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Star Trek Ent - Season 1 - Episode 06

Star Trek Ent - 1x06 - Terra Nova

Originally Aired: 2001-10-24

Synopsis:
Archer and the Enterprise crew set out to learn what happened to the lost human colony of Terra Nova, and discover a tribe of human-hating cave dwellers. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.43

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Problems
- Archer tells us that at one time, all of Earth's colonies were within Earth's Solar System. Then an M class planet is discovered a mere 20 light years away and is selected for the first extrasolar colony. This planet was named Terra Nova and was colonized in 2078. This, however, contradicts what Harry Kim said in Voy: The 37s regarding early Earth colonies. Kim claimed that Mars was not colonized until 2103. It's very hard to rationalize this, because Archer specifically said Utopia Planitia had been built before Terra Nova was colonized in 2078. Maybe Utopia Planitia was built before the bulk of the actual Mars colony?
- Additionally, Alpha Centauri is closer than Terra Nova. Why wasn't it selected as Earth's first extrasolar colony? It was certainly colonized at some point, because Zefram Cochrane moved there some time during his lifetime...

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Archer showing Nadet who she is with old photographs.
- Archer and T'Pol arguing about what to do about the colonists.
- The shuttlepod sinking into the ground on Terra Nova.

My Review
A real mixed bag. It was a good idea to show details regarding Earth's early extrasolar colonies, but they couldn't have done it in a worse way. This whole episode is more or less a rehash of Voy: Friendship One. And indeed smaller plot elements in this episode resemble numerous other episodes. Suffice it to say, this plot is hardly original. But at least it's appropriate. Unfortunately, the already weak plot strains the hell out of credibility. For one, there's the Alpha Centauri technical problem, which is documented in the problems section. Suffice it to say, Alpha Centauri would have made much more sense as a setting for Earth's first extrasolar colony. Then there's the timing. Also documented in the problems section, this episode contradicts Voy: The 37s regarding when Mars was colonized. All of the technical problems could have easily been avoided by simply not making Terra Nova Earth's first extrasolar colony and giving specific dates, but by making it one of many of Earth's first extrasolar colonies. In this respect, the plot could be viewed exactly the same way as intended, except in a more credible manner. There were a few details to redeem the episode, though. One thing I liked was that the Novans had a unique vocabulary, using strange terms much like the Vori from Voy: Nemesis. I was also quite fond of how patient Archer and his crew were with the rather uninformed Novans. I also liked T'Pol's objective opinion once again. Unfortunately, these details do little to enhance this rather ill conceived episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Rob on 2008-04-28 at 11:33pm:
    I received a very strong impression in Voyager's last two or even three seasons and all during Enterprise that the "creative geniuses" in charge of the shows really didn't give a shit about Star Trek's "history". Now, granted, you shouldn't have to be a "Trek Nerd" with all the minutiae to write or produce the show, but its like these guys didn't even try! An attitude that seems unforgivably arrogant considering how passionate the fans are about this "property". I guess Mutant Enemy (of Buffy and Angel) are just plain more fan friendly than Paramount would ever be.

    At least not until the last season when it was too little, too late to save the show's ratings.
  • From Strider on 2012-10-05 at 11:44pm:
    I think I disagree. I think you SHOULD have to know Star Trek history to be able to write it. It matters a great deal to some of us whether these details are consistent from series to series.
  • From OmicronThetaDeltaPhi on 2015-02-01 at 3:52pm:
    I actually liked this episode. Maybe that's because I don't agree that the so-called "problems" are indeed problems.

    Regarding the Alpha Centauri dilemma: Maybe Alpha Centauri doesn't have any earthlike planets. It may very well be that Terra Nova is the only unoccupied Class M planet within 20 light years from earth. And if that's the case, then embarking on a 9-year voyage to an earthlike planet, where you can simply build huts in the open air and drink natural water, makes much more sense than embarking on a shorter voyage (which would still take years) to a barren world with an unbreathable atmosphere.

    Harry Kim's Mars quote isn't necessarily a problem either, because there are many ways to understand the word "colonization". Utopia Planitia could have been a preliminary research station (which makes sense given that it will be used to build ships in the future). while the 2103 date may refer to the creation of the first true colony (or some other relevant colonization milestone)

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