When it was announced that a new Star Trek series was being made, I was beside myself with excitement. Netflix had just loaded all previous Trek series which I binged on and came to some conclusions which I will summarise quickly so we can get onto the new one.
TOS: Series 1 & 2 are classic, series 3 is a retread of all the best ideas in 1 & 2 done badly on a fraction of the budget. Gets good when: It started.
TNG: Series 1 is full of good ideas but is patchy, from series 2 it gets really good however series 3 onward is when it peaks. Gets good when: Riker gets his beard.
DS9: The best Trek series. Very good from the off but series 3 is when the Dominion stuff starts. Gets good when: Sisko shaves his head and grows a goatee
Voyager: Underrated by many, this has a strong cast and is different to all other Treks as it occurs in the Delta Quadrant. Also, this is the first time a woman is in charge and Janeway rocks! Gets good when: THE BORG ARRIVE!
Enterprise: The unloved series. The one everyone will tell you is rubbish. The one with Sam Beckett. The one that’s………not as bad as everyone remembers. Watch it again. Trust me. Gets good when: Sam Beckett encounters Al playing an alien prison warden.
So, back to Discovery. It was announced that for once, the Captain would not be the main focus of the show. The Walking Dead (an article will appear soon about that train wreck) alumni Sonequa Martin Greene was the lead character, playing First Officer Michael Burnham. Yes, that’s right, HER name is Michael. What the fuck is that. I know it’s a quirk of the writer to call female characters boys name but why?? I don’t get it.
Other casting news had me all excited. (Hello to) Jason Issacs as Captain Lorca, Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou (two Captains!?) and Doug Jones as Saru. Top drawer casting. All the promo stuff looked fantastic, the trailers hit the spot. And then it landed. And then I watched. In horror. As the Klingons looked like a bunch of rubber headed S&M club members and every time they called her Michael my jimmies became rustled.
The first few episodes set the scene. A war with the Klingons, started by Burnham after an act of self defence is perceived as an act of aggression. They were ok, the (spoiler) betrayal/mutiny of Burnham against her Captain/mother figure is the point where this didn’t feel like Trek anymore. I’m not against that in principal. Everything needs to be its own thing. I had issues with the spore drive business (what’s wrong with warp or transwarp, people!?), I had issues with the fact that no one else on the bridge does anything or has any lines, most of them just look around. I had issues that they dropped two F-bombs in one episode and had a scene with Klingon torture/sex in it. I’m no prude but c’mon, that isn’t Star Trek.
What I did like was the fact that the strands of the plot were definitely building to something and when it arrived, boy was it worth it. After a pretty awesome space battle in the penultimate episode before the mid season break, a spore drive jump sends our crew to a region of space they’re not familiar with. We however are very familiar with it. It’s the alternate reality dimension thingy, you know, with the Terran Empire, that hate all alien types and want to reign supreme over everyone and Donald Trump is the Emperor! That last part is only partially made up. There are parallels being drawn here that don’t just relate to Star Trek.
After the mid season break, things get really really good. Major plot revelations come thick and fast which I wont spoil, we stay in the Mirror Universe for the whole time which makes it really dark and interesting and it ends on a cliffhanger that I’m dying to see how they resolve.
To summarise, Discovery is a grower. With a great cast and what seem to be some clever writers on board, I think it will go from strength to strength. It has won over this old Trekkie!