Star Trek: The Animated Series: The Terratin Incident   Rewatch 
June 23, 2020 2:37 PM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

When a strange flash of light paralyzes the entire crew of the Enterprise, they begin to shrink. Kirk beams down to the nearest planet, Cepheus, and discovers a miniature race (of descendants of a lost Earth colony) desperate to leave their volcanic homeworld.

Memory Alpha has surprisingly little to say about this episode.

Background information
Story and Script
  • This episode's writer, Paul Schneider, previously wrote two Star Trek: The Original Series episodes: "Balance of Terror" and "The Squire of Gothos". According to Schneider, "The 'Terratin Incident' was based on a one-paragraph story idea that Gene Roddenberry had. I took it from there with Dorothy Fontana, the show's associate producer. I just loved the concept of doing something related to Gulliver's Travels. I enjoyed that, as well as watching the process of animation develop. Overall, I thought the episode turned out rather well." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 98)
  • One of the Terratin colonists appears to be a re-use of the animation for Carter Winston.
Poster's Log:

Another fun episode that could only have been done cleanly with animation.

Kirk's immediate willingness to abandon his mapping mission to run off an investigate the mystery of the radio signals is very on-brand.

At last, we find out how the Enterprise's doors are operated - electric eyes placed a few inches above the floor.

The "magic transporter" comes into play again, restoring the crew's molecules' normal spacing.

The Terratins' knowledge of transporters as a result of being a lost colony doesn't jibe well with ENT's view of the transporter.

Per the Official Guide to the Animated Series, the three crewmen who are given a message for Kirk from the Mendant as they are about to beam to the Enterprise with Gabler were modeled after the primary storyboard layout artists.

I mostly remember this episode from the Foster adaptation more than the original viewing. As usual, he sprinkled in a lot more details, including more about Sulu's leg injury. The novelization also had Enterprise using cargo transporters to beam up the city and a chunk of bedrock instead of the depicted use of a personnel transporter.
posted by hanov3r (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Let's get small!

sorry, little seventies humor there--"little", get it, OK, sorry.

Anyway, yeah, it's the kind of thing that, while it possibly could have been done live-action, a la The Incredible Shrinking Man, the reality of TV budgets probably would have made the cost prohibitive--as it was, TOS was one of the most expensive shows on the air at the time, which probably led to its early demise. Especially with the progressive shrinking, it was much easier to animate. (Even DS9's "One Little Ship" had them shrink to a set size, along with the runabout, which gave them one less super-sized set to build.) The ship was a pretty safe environment, but they managed to come up with a sick bay aquarium for a hazard. (Imagine if they'd been in Phlox's sick bay...)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:59 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Speaking of "One Little Ship," we were trying to determine if the TOS crew here got small enough to have trouble breathing, as Bashir established in his shrinkage episode (don't say "shrinkage").

But the point is moot, really, because both episodes are pretty absurd, and yet both of them do thankfully treat their concepts with some seriousness—arguably, this one moreso. You can even headcanon that the titular Terratin Incident inspired Starfleet to move away from all those bulky buttons and switches and develop touchscreen interfaces.

I also enjoyed that the voice acting seems to continue to improve, except of course for Majel's Ed Wood-esque "Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help!" scene. (She should've just said "Um…little help?" Y'see, because—ah, nevermind) And is it just me, or did Nichelle Nichols sound strange here? Like she was tired, or maybe baked?

(Imagine if they'd been in Phlox's sick bay...)

Yeah, I thought of Phlox too, once it was revealed that "Oh, and we've had these wacky critters in sickbay all along." That scene is even more strange if you don't have Phlox in mind as a precedent.

Memory Alpha has surprisingly little to say about this episode.

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

Per the Official Guide to the Animated Series, the three crewmen who are given a message for Kirk from the Mendant as they are about to beam to the Enterprise with Gabler were modeled after the primary storyboard layout artists.

And it was so obvious. That dude on the left could not have been more '70s.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:29 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Majel's Ed Wood-esque "Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help!" scene.

To me, that sounded like re-used audio. Not bad acting, just bad looping.

> Memory Alpha has surprisingly little to say about this episode.

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE


NGL, pretty proud of that one.

(Imagine if they'd been in Phlox's sick bay...)

I've only watched ENT through once (I'm actually in a rewatch now, but only up to "Shuttlepod One"), but I don't remember Phlox using his menagerie as canaries in the coal mine as much as they did in this episode. I was also reminded of Crusher's (pink?) moss from "Clues" that helped them figure out how much time had actually passed while "unconscious".
posted by hanov3r at 7:42 AM on June 25


To me, that sounded like re-used audio. Not bad acting, just bad looping.

Oh, definitely. I invoked the name of Ed Wood because he was guilty of just such editing choices under similar circumstances. I actually thought some of Majel's line reads in this one were her best yet in TAS.

I've only watched ENT through once (I'm actually in a rewatch now, but only up to "Shuttlepod One"), but I don't remember Phlox using his menagerie as canaries in the coal mine as much as they did in this episode. I was also reminded of Crusher's (pink?) moss from "Clues" that helped them figure out how much time had actually passed while "unconscious".

IIRC Phlox's menagerie did, once or twice, alert our heroes to some sort of trouble. But what I don't remember is whether TOS *ever* showed McCoy's sick bay to contain wacky space critters/moss.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:26 AM on June 25


There was a time in the late 1980s when Nickelodeon reran TAS and, as a kid, each time I tuned in, this was the episode that was on. That's not to say they ran it over and over again in a row, but every time I sat down to watch it whenever I came across it while flipping channels, this was the one that was on.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:07 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


That's deja view.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 12:12 PM on June 25


> Memory Alpha has surprisingly little to say about this episode.

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

NGL, pretty proud of that one.


While I have seen all the live-action Trek, there are some animated episodes that I have never seen. This is one of them.

So I’ll tell you what I know about The Terratin Incident: very little.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:54 AM on June 28


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