As Star Trek gears up for it’s eventual return to prime time let’s take this chance to go back and examine the lost series. The hidden series. The fan series; that now brakes pretty much every rule laid down by CBS or Paramount and a fair few more besides. Coming you from the long distant past of the year 2000 this is……………………………
We open at the end of the Dominion war where Captain Ian Quincy Knapp is leading a trio of ships in hot pursuit of people fleeing from a battle. Like a true Starfleet officer he is hunting down all deserters, even those on the other side and is ready to put a quantum torpedo between their eyes for their cowardice. This could be because he lost his brother to the war or maybe he’s just misunderstood what cowboy diplomacy means. The two warships head into a nebula that blocks out sensors and so the genius that he is, Quincy orders his ships to split up and head in after them. This costs him the lives of both ships under him, both enemy vessels and most of his crew as they encounter a collection of Christmas lights that are a ship more powerful than all of them put together, a vessel from a race known as the grey. Who look like Jawa cosplayers that couldn’t afford decent light bulbs for the eyes. Well the ground troops down their overlords are something else entirely.
After a lucky find of a Betazoid councillor hiding in one of the engineering sections and the quick thinking of the thick headed doctor they are able to blow up their ship and scamper back to the safety of the raging war outside the nebula. From here it’s a time jump to eighteen months later where they have rewarded Quincy by promoting him to a desk job on station orbiting a planet of ageless hippies from one of the lesser Trek movies. Here he will oversee Deep Space 12 and the many many ships stationed there including the Excelsior, named after the catch phrase of a noted comic book writer and based upon the ship from the true and only real finale of TNG, “All Good things”. This tri warp nacelled behemoth however isn’t the only fan wank coming our way with noted crew members ranging from Wesley Crushers ex-girlfriend Robin Lefler, Ro Larens previously unmentioned brother and we’re soon to be joined by Liz Shelby if the intro is anything to go by. Yeah this is a fan series all right but don’t worry for their is plenty of original characters too and we’re going to meet them all, one by one as our XO makes his rounds with a padd in hand to introduce them all to us, list of their stations and previous experience give us a brief run down on who knows who from their academy days (though it’s doubtful you will be able to keep it straight) and we’re their going to be serving in this new up coming series.
Most of part two is a wash truth be told and don’t worry if you use that time to go make a brew or check on the oven for as the series and arguably even the show progresses the cream will as always rise to the top and people will either stand out or won’t be all that important. You might want to make sure you’re back for part three however as Starfleet mounts an Armada to go and hunt down a new grey ship that has surfaced not to far from here. They’ll be doing this with the aid of an Iconian who they happen to have laying around called Rayvan, because adding apostrophies to make words and names seem alien is so passe. Think of him as the slightly more helpful, easier to see and easier to understand Ambassador Kosh.
As the fleet goes to meet ‘The Grey’ we get a bit more background on them and on our heroes, we get a few more shots of giant clusters of ships trying to look epic and a few reuses of the main theme and the variations thereof, a theme you might recognise more as belonging to Galaxy Quest and trust me, no matter how many times you rewatch the show you will always expect to see the credits cut away to shots of them in action and or at least one of them mugging for the camera.
The uniforms don’t match and there is more than enough fan wank to go around and yet there is a reason this show stood the test of time for it would end up sticking around for a good six more seasons after this one and god knows how many spin offs and crossovers it would worm its way into. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel or restart the whole thing and because of that it outlasted Enterprise and brought joy to millions. Yes these first few seasons are rocky but we could say the same about most other Treks as we waited for them to “grow the beard“. While the introduction of yet another super powerful evil race for the federation to fight against may produce a few eye roles it avoided the long down time slogs that Deep Space Nine suffered from while still allowing the characters off time to relax and grow something we start to see here with as they ask each other out, complain and ask who’s a good boy.