Back at the start of Star Trek: Discovery (abbreviated to STD which will never stop being funny) I was cautiously optimistic about it. We’re now nearly halfway through the first season and I think I can safely say this is the best bit of Star Trek we’ve had since Deep Space 9. This Cracked article covers many of the reasons why this series is head and shoulders above expectations, though I’d not say it was the ‘best ever made’ as the series has a long time to go with a second season confirmed and a third likely.
Every Star Trek series has reflected the times. The original series reflected much of the upheaval of the 1960’s, Next Generation was at times very 90’s, DS9 dealt with a post Cold War world and threats coming from religious fanatics which predicted the future a tad. Even Voyager and the mainly terrible Enterprise occasionally had some depth in them. STD is different because the crew aren’t perfect human beings, nor are they the cardboard cut-outs of the last few films.
Take Captain Lorca (wonderfully played by Jeremy Isaacs) who is the warrior the Federation needs in their war against the Klingons.
He’s also a psychopath who is out of control and has only been saved from being locked up because his admiral has been captured by the Klingons. So Lorca is free to scheme and plot. Lorca though isn’t the main character. That’s Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham who starts as a first officer, before starting a war which is killing millions. It’s Burnham’s story we’re following which is STD’s strongest and weakest point. Strong because it means we have a character taking us on their story. Weak because it means the focus on the ensemble (I especially like Cadet Tilly) is lesser which is a shame as this is a strong support cast.
There are problems. The supporting cast are sometimes neglected, the scripts sometimes have holes in them and by keeping most of the action focused on the Discovery we have no idea of how the war is affecting the galaxy barring the odd passing mention. The positives outweigh the negatives. Star Trek needed a kick up the arse as well as being redesigned while still remaining familiar while still being Star Trek, and on the whole they’ve done that. Of course a section of fans are crying like the man-babies they are that ‘it doesn’t look like the Kirk era’, or ‘do we need a female lead’, but it’s easy enough to ignore most of this as wankers crying about a programme not being endless fan-service.
Then of course there’s the prudes and religious loons whining about the programme’s use of the word ‘fucking’.
But they too can be ignored.
Star Trek: Discovery isn’t perfect.It needs work, but a Trek series that I want to watch each week in 2017 is a nice thing, and I hope the programme improves and continues to try new things because this is what Star Trek should do. The series is being shown on Netflix here in the UK. Go try it out.