Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Star Trek Phoenix

This seems to be another of those potential series that ended up with just one episode, in this case a half-hour Part 1 of what looks like it was going to be a two-part pilot.

It is a pity it got no further than this half-hour episode, made almost three years ago, as in general it was very good indeed and showed a lot of promise.

Yes, it has faults: the acting, though good on the whole (and especially for a first episode: compare with others such as Phase II), was variable. The characters with altered voices are a little overdone, so the captions when they are speaking are not just helpful, they are more or less essential. I'm not all that keen on this...

I understand the desire to be plunged straight into the story and the use of flashbacks to establish pieces of the back-story, but it's overplayed a little here and not handled as well as it really ought to have been. After all, this is a well-established production/screenplay device, not some experimental new idea.

On the positive side: the use of the original Trek main character format has worked well, with the captain's personality, the part-Vulcan first officer and the less-than-diplomatic (ironic on a State ship full of diplomats!) chief medical officer – a credible update of the 'Bones' McCoy model. The Trill has a most compelling face, which helps one see past the host's facial markings (if deliberate and the actress was chosen largely for that reason, it was a clever bit of casting) and Elle Viane Sonnet plays the part well.

This turns out to be a fan-driven production, which makes it quite remarkable – especially when compared to other  attempts, such as the (much poorer, I think) Encarta movies. The sheer scale of this effort, though, becomes more evident when one comes to the movie-length credits at the end. Even Phase II has a smaller credit listing, and that is so long that it needed at least two extensions to the standard Trek closing theme to accommodate them...

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