Title: Leave it to the Fans: My thoughts on Star Trek Continues and the Star Trek Phenomenon.
So, you’re one of those fans who think that Star Trek is dead, or broken.
With every fiber of your being, you honestly believe that J.J. Abrams has led Star Trek into the slaughterhouse and butchered it beyond recognition.
Personally speaking, I’ve always found J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Trek to be deeply unsatisfying. Sitting in that darkened theater watching the 2008 reboot (or was it 2009?), I felt as if I was watching a Michael Bay movie with all the smugness and cartoonish sensibility that seem to characterize his works. The twisting of canon was particularly unfortunate; between the destruction of Vulcan and the unexplained appearance of an Orion woman in Starfleet (Orions are not a part of the Federation), I left the movie house pretty disgusted, vowing never to see another J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film again.
And I’ve kept that vow.
I just continued to kick back and enjoy the various forms of Star Trek fan works out there.
A few years later, while I was still wasting time on Twitter, I was searching for Star Trek fan artists (writers, artists, crafters, filmmakers, etc.) that I could follow. I spotted the Twitter icon of Star Trek Continues and was struck by both the physical similarities of the actors to their characters and the painstaking detail in recapturing the famous photograph of Kirk and Spock looking up into the camera.
I read the caption, went to their website and was intrigued. Star Trek Continues is a webseries that takes place during the last two years of the Enterprise’s five-year mission. I checked out their works on Vimeo, which consisted of three vignettes and (at the time) one full episode.
Simply put, I was blown away!
Seriously blown away!
Talk about studying your subject matter!
Watching Star Trek Continues was, literally, like watching The Original Series! The sets, cinematography, music, and direction are so faithful in their detail it’s astonishing! The stories are beautifully written and true to the human drama that Star Trek was renowned for.
However, what impressed me most of all was the cast. These supremely talented actors not only play their roles to utter perfection, they even fit their characters physically, which was astounding to me, considering that none of the actors resemble anyone from the original cast.
Star Trek Continues is the crown jewel of fan production! It’s as if The Original Series never ended after its third season! And unlike some other fan productions that look like they’re fan productions, Star Trek Continues looks as professional as Star Trek did back in the day. Even a fan production like Of Gods and Men, as well done as it is, simply doesn’t have the polish that Star Trek Continues does. And, the best thing about this webseries is that they’re just getting started, with only two full episodes under their belt. More stories to write and produce mean more episodes to look forward to. So, if there is any doubt in your mind that Star Trek lives, then you really need to check out these webisodes!
Since the time J.J. Abrams first took a shot at The Original Series, I’ve heard many fans lament the death of Star Trek, or the destruction of it. Now, as much as I have a real distaste for the reboot( more like giving it the boot), I can’t say that I share the pessimistic view of many of my fellow Trek fans.
How is Star Trek broken? When did it die?
I truly don’t understand what these people are talking about.
While it may be true that Star Trek is not at the height of its popularity as it was in the 70s and 80s, that is not to say that Star Trek is dead, broken, or on life support. After all, nothing stays at the peak of its popularity forever.
That’s simply a fact of life.
All you need to do is think about a certain group of sparkly little blood suckers and of how things have quieted down considerably in their neck of the woods.
Star Trek, even past its prime of popularity, is still going strong! All you have to do is go on Amazon to look at all of the new novels and merchandise that come out each year that are based on the series.
And, let’s be honest here. Many fans might not like the J.J. Abrams reboot, but there probably never would have been one had it not been for Star Trek’s continuing impact. The mega box office for both reboots is yet another testament to the series’ endurance.
Star Trek is not, nor has it ever been, dead.
The problem lies with Hollywood. In the case of Star Trek, the mainstream film industry simply can’t deliver the goods anymore. This is not only the case with The Original Series, but with the whole franchise.
The last television show, Enterprise, didn’t receive bad ratings because Star Trek went out of style, it received bad ratings because it was a poorly executed show.
The last film before J.J. Abrams version, Nemesis, didn’t fail at the box office because Star Trek was no longer viable, it failed at the box office because it was a miserable movie.
Those two spills and messes were brought to you by Hollywood. Period.
From where I stand, I think that the problem has been we’re always looking to Hollywood to ‘bring Star Trek back to life,’ if you will. Considering that Star Trek is indeed a product of Hollywood, that’s understandable.
As it goes, Star Trek is no longer something that Hollywood, in its less than infinite wisdom, can work with anymore. It will not find new life in that town of tinsel the way it did back in the 70s and 80s.
The present and future life of the Star Trek phenomenon belongs to its fans.
I had written earlier about the new books and merchandise that continually show up on Amazon.
What about the abundance of fan fiction, fan productions, fan clubs and fan artwork that are out there, online and offline? It was the fans that continued to breath new life to Star Trek. They did it after Star Trek went off the air back in 1969, and they continued to do so after Enterprise went off the air back in 2005. Do you know how many years that is?
And, during all those years, there were some incredible fan works that were produced, right?
The writings of Wildcat and Jean Lorrah, websites like My Star Trek Scrapbook…
…and fan productions like Star Trek Continues.
Talk about paying homage!
Hey, as long as you believe that only the studio heads in those stucco casted and palm tree shrouded luxury buildings are the only people who can bring back Star Trek in all its glory, then, yes, Star Trek is truly dead, broken, or on life support.
However, if you leave it to the fans, then Star Trek is not dead.
It’s alive and kicking!