Star Trek: Hidden Frontier – 106 – Echoes

Star Trek: Hidden Frontier – 106 – Echoes

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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.

Episodes of Hidden Frontier are available online at You can also see their other series and participate in their forums.

Things to know:
USS Excelsior – The USS Excelsior is a Galaxy-class 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.

Captain Ian Quincy Knapp (David W. Dial) – Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry! Angry!
Commander Elizabeth Shelby (Risha Denney) – You are in Commander Shelby’s way. So step aside!
Dr. Henglaar (John Whiting) – Medical Doctor, Tellarite, and an actual interesting character. Ignore the fact he is wearing a pig nose and Muppet gloves. John Whiting will eventually get fed up with them and learn how to be a makeup supervisor just so he doesn’t have to wear a pig nose. Loves pork chops, but feels awful about it.
Counselor Myra Elbrey (Barbara Clifford) – Betazoid, used to teach at the Academy. Survivor of the Grey attack on the USS Rutledge. Has a dog named Mr. Scott. Despite her being interesting and played by a decent actress, not much is done with Elbrey in the first season.
Rayvan (Gregory Allen) – Iconian, pronounced Raven, instead of like Ray-Bands, which is what I though. But then he’d be wearing sunglasses and erasing memories. He should do that, anyway. Remember how the Iconians were extinct? Well, they aren’t. Yet.
Ensign Jenna McFarland (Adrianne Lange) – Half-Trill, Half-Human, all Navigation. Was on the USS Olympus before joining her entire graduating class on the USS Excelsior. I don’t know if she has a worm in her belly.
Cmd. Joseph Johns (Mike Johns) – Commander who does high-level stuff on Deep Space 12, I guess. I am not really sure where he is in the command hierarchy. I call him “JJ” because I am bored.
Lt. Toby Witczak (Matt Kruer) – Assistant chief engineer, was on the USS Devonshire during the Grey attack. Spends most of his time hitting on his boss Lefler and getting shot down by his boss. Stop putting it on the pedestal, dude! Go watch 40 Year Old Virgin for more tips.
Ensign Andrew Barrett (Tyler Bosserman) – Communications officer and starting second grade next week. If this kid was any younger, they’d have to install diaper changing stations on the bridge!
Lt. John Martinez (Anthony Diaz) – Chief of Security who looks like a Chief of Security. Thus he is the Chief of Security. I know he does so on the USS Excelsior, but I don’t know if he does so on Deep Space 12 as well. Doesn’t get enough character development this season.
Lt. Cmd. Robin Lefler (Joanne Busch) – Chief Engineer. She is THAT Robin Lefler, from the TV series, and Witczak would do anything to even touch her. But he never will. Take that, Witczak! Has a bunch of laws that she will recite until you pull out a gun and kill yourself. Lefler’s Law Number 244 is “Recite laws until everyone dies!”
Ensign Ro Nevin (Arthur Bosserman) – Science officer and Ro Laren’s brother. He stares at his tricorder a lot. Not given a lot to do this season, but will become a bigger player soon.
Ensign Brad T. Rawling (Tristan Clark) – I see they’re recruiting straight out of Junior High now… Communications officer who vanishes into the wind in season 2. Went to the Academy with Ro Nevin and Andrew Barrett, which is weird because one is like 5 years older than him and the other 5 years younger. Makes bad jokes.
Ensign Amanda Hanley (Betty Bainton) – Who the Devil is this? She never appears on the show, yet she gets title credit billing? What an awesome agent! Maybe she was so young she is just a fetus inside some other cast member’s uterus…

Guest Cast:

The Grey (Jason Munoz) – Evil Psychic Space Smurf Jawas. Etherials are the master race, and Jawas are used as foot soldiers. They have a Hive Mind. Remember, Hive Mind=Scary Villain. You never see a good race with a hive mind in science fiction. I call this the Killer Bees Effect.
Tzen Kethi (Barbara Clifford) – Crazy Briar Patch natives who try to resist colonialism, but once the Imperial Federation gets their claws into a territory they will never let it go. The Tzen Kethi who attempts to deal with Captain Angry is soon threatened with a quantum torpedo where the sun doesn’t shine. The Tzen Kethi are major buyers of 24th century foosball tables.
Wesley Crusher (Brendan Pentzell) – Yes, THAT Wesley Crusher. At this rate Jean-luc Picard will be in the middle of season 2 played by a African-American woman with one arm. Wesley Crusher manages to save the day and get the girl, all while being bald like his mentor captain. Looks like he might be around next season, acording to the ending information.

Two boys talk in the elevator about some conference about the Ba’ku rings. Then I realized these are actually some of the stars, Ensign Andrew Barrett and Ensign Brad T. Rawling. My mistake. I guess it is between periods and they are talking about how mean Mrs. Lawson had a pop quiz. Or complaining about special guests on the Station that are here to listen to the monthly State of the Patch Speech that Captain Knapp has to give. Ensign Brad T. Rawling makes the lamest joke I have ever heard and the aliens stare at him. They are a Cardassian, some ugly alien thing (later revealed to be the Tzen Kethi, which were mentioned in episode 104), and the female timeship captain from the same episode (except here she is a Ba’ku. I think I have broken your cover, time cop!)

Lt. Toby Witczak is still being creepy towards Lefler, time for a sexual harassment seminar. No means no, buddy!

Red Alert! I didn’t think Witczak was that creepy… Oh, wait, just a hostage situation with a Tzen Kethi ship. They have some bald dude hostage and are demanding access to the magic rings of the Ba’ku planet. Wait a minute, Lefler just called him Wes! It can’t be…. It can’t be…

Wesley Frakkin’ Crusher?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Roll Credits.

This ain’t your mama’s Wil Wheaton, because it is some other dude. Brendan Pentzell, to be exact. So Captain Angry tells the Tzen Kethi to get bent, and fires the universe’s slowest quantum torpedo at them. The Tzen Kethi surrender because they are pussies, and Captain Angry lets them sweat a bit before stopping the torpedo. Wesley is taken to sickbay, where Lefler and him catch up. You see, Wesley wasn’t happy marching around the galaxy with the Traveler, because that made Wesley no longer human. So instead, Wesley decided to live alone on some random planet until he was captured by the Tzen Kethi. (Keep in mind all of this was written years before Wil Wheaton appeared in Nemesis.) Wesley also tells us he missed human interaction the most, which just shows his plan to live on an uninhabited planet was just plain stupid. So Wesley was ruined by the TNG writers, and now the Hidden Frontier writers are making him out to be ridiculous even more? Gah! So now Wes is an emo, bald whiner. He also manages to stare at Lefler during poker, because you know something is going to happen. He’s going to go all in on that.

Red Alert! The Grey are attacking a Tzen Kethi colony. But since the Tzen Kethi are jerks and are ugly, let them get eaten, I say. Captain Angry can’t do that, because Admiral Even Angrier would yell at him. So as they are the only ship in range they have to go (Keep in mind they say this despite the USS Excelsior being docked at a space station with dozens of other ships around it.) We find out that the Fifth Fleet is coming…in 7 hours! Losers.

The Tzen Kethi colony is outside the Briar Patch, so the Grey ship will be vulnerable to fire. The USS Excelsior attacks, and manages to get their shields down enough to beam things over. What are they beaming? Well, Wesley Crusher is in this episode mainly to have them use nanites as a weapon to shut down the power on the Grey vessel. This allows beaming off of the kidnapped colonists. Wesley and Lefler are so excited they get their kiss on! Right in front of Witczak, who awkwardly acts even more awkward.

After all this sexual tension, awkwardness, and baldness, we find out the Ethereals killed themselves when their ship lost power. Then all the Grey died, as they do without psionic control. Except for that Grey the captured a few episodes ago who didn’t die like that, but don’t let the deus ex machina spoil your fun. Thus they now have a giant empty Grey spaceship to dissect and learn its secrets. All because the Ethereals were too lazy to blow up some of their weapons and destroy their ship. Remember to not be lazy, kids!

Captain Angry makes Lt. Wesley Crusher his second officer. Wait, WHAT?? Now Crusher is part of the cast? Can we get a stable cast here, please? Apparently not, as there will be even more cast changes eventually. That’s just the price you got to pay to enjoy fan series.

See you next season! And remember: Angry captains are good captains.

Lefler’s Laws:

  • 56 – A little elbow grease never hurt anyone
  • 65 – Never second guess your own work
  • 43 – Never underestimate the power of teamwork
  • 299 – Witczak will never get in these panties, which have “Reserved for The Crusher” written on them!

Rated 6/10 (Cardie, Livingston???, Tzen Man, The name is Toby!, Ambassador, Jokemaster Jones)

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One thought on “Star Trek: Hidden Frontier – 106 – Echoes

  1. Yeah, the casting turnover in an all-volunteer production can be incredible. People we thought would stay for years left after an episode. People who should have been kicked off (like that Henglaar guy) DID stay for years.

    Go figure.

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