Star Trek: Renegade and Beyond!
Star Trek is something I got into late in life. I could never find a TV channel that consistently showed it and as a kid, I just didn’t quite get it. Back then, my fandom was just developing. I was heavily into monsters like Godzilla, Gamera and the Universal Monsters. I enjoyed watching Hammer films, cheesy 60s sci-fi and space adventures, as well as classic serials of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon where I could find them.
Then Star Wars came out! I was hooked. I got into the new Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica and any other cheesy spin-off. My first real exposure to Star Trek was in the theaters watching Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I got deeper into it Star Trek when ST: The Next Generation started. Although considerably different from The Original Series, it was my thing for a long time. I watched it and then Deep Space Nine almost religiously. In between all that, I got caught up with the TOS as well as the movies. I learned through my friend John Reavis, the heart of what makes ST different and great. I became a fan, a Trekkie.
I was able separate my fandom over time. Star Wars and Star Trek were separate but equal in my mind. It was fun to crossover occasionally but both were equally fun to me. I engaged in the debates and the trivial fun, attended a ST convention or two. I even got a few autographs.
Star Trek has held a different and respectable place in my mind. It is rooted in real world science, logical answers to what-if, and does not stray too far into the fantasy. It treats interstellar distances realistically while at the same time, making the galaxy our neighborhood. It leaves a lot of mystery while at the same time has many familiar axioms and tropes that are specifically Star Trek and Star Trek alone. It has its certain accepted rules that one does not break, and you accept them because they make it believable. But when they break those rules, you believe the techno-babble they come up with to explain why.
There was no Force, or Hyperspace. In ST, Warp was explained and had its limits and the psychic phenomena was really rare and was not magic. There was some silly tropes that were also Star Trek. Budgets did not allow the aliens that were truly alien. They were always humans with ridges in some fashion or another. The cool aliens were always the bad guys and when they went after the Federation, things got interesting. Star Trek had just about everything I would want in a truly sci-fi universe.
That said, I am not a fan of the approach to Star Trek universe. The new JJ Abrams movies are Star Trek in name only. The latest trailer for Star Trek Beyond is further evidence of it. Once again, they use the over-used trope of destroying the Enterprise (at least it appears so). Didn’t that happen in the last movie. The store of Star Trek is a story of a ship and it’s crew, boldly going places. They can’t be very good crew if their ship keeps getting blown up. Really? In my book, they suck as a crew!
The rest of the trailer simply shows more and more action which tells me they have no story.
On the flip side of that is are the fan films that have been really impressive. Star Trek Phase Two, and Star Trek Continues were both great. One of the best Youtube Star Trek movies I have watched was Star Trek Of Gods and Men. I highly recommend it!
But the latest is even better. Star Trek Renegades is what I want in my Star Trek. Well done, great story and mysteries of the universe. Yea, the writing is a little weak and the acting even weaker but they picked some great characters and is deep-seeded in Star Trek lore.