Star Trek: Renegades starts off right in the middle of the story. The only problem for me is that the last (non-Abrams’ universe) Star Trek I really paid attention to was Enterprise. That means I got a little lost as to what’s going on, and it feels like a sequel to a film I never saw.
The basic plot is described as The Dirty Dozen in a Trek universe. Set ten years after Voyager‘s return, we start out with the news that dilithium crystals are disappearing. On top of that, there is some sort of device that’s causing space and time to fold around planets, isolating them. Suspecting a conspiracy that may involve the Federation, Admiral Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) turns to the current head of the newly reorganized Section 31, Commander Tuvok (Tim Russ). He, in turn, recruits Lexxa Singh (Adrienne Wilkinson) and her crew of people on the run from the Federation for various reasons.
As stated in the prior article, Renegades is a television pilot geared for potential online purposes that was funded via crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo. And while the intentions are good, the actual execution of it doesn’t quite work. The special effects (both visual and makeup) are what you expect from a low budget, with fairly obvious computer graphics filling out the backgrounds and aliens that have so much makeup that you can’t see mouths move when they talk. The acting, while well intentioned, tends to go for melodrama as opposed to drama much of the time. There are too many characters, which means there are too many storylines, and both get sacrificed all too often for the sake of the action. It’s not bad, but it comes across like a low production film that just happened to be able to snag some well-known actors into it. It could be so much better.
Wilkinson’s character is the stereotype of the ‘strong female character’, which boils down to a female character that acts like a man, with rape threats being part of her history and her kicking ass and taking names. The bad guy is a walking, talking stereotype that doesn’t really go beyond ‘I want to be bad’. There’s a lesbian kiss, true – which LGBT representation is something that’s been danced around but never quite got in the onscreen Trek universe – but it’s more for the sake of titillation than representation. The action scenes seem disjointed, and since it is a pilot, there are a lot of loose ends.
One of the quotes from the production is “always be true to yourself, and the rest will follow.” Star Trek is recognized for being a ground-breaking franchise in terms of civil rights for minorities. The basic plot and characters have a lot of potential. However, it’s another attempt to make Trek gritty a la Firefly or the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, and it doesn’t quite work. The end product doesn’t feel like Trek.
Since it’s a pilot, I can only hope that if it goes to series, it will learn and grow. Star Trek: Renegades may be trying to go where no other series has gone before, but it has light years to get there. For more information about the production, visit the Star Trek: Renegades website.
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