Lets Talk About Star Trek: Discovery
Ok, 12 episodes into a series’ run it an odd place to suddenly cover it. And honestly I had planned to cover it sooner, but life and stuff. In a way though I’m glad. Giving Star Trek: Discovery a good run at it will let me better analyse and write about it.
Those who know me will know I’m a big Trekkie. I grew up in Trek’s golden age, sharing my childhood with Next Generation, Voyager, and my favourite Deep Space9. Later in life, i caught up on the movies, Original Series, and even enjoyed some episodes of Enterprise. I own more than one book written in Klingon and am working on designing a Star Trek tattoo in the next few years. As a hardcore fan, I was split by the JJ films. I respect and appreciate them for what they were, but still felt like they were fluff lacking in deeper substance.
Now I also always felt that was mainly due to films vs series. You can build up a much deeper story in a long-running series that gives you time to play. A film needs to hold your attention for a few hours, so it all comes at you hard / fast / action packed.
So with all this in mind, I was both nervous and excited at the prospect of Star Trek Discovery when it was first announced. And 12 episodes in? I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying it. It’s not perfect, but it was never going to be, and neither were any of the other series in the franchise. The main thing is the story is engrossing and I keep rushing back for more.
The main differences I’ve found in Discovery to its predecessors are a slightly darker tone, a serialised story arc rather than episodic, more focus on a few main characters rather than an ensemble cast, and a few canon inconsistencies. Having the season story arcs is just the standard of TV today, and better suits streaming services that are the primary view medium later.
Tied into this is the darker tone of the story. Now I’ve already admitted DS9 is my favourite Star Trek, and DS9 already showed a darker Trek can work. In-universe we are also in the middle of the war with the Klingons, so a darker setting again makes sense. I do tend to prefer the ensemble cast style, but again with the story being told it does work well. On the inconsistencies, well every series had had them if we can overlook them in the others we can do it here.
I imagine it is a challenge visually to fill the gap between Enterprise and the now dated look of the 60’s. So kudos to the crew at Discovery for seeming to get a good thing going. I look forward to watching it evolve over the seasons, becoming more and more cheesy and we get closer to Kirks era.
As I said Discovery is far from perfect though. The biggest issue for me is the Klingons. Predominantly their look. On one side they have vaguely the look of Klingons, but like they are warped nightmare Klingons. The idea is there but they were pushing too hard to make them look too alien. On the other hand, we should be right in the midst of the augment virus, and they should have a much more human look to them. I look forward to seeing if the show nods to / covers this. Done right we could have some fun.
Outside of their looks though, the Klingons have been well depicted, hearing the heavy use of Klingon language has been great to hear. The world feels deep and the characters are dynamic. And there have already been a few cool little nods and easter eggs for those watching.
I won’t force you to watch it, and if you don’t like it cool. But give it it’s fair chance. Overal I’m really enjoying the show, and I am looking forward to much more.