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Friday, January 06, 2006

Geek heaven

I've been on a bit of a Star Trek jag lately. Going waaaay back, deep down to the heart of my geek beginnings. I've been a lifelong Trek fan. I even bought a Federation uniform when I was in elementary school(!). Thankfully I had he good sense to be embarrassed enough by my purchase not to wear it out of the house... much. Ironically, I believe it was one of the red shirt (security) uniforms and anyone who knows the original Trek series at all knows it's always a red shirt who gets picked off in the first 5 minutes of an episode. Luckily I never got vaporized by an ancient alien artifact or dissolved by a rock eating Horta. But I recently came across a few web sites were Trek fans not only wear their Federation uniforms out of the house, they're re-imaging the Trek universe and making they're own TV.

The first is the Starship Exeter, which follows the adventures of, well... the Starship Exeter. It's situated in the world of the original Trek, right down to the production methods the show uses. No CG ships here, they're strictly old school, shooting with little plastic models on wires.

Handbuilt sets full of funky angles and Soul Train lighting schemes.

And before the Klingons got kitted out with brow ridges and were just some bad ass intergalactic Hispanics with shivs.

No bat'leth here friend.

It's a stellar effort (pun intended) that manages to capture the original goofy tone of the old Star Trek without devolving into parody. It's more an homage than anything else. And it's impressive for being a completely amateur, volunteer production that relies on donations. I've made mine.

Unfortunately the next effort Star Trek: Hidden frontier is much more cringe inducing. Guess it's hidden for reason. It's like Girls Gone Wild, except it's high school math teachers with access to too much A/V equipment.

It's scene after scene of paunchy, pock marked, bad hair day, white people in ill fitting uniforms badly blue screened and stumbling through their lines across looped clips of sets from Voyager (I think). Ironically, if a United Federation of Planets ever becomes a reality, it will most likely be populated by schlubbs like these employing PowerPoint presentations on a galactic scale. But I guess mediocrity breeds success, these folks have been at it for 7 seasons now.

Oh yeah, and the brow ridges and bat'leths are in full effect. I just KNOW this guy can recite his lines in the original Klingon.

The final Trek effort is Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, a full length feature amateur effort years in the making. It also happens to be one of the most popular and often downloaded Finnish films ever. It's a full on parody full of astoundingly juvenile humor, bad acting and women in the tiniest leather miniskirts ever in space.

It also has some truly impressive CG effects.

And a Klingon named "Dwarf".

And it's just so damn odd... Star Trek. in Finnish. Yeah it's totally worth the download.

So that's how I've spent the last few nights getting back in touch with my inner geek. Who needs TV when you've got broadband.