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For a fan series, I must admit that Hidden Frontier is not at all that
bad. But, reviewing this series can not be based on whether it is a fan
series or not. The initiative in itself is commendable. The creativity
as well. I reckon these are people with ordinary jobs, and a big
enthusiastic heart for Star Trek. But, doing all this work. Pulling all
these resources. Taking all this time, and still all those flaws.
First of all the acting, and the lines are awful. For most. The dialogs belongs in a 70's military show, not in Star Trek. The captain (Mr Squinty) looks like he is about to burst into laughter anytime. And most characters are just reading their lines. The directors should be aware of the fact that "retake" is not just a word in the dictionary. But I also guess that the series are made in the manner of "Two Takes Frakes", who directed many of the TNG episodes and movies Also, I could not help but think that most of the actors are typical Trekkies. Without going any deeper into that assumption.
My biggest concern regarding the whole project, is the quality of the releases. When they first decided to spend so much time, and resources on this series - why didn't they make it available in decent quality? Using the quick time format, with low low resolution is a waste of talent. Even the "higres" episodes is considered bad quality compared to the standard quality series are released in. Using Xvid codec, with a larger resolution and file size would have improved the experience massively. If band with problems was the issue, setting up a torrent tracker would have solved that.
Let's hope the crew decides to brush the series up, and perhaps release it on DVD, giving it the quality the project deserves.
Hidden Frontier is a fan made show, in the world of Star Trek. The story takes place after Voyager has returned from the Delta-quadrant . It has some characters from the official Star Trek shows, but most of them are original to the show. The show takes place on the star base Deep Space 12 and on several space ships, which gives it opportunities the official shows don't have. The characters have the opportunity of a rising in the hierarchy, which characters in shows with only one ship doesn't have. The show has good computer animation of spaceships, but the acting takes place in front of at green-screen and it gives a green glow around the actors. Not all the actors are equally good, but most do fine. The episodes are character driven and the characters develop over many episodes. That is a bit more like in Babylon 5, than in most official Star Trek shows. Hidden Frontier takes taboos that even the official series has shrunk from using. All in all I enjoyed watching it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, let me say that I am a great believer in Fanpro stuff. I see
it as a way to continue a good show long after it has been cancelled.
Star Trek Voyages and Star Wars Revelations are examples of decent
efforts. So I have a soft-spot for fanpro stuff that means I'll
overlook things that I would ordinarily slate badly.
So on to ST: HF. Well, first off the good things. Enthusiasm is a major part of making any show believable and, for the most part, the crew of the various ships all seem to be having a good time with their roles. Next, the effects aren't bad for a home-brew effort, with nothing to make you really wince. The stories aren't too bad either. Nothing particularly innovative, but solid enough stuff and at least there are ongoing story-arcs.
But it has a lot of faults.
First off, although they quite obviously HAVE to rip-off Star Trek footage, set backdrops, music and effects, I see no reason why they proceeded to rip off virtually every other sci-fi musical score ever made. Everything from Aliens to Starship Troopers rears it orchestral head at one point or another. Likewise, much of the footage is from other movies, dutifully CGI'd over to make it look different. The Grey warships, for instance, though disguised, are quite obviously Star Destroyers from Star Wars. And the station is also rather obviously Fleet Battle Station Ticonderoga from Starship Troopers. Likewise, sound effects from various Star Wars movies appear in space battles between fighters, as does animated over footage. In one scene in either first or second season, I think, you even see two TIE fighters fly past during a battle, which hardly does your suspension of disbelief any favours.
Acting varies from the reasonable to the hideously painful to watch. Everyone does improve as the seasons progress, though, but expect to grimace at the screen a lot, especially in the early seasons. They've also made some interesting acting choices. Let's just say that the food replicators on this show seem permanently set to "cake" and leave it at that.
Make-up effects are generally quite effective on the whole. But they really ought to mercilessly club to death the person who decided to use cheap Ferengi and Cardassian masks for anything other than background use or "passing" shots. They are just beyond unrealistic. Every time I saw one of these (apart from trying not to laugh too much) I kept expecting the unfortunate soul wearing it to pull out a gun and announce that "This is a stick-up!" In one scene a "Cardassian" actually talks whilst wearing one of these. Not only do the lips not move, but the mask doesn't even have an opening where the mouth should be. Someone needs to be slapped hard for that. Couldn't they have taken a craft knife to it, for goodness' sake! There are also some well-done, but unintentionally funny make-up jobs, such as the Herman Munster look alike.
The writing, though coherent, is nothing new. Instead the script runs like a continuation of DS9, with the ships heading out from DS12 on various missions. The new enemy, "The Grey" aren't very menacing and the plot line involving them is effectively a reworking of the Borg threads. i.e. Starfleet meet the Grey, the Grey are hugely powerful, Starfleet barely escape with their lives, then through technology they begin to find ways to combat the enemy etc etc. All done before with the Borg.
Another bone of contention is the dialogue. Star Trek writers have long had the ability to write "insert technobabble here" into a script. It usually means an exposition of the latest plan to combat the enemy using "quantum phase discriminators" or "isolytic charges" etc. In other words, nonsense that tells you that they are on the case and a resolution is at hand.
The words are just gibberish really. I've no problem with this, but where ST:HF makes a mess of it is where they include real-world comments into this concept.
Tactical advice such as "We need to regroup" sounds good, but not when uttered by trio of characters already standing in a group. Likewise when asked what the situation is, a tactical officer is heard to reply "We count three battleships". He actually needed to count them? C'mon! I expected the questioner to ask him "Are you sure?" or "Can you double check". But my all-time favourite comment is this:
Captain: "Can we establish two-way communication?"
Comms officer: "No, we can only send and receive.."
Having said all the above, the show does improve as it goes along. Seasons 1 and 2 are pretty bad, 3 shows an improvement but 4 & 5 are where it starts to get noticeably better. Season 6 so far looks quite reasonable.
I do have a problem with their choice of media for the shows though. Quicktime sucks, quite frankly and the sooner they move to divx/avi format the better. Some of us like to actually take our downloaded shows and watch them on decent size screen and not peer at a tiny QT window on a computer monitor. Not only does Quicktime make this difficult, but the 320x180 resolution the shows are in does not scale at all well. In fact, it makes the shows pretty unwatchable, like they were a tenth-generation VHS tape copy. The least they could do was to include a hi-res downloadable option.
Anyway, the show has promise, and I'm even beginning to like some of the characters. But that's 40 episodes on, so I'm not sure this says that much about character development at all.
But what can you say, it's free....
PS: Out of 28 votes, 19 people rated this show as a 9 or 10. Hmmmm... were we watching the same show? Or are you 19 all three year olds?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Hidden Frontier fan-amateurs must have concluded that their Star
Trek fandom celebrity reputations and egos were now on the skids and
that they had to make themselves stars before making this turkey. With
no real production value to speak of, this Z-movie amateur home movie
cheapie was a lame excuse to develop a shocky video by hijacking and
pirating a multi billion $ beloved copy-righten & trademarked science
fiction genre wholly owned and protected by CBS/ViaCom, called Star
Trek. Their lack of ethics and anti-Star Trek motivations are obviously
showing. They are hurting the franchise.
As earlier commentators have noticed, their is no action at all in this incredibly bad video series; their scripts, unless you give credit to people walking aimlessly -- sometimes running, even -- around present day crew members homes and neighborhoods with a total lack of sets or even futuristic locations, or appearing on terribly lighted 'green screen' pirated backgrounds from other owner's software programs, or engaging each other in trivial or laughable dialog conversations preaching 'pet' political agendas. Nothing much to engage the audience's emotions or attention.
Consequently, it was impossible not to doze off for about 5 minutes during the beginning of this stinker, awaking only to witness the unsatisfactory pacing and arthritic performances of amateurs. When the words, "The End," finally appeared, I discovered that I was minutes closer to death with nothing positive to show for that realization.
Hidden Frontier is notable for being the longest running internet-based
Star Trek fan series. While the production quality is not on a par with
fan productions like Starship Exeter, or New Voyages, Hidden Frontier
concentrates largely on story, and in that regard it does very well
Hidden Frontier has no physical sets; instead actors are filmed against a greenscreen, and the backgrounds inserted digitally. One of Hidden Frontier's greatest achievements is the sheer volume of work they have produced. One of the ways in which this is achieved is by inserting the virtual sets at the time of filming, instead of in post-production. While this does save a great deal of time, it's also worth noting that the quality of the resultant footage is not as high as if it had been produced in post-production, though it still serves its purpose.
While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, Hidden Frontier is well worth a shot, though you might be best to start off watching the third season, since this is where the producers really start to hit their stride.
Star Trek: Hidden Frontier is a long-running internet only fan film, done completely for the love of the series, and a must watch for fans of Trek. The production quality is extremely high for a fan film, although sometimes you can tell that they're green-screenin' it. This doesn't take away from the overall experience however. The CGI ships are fantastic, as well as the space battle scenes... On the negative side, I could tell in the earlier episodes (and even occasionally in the newer ones) that some of the actors/actresses are not quite comfortable in their roles, but once again, this doesn't take away from the overall experience of new interpretations of Star Trek. The cast and crew have truly come up with something special here, and, as a whole,I would highly recommend this series to fans of The Next Generation and Deep Space 9.
How low can someone sink while trying to recapture an old glory? ST:HF
will be glad to show you.
If you are used to seeing what made for a good Star Trek show, do NOT watch this.
The writing is hodge-podge, the actors' portrayals of their characters weak, and most of all, the design work is downright doggy.
Like watching strong captains, don't look here! Like the strong Federation attitude? Forget about it here! Starfleet is mocked by ensigns wearing SPIKES in their hair.
While a seemingly mentally feeble captain shuffles about and within two minutes of the opening show's credits, Ensign Spikey is attempting to arrange a tryst with an engineer. It just degrades from there. No, not even uniforms match, for goodness sake. They are too small or too big, collars down to their chests, and TNG Seasons One and Two Uniforms mixed in with Season Three and DS9 uniforms. The strict discipline and tradition of any of the originals in lacking in this production down to the treads! The only good thing about this show is its graphics, which seem to improve a bit with each season. OK, I take that back. Who uses CG that inexpertly? The designers of this show.
Don't bother with it, it will offend your Star Trek sense, as it did mine. Not even the throw backs to previous shows can save this catastrophe.
I wept openly when i watched this, probably because my eyes were bleeding and my head almost ruptured. That bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bottom Line: Trek: Hidden Frontier is a waste of time to view. Maybe,
the worst video you would ever be forced to see. If you enjoy bad
production, the over the top gay-boy necking and ridiculous 'homo'
non-Trek canon political agenda, and truly base amateur acting, this
stuff maybe for you. But what does that say about your tastes? Sadly,
if you need public Trek fan video validation of your gay lifestyle,
maybe this video is for you. If you demand quality, forget about this
fan film entirely. If you like to make excuses for production quality,
maybe this schlock is for you. I live in the same town, where a lot of
this video was made. Well, at least shot It's video!. And I was to be
in a video bit, and quite a few of my friends were. They said (in their
opinion) it was the most fun they had ever had because they were asked
basically to act like morons on camera, not like Trek. When I asked if
that was all they said, 'yeah and they couldn't wait to see what a
piece of junk this home video turned out to be'.
We were NOT disappointed: *The acting is below porno producer R. Caves is porno editor and video tape office go-fer standards and many performers blatantly look right into the camera or are reading their lines from scripts held off camera or in front of them on tabletops. Eye lines are completely wrong. Their performances are wooden and trite.
*I wonder how proud a production crew & cast can be when they routinely "unauthorized borrowing" illegal re-use? or digital piracy? of other people's licensed art/intellectual property and routinely resorts to common copyright destruction of other people's protected & licensed properties. This "borrowed" production elements includes main title & scene music, CD-ROM screen-capture for their green screen scenes, characters, and even down to simple sound Efx from other works. The following is just some of the questionable examples of pirated intellectual property used by "Star Trek: Hidden Frontier" video series without expressed permission of the rightful IP owners: · Paramount "Star Trek VI" film clips used in Hidden Frontier videos episodes (Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated). · Dreamworks "Galaxy Quest" © main title film music used as Star Trek: Hidden Frontier's main title music in all episodes Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Paramount "Star Trek VI" © feature film stills used for Hidden Frontier stills for green screen set backgrounds Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Simon & Schuster's "The Captain's Chair" © CD-ROM images used for Hidden Frontier stills for green screen set backgrounds Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Simon & Schuster's "Star Trek, Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual" © CD-ROM images used for Hidden Frontier stills for green screen set backgrounds Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Paramount "Star Trek" © music and sound effects used for Hidden Frontier scene music and sound effects. · 20th Century Fox "Titanic" © feature music used for Hidden Frontier title music Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Trademarked an copyrighted "Star Trek" © characters used in stories for Hidden Frontier. · Lucasfilm "Star Wars" © feature film elements used for Hidden Frontier still screen captures Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Universal's "Battlestar Galactica" © theme music used for Hidden Frontier scene music Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. · Paramount "Best of Both Worlds" © Star Trek TV film clip used for Hidden Frontier Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated. Hidden Frontier purposely pirates Trademarked & Copyrighted film clips, film music, CD-ROM software still images, and copyrighted script characters involving the intellectual properties from films like Galaxy Quest, Titanic, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica. Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated these properties are being unlawfully re-used in Star Trek: Hidden Frontier.
**These are some of the early episodes that contain many instances of trademark violation & copyright theft, HF101-103, Enemy Unknown,HF104, Two hours a "Titanic" themed episode, HF105, Perihelion, HF106, Echoes and many other episodes Crew and Cast Internet publicly acknowledged therefore pirated.
*Hidden Frontier crew asked for fan writers to submit "spec" video scripts via Internet. Upon receiving them, amateur "writing staff" take those writer's ideas and/or scripts and change them without the permission/knowledge of the original fan writer. Then, this production crew puts their names ALL over them in the final video! It's sad that Hidden Frontier crew does this to Star Trek fans. And still makes the videos so that the scripts still look amateurish like fan writers wrote them.
*And these episodes have been put on DVDs and have been sold. Isn't that criminal or just shameful? The LAW from Motion Picture Association of America, INTERNET PIRACY: Online motion picture piracy is the unauthorized use of copyrighted motion pictures or other production elements on the Internet. It is illegal to sell, trade, lease, distribute, upload for transmission, transmit or publicly perform motion pictures online without the expressed consent of the motion pictures' copyright owner.
We (here in town) basically refer to the video as the worst video ever to be caught on tape and hope that in a thousand years it will NOT be what is used to show what our entertainment epitomized. Save your eyes, and your time. Do not bother unless you like schlock-yness.
Hidden Frontier makers are copying, disingenuous, hypocrisy, unethical, insult to Star Trek genre or Roddennberry ethics, piracy, crude theft, stealing, charlatanism or what ??? Get the facts and you be the prudent judge.
For the record, I am not affiliated with the production in any way.
Hidden Frontier is probably the Star Trek fan film with the most episodes produced to date. Over 7 seasons (this is the last) they have produced some 50 or so episodes.
This is no mean feat on almost no budget and everyone volunteering their time and energy.
By their own admission, the earlier seasons do not have as good production qualities as later ones but as they progress the effects, green screen work and acting all improve.
I did find it difficult to "dip into" so started from the beginning and watched all the way through. HF benefits from story arcs just like all the best sci fi and dovetails nicely into the Star Trek universe in which it is set. Characters and "relatives" from the original series have been brought into the stories and add a lot to the feel of the stories, sometimes improving on the characters over the original.
The whole experience includes an excellent web site, blooper reels, a high membership forum which is frequented by many of the actors and production staff and a weekly chat.
If you are looking for high definition, high budget productions, this is probably not for you.
If you are looking for continued adventures in the Star Trek universe with stories that does Star Trek credit and makes you think, this is the one.
Okay, so the first few seasons took a while to get going on the special
effects way, but from the beginning, Hidden Frontier has given
consistently good story lines and performances, and have always been
willing to mistakes they've made. They advice people to see newer
episodes first, so they can see just how good the show is, and
understand how much it has changed since the first episodes. The cast
have a fantastic camaraderie and it shows on-screen.
The influx of guest actors who make their mark on the show and with fans attests also to the show, as the story lines go from strength to strength. The show has pushed barriers with its various story lines - depression, drug addiction and mainstream homosexuality - and these may have rubbed a few people the wrong way, but that is what Star Trek is and was all about. It portrays those story lines in a smart and emotional way, dealing with them subtly and smoothly.
Yes, they have used some characters from Trek history, but they have done them justice - characters like Shelby, Lefler and Necheyev, vastly underused in the show, had a rebirth in the New Frontier books, but they lost their sizzle after a while, when Peter David when more towards wild fantasy versus serious sci-fi, and HF shows those characters in a completely different light, which serves them better.
The site also allows fans to interact with chat rooms and forums and they can get to know the people involved. They release bloopers for every episode, so the fans can see what a laugh they have, because they are people doing it in their spare time, with a dedication that would make many professional actors wide-eyed in shock!
What this series, now drawing to a close after 7 years, has accomplished on such a limited amount of resources is nothing short of amazing - bringing people together, inspiring others to do the same. HF will live for a long time after it ends, as long as people still enjoy the reason it started in the first place.
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