Welcome to another Spotlight On Star Trek. This week I wanted to focus on something a little different, and that is a web series of fan films called Star Trek Continues.
Fan films are pretty spotty for me. Most are just attempts to create fanboy stories, hitting the big beats and integrating lines from the movies that are well remembered. They usually don’t understand that these moments and lines are cool because they are earned within the story. Hell, the creators don’t know until after the dust settled whether any of it would be well received, let alone that they were creating iconography.
So fan films try to use that iconography because it’s cool, and not in service to a story. That’s where I found Star Trek Continues to be different. A group of people trying to create actual Star Trek stories and not fan wank. For the most part, they succeeded.
This set of about a dozen episodes focuses on continuing Kirk’s five-year mission. And boy it’s as accurate as humanly possible. The sets are perfect replicas and they liberally make use of the music from the 60s. Costumes, special effects, props… it’s all perfect.
But then technical aspects these days are really not much of an impediment. It’s the stories and the acting that needs to carry it. Leading the way is Vin Mignogna as Kirk. While he doesn’t exactly sound like Kirk, there are times when he stands at certain angles that he’s a dead ringer for Shatner of that era. Other times not so much. But the real treat is how he manages to be Kirk without being Shatner.
The rest of the cast is serviceable with Spock and McCoy actors Todd Haberkorn and Chuck Huber filling in the roles quite competently but are obviously not going to exceed Nimoy and Kelly. The rest do fine with the pleasant surprise being Christopher Doohan as Scotty. Yes, that’s right, James Doohan’s son. He does a fine job carrying on his dad’s legacy. (Way better than Simon Pegg.)
Finally, there is an addition to the crew in the form of a ship’s counselor, Elise McKennah. She is a breakout character for me, given that it could’ve been more Next Generation fan wanking. But no, it’s done as an interesting beginning for the idea of ship counselors becoming normal on starships. Needless to say, there is some resistance from the crew but they come around.
It’s really the stories that work for me. This is a true season 4 of the original series. Rod Roddenberry said that if his dad could’ve seen these episodes, he’d consider them canon and I can buy that. If you really want to see the difference in storytelling quality, try Star Trek New Voyages. They are sincere but not good, bordering occasionally on cringe.
Episodes include Lolani, an attempt to make the Orion slave girls more than hot, green, eye candy; Pilgrim of Eternity, a return of Apollo from the original series episode Who Mourns For Adonais?; and even an attempt to explain why women of that era were not allowed to be ship captains. It’s not a bad attempt.
There’s a nice episode that Star Trek specialized in with scary aliens turning out to not be so scary, and finally, a nice wrap-up that leads nicely into The Motion Picture.
If you are looking for a little more quality Star Trek to dive into, I’d give these 11 episodes a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
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