One of the great things about some Star Trek fans is that they do more than just watch the show or collect memorabilia. We all know that some Trekkies like to dress up as their favorite crew member or alien and even gather together in conventions to share their passion for Star Trek. A select few, however, go even further and create their own Star Trek shows. Within a few years of the demise of the original 1960s series (TOS), fans began to publish their own fanzines, while others wrote their own stories and novels which they shared freely with other Trekkies. At times they took TOS characters on new adventures where they encountered new aliens. Some even created new settings, ships, and characters. These community efforts helped keep the Star Trek universe alive during the drought years before the movies and the premiere of the Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) in 1987.
About a decade ago a passionate group of Trek fans exploited the power of CGI and the internet to create their own full-length episodes. Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and Star Trek: Phase II are arguably the best examples of this. Early this month Star Trek: Phase II released its latest episode “The Child” which is based on an original script by Jon Povill. Povill initially wrote the piece for Gene Roddenberry’s planned series, Star Trek: Phase II, which he shelved when Paramount commissioned the first Star Trek movie in 1979. The story later became the inspiration for TNG’s second season episode of the same name. The new Phase II episode revived the original script and was directed by Povill.
Phase II continues the ongoing voyages of Captain Kirk, Spock, and the original Enterprise. Like the TNG episode, Phase II‘s “The Child” focuses on an alien force that impregnates a female crew member. However, this new life grows rapidly so that each day the new child grows the equivalent of one year. As Kirk and the crew debate how to respond, a plague strikes the Enterprise and the timing suggest that the child is somehow connected to this disease. Rather than spoil the end of this episode, I would urge readers to download the episode from the Phase II website or watch it on Youtube. While at times the acting might seem less than polished (though some might say the same for TOS), this all-volunteer effort does an admirable job and overall the production is very good. While we await the 2013 Star Trek 2 movie and pray for another television series, this episode and the others produced by fans can help fill that void.