Star Trek: Osiris
Silver Age Film; Series (Drama) — Michigan, USA
01hr 52min 34sec — 02 April 2010
Vimeo, part 1: http://vimeo.com/4227518
Vimeo, part 2: http://vimeo.com/10643529
Couch Potato Movie Review: https://couchpotatomoviereviews.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/web-series-star-trek-osiris/ (30 Apr 2011)Our Review
(Original draft review from June 27th, 2009)
Rating: 3.5 with a possibility of being moved up to a 4, depending on what happens in future episodes. One of the difficulties of rating this show that is the opening of a story arc, and not really a story in itself, is you don’t know if the many apparent contradictions and loose ends are clues or poor writing. That said, this is no worse, and probably better, than the very first Phase II episode, and that series has gone on to great things. For most fan films, their first is their weakest, and this is only Star Trek: Osiris’s first episode.
Overall, the acting, at least of the ‘good guys’ was good, and the acting of the bad guys... I assume they followed the director’s and writer’s take. But I’ll get back to this when I discuss the writing. Because it involves spoilers, I am moving it to the end of my review, so that people who do not wish to read spoilers can read part of this review.
The show appears to have been shot entirely in front of a green screen, and the green screen work was good. Also, the space scenes were good. At times there was a little green around the actors, but not so much that it interfered with the story. I loved the uniforms. What did detract from the story, technically, was the uneven volume of the sound, at least on the copy I downloaded. At times, I couldn’t follow what people were saying, even if I rewound it and listed three or four times. That said, I didn’t think it effected my ability to follow the story arc.
It is tightly enough edited that, in spite of a lot of time introducing the characters, it held my attention and didn’t drag. I felt some of the introduction could have been done in medias res, rather than up front, and that would have tightened it, but even as it was, it never got boring.
In directing, the placement of people, was usually good. At one time somebody who was being spoken to to the left entered Stage right, but besides that, there were no obvious gaffs, no clothing changes in transit, no injuries that switched location. It could be that the director has to take partial responsibility for the 1950s comic-book-like bad guys. The show was reasonably entertaining.
Because of the nature of my issues with this production the remainder of this review includes spoilers. So, if you don’t want to read spoilers, stop reading HERE.
The underlying problem with all the issues, except the sound, was weak writing. But acting and writing are the two pillars of any production, so it is a very big weakness.
In my experience, the lower level among people who work to overthrow establishments with mass movements, or at least one on the scale shown, with operatives on many ships planned over a number of years, believe in the righteousness of their cause. I didn’t see any ‘true believers’ in this story. They were instead all acting as cynical opportunists. And even if leaders of such groups are secretly cynical and power hungry, they can act lovable, brave, idealistic, and either ‘one of the people’ or a member of a group ‘the people’ admire in front of a crowd. The group is too big and too carefully placed over too long a time to just be a violent gang with people trying to show who they are by being violent and intimidating. Yet that is how the personalities are shown
I didn’t want Lex Luthor... err... Chief Engineer Edwards... to take over the ship, but I couldn’t imagine him being Captain Bale’s choice of Chief Engineer unless Captain Bale, also picked by our bad guy Admiral Bradford, is a complete buffoon, or a deep cover Section 31 Agent, who was supposed to stay with the ship and crew and place them at Station 432, to control the person who will be the real hero of the series, Admiral Hoffman. That would be an unexpected twist, it would work, since Admiral Hoffman is the primary person who opposes Admiral Bradford, and this places an operative on the station with him where he could act as a spy. That would explain a lot. It would also solve a very basic Fan Film problem, namely, the fact that most fan filmmakers cast themselves as the lead. Being on both sides of the camaera is very hard to do, even for film industry pros, and the films improve when the directors and writers are not the main characters... Cook and Cawley notwithstanding.
The leader of this group, Jay Miller has cast himself as Captain Kieran Bale, who appears to be the lead character (although it’s still possible that Admiral Hoffman is the real lead, which would make the whole story work much better).
I believe that Captain Bale is supposed to be a good guy and the lead. I can think of no other reason to give us so much detail about his history with the Doctor. If he’s a bad guy, to be exposed later, this could have been skipped. In fact, even if he’s a good guy and the lead, this could have been given to us in bits and pieces and not all in the opening story. But, again, we know something disrupted his relationship with the Doctor. If he’s bisexual, that might not be a discovery that he’s gay... it could be he was recruited into Section 31, and couldn’t be in such an intense relationship.
The character of the captain is acted well, but written poorly. (A.) Why on earth would Admiral James Bradford put anyone not in his pocket in charge of the most technically advanced ship in the fleet? Let alone TWO top people neither of whom is in his pocket? He personally picked both of them and so far it appears as if NEITHER is one of his guys. That makes no sense. (B.) Then, Captain Bale acts out against his No. 1, who was not his choice, like a five year old. There are a three reasons this makes no sense. First, the individual is not the person who refused to take the position, and is not responsible for that person saying no. Second, if you are a regular member of an organization and a supervisor, and you want to get rid of somebody, it makes better sense to quietly gather your case to rid yourself of that person rather than declare yourself up front, in other words, to reserve your options. Third, you are in a position to cause this person to fail by giving them assignments which are impossible to do, hence ensuring they can’t be done. So the reasonable approach is to pretend to give him a chance, while putting together a file against him. (C.) The captain surrenders the ship to Chief Engineer Edwards without a fight, which I found difficult to believe. (D) When his senior staff wants to put together multiple plans for escape from the cargo bay, he nixes that, insisting on putting all his eggs in one unlikely-to-succeed basket. In conclusion, if this guy ISN’T supposed to be Section 31 deep cover, he’s one of the most incompetent captains in Starfleet, and the real issue is how did he ever get his rank, let alone get command of the Osiris. If I were an Admiral stuck with him as a Captain, I’d assign him to a small ship providing equipment to the leaders, or in a backwater which was not facing a threat. My only other possible take is that the deep cover guy is his No. 1, and Bale was picked because Admiral Bradford thought it would be easy to overcome a buffoon.
If Captain Bale is deep cover Section 31, when the coup presents the real alien leader, he could then break with it, and take Admiral Hoffman’s side for real. He has been presented as a narrow, control freak type person, who is believable as a bit of a Xenophobe. It would work. There is an opportunity here for character growth. Alternatively, his second in command is, like the Section 31 people, prone to the violent solution, and he could be the “deep cover’ Section 31 person, set to be inside the resistance.
Sadly, the problems with the writing doesn’t start and end with Captain Bale and his first officer. I see no way to fix the other problems. The security chief is supposed to be Betazoid, and this whole conspiracy goes over his head, even when the No. 2 in Engineering raises the issue in advance. Is HE deep cover Section 31, too? Has he been drugged in some way that blocks his abilities but he doesn’t know it? HOW?
Captain Bale keeps telling us this is the finest crew in the fleet. One of the strengths of fan films like Starship Farragut and Tales of the Seventh Fleet is that they give themselves latitude by NOT making this claim. Once you make this claim, you have to question most of the weaknesses the crew shows. This could still be fixed if Bale is there because Admiral Bradford thought he was so weak that Chief Engineer Edwards would easily overcome him, and his opinion is just not meaningful. He’s obviously a very bad judge of character. It is believable that Bradford overestimated Edwards, and underestimated what he thought was a weak support staff for Bale, but which Bale thinks is a strong staff. Does what I just said even make sense?
I also found this massive but apparently undiscovered conspiracy not credible. Section 31 would have to have a whopping big budget to have enough officers in it to take on mainline Starfleet and the whole Federation. Section 31 was formed with the Federation, and therefore would certainly include all of those original races. There is no way it could be anti-Vulcan or anti-Andorian. I don’t buy it.
Their Xenophobic claims would be far more likely to take the form of a group who want the earth government to withdraw from Starfleet than Starfleet officers. We are asked to believe that the center of the Klu Klux Klan would logically be New York City, the most diverse city in the history of mankind, but not as diverse as Starfleet, and that their real goal is to take over the Federation/Union and hand it over... to a leader from A non-Federation Species/Kazakhstan. Hello?
While small extremist and militarist groups have taken over nations, the nations are usually in very big trouble at the time. They do often make the types of claims that Section 31 is making here... but they do it with conviction. The most likely result of this coup would be armed resistance by both other Starfleet and the military of each member world... leading to a quick, if bloody, defeat for Section 31.
It could be that the writers intend for there to be a message here. But the weakness of the writing is such that I could not find that message.
50min 40sec — 16 January 2011
Penumbra does address many of the issues I raised in what I wisely left as a 'draft' review [for the "Eclipse" episode]. It also shows significant growth from the first two-part story. The acting and writing are both head and shoulders above the first story, and the rest of it was strong, but this is even stronger. I am not sure it's a 5, but I'll be surprised at this point if they put out three or four more episodes and none of them are 5s. If it's not a 5, it will be because I don't find a message, which is necessary for the 5. It is excellent, though, as a great film to watch and enjoy.
24min 01sec — 30 October 2011
Fan Film Follies review of "Relay 97": http://www.fanfilmfollies.com/featured/star-trek-osiris-relay-97/ (04 Nov 2011)Our Review
The acting in this series just keeps improving, and by sticking to simplier stories, they are avoided bizarre plot holes. This episode shows continued growth. I would have liked a better understanding of why the woman was initially rude, however.
Current Production Notes
Osiris had another film in the works called Remonstrations (was called Darkness and Shadow), which probably would have been another full hour of Osiris heaven. But on May 19, 2015, it was announced on their Facebook page that there would be no more episodes filmed.