Image owned by CBS All Access
by Jeremy Shepard
Now that we’re a few episodes in to the latest victim of J.J. Abram’s adulteration of the Star Trek universe, we could begin to talk about what we’ve learned so far. However, I’m left with nothing but questions.
Why did they change the look of the Klingons (again)? Why does Burnham have to have a relationship with Spock and Sarek? Why is Starfleet so militaristic? Why am I watching this?
Look, I know I’m in the minority with my criticisms, and it is great to see new media bearing the Star Trek insignia on television (or online television, whatever). However, I can’t help but feel that this is a show set in the Star Trek Universe, not a Star Trek show. It’s flashy, it’s dark and edgy, it’s different seemingly for the sake of being different. It checks off all the boxes of things people require to keep them interested. It’s novelty. Only time will tell if we’ll get substance.
Instead of constructing a rhetorical diatribe for why this show isn’t great, I’m just going to list some of the issues I have with Discovery.
- Spock and Sarek are becoming the Skywalkers of Trek. Not everything has to be about them. There are other sentient beings in the galaxy.
- We kind of had a reasonable explanation as to why the Klingons of TOS look different than 1979-forward. Now there is something truly odd to explain regarding the new animalistic appearance.
- What was up with the surprise about a physical book? This is Star Trek, not Waterworld.
- In the beginning of TOS, the Enterprise didn’t even have shuttles. Now we’re ten years before that and Starfleet is researching technology that is seemingly superior to 24th century transwarp drive?
- Why is everyone so angry? Is there going to be a big reveal that this is all in the mirror universe?
- ‘Black Alert’. Enough said.
It’s not that changing things is bad, it’s that retroactively changing things with no respect for the timeline or fans is bad.
I find it disheartening that the same week I was watching a flashy episode of Discovery where nothing much seemed to happen, the parody show The Orville brought some fairly substantial commentary on gender issues. When Seth Macfarlane does Trek better than Trek, it’s time to speak up.
Discovery could turn out to be a great show, but so far it seems to be building its base on mythology episodes. And if you don’t know the history of Trek relying too heavily on mythology, ask Scott Bakula.
I hope the ship rights itself and the show gets out of its own way. However, part of me thinks I may have become the old man yelling at kids to get off my lawn. I hope episodes 4-15 change my mind.