Monday, June 17, 2013

Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

As I was saying in a previous post, there seem to be a lot of series and films in the Star Trek universe that are fan made. I have just finished watching Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and I have to say I was impressed. The show is by no means a masterpiece of cinema, but the effort and dedication were clearly great and applaudable.

Now, when you go to the Hidden Frontier link and you start watching from season 1, a warning pops up, inviting you to watch a more recent episode rather than starting from the beginning. And that is because season 1 was ridiculous and the show only started to look like something watchable somewhere in season 5 or 6. You see, Hidden Frontier is filmed exclusively in front of a green screen and all the d├ęcor is borrowed from existing Star Trek shows. The first Hidden Frontier season is low resolution, bad green screen capture and incredible bad acting. Does it make it any less remarkable? No. I have to say that, leaving the acting prowess of people that are clearly not actors aside, the last two seasons were almost on par with the real thing. The greenish contours are still there, but less visible, the 3-D models are better (at least imperial star fighters don't appear in battle scenes as in the first seasons), the actors are better. I would call it a success, although I don't have many friends who would be as enthusiastic watching it.

There are other series and films in the same universe. Star Trek: Odyssey will be next on my list. What really surprised me is that the scripts were very like Star Trek Next Generation and Voyager, but their quality did not improve with time. I was expecting a bunch of ST geeks to be able to make complex and interesting stories, the kind of stories that are usually not allowed on TV due to violence, moral complexity or scientific knowhow needed to understand the script. It was not to be. Also, they made this attempt to balance the Star Trek universe by bringing in gay romance and kisses. It would have been all good if they didn't also almost ignore any romance between girls and boys. It really is ridiculous how a single boy gets into at least three relationships, while the only straight love stories seem to be between a Vulcan and a human and between two old people. Being biased in the other direction doesn't bring balance, you know.

So all in all I recommend this show as a new experience, something to give us hope that ordinary people can still create and distribute independently, and a monument to the power of fans.