Monday, June 23, 2014

Star Trek Continues (Mignogna, 2013)

If you are like me, Star Trek (TOS) is Star Trek. Sure, I like Enterprise, and oddly Voyager is where I cut my teeth; I tolerate The Next Generation... I won't bring up Deep Space 9, as I know many of you love it (I call it "Space Mall"). The rebooted Star Trek in films have given me a lot of joy and increased my appreciation for Doctor McCoy and Mister Scott, but there is something missing...

The came Star Trek Continues.

I wish I had heard of this earlier. Star Trek Continues is a fan made, fan funded continuation of the original series. It is produced, directed, written and edited by voice actor Vic Mignogna (Full Metal Alchemist). Mignogna also stars as Captain James T. Kirk. The rest of the cast plays familiar characters, notably with Grant Imahara (Myth Busters) as Sulu, Christopher Doohan (son of James Doohan) as Scotty, and voice actor Todd Haberkorn (Bleach) as Spock. A new character, Dr. Elise McKennah, played by Michelle Specht, is the first Star Fleet councilor. They also introduce the holodeck, bridging the TOS and TNG timelines. There are currently three episodes, which are freely available on YouTube.

I will admit, I had mixed feelings about the first episode. Bones is my favorite character, and I feared he was being replaced by McKennah in the classic TOS triad. Episode one, "Pilgrim of Eternity", is a follow up to "Who Mourns for Adonais", which was always my least favorite episode of the original series, however they did get original Apollo actor Michael Forest to reprise his role. Enough of the bad, though. This show looks and feels so much like the original, it is impossible for me to dislike. It even has the familiar commercial break transitions those of us used to seeing TOS these days know, and it helps maintain the classic story format of teaser/acts/epilogue. Once you get over the unavoidable fact that you are not watching the original cast, it is easy to slip into it like it is the original.

Episode two, "Lolani", is superior. It is in many ways a reimagining of "Space Seed", where the Enterprise encounters a distressed Orion Slave Girl, and ultimately her Slave Master, played by Lou Ferrigno (who does a fantastic job). If you are a Lou Ferrigno fan, you know that he has not always gotten the best vehicles to show off acting talent, but in "Lolani" he gets to recreate the role of Khan, charming the captain and crew for a while, then showing what a monster he really is behind closed doors. The episode is much darker than TOS could have been, hinting at (without showing explicitly) the assault Lolani endures from the men who purchase her. This clearly could not have been broadcast during the Shatner days, but like the original it tackles issues that are outside the normal for a action/adventure television show.

Episode three, "Fairest of Them All" is the follow up to fan favorite "Mirror Mirror", showing what happens after our Kirk and company return to our universe and the mirror versions return to theirs. It is the power struggle between Kirk and Spock, and includes Enterprise alum Kipleigh Brown ("The Forgotten") as our pilot, allowing Sulu to continue his part in the plotting. While "Lolani" is still my favorite episode, I think this one is where I stopped noticing that this was not the Shatner cast. Maybe the mirror universe costumes were part of that, but I also think the continuity of style and production really gels here.

If you love Star Trek, give STC a chance, because clearly they love Star Trek too. According to their Kickstarter, they have raised funds to produce five episodes, and I assume they will start a campaign to raise more in time. This is well worth your effort, and given an open mind I think you'll fall in love with it as well.

Your captain and crew.
Michelle Specht as Dr, McKennah
Fiona Vroom as Lolani and Lou Ferrigno as Zaminhon


david_b said...


Seriously, it is the BEST Trek fan production ever, and it's got such a growing fanbase in and of itself.

Raise your glasses everyone..,

'All... HAIL... 'Continues'..!!'

Darius Whiteplume said...

I was convinced they had access to the original sets when I started watching it. Have not seen any behind the scenes to confirm or deny. Beautifully done.

I really like Chris Doohan as Scotty. Seems to be bringing the best aspects of the character, and isn't just doing a bad impression of his dad. The dinner scene in Lolani was the Scotty I always loved. Some TOS episodes ignored his feistiness.

david_b said...

More Michelle Specht please..!!!!

Keir said...

Fascinating! I've never heard of this!

Darius Whiteplume said...

@david_b - agreed!

@Keir - glad I could introduce you. It really has grown on me. Looking forward to more from them.

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