Aug 20, 2015

[TV] Star Trek: Renegades (Kickstarter)

After breaking my Kickstarter virginity with the Double Fine Adventure, I quickly got into a series of Kickstarter projects that seemed to be right up my alley. Since then I've learned to better moderate my pledging, but there were certainly a number of projects of interest.

Star Trek: Renegades was actually one of the first Kickstarter projects I had backed. And like many of those early projects, it took a fair amount of time before I got to see the fruit of my investment pledge. And that's neither here nor there - creating something is never easy and sometimes you just need to have a lot of faith that things will turn out well.

And while it took a few years before this project resulted in something worth presenting to the public, I think it's safe to say that that it was still pretty much worth the wait. And while some might argue that this is more a fan film than anything else, it has managed to act as a sort of pilot for the recent;y announced fan-supported web series, which is pretty awesome news.

Synopsis: Star Trek: Renegades is an unlicensed, unofficial fan film set in the Star Trek universe. The movie was directed by Tim Russ  with a screenplay by Ethan H. Calk, Jack Treviño, and Sky Conway. The movie officially premiered at the Crest Theater on August 1, 2015 while backers have been provided copies of the film prior to release.

A series of dilithium-producing planets have been targeted and essentially destroyed by space time folding technology and the Federation seems hesitant to act. Admiral Pavel Chekhov (Walter Koenig), current head of Starfleet Intelligence, points to the obvious correlation that these attacks began shortly after the appearance of Borrada (Bruce A. Young) and his forces. However the Federation Council seems reluctant to take action against another sentient species.

To this end, Chekhov reaches out to Commander Tuvok (Tim Russ), who now works with Section 31,to figure out a solution. To this end Tuvok recruits Lexxa Singh (Adirenne Wilkinson), once Captain of Icarus and supposed daughter of Khan. She quickly reclaims control of the Icarus and leads her ragtag band of outlaws and criminals to do what the Prime Directive forbids - taking out Borrada and eliminating the threat against Federation space travel.

The crew of the Icarus is certainly diverse considering it consists of representatives of different races including a Bajoran, a Breen, a Betazoid, and eventually a Cardassian to name a few. But we also have a fair number of humans and a rather familiar face in the form of Icheb (Manu Intiraymi), one of the liberted Borg children from Voyager. But this is a more badass version of him after experiments conducted by Section 31 have granted him new Borg-derived weapons that seem to be generated by his nanites.

Admittedly most characters didn't feel all that intriguing coming out of the gate, save maybe for Dr. Lucien (Sean Young), who was hiding some sort of a relationship with Dr. Lewis Zimmeran (Robert Picardo). At first I was wondering if it was in fact The Doctor projecting himself, but then I suppose the lab coat should have given him away. I had a few hunches about her character, who largely felt like that familiar aunt who made everything her business. But even those hunches proved to be wrong, much to my surprise.

What we really need to celebrate here is the quality of the production, particularly the special effects. Had you watched their earlier project, Star Trek: Of Gods And Men, you'll better appreciate how far things have come. I know a lot of folks have been looking forward to the Axanar fan project for similar reasons, but the space combat in Renegades is pretty impressive. And while I'm not 100% clear on the design concept behind the Icarus, watching it go toe-to-toe with both Federation and Klingon vessels certain made it all the more impressive.

The show could use a lot more character development, and I suppose that's something that can be explored further once the web series finally goes "on air". There's a lot of potential for great storytelling and I'm glad that the initially scarily large cast was brought down to a more manageable level. And to be fair, no one felt like they were meant to be throwaway characters so some of the deaths were fairly surprising.

Star Trek: Renegades doesn't quite feel like your regular sort of Star Trek adventure, nor should it. It's a new slant on telling stories in the Star Trek universe and I think I may grow to like the concept given more episodes and more adventures. Thus the feature length pilot gets a good 4 clever maneuvers by the Icarus to evade enemy fire out of a possible 5.

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