Star Trek: Renegades full movie review - seriously flawed but with potential (very minor spoilers)
Where to start on this? Given its shortcomings, one wonders why it is getting attention. That is easy to explain. There are several generations of people who have been brought up on one version of Star Trek or another.
There is definite interest in another TV series based on it. This is exacerbated by the huge shortcomings of the recent Star Trek movies which tore the established time line, characters and precepts apart and have lowered, yes lowered, the franchise to the level of the usual overwrought, adrenalin rush, commercially obsessed material that has pushed plot and idea oriented movies far to the periphery. As a result, there are a lot of people who want Star trek: Renegades to work.
The production obviously suffers from a low budget especially in comparison to the fully funded large studio Star Trek productions. The sound, in particular, is really quite bad. But it is not just a lack of budget. The production crew seems to be learning on the job with camera, costumes, lighting, CG, writing, the whole thing. There is a brew of clichés and lack of skill/time going on. That could improve with further efforts but there is a long way to go.
In terms of basic themes and ideas, again, there is potential but problems as well. We have a diverse crew of misfits being used as a covert operations force. Furthermore, there are people who are out to get them. This provides a huge stream future story ideas. It is a unfortunate that the pilot used an specific idea that is very tired and old in the nature of the threat, the inability of the establishment to deal with it and the techno-babble/quasi-magic solution. Nonetheless, it used that idea to effectively introduce a large number of characters which is a prime purpose of a pilot.
That brings us to the acting and the characters. This is very uneven. One hopes it could be sorted out. There is room for both hope and pessimism.
Here is a rundown of some of them.
Chekov - a useful link to the past.
Chekov's great grand-daughter - a weak character that could evolve into an interesting sub-plot but needs to be handled extremely carefully. A wimpy cadet who has a foot in the door to the highest levels of Star Fleet Intelligence could be a disaster. This could be another Wesley Crusher but worse. When in doubt, leave her out.
Tuvok - another useful link. He didn't have much material but he did fine with it.
Lexxa Singh - This is a major character and as things stand now, a train wreck and thus a serious liability for the whole concept. There was not a single thing about this character that was believably delivered. I don't want to dwell on it too much or blame the actress as the concept is flawed from the start. She came across as a semi-emaciated addict who somehow is supposed to be a fierce renegade with strength, leadership, etc, etc. Not buying it for a second. I'd start with changing the costume and make-up and seriously reworking her lines and delivery. Perhaps it can be salvaged but it is not just a matter of minor changes.
Alvarez - This character is very useful as a good guy who is not in the loop and can both bump heads with the main bunch and alternatively work with them. Furthermore, Corin Nemec did well with the material he had. Why they gave him a name like Alvarez is beyond me as he doesn't look like an Alvarez at all.
Lucien - Sean Young looked very uncertain of herself in this role. I am not sure why she wanted to do it. Over time and with better material, she should grow into it. The character is potentially fine. They just need to keep her technical stuff more realistic.
Zimmerman - Robert Picardo can effectively deliver this character in his sleep but there is not much for him to do and I am not sure why he is there.
Ragnar - Not great material to work with but Gary Graham had good presence and one can have confidence in him.
Icheb - another return from a previous series. This is an interesting character although with too many Borg related abilities. Acted well enough given the material.
Ronara - this one needs development but by no means a lost cause. The head shaking with the mental abilities could be portrayed better. Otherwise, she seemed to be the eye candy (no problems there!) and a few fill-in lines.
Fixer - another one that needs development but could work out fine.
The Breen - Interesting but did not do much. There is a LOT of potential there but they have to stay out of the trap of making him a continuous running joke.
The rest of the potentially returning cast had not much to do, were not paid much if at all and it seemed to show.
Because of some of the people involved, the way it is being funded and the effort made on a low budget, the next "episode" of ST:Renegades will be viewed with a good bit of sympathy and again be given the benefit of the doubt by a lot of people. On the other hand, the chances of a major studio picking this up are slight. If one did, the egos involved would rework it and replace many of the people involved and the result would be hardly recognizable. In many ways that would be good but I am sure the studios already have their own ST ideas and if they were thinking of going with a new series, they would follow up on those.