FanMade: RiffTrax Does Phase II+ Federation One Images + New Audio Dramas + more

There may be no new Trek episodes coming out of CBS Paramount these days, but the fan community continue to take up the slack. This week we have news and exclusive images from the Hidden Frontier mini-series “Federation One” and new releases from Star Trek Odyssey and three different Trek audio dramas. Plus there is a bit of drama going on with Star Trek Phase II and the folks from RiffTrax. Oh…and Space Nazis.

New Voyages Gets RiffTraxed…Cawley not amused
The former Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys are still out there on the interweb, selling ‘Rifftrax’ of their witty repartee for various films (including a number of Trek features). This week they released a RiffTrax for the Star Trek Phase II (formerly New Voyages) episode “World Enough and Time,” featuring George Takei. Although it is a bit of an honor to be the first fan film to get the RiffTrax treatment, the format they are delivering it in doesn’t have STP2 producer James Cawley laughing. Rifftrax usually just sells audio files of their comic commentary, however for “World Enough and Time” they are selling the full video synced with their audio (see sample), which Cawley says is a violation of the agreement they have with Paramount for fan films to not make any money. Cawley tells he will be contacting Rifftrax and so hopefully this all gets sorted (RiffTrax are also planning on doing the Walter Koenig STP2 episode “To Serve All My Days”).

New Voyages/Phase II gets Rifftraxed

Federation One Images + New Odyssey Episode + Excelsior Ball
Hidden Frontier producer Rob Caves has sent TrekMovie a couple of exclusive preview images from their upcoming mini-series “Federation One,” which premieres later in the year. Also, Caves tells TrekMovie that the “Operation Beta Shield” mini-series (a collaboration with Starship Intrepid) is almost finished shooting and could be released as early as July. “Beta Shield” will have a preview at the 3rd annual Excelsior Ball, June 6-8th in Los Angeles. The event will host several fan-film screenings including new films from Star Trek: Intrepid, Star Trek: The Expedition as well as the Hidden Frontier family. Details at Lastly, 4th episode of Star Trek Odyssey, “Vile Gods” is being released Sunday.

Jim Davis as Federation President SeFron and his ship from "Federation One"
(click to enlarge)

New Audio Episodes
The world of Star Trek fan productions is not limited to videos, there are also a number of audio productions out there. Most are like radio plays, complete with music and sound effects. In just the last week there have been three new episodes released:

  • Star Trek: The Continuing Mission (set in the TOS movie era) has released their 2nd episode, “Integration.”
  • Star Trek: Defiant (set in the DS9 era) has released their 24th episode, “The Far and Wondrous Distance, part 2.”
  • Star Trek: Lost Frontier (set in the 25th century on the ‘Enterprise F’) has released their 9th episode, “By the Sword.”

In a future FanMade we will take a closer look at all the Star Trek audio productions.

You can also listen to fan made Trek

Star Wreck Team Find Space Nazis
No one does Space Nazis as well as Star Trek, but the Finnish team behind the Babylon 5 v Star Trek spoof “Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning” are giving it a shot with “Iron Sky,” a comedy about how Nazis have been living secretly on the Moon…and are coming back. This time they aren’t involving any Trek or B5, but where there are Space Nazis, Trek is there in spirit. Check out the official Iron Sky site, and the trailer.

Some quick links to news in the world of Fan productions

  • Scottish based “Star Trek Intrepid” are out shooting a new episode and profiled on
  • “Hidden Frontier” actors Brandon McConnell and Sharon Savene are interviewed at SyFy Portal.
  • Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes” producer Michael Struck tells TrekMovie that they are still on track to release their first episode this year, and have just signed on veteran voice actor Vic Mignogna for some alien voices.
  • Star Trek Of Gods and Men released their May Newsletter, but not much in it about OGAM except the note that they will announce the release date for Part 3 in their June Newsletter.
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Federation One is a Cool Ship!

Iron Sky lokks good.

I see where a problem may occur with selling it, but as the website says you can purchase just the audio for the same price, meaning the video itself is free and you’re only paying for the audio track, I dont think they should have anything to worry about.

from the site:

* For convenience, this product includes the RiffTrax combined with the Star Trek New Voyages video at no extra charge! Or, you can choose to download just the RiffTrax commentary separately if you prefer to sync them up yourself. All formats are made available in your My Files area after purchase.

Too bad “Iron Sky” will be a comedy, judging from the end of that clip. The largest part of the promo teaser looks/sounds like James Bond meets Sky Captain. This could be a serious (and seriously wacky) B-picture.

The guys from Star Wreck are very talented. That bit was funny stuff. Check it out if you haven’t seen it. The whole concept for Iron Sky is so wonderfully campy,original, and Sky Captainy (a film I personally enjoyed), I can’t wait to see it. I have faith that this could be an uber B-picture.


i agree! It has elements of the sleek sovereign class but also looks pretty badass

I don’t think he’ll get far with the Rifftrax guys…I doubt they’d put themselves in the position to be in legal trouble after all these years. I think they’re just offering the video because it happens to be free. They aren’t charging extra for it.

Frankly, I appreciate it because I can finally sit thru an episode!


Iron Sky does look interesting.

gees I cant wait for a new Trek Trailer thou

It looks more like the MST3K guys are using a fan made film to make money. I don’t know if that’s the same thing as directly using Paramount property to make money. They may not have a leg to stand on legally with Paramount, but I think that the MST3K guys should have asked before doing this. The word “backstabbing” comes to mind.

I understand that Mr. Cawley is upset. His stuff is being used to make money for someone else. I wouldn’t like it, but he has to at least admit that it’s cool that so many people love his stuff that they want to spoof it.

I miss the early MST3000. That got me thru some tough eeearrly mornings at work.


How is this ‘backstabbing’? Rifftrax has no previous association with James Cawley or anyone else at Phase II that I know of. They just took the film and did exactly what they do with every other film – record tracks mocking it. If anything, Cawley should be flattered, given it’s the only fan film they’ve done.

They provide purchase links to every other movie they make fun of on the site. The Phase II movie is free. They aren’t making money on it as they aren’t charging extra for it. The money is made from the actual riff track. If they were charging extra for it or making money off the movie specifically in any way I could see an issue, but as they’re merely redistributing an already free product, I don’t see how there could be any legal liability.

And hilariously, Rifftrax is being advertised on the Google ad on this page. Ha.

Is that a “Defiant” class ship on top of the Federation One?

#12 — I see what you’re saying, and I have no problem whatsoever with RiffTrax doing a New Voyages track. One thing that does concern me, though, is that if they’re really merging their soundtrack to the NV video and selling the whole package, they’re really selling a different sort of product than they usually do. In other words, the bundling of the two together might conceivable make the product more attractive to some purchasers than just an audio track. If the bundling causes someone (even if it’s only a few people) to buy a product that they wouldn’t otherwise have bought, then RiffTrax is making money off of the video that they wouldn’t have made otherwise.

I’m no lawyer, so I don’t know. But I would be miffed if it were something I’d produced.

The “clip” of Rifftrax doing “World Enough and Time” is absolutely excruciatingly unfunny.


I don’t know, I still think there’s a distinct difference since we’re dealing with a freely available product (the fan film). Since they link to the free download, and there is no price difference between the two, they aren’t technically making any money off of the film. No more than they’re making money off of the trax for Star Wars or The Fifth Element.

And realistically, how many people are going to buy this? It’s not like New Voyages/Phase II is so well known or popular as to guarantee a large number of downloads simply because they offer a combo version with the free video. In fact, I’ll bet that most of the people that like NV won’t like the Rifftrax for much the same reason Cawley doesn’t.

Iron Sky look brilliant, cant wait to see it , even if i am sure it will be another year or two to get finished, but star wrecked was great , so looking forward to Iron sky for sure

rifftrax sample lol , !!! Maroooooned !


I totally agree that there are going to be people that buy it that might not if they didn’t include the video.

There is one other thing that bothers me though. Even if this was only audio and didn’t include the video, isn’t it still technically a fan made star trek product? Even here on this site you have 3 fan made audio productions listed. If they were to sell them, i think paramount would have a problem with that. So i don’t think it would be legal to sell even the audio part. I don’t even think its funny.


I thought the same thing. It does look like a defiant class up there.


In much the same way SNL can sell a DVD containing a Trek skit without paying Paramount for it, the RiffTrax guys can sell their audio without paying for it because it’s parody. They aren’t selling an official product of Paramount Pictures by bundling the audio & video; they are merely offering another avenue for a film that is already available without cost to anyone with an internet connection. They aren’t adding a premium for that additional content. It’s just convenience.

Trust me, the MST3K guys have gone through enough legal troubles to know what they can and can’t do. I’d be surprised if they’re breaking any laws here.

And seriously, how are you guys not laughing at that clip? “Science-techno-jargon-physics, energy-particle-babble”. “MARRROOOONED!”

I loved the Iron Sky teaser, the fact it’s a comedy comes through before though surely? Since it’s emmmmm, totally preposterous?

Hang on, that applies to about 99.9% of comic books doesn’t it?

the mighty nazis obsession, for me it will be boring

Rifftracks are painfully unfunny it must be said. I can’t believe they make money out of it.

I asked my brother who’s attorneyly….

They’re opening themselves up this time to a lawsuit from both Cawley and Paramount (which if they were to team up on this, hint, hint!!!) would probably shut RiffTrax down for a very long time. Another route to go is since everyone on ST:TNV donated their time and talent and services, a class action suit even could be filed where all of the participants could demand rights payments from the fools at RiffTrax.

Cawley’s group retains rights to their filmed product, period: they’re not a corporation. When parodying a corporate product, the courts generally will allow… however: as someone mentioned an SNL skit: SNL would produce their own skit: they wouldn’t tack an audiotrack on someone else’s work. ST:TNV is more along the lines of a community theater product (which my brother suggests JC cast it: courts generally protect those well) or school or university project.

Furthermore, MST3K was a different situation: they paid rights fees where necessary, or were playing films that had passed into public domain.

That said, the whole RiffTrax I find disgusting. Mock corporate productions all you want… but this is outright nasty.

The riffrtrax stuff is hilarious. I used to never miss a MST3000. I wish it were still on.
I get the fact that some people don’t find it funny, either you get it or you don’t.
#25 – How is it downright nasty? Trek is great fodder for satire. I love Trek, but I can laugh at it too.

I’m digging that song that’s in that Iron Sky. Does anyone know who that is???

I think it sounds similar to the same voice as who did a song for the video game to Goldeneye: Rogue Agent.

Wow some people need to take a cue from MST3K:

“Just repeat to yourself it’s just a show I should really just relax.”

Sometimes Trek fans take themselves waaaaaaaaayyyyyy to seriously.


BTW Daoud you may want to give your brother all of the facts. Rifftrax is charging $2.99 for the download, that’s the same price they charge for all of their Rifftrax audio files. They are not charging for the movie… the movie is simply included as a bonus, and the movie is public domain.

This would get thrown out in a heart beat.


#29 — Got a copy where they have the legal right to include ST:TNV’s video? I thought not. If RiffTrax wants to do the *honest* thing, then they should just give away the mp3.

#28 — Perhaps if this were a parody of a Paramount Trek product, it would be funny. RiffTrax is putting ST:TNV’s situation with Paramount/CBS in jeopardy: again, if RiffTrax wasn’t charging, the parody would be funny.

#26 — Laugh at something professionally made. Laughing at a fan film, is as someone already noted… comparable to the snobby kids at the prom making fun of the handicapped fellow.

#29: “They are not charging for the movie… the movie is simply included as a bonus, and the movie is public domain.”

The movie is *not* “in public domain” and there-in lies the problem.


The minute Cawley and crew put the film out there for others to see, they made it subject to scrutiny. Plus, they tread a line between fan film and ‘professional’ production, as they use original series actors quite frequently. I say it is fair game, as far as parody goes. Making fun of ‘the handicapped fellow’ at the prom is an incredibly off comparison, and I’d think far more insulting to Cawley & Co. than Mike, Kevin & Bill having a little fun with it. I’d think of MST3K & RiffTrax more as a roast, but some people don’t find those funny either, so to each their own.


Dennis, could you perhaps explain what licensing the fan films do fall under? Since the characters, ship, etc. are all copyright Paramount Pictures, what ownership do Cawley & Co. have over it? Is it similar to a Creative Commons license? Is only part of it under license or copyright? I’m honestly curious.

Technically it does fall under public domain in the sense that the New Voyages crew cannot hold copyrights on their material as it relates to Star Trek, Paramount owns the characters and designs lock stock and barrel. New Voyages does however hold intellectual rights to the story and the actual video they shot.

Whoopie, means nothing as the Rifftax crew is not charging any extra fee for the video material, which is already freely distributed via the internet. Their material would fall under the auspices of the Fair Use laws as it pertains to satire.

This really is a non starter guys.


“Technically it does fall under public domain ”

Wrong. Public domain means that anybody can do what they like with it, which is *NOT* the case here.

#33 You need to look up the definition of “technically”, and “public domain”. There is no technicality which technically puts ST:TNV into the public domain. They retain rights to *their work product* for a very long time, you seem to admit that. But then, you go forward again claiming that just because RiffTrax doesn’t charge anything different for mp3+video than mp3 alone… that somehow that makes it okay. It doesn’t. Period. RiffTrax profits off of ST:TNV’s work; a tolerated use by Paramount/CBS. RiffTrax’s work is soon going to find itself seeing what happens when a major corporation *doesn’t* tolerate.

Furthermore, you seem to be using some sort of an open-source argument which doesn’t apply here. ST:TNV was released to the public at no charge, HOWEVER, that gives no rights to revise or utilize the work, or base any derivative work upon it. Also, Fair Use addresses educational use (which this isn’t), and parody and satire are in regard to producing a separate work…. which this isn’t.

Your constant attempts to pass this off as being legitimate strike me as ostrich-like. There is simply no legal protection for RiffTrax in this case. If you want to argue otherwise, name the legal precedent that is going to protect them.

RiffTrax’s real options are to immediately stop delivering ST:TNV by any form (to end the theft of intellectual property); and to avoid the wrath of Paramount/CBS… to stop charging for the mp3, or remove it.

They may think they’ll get away with this… but I suspect CBS’s attorneys will likely take this on as a joint suit on behalf of their intellectual property and the ST:TNV group. RiffTrax may have thought it funny to parody a fan film… but they chose the wrong fan film to parody — ST:TNV has a *lot* of connections now and support within the official Trek production group.

Now, if RiffTrax had for example parodied ST: OGAM, they might have been in better position….


I find Rifftrax very, very funny. If there’s ever an industry that needs to be mocked, it’s the entertainment industry.

Personally, I considered Rifftrax’s take on WEAT to be an enormous compliment to Cawley. They took his effort seriously enough that they didn’t consider it a “fan film”: They considered it a professional piece of work worthy of their notice.

That’s impressive. Remember, these are the folks who lampooned GOOD movies like “Fellowship of the Ring” (“I’m draining the little Hobbit here!”), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (“Crap, Fanboys. Listen, I don’t give a damn who shot first!”), along with some stellar recent turds like “300” (“I’m on the thunderbucket!”). In their eyes, Cawley is counted in their company. That’s pretty darned cool.


Again, even if there is an issue with the video, the MP3 is STILL protected. As you can plainly see on their site, they do riffs on Star Trek’s V, VI & VII. Nothing prevents them from doing it. They aren’t using any intellectual property of Paramount Pictures in their RiffTrax. It’s three guys TALKING about Star Trek. If Paramount could go after people on that basis alone, we’d all be in a lot of trouble.

“Fair Use addresses educational use (which this isn’t), and parody and satire are in regard to producing a separate work…. which this isn’t. ”

Nope. ‘Fair use’ is NOT exclusively linked to educational use, and is very much relevant to parody. Parody is often considered ‘fair use’, even in the case of commercial parody (making a profit), as well as instances where portions or even the sum total of a copyrighted work is used in the parody. The riffing could also fall under ‘commentary and criticism’, which is another protected aspect of ‘fair use’, but parody would allow considerably more latitude in terms of how much of the original work you could use in the parody.

Also, why would they be in a better position with OGAM? That production has JUST as many ‘official’ connections to Paramount and Star Trek as Phase II does (Tim Russ, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols…heck, James Cawley was in the darn thing too!). I don’t see how making fun of one or the other would be any more advantageous.

Thank you sean, took the words right out of my mouth. If there were any issues this would already be off their site. Really some people here need to grow a sense of humor.

This Riff is hysterical, and in no way mean spirited. Like most of their Riff’s they spend most of their time jabbing at dialogue and story issues. In fact they were very kind to the non-professional cast, and only make the occasional jab at Scotty’s on -gain-off-again accent. The rest of the time is devoted to Takei’s overacting and wardrobe. Brilliant job.


One of the best one’s is when Uhura visits Sulu in sickbay. Checkov calls over the intercom:

Checkov: “Uhura to the bridge”

Kevin Murphy: “…oh, and bring your dancing fans.”


SWWWWEEEEET! Andy Bray (formerly Checkov on New Voyages) posted on the Rifftrax forums… loved the episode. Bill Corbett responded and complimented on his performance and then promptly announced they were already at work on “To Serve All My Days”

Can’t wait!

Shouldn’t it be “Starfleet One” is they’re riffing on the PotUS’s plane? After all, it’s not called “United States One” is it?


I saw that! I found it interesting that Winston Engle – one of the co-producers – also found it entertaining:

“I was co-producer of “World Enough and Time” (or WEAT, as we call it). I was stunned to see the Rifftrax news last night, and went right to the site to download it. I don’t know if I found it hilarious despite having seen WEAT about thirty times, or BECAUSE I’ve seen it about thirty times.

Anyway, I stopped about halfway through, because I decided I should get some of the WEAT gang together to watch it, and I wanted to leave some of it fresh for me when that happens.”

He must not have received the response he expected when he showed it to the production staff.

cawley i hope you and paramount sue nelsons butt into the ground!

whatever respect i had for that guy i lost after the star trek v riff trak with all the nasty remarks about de being dead!

if he had any talent he’d be making not taking the mickey!

the old adage is crap eventually floats! and floats he does!

I’m sorry but the New Voyages people and Star Trek fans in particular need to grow up. Having your episode given the MST3K treatment is the film equivalent of having Weird Al do a parody of your song. It is high praise in deed!

And by the way the New Voyages people don’t own anything. No one does who makes a fan film. Paramount could come in at any time and legally seize everything. Anyone who makes a fan film needs to understand that nothing they make belongs to them and it can be taken away at any moment. Fan films exist at the pleasure of the actual copywrite holders.

MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.

RiffTrax is in deep doo doo.

RiffTrax is not in deep doo doo at all. All they are selling is their own audio track, which obviously the studios can’t do anything about or they would have shut them down a long time ago.

The video, IE the episode of New Voyages, is freely available on the internet. Having the video on their site is no different than if they had just put up a link to where you can download it.

What RiffTrax does is parody and is very much protected by law.


That case has no bearing on this, whatsoever. The ruling in MGM v. Grokster was against “one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.”

In other words, this particular case applies to the provision of a device – whether it be hardware or software – not the use of any existing work for use in parody or commentary. If RiffTrax created software whereby you could share Star Trek movies freely over an internet connection, this might be on point.

Again, I strongly believe the RiffTrax commentary falls under the ‘fair use’ provision for parody. I’m not sure about the video and whether it will be seen as ‘fair use’, but I’m fairly certain the only people with any hope of a legal solution would be Paramount Pictures, as they own any Star Trek related properties.


***”One of the best one’s is when Uhura visits Sulu in sickbay. Checkov calls over the intercom:

Checkov: “Uhura to the bridge”

Kevin Murphy: “…oh, and bring your dancing fans.”” ***

No offence but did you really find that funny? I might have found it funny when I was like 12 years old. My funny bone now is a tad more sophisticated these days.

I think that’s a riot. Sounds like your not getting more sophisticated but just more stuffy!

Daoud needs to lighten up. Remember it’s not real. It’s just a show. Some trekkies just get way too wrapped up in their little 23rd century playroom.