What is the best Star Trek Fan-Film series? Here are my top picks…
I admit, like most techno nerds, I’m a Trekkie. I won’t say I’m a die hard or that there isn’t someone out there who loves it more than me, but I’ve been a fan for most my life. After one has finished the all the TV shows and the movies in chronological order, what’s next? Well, besides the books. If you’re still hungry for more Trek, or if you just can’t stand to watch anything made in the new alternate timeline, you may find yourself turning towards the giant world of fan created Star Trek content. But, viewer be warned, not all fan made series are made equally. As much as I love Star Trek, I can be pretty picky when it comes to a fan-film with what I can handle. For most of the shows you’ll find floating about the interwebs, I really wouldn’t worry about the CG, it’s not like the TV always had the best CG anyways. Ultimately, CG graphics are more about skill than software (though having the latest does help). Another pet-peve of mine is the 100% green screened shows, the one’s where the actor is always in a chest up shot, over an opaque generic looking backdrop; it doesn’t look like the actor is actually there, and this makes it almost impossible for my to suspend my disbelief. As with most green-screened jobs, there comes the sound, it’s usually that boxy kind of sound; the kind where you can tell the actors are in a small room maybe 15ft sq or so, and their mouths are perilously close to the mic. Lastly we have the ones where the producers threw up their hands with no budget and said, ‘let’s just come up with an excuse to have them running outside all day.’ But at least it’s not as bad as green-screening every shot.
A few fan series I’ll recommend…
So with that out of the way, there are two fan-made series I’m willing to recommend.
First off, we have Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II
Set in the original timeline, as a continuation of the second half of The Original Series Enterprise’ 5-year mission. A young amateur cast replaces the original characters. Original series cast often guest star in this fan make of their tv-show. This is probably one of the most popular fan-series you’ll find. With one of the largest working budgets, they have managed to capture a fair amount of the feel of the original series. The acting by the cast is, not so great…but improving. Some things stand out more than others though, their Spock and their Scotty, leave much to be desired, Scotty particularly. They have 7 episodes made so far, with the pilot episode and the first following being of the average fan-film quality, with some washed out looking colors. However by the second episode the camera quality takes a noticeable improvement. The CG is probably some of the best you’ll find in the fan-made world. As far as story lines go, most of the episodes featured here have managed to keep me watching far more than any other fan series I’ve encountered thus far. The use of fairly good CG, combined with real sets and authentic costumes allow me to feel like the characters are actually on the bridge of the Enterprise every bit as much as I felt with TOS. Also, a quick note on their later episodes, my how the CG and lighting and camera work has improved. Acting is still getting there, but their Spock is muchimproved, he is being played by a new actor named, Brandon Stacy. In terms of production quality, sometimes I almost feels like I’m watching the original series… minus the acting. In the end, I’d say from the second episode on is worth watching. I’ve included a sample episode below;
Secondly we have Star Trek: Phoenix
The series is set in the original timeline some 45 years after ST: Nemesis and some 35 years after the destruction of the Romulan home-world, which it plays heavily on. Actual sets & good visual effects are a plus. There is some green screening, but they use a nice professional green matte, so you’re not looking at fuzzy backgrounds with artifacts dancing all around the characters. The acting is…some of them do okay, one of them has some of their character traits worked out, however, most of the acting is pretty bland, with little emotion. The upside to acting is that it could potentially get better. They only have one episode thus far, which has them walking, talking…lot of talking, but they do get into a fire-fit down on a jungle-like planet with some Romulans and native beasts. They are currently in funding mode, seeking donations to build up a budget for their second episode. In the end, I’d say it’s worth watching.
On the humorous side of things
A Star Trek Next Gen mash-up has managed to
assimilate acquire nearly 2 million views, so far. This mash-up does a fairly good job at taking clips of various Next-Gen episodes and lip-synching them to a new audio track; even if the next phrasing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Normally I couldn’t care less for a mash-up, but this one is actually kinda funny. Warning: NSFW