Christ, have I posted about Star Trek Discovery? No? Dunno why, but I can’t recall!
Anyway, if for some reason you haven’t heard, this is a new Star Trek TV series being developed.
There are already a few trailers out, which are quite interesting.
No, we are not on Tatooine. Lens Flare! And… wait, are those Klingons???
This new series is set between Enterprise and TOS, specifically ten years before the latter, and for the first time in Trek history it looks like the lead character is not the Captain. The star of the show is Michael Burnham played by Sonequa Martin-Green,
a Lieutenant-Commander who is First Officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou, and I guess at some point made her way on board the U.S.S. Discovery? In any case, there has been some ridiculous controversy about an African-American woman in the starring role being “too diversified”… as if that’s actually a thing. Listen, Star Trek is all about diversity and acceptance, and the franchise has already had a female captain and a minority captain, why are people making a fuss over this?
Oh well, stupid will be stupid.
From a fans’ point of view, a lot of people have been pointing at the excessive JJ-Lens Flare in the trailer. Yep, I’m one of them! Hopefully they will cut down on that in the actual series, because watching too much of them actually hurt people’s vision. The other common complaint centers around how “advanced” things look, especially for a setting that predates TOS. This is, of course, not new, as Enterprise faced similar criticisms when it first aired. Unfortunately the truth is neither Enterprise nor Discovery look too advanced — it’s that TOS looks so out-of-date! Technology has progressed so much since the 1960’s that there is no way you can revert back to TOS aesthetics and not be campy. I think this is one of those things that you just have to hand-wave and move on.
While we are talking design aesthetics, let’s talk ships. So far the trailers have featured
two ships: the titular U.S.S. Discovery, and the U.S.S. Shenzhou. We don’t know what role the Shenzhou is going to play in the series, but it looks kinda neat and would probably fit in STO pretty nicely. An interesting design choice of the Shenzhou is the location of the bridge: eschewing the traditional spot at the top of the saucer, this one is hanging down the bottom. That gives it a bit of an aquarium feel which I quite like, although I don’t know if it serves any practical purpose.
In contrast, the “hero ship” U.S.S. Discovery clearly inherited her design from the original “Star Trek Phase 2” ship, where the Enterprise had a romantic tryst with a Klingon D7 in and this came out of that unholy union. Personally I kinda dislike it; it lacks the simple elegance of the original Enterprise, the distinctive oval of the Ent-D or the smooth lines of Voyager, but I guess from a silhouette-recognition perspective it does stand out, which I think is what the design team wanted to focus on. Still, I dunno… if the saucer is bigger I think it might look better? Right now it looks a bit pin-headed. Or its ass is too big. You decide.
Also, the Klingons featured in the trailer caught some flak. Are they Klingons? If they are these guys hew a bit closer to JJ’s version than the traditional ones. It took the franchise decades to offer an in-universe explanation why TOS Klingons look different than everywhere else, I sure hope they don’t introduce another continuity break just because they wanted to try something new.
The two-episode premiere of Star Trek Discovery is slated for September 24 of this year on CBS (CTV in Canada), then available on CBS Access and Netflix thereafter. Would I watch this? Oh hell yeah. From the trailer this looks to be a very different Trek experience, and as long as they stay the course and respect the history of the franchise, I’m all for it. In fact, I hope with the advancement in movie and TV production, we get to see visual effects in this new series: aliens, worlds and ships that are truly alien. I’m getting bored with aliens who are humans with funny wrinkles on their foreheads.