Star Trek Discovery

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, dad0htkuaaauktp

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 Unfortunately the truth is neither Enterprise nor Discovery look too advanced — it’s that TOS looks so out-of-date!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 uss-shenzhou-reveal

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.uss-shenzhou-ncc-1227-bridge

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.1__1-3

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.

 

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8 thoughts on “Star Trek Discovery

  1. The newer ship looks better, but it still looks too much like a D7 or K’t’inga with a Federation saucer added to it. The bridge on the bottom is interesting. I think it would arguably make more sense that putting it right at the top where it could be easily blown off, like a big bull’s eye. Tho I still think it’s a bit vulnerable and probably should be buried deep inside the ship, like the CIC on the Galactica in BSG.

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    1. Nah, I don’t see how the bridge is better protected hanging at the bottom of the saucer; remember Kirk schooled Khan in 3D maneuvering…. technically there is no right-side-up in space!

      I’d also put forth the argument that bridges on top makes sense in Star Trek, because for the most part Federation ships are not warships. For non-combat vessels I would think it makes sense to maximize bridge visibility, especially on survey or exploration vessels. Galactica is a warship and would definitely want to protect the bridge; same would go for Klingons and Romulans and Dominion, for example, and even Federation warships such as the Defiant.

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      1. I’d say the bottom bridge placement arguably makes the most sense on an exploration vessel, but really, since there’s no up or down in space, I guess it could be almost anywhere on the ship. I still think it should be buried deep inside the ship for safety reasons. Even a science/exploration vessel could benefit from having a sturdier, less vulnerable bridge. But I guess that wouldn’t have looked as cool on camera.

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  2. lol… Fair point about the “snow globe” Starbase Yorktown. At about 37 km in diameter, it’s a pretty big target.

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  3. This looks fantastically not good. Why set it 10 years before TOS if it’s rehashed JJ-trek anyway? They don’t even look to be paying any service to the original so if they’re trying to appeal to TOS fans that’s a big old failure straight out of the gates.

    I mean, the TOS aesthetic still holds up to me, maybe even more now since the surrounding styles and trends of those days have mostly melted off and out of mainstream consciousness. A decent set designer could make something out of that look that wouldn’t be campy at all. Remember, the tech of TOS came from a planet Earth that had been wrecked by nuclear wars and eugenic supermen warlords. Maybe they just prefer dials and flashing buttons, or that’s just how their stuff evolved – not a straight progression from our current stuff.

    That’s the problem I had with Enterprise’s look. Instead of something neat and futuristic with at least a tip of the hat to the older styles, it looked like something NASA would slap together on a budget. All drab, functional and not far removed from what’s already out there.

    Lastly, another half vulcan/human inner struggle character paired with a ‘you are the chosen one’ plotline? Sigh. Oh and war, of course. Gotta have all the war. Maybe throw some tattoo foreheaded trenchcoat Romulans in eventually so there’s a war within a war adjacent to another war with some war on top.

    Way to hit all the wrong notes in one trailer, CBS.

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    1. Well I do agree that this is probably better served if it moves the timeline forward, rather than picking a time that is no doubt going to introduce all sorts of continuity problems. In terms of aesthetics everything is super-advanced, certainly moreso than TNG or Voyager so it makes more sense to place this somewhere beyond the previous series.

      You and I differ in opinion on Enterprise though: I actually quite like the NASA designs because they felt real. My expectation for that show was humanity’s first step towards the stars, so grounding them in realistic trappings to explore an alien universe was exactly what I expected to see. That’s not the same expectation when I watch TOS or TNG — humanity is already established in space in those shows, so the setting should be futuristic and unfamiliar.

      Btw, did they have a half vulcan/human character in the trailer, or a chosen one plotline? I watched this trailer several times but always on mute, so I didn’t catch any of the dialog.

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