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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old February 9 2014, 04:26 AM   #1
Harcourt F. Mudd
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Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

Killing time before the release of STC's second episode, I decided to try this show again. I've only seen 3 or 4 random episodes over the years and was always in the middle of some arc I knew nothing about.

This time I hunted around to find a good bottle episode and hit the jackpot on my first pick! Presenting S05E04 Security Counsel. It's a standalone episode, you don't need to know anything about the show to watch this one, so give it a shot. The story is solid TNG-era writing, lots of fun, and a great intro (or single foray) into the series.

For those who don't know, Hidden Frontier is the Captain Elizabeth Shelby (BOBW) show, featuring Robin Lefler, Ro's brother Nevin, a cool Tellerite Doctor, and a bunch more on-board the USS Excelsior, patrolling the Briar Patch from Insurrection. Their they fight Tholians and stuff. It's all green-screen so it basically looks like the Star Wars prequels with all action scenes removed. This series pioneered the Internet-distributed generation of Trek fan films alongside Star Trek: New Voyages and Starship: Exeter, and has the most episodes of any fan production. Not pretty to look at, but it has lots of heart.

Can anyone else recommend a good standalone or two-parter from this series? Helpfully Vimeo has short plot synopsis of each episode.
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Old February 9 2014, 10:14 AM   #2
USS Intrepid
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

I enjoyed season 3's Ashes, and IIRC that was a standalone.
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Old February 9 2014, 03:17 PM   #3
Danlav05
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

I love this series and it's spin-offs Odyssey, The Helena Chronicles and Federation One.

The scripts are solid and continuity is well looked after. The production is so much better from say season 5 onwards - I'd say Episode 505 Epitaph is a good hopping on point as it begins the ongoing storyline that takes you right to the series finale, It's Hour Come Round At Last.

What I like about it most, and it is better watched as a full series, is that the characters they created were so well-developed over the course of 7 seasons and 50 episodes.

Not just Shelby, Lefler and the few (only a few) others from the TV Series, movies and at least one case novels, but their own Ro Nevin, Corey Aster, Jorian Zen, Henglaar, Myra Elbrey, Tolian Naros and a lot more were given full personalities and lives. Also a while before Phase II they presented the first gay storylines EVER on Trek - something Paramount/CBS has yet to do.

They have designed their own starship classes and upgraded familiar ones.

To me it was the 5th Series as when I started watching I shunned Enterprise! I'm a bit nicer to it now though.

As for the spin-offs even though they were divided into 3 series I count them now as Seasons 8-9-10 of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier as many of the same characters return, the storylines intertwine and are wrapped up in one massive joint finale 'Tossed Upon The Shore'. There are three Hidden Frontier [Excelsior crew] crossover movies [two shorts and a feature!] with Intrepid which I guess is unofficially [to me] a HF spin-off despite being independent and thousands of miles away. Characters from both have turned up as cameos in each other's shows, and both groups have shared resources, truly making it a fan film COMMUNITY which is wonderful.

I feel I cannot taking about Hidden Frontier without including Intrepid [which is still running] as it is so involved in that universe, it is also VERY well-produced, a bit different as in it has some physical sets and location shoots taking advantage of their beautiful local scenery. They use themes like Section 31 in their arcs and is set in a different part of space. It's nice to see them fly the British flag in the fan film community, again they have created a wonderful bank of characters who's story you want to follow episode-by-episode.

Simply put, Hidden Frontier and co to me are the definitive 'what happened next' in the Star Trek universe post-Nemesis. I miss them but like Admiral Chekov showing up in Renegades I'm sure a few faces will return someday
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Old February 9 2014, 09:22 PM   #4
Kelso
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

HF was a lot of fun!

One episode that sticks out in my memory was the one where aliens ate a dead little colonist girl in accordance with their beliefs. Her parents didn't take it terribly well.
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Old February 9 2014, 09:45 PM   #5
USS Intrepid
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

Kelso wrote: View Post
HF was a lot of fun!

One episode that sticks out in my memory was the one where aliens ate a dead little colonist girl in accordance with their beliefs. Her parents didn't take it terribly well.
That was Ashes.
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Old February 9 2014, 10:48 PM   #6
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

I remember a few years ago going through a mammoth watching of Hidden Frontier and loved it, there was definitely some better stories and characters on it than in VOY and ENT.

I should get back to watch it again.
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Old February 10 2014, 04:42 AM   #7
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
Kelso wrote: View Post
HF was a lot of fun!

One episode that sticks out in my memory was the one where aliens ate a dead little colonist girl in accordance with their beliefs. Her parents didn't take it terribly well.
That was Ashes.

Oh, whoops! Then I'll second what he said!
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Old February 12 2014, 06:34 AM   #8
lennier1
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

My main annoyance with it was how it spent so much time on repeatedly mentioning that some of the crew members were gay.
So what? I don't see any other show spending a quarter of its time on going on and on about the the eye color of some of its characters.

It was kinda funny to see a fan series repeatedly come up with better ideas and stories than the official stuff at that time with Paramount's million dollar budget behind it.
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Old February 13 2014, 11:49 PM   #9
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

lennier1 wrote: View Post
My main annoyance with it was how it spent so much time on repeatedly mentioning that some of the crew members were gay.
So what? I don't see any other show spending a quarter of its time on going on and on about the the eye color of some of its characters.

It was kinda funny to see a fan series repeatedly come up with better ideas and stories than the official stuff at that time with Paramount's million dollar budget behind it.
I do agree it sometimes went out of its way to draw attention to their sexual orientation, which got kind of annoying. The actual relationships were fine (though I think the show spent too much time on them).

Some of the storylines and characters were actually quite interesting, and despite suffering from some inevitably rough amateur acting, I thought a few of the performances were quite good. Rebecca Wood and Matthew Montgomery stand out, as well as the actress who portrayed the Romulan on "Odyssey."
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Old February 14 2014, 12:53 AM   #10
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Re: Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

I never really had a problem with the portrayal of the various relationships on Hidden Frontier. If anything, I was glad to see all kinds of relationships shown to be just as normal and everyday and commonplace in that show's "world."

There were times, though I felt the intent behind showing those relationships as normal and commonplace sometimes overruled what smart characters would do in some of the situations portrayed, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

Really, my only actual complaint about Hidden Frontier would just be that in its efforts to achieve longevity, it's overall series arc and plot were stretched out far too much. Siroc always got away, and whatever his mysterious mission was all about was continuously becoming more and more convoluted and impossible for the Starfleet heroes to stop once and for all until the finale.

Bear in mind, I watched every episode of the show and enjoyed each of them. I think in retrospect, I'd have preferred more contained plotlines over the course of its seven seasons that might have fed into one another rather than one massive arc that served as its throughline the entire time.

One thing that HF got definitely right was the cliffhanger in one of its later episodes -- Homeport? Vigil? I can't remember which one. The one where everything's fine for most of the episode until someone sabotages the space station and one of the officers is kidnapped. (At least, that's what I'm remembering today off the top of my head.) That damn episode had me screaming at my computer!

So, to Rob Caves and the entire production, I applaud you for the work you did. Perhaps more than any of the fan films today you guys really paved the way for modern fan films, showing that it was possible to continue to make these little films on the regular and also that they could be quality work. James Cawley once said he found Hidden Frontier to be "too soap opera-ish." In reality, he's basically been copying their approach with Phase II. Hidden Frontier set the stage and like it or love it, they did it first. More importantly, they did it well.
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