Thursday, February 5, 2009

Starfleet Renegades in 2008

The reports of my death have been grossly exaggerated!
I never say that a series is dead or canceled. Some are simply so slow moving as to be indistinguishable from the dead >cough!DeathAndHonour!cough< Starfleet Renegades is a case in point.

On March 6, Starfleet Renegades premiered their first episode, Court Martial. Written, produced and directed by James DeRuvo it was a sequel to Piracy of the Noble, episode 2 in season 4 of the iconic fan film series, Star Trek: Hidden Frontier which he co-wrote and co-directed. On this production he was partnered by R. Scott Bolton as Producer and Story Editor.

Captain Nicolas Roberts, played with just the right amount of confident command by Gregory Crafts, is definitely a “bad-boy with a past” and in the first episode has to pay the price of his crimes ... or does he? His co-star, Chris Hanel makes a good foil for him as Cmdr Jack Cochran and Wendy Gough as Cmdr Kate Marshall was also good although not given enough opportunity to do much with her part.

The incidental music, listed on the website credits as by heavy metal, Trek tribute band WARP 11, was atmospheric and well chosen but at points there was some disconcerting mike noise and the sound levels were variable. I liked it though - it showed great promise. Just about ever VA had an interesting voice but their Ferrengi was outstanding!

The storyline was understandable to me because I had a passing knowledge of the background but I wonder if a new listener would get as much out of it because of the opening scene being a Court Martial of unexplained crimes? Of course this could work to their advantage as a teaser - giving the character "a past" - and the curious listener who wanted to know the captain's background can go watch the Hidden Frontier episode. easily enough.

The only other major nitpick was the firefight – they are hard to visualise in audio at the best of times and the hand-phasers in the bar fight sounded much the same as the ship phasers in orbit.

All-in-all it was a reasonable introduction as "not-your-Daddy's-Star-Trek" and at the time they had a new website with a teaser trailer and the full episode for download as well as a forum. However after this promising start things just seemed to fall apart, nothing more being heard from them for months and their website & forum being down from at least July.

The intimation that “the reports of their death were exaggerated” came in November when the Hidden Frontier.Com newsletter said of their latest spin-off series, Federation One, “The first audio episode will be an exciting crossover with the Starfleet Renegades audio series, also set in the HF universe.”

This was followed by a message from the producer on their resurrected forum on December 9 ...
I know, I know, Renegades has been down for quite a while. Think of it as the Columbia engaging the cloaking device. Well now, we're back. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our tech man, Jonathan Connor Foertch (aka, the new Lt. Simpson), and thanks to the gracious hosting of Wozniak, Renegades lives to fight on.

And just in time, too as we're set to announce pre-production on our second episode, a crossover with Hidden Frontier productions Federation One. Recording is scheduled to begin shortly so stay tuned for more thrilling adventures with the crew of the good ship Columbia.
This crossover is actually going to be episode 2.01 of Federation One but whatever happens, listeners will be the winners as the Hidden Frontier creativity machine lends a helping hand to a fellow fan production group.

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