So, Star Trek Discovery premiered on CBS last night. And I think it was greeted about like every other Star trek opening. It’s OK, but let’s see where it goes.
Now, I love all Star Trek. TOS, TNG, DS9 (the best Star Trek ever), VOY, ENT, the movies, and even the JJ movies! I love Star Trek and don’t hate on any of it. Because let’s face it, hatred is very un-Star Trek like.
That doesn’t mean it’s all good. Star Trek V, Into Darkness, Spock’s Brain, are all pretty bad. Most of the first two seasons of TNG, are simply unwatchable. So we don’t have to like bad Star Trek and we should all be honest about what is good, what is bad, what we like and what we don’t like.
And that brings us to Star Trek Discovery. And as you all know, if you want to see more you have to subscribe to CBS All Access. And remember, this is the first time CBS has ever made Star Trek. Up until now, it has always been Paramount. So, here are my thoughts.
I have been deluged with fan messages since the premier last night. While some fans loved it and some fans hated it, I think overall fans were like “It was OK, not great”. And you know what, that is FINE. Star Trek ALWAYS takes time to get going. Generally two seasons. Look at TNG, the first two seasons are awful. DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, all had weak first two seasons. So Discovery being “good” isn’t a bad start.
Discovery was fine. I wasn’t blown away, but I watched the whole thing before saying anything and my first thoughts were “OK, let’s see where this goes.” It certainly looked good on many levels. And as a pilot episode, it is unlike any other Star Trek pilot. It certainly was no “Emissary” or “The Cage”, the two best Star Trek pilots. But in the age of serialized story telling, we can no longer expect to see a self contained classic as the first episode.
And I certainly liked that Discovery was so much like Prelude to Axanar! I mean, 10 years before TOS, a war with the Klingons, a ship that looks just like the Ares. A lot of fans have been discussing that it puts CBS reasons for suing Axanar in a whole light. But being that Discovery was developed after Prelude to Axanar, you can’t help wondering how much influence Axanar was. After all, we know Bryan Fuller was a big Axanar fan! It is a shame CBS didn’t think to keep Bryan on as Show Runner.
So will I continue to watch? Yes. I am in. Oh, I won’t pay for CBS ALL Access, and with almost everyone I know saying they already subscribe to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, I don’t know many people who will pay for CBS for just one show. (Want to read about if All Access is worth it? Read this article.). So the whole question of the success of CBS All Access will be determined not by one show, but by the habits of America’s viewing public.
And I will catch the rest of Discovery at my buddy’s place.
DISCOVERY LOOKS GOOD
You know, with the state of film making now, every good show looks good, so you have to be working at a high level to make an impact and I liked the way the show was shot. I was watching Star Trek Into Darkness last month, and as weak as that film is, it looks AMAZING. I am always fascinated by how good films look, even small, independent films. So I expected Discovery to LOOK good and it certainly did. Great effects, great visuals, and I like the Federation production design for the most part.
DISCOVERY IS A REBOOT
And let’s be clear, Discovery is a reboot, pure and simple. CBS can say all they want that Discovery happens in the prime timeline, but it doesn’t. And any fan can see that. The prime timeline looks a certain way. This show looks like it takes place 50 years AFTER Voyager, and that is fine. But don’t tell us it happens in the prime timeline, it doesn’t.
The Prime timeline has specific costumes which Discovery doesn’t use. The Federation is using Cage era costumes at this time. The ships look a certain way. None of this is being followed by Discovery. The Klingons clearly don’t belong in the prime universe. Their look, their costumes, their ships, none of it is Prime timeline.
And as I always say, that is OK. JJ rebooted the Star Trek timeline and I like what he did. He honored the costumes, the look. I even like JJ’s Klingons (except that Klingon ship…ugh). Neville Page, the make up designer, even had a fantastic Klingon design that wasn’t used that I used as the basis for Kharn. So I am OK with a reboot.
THE CREDITS – Weak music and a lack of imagination in the graphics. Wow, we were all stunned. Nothing uplifiting here. Now I wasn’t a fan of either the DS9 titles or the Voyager titles. And Enterprise was a giant fail with that song. But its graphics worked (especially the mirror Universe ones!). Really expected more here.
THE BRIDGE – I love the bridge, but it is WAY too big. You simply do not waste space on a space ship, and this bridge wastes a LOT of space. There is no intimacy to the bridge and it is kind of disturbing. Where are the boundaries of this bridge? It needs to be 33% smaller.
EVERYTHING KLINGON – I mean the makeup, despite the able input of Neville Page, is just not good. And certainly not very Klingon. It is so without form and not aggressive or distinct. When Neville worked on JJ trek, the new Klingons LOOKED fierce. Even while the Kelvin Universe is a reboot, I like the makeup, props and costumes of the Klingons. I can’t say that about this version. Everything about these Klingons hits me, and many fans, wrong. The make up is soft and unimpressive. The costumes are absurd, and make no sense for a warrior race. The interior of their ship is so very un-Klingon. The ships? Not very Klingon. And why do they speak Klingon like they all have marbles in their mouth? So yeah, I think the Klingons are a huge fail.
STARFLEET UNIFORMS – The most obvious sign this is a reboot, besides everything Klingon, is that these Starfleet costumes do not fit in the prime timeline. They also make no sense. How do I tell rank? I can’t spend 10 seconds staring at your uniform looking to see what rank you are. Rank needs to be OBVIOUS. Also, what department are you? How can I tell? We know that there are different color uniforms at this time in Trek. Why couldn’t they incorporate that? Not doing so was huge mistake. Look at JJ Trek, they did it beautifully!
AND FINALLY – The whole Starfleet emblem in the sand made NO SENSE. If it is so cloudy that the scanners can’t pick you up, they aren’t going to see some emblem made in the sand. UGH. It’s like the Enterprise under water. “That’s cool, let’s do that!”
GIVE DISCOVERY A CHANCE
So, I will wait and see. I won’t pay for CBS All Access but I do want to see where Discovery goes. Harry Mudd I expect to be another fail. But they just filmed two Mirror Universe episodes, so that will be interesting.
I am not going to advocate anyone go buy All Access, but it will be interesting to see fans reactions after the whole season is out.