Its a lost colony and a mystery solved…although no one was really asking the question to start with. Originally broadcast on October 24, 2001 this is Terra Nova.
Captain’s StarLog Date Undetermined
Now that they are exploring the galaxy, the Enterprise crew decides to investigate a missing colony from Humanity’s past named Terra Nova. When the get there, however, they discover that the former colonists have basically become primitives who have become exposed to massive radiation. Determined to help them, Archer and the crew soon realize that these humans have formed a new civilization that could never fit in with their Earth ancestors again. Instead, they help the Novans find a new home on the same planet that is devoid of any radioactive danger.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is basically Star Trek’s answer to the mystery of the missing Roanoke colony in North Carolina. Like the Novans, the colony of Roanoke vanished without a trace resulting in many theories as to where they went or simply what became of them. Now, imagine if we somehow discovered a group of people who descended from the Roanoke people still living in isolation, what kind of civilization would they have formed? Would they even see themselves as human or something else? Would we have the right to relocate them or should we leave them to themselves? Terra Nova asks this question and explores the ramification of a new culture that has spun out of a human colony many years prior. The problem is, the episode plays it safe and just when they solve the Novan’s delima, Enterprise leaves to go off to the next adventure. Not only that, but we never even hear about the Novans again after this because, well, they solved the mystery of what happened to them and, after relocating them, they are satisfied and move on. Heck, there isnt even a tie in to the Original Series or STNG with this one setting up some cool connection, just ‘oh that’s what happened?’ and we are done.
So, asking the question ‘Is it a good episode’, eh. it’s a Safe episode, it’s a servicable episode, but it is not memorable in the least making this a pretty forgettable entry in the franchise. You’d think the producers of Enterprise would want to leave their mark instead of just playing it safe but then again, they are in dangerous territory when it comes to canonical events, the problem is, there is a lot they could be doing but are just ignoring by giving us simple safe stories that have no bearing on the larger story in any way. Hell, this could have been a tremendous episode for Discovery to have revisited showing us what happened to the Novans and how they have adapted. Sadly, the Novans, much like those colonists of Roanoke have all but been forgotten, relegated to that of a legend. At least people still search for the Colonists of Roanoke.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Amelia Earhart is mentioned as still missing…interestingly none of them know that she was captured by Aliens and is currently in stasis half a galaxy away.
- We learn that Dr Phlox is a Denobulan.
- You may recognize the Nolan named Jamin as Erick Avari. Erick has appeared in everything from STNG, DS9 and even Star Gate. He is a scifi mainstay and sadly was was probably the best part of this episode.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Andorian Incident
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Late To The Game 5/5/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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