Hubby and I decided to visit “The Neutral Zone” studios on one of their almost monthly fan appreciation weekends recently. Also, since these sets are rented out, the only time to see them is during scheduled events, so certainly see the calendar on the website prior to planning a visit.
The facility is actually a warehouse in Kingsland, Georgia, where the web series Star Trek Continues was filmed. The sets occupy a space just under 10,000 square feet, which is small by Hollywood standards, but the sets include many of the areas which would have been used on the original Star Trek series. While the original sets were destroyed more than fifty years ago, the blueprints are available, as are screen shots from the original series. The sets at The Neutral Zone were constructed over more than a year, then used for a while by the makers of Star Trek Continues. When CBS/Paramount decided to reboot Star Trek (making such series as Discovery, Picard, and Prodigy) they basically told the folks making Star Trek Continues to wrap it up, so the sets became available for fan films. Indeed, it is possible to rent The Neutral Zone for an event or to make your own film, as long as the script meets the restrictions put in place by CBS.
The set visit begins with a guided tour. We began our tour with Ray Tesi, who currently owns the sets and manages the studio, then Vic Micnogna, who was the visionary behind Star Trek Continues, took over. Vic also plays Captain Kirk in the series, and if you haven’t seen it and are a fan, you really should take a look at the eleven full length episodes. Ray began with some background, then took us to engineering, then just across the entryway to the main ship, which is arranged in a circle, just like TOS. We visited sick bay, the briefing room, Captain’s quarters, the transporter room, auxiliary control, the Jeffries tube and brig, and the big finale is the bridge set. The guide(s) explained how the sets were built originally, and how the sets might be used in filming now. For instance, the Captain’s quarters, with a bit of redressing, can be any crew member’s quarters.
After the tour, with a bit of flexibility to avoid the next tour, attendees are welcome to take pictures. Just imagine, you, too can be pictured standing in the transporter room or on the bridge, either at the helm or even in the captain’s chair. We also purchased the entire series on DVD, and as Vic was there, he autographed the case for us.
Star Trek, even for non-fans, is a bit of a cultural phenomenon. Who doesn’t know such phrases as “Beem me up, Scotty?” For non-fans, The Neutral Zone is probably not a tourist destination, but for the thousands upon thousands of those who are fans of the original Star Trek series, the set tour is an amazing experience. I urge travelers to take a look at the websites for both The Neutral Zone and Star Trek Continues for a bit of research prior to scheduling a trip. As a fans of all vintage Star Trek series, including Star Trek Continues, this was a “must see” for us, and it did not disappoint.