[Commentary] | [Spoilers]
[Updated 04 November 2020 to fix links and add YouTube video at bottom of post.]
There is in fact not world enough or time for me to express just how much I love the latest episode of Star Trek: New Voyages, the continuing adventures of the classic USS Enterprise crew in a fan-tastic fourth season. “World Enough and Time” now stands proudly with the very best episodes of Star Trek.
The first few episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages were great fan efforts: a little rough around the edges but enjoyable enough. It is obvious that the cast and crew have a deep love for Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry’s original concept, but when watching these fan films there is always that sense of “I wish the original was still around” and “I wish this were maybe a little bit more professional.”
Until now. “World and Time Enough” brings back George Takei, the actor who played helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the original series, for a time-bending adventure and emotional journey. With his return and new guest stars, the overall production values and acting have all improved. James Cawley finally becomes Captain James T. Kirk, especially in scenes with a lovely new visitor to the USS Enterprise.
Everything about this episode is wonderful. The plotting and pacing will have you at the edge of your seat, with moments to breathe and learn something new about favorite characters. The banter between Kirk, Spock, and Bones is as good as it gets. The special effects are breathtaking and often quite beautiful. The displays, the references to Star Trek canon, small moments and big moments, a new look at the USS Excelsior and her crew under the command of a certain captain, and so much more…
Christina Moses deserves special note. She captures perfectly the excitement, joy for life, and heartbreak of her character. Make sure you have something available to wipe away your tears…
The latest episode debuted August 23, 2007 to technical difficulties that have not yet been completely resolved. Right now the STNV website offers only a small streaming version of the video at the following link [defunct.]
I was very disappointed by this technical turn of events, though I commend the STNV team for being upfront about the issues. Still, I only grudgingly started the stream. Then, after just a few moments, I had forgotten all about these technical details and found myself completely entranced. If you do not get the stream right away, definitely try again later. Seriously. This episode is that fantastic.
There is also a preview of the next episode (STNV‘s first two-parter!) which promises to take Star Trek in a direction Gene Roddenberry wanted to take but was allegedly not allowed to do so, except superficially, by the studio. Featuring one of my favorite actors you might not have heard of – Bobby Rice [replaced with IMDb link because actor’s website is defunct] – and special guest star and fan favorite Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar from Star Trek: The Next Generation), “Blood and Fire” is at the top of my must-see-now list.
Fan films have come a long way in the past few years, and Frontier Channel has covered just a small portion of this activity. Fan series like STNV and Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, short films like Still Life, and original series like The Scene show how technological progress, and the rapid flow of once expensive technologies into the hands of everyday yet creative people, is expanding our entertainment options and threatening stagnant Big Media. Much of this work has in fact been wonderful, and with “World and Time Enough” I think such content has finally become a legitimate contender for my time.
Shame on CBS Paramount Television for not recognizing the potential in Star Trek fan fiction. Sure, they currently have a hand’s off approach as long as the fan creators do not make any money off of their efforts, but CBS Paramount Television could be doing so much more while helping to build their franchise in lucrative ways. Why not offer a license to Star Trek material for a 10% cut of all proceeds? Doing so would create a cottage industry of fan fiction filmmaking, with a wealth of new ideas as well as improved production values. The STNV team donate their own time and money because they love Star Trek, but there is the potential for so much more if CBS Paramount Television offered something, anything, to these creative people.
That aside, some fan fiction has already surpassed the worst of television, and even become worthwhile in their own right. Today I saw fan fiction that equals the very best of television, and Star Trek: New Voyages has me completely hooked.