Starship Farragut premiered at the Farpoint Convention in Baltimore, MD in February 2007. It follows the adventures of the crew of the U.S.S. Farragut, a Constitution Class Starship (NCC-1647) commanded by Captain John T. Carter. Set in the original series timeline, Farragut also centers around three crewmen: the captain, Executive and Science Officer Robert Tackett, and Chief Engineer Michelle Smithfield. In fact, the strength of this fan film is in these three. When on the screen together, the camaraderie is palpable. I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t mention Security Chief Prescott, too, who has a prominent role to play. The actors provide an excellent feel for the bond these officers have formed over the years, and it goes a long way to making Starship Farragut a stand out fan production.
Something else that makes it stand out: animated episodes. Along with their two regular episodes and two “Crew Log” character study shorts, Farragut has also released two animated episodes done completely in the style of the 70s Star Trek cartoon produced by Filmation and Paramount. The animated episodes have their own website, and they feature the voices of the original Farragut actors along with some special guests. Among them: Chris Doohan who provides the voice of Thelin (a character from the original animated Trek) and Scotty. Doohan is the son of James Doohan, the original Scotty and original voice of Thelin.
Farragut productions are fairly professional affairs, with a mix of good and bad just as in the Star Trek Phase II production I mentioned last blog. In their first episode, you’re going to see the first episode jitters: stilted acting, some odd camera work, etc. Again, this is a similar vibe to what I got in pretty much any first episodes of Star Trek shows, from The Next Generation to Enterprise. The scenes on the ship are much better than the ones on location, but you have to give them credit for being one of the first Trek fan films to do actual on location filming outside. It’s difficult stuff for professional crews, much less amateurs and prosumers trying to quickly do the work in a day out at a national forest. The special effect shots of the starship and space are provided again by NEO/fx, however, and are excellent. Sets are all real — no green screen full sets here — and props and costumes are well made. By the second episode, there is definite improvement as they are off on a grand adventure: a visit to General George Washington and the Revolutionary War.
“For Want of a Nail” uses a well-known Trek trope to get to the main action: the transporter accident. First contact with the Solonai, a race of historians and scholars, turns into a time travel trip. This time the on location scenes are given some serious cred by Revolutionary War re-enactment groups. Farragut’s production company is based in Washington, DC, so making use of the history and re-enactors is brilliant. Saves on costume making, anyway. Are there still problems? Well, editing is choppy, especially in the American Revolution scenes. The story itself, however, is good and well-told. And they got an actor for Washington who is the proper height — or at least he makes Captain Carter look like a hobbit. (Hey, I mean that in a good way!)
Farragut is currently completing it’s fifth production: “The Price of Anything.” It’s being directed by Vic Mignogna, who has directed and acted in episodes of Phase II, as well as done voice acting for shows like Full Metal Alchemist. It’s completed its on location shooting in California and set shooting in Georgia, and is scheduled to be released in 2012. If you’re going to just watch one episode, make it “For Want of a Nail.” If you want something a little shorter, try one of the Crew Logs. And, if you love 70s style animation or actually remember the old Trek animated series and want some seriously fun nostalgia, go watch the animated episodes.