If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I’m a big Star Trek fan. With Star Trek Discovery (STD), reaching its mid-season finale break, I thought now would be a good time to write about it.
1. IT’S A PREQUEL
Now, prequels CAN be good, generally speaking, they’re bad. The major problem with them is we know too much about what’s going to happen and it takes away from the drama. Not to mention that the original source material is simply better.
In STD, it being a prequel isn’t bad. I’ll never understand why they don’t want to make anything post Voyager (VOY) though. But this is the THIRD prequel, and like the JJVerse, it doesn’t bring anything new.
Enterprise (ENT) is a vastly underrated show, but it too, was also a prequel. That worked because it took place about a century before the Star Trek we all knew and love. Even though we knew where it was going–the formation of the Federation–the how they would get there was still interesting. In ENT, we got to see what was basically a lone ship in a dangerous universe where that made plenty of mistakes. They learned from those mistakes and that’s where things like the Prime Directive came from. Not only that but a lot of the time they were vastly outgunned.
So far STD has done nothing new or exciting. And since it takes place in a time period where Spock and Kirk are alive, it makes me wonder why we’re not seeing that awesome crew?
Deep Space Nine (DS9) is the best Star Trek show and one of the best sci-fi shows period. There’s so many things it did great, but the one for this topic is the war between the Dominion and the Federation. Before that war there was even a war between the Federation and the Klingons and even one against the Maquis. The wars in DS9 far surpass anything STD has done. Why is that?
Well, DS9 built up the Dominion, both as a mystery and a threat. It isn’t until the final episode of season five that they actually went to war. Before that, there was a cold war between their counterpart as the Dominion manipulated things. More importantly, you got to understand the Dominion and their motives. There were even times when the Federation and the Dominion worked together for the greater good. They didn’t just dump everything and start off with a war in a pilot.
STD starts off their show with the Klingon/Federation war for the most cockamamie of reasons. We don’t care about the characters, the reasons aren’t clear, and we don’t know or understand the world. Because in DS9 we got to see the build up to the inevitable war, we got to see how humans could change under such stressful conditions.
3. IT’S DARK
Because there’s a war, that automatically makes STD dark, which is the tone they’re going for. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten what makes Star Trek, Star Trek. The reason the dark tone in DS9 worked was because it was contrasted against the optimistic nature of the Star Trek universe. Everything might have seen fine in Federation or as some like to call paradise, but even they weren’t without problems.
People wanted to leave the Federation, they had to deal with the merging of three technologies on the station, they have to occupy another people and deal with their religions beliefs, all sorts of different races lived on the station, the former occupiers wanted their station back, they were on the front of line of a new exploration, and all of that was on top of dealing with the Dominion.
Even though there were a lot of serious issues on the show, DS9 still had their light moments like playing baseball or going on a scavenger hunt. Although tough decisions such as saving the life of one’s enemy, making a planet uninhabitable, or dragging a people into a war, clashed against the morals and ideals of the Federation, they still struggled with those choices. None of that in STD.
4. NO CHARACTERS
I may have listed this as number four, but this may be the biggest problem with STD. We haven’t really gotten to know anybody. Because the two hour movie pilot jumped ahead in time, that felt like it’s own separate thing. Because characters like Michelle Yeoh and the security chief died, we don’t really get to know them either. They introduced that guy who was a prisoner so we’ve spent little time with him too along with Mudd.
My point is the story and characters feel trundicated. We have spent the most time with Michael, but even then I still feel as if I don’t know her. I can’t tell it’s because of the bad writing or acting. She’s a human raised by Vulcans, Spock’s adopted brother, and is responsible for the war. That’s a lot going on for her but I still feel as if I don’t know her. Saru probably has the most potential because of his fear genes, but they don’t seem to want to explore that or how the war has changed him. I like Cadet Tilly but I’m still not sure why a cadet is on board nor why Michael is so cold to her. A character like Tilly should warm up Michael or have Michael become like a mentor to her. The best character is Stamets. He has an arc and different sides to him besides being a jackass.
There’s also the problem of the lack of characters when it comes to the ship and the world in general. It doesn’t feel like Star Fleet or the Federation, STD feels more like a place where weird shit happens as opposed to a science ship, with a war going on, Discovery should be doing more missions with other people or at least interacting with them. Instead she feels like her own even though she’s not.
5. CHANGES FOR CHANGES SAKE
Because it’s 2017, the show is made with a 2017 audience and tech in mind. However, since it’s a prequel, the advances in technology are completely out of place like magical drives that take the ship anywhere and holographic communication. But my biggest problem are the Klingons. Why did they feel the need to change them? Back when the TOS movies aired, they updated the Klingons makeup so they could actually look more like aliens and less like blackface. That worked. People today recognize those Klingons plus the actors can give facial expressions and move. Can’t do that here. Improving some things are fine especially when it comes to makeup. But changing things because it’s convenient to the plot is just lazy.
I’m sure that this entire show takes place in the JJVerse. Maybe that’ll be “twist” at the end of the season. Maybe Discovery is Lost in Space but in Star Trek’s multiverse.
I actually hope that once they’re done with the war, that they can get back to things like exploration, science, and morality. This has the potential to be a good show if they start doing their own thing. When they do the five seconds of science, technobabble talk, I do enjoy the show. Those are the rare moments that it actually feels like Star Trek.