"Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - from Arthur C. Clarke's Three Laws of prediction.

Friday, January 31, 2014

'Project: Potemkin' releases 'The Night the Stars Fell from the Sky'

Project: Potemkin is a Star Trek fan series set in 2296, not long after the events of Star Trek VI.

The show centers around the exploits of veteran Starfleet captain Alec Grigory and the starship Potemkin. The last Constitution class ship still in service, the vessel has a unique crew of mostly inexperienced offers who continue the tradition of going boldly.

Filmed in Southwest Georgia (US), Project: Potemkin has released eight short vignettes and two full-length episodes. Although not on the same 'level' as many professionally-produced series, the show is definitely worth checking out.

Project: Potemkin's latest release is 'The Night the Stars Fell from the Sky'. After discovering M-rays on a primeval world, the crew must unravel the dark secrets of the planet's inhabitants.

'Night', overall, is a very solid episode that nicely ties in with established Original Series cannon. The fact that Potemkin's officers are supposed to be inexperienced is clearly reflected by the actions of this episode's central Vulcan character, Ensign T'Noshi. Although the acting across the board feels a bit stiff at times, it gets the job done.

The episode's sets and special effects are, for the most part, well-done for a fairly low-budget production. The ship's bridge feels a bit cramped, but showcases a nice blend of TOS and movie-era tech. Planet-side, the show makes use of greenscreen (combined with real-world footage) to create background imagery and the large-scale structures. The end result is fairly convincing. Space shots of the ship and planet are also CG; it's by no means high end, but adequate.

The uniforms worn by the crew are a bit of a TOS or Motion Picture throwback, not at all resembling the militaristic, maroon uniforms introduced in Star Trek II. It was good to see, however, that all the officers were finally given Starfleet chest insignia, something that was absent in previous episodes. Using these 'simplified' uniforms instead of the much more complex movie versions was clearly a cost-saving measure, but it really doesn't take away from the show.

The moral decision at the center of this episode is one that's been used many times before to great effect, and was just as effective here. My only real complaint was the captain's stance on this issue near the end of the episode. Although, to some degree, he rectified this in the final moments of the show, irreparable damage was already done. It's interesting to compare this to other similar situations in Trek, if for no other reason than to see the other side of the coin.

Despite Project: Potemkin's limited resources, the show is very watchable and a highly-respectable fan effort. As long as you're not expecting a Phase II-quality production, this is definitely worth taking a peek at.

Interested in writing a screenplay? Potemkin is currently accepting script submissions, something you won't find with many other productions.

'The Night the Stars Fell from the Sky' and previous installments can be viewed or downloaded here.

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