Thursday, October 29

Star Trek Continues (2013 ff.)

Executive Produced by Vic Mignogna

I’ve been on a bit of a Star Trek kick, first inspired by my picking up the excellent Autobiography of James T. Kirk [LINK] but subsequently energized by my chance discovery a couple of weeks ago, of this tour de force.

I knew in kind of a vague way that there were various amateur fan-productions of Star Trek series available on-line. I avoided them. But then, a blog I follow occasionally through Facebook (American Catholic [LINK]) took notice of the latest episode. On a lark, I followed the link and watched the first few minutes of that newest offering – and was blown away! I immediately shared the episode, appending the exuberant comment, “This is GREAT ... Episode 05! ... I think I just found a new way to waste time -- I've not seen 01-04! #BetterthanAbrams.”

Since then, I have watched every one of the five episodes posted to date and have been consistently impressed. The official site [LINK] as well as the Wikipedia article [LINK] for the series, between the two of them, have everything you might want to know about the background, the players (who include considerable participation by fairly “big names” – fans as well as alumni of the original series – including the son of James “Scotty” Doohan reproducing his father’s affected Scottish brogue to perfection), so I won’t dwell on those aspects, preferring simply to convey my impressions of and enthusiasm for this surprisingly good reproduction of one of my all-time favorite shows.

I stand firmly by the “#BetterthanAbrams” hashtag I threw on that original post. The acting is of varying quality, as might be expected, but even where it fall short in ability it ‘way more than makes up for any deficiency in sheer heart.  Especially Executive Producer Vic Mignogna – who in addition to that role and main series writer takes center stage as Captain James T. Kirk – brilliantly captures the mannerisms of William Shatner without going over the top in duplicating his vaunted skills in scenery-chewing. The initially distractingly high timbre of his voice nothwithstanding, very quickly the fact that this is not William Shatner playing Captain Kirk recedes into the background of your consciousness. Where Mignogna really shines, however, is in the writing, which is, in my opinion, at least as good as that of the third season of the original series, to which this series is meant to be an immediate follow-up – in fact, I would argue that these five stories are each one of them by and large superior to the vast majority of those third-season episodes, among which, remember, were such gems as “Spock’s Brain” (“Brain? Brain? What is ‘Brain’?”) and “The Way to Eden.” He successfully reproduces not only the feel of those 1960s episodes but also the (admittedly sometimes pompous) sociological commentary that they contained, even if subtly incorporating more modern attitudes. Combined with production values that easily match those of the remastered episodes of the original series, especially in the area of special effects, played out on sets that exactingly reproduce the originals, it is easy to suspend any conscious realization that these are not authentic “lost” episodes of the original series.

Far more than the Abrams movies, even more than any of the pastiche novels I used to read with regularity (mainly in the early to mid 1980s), these five episodes fulfilled a longing to be able to revisit these beloved characters and the original Starship Enterprise that I didn’t even realize I had, in a way that rewatching the original series episodes just cannot. Long may Star Trek Continues continue and prosper; I eagerly await more.

Check out the Youtube Channel here [LINK].

Cheers!, and Thanks for reading!

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