I’m a few years late to the party, but last night, while searching for something totally unrelated, I accidentally discovered (and then watched) To Serve All My Days. It’s an episode in the fan produced series Star Trek – Phase II. It continues the original series, with fans playing the roles of the original cast. I have to say it was actually not bad. The fact that longtime Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana penned the script and that Walter Koenig reprised his role as a Chekov probably didn’t hurt. In this episode Chekov undergoes rapid aging, which is a convenient solution to Koening being 40 years older now than when he first played Chekov (but he’s not as old as he looks in the picture here! That’s all makeup). I was particularly impressed with how they ended the episode – it was a touching and unexpected conclusion.
The acting overall was amateurish, but not cringe inducing – no worse than some other sci-fi series that have been on TV (I’m thinking of shows like Andromeda and the 1st year of Babylon 5). I enjoyed James Calwey who played Kirk – he often seemed barely able to contain his glee, hamming up Kirk just like Shatner did. There were only two cast members I found distracting:
Ben Tolpin Jeff Quinn as Spock, not because of his acting, but because of the horrific makeup/headgear he was wearing, and Charles Root as Scotty, also not because of his acting, but because he looks almost exactly like Dan Akroyd (I kept expecting him to break out into a Blues Brothers routine at any moment).
The sets for the ship were particularly impressive – they were indistinguishable from the original 1960s sets. In terms of special effects, a big thing the show has going for it is the natural point of comparison is the original series, so the bar is set low. Like the original series, they have folks leaping onto their faces and things falling from the ceiling to provide the impression of a space battle. Unlike the original series, they use cheesy CGI instead of cheesy models for the space scenes. One advantage this gives the new series, however, is the ability to do some sophisticated maneuvering of ships during the battle scenes, so that was fun to watch.
I’m writing this because I know there are at least a few Trek fans lurking around my site. This is the article I stumbled across about the show, which has some interesting background information (like why they aren’t in trouble with Paramount for making the series, and that J.J. Abrams dropped in one time to give them some tips). You can download episodes from the Star Trek: Phase II site.