The latest iteration of the Star Trek universe is “Star Trek Discovery”, which had its initial show broadcast on during the fall of 2017, with the remaining shows playing exclusively on CBS streaming service that you have to pay for (it appeared on Netflix outside of US). As I wasn’t willing to pay to see a series that had always been on free TV, that was the only episode I saw at the time, and I didn’t find it all that impressive to reconsider.
The entire season one recently became available at my library so I got to binge watch it over a few days and now have a full assessment of what I think of this latest small screen version.
The show is set in time 10 years before events in the original series (TOS). That was supposed to allow them to do some plot-line crossovers with characters/places familiar to TOS fans.
The show looks way too futuristic to be a believable precursor to TOS. It looks more like a contemporary or successor of Voyager or Deep Space Nine. The special equipment they use is also ultra advanced and makes you wonder how they could have access to it when TOS and the other shows didn’t.
The pros are the following:
- It’s fast paced
- The plots are interesting
- There was clearly a big budget on special effects.
Taken as a generic space show, I give it a thumbs up as just about each show was action packed and there were no filler episodes to let things cool down.
The cons are:
These people dress in Star Trek uniforms, live in the “Star Trek” universe, but they are really there in name only as it leaves the path of the main thread of all prior Star Trek series. The quintessential Star Trek show revolved around both a plot and continued character development with dialogue exploring ethics and morality scenarios that challenged the viewer to think how they would respond if in a similar situation. Of course with TOS, the special effects budget was limited, so they were compelled to add more social dialog sequences to fill up the hour, but they did it well. That set the model for successor shows to follow. The new show has little if any of that- just brash decision after brash decision with brief “20-20 hindsight” comments afterwards.
The new show is so chock full of action that there is literally no downtime before the next crisis hits. The problem with this is there is no time for character development outside of the main protagonists and at the end of the season you have no idea what over half the crew are about as they are given very little to do or say. To convert TOS into “Discovery” format, you would take all the main action from its three seasons, compress it into one season and remove all the filler episodes and cerebral discussions.
Another big problem is there is a HUGE focus on one character over all the others- you may as well call it the “Michael Burnham Show”. This character is tasked too many times with saving the day at the expense of everyone else getting a chance to develop their character.
The show is decidedly dark to be a part of the Star Trek universe, where the future was always shown in a positive light rather than a dystopian one. This makes it hard to believe that things will get so much more bright and rosy for TOS in just 10 years time.
Lastly, they don’t appear to respect cannon, as the one recurring guest character they brought over from TOS in one plot seemed completely different from the personality they displayed on that series….. a night and day difference. He was there basically in name with a whole new personality.
The series got mixed ratings on Rotten Tomatoes with professional reviews giving it over 80%, while the avg viewer score was just 50%.
I can understand the difference. It’s an interesting show, and I thought it was a good watch, but it’s not really Star Trek- or at least the Trek as defined by all the prior TV series.