Fan Film Series Crosses Trek's Gay FrontierBy Christian
June 30, 2005 - 11:21 PM
The fan-produced Star Trek series Hidden Frontier is doing something that never seemed possible on any of the official Trek shows: it's featuring a storyline involving two gay Starfleet officers.
"I just wanted to do something Star Trek hadn't done yet," Hidden Frontier executive producer Rob Caves told Boston's Weekly Dig. HF writer Carlos Pedraza was quick to add that "the gay storyline is one of maybe half a dozen storylines going on at the same time." However, it is an aspect of the show that is generating a lot of attention, and is the reason that several of the show's episodes will be shown this weekend at the Gaylaxicon science fiction convention in Boston.
The two gay characters on Hidden Frontier are Lt. Corey Aster and his Trill boyfriend, ensign Jorian Zen. One of the future storylines will involve Zen being joined with a symbiont who is not gay, leaving Aster to wonder what the new sexual orientation of his lover will be, and whether Zen will even still be interested in him.
The issue of featuring homosexuals in the Star Trek universe has always been a contentious one. Back in 1986, David Gerrold wrote a Next Generation script called "Blood and Fire" dealing with an AIDS-like disease and featuring a gay couple aboard the Enterprise, but the episode was never produced. Over the years, stars such as Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) and Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) have spoken in favour of introducing gay characters on Trek, but somehow this never actually happened. Trek producers have said that because homosexuality is completely accepted in Star Trek's future, it's hard to write stories dealing with gay characters, as their sexual orientation would be a complete non-issue.
Despite the lack of official gay storylines, many fans have tried on their own to increase Trek's gay factor. In fan fiction, it was the popularity of stories dealing with a relationship between Kirk and Spock (K/S) that introduced the term "slash fiction." In the late 1980s, a fan group called the Gaylaxians attempted to pressure the producers into dealing with gay issues on the show. And only two years ago, a group of German comedians released a popular German-language Trek spoof called (T)Raumschiff Surprise, telling the story of a campy gay starship crew exploring space.
Even though Hidden Frontier will be the first live-action show set in the Trek universe to feature gay characters, the show's producers cautioned that this storyline only plays a role in six or seven episodes of the 40 that have been produced to date. Other stories deal with a galactic battle involving mysterious energy sources known as "tetrahedrons," while the series also tells classic Trek stories of exploration. But despite the popularity of the show, it is now also approaching its end. "It’s virtually a second full-time job," Pedraza said. He and Caves will be producing one final season after the current sixth season ends, but are then hoping to move on to a film project that will actually earn them some money. "We’re looking to do something where we can have fun but don’t have to be cash strapped," Caves said. "We’re looking to see where this could go."
For the full interview with the creators of Hidden Frontier, head over to the Boston Weekly Dig. Information on Gaylaxicon can be found at the convetion's official site, while the latest Hidden Frontier episode can be downloaded at HiddenFrontier.com.