Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Everything GOOD about Star Trek Discovery

It's going to be a very short post.

I wanted to love this series.  It had finally started bridging some of the issues of the first Star Treks.  It took until DS9 to have a Black human captain.  It took until Voyager to have a female captain, and finally we have a main character who is Black AND female, and NOT a captain, which makes the story a little more interesting.

It's also nice to see a better non-human bridge crew, since it's the United Federation of PLANETS, not the United Federation of Humanoids.

Now knowing all that coming into the series, there were those of us old schoolers who had high hopes for the series to represent the kind of values and examine the same kinds of social issues unearthed in the earlier series, especially TOS.   And yes, there are TREKKERS (as distinguished from Trekkies) who are very serious about canon and the timeline.  I don't consider myself an expert, nor a rabid fan, but I don't like to see glaring differences in history and discrepancies.  If they don't want a set of stories bound by the Star Trek universe and timeline, make Discovery about some other, unrelated universe.  Just change the names of the aliens.  Considering how far the stories have wandered from the "canon", no one would even think it was a Star Trek rip-off.

Or, and this is  my first thought, why not just say "Kelvin Timeline", because using the reboot as the basis of Discovery instead of saying it's the same timeline as TOS means just about anything goes, and the hardcore fans can't say boo about it, because it's NOT unwriting anything.

And unwriting is the cardinal sin when it comes to fandom.

I understand that once again, ST wanted to pick up new fandom.  The story lines are extreme in Discovery, the characters sexy, the ship sleeker than it should be for that era.  That's all kind of forgivable.  But there was really no reason to pretend (for the sake of the old school fans) that this was TOS timeline, when we have the Federation acting with reactionary violence at every turn . If it were Kelvin, we could say that the Federation ideology had been fractured as a result of Nero's attack and the destruction of the Vulcan home world.  It would make sense after such a devastating event that The Federation would suffer a crisis of faith. But for some reason, Discovery clings to their TOS timeline claim.

Now it seems after a simply awful first season which has reduced me (and other fans) to mere hate-watching, we find ourselves simultaneously insulted and intrigued by the season 2 teaser in the last moments of the season 1 finale:  the distress call and appearance of the NCC-1701... the USS Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike.  Part of me is just aghast at such an obvious ploy to engage the old school fans.  Other parts are curious about how they'll deal with casting first officer Spock, considering the ongoing movies.

Mostly, however, I am already skeptical that this plot device will be anything other than the disaster the previous plots have been, and I almost wish the whole current story Federation had been destroyed by the Klingons, and a new story line or alternate universe born where Klingons, in control of the entire quadrant, find themselves struggling to reunite the houses, which have begun to develop different strategies for tapping into (or subverting) the diversity of cultures which they have now conquered.  THAT might have made an interesting (albeit still NOT a TOS) timeline.

As it is, the story has failed to live up to the promise so many of us saw in the casting. That makes for a terribly short list of things that are good about the series... and makes me very skeptical that things will get better next series, especially when they have to drag Pike into the mix to try to hook viewers.  The stories SHOULD be able to stand on their own.   Yes, we love the little nods to the other stores, but they can't be the totality of the series... not if they want to have loyal fans from any generation.

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