Monday, February 9, 2015

This man’s on a mission—to boldly go where no fan has gone before

 

A couple nights ago, I was browsing through ‘Recommended for you’ videos on the YouTube Channel on my Tivo (gosh, I love that contraption) when I saw this familiar looking image.  My first thought was “another Kirk wannabe, he looks good though.”  Still, I almost skipped him over—I’ve seen enough of these ‘amateur Star Trek’ videos before, and as much as I admired their efforts, they didn’t do anything for me.  This one though, was about to prove me wrong.

His name is Vic Mignogna and hails from Greensburg, PA.  (Wow, that’s only 40 miles from here!)  He does a lot of voiceover work for Japanese toons, and he’s probably the greatest Star Trek fan on the planet. 

But he’s more than just a fan—he’s a walking, talking, real-life 1960’s Captain Kirk.  And in 2013, Vic (along with a talented bunch) began churning out new TOS (Star Trek-The Original Series) ‘webisodes’.  Why?  Vic says “Because the show never completed their 5 year mission, NBC canceled the series in it’s third year.”  So far, they have 3 full episodes completed, with 2 more underway.

(Unlike a ‘real’ television show, with a production crew of 200 and network sponsors, this group makes do with 20 people and whatever funds they can raise online.  A new episode takes months, not a week or so.) 

In Episode 1 ‘Pilgrim of Eternity’, Michael Forest returns as the Roman god Apollo; he was the original actor from Star Trek’s ‘Who Mourns for Adonais’ in 1967 too!

Besides Michael Forest replaying Apollo, Erin Gray (from Buck Rogers) is here as a Starfleet Commodore.  Lou Ferrigno plays an Orion slave trader & even Michael Dorn & Marina Sirtis (Worf & Troi from ‘The Next Generation’) supply the ship’s computer voices! 

Scotty making repairs in a Jeffries tube; that’s not James Doohan but he’s close enough—he’s Chris Doohan, James son!

The attention to detail is nothing short of startling; the Enterprise bridge, sickbay, transporter room, ships corridors & Captain’s quarters have all been painstakingly duplicated, down to the smallest detail.  (They currently have a Kickstarter campaign underway to raise money to build Engineering and some alien planet sets.)  But it’s even more than all that—from the scripts and backlighting to the angle of the camera shots and even hair and makeup, it’s all meant to make you feel like you’re watching Star Trek in the 1960s again.  Amazing.

(To get an idea of what I mean, just watch the FIRST 4 MINUTES of their second episode ‘Lolani’, where an Orion slave-chick gets aboard the Enterprise)

Okay, I just watched the first 5 minutes (for like the 5th time) and I STILL get goosebumps.  And man, I dig those updated opening credits!  I need to share one more video; in Episode 3’s “Fairest of Them All” (which was just completed a few months ago) the first 2 minutes are an EXACT re-enactment of the FINAL 2 minutes of the 1967 episode “Mirror, Mirror”.  Now we finally know what happened on that ‘Evil Enterprise’ after our own Kirk & company made it back home!  

Besides the three full episodes on YouTube, they also have a slew of other clips online; tours of their sets, ‘making of’ videos, even a celebration or two after completing the episodes.  More power to ‘em, they’re not making a cent for all their efforts (per their agreement with CBS which owns the Trek franchise). 

Galileo Green Screen

The shuttlecraft used in ‘Fairest of Them All’ was the actual bus-sized prop from the original series; it was found rusted and abandoned several years ago, and restored to like-new condition by a fan who loaned it to ‘Star Trek Continues’ for this episode

Okay, now I’ll be the first to admit that nothing (short of clones or 23rd century holograms) could possibly capture the magic of the original series.  There’s just something about the original Star Trek that will never be duplicated.   But doggone it, these guys come pretty damn close!

Star Trek Continues is a labor of love, pure and simple.  And this crew deserves the accolades, and more.

2 comments:

  1. Really cool, Doug! I'm not a Trekkie but I do like to acknowledge the show from time to time on my blog's Facebook page because of its place in pop culture history...this is really fascinating stuff; do you mind if I put the link to your blog post on Go Retro's Facebook page? I think people would get a kick out of it and check the episodes out. This actor has Captain Kirk down pat; I would love to hear him say, "Denny Crane!" as well.

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    1. Thanks Pam! Well, I admit I've been a giant Trek fan since I was 10 years old but things kinda cooled off for me once the final series ("Enterprise") ended its run. The JJ Abrams movies were fun, but they weren't "True Trek" to me--ttoo loud & violent. Vic's stuff here has re-energized my love of the show for sure :)

      And yes I'd be honored if you shared the link! And haha--too funny about Denny Crane! Thanks again Pam :)

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