I decided to get my geek on tonight by sitting down and watching a few of the fan productions I had heard or read about on various blogs and news sites.
As a preface, I should say that I had not expected much. I have seen fan productions before and, generally, while I applaud the effort and creativity involved, I think they are pretty hard to watch. Bad acting, bad sets, bad effects, bad, well, everything seems to be the norm.
Things have changed.
I started with the production Star Trek: New Voyages and their episode "To Serve All My Days". New Voyages is a fan production attempting to finish the Enterprise's original five year mission (the original series ran only three seasons) and cast young actors as Kirk, Spock, Bones, and everyone else. For this episode, they even managed to get Walter Koenig to reprise his role as Chekov!
The production values are quite high; sets and props have been methodically and faithfully replicated from the original series and the computer effects are only a few notes short of professional quality. More impressive is the quality of actors they have enlisted; I am unsure as to whether these actors are professional or amateur but the level of professionalism is quite clear. All the actors do a credible job of being the character without trying to imitate the actor who made the role famous.
However, the highest quality was reserved for the story. The story in this case has as an A plot an attack against the Enterprise by what looks very much like a Klingon ship and a B story revolving around Chekov and a sacrifice that causes him to age twenty-five years in the course of a day and the reflections this causes him to have on his career and life in Starfleet. All I can really say is that it felt like an episode of Star Trek.
And because of that one thing, I will be eagerly awaiting their next episode.
I'll post up comments about the other fan films as I have time and get around to watching more of them. In the meantime, relevant links: Star Trek: New Voyages, Wikipedia Entry for New Voyages, Wikipedia for Star Trek Fan Films.