Star Trek: Hidden Frontier – 101 – Enemy Unknown Part 1
Star Trek: Hidden Frontier – 101 – Enemy Unknown Part 1
Star Trek fan series have multiplied around the web like rabbits on Viagra. The pioneering series that showed fan films can have story arcs, recurring characters, and good computer graphics was Hidden Frontier. A spin-off of a private series known as Voyages of the USS Angeles, which you can only see if you know someone who worked on it or at a lucky screening, Hidden Frontier became an epic series on its own, and helped inspire many other fan productions. The production lasted seven seasons, and spawned several other Trek series and even an original science fiction series. Like all projects, there is improvement over time, one that mirrors the actual Star Trek series as well. Early episodes of The Next Generation are laughable, and Enterprise was almost unwatchable until season three. As TarsTarkas.NET will be covering the entire run of Hidden Frontier episodes, we have to start at the beginning. A beginning that will look pretty bad once we get to later productions. But a beginning never the less. There is no shame in these being not technologically sound. Judging the earlier episodes, we will keep in mind the technology of the time. The important thing is if the show is entertaining, not if the makeup is professional. That is the main criterion in which we will be making our judgments. Superb CGI effects cannot save a terrible script. But if things are fun, we have nothing to fear.
Episodes of Hidden Frontier are available online at HiddenFrontier.com. You can also see their other series and participate in their forums. All of this stuff is free, so you got to give them props for having so much free entertainment.
Things to know:
USS Excelsior – The USS Excelsior is a Galaxy-class III dreadnought that looks suspiciously like the Future Enterprise from the episode All Good Things…. It is the flagship for Captain Knapp as he spreads his anger across the Briar Patch and gets into fights with Blue Space Jawas.
Deep Space 12 – Deep Space 12 is the new starbase built to deal with the Ba’ku stuff from Star Trek: Insurrection. Captain Knapp is in charge, and we don’t see much inside the station this season.
Briar Patch – The Briar Patch is a region in Sector 441 made of supernovae remains, false vacuum fluctuations, metaphasic radiation and planets including the Ba’ku planet. It was was seen in Star Trek: Insurrection. Most of the action takes place in this area, because fans demanded more information about the Ba’ku. By fans I mean they just built off the last movie (at the time) because Voyager was too terrible to use at all.
Anything else we will cover as we go along, or you can just spend time browsing the Memory Alpha website if you aren’t a super Star Trek nerd and don’t get the in-jokes.
Let’s get boldy going! Episode 101 – Enemy Unknown Part 1
We are writing these episodes as we go, with no future knowledge of events episodes down the line. That also means we might get annoyed at something plot-wise that is explained in the very next episode. That won’t stop us from getting annoyed! We will only be going with what information is available on screen. That being said, this is the introduction episode that takes place a year prior to the setting of the rest of the season, and introduces the threat of the Grey as well as a few cast members. As an opening introduction, will it serve its purpose? Read on and find out!
It is the year 2375 – The Dominion is getting their liquid god worshiping butts kicked, and are prepping for a last stand at Cardassia because the last episode of Deep Space Nine is happening as we speak. We are now at the Battle of Lapolis. You remember that one, right? Of course you do. A big fleet of Federation/Klingon/Romulan ships heads to blast apart a bigger fleet of Dominion/Cardie ships. We focus on an Intrepid-class ship, because the camera does. Too bad it doesn’t tell us what ship it is. The Captain is a guy named Knapp, who is angry that the Dominion killed his brother! Those bastards! Two ships break off and head for the McCallistor Nebula, so Knapp and two other ships are ordered to follow. The other two ships are: USS Tian An Men (Miranda-class) and USS Rutledge (New Orleans-class). The three ships are chasing a Galor-class cruiser and one of those huge Dominion Dreadnoughts. That Dreadnought destroys the USS Tian An Men in one big blast (this Dominion ship must be named China! Just don’t let them beam underage gymnasts or toys lined with lead onto your bridge!) This makes Captain Knapp angry, and his ship also is damaged and has power loss, thus stalling out while the Dominion ship enters the nebula. So does the Galor and the Rutledge. This is the perfect segue into the opening credits, right?
Let’s get our opening credits on! The Galaxy Quest theme? What the frak? Galaxy Quest? Seriously? Okay, fine, whatever. Keep in mind the credits mention it is starring 14 people! One for each minute of this episode. Most of them won’t be around until next episode, so we will make fun of them then. We don’t even see the ship that is flying around in the credits until Episode 102, so just wait.
Credits are over, the power is back, and they charge right into the nebula. It looks like someone beat them to the punch, as they find the Dominion ship destroyed. The Galor is also destroyed, while the USS Rutledge is floating dead in space. Knapp beams over a search party. They also finally mention the name of their ship – The USS Devonshire! Thanks for letting us know.
No one is on the Rutledge – except Myra Elbrey, a Betazoid. She says the crew were taken over by new aliens and went willingly. She also says the new aliens hostile but not 100% sure of what they want. So they are indecisive aliens. Which makes them mysterious. And they like kidnapping people off of Federation ships like creepy guys like kidnapping Elizabeth Smart. But unlike Elizabeth Smart, none of these Grey-napped people will be going to parties.
Outside in the nebula, Christmas lights encroach menacingly on the Devonshire and Rutledge. It’s the aliens! I’m scared! They use psychic powers over the comm line to take over, and on the Rutledge they manage to control minds of Rodriguez and the Ops guy Brickey, who then beam away. Tellarite Dr. Henglaar and that Betazoid Elbrey remain safe. The aliens…look like…Jawas? Blue Jawas? No answer from the Devinshire, so Henglaar and Elbrey will beam over to raise shields to block the psionic control. Because that worked so well for the USS Rutledge.
Henglaar and Elbrey regain control (good job, Porkchop!), blast a Grey, and Captain Knapp then tries to get his ship away. But they Grey ship is too powerful and there are still intruders running around the ship (Also the Rutledge is blown up – That was O’Brien’s ship! He’s going to be bloody peeved!) The Devonshire is getting blasted, so Captain Knapp sets the auto-destruct and prepares to ram the Grey ship. Get your butts to escape pods! The Devonshire rams, explodes; at least one shuttle is blasted. The Grey ship is exploded, and it is TO BE CONTINUED…..
Let’s blow ourselves up!
That’s the end of that…until next time! So the point of this episode is to introduce the threat that will be menacing our crew for the next seven years, and introduce a few characters. The rest will show up later, once they get off their lazy butts.
Technical wise, the ship effects are incredible considering this is from 2000! One thing Hidden Frontier is proud of is their good ship effects. The bad things include that this was the beginnings of green screen technology, so there are green hazes around people, especially if they move fast. This can get pretty annoying. As many of the shots are done by people alone, it gives the impression of large, empty rooms. Even if someone is talking to someone else, there is only one person on-screen most of the time. I am betting they refine this a bit by season seven, but I’m stuck with season one now, so I am going to complain because I can. Poor John Whiting has to wear one of those pig noses and gloves to play a Tellarite. It looks a little ridiculous. Okay, it looks very ridiculous. It looks so bad John Whiting learned how to be a Hollywood makeup artist just so he would look less like Miss Piggy’s brother! Just wait until Season 7.
Was I entertained? I was entertained enough to seek out the rest of the show. Thus it will be here. There are two more parts of Enemy Unknown to go, including the intros of many cast members of various degrees of acting ability. Fun times will be had by all, and maybe more Smurf Jawas will attack. Because Smurf Jawas can’t be trusted!
Rated 5/10 (Runabouts, Mirandas, Dreadnoughts, Shuttlepods, Fleets!)