After a glorious Kickstarter victory, Star Trek Continues is back with a brand new episode, The White Iris. Trekkies rejoice!
The White Iris is Star Trek Continues’ fourth episode in the continuing voyages of the original Enterprise’s five-year mission. You can watch it now, here. To date it is the best episode of the young series, and perhaps most embodies the spirit, and mission of the original series, and its creator, Gene Roddenberry. The episode revolves around Captain Kirk receiving a head injury that leads to him seeing some strange things. This all takes place on the backdrop of a planet vying for Federation membership. Threatening this membership is the planet’s sister world, who opposes the move. Can the plot get any more “Star Trek”?
I don’t want to go into much detail about the episode itself, because it really must be seen intact to fully lose yourself in it. Which happens almost instantly, bye the way. What I do want to mention is how beautiful a homage Star Trek Continues is, and in particularly, how The White Iris sets a grand stage for the series to continue for a long time.
The classic characters continue to be represented with care and finesse. Every actor must have done their homework, deliver faithful, almost phoenix-like performances of so many iconic characters. Vic Mignogna in particular continues to manifest all facets of Captain Kirk with shocking nuance, and absolutely steals every scene. He’s simply uncanny.
The other character I feel compelled to speak about is Dr. Ellse McKennah, the new Ship’s Counselor aboard the Enterprise, played by Michele Specht. Introduced in earlier episodes, the character of Dr. McKennah provides a fascinating look at something never explored in the original series, the institution of the Ship’s Counselor. Dianna Troy was a fixture on the Enterprise during The Next Generation, but Captain Kirk never had the omnipresent threat of a psyche eval hanging over his every move. Kirk is probably the least suitable candidate for a clear psyche eval, and watching him deal with Dr. McKennah’s psychological inquiries is completely enthralling. Scenes between Captain Kirk and Dr. McKennah in The White Iris are on par with any of the most memorable character-driven moments in all of Star Trek.
And really, that’s what Star Trek Continues is all about. It is a meticulously faithful recreation of the classic that started it all, and a brilliant addition in its own right to Star Trek canon. Not only do they recreate, but they add to the mythology. In The White Iris we get a glimpse of an early holodeck, something never seen in the Classic Series. But just as with the introduction of the Ship’s Counselor, Star Trek Continues adds to canon by building continuity between the Classic Series and everything that came after.
Thanks to a very successful Kickstarter, the folks at Star Trek Continues were able to expand upon their meticulous recreation of the original U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701. Some of the money raised went to the creation of an Engine Room, conspicuously missing from previous episodes due to the costly production of a quality set. Now Montgomery Scott is back where he belongs, and it just adds to the authenticity of Star Trek Continues.
The White Iris was well worth the wait, and makes me even more impatient for more episodes. It had everything that made the Original Series a classic, all without a hint of borrowing from the past to take the easy way out. This episode shows that the writers, actors, and producers of this series have the ability to make their series feel completely new and refreshing. There is a real understanding of the Original Series going on here, and it shines through every scene with vivid detail.
If you haven’t already, go watch Star Trek Continues: The White Iris, and see why there is indeed quality Star Trek being made today, even if it isn’t on any network!