those for the original series, the first six movies, and the Next Generation – were instrumentals that heated your blood They were the sort of themes I’d find myself humming for no reason in the middle of the day, giving rise to an instant smile at all the remembered adventures of the Enterprise and her crews. Deep Space Nine and Voyager’s soundtracks, while instrumentals, never managed to capture that feeling. And neither does “Faith of the Heart”, which – while it accompanies the properly inspiring visuals – is far too mellow, and well, too corny, to thrill.

That said, the soundtrack does redeem itself with the instrumental tracks, especially the final one “Archer’s Theme”, which is the track they should have used to open the show. It’s everything that “Faith of the Heart” isn’t – a track that says “this is adventure!” I’d love to see it replace the original theme, but I doubt we’re that lucky.

All of the CD’s 13 instrumental tracks on the have that distinctive Star Trek distinctive sound. The first track, “New Enterprise” is nice and homey, evoking memories of amber fields of grain, glowing white starships, and the glory of days to come. “Enterprise First Flight” picks up the theme with slowly triumphant horns that sent chills through me. It’s the perfect track to launch a starship by.

“Phaser Fight” is more traditional Star Trek fair, with a heavy, militant drum beat underscoring horns. It’s reminiscent of the Star Trek feature films, especially Star Trek IV.

From a gaming standpoint, the soundtrack’s obviously perfect for Star Trek games, regardless of what time frame you’re playing in. That aforementioned distinctive Star Trek sound makes using the CD for other sci-fi games difficult – listening to Trek tracks while fighting off the Imperials during a Star Wars adventure must be some sort of heresy and doing the same while playing Fading Suns would be just plain wrong. It does provide a nice backdrop for other activities though – say like playing a game of Risk 2210 or miniature painting.

From a non-gaming standpoint, fans of the series – and Trek in general – will enjoy this soundtrack and should consider picking it up. For those don’t like Trek, well, why the heck are you reading this review?

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