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Voyage Trekkers Go Longer, Get Deeper for Second Season

Published: Friday, February 8, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:02

Voyage Trekkers

Courtesy of Nathan Blackwell

Voyage Trekkers

Space is a place reserved for brave and noble individuals searching for answers for the betterment of the planet. However, on “Voyage Trekkers” it seems they’ll let just about anybody up there. Captain Sunstrike (Adam Rini), Commander Powell (Logan Blackwell) and Doctor Rene (Gabrielle Van Buren) represent the Galactic Union on their continually disappointing interstellar missions.

The first season of the local web series followed the unlikely crew on various adventures to foreign planets, where they most certainly did something wrong and offended everyone. Season two will premiere online in March, but FilmBar will host a special sneak preview this week. Creator, writer and director Nathan Blackwell chatted with College Times about the worst space crew ever and its charms.  

College Times: How did “Voyage Trekkers” first come about?
Nathan Blackwell: We had done a lot of comedies. That’s kind of what we do. We had always wanted to do science fiction. It was always a genre that we loved, but we just never could find something. We were doing a lot of projects at the time and we just wanted to do something fun and simple. [laughs] It started as one short weekend. We were only going to shoot a couple of episodes. It was going to be kind of a limited thing, but it became so much fun that we turned it into a 10-episode season.

Who do you look to for inspiration?
Definitely, obviously, “Star Trek” and probably in some ways more the storylines of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” We definitely didn’t want our three characters to kind of parallel the three main characters in “Star Trek.” We definitely wanted to not make a parody but more of a comedy using all of the same references and nods but to be its own thing.

When you’re directing do you like to channel George Lucas?
You know, in terms of my comedic style, probably one of my biggest influences is Edgar Wright from “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” Kind of that high-energy, fun style but always keeping the characters in the center.

If the three main characters lived in the here and now, what would they do for a living?
Oh, they would totally be in some terrible office all together. We kind of do have an original take in sci-fi but more of our shift dynamics that we’ve been coming up with have been very similar to “The Office” or a bad “Office.” Keeping things in your cubical and the lame management that goes on and the laziness that goes on, that would definitely be a very squabbling terrible office of some kind.

Is this space crew the cream of the crop of the Galactic Union?
Oh, no, no, no. They’re at the very bottom. One of the things we wanted to do in season two, it was always our intention but there wasn’t an opportunity, is now we’re bringing in people who are not part of their ship but are part of the Galactic Union who definitely look down on them. It’s kind of a neat thing of seeing them in a new light by comparing them to other people. We’re zooming out a bit and seeing more of their world.

What else can we expect from season two?
We’re basically adding more to the characters and part of that is having longer episodes. In season one, the episodes were somewhere between two and four minutes and these and these are between five and six minutes long. We are seeing the characters now on their home turf. They’re always on away missions and now we get to see them on their ship interacting with each other. We’re really trying to bring our A-game this time around. We get to see the ship, we get to see the bridge, we get to see more characters. I would say if you really kind of liked the comedy of the first season, we’re kind of trying to reward our fans by adding more depth and character for the second season.

Have you thought of these characters’ background stories?
We do to a certain point. There is a kind of fun not knowing how Commander Powell got to be a commander when he seems to be the most ineffective, lazy member of the whole crew. It’s kind of fun to leave certain mysteries for when you need just the right story element. There’s a whole lot more that we haven’t had an opportunity to even put in the show even with the larger season two. There’s still ton of material and back stories that we invented for this world.

Does filming in Arizona help or hinder when you’re trying to recreate alien worlds?
[laughs] Well, it definitely makes a lot of desert planets. It’s definitely a challenge in terms of shooting locations. You’re kind of limited to the desert. We’ve got one episode in season one that’s in the jungle. We shot that at the Phoenix Zoo. That was the only environment that I thought we could do. I use to work at the zoo and I still have friends there so we had permission, but in terms of production as filmmakers, I don’t know, I definitely think there are certain advantages of being in a place where filmmaking is still new and fresh to people.

Voyage Trekkers Season 2 Sneak Preview, FilmBar, 815 N. Second Street, Phoenix, thefilmbarphx.com, Saturday, February 9, 6 p.m., $7

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