A FATHERS DAY blog as my 11-year-old son JAYDEN discovers STAR TREK fan films…

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to share something special and Trekkish that recently happened with me and my son.

Jayden is reaching the age where he’s developing his own interests that are completely separate from Daddy’s. He’s playing Roblox and Terraria and a bunch of other games on his computer that I’ve never heard of. He watches YouTubers with names like Mr. Beast, Flamingo, and Merg. He codes, builds robots, and does karate. And now that summer has started, hours will go by where I’ll only see him when he comes down from his room for a quick snack (and it’s all I can do to make him eat a nutritious lunch!).

Ah, being the father of an almost-teen…

I am so proud of my not-so-little boy!

But there is one thing that we do almost every day, and that’s watch Star Trek together after dinner. I give the food a little while to digest, and then we’ll head off to my office where I’ll do 25-30 minutes of cardio on the bike while we watch (most of) an episode of Star Trek. It’s been our “thing” since Jayden was 5. We’re going in release order. We began with TOS, then TAS, then back to TOS because Jayden was really young when he first watched them, and I wanted him to remember. Then on to the first four movies, then TNG…with DS9 added as we hit season six of TNG. And of course, we watched Trek V and Trek VI when those came up in the chronological release order.

We’ve also watched LOWER DECKS, PRODIGY, and STRANGE NEW WORLDS—but not DISCOVERY or PICARD. In the case of Discovery, too much @$&%ing swearing, and in the case of Picard…SPOILERS!

Anyway, Jayden has become quite the little Trekkie (thank heaven!) and sci-fi nerd. The other day at the comic book store, he begged me to buy him a stuffed xenomorph from Alien(s)—which he’s seen, of course—with a zipper for a mouth and a second mouth-tongue inside. (We named him Zipley.)

Jayden holds the newest addition to the family: ZIPLEY!

Most recently, we’ve made it to the end of TNG. We only have “All Good Things” left to watch, but it’s time to switch back over to DS9 and complete season two. We’re two episodes away from watching “Crossover,” the first episode of any Trek to feature the Mirror Universe since TOS’s “Mirror, Mirror.”

Not certain whether Jayden would remember that early episode, I fished out the ol’ remastered Blu-rays to watch that as a special “extra” before heading back to DS9. I’d done the same thing earlier in season two when we did a detour to watch “Errand of Mercy” then “The Trouble with Tribbles” and finally “Day of the Dove.” Those three were all in anticipation of DS9‘s “Blood Oath,” which featured the return of Klingons Kor, Koloth, and Kang from those episodes. So as you can see, I am doing all of this VERY methodically!

Last week, we viewed “Mirror, Mirror” and, as I watched the following scene, I got a crazy idea…

To understand my idea, you first need to understand that, with the exception of my AXANAR Universe fan film INTERLUDE, Jayden really hasn’t seen ANY Star Trek fan films. While JOSHUA IRWIN and I were editing Interlude, Jayden would hear the fan film playing and re-playing over and over and 0ver so much that he got totally sick of it. And he’s never really expressed an interest in seeing anything else that I regularly blog about. As I said, we mostly have our own interests these days, with some overlap when it comes to regular Star Trek and sci-fi in general.

But after watching the scene above at the end of “Mirror, Mirror,” I thought it would be fun to watch this scene immediately after the episode ended…

For those (few, I hope!) of you who don’t know where the above scene is from, it’s the very beginning of “Fairest of Them All,” the third full-length episode from STAR TREK CONTINUES. STC is my favorite fan series, and “Fairest of Them All” is my favorite of their 11 episodes…possibly my favorite Star Trek fan film period.

I was curious to see Jayden’s reaction to this, and so just after “Mirror, Mirror” ended, and before we both headed upstairs to take our evening showers before bedtime, I switched over to YouTube and played Jayden the above scene up through the end of the teaser and opening credits.

At first, Jayden appeared to be hovering somewhere between intrigued and confused. “Is this edited, Daddy?” he asked. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but I said, “Just keep watching.” By the time Scotty says “Get in the chamber!” Jayden asked me again, “What is this?”

I paused YouTube and answered, “It’s a fan film, my little love.”

“Really? Does Gene Roddenberry know about this?”

I smiled. “Only if he’s a Force Ghost, although that’s a different franchise. Gene died more than 20 years before this was made.”

We watched the rest of the teaser, and Jayden said, “Daddy, this should be canon!” I love it that my son talks like that.

“Well, Buggy-Bug, in my head, this IS canon.”

“But real canon, Daddy. They should hire these people to make more Star Trek!” Ah, out of the mouths of babes…

The next night, Jayden couldn’t wait to see the rest of the episode. You can view it below…

He loved it. He thought that CBS should get VIC MIGNOGNA to play Kirk on Strange New Worlds. I explained that Vic is nearly 60 years old now, and Kirk on SNW would need to be a LOT younger, not older.

Later in the episode, when the ship’s computer spoke at 9 minutes and 46 seconds, I asked Jayden if he recognized the voice. He listened carefully and finally said, “Is that Worf?”

“Yep,” I replied. “Fan films used to get the Star Trek actors to appear in them. MICHAEL DORN lent his voice to a couple of them.” I decided not to get into the guidelines with him yet, although this fan film does predate them by two years.

We discussed how Scotty’s (JIMMY DOOHAN’s) real-life son, CHRIS DOOHAN, played Scotty on STC and how fans built all of those sets to look exactly like the originals…and they’re still around. I also mentioned there was another studio with TOS set recreations in upstate New York, and in that series, Captain Kirk was played by an Elvis impersonator. (Of course, Jayden knows about Elvis, too.) I told Jayden that some fan films are better than others, but STC was one of the best ones.

The next night, I was ready to return us to watching Deep Space Nine, but Jayden said he wanted to watch more Star Trek Continues. “Are you sure?” I asked. Jayden loves DS9, possibly more than TNG…although not more than TOS, apparently. “Yeah, I want to watch all of those Star Trek Continues episodes, okay?”

Fine by me! So we began with the first STC, “Pilgrim of Eternity.” By the time we had finished the teaser and were halfway through act one, Jayden said, “Daddy, this is as good as Star Trek. 10 out of 10.” Considering that this was their first episode, and they got quite a bit better later on, I’m not sure what happens from here in terms of Jayden’s ratings. Maybe they can go to eleven? As of a couple of nights ago, we’re now half-way through STC‘s second episode, “Lolani.”

Jayden did ask me a question that I think we’ve all wondered about: “Daddy, why don’t more people know about fan films?”

“Hey, kid, I’m doing my best here to blog about ’em!” I answered, and we both laughed. (Jayden knows I spend a lot of time on this blog.) “But in the end, Buggy-Bug, there’s a lot of stuff out there for people to watch on TV and YouTube and streaming and in theaters. And most of the major TV shows and movie studios have something that fan films don’t: budgets for major marketing campaigns.”

But hey, at least I’ve added one new convert!

Quick post script – As I was proof-reading this blog on Saturday night, Jayden walked by and looked over my shoulder. Noticing a photo of himself on my computer screen, he asked me what I was doing. “I’m editing a blog I wrote about you and I watching Star Trek Continues.”

“I’m in a blog? That’s so cool!” he said. Then he added, “Are you going to put in that I just said that?”

“Probably not, the blog is already pretty long,” I replied.

“Please, Daddy. I really think you should include that I said it was cool that I was in your blog.”

It’s so hard to say “no” to that kid… 🙂

3 thoughts on “A FATHERS DAY blog as my 11-year-old son JAYDEN discovers STAR TREK fan films…”

  1. Great story Jonathan! Although our son didn’t catch the Syfy bug, he did take to my hobby of fishing. I’ll never forget the first Salmon he caught, at age 12, he fought it for over 45 min, a 21 lb Coho , and when he proudly held it up, it was nearly as tall as he was! He was into sports, which I didn’t discourage, because I’m not big on it, but, I did take him to games at all the major sports arena’s. UofM which seats 110,000, Ford’s Field when it was just new, same for Commerical Park, and the old Joe Louis Arena. Not to mention Cedar Point Amusement Park every year, till he was old enough to take himself. I also took him out to job sites I was building homes on. Big hills of dirt, what boy could resist? Now he’s a married man, with 2 kids of his own. After getting a BA in Criminal justice, went on to get his Master’s in Business Administration. And has a successful career, that allows lots of family time. Best of all, he avoided all the mistakes I made earlier in life.
    Happy Father’s Day, Jonathan!

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