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‘Star Trek Continues’ Righting a Start Trek Original Sin

April 19, 2014 | Filed Under Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, TV, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


‘Star Trek Continues’ Righting a Start Trek Original Sin

-By Warner Todd Huston

Recently the second episode of a fan-made re-boot (or more properly a continuation) of the original Kirk/Spock Star Trek appeared online and, as with this troupe’s first episode, this one was quite a success. But an interesting aspect of the episode is that it made to correct a Star Trek original sin, of sorts.

This is the second episode from the new web series, “Star Trek Continues,” starring Vic Mignogna as Captain Kirk, Todd Haberkorn as Spock, Larry Nemeck as McCoy, and Chris Doohan as Scotty (son of the original Star Trek actor James Doohan).

(See my review of the first episode from last year here.)

This episode, titled “Lolani,” featured a few well-known actors chipping in with their talent to help the episode along. Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”) starred as the episode‚Äôs menacing baddie, an Orion slave trader named Zaminhon, and Erin Gray (“Buck Rogers”) had several guest shots as a Starfleet Admiral.

Interestingly, as an Orion slaver, Ferrigno had to go green once again, invoking his days as the Hulk in the 1970s/80s TV show in which he played the titular big green guy in the ripped purple pants.

For those unaware of what a Star Trek Orion alien is, well, they have brilliantly green skin. So, it was notable that Ferrigno donned the green body makeup once again.

“It’s been almost 20 years because I used the makeup of the Hulk in a commercial in Europe. Getting back into it was a bit of a shock, and this makeup process took a while. But the character was beautiful,” Ferrigno, 62, said in an interview.

Ferrigno did a great job as the big baddie in “Lolani.” His imposing size, and gravely, deep voice gave him a wonderfully malevolent air. Even his speech impediment (Ferrigno is deaf) fit the character beautifully giving his speech an “alien” feel. That may seem like something that shouldn’t be said in this day of political correctness, but I don’t see any reason to ignore the fact that Ferrigno’s whole package worked so well in this role.

The show is filmed on the well-made Star Trek stages built in Georgia several years ago by Farragut Films. The fan-supported studio now hosts three separate and distinct Star Trek fan series.

As with its debut episode, “Star Trek Continues” makes great use of the original music and characters (though a new female character was added to the Kirk/Spock/McCoy milieu) and approximates the original series (TOS) very, very well. In all, these folks are making a very credible Star Trek, one that is easy to accept as just some new episodes of the original series.

As to the plot of “Lolani,” the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise comes across a disabled ship that has but one life sign. It turns out to be an Orion slave girl named Lolani. The woman builds quite a following among the ship’s crew and their captain and drama ensues.

I won’t delve into all the aspects of the plot, suffice to say that it works well as a story. But I do have something to say about the whole “slave girl” concept. In fact, the whole Orion slave character is something of a Star Trek original sin.

The very first time that such a character was used in the Star Trek universe of TV shows was on the original series. In fact, it was in the pilot episode that never aired–but was later turned into the only two-part TOS episode titled “The Menagerie.”

The first slave girl character appeared as a sexual temptation to Captain Pike. The next appearance of the character was also on an episode of TOS and was portrayed as a sexually amped woman who was mentally unstable and ultimately murdered (Yvonne Craig of “Batman” fame starred). Orions also appeared in the last Star Trek Series “Enterprise.”

But in every case, the females were objectified, sexually charged, treated as slaves (though we found in the “Enterprise” episode that the women were temporarily the ones doing the enslaving in the Trek timeline for that series). But there was little by way of any regret that there was slavery going on in the Star Trek universe–though the ideal was given lip service in the “Enterprise” episode titled “Bound.”

This is a strange lapse for the original series, to be sure. Trek’s Gene Roddenberry was something of a moralist and most of the original Kirk/Spock episodes were mini morality plays, for sure. But here we had a character, this Orion Slave Girl, used twice in TOS and no moralizing against slavery was much hinted at.

At a time when American civil rights was still a very controversial issue (the original series ran from 1966 to 1969 only a few years after the landmark Civil Rights Act), it would seem that a green-skinned slave girl would have been an ideal way to nudge in the idea that slavery is wrong. But that never happened.

Again, even in the 2005 episode of “Enterprise” featuring the Orion aliens, the idea that slavery is a bad thing was only given brief mention and never realluy served as a key ideological factor in the two episodes in which Orions appeared. So, it is sort of a Star Trek original sin that Orion slavery was not more thoroughly excoriated in any Star Trek episode, especially the original series.

I mention all that because “Lolani” made to correct that moral lapse. In fact, the whole episode was a moral treatise on the evils of slavery. The ideal was spoken to forcefully and directly in this episode and, I think, the script approximated Gene Roddenberry’s vision of Star Trek morality quite well.

In summation, “Lolani” was a fitting tribute to Star Trek The Original Series and a worthy second outing for “Star Trek Continues.”

Three and a half stars out of four for “Star Trek Continues” episode two, “Lolani.”

Star Trek Continues E02 “Lolani” from Star Trek Continues on Vimeo.

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Huston has also appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and many local TV shows as well as numerous talk radio shows throughout the country.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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