In 2005, the official Star Trek website offered five free audio commentary downloads meant to be paired with several episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 2’s “Judgment,” Season 3’s “Twilight” and “North Star,” and “In a Mirror, Darkly,” “In a Mirror, Darkly Part II,” and “Terra Prime” from Season 4.
The “Twilight” commentary was later released commercially as part of the 2008 Alternate Realities Fan Collective DVD set (and the Season 3 Blu-ray set released this month); the three Season 4 recordings made it to the Season 4 DVD set in 2005 and will be included on the Blu-rays coming in April.
The tracks for “Judgment” and “North Star,” however, were released after their corresponding DVD sets hit store shelves, so each commentary was intended as a companion audio track and included an opening cue intended to sync up the start of your video playback.
Additionally, a feature-length commentary for 2001’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition, featuring members of the project’s restoration team, was released to the web in 2007 for the revised version of the first Star Trek film.
These three audio tracks simply vanished into the digital ether after CBS’s 2007 corporate restructuring of StarTrek.com, which resulted in the departure of the entire site editorial team (including StarTrek.com editorial director Tim Gaskill, who served as moderator for the Enterprise podcasts).
Published online on July 26, 2005, this podcast release pairs up “Judgment” writer David A. Goodman with StarTrek.com’s then-editorial director Tim Gaskill. Since this audio track was released after the Star Trek: Enterprise Season 2 DVD set was finalized — though it was released the same day the S2 DVDs hit store shelves — the commentary includes an opening cue intended to sync up the start of your episode playback.
Goodman spends the hour providing a mountain of information about the creation of this episode, which was combined with a previously-developed ‘Archer on trial’ concept pitched by credited co-writer Taylor Elmore. He also addresses fan criticisms that the episode was a “rip-off” of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Goodman admits that the trial setting and the visit to Rura Penthe were things that the production team “really wanted to see on [the show],” but he is quick to clarify that he believes that the episode’s story is sufficiently different to avoid the copying charges.
Plenty of behind-the-scenes facts come out during this commentary, including: Archer’s trial was held on Narendra III (though the planet’s name was never mentioned on camera); Connor Trinneer was so sick during the filming of the episode that he had to be written out of several scenes; actor J.G. Hertzler enjoyed his Kolos character so much he wanted to join the NX-01’s crew; the episode’s original ending included the liberation of Archer from a prisoner transport vessel, an idea Brannon Braga found so compelling that it was excised from the story and expanded into “Canamar.”
It’s really too bad that CBS did not include this audio track with the Season 2 Blu-ray release, since there’s a lot of really interesting information that comes out in the discussion – and Scott Bakula has named “Judgment” his favorite episode of the series – but because it disappeared from the Internet years ago during the StarTrek.com corporate reshuffling, it’s likely the Blu-ray team wasn’t even aware of the commentary’s existence.
While the Enterprise Season 3 DVDs contained a “North Star” audio track by assistant producer Mike DeMeritt, this podcast commentary – also featuring David A. Goodman and Tim Gaskill – was not released until October 10, 2005, two weeks after the DVD release.
Goodman goes into a lot of detail about the creation of the episode, which began as a need for standalone episodes to fit into the larger Xindi Arc of Season 3, and went into production due to a need for already-prepared ideas to go to the scripting stage.
Other topics include reflecting on the rare opportunity to escape the Paramount soundstages for a location shoot, the desire to harken back to the “planet of the week” stories seen in the Original Series, Goodman’s reverence for old Western movies (and his in-story references to the classic Western TV series Wagon Train), and plenty of other insights into the episode’s production.
If you’ve bought the Enterprise Season 3 Blu-ray set, you can probably skip this one. Almost all of the information found here is covered in the new recording, which pairs Goodman with episode co-writer Chris Black – however, if you only have the DVD set, this commentary is definitely a must-have for your collection.
On July 12, 2007 — more than five and a half years after the remastered Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released to DVD — three lead members of the film’s renovation team sat down and recorded a feature-length commentary track for the updated version of the film.
Visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman, restoration supervisor Michael Matessino, and producer David C. Fein fill nearly two-and-a-half hours with a discussion about not only the visual effects work needed to compete the film under director Robert Wise’s supervision, but also a wide variety of topics from the revised opening credits to the Jerry Goldsmith score to the cuts and additions made to streamline the film’s presentation.
Dochterman, Matessino, and Fein offer compelling conversation for the entirety of the film.
This trio clearly has a love for this film, and spend lots of time talking about the theme of ‘human connection’ which they worked to bring out in the updated cut of the film; with Robert Wise’s approval, many subtle tech-heavy elements were removed in this version of The Motion Picture – extraneous computer voices, clunky stating-the-obvious lines of technobabble dialogue, and exchanging repetitive sensor monitor shots with previously-unused character close-ups.
Compared to the commentary presented on the 2001 DVD – which was a combined edit of separate recordings from Robert Wise, actor Stephen Collins, composer Jerry Goldsmith, and effects artists Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra – this recording is a much livelier affair, and should be considered essential listening for any fan of the Director’s Edition of this film.
Special thanks to Daniel Buckley, @doubleofive, and @bugmancx who helped us rescue these three ‘lost’ audio commentaries from digital oblivion and present them to the world once again!