Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Warped9, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    For those who haven't seen it yet here are some screencaps.

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    That hangar deck is cool. And the Enterprise is sweet, too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    I do. First, the story. The first half was a paint by the numbers TOS story. It was predictable. In fact, the only part not predictable was the ending.

    Captain Kirk. How many have we had now? Shatner, Pine, Cawley, Vic and now Brian. No offense to Vic, but his Kirk is wound up WAY to tight. An example would be when he's giving orders during an emergency situation it's more like how the actor himself would respond to danger than Captain Kirk. Yes, Kirk yelled when he had to but it didn't sound like a hissy fit. Although he deserves props for one hell of a flying kick. Is there anyway to lower his voice in tone artificially? His voice is to high.

    Scotty has the best line. :)

    Seems to me if you're going to have Uhura from Phase II, you should give her something to do. She should have been the one to take Lolani under her wing. TOS doesn't need counselors. I mean let's be real here, we all know why the McKenna character exists. I enjoy her as an actor but the character doesn't fit. Plus she hogs all the screen time, leaving Uhura and Sulu with nothing to do. And where the hell is Checkov?

    Spock was better this time and had something to do. But I'm still Meh as far as the character is concerned.

    When Lou first appeared I barely understood him, and during the dinner scene I cringed. But he brought his A game afterwards. When he kicked ass he kicked ass.

    Final score for Lolani, is 5 out of ten. A very slow and dull paint by the numbers first half almost brought this train to a grinding halt. I get it, it's a fan film and not to be judged by professional standards. But don't call it Star Trek Continues and pretend it's a continuation of TOS and have Kirk already begin to lose his eyesight. And if you want to do TNG fine, do TNG. But if it wasn't the first episode with a holodeck, this time we had more of Counselor Troi-I mean counselor McKenna. Choose, be TOS or TNG. But just choose already.

    I liked the moral story at the end and was taken back by how it ended. But we could have done well with less Kirk angst over Lolani at the end. Picard would have let Lolani go, but not Kirk. The ending scenes seem like they come out of a TNG episode rather than a TOS piece.
     
  3. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    Of note is that Gary Kerr did the CAD drawings for the Hangar Deck and did an fantastic job. It looks great!
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. I learned of that last week.
     
  5. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    I just watched it. Loved it. Perfect tribute to TOS.

    This was my first experience of Star Trek Continues. I'd love to see more. I've been really impressed by what I've seen of the fan films so far. I've been loving Phase 2 as well.

    Vic was great as Kirk, and Lolani was beautiful. I wouldn't even need the Orion pheromones to be attracted to her.
     
  6. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Hot damn. Color me impressed! This was a cracking episode. Solid dialogue, top notch lighting and direction, good actors, great effects that don't overwhelm, and a really good morality tale.

    The cast did a terrific job. I loved the special guest star and was excited to see who it was. The other actors did a wonderful job, and were very believable. Still, if I have to hand it to anyone, I have to say that Vic Mignogna held it all together. His portrayal of Kirk is the best I've seen in any fan production. He really sold me on it.

    Larry did a good job as Bones. Chris Doohan, well what can I say? I accidentally called him Jimmy while watching the episode, and realized what I had done. Again, everyone did a terrific job, and I need to add that I love the character of Dr. McKennah. The dinner scene, where Scotty refers to Zaminhon as a brutal monster, was excellent all the way through.

    I wasn't bored for a moment, and found myself making silent comparisons to the original series, and finding so much that matched up and rang true to the style and tone of classic Trek. I kept forgetting that this wasn't a classic episode, that it had been made in the 21st century. That takes skill!

    All in all, an excellent job! My congratulations, and thanks, to everyone who worked on the show, because you did such a great job, and I got to see it for free. :ouch:
     
  7. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Very evocative of Season 3 TOS. Really enjoyed this. Well done to everyone on the team who put it together. Bonus points for a gold-medal worthy execution of Kirk's two footed kick to the chest. Outstanding :lol:
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I never expected that Star Trek would ever again be in a form that would affect me again like TOS. The best I hoped for was to see space adventure, other SF or even a new Trek done in a new form that would click in such a way to grab me in some semblance of how I felt about TOS. Babylon 5, The X-Files and one or two other series as well as some of TNG were pretty cool and could even make me grin with some enthusiasm, but it still wasn't quite the same magical feeling as TOS.

    One also has to be realistic and accept that recapturing the chemistry of the original cast with new performers would be highly unlikely.

    In all candour the STC cast does not have that chemistry. There is no questioning their enthusiasm and dedication. But then I haven't seen any other cast in a fan production match STC's level of execution either. The STC cast do a decent job of reprising the TOS characters without being slaves to the original cast. It's a fine balance.

    But it's the rest of the STC production that raises the whole above the average. Despite the challenges they've managed to evoke the feeling of the original Star Trek unlike anyone else be it fan or professional production. I find myself moved in a very unexpected way, in a way I haven't known for a very long time.

    And I am thankful of that. No, it ain't perfect (neither was TOS), but it's pretty damned cool nonetheless.
     
  9. geneo

    geneo Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yep, no chemistry and Vic needs a few more acting lessons as Kirk or something, I'm not sold yet.
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    At the same time, a lot of fan films take on some of the most pretentious episode titles in Trek history. Like "Whose Birth These Triumphs Are" or even "For Want of a Nail." Good god. The contents never justify such high minded titles.

    Give me me "Arena", "Catspaw" or "Lolani" and "The Child" any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Simple and they get the episode's point across a lot more clearly. Yeah, I know: "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky." But you know something, it perfectly states the point of the episode.

    Oy. Sometimes I think the titles are created first ("Hey, original Trek did 'Dagger of the Mind.' Shakespeare!").
     
  11. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    I sort of like the titles for all the episodes of Friends. They all start with "The One with...."

    I kind of like the convention that some shows adopt: "The One with...," "Mr. Monk...," and "Night of The...," etc.

    I also like the episode titles in Police Squad, but that's a different story.

     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I think Vic has a quality that eludes anyone else I've seen, but, of course, he can never be Shatner's Kirk. Then again it's a fine line to walk between a respectful homage and parody. I also think if he were playing the role more frequently, like when shooting a series, he would gel more consistently. I think Vic sometimes exagerrates the body language just a bit too much, but then again I'm sure it's not an easy thing to get right since I think Vic does it better than anyone else.

    Haberkorn's Spock is also a bit hit-and-miss. I don't find him bad, but I think he misses some opportunities. Nimoy had a way of making a soft scowl telegraph so many different meanings. So Haberkorn should exercise those eyebrows. :) I think he should also study Nimoy's body language as TOS era Spock.

    McCoy is also hit-and-miss because, like Nimoy and Shatner, DeForest Kelly defined the role. There's a nuance in McCoy's sarcasm that if you don't get it you're either bland or come across as just crabby. STC still hasn't got a hang of the Spock/McCoy jousting.

    Chris Doohan is usually pretty good as Scotty. I particularly like him when he's doing serious scenes.

    Kim Stinger's Uhura lacks a quality that isnt easy to duplicate. She doesn't have Nichelle Nichols' exotic aura. Nichols had something of an exotic catlike quality to her that was fantastic. That aside what I would like to see is Uhura given more to do similar to what was done with Hoshi in ENT. We also saw a touch of this in James Blish's novel Spock Must Die where Uhura has talents beyond working the communications station.
     
  13. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I'm putting this episode on my 'to watch' list for tonight to check it against the pros and cons I've read so far. ;)
     
  14. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    I watched "Lolani," Star Trek Continues' second full-length outing Sunday night after a weekend away in Bakersfield with my girlfriend, so forgive me if some of this has already been covered.

    Rather than break this down into some nitpicky list of things I liked or didn't like, I'm just going to write this review and hope that what I got out of this episode will come through in the following paragraphs.

    Erin Gray as the commodore was just delightful. I actually didn't realize it was her until her second scene, which I have decided is a good thing. Stunt casting can be so brutal and can take you right out of the world/moment you're in and Gray performed here admirably. I don't really care much about the whole nitpicky "women can't be captains!" crap so I'm not going to get into that; I had no problem believing this was a flag officer Kirk had to report to. I do think however Kirk called her too often. We've seen more flag officers from the TOS era in these fan films than we ever did in actual, official, legit TOS! Too, it just slowed down the story here having Kirk phone home to update Wilma and still be told, "No. Do what you're trained to do already."

    The camera work on "Lolani" was inventive, fresh but also in line with how things were done in TOS. A true and dedicated effort to recreate the look and feel of that show (beyond just sets and uniforms and lighting) clearly shines through here. It's an abstract element that I find not many of the fan films get right, let alone attempt. But it was done well here and really worked for me. Just like in "Kitumba," the color mix is vibrant and plentiful. Scotty and the security officers' red shirts pop, Lolani is as seductively green as Susan Oliver was 60 years ago. There's even a tracking shot down the corridor with McKennah and Lolani that was very TOS-reminiscent. I'm trying to recall if Exeter, Phase II, or Farragut have attempted such a shot in any of their previous productions, but the minute I saw it here I instantly remembered Kirk, McCoy and Spock in those scenes in TOS. Again, it's more an atmosphere thing pertinent to TOS than anything physical, but it was something I appreciated here. I've commented before about how a lot of the fan films forgo creative camera work for various reasons (time, money, etc.) but it's clear here that the crew on "Lolani" made the effort with their setups and camera work to raise the bar and produce as close to a professional production as they could.

    It's hard not to compare this to Phase II's "Kitumba" if only because of how closely these two episodes have been released, but I find I much prefer the use of background characters in "Lolani" as compared to how it was handled in "Kitumba." Here, we see several minor, likely one-off day players -- security guards, mostly. They contribute and they have their moments, but that's it. They help to propel the story along but not at the expense of other characters. "Kitumba" felt like it had four or five characters too many, the nadir of which was that awful scene with Prescott, Chekov, and Peter Kirk in the conference room. (I still don't know what the point of that scene was.) Here, the redshirts have enough time to shine but not to distract or deviate from our center of attention: Kirk and the senior crew.

    There are some really great juxtapositions in the script that upon further reflection I really, really like. Kirk, the captain of the ship and Kenway, a crewman (the lowest rank on the ship) both clearly succumb to their attraction to Lolani and she tries with both of them to escape. Zaminhon is soft spoken and polite but is also brutal and cruel. The episode itself is at times dark, thematically, heavy and brooding with the prospect of Lolani's eventual fate, but there's a clever little joke at the beginning -- "That was strange." -- when Kirk and Spock exit the bridge, leaving Scott in command. A minor joke, yes, but one that could be all too easily glanced over in other productions more interested in plot than character. This is the kind of humor I like to see, not cheap potshots or ill-conceived references to the official productions.

    Lou Ferrigno was great in his role as Zaminhon. Like others, I was a little put off by his voice at first. "Great, the Orions have moved to Brooklyn," I thought. But it ultimately wound up playing very nicely into the conceit of the show and furthered the disparity of his façade of sweetness and good manners masking what an actual monster he truly was. The underlying tension in that dinner scene (which itself was somewhat evocative of Star Trek VI) was everpresent. I kept waiting for Zaminhon to flip the table in an outrage when Kirk and company finally go too far. But it never happens, Zaminhon knows what kind of game our people are playing and even takes Scotty's (brilliant) line in stride. I was at a dinner party myself a few weeks ago and we were speculating as to who Lou Ferrigno would be playing. I mentioned to IndySolo and TV'sFrank that Lou would be great as a starship counselor. It got a good laugh, but in retrospect I'm glad Continues went with the hulking Orion slave trader, all at once using Lou for his obvious assets and also summoning the elephant in the room - his role as The Incredible Hulk, a mutant with anger management issues. In all, it was tasteful and delightful (if also stunt) casting.

    Before I go into my comments about the script itself, I would point out that nowhere is Vic Mignogna more "Shatner-y" than in that opening voice-over in the main title. Part of me wishes he'd dial it back a bit and part of me is fine with it. The main title itself is a bit incongruous to the rest of the show but that has always been the case. I can see why, from a production standpoint it is the way it is -- there are so many other fan films out there trying to replicate TOS so exactly that it's one way Continues can stand apart from the rest. In this regard, I am totally fine with the main title.

    Regarding this script... as Maurice and middyseafort have stated before me, I absolutely love that this episode was about something. In the writer's room of the show I work on, often I'll hear pitches from other writers and every once in a while, my boss will stop them: "That's great, I love it. But what's the bottom of the story? What's it really about?" Here, Star Trek Continues delivered to us a story about something. There was a purpose, a meaning beyond costumes and spaceships and politics and aliens. It wasn't fictional politics like in "Kitumba" or all spectacle like "Enemy: Starfleet" or just pew pew pew space battles (something I fear we are in store for in abundance with Axanar) ... but there was an actual moral quandary to be figured out here. (Was there even a single phaser blast in this one?) "Lolani" has within it an emotional core to what could have easily been an exploitative, fluff piece. Certainly much of the credit is due to Fiona Vroom's performance as Lolani; she spends much of the episode equally trying to escape and convince anyone who will listen that she wants, to paraphrase Ghandi, to "Be the change she wishes to see in the galaxy." I think her plight might have been more sympathetic had she not been so (seemingly) conniving throughout so much of the story, but that could also be leveled as being motivated by her desire to be free from bondage. Just as Christina Moses absolutely sold us on Alana in Phase II's magnificent apex "World Enough and Time," Vroom delivers Lolani's gravitas, particularly in the video recording at the end, quite well.

    I wasn't crazy about how underutilized Spock was here. Nor how (mostly) useless McCoy was in this story. Knowing the effects Orion women have on most men, more than half the episode goes by before anyone thinks to innoculate the crew against the effects of Lolani's pheremones. Kirk basically ignores Spock's warnings about Lolani at the beginning of the show. And while Kirk may have the capability of withstanding the temptation, Crewman Kenway clearly doesn't. His initial fall for Lolani is understandable but I don't know that I believe he actually fell in love with her, based on the all of ten minutes he spends with her here. Nobody in the story thinks to point out, "Dude, it's the pheremones. Sleep it off and see how you feel in a day or two."

    Which begs the question: Is it possible to fall in love with someone after knowing them for a few minutes?

    Probably not. Not actual, true love, anyway. Certainly one can become infatuated (guilty of it myself) but love? True love? That's a tough pill to swallow. Just as Ensign T'Noshi falls for the Vulcan revolutionary in Project: Potemkin's "The Night The Stars Fell From The Sky," the naïveté on display here is believable and yet unbelievable, but the outcome and the resolution are decidedly unrealistic.

    Much has been made here of McKennah's expanded role in the episode, perhaps at the expense of others (McCoy, Sulu, Uhura) which I understand. But it's fine. The chemistry between Vic and Michele is definitely there and while I thought the scene where she takes Kirk to task was handled infinitely better than the dozen or so times we've seen McCoy chew out Kirk on the bridge in front of everyone over on Phase II, I still would have preferred for that particular scene to have been omitted or at least placed elsewhere. Hopefully episode three will allow for a more ensemble adventure for the crew but I'm totally fine with the McKennah character here.

    Vic Mignogna's Kirk continues to stand (or double-kick!) far and above both Cawley and (what little we've seen of) Brian Gross. I fully admit that may change next week when I get around to watching "The Holiest Thing." But for now, Vic has the swagger down pat. Kirk is a physical role and Vic nails that physicality every time he's on screen, from simply standing still to how he carries himself. In this episode more than ever before, that physicality came in to play. (I try imagining James Cawley, scrawny as he is, taking on Lou Ferrigno and I just don't believe it would end well for the captain.) Figuratively and literally, Vic has captured the posture of Kirk unlike any other actor we've seen in the fan films. His chemistry with McKennah is obvious and nice to see translated from real life to the screen; sometimes that doesn't always work out. It will be interesting to see how that particular relationship works itself out in future episodes.

    The episode did ask a lot of questions about the future here, some interestingly and some that were a little clumsy for me, but easy to brush aside if Continues chooses not to revisit this story later. The retconning of the backstory of Orion culture (effectively reversing the revelations of the Enterprise episode "Bound") made little sense. If the Orion women had controlled the men for centuries and it was the pheremones that made that possible, how exactly did the men revolt successfully? More importantly: How do they maintain their control now? Also, what exactly are the implications now that Kenway is going off to Orion to see "family?" Is he off to go start a revolution? Is Kirk passively approving? Doesn't that kind of fly in the face of the Prime Directive?

    In summation, this episode was utterly fantastic. Sure, there are a few story choices I'd have made differently, but what we have, at last, is a mature story with actual gravitas to it.

    I don't even miss the pew pew pew phaser fights either.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    In the scenes between Kirk and Commodore Gray we actually don't know who called who. We neither hear Kirk say, "Get me Starfleet Command." nor hear, "Captain, incoming message from Starfleet."

    Also how quickly news seems to be going back and forth the Enterprise mightn't have been far from Starbase where Commodore Gray was stationed. And in extent they mightn't have been that far from Orion either given Zaminhon reached the Enterprise in thirty-two hours.

    Yeah, rationalizations. It's what we fans do.
     
  16. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting thoughts. The only minor disagreement, not to say quibble, I have is the implication that a story has to either be a serious one, or a mindless space battle. I don't think it's a black and white, either/or situation. Certainly the upcoming show you mentioned could end up as a mindless shoot-em-up, but I think there's the possibility of something more substantive. We shall see.
     
  17. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Oh, I agree. I just felt like of the bigger, near-pro productions we generally get regular releases from, this was the first time where there wasn't any need for a big space battle. I mean, come on. How many episodes of Phase II begin with some kind of starship engagement? There are certainly great stories to be told that do involve space battles; I'm just tired of seeing them in fan films.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    It would certainly be interesting to see if STC or any other production would attempt something like "Shore Leave," "The Trouble With Tribbles," "I, Mudd" or "A Piece Of The Action."

    Mind you nothing as absurd as "I, Mudd" or "A Piece Of The Action," but something with a distinct humourous bent.


    In "Lolani" I think Scotty had two of the best lines and each delivered perfectly.

    "He seems nice...for a slave trader."

    "Lolani says you're a brutal monster."
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  19. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    One of the problems we face as Fan Productions working on a shoestring budget with cardboard sets and volunteer actors, (and volunteer just about everything else, for that matter), is that it's a challenge to get people to take our show seriously as it is. (We often get the "Community Theater" comparisons--which is understandable.)

    I think it would be an uphill battle to successfully pull off a comedic episode, although I think we're not actually averse to trying. (I recall both STC's and Exeter's "Night Shift" shorts.) Personally, I'd like to push the envelope a bit of what constitutes a "Star Trek" episode--maybe a comedy, maybe a musical, maybe an episode entirely in an alien language like Klingon or Vulcan but subtitled for those few fans who don't speak any of those alien languages.

    Mostly, venturing too far out of the Trek formula might be more trouble than it's worth. Fortunately, we have a Senior Executive Producer and a Show Runner who get to make those kinds of decisions. (Also David Gerrold has been working on a "Tribbles" follow-up episode for us, but the scuttlebutt is that he's going counter-intuitive with it, and it's more scary than it is funny. So that might not actually scratch the "unconventional Trek episode" itch we might be having.)



     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The thing is TOS did a variety of stories. They did brinksmanship stories, allegory, horror, romance, adventure and comedy and a mixture of those. So a light hearted episode, like "The Trouble With Tribbles" or "Shore Leave," is not outside the Star Trek envelope.


    On another note here is the STC Episode 2 Q&A session after the Dallas premiere of "Lolani."

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...top_uri=/watch?v=1OSy9mzpOms&feature=youtu.be
     

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