Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Warped9, Feb 8, 2014.
I have written a brief article about this episode which you can read here.
I forgot to mention that the title was pretty unimaginative. Yes, there was "Gem" on Star Trek, but that one word/name title is the exception rather than the rule.
I've already mentioned I quite like this episode. I grant the creators full credit for trying to raise the bar in talking about something of substance as well as daring to have a downbeat ending where no one wins. They were emulating the best of TOS which were often dramatic moments and moral ambiguity.
That said this isn't above criticism. Beyond mere nitpicking which can be largely dismissed I do have a few reservations.
Firstly I don't mind the McKennah character. I understand she might be something of a bridge to TNG fans although, speaking for myself, a Counselor isn't something I'd have brought into the TOS era given we never saw any such thing in TMP, TWOK or later. Doesn't mean Counselors weren't in those eras, but we never saw them. Given that I credit the STC folks with making Elise McKennah a doctor. But what is she a doctor of: psychology, sociology, both, something else, what? I also question her use in this episode. Because it strikes me Uhura serving as the bridge to Lolani would have been much more dramatically effective, primarily because of what Uhura represents both today and certainly in the 1960s. As a black woman in a position of responsibility and authority she ideally illustrates how far a people can come, which would be particularly poignant given Lolani's status and situation. I also feel McKennah is being written as too forward or familiar with the command crew. No one outside of McCoy and Spock could challenge Kirk the way McKennah was shown to do. And I think Kirk should have been a little more forceful in pointing out the line she crossed. Also her presumptive familiarity bothered me---she addressed Spock without the honorifc "Mister" which struck me as again stepping over the line. It was presumptive on her part and it didn't feel right.
The other element that bugged me was the political angle. As I understand it the Enterprise is sovereign Federation territory. As soon as Lolani came aboard she came under the protection of the Federation as well as subject to its laws. She was involved in an incident involving Federation citizens (the Tellarites) and if she requested asylum as a persecuted individual Kirk has the authority to give her temporary asylum as well as detain her until he can deliver her to a starbase where all the legalities and politics would be sorted out. This is no different than the situation in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" where Lokai stole a Starfleet shuttlecraft and after being caught requests asylum aboard the Enterprise. Bele next arrives and claims Lokai as an escaped convicted prisoner. Because Cheron has no treaties with the Federation Bele has no grounds to reclaim Lokai and Kirk turns him down flat as well as detains Lokai to deliver him to starbase. When Bele insists Kirk contacts Starfleet who backs him up. So Lokai stole a shuttlecraft and Lolani might have murdered Federation citizens, both incidents the Federation has the right to investigate before entertaining any thought of releasing those individuals. And the Federation has no treaties with Cheron or Orion. So what's the difference? Why is Starfleet willing to back Kirk up over a stolen shuttlecraft but not over a possible homicide? To me it doesn't wash.
How it should have played out was the Orion slaver showing up to claim his "property" and Kirk turning him down flat and informing him he could settle it at starbase, but until then Lolani was detained as well as under Federation protection. And it looked like Kirk was fully prepared to do just that until Starfleet (in the person of Commodore Gray) overrides him and orders him to release Lolani back to the slaver. For me this is a genuine WTF! moment that really makes Starfleet look bad because they're not even willing to have have a proper inquiry over the incident when previously they were insistent on Lokai being returned to starbase for a full inquiry into stealing a shuttlecraft.
What this says to me is that there might have been something else going on that we and the Enterprise crew are not aware of. Maybe the Federation was in negotiations with Orion for something or other and didn't want this incident rocking the boat so they order Starfleet to give Lolani up. Again, though, that makes the Federation look bad and yet nothing of this kind of background is mentioned even in a passing reference to clue us in as to why Starfleet is so willing to surrender a woman back into brutal slavery.
Raising these points is not meant as a slam of the episode as a whole. I raise them as an observation of what I see as inconsistencies in terms of story and continuity. Something to think about.
I have to agree with Maurice's complaint that the constant interaction with Star Fleet Command is a serious impediment to story telling in just about every fan production. (Potemkin seems to be an exception) GR's original concept was to compare the biggest star ships to the British Navy ships during the height of their empire. Because it took months to exchange messages Captains operated with enormous autonomy. I'm sure they were not free from second-guessing, but when the shit hit the fan, there wasn't some desk-bound bureaucrat ready to tell them what to do. Contrast the episode where Kirk is ordered to take a Federation diplomat to Eminiar 7. He HAD to go, but once he got there he was on his own and even the Federation diplomat bowed to his authority when it came to tactics and strategy for carrying out the mission. The Fugitive Slave Law is generally regarded as one of the low points in American history and here we see Star Fleet taking the low road and back seat driving Kirk into an impossible position and one that no Starship Captain should find himself in.
That is no slap at STC, which is doing outstanding work and raising the bar to the point (to mix metaphors) where it is blurring the line between "fan" and "pro" productions. I do think that Maurice has hit on one of the major story telling problems with too many scripts which keep the Captain from driving the action and instead leave him as a helpless pawn of back stage manipulators.
I think we are seeing something of a retconning of TNG era ideas back into the TOS era.
I watched Lolani yesterday I thought it was a well made and the story about Lolani's plight was a story torn out of todays news headlines.I thought Lou Ferigno did a good job as the villain in this episode.
Well, there was the episode "Miri," and the aborted episode "Joanna." But indeed, those were exceptions to the general episode title trend. I think the "single name" episode titles really picked up steam with TNG (e.g. "Sarek").
Re: Counselor Elise McKennah.
One could make a case that McKennah's position is an experiment at this point in Starfleet history. She also seems less regulation in behaviour and appearance (how she wears her hair) in much the same way as Troi in TNG. Maybe McKennah isn't regular Starfleet. Perhaps she's more civilian with minimal Starfleet training (a year at the Academy) and given something of an honorary rank of Lieutenant. That might explain her presumptive familiarity with the command crew. Or she is a doctor of psychology and sociology with full Starfleet training who then applied for the Counselor program.
I like the fusion of the TNG and TOS opening credits.
First: I loved the episode.
Yes, there are nitpicks, and I think they all have been covered by other members in this thread.
I want to congratulate on the effort. The acting, the editing, the continuity , the sound mixing and the sfx are all well done and once again swimming in semi-professional waters.
I don't think, any fan film comes near a would-be 4th season of Star Trek. But I am truly entertained by the enthusiasm that hits my screen.
STC, P2 and EXETER remain my favourites in fan film territory, because of not just the labour-of-love but also the love-of-detail.
"Lolani" and "World Enough And Time" are the best efforts to date for me. I'm sure they will be followed soon (in April, I assume) by another entry that will be concluded after a decade.
Congratulations! 2014 might be the best year for fan film productions, yet....
I don't. It feels out of place with something that on the whole is aesthetically more TOS than any other fan film since STARSHIP EXETER. The opening credits are inconsistent with the look established in the rest of the series, which mimics camera angles, lighting and even the shots of the Enterprise from the original show.
That being said, applaud "Lolani" for being about something, as Maurice pointed out. And I enjoyed far more than I thought I would. I'll have to rewatch it again before I put more thoughts out there.
With the inclusion of a counselor and a sense of morality that, as others have observed, seems to have a foot definitely in the TNG camp, perhaps the opening is in fact telegraphing an intent to be a hybrid?
I'm wondering if the opening sequences were done before Doug Drexler was brought onboard because the Enterprise model used in the opening credits doesn't look like Drexler's model used in the episodes.
I don't despise the opening sequences, but I think it could be better.
OUTSTANDING! I would consider stopping use the word "fan" when describing this segment as it was as professional as any other show I've seen. Truly outstanding. I'm very, very grateful.
Perhaps. STC has gone on record on attempting to replicate the exact look of TOS, so it seems out of place to have those elements in the show. Quite frankly, PII already has that hybrid-feel to it. In fact, PII feels, at times, as if it's TOS as rebooted by those working during the TNG-ENT-era of TREK.
Lou was quite articulate, I'm kinda sad that he never played the Gray mobster Hulk... Although he might have in one of the Animated Hulk series where he still played Hulk.
Spartacus in space?
I didn't like the end.
you didn't like how the story problem was resolved
you didn't like the coda
I didn't like the self-cleaning.
(How long do spoilers last with these things?)
This could have been an ongoing arc that crept up from time to time about emancipation, civil war and reconstruction.
Unless the Klingons or the Romulans took the Orions side, how long would they really last in an all out war against the Federation?
The Orions still use atomic fission to power their warp drives.
What exactly would the Federation do if they had conquered Orion?
And how would that lead to the humanacentric Orion Syndicate as seen in DS9?
What if Kirk had gone through with rescuing the slavegirl before he couldn't?
Imagine Commodore Gray decking him with one punch... "This is what happens to assholes who do not follow my orders!"
Meanwhile having a drug that inoculated the crew was nice, but what if the only way out was to still have one of those marriage sex melds Trip and T'pol had that everyone on Enterprise in the Eyes of Vulcan legality was massive married big love clot of polygamy?
Remember the Telepath rail road from Babylon 5? It was a year later since the station first dealt with the problem of runaway telepaths and Sheridan is looking for the area leader of the illegal underground on Babylon 5, and it turns out to be Doctor Franklin, another main cast member who had been morally swayed a year before to get up off his as and do the right thing no matter the consequences.
I understand that the writers can't over complicate things, and keeping with the patterns of the original show that they have to tie everything off, but how much difference would it have made if Kirk had challenged Lou Ferrengo to a bowling competition match, while Lolani boosted his ride, so that she could run off and start a grass roots movement to free her gender?
Loved every minute of it, felt exactly what it is meant to be, a good season 3-4 episode
Vic is Shatnerkirk, his mannerisms are dead on without cliche, he looks enough like him and his height and build are almost identical.
I love hot chicks so I was not disappointed in that regard either
Louie was fantastically oily and menacing
Habakorn is getting quite good and Chris is his father (scary)
I would be happy with a different McCoy and Larry is a fine actor for sure but I don't feel Leonard McCoy
Drexlers effects spot on
Beautiful poignant story. My favorite episode is Empath and this evoked similar emotions to me
Wish we could get this funded and get it on a network I'm already jonzing for the next episode
(We need an engineering set)
I am assuming a lot of this refers to other shows I've not watched.
Separate names with a comma.