Tag Archives: Discovery

Star Trek Discovery: early impressions

2 Oct


After the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery, my reaction wasn’t the resounding “Yes! Yesss!” I had so hoped for. Instead, it was a much more muted, “Okayyy…it’s not terrible.” There were a couple of interesting things there. It was visually stunning. There were some intriguing characters and performances (most especially Michelle Yeoh’s). The perspective of a secondary officer as the lead character showed promise…

After watching episode three, my attitude has shifted from “Is this good?” to “Is this really Star Trek?” and not an action / special effects show masquerading as Star Trek?

Even before the typical Trekkie arguments (Canon versus non-canon? “Prime” or reboot timeline? Why do the Klingons look like blue-skinned, earlobe-less Ferengi?) I find myself searching for the core elements that define Star Trek for me. I appreciate that they are trying to appeal to a new, younger audience. I just wish that direction didn’t have be at the expense of people like me.

[SPOILERS AHEAD] Mainly, I am still searching for a  character I actually like. The lead character Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green) is an imperfect, damaged character. While flawed characters make for compelling television, especially in modern science fiction (The Expanse, Black Mirror), this hasn’t compelled me to root for her so far.

Star Trek is meant to represent an ideal: the pinnacle of mankind’s noble aspirations. At this point in the series, I am still searching for a character that represents that ideal. (Yeoh’s Captain Philippa Georgiou came very close until a Klingon stabbed her through the heart in Episode 2!) Instead we have key players who disobey orders, choose violence over peace and justify deplorable means to achieve questionable ends.

I’m also looking for the camaraderie, the spirit that makes very different people come together around a common cause each week. I’m looking for that sense of hope that mankind’s future is brighter, much brighter, than its past. These are all core elements of Star Trek so far absent from Discovery.

Disney somehow manages to win new audiences with each new Star Wars project while still satisfying its most loyal fans. But after the disappointing recent movies and this long-awaited new series, I may be forced to accept that longtime Star Trek Fans may never get what we want.