Star Trek: The New Voyages

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Some things I am nerd enough for, and some things I am not. The million-fold wrath of Halo Nation notwithstanding, I am actually nerd enough to play Halo 3. I am not really nerd enough to watch Star Trek: World Enough and Time, a fan-produced episode that’s part of the New Voyages series, which is basically a fourth season of the Original Series, with fan-actors playing Kirk, Spock, et al. Since they’re not making any money off the show, Paramount lets them use the names and the ships and all that copyrighted stuff. “World Enough and Time” actually has an extended cameo by George Takei, as a future-Mr. Sulu.

I say that I’m not nerd enough to watch it. But I did actually enjoy it quite a bit. The premise is a Kobayashi Maru-style encounter in the Neutral Zone with some Romulans. Experimental weapon, ripples in space-time, huge explosion, transporter accident, etc., and suddenly Sulu and a fetching redshirt have spent 30 years in an alternate universe, while only 30 seconds have passed back home. Sulu then returns to the Enterprise, massively aged, with his alt-universe daughter, where he must save the ship from some funky energy field it’s trapped in.

The writing is really pretty sharp, and the sets and audio are spot-on — it’s nice to see the old-style ship design blended with up-to-date (if homebrewed) CGI effects. The sound effects are perfect, and the candy-colored control surfaces are authentically weird. Yes, the acting is pretty horrific, except for Takei, who turns in a righteous, totally unwinking performance as Sulu-from-the-future, and the guest stars who play the fetching redshirt and the daughter. Scotty in particular, while exhibiting zeal and good will, has a hard time with his accent — were there no Scottish Trekkers available? Though I have to take a moment to single out Bones’s hair, which is rivetingly accurate.

But I didn’t end up caring that much about the acting. “World Enough and Time”* is easily as well-written and -plotted as most authorized Trek episodes, and it’s just kind of amazing that they pulled this stuff off as well as they did, with that level of commitment — I mean, they even fade to black periodically, even though there are no commercials. Each nerd must decide for him or herself whether they (sorry, bad grammar here) can face the New Voyages. I can’t say I’m sorry I did.

*that title is from Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” which besides being an awesome poem also donated the title for Ursula Le Guin’s “Vaster than Empires,” and probably more SF and fantasy titles over the years. There’s something about Marvell that just sounds like it should be space opera. “Time’s Winged Chariot.” “Deserts of Vast Eternity.” I’m waiting for the Neville Longbottom fanfic “Vegetable Love.”