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December 20, 2017 8:14 PM - Subscribe

Fellow Trekfan Mefites: Exeter and STC fanthreads?

As some of you will know, I have a long fascination with Trek fanfilm, especially TOS fan productions. My particular favored works are one of the oldest, originally shot on VHS, Starship Exeter, and the just now, at the end of 2017, wound down Star Trek Continues.

Exeter is inteensely earnest and accomplishes impossibilities on zero budget, literally actually summoning a fan film genre into existence.

By 2017, when Paramount's erratic course with regard to recasting and fan film has appeared to have run its' course, STC, the possibly-final TOS fan film production crossed well into prospace, with impressive sets, fx, and guest stars. From time to time, the stories, acting, and direction are in the same league as the commercially-produced show. More often, they show the cost of limited resources via lost story opportunities and limited performances.

STC's episodes are flawed, and as one watches, once can observe the end product approaching and occasionally exceeding the production's own goals, and stumbling onto the terrain of the original show or successors, blinking unexpectedly. The episodes commonly mix and match indulgent FX shots and weak acting with remarkable, impassioned performances, factually jaw-dropping mimetic production design, and cinematography that both replicates and refers to TOS while occasionally building upon it.

I think both series are truly remarkable, and in the case of STC, I beleive the series occasionally rises to or exceeds the very best levels of other non-canon material. I propose a "rewatch" thread which is focused on these remarkable fan series.

If it goes well, I can easily visualize extending the threads to other ST fan series. My interest and expertise is in TOS fan series. There is no reason that other threads here could not focus on other series of origIn.

I intend to drop transponder bouys in the DISCO and VOY threads.
posted by mwhybark (10 comments total)
This sounds like a great idea. Other than the Star Trek New Voyages episode with Takei as a guest star I haven't watched any Star Trek fan projects. This is probably because of the daunting variety and quality of the shows, so I'd appreciate this kind of narrowed approach. I'm totally down to watch and participate in whatever discussions arise.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:09 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

STNV is in direct lineage from Exeter to STC, so it's worth considering as well. Unfortunately, their episodes tend to be indulgent messes. However without STNV it is unlikely, in my opinion, that either the recast ST TOS nuTrek movies or STC would have occurred, so it's definitely worth an examination.
posted by mwhybark at 6:32 PM on December 22, 2017

I assume they're both viewable free online? If so, I say go for it. I started STC back when there were only about three episodes, and the waiting caused me to forget to go back to it. But I was into it—and fanfilms are generally not my thing.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:58 AM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

ok, I'll move toward this in 2018. I am unsure about Exeter's availability online at the moment. They ran aground after an ambitious shoot that involved the first accurate fan-constructed bridge set. I'll use this thread to drop reference and planning links in.

Here's a few:

Star Trek Reviewed, major hub for listing these projects.

Starship Exeter, appears to link only to the second episode. Originated and led by Jimm and Joshua Johnson.

Star Trek New Voyages Phase II. Originated and led by James Cawley. Cawley and the Johnsons worked together during the earliest phases of this project, but iirc the Johnsons were dissatified with the experience.

Star Trek Continues. Now concluded, led by v/o pro Vic Mignona.
posted by mwhybark at 1:13 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

By way of coincidence, I wrote a paper in grad school that compared Exeter and another fan production, the name of which currently escapes me (but unlike Exeter it was set in the post- VOY era and shot entirely on green screen). I haven’t watched Exeter since I wrote that paper, circa 2004ish.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 1:27 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to say this is interesting to me.
posted by mordax at 1:55 PM on January 2, 2018

bumping. This is still in play. Having a broken arm over the holidays proved more deferrant than anticipated.
posted by mwhybark at 8:41 PM on February 23, 2018

Quick bump here - this is still gestating. Taxes and upcoming travel will continue to delay it. I'm having some minor issues with scoping it - really, I would like to pursue a through line from Exeter to STC via STNV I & II but there are also other TOS era fan projects that I will want to call attention to, even as I see them as sidelines from the three projects above.

I have found my old interview materials with Jimm (and Josh) Johnson of Exeter and think I may have some from James Cawley and Jim Marshall of STNV. A specific thing that has been scratching at my hind brain is that it seems to me reasonably important to highlight the contributions of unpaid Trek veterans on the projects, some of whom worked under pseudonyms especially early on and who may now be required to do so under the fan-film guidelines that Paramount published about a year ago. That means pulling that out is a little tricky.

An additional complicating factor is that as these projects are fan films, the social circumstances surrounding their production can be somewhat fraught and provoke a sense of aggrieved rivalry among various productions and projects. I'm inclined to just leave that out of what I am interested in doing here, although it's easy enough to find on various sites in this are of interest.

Some teasers. Exeter's looooong in production final episode is actually really quite good, definitely better than I recalled it being. STNV is very wobbly with some aspects of the shows, plots, effects, mise-en-scene, and acting reasonably well-done and others confusingly and amateurishly executed. Something I had missed on first watch was that the actors are all working toward a direct vocal emulation of their characters' originators interpretations and some are really quite good. The overall look of the show, again, is uneven, with mostly really excellent uniforms and sets but with lighting and FX that are just not quite where I suspect the creators wanted them to be.

One of the later-made productions, the Starship Farragut episodes, had some actually outstandingly visualized space FX by contemporary standards, but the episode I watched was not so outstandingly plotted, directed and acted. I had not come across it previously but it deserves a mention.

Anyway, still rolling on this, at fan-film production speed.
posted by mwhybark at 7:22 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Working thru STNV/P2, the James Cawley Trek fan series. Man, they really did get better! The early stuff tends to be front loaded with stunty Trek vets (too many to list, but in every role: fx, script, acting, probably more). Some of the performances from the recast crew are a little weird because they are focused on delivering an accurate vocal impression of the originating actor - and then acting in tandem with that actor! SUPER STUNTY!

Then there are a hella bunch of recasts, such that to where I am in the show there have been THREE (excluding Nimoy and Quinto) Spocks, two Chekovs (excluding yadda yadda yadda), two Sulus...

I mean, no bigs. Recasts are the warp engine here, the thing that proves this is myth more than property. But whoo! Hard to keep track.

David Gerrold penned a two-part frickin' BODY HORROR episode featuring Jim Kirk's gay nephew Peter ans his fiancé, for god's sake. It's... rough, and could have been tightened up. But, come on, Trek's highest-profile gay writer gets to write about Rigellian blood plague using TOS as a setting? Seriously, it could be terrible and still be great! (It's not terrible. It could have been better. But it was not awful!)

So anyway, i would say this is good news, even if my head is spinning withnregard to the editorial framing I have upcoming. I'm still kinda excited to share this with you guys.
posted by mwhybark at 8:21 PM on April 6, 2018

Gerrold interview in which the STNV production is glancingly mentioned. The episode was originally conceived for TNG.
posted by mwhybark at 8:31 PM on April 6, 2018

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