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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

oh my god, Star Trek Continues is amazing


I just discovered (via io9) the fan-produced series Star Trek Continues, which intends to follow the crew of the USS Enterprise across the fourth and fifth years of its five-year mission. But to call it “fan-produced” is misleading. That makes it sound smaller and less incredible than it is. This isn’t a reflection of or an homage to something greater — this is Star Trek. This is so pitch-perfect a re-creation that it gave me chills, then it made me cry tears of geek joy, and then I forgot I was watching anything other than Star Trek. The sets and the costumes and the props are perfect. The lighting and the direction and the pacing is perfect. It’s even shot in the old-fashioned TV aspect ratio of 4:3. I felt like I was watching episodes from the 60s that I had somehow missed.

Two episodes of Continues have been released so far, “Pilgrim of Eternity” — a sequel to the original series episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” featuring actor Michael Forest reprising his role as Apollo almost 50 years later — and “Lolani,” which I suggest you watch first. Because “Lolani” better shows the potential that Continues has: to bring a more modern progressive attitude to universe that is Star Trek. Not that the original Trek wasn’t progressive, but “Lolani” pushes that to a place where a 1960s TV show couldn’t have gone. In this episode, an Orion slave girl is rescued by the Enterprise, which forces the crew to confront the moral implications of her position and their legal obligation to return her to her owner under Orion law. The phrase “Prime Directive” is never mentioned, but that’s what it’s all about. And the phrase “sex trafficking” is never mentioned, either. But that’s what it’s all about.

I also love love love that Continues gets just right the balance between honoring the original Trek vision while acknowledging that our ideas about some things have moved on. The female crew and officers still wear the miniskirt uniforms, but there are a ton more female crew and officers, including some tough female security crew — I guess we’ll have to call them redskirts.


Here’s “Pilgrim of Eternity”:

And here’s “Lolani”:

Keep an eye out for a guest appearance by Jamie Bamber in the first episode; more obvious in the second episode are Erin Gray and Lou Ferrigno in guest spots.


posted in:
Net buzz
  • Steve Gagen

    This is fantastic MaryAnn! I had no idea people were doing this sort of thing. They really are picture-perfect to the old series – actually, they are technically better in that the video quality is higher. Just like you, I have the uncanny sensation that these are a couple of lost episodes that somehow never got shown. Are people doing this sort of thing with other classic TV series, I wonder?

  • No idea if there are others. I don’t think so.

    I cannot wait for more episodes of this!

  • MisterAntrobus

    Redskirts. Ha! Love it.

  • Oh boo I can’t see the videos in Ireland. What a find though – dying to see these!

  • Lisa Hansell

    Maybe on Vimeo you can view them? Check the episodes page on the website http://www.startrekcontinues.com

  • Hellfist

    These are just amazing I feel like I was kid again watching the show for the first time. The stories are dead on and the actors are great at portraying the original characters. The main guy doing kick in some scenes I could have sworn I was watching a young shatner him self. I hope you guys do more maybe if they would get picked up by T.V. land to do some shows probably will not happen but I cam hope.

  • RogerBW

    I haven’t seen Lolani yet (for some reason these guys don’t have an RSS feed so I missed the upload) but yes, it’s much better than I expected. I wonder what their business model is like, though…

  • Apparently they initially raised money on Kickstarter. I can’t see how they can possibly be legally permitted to make a profit on this, but I guess they’re at least covering expenses.

    I wish they had a mailing list to notify us of future episodes.

  • Weird, cuz I can see them in the UK.

  • KlingonMami

    You can also view the episodes via their website:www.startrekcontinues.com

    Also, there’s another production team that have been wowing Trekkies and Trekkers for 10 years now. Star Trek Phase II/New Voyages. You can view their episode on their website at http://www.startreknewvoyages.com. They just celebrated their 10th anniversary. The series started out rough but have progressed to polished products just like ST Continues. New Voyages have had Walter Koenig, George Takei and other Star Trek alums as guest stars.

    It’s a great time to be a Trekkie/Trekker. Star Trek Continues ‘continues’ the great legacy started by Roddenberry and his team of writers.

    CBS has pretty much allowed fans to create these films as long as they can prove that they do not make a profit. They are allowed to fund their projects by such means as crowdfunding.

    If you enjoy Continues, you will also enjoy other films/webisodes such as Starship Farragut http://www.starshipfarragut.com (whose sets Continues is filmed on).

    For a list of some of the productions out there go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_fan_productions


  • Fleurs

    You can read more about the mechanics of the funding here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/125377036/star-trek-continues-webseries?ref=live They started filming Lolani during the kickstarter funding period, so the first 2 eps were made on their own dimes.

    I keep track of their uploads via Youtube and their other shenanigans via Facebook, and also get email updates through kickstarter because I followed the project – I know they are very responsive through FB, if anyone has a question for them.

  • I stumbled across this in one of those YouTube “after the video” grids – there was a picture of people in Star Trek uniforms. I clicked… and was absolutely astonished. My Facebook posts read “Wait, this is really watchable” followed by “THIS IS FANTASTIC.”

    I’m old enough to have sat on the porch of our home in Queens watching the original series broadcasts with my father. This took me RIGHT back there.

    Also they’ve got James Doohan’s son reprising his father’s role. And be sure not to miss Marina Sirtis as the voice of the computer!

    And yes, the best part is when you forget what you’re watching and just watch, because it’s that good.

    What a thrill!

  • Eddy

    That is Grant Imahara from Mythbusters playing Sulu…

  • Kristopher Schindler

    You can find both episodes on You Tube as well!

  • Loren Riley

    I agree with this review so much. They got everything perfect! LOVE it so so so much. The story telling is amazing, and then of course – the cameos! :D

  • Shwn Merk

    also realize that scotty is played by his actual son doonan

  • Actually I was just being dim. Got them. Apologies for the widespread panic ;-)

  • Jarrod

    He also works on many of the sets/props and does just about all the wiring on all the electronic gear

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Eh, I guess I’ll be “That guy”… ;-)

    Two things keep pulling me out of it:

    First, Vic Mignogna’s high pitched, nasally, and ultimately not very convincing William Shatner impression. JJ Abrams single best choice for his Trek films was to not have Chris Pine attempt to mimic Shatner.* Shatner’s style is too much about the actor, not the character. I hope other people notice and convince Mignogna to drop the impression. The physical mannerisms, and maybe even the cadence of the line delivery, work, but not the voice.

    Second, a host of technical inconsistencies. The sets, costumes, and visual effects are spot on. The camera work, also, is very true to the style of the original show. But, the sound… I think the problem is that they’re using original sound effects and music cues. So the sound quality of all that has a certain characteristic. The dialog track, on the other hand, has a very different characteristic. The two don’t mesh. There’s also a lot of ambient noise that, combined with the overall video quality, keep reminding me what it is: a (relatively) cheap fan video. I think I would be able to enjoy it much more if they had just a little more money to spend on post-production.

    Not that I want them to stop making these or anything, of course.

    * Spock is too ideosyncratic of a character to not have Zach Quinto and Todd Haberkorn attempt to recreate Nimoy. (Although, both of their voices are also too high pitched.) Also, having Nimoy appear in the films forces that issue. And Karl Urban’s impression of DeForest Kelly is too dead on to not use.

  • Trekkie

    I think this is a little better than New Voyages/Phase II. Not to be mean, but New Voyages/Phase II doesn’t quite feel like real Trek to me. The actors ‘twiddle’ their hands over the controls which feels so fake to me, too many ‘fans in costumes’ and their Mr Scott is the WORST! His acting and accent are so bad it instantly takes me out of it. I understand why they keep him on (he builds the sets, etc), but he just brings down the entire production.

  • C0P0

    Wow! These are very well done. I felt like a kid again. Writing and acting is dead on. There’s a donate button on the main site. They don’t make any money under copyright law but we could help with expenses. I’m looking forward to next one. Great work!

  • Computerguy99

    Excellent! The mood, feel and mannerisms are spot on! Well done! Hope that there are many more “Continues” to come. Thank you!

  • Ney

    I agree STC is a little better than ST Phase II but the last three episodes of ST PII were good (and Vic was in Kitumba), nearly as good as STC and their sfx are a little better. Their episodes are more action oriented.

  • Neil Thomson

    Damned straight! It’s almost like Gene Roddenberry at the helm again, with D.C Fontana writing. That is how perfect these guys make it. Imagine if they were picked up by a network, with a much greater budget, but still allowed complete control over the scripting. Kudos to them, well and truly.

  • Ney

    There aren’t a ton more female officers, it’s about the same ratio as TOS, and though the redskirts was an interesting addition it seemed forced. This doesn’t strike a balance–it IS TOS, it doesn’t go anywhere the original wouldn’t have gone. It is great.

  • What’s “forced” about a female security officer?

  • Kyle Edgecomb

    Really good fan film series, love it, its like going back in time, man i hope whoever directs the next trek film has this type of feel to it

  • Ney

    They have a Facebook page where they put updates, as does ST Phase II, the other major fan series.

  • Ney

    Very front and center, as if they were calling attention to it–“look, we”re different, we have a redskirt.” There weren’t any in TOS so the deviation when everything else is so close to the original was seemed. Have you seen the vignette STC did where Kirk is telling Uhura he is sure she would be the first female Starship captain?

  • It seems a very appropriate acknowledgement that our ideas about what jobs women can do have changed since the 1960s.

  • That’s not as good as having a mailing list. I’d love for them to tell me directly when a new episode is available, rather than counting on me to remember to seek it out.

  • RogerBW

    Or indeed RSS, the way everyone else does, and a format that’s supported by pretty much every site-building tool out there.

  • Ney

    Agreed but looked at “in universe” it’s harder to explain. I’m overthinking this perhaps but obviously in the real world those jobs were held by women in ST Enterprise and TNG but not TOS because of the eras in which they were filmed but “in universe” perhaps there was a cultural reversion in the 23rd Century? I don’t know.

    It was only a mild distraction, I loved the show.

  • Ney

    I suppose they could do both but maybe because of the frequency of the episodes? Their two episodes were 9 months apart, ST Phase II are about a year apart.

    You could suggest it. Their email is steve@startrekcontinues.com

  • I don’t use RSS, and from my own stats, it doesn’t look like many other still do, either.

  • Low frequency is an even bigger reason to make sure you’re not relying on people remembering to look you up.

  • RogerBW

    Fair enough; we obviously move in quite different net circles. I heard a lot of people whining when Google Reader was taken away, but most of them simply moved onto other RSS-based platforms.

  • They *should* offer RSS, though. (Didn’t mean to imply that they shouldn’t.) It’s not like it’s hard to do.

  • Blue Thunder

    A very heavy handed, painful, and disappointing series that is designed like a garbage scow. One that should be hauled away as garbage.

    Star Trek-New Voyages/Phase II is way much better than this.

  • RogerBW

    Did you fill in a template, or do you actually have something to say?

    I.e. why do you prefer one to the other?

    That’s what we do here. Rather than just shouting “blue good, red bad” until the other monkeys give up and go home, we try to work out what it is we like or dislike about them.

  • Ney

    The special effects are somewhat better in ST Phase II, the stories more action oriented, the sets of both about equal. The writing is good in both but the acting in STC is far and away better.

  • Carmine Fazzari

    Just discovered & saw Lolani (Episode #2) . Wow – what a perfect-pitch episode. I cannot imagine where they got the money to re-create the sets. I also cannot imagine why SYFY doesn’t pick up the production rights for this show. It’s going to take me a few days to totally digest this – but the guys who pulled this together are a credit to the industry.

  • They’ve raised their initial funding through Kick Starter. If they can keep additional funding then they’ll complete the entire 5 year mission (what would have been season 4 and 5 of the shows). I just watched both episodes this morning and entirely agree that they are “perfect pitch.” Can’t wait to see the third one and I’m really hoping the series continues.

  • James Genovese

    They won’t pick it up because Paramount owns the rights to the ST franchise and doesn’t want anything competing with the blg budget theatrical movies it’s producing.

    It’s amazing that Paramount let Vic Magnone and company have use of the brandmark. I suspect their reasoning is that if Magnone can raise the funds to put out a couple of episodes, they might pull in some new fans who then might also be interested in seeing the feature films. A weekly TV show, however, might prove to be more competitive.

  • James Genovese

    I agree with most of what you say. STC does feature some minor updates, such as the Holodeck-in-development in Episode One.

    The thing that I really miss from TOC, which hasn’t yet been fully developed STC and is definitely misconstrued in the Abrams movies, is the interrelationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. For example, in TOC the love-hate relationship was between McCoy and Spock with Kirk as intermediary, whereas in the Abrams versions it’s between Spock and Kirk with McCoy as a relatively minor figure.

    Also, the most fascinating aspect of Nimoy’s Spock was the inner conflict between his human feelings and his self-perception as pure Vulcan. This never-ending discrepancy lurked ever-so-subtly in some episodes, more prominently in others, but was always, always there. It was the soft spot in his steely exterior that DeForest Kelly’s Dr. McCoy delighted in exploiting at every turn.

    Spock’s psychology has been largely ignored in the first two STC episodes and overblown in the Abrams vehicles. Hopefully Mignogna will address this in future scripts and elevate Dr. McCoy to his rightful place as Spock’s friendly foil.

  • Chris H.

    I have seen both of the episodes they made and, considering it’s fan-made, in a warehouse in Georgia, I think it’s utterly amazing. The guys who made the original show would have been amazed to see special effects like this generated on ANY budget! The sets are DEAD on. The lighting. The directing. Perfect. I feel it even shows the profound quality of the original cast in a stronger light. Pure, absolute acting talent in that original ensemble made us BELIEVE we were on a starship. I did.

    From TOS, I always wanted to see some female security guards. I thought the skirts with phasers, belts and boots would have been hot. Now we get a little of it and I am right! Now, we need them to get some action. Fighting. Shooting. Whatever it takes.
    Anyway. Soo glad they’ve made this. Good fun. Wish I could appear as a background character!



  • Chris H.

    Rocket—I agree. I love the series but most of what you say is true. No biggie though.

  • feenix219

    Go home and take your pills, Christopher. Everyone is tired of your troll like behavior. “way much better than this” how old are you? 15? Everyone is tired of your one man vendetta against STC. I stumble into this stuff on practically every board, blog or review that mentions STC. Grow up!

  • Michael Dickerson

    Oh my this is fantastic. This is the best Trek thing since the best movies from the original cast. It looks and feels more like Trek to me than TNG, Voyager, DSN, etc. Wow.

  • Andy Hogue

    Oh Mary Ann’s deity. It is amazing.

  • Constable

    I just hope they change into a more functional uniform if/when they get locked into a firefight. Although those skirts don’t look like they impede their legs in any way.

  • Kalvin

    I tuned into STC and for the first few seconds I seriously thought I was having a stroke!!!

    For the next few seconds I was thinking “How did I miss this episode?”

    Then I just started laughing. Such a joy to know that there are people out there who want to make me happy by letting me revisit my youth.

  • Kalvin

    There are two others who are doing TOS. STC is the best of them. STC captures so much of the TOS look-and-feel in so many different ways.

  • Kalvin

    I agree with the author. I was lucky enough to watch “Lolani” first, then “Pilgrim of Eternity”. But it wasn’t until the first few seconds of the third episode, “Fairest Of The All” that I realized the true potential of this work….that it has the ability to answer 50-year-old-questions. Questions like “I wonder what happened to evil-Spock?” Thank you STC. Thank you for letting me be 11-years old again.

  • Kalvin

    You can find them all on YouTube.

  • Kalvin

    They call them ‘KirkStarters’.

  • RogerBW

    Thanks, I know that all the episodes are still available – it’s just odd that they don’t have an RSS feed, thus requiring people to keep checking their site manually and increasing their server load.

  • Christopher Dalton

    Don’t like it. Don’t read it.

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