I think I’ve found Trekkie Heaven…
(NOTE: Before I go on, I must mention that there have been other original Star Trek Web-Series, the most popular among them is Star Trek New Voyages Phase II which also looks quite wonderful, but I haven’t seen it yet so I’ll just review this for now).
At the urging of a particular Scrapper here, (Hi Laughing Man) I finally got around to watching fan-created series Star Trek Continues. At first I was skeptical, but it turns out to be a fun and totally loving effort by actor/ creator/producer Vic Mignogna that answers the question “How would it be if we got those last two seasons we hoped for?” So far, Star Trek Continues delivers.
Watching this, I really felt transported back to 1969, as the entire look of the show is a meticulous, delicious, and unapologetic recreation of the beloved original series. Everything from the sets, lighting, costumes, simple effects and music speak volumes of the love its creators have for the original series, who leave no phaser or pointed ear unturned. (McCoy even wears a pinkie ring!) It’s as if the original sets were never dismantled and the show never canceled (Let’s hope it never enters the awful, bland, 70’s polyester phase!) I am especially impressed with the pastel lighting that was an earmark of TOS. There are no irritating light flares here, just the soft, inviting glow that gave the original its coziness.
So far there have been three vignettes and two full episodes of Star Trek Continues. The first vignette form is an extended ending to Turnabout Intruder , which nicely flirts with the viewers as it set them up for the continuing voyages of the of the Enterprise. The other two vignettes are You’ve got the Conn, and Happy Birthday Scotty, which both give the secondary characters a little more (and much deserved) air time. Here’s the three vignettes:
But on to the meat and potatoes of full episodes. Pilgrim of Eternity brings back Apollo from Who Mourns for Adonais? Two years after the Pollux IV adventure, Apollo is rescued by The Enterprise and has shockingly ‘aged’ a good 40 years! Fortunately Michael Forest, the original Apollo, is back and what a pleasure to see him as a sadder and wiser god. He renews his character as both sympathetic and scary, and it’s a welcome return. I admit, (spoiler!) I was a little disappointed to hear of Carolyn Palamas’ fate, but I suppose Leslie Parrish wasn’t available! Be sure to watch for an epilogue after the credits.
The second episode, Lolani is a tale of slavery and murder in the eyes of a captured Orion. The whole essence of this episodes fits nicely into the Trek mode of morality tales disguised as science fiction, and its attitude toward the rights of women approaches a level of compassion that was only touched on in the original series. Very well written and thoughtful. (I got a little verklempt!)
Indeed, women are coming forward in this version more than they ever had in the original series. There is a new character here to equal out the estrogen; Dr. Elise McKenna (Michele Specht), who is apparently the first counselor aboard the Enterprise. This new-found feminism doesn’t mean that Kirk has lost his swagger or magnetism; there is obvious sexual tension between Kirk and Dr. McKenna, but he’s appreciative of her work and intelligence. I truly hope that we will also see Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand in future episodes, maybe a few of the other female crew that were sprinkled among the original series, like Dr. Ann Mulhall and Lt. Charlene Masters.
Along with Michael Forest reprising Apollo, Continues has achieved some clever stunt casting of several other familiar actors in the sci-fi universe. Erin Gray (of Buck Rogers) as an Admiral and an appropriately green-skinned Lou Ferrigno of The Incredible Hulk fame as Orion slave trader!
The main cast could melt a Klingon heart. Dashing Vic Mignogna embodies Captain Kirk with his own impressions as well as dead-on Shatner-isms. (Without too much ham), Todd Haberkorn inhabits Spock with cool detachment but a curious soul, with an inkling of humanity just under the surface. Dr. McCoy is played by two actors; Chuck Huber in the three shorts and Larry Nemecek in the first two webisodes. (Huber will return with the third episode that will be out soon). Huber’s character should be called Dr. Dishy! (*sigh*) and Nemecek has mastered McCoy’s upside-down smile. Both have captured McCoy’s grump without dismissing his southern charm. It’s a special joy to see how Christopher Doohan, son of James, beautifully fills his Dad’s boots with all the pride of the original. Wyatt Lenhart gives Mr. Chekov his boyish Russian charm. Kim Stinger imbues Uhura with compassion as well as a great kick-ass attitude. Finally as I was watching the first episode, I kept thinking “Why is Mr. Sulu so familiar? Turns out Sulu is played by Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame! Is this Geek heaven or what?! Maybe Sulu should blow something up… All in all, a nice cast. Still in the bud of their characterizations, but I’m sure they’ll gel quite nicely. They already carry the hearts of the characters in their portrayals. I wish them well.
The J.J. Abrams Trek franchise could learn a bit from this fan series, especially in terms of plot. Star Trek Continues understands that it’s not about the action or special effects, but about the dilemmas of the human condition. And it’s nice to see familiar characters in their off times (as in the short You Have the Conn).
My only petty complaints are cosmetic ones;
- Dr. McKenna’s hair! It’s lovely, (She’s definitely the Joan Holloway of this reboot), but distracts from the character. Her lush red waves tumble down over her front but it just seems a bit too long and/or loose for practical duty. I bet she could have a fantastic up-do like Marla McGivers, or even just in a ponytail.
- Spock’s shirt needs a little taking in!
All in all, I am completely enjoying this fan reboot. This old Trekkie feels right at home here; I want to walk on this set, I want to sit in the captain’s chair,I want to hug Spock! Heck, if they want an eager extra, I’d be on the first plane! (I already have the uniform, and I can also be T’Pau if they need her). 😉 Be sure to check this out. The next new episode, Fairest of them All, will premiere on this Sunday June 15, and will feature a return to the mirror universe (YES!) I look forward to new adventures. Congratulations and good luck to Mignogna and Company for making my TOS dreams come true!
You can find all you need to know about Star Trek Continues here:
Stay Tuned! (Squeals with excitement)
23 thoughts on “‘Star Trek Continues’ – Boldly Going Into TOS Trekkie Fantasies”
Ok. I read your review. I followed the link. I swallowed hard on my prejudice, and clicked to watch You’ve Got The Conn.
It was delightful. Within minutes I realised that I was watching with a stupid grin on my face. This was TOS love. And you can never have too much of that.
I will venture on to some more when I summon up the nerve.
They’re all really fun to watch, and seeing Michael Forest back as Apollo put a little lump in my throat. He’s such a fine actor. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy these! I really can’t wait to see episode three!
I’m glad to hear your take on things. I was feeling some trepidation about watching these — see my reply to Therese, below — but if you and Therese BOTH like them, those are pretty good odds. Even Spock would estimate a high probability of success. 🙂
Awesome sauce! Glad you enjoyed it, Therese! You make a great T’Pau!
I don’t like McKenna…right now, she’s taking away from the Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic. And she doesn’t have much respect for the chain of command. She talks to Kirk as if they were married! (Which the actors are…)
Not crazy about Uhura. This lady doesn’t portray her military bearing or strength to my liking.
But otherwise – yummy!
Heck, if they let me be an extra, it would be a dream come true! I like Uhura! And remember, the cast is still evolving. McKenna is a tad brassy, but I think they’ll all mellow more when they settle into their characters. I think they’re playing up the love/hate between Kirk and McKenna to give it sexual tension. Glad you liked my review, and glad I finally got a chance to see it. I’m hooked.
I’ll be seeing it with my dad – it’ll be available Sunday after noon.
McKenna is a strong feel in the 60s sense, the Elizabeth Dehner sense, “Women professionals do tend to overcompensate.” I love Mad Men, but I want Star Trek. Nichelle’s Uhura never overcompensated and she had real strength.
I’ve been kind of afraid to watch these, especially since their Spock looked like Stonn to me. 🙂 But if YOU like them so much, I guess I’ll muster up my courage and give them a shot. I gave Mr. Abrams two chances, after all, and HE doesn’t even love Star Trek.
Corylea, I so understand. I’ve managed two vignettes so far. I’m still a bit scared to try a full episode. Obviously, Spock will never be up to scratch and we have to accept that. I think what gets me is the costumes, sets and music, which are 100% authentic and give one the feel of true Trek. Speaking as one who never bothers with any of the spinoffs, and who was nearly physically sick with nerves before seeing the 2009 reboot, I would never have tried it without Therese’s glowing recommendations. I would also understand if you couldn’t bring yourself to try!
Cory, WInston – believe me, they’re enjoyable because they’re made with love! And they really feel like episodes that Roddenberry would be proud of! Go for it!
Given that Roddenberry made “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” — which I found problematic for a number of reasons — I actually would prefer an episode that Bob Justman, Dorothy Fontana, Gene Coon, and Leonard Nimoy would be proud of. But I guess that’s nit-picking. 🙂 I’ll give it a try … someday soon.
I was mostly referring to the original series — but yeah, I’d love to see a …Continues story by D.C. Fontana!
I’ve watched the Mirror Mirror one, and it was really good. I’ll start the Adonis one soon. I too wished that DC Fontana would write an episode for them. I saw on YouTube an interview with some of them, and it was lovely. So respectful and loving towards TOS.
Just watched the Apollo one, and had a little thought: Kirk is bursting with charisma, and I can’t take my eyes off him. Spock, in my opinion, has the charisma of a duster, though his acting is perfectly fine. It just occurred to me that this is what Roddenberry, and Shatner, would originally have intended – a Kirk-centric world with Spock as the novel and virtually token alien. Instead, Nimoy surprised everyone and probably himself by taking over the show. It’s possible that, ironically, this is what TOS actually should have been!
Spock is a bit more in ep 2, and much more in ep 3. Too early to tell if they’ll be able to realize the trio, but I hope for it and don’t have reason to disbelieve it. I agree that it would be nice to have Nimoy again, but we can’t …
I’ll be watching ep. 3 shortly, looking forward to it! I do think this one will be more Kirk-centric — but who knows! And yeah, it’s defiinitely Vic’s show, and he’s charming, but I do like seeing the secondary characters emphasized, and I suspect we will see more of McCoy, Uhura, and the others. Hope we see Chapel too. And I like Todd as Spock too, but like I said, they’re all still developing.
Be sure to watch this week’s “Wideo Wednesday” on July 2nd. It’s a treat!
I did it all wrong and watched the Mirrior Mirror one first, so my opinion stands! I think they’re all good, I just think Kirk is outstanding and, as I said, what Kirk should be. In the interview with him he launched into the full Shatner thing and then turned to the camera and said, “I’m not going to do that!” I admire the way he restrains the ham! I think Scotty is wonderful.
Scotty is wonderful! Especially since he’s James’ son! I’m sure you’ll like the other ones too!
I’ve finally watched Star Trek Continues! I’ve seen the first and third episodes and am looking forward to watching #2 tonight. I’m really impressed! I laughed out loud several times — not in derision, but in recognition. Yes, THAT detail was so TOSian. And THAT one! And oooh, look what they did there.
I enjoyed #3 (“Fairest of Them All”) more than a few of the real TOS episodes (*cough* “And the Children Shall Lead” *cough*), and since I’ve madly adored TOS since I was eleven years old, that’s saying something.
The first episode was so Kirk-centric that Spock seemed to be about like Sulu in level of importance, and since the guy who plays Kirk writes most of the episodes and is charge of the production, I was worried that this would continue. But “Fairest of Them All” is a very Spock-centric episode, and Vic allows himself to play a thoroughly dislikeable Mirror Kirk, so it looks as if Vic’s ego is a bit less gargantuan than Shatner’s. 🙂
When they started “Fairest of Them All,” they redid the last couple of minutes of the original “Mirror, Mirror,” and Haberkorn seemed pretty lackluster, compared to Nimoy. But once they got into the new material, so I didn’t have Mr. Nimoy’s line readings in mind, I felt a lot better about Haberkorn’s performance, and he ended up impressing me. Is he as good as Leonard? Of course not. But no one could be. Is he good enough to be a pleasure to watch? Yes. Yes, he is. His last line of that episode honestly moved me.
They’re currently running a Kickstarter to try to raise the funds for more episodes. I’m not leaving a link here because I don’t know if you allow that, but I thought you might want to know that it was happening.
Glad you got to see it Cory! I actually contributed to the most recent kickstarter– that is “KIRKstarter” 😉 and last I knew they were halfway to their goal of 100.000 (And that’s only after 3 days! So you can imagine they’re getting a lot of TOS Trekkie love! I’ll post their fundraiser in a separate post, thanks!
I do love their detail to all things TOS too, especially the lighting. I do wish Haberkorn was a tad taller 😉 but he’s a sweet Spock. I think McCoy is adorable,and Kirk, yeah, Vic clearly relishes being the captain (but no one’s ego is near the originals!
I sent in a very small amount to round up the figure at that time (a little over @20) but every bit is appreciated. (unfortunately I cannot afford the $10,000 pledge to get a walk on in any upcoming webisodes! I e-mailed a copy of this review to Vic but haven’t heard back yet (not holding my breath!) Hope he read/liked it.
The latest episode is a throwback to “A Piece of the Action” — it should be fun, but I hope that the series will also create more new stories and not just fall back on the originals.
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Please remember to read the Comment Guidelines! Thanks, Therese 🙂
btw, I haven’t seen the most recent episode yet, but I will!
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