Star Trek: Of Gods & Men

Star Trek : Of Gods & Men is an unofficial Star Trek 3 part mini-series created by its producers as a “40th Anniversary gift” from Star Trek actors to their fans. It was filmed in 2006, but its release was delayed until 2007-08. It is not officially endorsed by the rightsholders of Star Trek , and therefore not considered as cannon, but has been covered on the official Star Trek website. Just like the numerous fan created stories.

It’s fun to see some of the actors and characters that we have known & loved for so long once again. Of Gods & Men which was recently named by the SyFy Portal Genre Awards as the top web project of 2008, is directed by Tim Russ (who is famous for having portrayed the Vulcan Lt. Cmd. Tuvok in Star Trek Voyager) who also plays the same character here. Original Trek characters Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Chekov (Walter Koening)  are joined by Captain Harriman (Alan Ruck) as the main characters along with Russ. Garrett Wang, J G Hertzler, Chase Masterson, Cirroc Lofton, Gary Graham & Ethan Phillips have roles that are different from their established characters in Star Trek (DS9, Enterprise & Voyager).

Set in the year 2305, Captain Nyota Uhura attends the dedication of a new USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-M), a replica of the original 1701. It is designed as a museum ship and a tribute to all who served on the original Enterprise, especially to Captain Kirk’s sacrifice. Uhura meets up with her former crewmate now Captain Pavel Chekov and John Harriman, captain of the Enterprise-B as the ship is launched. It’s 12 years after the death of Captain Kirk. But a distress signal lures the crew to a distant world code-named M-622, which turns out to be the world of the fabled Guardian of Forever. Because of the actions of Charlie Evans (William Wellman), who has returned from Thasian space to exact vengeance upon Kirk, the three captains suddenly find themselves in an alternate universe of total domination. Charlie enters the portal and suddenly the world is changed.

In this parallel world, Harriman commands the starship Conqueror, serving a mysterious evil supreme being, hell bent on conquering the galaxy.  Harrimans’ crew include security chief Garan (Wang), first officer Koval (Hertzler), and the Orion communications officer Xela (Masterson). The 3 of them serve their captain but also plot to over throw the others and take command of the Conqueror. Harriman unleashes a weapon that destroys the planet Vulcan on which Uhura was living with her vulcan husband and her son, daughter in law & grandchildren. As the planet is destroyed, some Vulcans escape on ships; Uhuru & Tuvok are captured by Harriman. Also imprisoned are two rebel soldiers – freedom fighter Ragnar (Gary Graham from ENTERPRISE) and Kittreck (Koenig) – with their own agenda in mind for defeating Harriman.

Our heroes are able to discover that they have to change the timeline and take over the ship. Harriman is convinced that he is to help them and they get Charlie, a changed man in this lifetime to tell them what he did to make such drastic changes to the world. It turns out that Charlie had gone back in time through the portal and killed Captain James Kirk’s mother before she could deliver the legendary captain. The absence of one man led to such drastic alterations to this time line. Our heroes also have to battle the mysterious evil being, Gary Mitchell (who in the TOS pilot was killed) who had become so powerful. Charlie & Gary fight it out and Mitchell is rendered powerless and he beams back to his ship. Charlie goes back and changes what he did; the timeline changes.

In the closing scene we see a now retired Uhuru marrying her vulcan lover (who in the alternate time line was already her husband and had a son with her). Attending the ceremony on Vulcan are Chekov, Harriman and Janice Rand. Alls well that ends well.For a fan-based film, it’s brisk, fast, ambitious & fun. Forget the bad make up & special effects in this mini-series (hey they barely had a budget) and enjoy the show.

Agents Mulder & Scully

Back in 1995 Star World started showing the first season of The X-files for us Indian viewers. I remember the first time I watched the show; it was in Bangalore in 1995 in my cousin’s house. It was the 3rd episode of the 1st season, “Squeeze”, which is about the guy who can squeeze himself into & through small openings like ventilation shafts & pipes and extracts the livers of his victims to prolong his existence. It creeped me out but in a cool way and I was hooked. I couldn’t watch anymore of the series until I came back to Cochin in mid-1996 and caught some of the reruns of season 1 and season 2.

Other than Star Trek, this was the first series which I was so fascinated with and wanted to know so much more than just watching the episodes. Last night I watched the pilot episode of the show, the first time I am watching it. I decided to get the series after waiting for such a long time. The pilot episode does not have the iconic opening theme music &  title sequence and features a very long looking Fox Mulder & Dana Scully – Gillian Anderson, who was already a stage veteran was only 24 years old here!

Scully is assigned by FBI management to keep tab of Mulder and reign him in from his all-consuming devotion to the X-files and back to normal cases. The duo is drawn into  mysterious deaths of a bunch of youths who all show signs of alien abduction. One of the most funniest & memorable scenes is when the agents are on the plane and as it is about to land the plane experiences turbulence; everyone is shaken up and ruffled but Mulder is relaxing on two seats, lying down and listening to music on his headphones. The legend of the X-files show is set & established as the two apprehend a previously catatonic boy, who looks like under the influence of the aliens’ experiment, is found to be guilty of killing his friends and has no clue as to how it was done.

I enjoyed watching the episode and look forward to more. I know the truth is out there.