"To Serve All My Days," featuring Walter Koenig and a script by DC Fontana, was originally released by Phase II (then New Voyages) on November 23, 2006. It’s new level of sophistication for home-made Trek sent ripples through the fan film community. Now it has been ‘reissued’ with a special ‘Night in 1969’ edition with new edits, additional footage, new effects, new music…and even a new ending.
REVIEW "TO SERVE ALL MY DAYS – NIGHT IN 1969 EDITION"
While not without its problems, when it was released, TSAMD was definitely the best New Voyages episode, and arguably the best Trek fan film ever made. However, it was eclipsed by their 2007 release of "World Enough and Time" (which this author freely admits is among his twenty favorite hours of any version of Star Trek). Possibly as an attempt to bring TSAMD up to par with WEaT, Phase II has now created the special ‘Night in 1969’ Edition, which had a gala premiere on March 29, 2008 and is now available for viewing online. But, is the 1969 edition better than the original version? The answer is (almost entirely) yes.
Although the edition makes no changes to the actor’s performances, some subtle changes in editing makes most performances feel tighter (the new version ends up running about 90 seconds shorter than the original). As with all fan films, the most challenging part is with the acting, but in TSAMD the main Phase II cast may have put in their best performances (even better than "World Enough and Time"). James Cawley effectively brings his own version of Kirk to the screen as does John Kelley whose sympathizing Doctor McCoy is made without without imitating DeForest Kelley. Jeff Quinn shows a lot of talent at playing (and looking) like a Vulcan, although sometimes he is not fully convincing as Spock himself. Charles Root’s Scotty is still the weakest link, but luckily "To Serve All My Days" has fewer of the over-the-top Scottishisms of "World Enough in Time."
As with WEaT, much of the strength in acting comes from the guest cast. John Carrigan brings just the right TOS-era Klingon spirit to his Captain Kargh, and it is nice to see Phase II use him as a regular villain. It is also fun casting to have Mary Linda Rapelye, who played Irina in the TOS episode "The Way to Eden," return to Trek and she delivered a good performance in a somewhat strange role as Ambassador Rayna Morgan. However, it is Walter Koenig’s reprise of the role of Chekov that is the is the best thing about TSAMD. Koenig’s challenging performance makes it very easy to empathize with Chekov’s rapid aging situation, and leaves viewers with the distinct wish that we had seen more of Chekov in past Trek episodes and films. Andy Bray (Phase II’s Chekov) had the difficult task of not only appearing in the same episode as Koenig, but even in a number of (sometimes very amusing) scenes with the original Chekov. Koenig was always able to balance naïveté with ability, Chekov may be young, yet he is a scientific genius and a Starfleet trained navigator. Bray holds his own and is at times a mirror image of Koenig’s 60s performance, but could learn more about that balance.
Bray and Koenig share a moment in "To Serve All My Days"
The most obvious and biggest improvement for the 1969 edition, is the special effects. The original version’s effects felt both unfinished and also anachronistic with The Original Series, even including a movie era Klingon Bird of Prey. Almost all the new effects (including the opening title sequence) were done by Daren Dochterman, who recreates the Enterprise to a degree never seen before in a fan film. His technical and artistic talents make this episode truly feel like a night in 1969, especially in the sequences with the Klingon ships. The one quibble with the new effects would be the new opening teaser sequence (which was the only part not done by Dochterman). The BoP has been replaced with a D-7 and the effects are rendered beautifully, in particular a new shot of Babel. However, the shaky-cam styled chase in a snowy asteroid environment just seems inappropriate for a 1969-themed episode. Another area worth mentioning is how the Phase II crew seamlessly blend their real and virtual sets together. There are many images or display panels that the average viewer would not know are CGI, and some of these have also been improved in the 1969 version.
New teaser effects sequence, exciting but not exactly ‘1969’
Dochterman’s Enterprise is…perfect
As for the production design, there are no needed changes with the 1969 edition. Producer James Cawley is a well-known Original Series purist and so it is no surprise that TSAMD has excellent (and very TOS) costume designs, sets, props, and makeup. The Klingon makeup and the aging of Chekov are especially well presented. The only complaint is that you don’t get enough of a look at many of the episode’s alien ambassadors. The cinematography is alse well done, although the lighting occasionally seems too dark. TOS is well-known for bright colors, but at times the lighting was more reminiscent of DS9.
Another bonus of the ‘1969’ edition is the use of original Star Trek music from the television show. The music works effectively, adding both emotion and a sense of nostalgia to the scenes. Plus, the authentic soundtrack includes all the best Star Trek sound effects. One unfortunate element that is missing from the online version of the 1969 edition (but shown at the Beverly Hills premiere), is the period commercials and clips from 1969. Apparently there were rights issues, so you will just have to imagine them yourself.
Watch closely or you will miss much of the new alien make-up and costumes
Probably the biggest problem with TSAMD is something that the new 1969 edition cannot fix. While DC Fontans’s script has worthwhile elements, most especially her strong sense of character, the story just doesn’t hold together and fails to feel like an original Star Trek episode. Firstly, the structure of the episode is cumbersome trying to deal with two "A" stories: the Federation Crisis and Chekov aging. And the dire crisis in the Federation economy, which would usually be the primary story, isn’t given the appropriate attention. In the first act, Ambassador Morgan warns "we must find a solution or I am afraid the Federation may not exist much longer." But by the end of the episode, they have only resolved a tangential matter to this crisis, leaving the Federation on the brink of collapse. Will Phase II pick this up again or has it magically solved itself by "World Enough and Time?" Plus, how exactly is there a monetary crisis in a Federation that has moved beyond the need for money?
The second narrative of Chekov’s aging, a sequel to the episode "The Deadly Years," is handled much better. It is an excellent character story with an interesting May-December romance between Chekov and Ambassador Morgan. The 1969 version does add a bit to the Chekov story, with a brief yet poignant flashback sequence to "The Deadly Years." The scenes with the aged Chekov on his own, with Morgan and with his younger self ran the gamut from pain, to love to laughter and were truly a capstone for the character. You can see why Koenig has described it as his ‘goodbye to Chekov.’ The most daring part of the story is how it ended, and here is the one instance where the 1969 version may have actually made something worse. [SPOILER WARNING] As with the original version, we see Chekov die and sort of walk off into the sunset. This created obvious continuity issues, but that is how Fontana and Koenig wanted to do it (Fontana contends that all future instances of Chekov are actually his cousin Sergei). Instead of just ignoring the continuity complaints, or actually reworking some kind of deus ex machina fix, the 1969 version adds a joke at the end of the credits, essentially making everything that preceded a Vodka-induced dream. Although this resolves continuity issues, the audience may feel manipulated and cheated now knowing the episode had no real consequences and (joke or not) much of the emotion of the episode ends up being rendered moot.
A powerful scene, but did it ever happen?
In the end, despite some issues with the story, there was always much to admire about "To Serve All My Days," especially the performances of Walter Koenig and James Cawley. The new edits, music and special effects of the "Night in 1969 Edition" have now brought it (almost) up to the level of the excellent "World Enough in Time." That being said, the ending should have been left intact. This isn’t Dallas; Phase II should continue doing what it does best, tell stories of worth and consequence.
Watch TSAMD right now: streaming at Dragonfly.
PHASE II ANNOUNCE NEW GUEST CAST
Star Trek alumni and fan favorite BarBara Luna will appear in the next episode of Star Trek: Phase II, scheduled to go before the lens this June at the Retro Films Studio in Upstate New York. Written by Trek author Dave Galanter, from a story developed him and fellow Trek writer Greg Brodeur, “Enemy:Starfleet” will be directed by Kevin Rubio. Guest star BarBara Luna is best known to Trek fans for her unforgettable role as Lt. Marlena Moreau in the original series episode, “Mirror, Mirror.” According to executive producer James Cawley, “[Luna’s] role will be very unlike her appearance in our first episode – it will be much more substantial than her guest appearance in “In Harm’s Way.”
Also appearing in this episode is Kevin Pereira, a Star Trek fan and host of G4tv’s Attack of the Show (AOTS), Pereira will play Lt. Kevin Riley, a role first made famous by actor Bruce Hyde. "Kevin in a mainstay at G4tv,” said James Cawley, “we are exited to have him on the set and I think it will be a blast to have him play another classic Enterprise crewmember.”
What an amazing tribute to the ingenuity of Trekfans.
Hot damn Dirty Darren !!!!!!! What beautiful effects!!!!! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE do the Balance of Terror!!!! And TREK V !!!!!! Amazing work Darren!!! See guys!!
Lighting – Check
Beautiful Renderings – Check
Realistic movement of the ships – Check
Rendering – Check
Modern Artistic spin yet honors the Original effect – Check
Cool factor – Check
Sense of Mass and Scale – Check
CONSISTANCY – Check
Dirty Darren – Check
I saw the first one, now I’ll check out the remake. Hopefully, Chekov lives in the new version… Continuity is a good thing, overall. (Major character deaths don’t make sense when you’re looking at the big picture, and KNOW it’s not how it’s supposed to be).
2, I meant that there are so many new aspects of Trek always left to be discovered and refined.
OK, I’ll give Phase II a View II.
I’ve already kvetched about the ending, so let’s see what they dreamed up this time. I really like the two Chekovs and I didn’t think I would.
I saw this episode of New voyages it was pretty good.
I went to the screening of “To Serve All My Days” and I must say that I was very impressed. This was only my second viewing of a fan film and was pleasantly surprised at how well Cawley and his team put it together on such a limited budget. I thought the acting was very good, especially that of the two Chekov’s, Andy Bray and Walter Koenig.
Keep up the good work guys
Chris, Cawley has absolutely got to have you take a turn in your father’s role. Root can sit one out (or they can add a Scotch joke in the credits.) It is a moral imperative that you inhabit the role at least once. Cawley owes you. Really. You were in a movie together — although I’m beginning to doubt that, since they tell me it won’t be out for another year. sheesh.
Just got done watching it too. I loved it. Good Job.
Daren’s Enterprise is good.
Phase II casting……mmmmm Barbara Luna. Yeah. Love her. Lover her.
The only reason I even check out New Voyages to begin with is because it has the best eye candy, yet somehow they’ve decided it’s best to release their latest in the poorest quality yet. :(
If anyone should have done the effects for TOS-R, it should have been Daren Dochterman!! It says a lot about the crappiness of CBS-Digital’s work if some guy on his computer at home cranks out higher-quality stuff than they did.
DARAN IS THE MAN!!!!
New Voyages is far from TOS purism, especially the first episode they did. Starship Exeter is far superior. The fanwank over Dochterman’s work is overrated.
This was, shall I say, a most Russian ending.
In the hands of fans such as those responsible for this beautiful work, Trek lives and prospers.
Congratulations on a work well done!
i have not been lucky enough to see any of new voyages/phase 2 but its seems all good.
Any good links?
Must the Exeter vs. Phase II battle be fought here? I like Exeter very much… and think that all the fan outlets should be honored and enjoyed… Be nice. All the “fanwank” happens on many levels, for many productions… all depends on who you ask. I think there is room for everyone to play in the sandbox.
13. cbspock The fanwank over Dochterman’s work is overrated.
..and that. Is one man’s opinion.
shat hands…there is a link in the article
cbspock, warning for trolling
for the record, TrekMovie has kept in touch with Exeter (via Dennis Bailey), and we look forward to reviewing their 2nd episode when they finish it.
I like both Exeter and P2 (Phase II or did I just congratulate Playstation 2?)
Anyway — is there an update on when the Exeter ep will be finished. It looked done except for the (and prepare to laugh at my spelling) denoument.
FYI, “intact” is a single word, and should read that way in the last paragraph of the TSAMD review. “In tact” makes sense only in convoluted sentences such as, “Abe’s social skills are superior to Bill’s both in humor and in tact.”
#13 – I’ve gotta agree with you there, about New Voyages being far from TOS purism, and I DEFINATELY agree that Starship Exeter is a lot better, especially the latest episode. I have to disagree about Daren’s work, though – it’s the best you can get without using physical models.
I didn’t like the direction of the ship action, though; the whole “shaky hand-held camera” fad has got to be the stupidest idea that has come out of the industry. I couldn’t see what the hell was going on, ESPECIALLY with the ice-field sequence!
And no amount of digital effects work, good or otherwise, can compensate for the painfully horrific “performances” from the “actors.”
Sorry for posting three-in-a-row, but I had to point it out…if Cawley REALLY was a TOS purist, he wouldn’t have used the god-awful “Enterprise” versions of the Andorians or Tellarites! Wtf…
Let some us who have slower connections know where we can download this to our PCs to watch it after it downloads. The stop/start video of the link furnished above doesn’t work too well.
#24, Word from the Phase II mods state that there will be “NO” downloadable version. There have been a few people having problems playing the DragonFly version. A downloadable version would be oh so nice.
(shooting one’s self in foot?)
I don’t like the idea of the “joke” ending. They could have easily done something else, that would have added to the story. I suspect that this episode is going to end up getting an alternative ending, or a sequel of some sort (a sequel would be better!) Hell, they could even pull a “Harry Kim” in a sequel, and have a Checkov from an alternate universe replace the one who died.
“Sergei” would be just as bad as a Vodka enduced dream.
The new ending sounds stupid. I was really looking forward to seeing the new version of the episode, and it sounds like there is a lot to look forward to. However, I always prefer to download the episodes. It basically guarantees that I’ll be able to watch the video uninterrupted, and even offline. I really, really hope a version is available for download soon.
James Cawley, thank-you again for all that you do. Changed ending or not, you are doing outstanding work. I eagerly await your next episode, Blood and Fire. But please, make them available for download like the others.
P.S.– I”m not saying that I liked the original ending to TSAMD either. But I did enjoy the overall episode, and World Enough And Time is one of the best Treks ever!
Well its a nice tribute to Newhart.
I read with some disappointment the negative comments in this thread. I have no relationship with Phase II other than as a viewer, and I must say that tonight was the first time that I had seen any of its episodes. It impresses me that any group of people spend their time creating something of such interest expecting to receiving little more than the reward of having participated in a cultural experience that, in aggregate, has touched millions.
The fact is that this is a fan production and artistry in its purest, least financially implicated form. I hope that we can all appreciate personal dedication when we see it, and in Phase II, at least to me, it is there in abundance.
Dirty Darren. Ha. I wonder if Darren approves this moniker.
Hat Rick#20- You are 100% correct. I have watched only one episode of Phase II and found that it is really not my cup of tea – however, I applaud the devotion and sheer love of Trek that Cawley and his associates obviously enjoy. That they would put so much work and dedication into this huge project, and invite the rest of fandom to view their work is to be commended as well as praised. IMHO the same should be said for any fan that fashions any type of artistic endeavor in the image of our beloved Trek universe (yes, that includes the next film).
Saw the last few minutes of this at FedCon a few days ago. When I got home I was quite bummed out when I realized there is no high def torrent of it.
Dare I ask what the point of making this in such an awesome resolution/quality then not letting anyone see it? Seems such a waste.
Looked much better, but I agree that people attacking CBS-D, Darren, or Exeter is just plain foolish. Each to their own. it’s all fun stuff that raises interest in Trek. The ending was OK, helped make sense of his return in future episodes….but i agree that it cheapens the HUGE emotional impact type of ending that the episode had, right up until AFTER the credits. But, i applaude the “re-effort”, overall.
Dochterman’s “E” is so well done.
The guys are passionate and committed, they deserve our admiration.
However there is one thing about fan productions, and NV/P2 in particular, that keeps annoying me: the plots, the characters and the situations are blatantly fanboyish. The shows portrait too many Trek icons, just because fans will love them.
In my opinion, the only fan production that succeeds in breaking this scheme is Exeter.
A good effort by everyone.
love what the new voyages/phase 2 people do, but why did you guys get that tool from G4 ?
Dammed that was good, wicked work guys!
will be watching tonight at my dads when i have a half decent connection
looing forward guys!
#37, if you are referring to your latest BM, I totally agree.
The new ending doesn’t sound at all good to me. I’m not too fond of the practice of pandering to the squeaky wheel. They should have left the ending and the episode’s integrity intact.
They’re doing a great job to continue the star trek name.
No downloadable version????
We have to watch instead that lousy jerky stream?
That defies the purpose of all the re-working!
New ending smacks of writer’s block. P-U!
“The original version’s effects felt both unfinished and also anachronistic with The Original Series, even including a movie era Klingon Bird of Prey.”
The opening was beautiful in the original version!
And the BoP was from ENT, not from the movies!
Ok, time for my 2 cents.Of course that and 3.50 will get me a Starbucks.I prefered the Original version to the new one. I think putting in the TOS music was a great idea, and I want to add that I have been a STNV fan from the start so this is in no way a slam on Cawley and crew. But it was an Insult to Dave’s School to change perfectly good effects.They gave Cawley some fine work when he needed someone to do this episode. The opening shot of the planet and city the shuttle came from are gone. Since its Season 4, having a BOP was fine. The ending Fight scene with the Big E seemed more 3 dimensional in Daves version, more nautical with layers as compared to the new straight on fighting and lacked the on your edge of seat that the 1st version had. The tighter story editing was better in parts moving the story but lacked that importance in the new ending fight scene. And yes I will once again make Doc comments. Doc quit trying to redo everyone’s work. Your the new STP2 guy let your stuff stand on its own rather than “Look how much better it would have been if I had done it.” It’s old, we know you can make some thing look like its the 1960’s, but Dude buy a calender for G sake. Im stil waiting on your Star Wars remake lol.
The original ending is intact as it was.
There is a tag after the end credits, with “Tongue planted firmly in cheek”
It is there for all the, “I don’t like the stand alone episode folks. ”
Was the tag ever meant to be serious, not on your life. I do have a sense of humor. LOL.
I loved the basis for this episode and I love dthe acting… the guy that plays Spoack and the guy who plays Scotty just don’t cut it for me though. Cawley’s performance was better this time around. and they kid that played chekov was dead on! I like the way he acts and how he became checkov. Walter Koenig was brilliant.
I know all you fanboys are wanking over the graphics.. but they were subpar. The CBS digital enterprise is finally looking the way it should be.
Overall i did enjoy this episode. nice job on it!
Also, could they have just had Chekov die and then revert back to Andy Bray. Where the disease had ran its course and essential his body rebooted? Oh and more more small thing. Adding the Deadly Years piece was a Bad Idea unless they simply reshot the scene using Bray. Its make it obvious that Bray is a stand in and not Chekov. That would be like splicing in Shatner shots with Cawley. Well, time for that Starbucks ;)
I liked this very much.
Thanks for the kind words about “Exeter.” It’ll get here some day…some fine day…
I agree with Daren in regard to the “Production X is better than Production Y” stuff – as a participant in making fan films I find it enervating and disheartening.
Even *assuming* that some filmmakers might find a sense of competition energizing, it’s hard to imagine that any one of us would enjoy watching the audience fight about it.
And that said, I’ve been around fandom too long to expect that any controversy – no matter how trivial – will not be carried on via the Internet until Doomsday.
And the viewscreen on Jefferies’ Enterprise is rotated 36 degrees off of the centerline, so there! LOL