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Only going forward 'cause we can't find reverse.
December 15, 2013 12:08 AM   Subscribe

Renegade Studios, the team behind the 2008 fan film "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men", has released a teaser trailer for their next web series project: Star Trek: Renegades.

As with most fan films, production quality on "Of Gods and Men" was less than perfect. But it was directed by Tim Russ, and did star Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney and Alan Ruck reprising their roles from The Original Series and Star Trek: Generations, respectively. Joining them were other familiar faces to fans: Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, Cirroc Lofton, Chase Masterson, J.G. Hertzler, Gary Graham and Crystal Allen. Two actors from the fan-produced Star Trek: New Voyages, (also known as Star Trek: Phase II,) also appeared: James Cawley and Jeff Quinn.

Speaking of New Voyages / Phase II: The online series is still going. They're creating approximately one episode per year, following the next five year mission of the Starship Enterprise. (Prior to -- or simply ignoring -- J.J. Abrams reboot.) Eight episodes including a full-length movie have been produced to date. All can be seen om Youtube in chronological order, or downloaded directly from the show's website. Here's a Youtube playlist for all behind the scenes footage and cast interview videos.

Individual Star Trek: New Voyages episode links:
Pilot (Episode Zero): Come What May
1) In Harm's Way (Guest stars include the late William Windom and Malachi Throne, as well as BarBara Luna)
2) To Serve All My Days (Guest stars include Walter Koenig) (alternate ending)
3) World Enough and Time (Guest stars include George Takei and Grace Lee Whitney)
4 and 5) Blood and Fire: The Movie (Previously on MeFi! Guest stars include Denise Crosby)
6) Enemy Starfleet
7) The Child (Guest stars include Voctor Mignogna and BarBara Luna)
Preview for the next episode: Kitumba
posted by zarq (33 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Extra points for the post title reference to the definitive Star Trek novelty song.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:33 AM on December 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Though, in the song, they're boldly going forward.
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:38 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


As with most fan films, production quality on "Of Gods and Men" was less than perfect
As with most films it was perfectly servicable, continuity wank aside, and I enjoyed it.
posted by Mezentian at 1:41 AM on December 15, 2013


I just want to throw this out there: every time I have seen anything related to Star Trek: Renegades I am sad that Tales of Babylon 5 and The Legends of the Rangers never got picked up.
Even though they both sucked so much I have watched them just once each.
Because I have every faith that the resulting shows would have become awesome.
posted by Mezentian at 2:57 AM on December 15, 2013


I've always thought their end run around Paramount's "Don't sell fan works" guideline was especially clever. You can't buy a copy of Of Gods and Men. However, if you buy this officially licensed Trek Merch from their online store or convention booth, you get a copy of the DVD free.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:16 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching "Of Gods & Men." Where can I find the Rifftrax for this?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:11 AM on December 15, 2013


I recognize that these kids are doing no harm to anyone but there's just something terribly uncomfortable about fan-produced programming like this. I mean no disrespect, I just don't get it. Are these people frustrated creatives in their 9–5 world and, if so, why don't they create something original? Why attach themselves to the creation of others? And, please, try not to attack me. I'm really not trying to put anyone on the defensive. I just don't understand.
posted by Jamesonian at 8:26 AM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why would someone be in a cover band?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:40 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Though, in the song, they're boldly going forward.

Dammit Jim, I'm a poster, not a musician!

Sorry! What a dumb mistake!
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why attach themselves to the creation of others?

Ask Disney; they built the company on it.

Or flip it around: what was *gained* when "50 Shades" was stripped of its Twilight references? Creativity? No, legal deniability.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:55 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are plenty of great worldbuilders who are not great writers *cough*Tolkein*cough*. And plenty of great writers who are mediocre worldbuilders. There is something freeing, I think, in not having to start in the ground up, in focusing your creativity and curiosity on loose ends, on the unexplored characters, on the vast, intriguing expanses in an already existing universe. Especially if what you want to say is more on the personal and interpersonal level and not some broad sweeping idea you'd need to shape an entire setting around.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why attach themselves to the creation of others?

Creative work by fans is as much about participation in a thing they love as it is creative work per se. For these people, and many like them, this sort of creativity
allows them to be a part of a body of work they love, and is on the same spectrum of activity as cosplay, fanfic, reference wikis, even kids playing with action figures.

So it's not "I want to make a web series but can't think of anything myself", it's more "I love Star Trek and want to make some of it myself". Audience participation in creative work is so extensive and multi-faceted these days that it's affecting the way the original content creators' approach their work, and fascinating collaborative means are appearing as a result. I think it's a terrifically interesting set of cultural changes.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:47 AM on December 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


if so, why don't they create something original? Why attach themselves to the creation of others?

A valid question. Some people, of course, are just so in love with the setting and the world that they want nothing else. I think that's fine, and maybe it can produce some fun, interesting stuff, but it's probably harder for those people to get to the level of "great." Of course, sometimes "fun" is all you want or need.

But, beyond that, I think Star Trek, Star Wars, et. al. have become some of our common mythology. Your question is, it seems to me, sort of like asking why someone would tell stories about Robin Hood, or King Arthur, or the Gods of Olympus, instead of building their own mythology (like, say, George R. R. Martin). You're setting yourself a much bigger job there, and a different one, than if you start out on common ground.
posted by tyllwin at 9:53 AM on December 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't find this stuff uncomfortable, I find it awesome. Here is a comprehensive and regularly updated list of Trek fan film projects, the author and maintainer of which attempts to review each one.

The production highlighted in this post is one of several relatively high-budget and high-profile productions that have strong ties to "official" Trekdom. Here's another, Star Trek Continues, which has James Doohan's son playing Scotty, and an episode penned by an original series contributor with an originating TOS guest star reprising the role he played 40 years ago.

Curt Danhauser, who for many years was the sole detailed fan source of information about TAS online, has begun producing new episodes of TAS by recutting and revoicing original TAS clips.

I think what these productions are doing is exactly what fanfic authors have always done, which is to essentially transform the characters and situations into folk literature.

That said, the high-end productions ALSO function as a literal woodshed for ideas and experience oriented to people who have in the past or want to in the future work on Trek in a professional capacity. This is a pattern of creation that goes all the way back to the era of the show's initial broadcast, and which came to fruition with TNG - significant members of the production team on TNG were people who had previously developed fan-oriented creative material generally intended for sale and distribution only at cons. Roddenberry's confused and confusing policies with regard to encouraging that sort of thing led to some interesting situations, such as Franz Joseph's independently developed Star Trek Technical Manual and Enterprise blueprints. The blueprints were first made solely for convention distribution, were picked up for publication by Ballantine, and were eventually used on screen in a couple of the movies. It's an interesting, complicated story.
posted by mwhybark at 9:54 AM on December 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why attach themselves to the creation of others?

It certainly makes more sense than emptying that creation out of everything substantively its own and calling the result Star Trek anyway. And I have to say In terms of fidelity of the themes and characters, this series stomps all over the J. J. Abrams versions. I mean look: Uhura is actually like Uhura, instead of... oh, I dunno... her exact opposite?

(And yes, before someone points out that AbramsTrek takes place in an altered timeline, fine. But a better question than the above is why make a Star Trek that's about different people with only a few original-series running-joke stereotypes badly glued on?)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:10 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


why make a Star Trek that's about different people with only a few original-series running-joke stereotypes badly glued on?

Guaranteed box office?
posted by tyllwin at 10:22 AM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I have mentioned here before, my son and I are on a two-year journey to watch every single episode of all the Star Trek franchises plus the films. And we are nearly at the end as we watch the third season of Enterprise.

So I have been eyeing some of the fan films, but I dunno. Because of my search history, YouTube really wants me to watch them and is forever showing them next to my search results. I clicked on one once.

An overweight middle-aged couple were wearing those Star Trek uniform shirts you can buy online. Their set was pretty clearly a trailer home with some aluminum foil or something tacked to the walls. The woman spoke first, in a broad Ozarks accent.

"Wailll, what do think them Klingons is doin', Cap'n Kirk?"

"Waill, ah don' know fer sure, Lewtenent, but I reckon ..."

That was as far as I got with the fan films.
posted by LarryC at 10:29 AM on December 15, 2013


To be honest, the only fan video I've ever actually enjoyed was this one. Which probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's not a real one and it was made for entirely different reasons than a real one gets made.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 AM on December 15, 2013


An overweight middle-aged couple were wearing those Star Trek uniform shirts you can buy online. Their set was pretty clearly a trailer home with some aluminum foil or something tacked to the walls. The woman spoke first, in a broad Ozarks accent.

Aw, c'mon! No link?
posted by sourwookie at 12:13 PM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


LarryC, take a look at Starship Exeter to start. The initial episode was shot on VHS. They are the approximate progenitors of both the high-end stuff and the low-end stuff such as you describe. Some of the Exeter creative crew worked on the earliest James Cawley fan-Trek projects. Cawley's was the first of these productions to simply recast the characters, and very likely the catalyst for so doing in the nuTrek project.

The early Exeter stuff has wooden acting by enthusiastic amateurs, but the objective of the production was to recapture the feel of TOS, and the by-the-numbers execution of formal components of a random representative TOS script (the captain's shirt gets torn in a fight, for example) is delightful, to me. Subsequent productions dramatically improved in production value and incrementally improved in story and acting. The series seems to be on hiatus, which is a shame.

Cawley's productions, late-period Exeter, and if I recall correctly, Continues all feature full-scale bridge sets. I have the impression that Cawley actually bought the shooting set used in DS9's tribbles episode, but I am not absolutely certain that is the case.

Cawley's productions usually look great but tend to suffer from bad editing and incoherent, overly-ambitious scripts. Their initial efforts included exterior FX shots of the Enterprise which I was told were executed pseudonymously by then-current FX crew on various Trek properties as a kind of demo reel for the all-digital FX remaster of TOS.

Finally, if you are at all interested in this lunacy, that orionpress guide / review catalog I linked to upthread is invaluable. It doesn't track collaborative crossover between the projects or rumors and infighting (of which there is a great deal: hungry people fight one another for scraps) but the author is careful to try to get a checklist of information gathered for each project, such as relative production value, method of production (live action, animated, machinima), built or virtual sets,and so forth.
posted by mwhybark at 12:39 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm really not trying to put anyone on the defensive. I just don't understand.

Jamesonian, you definitely ought to watch Trekkies, then. It's a documentary (and a sequel) made by Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar and Selar of TNG) that explores the world of Star Trek fandom, including the people who basically live Trek 24/7. (It's a little like the medieval re-enactors in SCA, in that respect.) For many of these people Star Trek has meaning that goes beyond an entertaining TV show and can encompass a life philosophy, an assured network of friends and social events, and yes, a world of demi-creativity where you're making props and costumes (or writing fanfic).

I also recommend Shatner's The Captains, but it's pretty much the complete inverse -- finding out the real personalities behind the actors who played the various Trek starship captains. (The secret: They're all just goofy show people, very unlike the roles they play.) In many ways it's less "How Star Trek changed my life" and more "How Star Trek was just a job for me, and then became something else entirely thanks to fandom." And, hoo boy, I just discovered there's a sequel to that...

And then of course there's the greatest fanfic production of all, Galaxy Quest....

Oh, one thing worth mentioning: Cawley has turned over the role of Kirk to an actual actor. But then is taking it back. And leaving me utterly confused, beyond previous levels, as to why there was a name change to New Voyages from Phase II if now there are both a Phase II and a New Voyages, other than an infighting-derived fork (but if Cawley owns the sets....)
posted by dhartung at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, I can't track down a handful of people to take part in my Cleopatra 2525 fan film for love nor money, despite how good I look in my Jennifer Sky costume. Gina Torres hardly even returns my calls these days. Stupid overrated Star Trek…
posted by sonascope at 2:40 PM on December 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Would it help pass the time to come and work on my Shazam / Isis Hour fan series? I particularly need help writing rhymes to command the elements to foil the bad guys.

BTW what rhymes with DDOS?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:55 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even actual creative people, who have their own ideas like playing in the Star Trek (or Wars) wheelhouse. Actual respected writers have written books in the universe for reasons that probably go beyond cash (people like Greg Bear, Diane Duane, Haldeman and Barbara Hamley), and John Byrne (best loved for his part in the X-Men and Alpha Flight, perhaps, and Man Of Steel) has a photonovel out, wherein he recuts stills from TOS into new plots.

I can second Trekkies and The Captains too.

There's also our very own LARPtrek.

BTW what rhymes with DDOS?
B-boss? You'll have to rap it up to work, modernise it.

posted by Mezentian at 3:16 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Orionpress: but I'm always disappointed when Orion females look painted"
posted by Mezentian at 3:38 PM on December 15, 2013


I've never gotten into the fan films but I saw the preview for Renegades and I have to admit reconsidering for that. (I'm also interested in the Harry Potter Aurors in New York web series I keep seeing teased.)
posted by immlass at 4:58 PM on December 15, 2013


Sorry! What a dumb mistake!

I've been making that same dumb mistake - and Googling the lyrics brings up both results.
posted by crossoverman at 5:19 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actual respected writers have written books in the universe for reasons that probably go beyond cash

Probably, in at least some cases, that's true, but the money (and the name recognition) probably didn't hurt, either. Something tells me that Robert Sheckley got more recognition from the DS9 novel (not to mention the Aliens and Babylon 5 books) that he wrote than he did from his own work, at least later in life.

Also, WRT the history of Franz Joseph's works in the link that mwhybark posted above: wow, that's quite a little saga. One of the things that's apparent when I've read about Roddenberry is how he'd screwed up some relationships (and tarnished his own legacy) WRT his pursuit of merchandising; Leonard Nimoy resented Roddenberry for introducing the IDIC symbol purely, he thought, to have another tchotchke to sell via Lincoln Enterprises, and Roddenberry also wrote never-used lyrics to the TOS theme as a way of horning in on royalties.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:07 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


LarryC, take a look at Starship Exeter to start.

Those episodes are not as bad as I would have expected, and it's clearly a labor of love.

The main thing that bugs me on their page is the use of a zoom cursor instead of the standard pointer cursor for all the video links. ;-)
posted by aught at 9:31 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a personal experience recounting of working on a Cawley production (published at Orion Press) which implies the sets were built rather than bought but then used in the Enterprise mirror-universe episodes.
posted by mwhybark at 10:17 AM on December 16, 2013


... and it appears that the late-period Exeter bridge set was given to a fan production based in Oklahoma.
posted by mwhybark at 10:26 AM on December 16, 2013


Zarq, thanks for posting this.
I have seen three of the 'New Voyages' and thought they were great. You have to come at them with a 'the kids are doing a show in the barn' attitude but they do a good job. It is fun to see the old characters again in new stories.
Non Trek fans will not enjoy it as us long time Trekkers. I watched the original series on the rug I front of the TV as a child. I wanted to be at various times, Uhura, Spock and Sulu - so I could fly the ship. ;)
posted by Gadgetenvy at 12:51 PM on December 17, 2013


Here's a personal experience recounting of working on a Cawley production (published at Orion Press) which implies the sets were built rather than bought but then used in the Enterprise mirror-universe episodes.

IIRC, only Sulu's pop-up viewer was loaned to Enterprise.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2013


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