With Star Trek: Discovery, the long-awaited next new series in the Star Trek franchise premiering Sunday on CBS All Access, I've become even more impatient than before for new Trek. After all, other than the reboot movies, we haven't had a Star Trek series in more than a decade.
[Disclosure #1: CBS is the parent company of ZDNet. Disclosure #2: While I'm paid by CBS, they're not telling me anything more about the new series than they've told anyone else. Not a darn thing.]
In honor of the upcoming series, we present you with a selection of unofficial Star Trek series and films. These are unique among fan films in that many of them star or have been produced by former Trek cast members and have professional production values.
Finally, while I got to spend a work day searching out cool new entertainment, I did not get a chance to watch any of these shows. As such, I can't tell you what you're going to find, whether the themes are appropriate or not, or anything else. No doubt, though, I'm going to allocate a few free Saturdays (if I ever get any) to binge watching some Star Trek fan films.
We'll kick off our gallery with a crowd-sourced production staring many of the cast members from previous official series, including Walter Koenig (Chekov), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Picardo (Louis Zimmerman, the doctor), Robert Beltran (Chakotay), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), Terry Farrell (Jadzia), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), and the legendary Nichelle Nichols as Admiral Uhura.
The premise is basically Suicide Squad meets Star Trek, with a team of renegades and outcasts being sent out to save the universe.
One episode is in the can and available to watch. Two more are currently seeking funding.
This series began in 2004 and was intended as a sequel for the original series. This, too, includes many cast members from the official set of series, including Walter Koenig (Chekov), George Takei (Sulu), Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand), and Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar, playing as Dr. Jenna Yar).
There are eleven full episodes available to watch online.
A humorous and very unauthorized take on the Star Trek genre, Fox is taking a big chance with The Orville. Will it join the scrap heap of good science fiction saddled with terrible titles (I'm looking at you Serenity)?
Set 42 years after Star Trek: Nemesis (a TNG movie), Star Trek: Phoenix introduces the USS Phoenix with a rescue mission in the Neutral Zone.
There is one episode available. A second episode was planned but has been put on hold due to concerns over the Axenar lawsuit.
This is a club-made series featuring fifty (count 'em, fifty!) episodes, mostly on virtual sets. The series is set after Deep Space 9 and the Dominion Wars aboard the USS Excelsior and the space station Deep Space 12. The fans who produced this series have been extremely busy, producing a number of prior and spin-off series.
This fan-series of two films occurs during the TOS timeline. The USS Exeter is also a Constitution-class ship, like Kirk's Enterprise. The first, The Savage Empire, is a story of political intrigue during peacetime. The second film, Starship Exeter: The Tressaurian Intersection starts with a destroyed starbase.
Written as what was essentially a documentary-style trailer for what is intended to be a full film, the Axanar production raised more than half a million dollars on Kickstarter. The premise of the film, if it is ever made available, is a battle between the Klingons and the Federation.
In the meantime, you can watch the 21-minute pseudo-documentary and hope for the release of an actual film.
Episodes: 1 (docudrama)
This three-part series also includes visits by Walter Koenig (Chekov), Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) and Tim Russ (Tuvok). Set 40 years after Kirk was killed in the Nexus, this is another rescue mission that gets a Star Trek true into yet more trouble.
Set during the time of TOS, Starship Farragut's website lists eight live-action episodes, animated episodes, and a comic book. I was able to find episodes for only five of the live action shows, but it's still interesting. According to the main site for the show, official Trek stars Tim Russ and Chase Masterson (Leeta in DS9) guest starred, along with Jimmy Doohan's son, Chris.
Horizon takes place after the days of the first Starship Enterprise. Before the Federation, a few planets are at war with the Romulans. Running at an hour and 42 minutes and featuring the NX-04, this promises to be an exciting film.
Star Trek Continues is, as you might guess, about continuing the original Star Trek series. Consisting of six released episodes, Continues was also funded by Kickstarter. Science fiction fans will recognize Lou Ferrigno (the Incredible Hulk) and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), who guest star in this series. Myth buster Grant Imahara plays Hikaru Sulu and Jimmy Doohan's son Chris plays his father's role of Scotty.
Star Trek Dark Armada consists of seven episodes that were produced in The Netherlands. It features the Nova-class starship Batavia, and takes place after the time of the Next Generation. Celebrities guest starring in the series include John de Lancie (Q), René Auberjonois (Odo in DS9), and Dwight Schultz (Murdock in the A-Team and Barclay in TNG).
There's a shocking discovery and all life on Earth and throughout the Federation is at risk. So, what else is new? Looks like a lot of fun.
This is another series that takes place after Star Trek: Nemesis in the post-TNG timeline. Filmed entirely in Scotland, the series consists of eight episodes. Follow the crew of the Starship Intrepid as they attempt to voyage to a new area of the galaxy.
Now this looks like it could be fun, if it's done right. According to the producers (who are the same team who made the Hidden Frontier fan series), this is a retelling of the Homerian poem. The series takes place far outside the Milky Way, in the Andromeda Galaxy. There are nine episodes available on YouTube and Vimeo.
We end our trek through fan films with a fun sendup of the original series episode Amok Time. Created by Mark R. Largent, Stalled Trek tells the story of the starship Second Prize, Captain Krok, Mr. Spott, and Dr. McGruff. In space, no one can hear you bark.
If you want to see more fan films, dig through Star Trek Reviewed (their Quick Picks page is particularly helpful) and the Star Trek fan productions Wikipedia page. In addition to those spotlighted here, there are hundreds of fan films you can watch and enjoy.