While cruising the web this morning, I discovered that on Thanksgiving Day, New Voyages had released their new episode, To Serve All My Days. A few months back I had an opportunity to see an incomplete version with several of the exterior shots missing, so I was curious to see what had changed.
When I first heard that New Voyages was filming an episode with Walter Koenig as Chekov, my initial reaction was skepticism. After all, an earlier episode, In Harm’s Way, had already included guest appearances from William Windom and Barbara Luna (Commodore William Decker in The Doomsday Machine and Lieutenant Marlena Moreau in Mirror, Mirror respectively). Surely they weren’t planning to do another time travel episode! (As much as I enjoy a good time travel story, they’ve become something of a cliché.) On the other hand, my skepticism was tempered with a degree of optimism, veteran Star Trek writer DC Fontana was writing the new episode.
All in all, I was quite impressed by the episode. I’m quite happy to say that the arrival of Walter Koenig’s version of Chekov fit into the story in a way that made sense in the context of the Trek universe. The explanation even ties into an earlier TOS episode. The rest of the story revolves around a return trip from Babel and economic threats to the stability of the Federation.
It does seem a bit strange seeing new actors in the familiar roles, but all in all New Voyages created an enjoyable experience. A few bits of jargon seem to have crept in from other genres (for example, weapons being described as “hot” instead of “armed”) but these are nitpicks.
What’s more likely to cause consternation is the episode’s ending. Without giving anything away, it’s full of symbolism, but until you understand that and what it really means, New Voyages appears to have violated the continuity of the Star Trek timeline in a fairly substantial way.
Although they’re only a small part of the total package, it’s also worth noting that the CGI effects are nothing less than fantastic. Although they still have a computer-generated look to them, it’s much less noticeable than it was for In Harm’s Way. When the shuttle bumps an ice asteroid at the start of the episode, it even leaves a realistic looking trail of ice crystals.
A few neat little details for the dedicated viewer:
In one hallway scene, a red-shirted crewman walks past. It’s hard to say for certain from the back, but this crewman has the characteristic blue antennae and white hair of an Andorian. The only Andorian ever seen in TOS was in Journey to Babel, though it’s certainly not impossible that one has joined Starfleet. (Perhaps one of Commander Shran’s grandchildren?)
The significance isn’t obvious, there’s also a line where Kirk addresses a yeoman as “Miss Okuda.” Perhaps this was a nod to the behind the scenes wizards of the later series, Michael and Denise Okuda?
And although it didn’t get quite the same amount of public attention as Walter Koenig’s appearance, another TOS veteran also appeared in this episode. The role of Ambassador Rayna Morgan was played by Mary Linda Rapelye who played the role of Chekov’s former girlfriend Irina in the TOS episode, The Way to Eden.
The new episode is available for download via the New Voyages web site. They have several mirror sites (including one with a Spanish version). The episode is downloaded in four parts, and requires approximately 1/2 gigabyte of disk space. Needless to say, you’ll want to either have a high-speed Internet connection, or else a friend with one. For now, the parts of the episode are only available as WMV or MOV files. The web site says there are ISO files for creating your own DVDs, but they don’t seem to be available at the moment (small wonder considering the pounding their web site’s no doubt taking during the first few days of the episode’s availability).