Friday, June 12, 2015

Why I am so Excited about Star Trek Renegades

When I first heard of Star Trek Renegades, I did not know that I believed what I was hearing. I  was told that there was a new Star Trek series that may be picked up by CBS depending on how well the pilot is received. It was going to be a kickstarter and hopefully would be debuted at a convention.  The person who told me about it did not delve far into the plot, but talked a little bit about the background of the story of the creation of the pilot itself. As production progressed, I followed the progress on Facebook, and Google+.  At first I was more excited about Star Trek continuing than the actual plot of Renegades.  I started seeing production pictures of Adrienne Wilkinson as Lexxa Singh and then I saw pictures of Chasty Ballesteros posed with a phaser rifle, and I knew this was not a typical Trek series.  I knew Sean Young would be involved, and I got really excited when I saw pictures of Courtney Peldon as Shree, an Andorian computer hacker. If this story was handled correctly, this looked like it would be an exciting adventure.  I have now seen it twice, back in May and now that the backers have a had the film released to them. The first time I saw it, I was too excited to really think about the plot more than "That was amazing!", but the second time I saw it, I really watched and thought about it.  I realized while watching it that instead of women quietly moving in the background and helping the plot along, the women are the main characters and it the men who quietly help the plot along.  This show would fill a gap in TV.  We need a woman who is at the helm of an action sci-fi series.

I was very wary of Adrienne Wilkinson's acting when watching trailers.  I thought she was going to chew the scenery, but I was very excited to see I was wrong.  Watching her scenes in context, you can see what motivates her to play the character of Lexxa Singh the way she does.  In some scenes, her acting is actually subtle when it needs to be. She gave a very strong performance.

I have liked Star Trek my whole life, even when it decidedly not acceptable to be an avid fan.  I spent my Saturday afternoons watching four hours of Star Trek on a local Fox affiliate. James Kirk was the captain that we needed in the 1960's.  He was a man's man. Every woman, regardless of planet of origin, wanted to be with him, and all men wanted to be him.  Jean-Luc Picard was a captain with the heart of a poet. When he was not avoiding the advances of Lwaxana Troi, he was reading or deep in conversation over Earl Grey tea, hot.  Benjamin Sisko was a very forward thinking father who turned out to be the prophesied Emissary of the Bajoran people, but he kept his cool under pressure even if he may have started the Dominion war. Then along came Kathryn Janeway.  Maybe it wasn't her fault she was an awful captain.  Maybe the stress of having her ship flung out to the Delta quadrant or maybe it was all the Maquis who had to join her crew that did it. Maybe Neelix switched her coffee to decaf and never told her. I did not watch much of Voyager because every show started with "Here is the problem." and Janeway responding with "I don't know anything at all about that." or "I am so confused."  Voyager could have been such a better show, but the captain never grew or held her own with well anyone really. It was disappointing to see such a lackluster performance from a female lead. Lexxa Singh is the female captain we need. She is not technically Starfleet, more of a contract employee for them.  She is the perfect mix of emotion and action that Jim Kirk, Picard, and Sisko embodied.  She had a troubled past and had to rely on her inner strength survive.

In the original series there were strong women characters.  You could not survive on the original Enterprise if you could not keep your wits about you.  The Next Generation brought us Tasha Yar, a character sadly killed off before we fully knew her.  Kira Nerys was the woman we waited for as Star Trek fans, but toward the end of the series even she was under utilized. Star Trek Renegades brings us a ship full of strong women characters.  Lexxa Singh and her almost entirely female crew show that we can have a strong female presence among the stars.   She is a very strong character who can carry the show, if it gets picked up.  I also enjoyed Chasty Ballesteros as the Betazoid Ronara who has a genetic defect.  Sean Young is excellent as Dr. Lucien.  She plays the character very soft spoken and I hung on every word.  Her emotions project off the screen and you understand why she makes the decisions that she chooses.

As I understand, the production crew is in talks with CBS to have Renegades picked up as a series.  As a fan, I would watch this on any platform.  It is not the typical Star Trek storyline, but it is also not typical Star Trek characters. These characters are outcasts, they have seen things that cannot be unseen. The may have done dark things for either the greater good, or their own personal gain.  I feel this as a show would lend much to the Star Trek legacy.

If you did not see Star Trek Renegades at Fed Con, and if you are not a backer, it will be available in its finalized version this summer. I urge you to watch it when it does become available.

 I did write a spoiler free review of Renegades. I also watched Of Gods and Men, which is by the same production team.