Star Trek: Discovery – The Verdict of Ron
I am as torn as I was when I started. Which I suppose is a credit to the writers and creators of the show. They changed enough to tweek the hardcore Trekkie side of me, while at the same time, presented some pretty good story and action. It wasn’t entirely Star Trek but it was just enough that it was enjoyable. Yea, there was some elements that made it feel like it was in the JJ -verse, but I think that’s just the visual style that Paramount/CBS want to take ST. Here are my general thoughts.
I still do not entirely like most of the characters but I think they are growing on me. Burnham has her moments. Tilly is the token character that is put there to please all the fan-boys and girls. They of course had the progressive left LGBT story characters that I will just ignore. I just have come to expect Hollywood will jam that crap down our throat. Doug Jones’ character Saru is the only character that I have really found endearing.
Aside from the characters, I really did like the story that was told, despite some of the disjointed ways they told it. It brought in elements from canon, modernized them and then explored them further. For instance, Klingon’s surgically altering themselves to spy on humans. This was done in Trouble with Tribbles. I enjoyed their take on it, while at the same time advancing it to a sleeper agent type thing. I did not necessarily like the actor or the character in general but I did enjoy the storyline.
The Klingons did not bother me as much as the subtitles while they talked. I realize you wanted to make them feel even more alien but a convention can be established so we don’t have to read our shows. I knew enough far ahead of time that I could adapt my expectations of the Klingons look. What I did not like was once again, the adaptation of the culture to a modern “racial” nationalist type movement – yet another anti-Trump swipe by liberal Hollywood. Klingons were xenophobic, yes. But not because they thought their culture would be polluted or whatever. They thought their culture was superior, like the Soviets they were modelled after. But now, the (perceived) white nationalists are the bad guys and so we have to model the Klingons after them.
And of course [SPOILERS], it’s a female in the end that leads and unites the Klingons to end the war against the Feds. Yay, more girl-power in an show that is already saturated with girl-power. Every male figure is either gay which apparently means trustworthy, but a jerk or straight and thus not trustworthy or incompetent. It was very consistent on this point. All the competent leaders were female, and the one male leader turned to be a turncoat.
Along the same lines of my previous point, the allegory of white nationalism continued onward in the “Mirror” Universe episodes. It was used to show “what we could become if we were like them.” Then again, that was the point of the original Mirror Universe, so I can’t fault them there. Unfortunately, what they don’t realize is that many who first say “Mirror Mirror” wanted the Federation to turn into some semblance of the Terran Empire. More fans would enjoy a show about that universe than the current “hippy” Star Trek.
That all said, I still enjoyed it. I am learning to separate out the political statements they were obviously trying to make and enjoy it for the story alone. In the end, they basically admitted that the Federation base model could not handle something like the Klingons because it is based on a very weak concept. Evil exists and at times, you have to hold evil by its balls to get control of it. Indirectly, they did that. The ending was very Star Trek, tied up in a simple little bow that netiehr left you satisfied nor overly disappointed. Much like many of the rap-ups in TNG (the Borg, anyone?).
I have to admit that despite the obvious fan-play that the ending was, I still got chills. The very ending was fabulous and well done. The new take on the big E was excellent and yes, I even like the Bridge Window, which everyone seems to be complaining about.
I screamed like a little fan-boy.
However, I also have to look at this through the eyes of the guy that helped me appreciate Star Trek for what it is – John Reavis. I don’t claim to fully understand his perspective but I do feel that I understand some of it. He and I had many discussions about TNG while it was on and while I re-watched TOS when I could, he and I talked about that too. Honestly, i do not think he would have liked this show because of the changes to the Klingons. On screen, aside from the Kzinti from the animated series (and Larry Niven’s Known Space), Klingons were his favorite. And to change them from an honorable warring race to xenophobic racist fanatics would have been too much for him. While I look past it, he could not.
It is Star Trek. It is in the Prime Universe. It is a reboot even though they don’t say it is. The changes in technology is enough to call it a reboot. Holographic communications, touch screens, and holodecks all tell me it really is a reboot. And It was needed. Some of the tech should have been in the TOS but either they did not have the budget or the foresight. The uniforms are reminiscent of Enterprise and about as drab as the ones in The Cage. I doubt they will go to the colored pastels but a version of them merged with the current version they have might be good.
I realize I complained a lot about the leftist undertones and I have stated before (in response to the new Wonder Woman) that I prefer strong women characters that don’t take away from strong men. They can exist in the same universe, I promise. Wonder Woman did that well, but Discovery did not. I can only hope we will see a redeeming (human) male character in the next season. I did enjoy it though, despite all that. It has its good qualities and you have to look past the bad to enjoy it, but I think the good outshine the bad enough for that. I look forward to season 2.