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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