RogerBW's Blog

Star Trek Continues 23 February 2018

2013-2017 science fiction web series, 11 episodes; a fan production extends the original Star Trek.

For "fan production", though, read "a bunch of professional actors, scriptwriters, camera crew, etc., who just happen not to be working for CBS or Viacom". This is professionally-made television with a non-trivial budget; it was paid for through donations and crowdfunding campaigns.

The look is superb; with lots of footage and production drawings to work from, the set and prop builders have done a near-perfect job of replicating the look of the original show. Individual lights are in the same place as they were back in the day. (Comparing the look of the official Star Trek series Enterprise or Discovery, which are supposed to take place before the original series but have much more modern-looking technology, it's distinctly less jarring.) "Outside" sets are generally sound-stages with polystyrene boulders. Model shots are CGI, but set up to look similar in style to the model shots of the original. Clearly this needed a certain amount of obsession to get right.

The acting follows the same pattern: Vic Mignogna, who's evidently also the driving force behind the project, appears to have made an extensive study of Shatner as Kirk. It's not a slavish imitation of the old acting style, but it doesn't look jarringly different either. Most of the cast are known primarily for voice acting, though there are some offspring of original actors (notably Chris Doohan), and various SF-acting names (either medium-sized names from back in the day, like Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant – not in the same episode – or people who are still not well enough known to be expensive) turn up in bit parts.

Scripts follow the same pattern: some of them follow on directly from original series stories, others develop concepts from them, and others are distinct but still in the style of the original. There's the same sense of moral questioning which, while it was often presented neatly wrapped up and with pat answers, elevated the original show above its contemporaries. Sure, sometimes it thuds a bit, but that's still better than the assumption that strong authority is always right which one finds in most television. There's also an attention to detail which is unheard-of in the modern television climate of twenty episodes per year, or the 1960s climate of nearly thirty: it's all been carefully read and re-written to be as consistent with the original series, and with other episodes, as possible.

Pilgrim of Eternity follows on from Who Mourns for Adonais?, with "Apollo" suddenly aged and infirm; Kirk must decide what to do with him.

Lolani has an Orion slave rescued from a ship in distress, but questions of ownership and correct action are unclear.

Fairest of Them All returns to the Mirror Universe, looking at how its course might be changed.

The White Iris has Kirk tormented by his past (particularly his past loves); it's a useful reminder that "tomcat Kirk" is mostly a deliberate post-facto reading rather than something from the source material.

Divided We Stand was clearly inspired by having a bunch of American Civil War reenactors available; Kirk and McCoy are stuck in the past.

Come Not Between the Dragons has the Enterprise accidentally involved in a conflict between powerful aliens.

Embracing the Winds deals mostly with questions of fitness for command; it's a very talky episode, and one may not agree with its arguments or conclusions, but at least they're being made.

Still Treads the Shadow has a lost starship and time-slips and general heroism.

What Ships Are For is a heavy-handed tale of accepting the immigrant; it's in keeping with the blatant message of Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, but some more subtlety would have been welcome.

To Boldly Go (two parts) revisits the Galactic Barrier, and brings the series to a definitive close.

Is it the Best Thing Ever? Well, no; I wouldn't recommend this unless you hold the original series in at least slight fondness. But if you do and you want more, not a direct copy but a modern spin that doesn't abandon the original, then you won't do better than this.

The show is freely available in its entirety (via vimeo) at startrekcontinues.com.


  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 12:55pm on 23 February 2018

    The last two episodes do things, story-wise, that would have been unimaginable when the original series first aired. And the show is to be commended for it.

    The show is a labour of love. And none the worse for it.

  2. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:20pm on 23 February 2018

    My backlog of stuff to watch just go longer. But I don't want to watch it in a web browser, I have a TV and surround sound for this stuff. Do they support downloading the files for media players? I have several.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 03:04pm on 23 February 2018

    Apparently downloading files from video services is called "streaming piracy" these days, and is bad and naughty and evil. For that reason, I would absolutely not recommend that you download and install youtube-dl, and you certainly shouldn't feed it the vimeo URLs for these episodes.

  4. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:32am on 24 February 2018

    Streaming piracy? OK so how do they propose to make their content available on my perfectly functioning media players which have not been supported by the manufacturers for years? Humax HDR Fox T2 or Oppo 95 blu ray player to be precise. Both work well, when do Vimeo plan to support them?

  5. Posted by RogerBW at 10:18am on 24 February 2018

    Silly Owen, you're supposed to pay again for a new shiny toy, which itself will stop working next year. Nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of the intrinsic and natural right of publishing companies to continue to profit forever from the works of people who were suckered into dodgy contracts back in the day.

    This is essentially why Star Trek Continues has ended, in fact: Viacom and CBS have tightened up on fan films because they were scared that someone who wasn't them might make better Trek than they could. Look up the settlement in the Axanar case, and note how little of it is about commercial exploitation and how much is about not competing with the Official Product.

    (I will probably come back to this subject when I write my review of Star Trek: Discovery.)

  6. Posted by Owen Smith at 03:31pm on 24 February 2018

    Star Trek: Discovery lost me as a viewer before I even started watching it. I was keen on their supposed initial choice of Captain (trying not to give any spoilers here) and then they pulled a bait and switch. And they seem to have gone mad with the plot quicker than Enterprise did.

    I rather liked Star Trek: Enterprise when it started. Then they got bogged down in all the temporal cold war rubbish and I lost interest about the same time as Channel 4 when they stopped showing it. My favourite line: "Just because it says Warp 5 on the box doesn't mean it goes at Warp 5!".

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