I used to be more into Star Trek and Doctor Who fan film projects than I am now, but a little while ago I wrote about watching my first episode of Star Trek Continues, a high-production value recreation of the original Star Trek series, starring and co-created by Vic Mignogna. That one guest starred Doctor Who alum Colin Baker as an alien leader. That led me to eventually watching the series’ two part-finale, To Boldly Go, which features Baker’s co-star on Doctor Who, Nicola Bryant.
(Daily Doctor Who #218)
To Boldy Go is something pretty special for Star Trek fans–it’s a big, dramatic, emotional conclusion for Star Trek Continues, but as such it really stands-in as the finale for the Original Series that we never got. The story even ties into the beginning of the series–specifically the Enterprises’s visit to the galactic barrier that’s seen in Where No Man Has Gone Before.
It turns out that the Federation has been training a group of people with high potential ESP abilities, in order to prepare to fly them into the barrier to activate their abilities (“uplift” them) should the need arise. However, the area has come under attack and all of the ESPers (as they are known) kidnapped by Romulan dissidents, to uplift them and use them against their own government.
Nicola Bryant plays Lana, a single ESPer who was left behind, who promises to do what she can to help Kirk and his crew. Also on board is a lone Romulan prisoner, played by Cas Anvar from The Expanse. Things get complicated when Spock enlists the help of the Romulan commander from The Enterprise Incident, this time played by Amy Rydell, who is the daughter of original actress Joanne Linville.
The first episode has some cool twists and turns and secrets are revealed and loyalties tested, including the revelation that Lana is the story’s main villain. The plot features a number of genuinely startling moments, and a lot of careful attention given to the continuity of the original series. This includes a substantial part for the former Yeoman Smith, a one-off guest character who had appeared in Where No Man Has Gone Before but who had been a recurring character over the run of Star Trek Continues.
Lana’s motivations are a little familiar–someone who feels the Federation betrayed her who is now out for revenge–but is still one of the more vicious antagonists that Kirk and company have run into. She has the same god-like powers of Gary Mitchell (the main guest character from the Where No Man Has Gone Before) but far more cunning and calculated.
There’s a particularly cruel sequence where she forces one security guard to turn his phaser on his colleague and then himself. Nicola Bryant does quite a good job with the character without descending into the sort of over-the-top acting one might have expected.
That said, there a number of plot oversights (once Lana is revealed as evil, why on earth wouldn’t the Enterprise attempt to keep her sedated or something?) and a few scenes that just play as awkward. Sometimes this might be because the show is emulating the awkwardness of 1960’s Star Trek, while other times it’s an awkwardness all its own. But for the sheer scope of adventure and emotion involved, it’s pretty easy to bear these flaws. Smith, in particular, gets quite a heroically awesome send-off in a pretty spectacular scene.
What’s really impressive, though, is the way the story sets up the status quo at the start of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The Enterprise is severely damaged and in the process of being refit, the rest of Starfleet’s Constitution-class ships have been destroyed, Spock has become highly motivated to purge himself of all emotions, and McCoy has retired from Starfleet. Starfleet has opted to continue a trial program of having counselors on their ships, and has even adopted the Enterprise‘s insignia as the symbol for the whole organization.
The intention of all this is obviously to have To Boldy Go serve as the grand finale for the original Star Trek series that we never got, and in this it serves its roll admirably, with the blend of epic storytelling and slavish adherence to continuity that any fan would want.