STAR TREK IS BACK
After 12 years, since Enterprise went off the air, Star Trek is back on TV again. Well, at least, what passes for TV in the modern age. But does Star Trek Discovery live up to the name and the 51 year-old legacy it inherits? The short answer, in my opinion, is yes.
In a lot of ways, it felt like we had picked up things where we’d left them off. Discovery feels like a sequel to Enterprise. One century on, the Federation that Archer and crew helped to found is well and truly established, but still young. I can also believe that Kirk’s historic 5 year mission on the Enterprise is 10 years in our future. We haven’t seen much of the Klingons in the intervening years, except for the occasional skirmish, such as the one that claimed the lives of Michael Burnham’s parents.
They weren’t kidding when they told us that Star Trek Discovery would be cinematic. All concerns about hairless Klingons and visual differences to The Cage dissipated as I was swept up in the plot, characters, and spectacular visuals. Every frame of Star Trek Discovery was beautiful.
I love Captain Phillipa Georgiou. She clearly loves her job. She loves exploring space. She loves her crew, and she loves spending time with them. The bridge of the Shenzhou felt like a home at the beginning of the episode. This was a group of people who were very comfortable with each other. A family. They established this family dynamic much quicker than any other Star Trek series. This makes sense because the crew is not just coming together. They’ve been together for a long time.
Michael Burnham is an interesting character. She certainly goes on quite a journey.The conflict that develops between her and the captain is logical. You can clearly see both sides, and understand the perspective of each character. I’ll be very interesting to see how her arc develops over the next 13 episodes. This is, after all, her story.
Saru is very cool. I love the dynamic between him, Burnham and Georgiou. Again, within minutes, the writers and actors had established a Kirk / Spock / Bones dynamic. Not a copy-cat, but a three-way relationship that was a lot of fun to see. Without understanding his backstory, Saru may come across as something of a coward. I already knew his background, which was explained as the episode went on, so I understood the alternative perspective he was giving his captain, to balance out Burnham.
This show very much started with Discovery. From the prologue mission on a strange alien world to the investigation of an alien object of unknown origin. Within the first 15 minutes, we’ve already had as much, if not more, of the Star Trek spirit of exploration, than we had in the three Kelvin films combined. (Not that I’m here to bash to Kelvin films. There are things I liked about all three, along with some flaws).
When things shift to conflict with the Klingons, there is still very much a Star Trek spirit to it all. The crew of the Shenzhou struggle with how to prevent a war, while still remaining true to the principles of Starfleet.
The Klingon scenes were great. T’Kuvma was a wonderful villain. As promised, we see just as much of the conflict from his perspective. We come to understand him, and his reasoning. We know why he wants to unite the great houses of the Klingon Empire in a war with the Federation. How do Klingons view the federation? This fierce warrior race. Has the peaceful Federation ever truly felt like a genuine threat to them? T’Kuvma thinks so. He is generally fearful of the Federation. The way it “assimilates” other cultures. Behind all that Klingon bravado, T’Kuvma is driven by fear. I can understand this from his perspective. He does not want the empire to become another ‘conquered world’ of the Federation, losing its identity to become part of the whole. What less honourable way could there be for the empire to lose? Conquered by peace. Not a shot fired. No wonder the bloke feels threatened.
Star Trek Discovery is every bit Star Trek. Yes, this season will be set against the backdrop of war with the Klingons, but it is done in a very thought-provoking way. Star Trek is all about understanding your enemies. This is a theme that has been set up in the pilot episodes and will be continued to be explored as the story progresses. I, for one, can’t wait to find out how Burnham and Captain Lorca (who we haven’t even seen yet) will try to end the war.
I still don’t understand the whole woman-with-a-male-name thing. Apparently, Bryan Singer likes female characters with Male names. It’s odd to me, but whatever. At this point, I’m just going with it.
There was an interesting scene regarding a Vulcan mind meld. I’m interested in digging a little deeper on what makes that particular meld different to others we’ve seen in the past. The show plays a bit loose with canon in regards to Klingon cloaking technology, so I’m curious to see where they’re going with that. The interview on “After Trek” makes it clear the writers are at least aware of what they’re doing.
Star Trek Discovery has affected me in much the same way that the movie Man of Steel did. I’ve found the Star Trek that I didn’t know I wanted. As much as I loved the Marvel movies (and still do), they kinda faded a little into the background once I saw what the DCEU was doing. In the same way, I have greatly enjoyed the Kelvin-verse movies, for all their flaws, but they’ve definitely taken a backseat to Discovery now. This is a show that is action-packed, but still cerebral. If we don’t get a fourth film from Paramount (and I still hope we do), I am happy in the knowledge that we have a great new series on our TV screens, and that, after all, is where Star Trek is at its best.If you like this, share the love by