Star Trek: Discovery. The newest Star Trek TV series began airing in late 2017 and has already been renewed for a second season. The show has outlets constantly talking about it, good and bad, and has longtime fans divided on how they feel about it. There’s a lot to unpack there, whether it be the aforementioned fan reactions to the show, the way it subverts the usual Star Trek tropes while staying true to the series and how good or bad the show actually is. Today we are going to be discussing Star Trek: Discovery from a number of different angles. Feel free to watch the video version above! For now, let’s start off with how this show differs from its predecessors.
Discovery is a different beast from all other Star Trek TV shows. In the past, Star Trek shows have tended to lean into an almost sitcom-like format. A new scenario gets set up, explored, and concluded all within a single episode. Something happens, some surprises occur, and the whole team comes out unscathed (save a nameless crew member) and ready for the next adventure. This format, albeit a bit formulaic, isn’t necessarily bad, it provides for plenty of entertainment, but it doesn’t really keep you guessing, you know all your key members will come out of it alive. Discovery goes the complete opposite direction in the format of its storytelling and instead focuses on large arcs that are explored over the course of many episodes. Save for a few (incredibly entertaining) one episode adventures, overall the series focuses on telling a complete narrative with different subplots to compliment it, and keep things moving and interesting at all times. This format also allows Discovery to do something its predecessors couldn’t quite pull off, show real character development. While previous series kept you with a familiar cast of characters that you did get to learn a bit more about episode by episode, they never really had a chance for character growth, as plots were sorted out and fixed in a single episode. In Discovery, we get to watch Burnham, Saru, Tilly, the whole crew grow and change as they’re forced to adapt to the situations they find themselves in. As these characters grow and change, we get to see all sides of them, good and bad. This storytelling structure allows for far deeper and powerful storylines, along with allowing us to connect to the crew on a new level not previously found in other Star Trek series. Add in the fact that the writing and acting are generally great, and each episode ends with a cliffhanger that makes it painful to wait for the next episode to find out what happens, and you have a new and powerful Star Trek show, one that is different from any we’ve ever seen.
Now let’s jump (pun intended) topics and discuss the hate the show has been getting on the internet, even before it started airing. The criticism has been from all sides. The Star Trek diehards are mad because the show doesn’t fit the canon, it airs on CBS’s All Access streaming service (the episodes are literally on Amazon I’m not even discussing this complaint) and because it has one of the most diverse casts in the franchise’s history (a black female lead, an Asian female captain, an openly gay couple), leading many to say it has a political agenda and is supporting the SJWs. Which is ridiculous. Star Trek’s message, from the beginning, has always been about accepting any and everyone, that our differences from one another don’t mean anything. Many fans have decided that because the show has a female black lead, it’s pandering. Rather than watching the show and judging it based off of its content, they’ve decided its bad because it’s pushing a political agenda by representing different races and genders in its cast. It’s not like, you know, the world has multiple races and genders at all or anything. Star Trek’s message has always been one of acceptance, and due to the current political climate in the country, longtime fans of the franchise seem to have forgotten the series’ roots.
Overall, I adore Star Trek: Discovery. The cast is great, and they work incredibly well together. The series is constantly taking different twists and turns, some telegraphed pretty blatantly, some completely shocking. But always executed very well. The show is entertaining and fun and features a crew that has already grown tremendously in the first season. I always want to know what’s going to happen next, and getting to watch a new episode is always a treat. I never know where they’re going to take the show next, and whenever I think I have it figured out, it subverts my expectations. The season started out good and grew to great as more and more episodes aired. Star Trek: Discovery follows the core Star Trek message while turning the franchise’s usual formula on its head. It’s something new and different that still is Star Trek at its center. Overall, Discovery is an amazing show and is a completely different beast of a Star Trek property than we’ve ever seen before. And that’s a good thing. Discovery breaks the mold in a way that feels amazing, and I can’t wait to see where the series goes next.