Above: The Ares Class Starship from Prelude to Axanar
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The golden age of Star Trek fan films and series, available on YouTube, has ended; CBS/Paramount has exercised its rights under copyright law to neuter the Axanar project, intended to be a feature film. Axanar will instead be two fifteen-minute-long episodes, consistent with the draconian rules the corporation has established for fan productions. Prelude to Axanar has become a foretaste of a production that will never come into existence. With substandard products such as Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001), Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005), Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), many fan films, despite certain limitations regarding acting, sets, uniforms, and special effects, are superior, given their better stories. Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II and Star Trek Continues have proven to be generally enjoyable and watchable series. I have also enjoyed Starship Farragut and Starship Exeter, among others. The overlapping Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, Odyssey, The Helena Chronicles, and Federation One series, which rely more heavily on green screens than on sets, have also proven fascinating. I have also become a fan of Star Trek: Intrepid. Furthermore, I would rather watch Star Trek: Of Gods and Men than Star Trek (2009).
To the extent that fan productions constitute competition with official productions, that is the case because so many fan productions are superior and more interesting than the corporate productions, which frequently have less creativity than the fan films. CBS/Paramount ought to learn from fans who make their own films, not impose draconian rules upon them and even sue them. CBS/Paramount should even hire some of these fans and give them a large budget and creative control.
That will not happen, of course.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
FEBRUARY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA