Star Trek Continues : Pilgrim Of Eternity

Star Trek is a passion that glows brighter & stronger than a 1000 stars. After JarJar Abhrams highly successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise, two movies that have done well and introduced Star Trek to a whole new league of fans but leaves a lot to be desired for a lot of the faithful Trekkies (like myself) a humble fan-made episode in a Web series called “Star Trek Continues” that was shot for some $40,000, brings back sweet memories of the original Star Trek we have come to know and love as TOS (The Original Series). Produced by Farragut Films and DracoGen Strategic Investments, the nonprofit series stars Vic Mignogna as Captain Kirk, Todd Haberkorn as Mr. Spock, and features the late James Doohan’s son Chris in his father’s role as Scotty as well as Grant Imahara of “Mythbusters” as Lieutenant Sulu. The whole idea behind the fan series is to continue the 5 year mission from year 4 (and hence season 4) as TOS was cancelled after 3 seasons before coming back a decade later in the form of the first 6 Star Trek movies. The makers of the show want to create the show as faithful as possible to the original spirit. The look & feel of the show is like late 1960s Trek. They’ve got the costumes, the hairdos, the props, and even the lighting right!

Mignogna directed the first episode Pilgrim of Eternity which even features Michael Forest returning in the role of Apollo which he also played in the season 2 TOS episode Who Mourns For Adonais?back in 1967! The episode was shot at a 10,000 square-foot warehouse that hosts impressively accurate reproductions of the Enterprise bridge, transporter room, sickbay, and other classic sets. In Pilgrim Of Eternity the Enterprise is investigating power stations in a quiet region of space when they come across an anomaly that seems to be draining their power. Captain Kirk gives the order to destroy the source, a meteorite, they also detect 2 lifeforms which beam onto the bridge just as the source is destroyed. Kirk and crew are shocked to see that the lifeforms are a much older looking Apollo and Athena. Athena had used her last vestiges of power to send her & Apollo to the ship and she dies in a few seconds. Apollo is taken to sick bay and kept in the care of Dr. McCoy. Their previous encounter with Apollo, an alien who turns out to be the Greek god Apollo, has seen the powerful being hold the ship captive.  We learned in that episode that Apollo and his fellow alien race, get power & energy from adulation & worship from lesser being like humans, and hence posed as the Greek gods of ancient earth. And extra-organ in their body is the source of their power which enables them to create things and possess god like abilities. Eventually when the humans stopped loving & worshipping them the aliens left but Apollo wanted the same worship again and hence held the Enterprise crew captive

Apollo explains that the meteroite holds the entrance to a separate realm where all the “gods” of Olympus had gone to but the realm drained all their powers and aged them hence the rest of them died and now Apollo is the last living member of his species. He wishes to live out the rest of his days in peace amongst humans but says that he does not want them to worship him. After an analysis by a new member of the crew, ship’s counselor Dr. Elise McKennah (Michele Specht), Kirk agrees to let Apollo roam the ship albeit guarded by two security men. At one of the recreation rooms, he sees and hears Uhura singing and praises her. He then sings himself and gathers an audience. Spock walks in and sees Apollo telling the crew tales from his past and as the adulation increases, Apollo gaining energy and power from then starts to look & feel younger. When questioned by Kirk Appolo towers over the captain and uses his powers against him until Elise shoots at him with a phaser that stops the assault. Apollo is taken back to sick bay and restrained once again. Meanwhile Sulu & Simone (played by Jamie Bamber in a cameo) are clearing the debris of the realm on the outside of the ship during a spacewalk but an explosion causes Simone to be killed and Sulu is rescued just in time. This incident causes Mr. Scott to further be enraged and wants Kirk to not allow Apollo to live on a planet populated by humans.

Apollo then offers to undergo an operation to remove the extra organ, the source of all his power. He will still be able to retain some aspects of the abilities but will not be so powerful enough to cause harm. After the operation however Uhura is injured in an accident and dies and Apollo, showing remorse, uses his remaining powers to heal her and bring her back to life. The crew is stunned to see that his sacrifice has actually helped him heal himself and he once again appears slightly younger. Kirk, Bones & Spock discusses this and approach Apollo with a new plan; why not offer himself as a person who does good for humans and hence gain power & youth by his sacrifices to help those in need? With a renewed sense of purpose Apollo agrees and the senior officers, including a now convinced Scotty, decide to beam Apollo down to a planet that is inhabited by a primitive section of humans. The crew then continue on their mission. The ending shows a much younger looking Apollo helping out an old man and his grandson and beaming in pleasure at their gratefulness.

Wow, I never new a fan series could be this good. With the exception of a couple of big special effects that seemed poor, the rest of it feels like we are back with the TOS era show with new actors playing the roles we love so much. The characters – I’m not convinced with the new Kirk , Mignogna, who physically resembles Kirk and even tries to mimic the speech pattern & style but he lacks the charisma & good looks that William Shatner had in abundance. Haberkorn as Spock – has a voice that does not match the character and I wish he had a bigger physique and deeper voice. Larry Nemecek also seemed ill cast as Bones McCoy – he is too soft spoken to pull that role and just sounds & looks all wrong. Uhuru is just ok, while Imahara at times sounded a lot like Sulu but looks way too young for the role and Wyatt Lenhart as Chekov only had a couple of lines so I’ll reserve my judgement on his performance. It looked fine but nothing memorable. Michele Specht looked out of place in the cast as did her character and I hope they don’t keep her as a permanent fixture and instead try and bring back Nurse Chapel. Which brings us to Chris Doohan as Scotty who does his father proud in a role increadibly just like his father did.  Uncanny work done there. Oh and they even got Marina Sirtis to do the computer’s voice – neato! I’d like to see more of this. With a small budget of $40,000 they pulled this off – imagine what they could do with a proper financial backing!

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