Over the years there have been some amazing unofficial Star Trek productions. A few have been a little on the dodgy side, but a surprising number have been excellent. One in particular, Star Trek: Continues, is so reminiscent of the original series that you can actually forget you’re essentially watching a fan production.
Some of these unofficial productions have attracted big Trek names. Star Trek: New Voyages in particular has been very good at bringing in existing Trek actors, past Trek writers and even past Trek production staff. One of their biggest coup’s was the feature length Star Trek: Of Gods and Men that starred original Trek’s Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Grace Lee Whitney (as older versions of Chekov, Uhura and Rand), Alan Ruck (Star Trek: Generations), Garrett Wang (Star Trek: Voyager), J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager), Gary Graham (Star Trek: Enterprise), Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager), Cirroc Lofton (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and they even brought in Herbert Jefferson Jr. from the original Battlestar Galactica to play in the Trekverse.
The same team who brought us the incredibly good ‘Of Gods and Men’ are now releasing the pilot episode of what they’ve called “a pitch for a new Star Trek television series”.
I don’t enjoy being critical, but I admit I am protective of Star Trek – which is silly. Star Trek doesn’t need me to stand up for it, but I think a lot of fans are protective of it because it inspired us and let us dream. So that protective part of me can’t help but wonder about this ‘take’ on what a new Trek series could be.
I want (so desperately) to see Star Trek back on television, and secretly (not so secretly now) hope it will be the new Star Trek: Axanar, which is another fan production. Axanar has amazing production values, the acting is above par, and the story is something that fits beautifully into Star Trek without sacrificing it’s hopeful vision of the future and it’s story of heroic men and women facing extraordinary circumstances and making noble and selfless decisions that represent the best of humanity and what we are (or could be). Axanar feels like Star Trek. It’s a production I believe Gene Roddenberry would have fully supported.
I don’t get that same feeling with Renegades.
The talent behind Renegades is exceptional, and like Of Gods and Men it features a number of Trek stars, but it appears to take a few liberties with the characters and the universe of Star Trek. It’s darker, with seemingly immoral characters peppered throughout, and while I’m not against that it seems to play a little too fast and loose with what Star Trek is and what us diehard fans love and respect.
I am honestly looking forward to it, because I am starving for new Star Trek, but I don’t think I like the idea of it as a pilot for a potential new series unless it can surprise and impress me when it is released.
If you’ve been following this little site as it’s been emerging over the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably worked out that I have an almost psychotic respect for Gene Roddenberry’s original vision for Trek, and the vision he evolved with his next Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I don’t believe anyone who wants to bring Star Trek back to television can forget that Trek is successful and beloved because it doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator. If Star Trek were ever rebooted in the same style as the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, it wouldn’t be Star Trek.
I’m hoping Renegades explores the concept of redemption and does something exciting and fresh and far more noble and heroic than it seems it will, because that will prove me wrong and I desperately want to be proven wrong about this possible pilot.
Check it out for yourself, and shoot me a comment below and let me know what your take is. Feel free to challenge my perceptions because I’d love someone to give me a different possibility. Also, check out the other links embedded above and explore the truly wonderful array of Star Trek fan productions available right now.