Review: Star Trek Discovery

As you can see from my other posts, I naturally commentate on political proceedings but I like other forms of writing as I grow tiresome of the ebb and flow of the ‘what will happen next’ current affairs. I want to do a more lighthearted piece. So I thought about what I spend most of my time doing, watching TV! I gave the new Star Trek on Netflix a watch after being hesitant at first. Part of me felt like they’d ruin it but the better half of me wanted to be immersed in the Star Trek universe once more.

Well I was aggravated but not surprised at what was going to be obvious. Star Trek: TOS pushed boundaries for it’s time mainly down to racial recognition, having one of the first regular stars in a TV show to be Black and one of the first interracial kisses (Kirk and Uhura) on TV (preceded by the kiss on none other than my grandmother’s brainchild Crossroads). Which is all well and good but you could tell they were really going to force the issue in this series. The main character, Michael Burnham is a black female as lead (shocker…!) and then the over representation of minorities goes over board. Her Captain Georgiou is an Asian female, the ships doctor and chief engineer are gay together and the former is also a black male, as the story progresses Michael’s love interest is an arabic male. I could go on but I won’t, I understand that we live in a world where these things happen, but not on this scale and all in such close proximity. I’m a stickler for authenticity and realism in shows and this hums of pandering to liberal attitudes to shows that don’t include minorities. I think it’s quite insulting to the viewer to assume that most of the crew on board a secret ship are to be mostly made up of minorities especially in the chain of command. It feels so forced that it’s unwatchable in certain episodes. The gay kiss served no purpose other than to say they put it in there, as they then (spoiler alert) kill off the doctor. Same with the party scene where they’re stuck in a time loop, they inserted random lesbians making out into the scene. It’s so in your face and the thing is you can almost bet that before this thing went to the editing suite, there was more random footage they cut.

Anyway, once you get passed the overt LGB & BME poster boys and girls, the storyline isn’t all that bad. Discovery is a secret scientific vessel that has warp capabilities like no other. Although when you come to think about it, they did try and introduce transwarp in Star Trek III : Search for Spock, but Scotty disabled it and they left the idea alone. Which makes me think that the spore drive idea will be dumped soon too. Otherwise we will wind up in an alternate timeline away from the TOS timeline, which wouldn’t make sense because they’ve already made links to it. For example (spoiler alert) Michael being Spock’s adopted sister. Which is unlikely but still plausible because he didn’t let anyone know about his crazy brother Sybok in Star Trek V : The Final Frontier.

The continuation from TOS in the sense that they’ve included the mirror universe with the Terran Empire, is one of the key plots that saves this series as it’s hardwired in all Star Trek fans, we all 1) like the idea of the multi layered space/time continuum and 2) love the science behind it all. The mycelial (?) network is a stroke of genius as it creates that never ending feeling of the vast openness of space and/or the universe(s). That is the binding of the Star Trek family, to look up at the stars and have the yearning for exploration. There’s still a pit in my stomach creating the feeling that this could become Voyager though, mainly because Discovery is missing from standard Star Trek history books, indicating that they will get derailed from the network and be stranded in an alien galaxy or gamma quadrant without the spore drive yadda yadda yadda you get the idea.

Moving on, (spoiler alert) great spin on the Lorca character turning out to be from the Terran Empire all along, yet again not surprising that the baddie turned out to be British and white (historically most American blockbusters have a British guy as the baddie, almost like they cling to the idea they have to relive beating the British colonial past over and over). From Die Hard (Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber) to Marvel Avengers (Tom Hiddlestone as Loki) there’s always a white british guy being bad!

Going forward, there needs to be more fighting with the Klingons, as that is the main reason they picked this era. I’m not sure they have it in their budget to have another battle like the Binary Stars but it’d be good to see. Yet again I think they should kill off the other gay character as he is really annoying and condescending, you can tell he isn’t a fan favourite. Although the show’s new target audience might lap up his ‘gay sassyness’ which is really grating and yet again forced. I feel slightly let down as this was made by some of the same guys from Lost and have been involved with J J Abrahms in the past, which makes sense as he had control over the movie reboot. I just thought they’d pay more homage to the existing universe and try at least to keep the existing fans on side.

The one thing I did want to bring up was the ‘new look’ Klingons, which we got a glimpse of in Edge of Darkness. They have carried on with this but you wonder where the natural progression of the species comes into it. I know it’s 100 years before Worf but how can they justify such an alteration to their genetic make up? I understand it’s probably to save time in make up and easier on the actors but for continuity purposes it bugs me. But that’s just me! Overall i’d give it a generous 7/10. Some of the acting props up my argument of them filling a quota rather than going for better actors. It didn’t blow me away like the movie reboot but it’s nice that it’s in a series format, as I feel you get more out of it. However, it does have more of a movie feel to it, almost like they shot a 10 hour movie and spliced it into sections. Whereas in TNG or TOS, they went on a different mission every episode (apart from 2 part end of season finales obviously!), i’m sure it will calm down in the next few episodes, i’m up to date as of this post (episode 10 I think). I will probably turn out to be wrong, as I think they’re slowly distancing themselves from the real trekkies and going for the new ‘all inclusive’ audience, which makes me want to dry heave.

If you’re into sci-fi then give it a watch, if not then i’d avoid it like the plague as without the love of sci-fi it’s probably unbearable to watch.

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