4/27/08

RP001 World Enough and Time

(2007, SciFi/Drama, color)

Riffers:

Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

How can you be worse than Shatner?

Rating: ***

In a nutshell:

A space/time warp causes Sulu to age thirty years and beget a holographic daughter.

Summary:

Despite the poster, this episode didn't really have any stabbings.  They need to work on that for future installments.The Romulans are testing new weapons on Federation ships who wander into their territory. Kirk and his crew (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) do their best to rescue one such unlucky vessel, but the Romulans disintegrate it before their eyes. Sensing that the experimental superweapon is about to be turned on them, the Enterprise opens fire, disabling and/or destroying the Romulan assailants. Unfortunately, the superweapon’s explosion traps the Enterprise in one of those space/time/quantum/flux/phase thingies of which the series is so fond.

The only way to escape is to send Sulu and his red-shirted romantic interest Dr. Chandris into the semi-destroyed Romulan ship’s derelict husk to retrieve the coordinates necessary for their survival. Motion sickness flirting gives way to frantic pseudo-scientific babble as poorly defined energy waves engulf the Romulan ship. Scotty tries to beam them back, but loses Dr. Chandris’ pattern. Sulu arrives, but thirty years older, decked in furs and knives, and played by George Takei. Scotty picks up another pattern, this one for the elder Sulu’s hot daughter Alana.

I kinnae bookend the plot any longer, cap'n!A bit of exposition establishes that Alana is the daughter of Sulu and Chandris while they lived for thirty years on a deserted planet in another dimension, one with a much quicker flow of time. Chandris died a few years back. Since Alana is purely a creature of the other dimension, she cannot be transported all the way to the Enterprise, but remains a semi-solid holograph-ish entity throughout the episode. Of course Kirk makes a pass at her anyway.

The Enterprise needs data that Sulu memorized while aboard the Romulan vessel, but it was so long ago (for Sulu) that he can’t remember it. A Vulcan mindmeld fails to reveal the required information. Drug therapy fails as well. Other attempts to extricate the ship not only fail, but reveal that Alana’s life is inextricably linked to the phase space thingy that traps them. If they free themselves, she will die.

Sulu is devastated, but Alana convinces him to help the ship escape anyway. Scotty fiddles with the transporter, using Sulu’s previous pattern to force him back to the way he was before he aged thirty years and forgot the Romulan data. Young Sulu emerges with no memory of his extra-dimensional adventure, but he remembers enough Romulan readings to fly the Enterprise to safety. Alana watches her enyoungened dad until she explodes in a shower of sparks. We close with some vaguely pro-family bookend scenes about mindmeld-restored memories and older Sulu’s grandchildren.

Thoughts:

Relax.  Give over to the androgynous devil man penetrating your mind.Imagine yourselves back in the days when alien girls were blue-skinned and promiscuous, and Shatner’s hair was real. Now imagine Spock more effeminate, Scotty less Scottish, and Kirk even hammier. Crank the production values up a few notches, and leave the writing quality more or less alone. This is Star Trek Phase II, a series of internet-only fan-made episodes in the style of the original series. Whether you judge their efforts good or bad depends on your basis for comparison. Compared to a professionally produced show, it’s unevenly acted, but is otherwise average or just below average. Compared to films of similar origin, however, they’ve knocked their little internet fanfic out of the park.

But then, it’s imitating Star Trek, one of the broadest, most ridiculously earnest space operas ever made. Even with Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly it would have been silly—indeed, compared to the real Star Trek featured on Rifftrax, it’s only a little worse than Generations and The Undiscovered Country. Of course it’s miles better than The Final Frontier, but that goes without saying. Or it would, if I hadn’t just said it.

As one of the initial Rifftrax Presents titles, this was my first taste without Mike taking the lead in the commentary. It’s still got Kevin and Bill, though, so it’s close enough. When we get a first taste of faux Scotty’s accent, Bill says, “He’s about as Scottish as Pauly Shore.” When Bones urges calm while Spock attempts to mindmeld with Sulu, Billy says, “Give over to the androgynous devil man penetrating your mind.” As Alana attempts to flirt with Kirk, then Scotty, then Spock, Kevin says, “Man, she’d flirt with the wallpaper.” It’s not real Star Trek, but it’s as close as makes no difference. That goes for my first Rifftrax experience without Mike as well.