Austin, Treksas

A Right to Bear PhasersTim sent me some Star Trek links the other day, probably because I’m the Metblogger who packs a loaded phaser in my desk drawer. In the interest of full disclosure, let’s just say I am to Star Trek what ITPT‘s TJ is to slutty teachers. Sadly, you can’t set a phaser to “score” (except in certain realms of fan fiction).

I grew up dreaming of warp speeds and transporters but ended up as a keyboard jockey, which has always been something of a letdown in comparison. Not as much of a letdown as the Trek franchise, however, which has collapsed into a steaming pile of technobabble, bereft of originality and excitement. Who knew that interstellar travel and alien babes could be so boring until Paramount corralled their cash cow with tight licensing and more “canon” than the Catholic Church.

Thankfully, digital video and production tools have opened the door for DIY Trekkies to create their own interpretations of Star Trek, and so far Paramount seems happy to turn a blind eye. Self-styled Kirks and Klingons are setting up production all around the world, and one of the best is based right here in Austin. Exeter Studio has nearly completed two full-length episodes, using locations from Study Butte to the Austin Studio soundstage to create their Starship Exeter series.

Starship Exeter is the brainchild of Jimm and Joshua Johnson, who spent years developing their first episode (“The Savage Empire”) before releasing it online in 2002. The results were impressive for a home-grown effort, although the second installment (“The Tressaurian Intersection”) is a huge leap forward, with production quality that rivals and occasionally surpasses its 1960’s source material. From the look and feel of the clunky switches to the height of the yeoman’s mini-skirt, it is absolutely spot. on.

If you’ve ever wanted to taste Saurian Brandy or even wondered about kissing a green chick (and who hasn’t?), you owe it to yourself to watch the Quicktime movies available from the Exeter website. Better yet, support the non-profit production by donating to Exeter Studio, which will help speed along current and new episodes. If you’re really motivated, the guys might be willing to let you participate. ‘Cuz you can never have enough red-shirts around to take one for the team.

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