Star Trek Discovery: I am very torn!
I have gone back and forth on this. I only became a hard core Star Treek fan after I was tutored by my old friend John on what is Star Trek and what is at the heart of the universe. Why I liked it so much? It was believable, tangible and made space feel so vast and massive. It made space feel endless and filled with adventure. It has ancient aliens, as well as burgeoning civilizations and did not rely on one single sci-fi trope to tell their story. It had core axioms that helped drive the story and when they violated those axioms, it was considered a major breakthrough. Yea, it has its social-justice moments that the lefty Hollywood types insist on having in the show, but that’s a given. Roddenberry was a big old lefty hippy anyway, so you take the good with the bad.
I watched every episode of TNG, and all the movies. I watch the TOS afterwards, once it was on some kind of media I could binge, and now own every episode. I watched DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise until they lost me. All three lost me about 2 or 3 seasons in. I knew Star Trek was on a downward spiral. The writing was so watered down, relying too much on one trope – time travel – too much. They were running out of alien ideas and limited budget made them all just ridges of the week. The single-aspect cultures were getting old. I went from calling myself a Trekkie to a fair-weather Star Trek fan.
Now we enter the 2010s with a new Star Trek reboot, a new timeline with stories that completely ignore the settings axioms, and a director/producer that was more of a Star Wars fan than a Star Trek fan. I call him Jar Jar Abrams because he has ruined everything I loved about sci-fi. Almost everything – Star Trek and Star Wars. Don’t let him near Babylon 5 or Stargate. Psssh… based on the new Independence Day sequel, Roland Emmerich will ruin Stargate all by himself.
The first movie in the Star Trek reboot ended up using the trope I hate the most – time travel – to screw up everything. At the same time, over the course of 3 movies, they destroyed the Enterprise 3 times. But the second time, I would imagine that crew would have been grounded. I liked the casting, don’t get me wrong. But the writing in the movies was terrible, especially in the second one. Nevermind the violations of every scientifically grounded axiom in the ST universe. After the third, I simply wanted that timeline to die.
Now we have Discovery. Right from the beginning, it has been plagued with problems. First, hard core ST veterans were involved and now they are gone, replaced with people that have no clue the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars. While distancing itself from Abram-verse in the beginning (giving us hard core fans some hope), productions photos and pictures have shown that they are borrowing quite a bit from the visuals of the Abram-verse. That started down the proverbial slippery slope.
The only thing that will save this show as far as I am concerned is the writing. While the old shows have slowly declined in the quality of writing, they were at least rooted in the ST universe. Who knows what the new writers will do. I am hopeful but skeptical. The production value looks pretty high. The quality of actors is top notch. Now, if they can stick to the core of what is Star Trek, then all is not lost.