Best Of Star Trek In 2008 – Fan & Independent Productions

Yesterday we covered the best ‘official’ Star Trek productions from Paramount, CBS and the official licensees, but they are not the only ones putting out content for Trek fans. Many other fans (and professionals) produce Star Trek for you viewing, listening and reading pleasure and here are our favorites for the year..



Best Fan Film – "Operation Beta Shield" (Hidden Frontier & Intrepid)
Most of the buzz in independent Trek films in 2008 has been around the completion of "Of Gods and Men" and the recent Phase II episode "Blood and Fire, Part 1." Both were well received here at, however, both are intended to be combined with work coming out either before of after 2008. So for our best fan film, we chose a "Operation Beta Shield" which was a very Star Trek-like international cooperative effort between the teams behind Hidden Frontier and Star Trek Intrepid. Together they created an intriguing story set after the events of Nemesis in the 24th century with a combination of new characters and familiar ones (like Shelby from "Best of Both Worlds"). To be sure the acting is a mixed bag, and it is shot entirely with virtual sets, but many of the effects and costumes are excellent. While clearly identifiable as ‘Star Trek’ this could not be confused with a professional production, which is actually part of the charm. Unlike the previously mentioned ‘big’ fan projects, the Hidden Frontier productions are done without big name professionals and famous Trek veterans, which is another reason for getting our ‘best’ nod. “Operation Beta Shield” and the other episodes from Hidden Frontier are ‘fan’ films in the truest sense. Another reason for recognition is that in 2008 Hidden Frontier put out seven episodes, and effort like that is very commendable. [Download OBS at]

Preview of "Operation Beta Shield"

Best Fan Audio Production – Star Trek The Continuing Mission
Audio-only adventures are a big new growth area in the form of fan made Trek and our pick of the best in 2008 actually arrived on the scene on Christmas 2007. ‘Star Trek The Continuing Mission’ started off with the excellent "Ghost Ship" featuring the ‘guest voice’ of TOS actor Lawrence Montaigne, and in 2008 they have delivered two additional episodes. The show is set before the TNG era on a TOS movie era ship, the USS Montana, that has moved forward in time. Each episode is well edited with music and sound effects and the voice acting is quite good. For fans of the no-longer produced Pocket Books audio books, these fan produced episodes are good supplement. []

Continuing Mission audio adventures

Best Podcast – Treks In SciFi
Nearly every week for three years, Rick "Rico" Dostie has entertained fans with his excellent Star Trek and science fiction themed podcast. With more than 200 podcasts, Rico has looked at episodes and feature films from all versions of Star Trek, offering his enthusiastic commentary and presenting good interpretations. Listening to the podcast is like getting together with friends and watching episodes, with Rico showing a real love for all things Trek without being gushy or silly as many podcasts are in the world of fandom. The podcasts feature product updates, generic science fiction news, Trek news, and especially episode commentary. There isn’t anything quite like Treks in SciFi, a unique and fun podcast worth checking out. []

Treks in Sci-Fi podcast (also available on DVD)

Best New Fansite – My Star Trek Scrapbook
Frederick McLeod has been a Star Trek fan from the beginning, and his website offers truly unique and wonderful scans and photos from Star Trek’s past. The website features everything from MAD magazine scans to classic Trek advertising, newspaper clippings to unusual articles. It is a Star Trek history buffs dream website, excellent in both content and quality. []

Banner for McLeod’s ‘Scrapbook’

Best ‘Fan’ Art – Mirror Universe (Devorah Sperber)
The New York art exhibit "Mirror Universe" by Devorah Sperber featured amazing bead and spools of thread art of favorite Star Trek characters. The amazing renditions of Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise, and the TNG Holodeck were among the items of art created by Sperber who became a fan by watching reruns of TNG on Spike TV in the early 2000s. Sperber’s art represents how Star Trek inspires its fan’s creativity and ingenuity in the arts and sciences. [See full TrekMovie story] [Mirror Universe – Caren Golden Fine Art]

Sperber’s "Captain Kirk (Beaming In) 1"
made with 25,000 plastic beads, strung onto monofilament

Best ‘Fan’ Art (digital) – USS Kelvin in HD (Tobias Richter)
Veteran German CG artist Tobias Richter, owner of The Light Works, is well known to many fans who follow digital art, but wowed the rest of the Trek community recently with his set of desktops and animations of the USS Kelvin from the new Star Trek movie. Tobias’ renderings are so beautiful and so detailed, they could easily be confused for the real thing from ILM (even Vreenak might have a hard time making the call). [See full TrekMovie story w/ video and desktops]

Richter helps fans fall in love with new Kelvin

Best Non-fiction book – ‘Star Trek’ (Ina Rae Hark – BFI)
Star Trek fans got a real treat this year from Ina Rae Hark, author of "Star Trek" an academic text which is part of the BFI Television Classics line. Hark, a fan and professor of English and Film Studies at the University of South Carolina, avoids the mistakes of most academic endeavors in that the text offers a critical discussion without being boring or elitist criticism. Hark appreciates Star Trek, and although discusses its thematic flaws, she gets why Trek is popular. The book offers some new interpretations of all five television shows, and features good writing and color photos from various episodes. Fans may not always agree with Hark’s opinions of the shows, yet the text is both interesting and full of new ideas that will delight even those who know all the trivia.

Hark’s Star Trek text

Best Viral Video (Music) – Star Trek Rap (Those Arent Muskets)
The comedy troupe took the net by storm earlier in the year with a bit 80s nostalgia in the form of a Star Trek The Next Generation Rap. This entirely not safe for work and not very PC song, still shows a lot of love for the the Big Ent D and crew.

Best Viral Video (Mashup) – Trek Through Time (Kelvington/Spockboy)
There have been a ton of mashup videos done in 2008, inluding a Sombrero-ific entry by Many of the best have been done by our pals Rick Kelvington and Paul ‘Spockboy’ Sibbald, with their best effert coming last in their vision of a matchup between Doctor Who and Star Trek The Original Series.

(YouTube Link)


More Lists to come
All that is left in our 2008 in review series is our ‘Trekkies of the Year’ 

Previously posted Best of 2008


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It’s okay, but nothing really stands out from this group.

A lot of action in the fan made sector. Hats off to all who produced these things in 2008.

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! This will be the year of STAR TREK!!! Second, I believe with the Quantum Mechanics scenario, all fan based Star Trek stories should be canon.

3: LOL

Uhhhh not that Dr. Who video again. Blah!

Dammit, Prooth! You’ve stolen my thunder again!

Seriously, though: congratulations to everyone, particularly to Sebastian Prooth, who puts out a wonderfully well-produced audio drama (and is a neat guy to boot!). A well-deserved award, and those of you who don’t already listen to fan audio drama should give it a shot.

I was totally shocked to see my blog selected for inclusion on this list!

Thanks so much for noticing and for the honor!!!


I like Treks in Scifi, but I’d also recommend “Make it So” which is a very funny Trek podcast done by a few English fellows.

I don’t quite understand how a shuttle approaches the shuttle bay while the Kelvin is using Impulse power.

Anyone care to technobabblify that one?

Wow! I love really well made fan Trek projects! Fun.

Everyone click on mine and get it over 24,000.

Wow Hidden Frontier beats out Cawley and crew and Farragut???? Now we know who owns those scandalous and quite comprimising Trekmovie staff pictures

that was a wonderful trip down memory lane. thanks for the blogging. very awesome indeed.

any chance we will see any Star Trek Poster Books in the future? i had all of those when i was a kid but my mom sold them off in a garage sale when i was away in the military.

I appreciate all the fan-made productions simply out of that shared love for Star Trek. I applaud all of them. They’re playing in one of the most fun playgrounds of all time!

#9 – Jefferies
My New Years Resolution is “no technobabbling”, so I’m gonna have to pass on answering that one…

Cool stuff. These days, the fan stuff is my favorite Trek.

#11 Andy Patterson: I second that. I *love* those vids, and have had them favorited for years.

Absolutely loved the TNG rap

very rube but LMAO!

#9 No techno-babble from me. It looks like it would approach from “above” and aft of the vessel, safely over the ion stream or whatever.

I especially appreciate “My Star Trek Scrapbook” and thought I might do one like it myself. Recently, while cleaning out my late parents’ home, I found boxes full of old newspaper clippings; magazine articles; audio tapes (of Ruth Berman and David Gerrold for example, giving a talk at our library in the mid 1970s); tapes of star appearances on talk shows like (e.g. Merv Griffith); and some of my own stuff from my club and Star Trek Welcommittee.

And speaking of fan films, does any one here remember that original fan film made by a guy who also built his own sets? It was covered in an amateur film-making magazine ca 1975 but sadly, I can’t find it. The guy filmed it on Super 8 or some 16mm stock. I can find nothing on the web about it… I guess if it happened before HTML it doesn’t count, lol!

C.S. Lewis


Ah James….stop it. Stop it. No really. You’re the man. That’s very nice. I appreciate it. I’m no richer for it but I’m glad they’re enjoyed. That’s what makes it nice even though I haven’t figured that money part out yet.

‘Fornication is the only way to make the next generation’. Oh god, I haven’t laughed like that in a while. Definitely NSFW, but good for a chuckle.

The ‘Operation Beta Shield’ trailer…yeah. Oh fan films, will you ever cease to entertain in completely unintentional ways?


“And speaking of fan films, does any one here remember that original fan film made by a guy who also built his own sets? It was covered in an amateur film-making magazine ca 1975 but sadly, I can’t find it. The guy filmed it on Super 8 or some 16mm stock. I can find nothing on the web about it…”

Can’t remember the title of that fan film, but it was shot in Super 8 and was covered in an early issue of the late Don Dohler’s original indie CINEMAGIC magazine (before STARLOG bought it out). I believe the piece was reprinted in the 1980s in a paperback book by Dohler called FILM MAGIC, which collected some of the old CINEMAGIC material.

PS: Here’s a cover gallery page of early CINEMAGIC issues. Check out the cover of issue #6. The fan film was called PARAGON’S PARAGON.

PPS: Oh yeah, this fan film was mentioned earlier on this very site (check out post #23):

PARAGON’S PARAGON filmmaker John Cosentino was also a creature maker as I recall, who contributed at least one monster suit to one of Don Dohler’s films, probably THE ALIEN FACTOR. I think he also wrote for Dohler’s CINEMAGIC magazine at some time or another (as did I).

Unexpected, but yay all the same! Thank you Anthony!

LOVE the rap song!

“… I left the hollodeck with a hollow d*** ” LOL

Just watched the Enterprise Tribute video. I hadn’t seen that before. What a wonderful piece, thanks for sharing it.

1. MEH.

It’s okay, but nothing stands out from this posting…

Is it cold up there on your mountain buddy?

Congratulations to all the winners.


Thanks… I do plan on doing entries on the ST Poster mags soon. I already posted one cover and will do all ofthem, plus some articles from them as well.

re: 19… And I have the issue of Cinemagic with Paragon’s Paragon, and plan on scanning the article and posting it very soon. I think it’s neat that fan films have been made that far back, and interesting to see how far they have come,

^ 22. CMX54

CINEMAGIC! THANK YOU SIR! You don’t know how long I’ve banged my head on my computer monitor trying to recall that name! (Actually, since The Tressaurian Intersection was announced…)

C.S. Lewis

^30 Fred

What a wonderful new year surprise, finding you two researchers par excellence! Thank you and thank you again. In junior high, I built a plywood “Sensor Hood” from Spock’s station that was to be my first set piece for my own film, inspired by this effort. Sadly for my directorial debut, I hadn’t considered the problem of BUDGET :-)

But now that it’s been resurfaced, perhaps our esteemed webmaster will write an article on Paragon’s Paragon. What say you, Mr Pascale?

C.S. Lewis


Your Star Trek scrapbook site is wonderful! Brings back a lot of memories. I thought I was the only one who saved stuff like that — Star Trek ads, articles from newspapers and magazines, etc. I have a file folder full of stuff like that, mostly from the mid-1970s to present. I have a page-size ad from Life magazine from ca. 1967 about buying a new Magnavox (I think) color TV to see all the glorious color on Star Trek. I be happy to share any of my stuff with you!

Is it too late to nominate USS Tamerlane’s The Last Night of the Year for best fan comic?

Fred –

cool site – you should have got shatner (circa 1979) to drop kick your a**hole stepdad – what a bastard.

Hmm, it appears that “Blood and Fire” will not qualify next year either, based on the criteria above. There may be a reason that part one is actually called Episode 4, and part two is Episode 5 . . . . .


Beta Shield? Costumes excellent? What’s with the glaring light gray trim on the Federation uniforms??
It’s amazing that with all the work put into these things, they get something so simple so wrong.

Hidden Frontier has done a good job with out big name help.

OK, here is Mr. Negativity. I’ll put it all in one post so that it will be easier for A.P to delete. :-)


#25. While you should be proud of your work, this article talks about the Best of the Best of 2008. Your little production is nice, but it is not a fan production in the sense defined here nor is it really a mash-up either, at least the kind of mash-ups listed here. Not to mention that it is not from 2008.


I have never liked Hidden Frontier because they look so bad. I understand the need for virtual sets and how it saves on costs and production time, but they look like bad local television effects from the 60’s and 70’s. I can’t get past this and look at the stories for whatever merit they may hold.


Did James Cawley’s production have big names in its first two episodes? I cannot recall of the top of my head? And before Topin took over for Spock, were any of Cawley’s actors, “professional,” actors?


While other fans may be grooving on the U.S.S. Kelvin, I hate it. I love the detail. I love the pseudo-retro look to some of its parts, but taken as a whole, I am not a big fan of it. I think the design would have been much better with a single pod, either above or below the saucer.

As for the deflector dish, an “Enterprise” era type saucer based deflector, or a dish hanging below the saucer could have been added.

Re: 36 USS Tamerlane

Very nice. I don’t read comics, but the drawings are very crisp, simple yet dynamic, with just a touch of the old anime / manga look thrown in. Plus, the story, from what I scanned of it was, looked very interesting.

Well done.

eh, pardon my speakings. English eh, is, eh, my first language.

@32–I tried liked crazy to find the guys behind “Paragon’s Paragon” when I was writing my new book on the history of fan films, “Homemade Hollywood: Fans Behind The Camera” [PLUG] Available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, etc. [/PLUG], and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I have no idea if they ever managed to finish the flick. Also MIA is the crew of “Yorktown II,” the 1987 fan film that George Takei starred in that was never released. I even asked Trek designer Andrew Probert (who did some design for them) and he has no idea what happened to that flick. If anyone can find me some new info on them, I’d love to highlight your findings on my fan film blog,

40. Kirk’s Girdle: I’m just a fan, but I’m sure the creator would love to hear your kind words!

yes it is too late to nominate a web comic but we should have that category next year, and (at least with the fan stuff) we will try to involve the fans more in nominating and/or voting on the various productions…there are just so many it is hard to keep track. If there is one area of Trek coverage I want to improve here it is the fan stuff, but we do our best.

# 37. Dr. Image

“What’s with the glaring light gray trim on the Federation uniforms??”
Creative choice on the part of HF’s producers. They consider it a variant. By contrast, you’ll notice that the Intrepid costumes have the standard trim.

44. Anthony Pascale: Alas! Oh well, here’s to the future fan comics of 2009. May they be as entertaining as the ones from 2008!

C.S. Lewis:

My pleasure! It was fun digging around in dusty memories about those early fan films. (I used to see lots of them at cons and fan clubs in the early and mid-70s.) I knew CINEMAGIC and Don Dohler very well.

I remember the first convention I attended, in Detroit in 1972, somebody walked up to Gene R. and showed him an 8 x 10 black and white glossy of the Enterprise bridge. He looked at it, smiled, then looked again and said, “Hey, that’s not mine!” It turned out to be a photo of a fan film set, but I’m not sure if it was from John Cosentino’s PARAGON’S PARAGON or not, but in those days I knew at least a few people who tried to build their own Enterprise bridge for a fan film.

I made a few fan films back in the day myself, wrote about making them and was published…but they weren’t Trek films. My budgets were too low for anything resembling Trek sets and costumes.


It shouldn’t be that hard to find somebody from PARAGON’S PARAGON. Just check around the old Don Dohler gang in Baltimore. Maybe George Stover could be of some help, he is easy enough to contact.


I’ve posted the article from Cinemagic on My Star Trek Scrapbook. Enjoy!

^49 Fred – you’ve done a great service Fred! Now we’ve got to track down that film!

C.S. Lewis