This is an episode of a fan-made series whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.
Stardate 4625.1: Captain John Carter assumes command of the Constitution Class starship U.S.S. Farragut after a tragic incident forces her previous captain into retirement. His hand-picked choices for his chief engineer and first officer are also aboard, though he’s a little bit put off by the by-the-books demeanor of the security chief he’s inherited. The Farragut is ordered to investigate the disappearance of another Federation vessel and a survey team headed by the headstrong Commodore Broughton – and what Captain Carter and his crew find waiting for them is a party of Klingons, led by Commander Kruge and guarding a secret weapon. Focusing the energy of an entire planet on its targets, the Klingons’ new weapon could threaten any world in the Federation on a planetary scale. With the Farragut searching for survivors from the destroyed ship elsewhere, it’s up to Carter and his crew to put the Klingons out of commission.
Cast: John Broughton (Captain John T. Carter), Michael Bednar (Commander Robert Tacket), Holly Bednar (Lt. Commander Michelle Smithfield), Paul R. Sieber (Lt. Prescott / Klingon voice), Tonya Bacon (Lt. Alissa Moretti), David Sepan (Baker), Amy Sepan (Dr. Holley), John Broughton Sr. (Commodore Broughton), Mark Hildebrand (Kruge), Chris Carothers (Karek), Trey Thomas (Kray), Larry Manzare (Admiral Wainwright), Amanda Root (Bell), Bob McDonough (Galway), Cherise Rosemond (Shuttlecraft Pilot), Daniel Awkward (Nash / Klingon voice), Ralph Miller (Computer voice), Michael Struck (Jennings / Strickland), James Cawley (Captain Kirk), Jeff Quinn (Mr. Spock), John Kelly (Dr. McCoy), Sally Arkulari, Daniel Awkward, Ken Brison, Nancy Ellis, Brad Graper, Steve Kaserman, Dan Manherz, John Miller, Roger Miller, Michael Oetting, Tracy Phelps, Laird Sheep, Eric Van Arsale, John Winsley (Klingon Warriors), Patrick Bell, Bruce Dennis, David Dufrane, Denis Durand, Ron Gates, Natalie Montgomery, Ian Peters, Trey Thomas, Rob Turner, Jessica Young (Farragut Crew)
Review: The premiere of a new fan series set in the classic Trek era, Starship Farragut has a roughly equal number of things going for it and things that need improvement. But it’s a very impressive first effort, and the people who put it together can hold their heads high with this latest addition to the Trek universe. Though it seems as though the ranks of Kirk-era fan films are swelling, each series is unique enough to provide a different experience, and Farragut is no exception.
Farragut features an on-screen send off from James Cawley and his Star Trek: New Voyages castmates, which could lead to Farragut being labeled a spinoff. Farragut filmed on the New Voyages bridge set, so in a way it’s a “thank you” – but it also highlights one of Farragut’s problems. Where New Voyages and the impressive trailers for the upcoming all-star fan film Star Trek: Of Gods And Men have shown that careful (and colorful) lighting can make the New Voyages bridge look almost indistinguishable from the original Enterprise sets, Starship Farragut lights the same set with starkly bright white light, giving the bridge scenes an “overexposed” look. At other times, there are scenes so dark that they look grainy (such as the poker game at the end of the episode. These problems will most likely be rectified with more experience as the Farragut crew produces more adventures.
Even more evident, however, is that the show’s leads need more time to get used to their characters. They’re all appealing, and the characters are written as a trio of old friends, but there’s a rhythm missing from their banter – their scenes come across as stagey, with the cadence and rhythm of actors waiting for their cues, rather than the rhythm of normal conversation (especially chatter among old friends who know each other as well as they apparently do). Again, this is something that will surely be eased out as the cast gains more experience, and some slightly tighter editing would help. Perhaps unintentionally, the most intriguing character by the end of the show is security chief Prescott, who winds up being the center of attention simply by virtue of being the one the other characters talk about the most.
The effects are top-notch, with the highlights including the Klingons’ secret weapon (both parts of it), and the entire opening teaser, which is a fun little number that would’ve done any of the TV series proud. I’m a little less gung-ho on the “inside the force field” effects, which almost reduce the picture to black & white and add a distortion effect that I found more distracting than anything. There’s also a nifty reverse-echo effect on the audio during these scenes, but all of these effects inexplicably vanish once you get inside a structure (that’s still inside the force field).
Overall, though, Starship Farragut is off to a strong start – the episode thunders along with a great story and a swaggering confidence that’s definitely earned by the end of the hour. It’ll be interesting to see what this new homebrewed Star Trek can accomplish, especially if the possibilities of interconnected storylines are explored with New Voyages.