Scott Hardie | September 26, 2017
Has anyone watched the new series? What are your thoughts?

Erik Bates | September 26, 2017
Seen the first episode so far. I like it. Too soon to know how I'll like the series, though, but I'm hopeful.

Aaron Shurtleff | September 27, 2017

Well, first of all, I think the series is only going to be on streaming after the first episode, right? I don't like that decision (since I don't really get into all the streaming stuff because I am old and crusty), but it won't be the first series I never get to see because I feel that way.

That said...ugh. That was my reaction to the first episode, honestly. I got nothing out of this episode, other than that apparently there's really only one Vulcan in the entire universe, and that is Spock's father Sarek. Couldn't find any other Vulcan, seriously?? There's some Klingons, but they look nothing like how Klingons have ever been portrayed in Star Trek before (other than the forehead ridge, but I guess maybe that's all you need...) and they are doing some stuff that no one understands at all, even apparently the singular entirety of the Vulcans, who the show tells you have somewhat cordial relations with them. The main character is a human raised among Vulcans (just Sarek as far as I ever saw), and she's super mad at Klingons. I know you might be thinking that will taint her experiences in dealing with them, but don't worry, it totally will. There's the usual weird alien crew members, but we only have time to really meet one of them, and he's not fleshed out too much. All-in-all, I was pretty disappointed.

Also, let's be clear on one thing. The first Star Trek debuted in 1966. The main cast consisted of people from different racial backgrounds. This is expected from the Star Trek franchise. I have heard people gushing about the main characters being an asian woman and an african-american woman. And that is great, because there are, in fact, still fewer roles for minorities in a lot of cases on tv and in movies. But with Star Trek, that's more expected than something to be celebrated, I think.

Scott Hardie | September 27, 2017
Damn, CBS only aired the first episode? I thought they were going to air the first two as a block before leaving the rest of the series to streaming. The first two episodes pair really well together, and imho the second is much more satisfying than the first. :-(

As wary as I am of any Star Trek series that trods old familiar ground (Klingons yet again?) instead of exploring new territory, I did really enjoy the first two episodes and I look forward to seeing where else this goes. The show has a spark of life and an urgency that was missing from the Rick Berman years, and modern special effects go really well with Trek. I appreciate that they're not bothering to explain concepts like "warp speed" and "the Federation" for newbies because slowing down for exposition affects the forward momentum, which is what the series needs most right now. Sonequa Martin-Green is superb, and I also really liked Chris Obi as the mani Klingon, who managed to communicate great pain despite being buried under tons of makeup and costume.

I don't especially like the return of Sarek yet again, but I do wonder if he was chosen because 1) for those in the know, his presence provides useful grounding in Trek canon that a new character wouldn't, and 2) it's Trek tradition for a pre-existing character to make a torch-passing guest appearance in each new series permiere. But wow, what a way to retcon the Spock family like that.

I could take or leave the new Klingon art design. I grant the show some leeway, because we've seen Klingons over a period spanning hundreds of years, so naturally their fashion sense and architectural sense and so on would evolve, especially between different houses. (There are only 24 houses? Spanning presumably billions of Klingons? That doesn't seem plausible.) But after Enterprise went to such trouble to unify the Klingon makeup variations within canon, I'm surprised that the movies and now this new series would make such drastic alterations in their design. If the old Klingons are too boring to use, stop using the fucking Klingons already and come up with a new alien villain.

For anyone who wants to see the show without paying much, I see some options: 1) Wait until the whole series is out next spring, subscribe, binge-watch them in a month, and cancel, thus paying about $10. 2) Wait for the inevitable DVD/Blu-Ray release and get that cheap, such as by renting the discs from Netflix. 3) Split a CBS All-Access subscription with friends. I've been a CBS All-Access subscriber for a year or two because I can't stand all of the commercials during Survivor (that three-hour season finale twice a year can be torture with hundreds of commercials to wait through), and I don't mind paying a few bucks a month. :-\

Erik Bates | September 27, 2017
Or, Option 4.

Aaron Shurtleff | September 27, 2017
If episode 2 is on CBS one night, I will check it out. I have never really considered myself a trekkie (or trekker or whatever the term is), but I have enjoyed the shows over the years, at least a little bit. Though some series are worse than others. Maybe something happens in second episode that pulls me in.

I am almost sad to say that I am more interested in The Orville than ST:D. (Although now that I type it out, I am puckishly amused it abbreviates to ST:D.) Orville disappointed me also, but that could be because I expected a lot more humor from Seth McFarland.

I think also, based on the timeline when this series takes place, they might be stuck with villains we already know. It would be hard to have the "bad guys" be some race that no one has heard of. Unless The Federation commits an act of genocide on them to explain why we never hear of them again. Which is its own problem. Although I could see the character of Michael trying to do so, from the little we see of her motivations in the first episode...

Which is another problem. Anyone with familiarity with Star Trek knows that, eventually Klingons and Federation becomes friends. So, while there is a vast amount of things which could happen, unless they recon the entire universe, it can never get to the point of being irreconcilable. This is going to work out, somehow, eventually.

I feel like a Debbie Downer now.

Erik Bates | September 27, 2017
I never watched Enterprise beyond the first few episodes of the first season, but it's my understanding that there were villains in that series that were new, and never came up again.

But I never watched enough to find out if they actually did anything to explain that. As I recall, they were time-travelling bad guys or something, so when it comes to that, there's all kinds of ways to invoke loopholes to not disturb canon too much.

Scott Hardie | September 27, 2017
I intend to check out The Orville as well. I don't have terribly high hopes, but it's worth a look at least.

I can't find it now, but I read some poll online a couple of years ago, around the time it was first announced that there would be a new Trek series, asking what fans wanted out of it. The number one response by far was that they wanted it to take place after all existing timelines, ie. sometime after Voyager. I agree with those fans: They've shown us a war-torn Federation in conflict with enemies so often, that the peacetime after the end of the Dominion War in Deep Space Nine and the destruction of the Borg in Voyager (sorry for twenty-year-old spoilers) would be a refreshing change of pace, and the show could try more diplomatic missions and high-minded science fiction, something more like Picard's Next Generation. But whatever. It's little use picking on the show for not being the one I imagined in my head.

I don't think introducing a new alien species in the past is a problem; Erik, you're right, Enterprise made a year-long arc out of a major war with a new species, but if i recall correctly, they were destroyed at the end and that explains the lack of later references to them. It's really just in how it's handled. Something important on the order of Klingons would feel too important never to have been mentioned later. That's another reason to set the show later in the canon. (The high technology is another. I find it extremely difficult to believe that the technology on display in Discovery, from the self-propelled spacewalk suit to the talking computer, would suddenly cease to exist ten years later in the canon, in time for Kirk's original series. No way.)

Erik Bates | September 28, 2017
To be fair re: Technology, even in Kirk's timeline, the technology appeared to be behind even late 20th century technology. It would seem incredibly out-of-place for me to see ST:D (*snicker* - thank's Aaron) using magnetic tape reels and dials, buttons, and switches as opposed to touch-screen, all-digital computing. "Futuristic" is relative to the era in which it is being consumed. To go back to Kirk-era technology for the sake of continuity would ruin the overall effect for me.

When you have divergent timelines between the movies and the television shows, it gets hairy, as well. If you set the new show in the past, you can argue that it's all taking place pre-movie timeline divergence, even though they have said that this show is fully in the TV canon, and the events of the new movies are in a separate timeline and have no impact on this one. That being said, it would cause even more confusion for the casual (or even lesser-hardcore) fans of the Trek universe if they were to set the new series in the future and still keep to the universe of TNG, DS9, etc, while ignoring the movies.

Scott Hardie | September 29, 2017
I agree that Kirk's technology wouldn't look very appealing today, but to me that's just another argument for pushing forward in the timeline instead of re-exploring the same time period. Just like with the evolving Klingon makeup, Trek has gone to considerable lengths to canonize its varying technology levels (such as DS9 crew interacting with TOS-era tech), and it bugs me to see that work undone -- not as a nitpicking fan, but as a weary fan who dreads how many episodes it will take ten years from now to untangle and rationalize this new canon violation.

Scott Hardie | October 2, 2017
The third episode is even stronger than the first two. This is just the shot in the arm that the stodgy old Trek franchise needed. It feels as refreshing as DS9 did once upon a time, and for similar reasons.

Scott Hardie | February 13, 2018
Kelly and I just finished watching the end of the first season. Final verdict: We love this show. This has become both our favorite show on the (proverbial) air today, and a Sunday-night ritual for us that I cannot wait to resume in the fall. I love how the show interrogates and deconstructs some of the ideals and principles and concepts of classic Star Trek in the way that Deep Space Nine's best episodes did. But for a show that is deliberately very dark and amoral at times (just when you think it can't get more depraved, it surprises you again), it earns the arc that it eventually takes toward idealism again, arguing for the merits of Roddenberryism, something that its early detractors may not have expected. The show has a relentless commitment to forward momentum at all costs, not giving a rat's ass about continuity or character development if there's something more entertaining around the next corner in the plot, and that speed with which it tears through storylines feels refreshing in the stodgy old franchise. If it sometimes feels a little too rushed, well, perhaps that's better because some of its plot contrivances don't hold up to reason. I love the wild art design, and the rich HD visual effects, and the bold new character types. Not all of Discovery's ideas and choices are successful, but the fact that it's taking such huge creative risks when it could just crank out another lazy Trek clone in the mold of The Orville is a great thing. I cannot recommend this series enough.

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