FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Star Trek" Fans Create Their Own New Episodes

Hardcore fans of Star Trek are adding a whole new meaning to the adage, "If you want something done right, do it yourself." With no new Star Trek series or episodes currently in the works, fans are writing and producing their own original episodes, and making them available online.

Digital technology is putting a whole new spin on fan fiction, giving enthusiasts the tools to create and distribute entire episodes that explore different themes, create new characters and re-interpret existing ones, and that are as optimistic, funny or dark as their creators want them to be. Among the productions available online -- featuring varying levels of technical sophistication -- are Hidden Frontier, StarshipExeter.com, Starship Farragut, and Star Trek New Voyages.

One would think that the copyright attorneys at Paramount Studios, which owns the rights to Star Trek, would be having fits over these ventures. But admirably, Paramount is taking a hands-off approach, regarding the producers as hobbyists who don't profit from their work. Plus, most of these productions honor the original spirit of Star Trek, which would give Paramount little concern. Some of the original Star Trek actors are even getting involved in the productions.

These productions, combined with the copyright holder's benevolent attitude, may set a new precedent for fans wishing to breathe new life into their favorite TV shows or movies. The most creative and successful ones might even find that their passion will translate into profit.

Source: New York Times