This is an episode of a fan-made series whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.
Stardate 6050.5: The Farragut is dispatched to the vicinity of an enormous gas giant, the last known location of the Federation starship U.S.S. Azrael, which was initially sent to study it. The Azrael is discovered intact, but it fires torpedoes at the Farragut with surgical precision: the ship’s ability to move and fight are damaged, but that’s all. Smithfield and her engineering crew begin repairs, while Captain Carter quizzes Prescott about the service record of the Azrael’s Captain Glenn, under whom Prescott served on a training mission. Tacket and Carter find an interesting mention in the log entries transmitted to Starfleet from the Azrael before the ship fell silent: alien devices are surrounding the gas planet and gradually sapping it of its energy. They may also be behind the behavior of the Azrael’s captain and crew…but how can Carter stop the same from happening to his own ship?
Voice Cast: John Broughton (Captain John T. Carter), Michael Bednar (Commander Robert Tacket), Holly Bednar (Lt. Commander Michelle Smithfield), Paul R. Sieber (Lt. Prescott), Tonya Bacon (Lt. Moretti), Amy McDonough (Dr. Holley), Bob McDonough (Galway)
Special Guest Voices: Chris Doohan, Hetoreyn, Jason LeBlanc, Chase Masterson, Vic Mognogna, Ralph M. Miller, Lou Scheimer
Review: A first of its kind in the world of Star Trek fan films, Power Source takes the already well-regarded (and deservedly so) fan series Starship Farragut and turns it into an homage to Filmation’s early ’70s Saturday morning Star Trek cartoon. The result is more than an homage – not only does it look like Filmation’s animated Trek, it even sounds like it, thanks to Filmation producer Lou Scheimer giving the production access to the actual background music and even some artwork elements used in the ’70s. (Hey, Lou, if you’ve got the original music tracks, how about a soundtrack album, even if it’s strictly a digital release?)
With the help of animated Trek fan site webmaster and artist Kail Tescar, Power Source displays almost complete fidelity to the original animated Trek. The plot, while it leaves a bit of a tantalizing mystery, wraps up nicely in a half-hour (meaning a solid half-hour, not 20-or-so-minutes with room left for commercials); the plot also seems to draw just slightly from Clarke’s “2010” as well, another move that smacks of authentic classic Trek. The biggest fork in the road is that animated Farragut features a couple of “damns” and “hells” where the original animated Trek – despite Gene Roddenberry having some oversight and despite a number of prominent real SF writers having a hand in the writing – was aimed solidly at the kids. I’m not sure it really makes a difference, but less swearing would’ve been more authentic.
The voice acting from the Farragut regulars is on par with their live action performances, but the guest voices are the real treat here: in many cases they’re as goofy and over-the-top as they should be if you’re emulating a children’s cartoon from the early ’70s. Before you ding the show any points for lack of naturalism, remember that it’s accurately reflecting the style of the time. Kudos to Farragut regular Michael Bednar for really grokking just how over-the-top to go when his character was taken over by an alien entity – it’s both funny and right on the money for that ’70s cartoon style.
My one complaint is that it’s a bottle show! Why have an animated Trek fan film stuck aboard the ship? (Okay, technically we go over to the other ship too, but it’s a Starfleet ship, so guess what? Same background art!) The really great thing about the original Trek toon was that it was now free to explore previously unimagined vistas that were way beyond the scope of the Desilu soundstages. Farragut has the same opportunity if they’ll seize it. A second episode, The Needs Of The Many, is promised around the end of the year, so maybe they’re thinking the same thing I am. Power Source is enormously entertaining in its own right – it’s a brand new episode of animated Star Trek, for cryin’ out loud – so I’m more than willing to sign up for another animated tour of duty with the Farragut.
The animated Farragut episodes are being produced primarily by FX outfit Neo F/X, which also does the live-action Farragut’s FX and CG work; one gets the impression that Neo F/X wanted to have it on hand so they could have a proof of concept of traditional cel-style animation (though this was almost certainly put together with much more high-tech means than camera-ready art). Judging by the results, their “demo” should certainly land them a job or two.