Star Trek Continues
Fans are often a very creative and resourceful bunch. Star Trek fans especially so. At present, there’s a lack of new officially endorsed canonical content being produced. The movies set in the Kelvin Timeline are not universally embraced by all Trekkies and usually take three years to produce. The new TV show Star Trek: Discovery has been subject to several production delays and still seems a long way off. So, the fans solution in recent years, has been to make their own original content. Hence there is a wealth of unofficial, independently made shows available online, set in various incarnations of the Star Trek universe. Although many of these productions are lovingly crafted and driven by passion, often they lack the professional polish of the genuine article. Frequently their weakness lies in the quality of the acting and writing. Then there is Star Trek Continues.
I discovered Star Trek Continues by accident a year ago, when I read a promotional piece regarding the Kickstarter campaign to fund a second season. This led me to the first three episodes that had been made last year, which are currently available online. After five minutes of watching the Pilgrim of Eternity, a direct sequel to the 1966 original episode Who Mourns for Adonais, I was hooked. So I subsequently binge viewed every other piece of video available on the You Tube channel, because I was staggered that a production of this quality had escaped my notice for so long.
Star Trek Continues is a highly-polished product, boasting a convincing recreation of the sets and costumes from the original show, as well as a talented cast. This includes James Doohan's son Chris Doohan as Scotty and Grant Imahara from Mythbusters as Sulu. Central to all the proceedings is Vic Mignogna, who plays James T. Kirk. Mignogna is an extremely talented voice actor and the driving force behind this project. He credibly channels his inner Bill Shatner, without over egging his performance or lapsing into an impression. The show also features actors such as Michael Forest (as Greek god Apollo) reprising their roles from the original series. There are also appearances from the likes of Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica, ex Doctor Who Colin Baker and seventies cult actor Lou Ferrigno.
Star Trek Continues manages to not only recreate the aesthetic, style and ambience of the original Star Trek series, right the way down to the pacing, editing and soundtrack. It also successfully captures the sentiment of Gene Roddenberry's iconic show. The screenplays for each of these new episodes do seem to recreate that unique style and idiom of the original. In some respects, it's quite difficult to convey exactly what it is that they get right. Where so many other fan productions dangerous flirt with parody, Star Trek Continues seems to strike exactly the right tone. There’s humour, drama and a willingness to tackle topical social issues. Go see for yourself over on You Tube and all will become apparent.
Now in light of the recent court ruling against Axanar Productions Inc, whose fan films were deemed to be a copyright infringement, CBS and Paramount introduced very specific guidelines regarding the creation of future fan generated content. Many, including myself, thought this would curtail any future episodes of Star Trek Continues from being made. However, I was greatly surprised to see a new episode released recently. The blog on the Star Trek Continues website clarified the situation and states that the original schedule of thirteen episodes has been reduced to eleven. However, the format of the show remains the same despite the guidelines that CBS and Paramount have set for fan films. Star Trek Continues claims to have no “special” status with the copyright holders but they do seem to enjoy a cordial relationship with them. As a result, we can expect another three episodes of Star Trek Continues, which is an agreeable stopgap, until Star Trek: Discovery is released.