My real problem with DISCOVERY – the ship is full of D*CKS! (editorial / supplemental review)

Captain’s blog, supplemental.  While I’m going to try to keep this follow-up review less spoiler-y than my last one, a few minor spoilers might creep in.  Consider this your official warning.

My STAR TREK: DISCOVERY review from last Thursday certainly hit a lot of nerves, but it also gave a lot of people an incorrect impression that I didn’t like the new series and that I wanted CBS to fail.  What I actually said was that I didn’t feel like Discovery was “my” Star Trek—the Star Trek that I have held in my heart for these past five decades.

And yes, when it comes to imagining what a war with the Klingons would have looked like a decade or two before Kirk, my “head canon” will remain with Axanar, and I’ll think of Discovery as some kind of alternate universe like the JJ Abrams movies.

But that doesn’t mean that think Discovery is a bad show or that I won’t be watching it.  In fact, last night at a friend’s home, I had a chance to see the third episode of the new series, “Context Is for Kings.”

So, is Discovery STILL not “my” Star Trek…or did they manage to change my mind?

I’m going to delay answering that question for just a moment.  First, I want to say that the producers, writers, directors, actors, and the entire production crew are giving their ALL to this new series.  Nobody is sleeping on the job.  The show looks amazing, sounds amazing, and has the kind of production value that’s necessary in order to get noticed in today’s media environment.

And as such, I truly enjoyed watching the third episode.  While I thought the first two episodes were also well-produced and well-acted (except for those poor Klingon actors who probably felt like they were at war with their make-up and costumes rather than with Starfleet!), the third episode was a HUGE step up.  It flowed better.  I was able to get a more solid feel for the characters, and some were actually pretty darn intriguing!  The idea of a “special needs” officer on the autism scale is gutsy…perhaps annoying to some but relatable to others (especially some parents out there hoping their child will grow up with opportunities to fit in and excel).

So we’ve got good characters, good acting, good sets, good visual effects, good music, good make-up, good directing and well-paced editing…what’s not to like?

And yes, I did like it!  No one say I didn’t…because I did.

But it’s still not “my” Star Trek.

It’s not just the uniforms or the ship designs or the funky Klingon make-up.  It’s not simply that Discovery LOOKS different than what’s come before, it FEELS different.  And I think I’ve figured out why…

Starfleet crews are teams that work together.  Sure, there can be frictions—like Bashir and O’Brien in the beginning of Ds9 or the Maquis crew on Voyager.  T’Pol started out with issues, and Lt. Reed often found it tough to fit in.  But in the end (and even in the beginning), you never felt like these people were antagonistic to each other.  Folks even tried to be nice to Reg Barclay!

Star Trek crews felt like people I could look up to.  The human race had finally evolved past so much of the pettiness and self-importance that people in today’s world seem to suffer from.  Although Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist yet for the majority of the various Star Trek series, you kinda got the feeling that there weren’t flame wars and trolling in the 23rd and 24th centuries.

I don’t get that feeling from Star Trek: Discovery.  I can totally picture this crew having all sorts of dysfunctional issues.  If fact, I don’t have to imagine it; I saw it!

So I get it, Lt. Stamets is stuck up and bitchy.  McCoy was often bitchy, too.  But he was never a passive-aggressive dick to the captain or to any crewman!  Security officers would immediately do their jobs in breaking up fights, especially if someone were getting the shat beaten out of her…or him.  A security chief wouldn’t just stand back, hold her men back, and just watch to see who won.  Such an officer would be up on report or even booted off the ship.

Of course, first officers don’t mutiny against their captains by rendering them unconscious either, and that’s kind of the nexus of this whole series. That said, while I understand Burnham getting the cold shoulder for being a mutineer, I don’t understand why everyone keeps blaming her for starting the war.  The mutiny failed, and the Klingons still fired first!  The admiral came to clean up the mess and got killed for his trouble…with Burnham already in the brig and out of the  picture by the time the shooting war started.  As for getting her captain killed, it was Georgiou’s order to board the Klingon flagship, not Burnham’s.  Mutineer?  Sure.  War-starter?  That’s just fake news!

But back to the Discovery crew.  To me, the first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth.  Why does it feel like Captain Lorca is hiding a lot?  I suppose that keeping the truth to oneself isn’t technically lying, but it’s not really inspiring me in the ways that Kirk and Picard used to.  So no, this show doesn’t give me that same uplifting feeling that Star Trek has for the last 50 years.

So why do I like Discovery at all then?

Because it’s a good show…especially this third episode.  It shows promise.  I was entertained.  I want to watch more and learn more.  I won’t hold it against the writers that they made the choices they did because, in the end, I enjoyed the final result.

The characters might not be the paragons that I so admired in previous Star Treks, but they are intriguing and compelling nevertheless.  They are defined (so far) by both their strengths AND their weaknesses.  Sure, Michael Burnham might be mopey and arrogant, but she’s also incredibly bright and intuitive (and not afraid to be proactive and often sneaky).  Tilly might have punk’d Burnham with the “there’s assigned seats” comment (notice there weren’t actually seats, everyone stood at their station), but then she opened up later to Burnham with an honest apology.  Saru might have landed that zinger about protecting his captain better than Burnham protected hers, but he’s showing the first signs of possibly forgiving Burnham someday.  And if he can reach that point, then both characters will grow and develop.

In fact, each of the characters seems to have their own path to walk down in this series, and the viewers will get to watch these people evolve.  With luck, by the end of the season, most of them will no longer be such dicks (well, maybe Stamets will still be a dick, that barnacle seems pretty well stuck to the boat)!

Hey, the show has Captain America in it, how bad could it be?

This is a modern-day sci-fi show for the new golden age of television–dark, edgy, full of mystery.  If it didn’t have the words “Star Trek” on it, I’d probably enjoy it completely (except for those three minute long subtitle scenes spoken entirely in Klingon!).  I’d most likely think the show was fresh, complex, engaging…with characters showing a rawness reminiscent of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, brought about by the emotional stresses and devastating losses of war.  Without the words “Star Trek,” I doubt I would mind the uniforms, the too-dark lighting, or even those gosh darn lens flares!

The problem is that they ARE calling it “Star Trek.”  And as a long-time fan, I’m having trouble reconciling this new series in my mind with the well-established history of the show…even though Discovery really is quite good.

Yes, Star Trek is a rich, expansive tapestry upon which can be painted an infinite number of interlocking masterpieces.  That’s why fan fiction and fan films can work so well, even if some efforts are the equivalent of crayon scribbles next to baroque masters.  (Who says “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it”?)  Star Trek is a big enough universe to hold the inspiration of the many, not just the few.

But watch out when you’re painting that you don’t paint OVER other parts of the canvas!  Changing the colors of the robes that Jesus is wearing in The Last Supper might seem cool and modern, but you’re also erasing a lot of history.

The reason that Star Trek was able to “leap” forward into the new look and feel of The Motion Picture or The Next Generation was because they did, after all, leap FORWARD.  These were still the same characters, or in the case of TNG, the same kind of brave and noble Starfleet officers, regardless of the era.  The news Treks were expanding the canvas, not painting over it.

And when J.J. Abrams decided that he DID need to paint over parts of the existing canvas, he went and started another canvas!  Alternate timeline, parallel universe…call it what you will.  The original canvas was still there.

One of my readers says he watches Discovery and thinks of the show as being set in future of Star Trek (like 25th century), and then the show works without bothering him.  The only problem with that for me is all those darn mentions of Sarek and Amanda!  They’ve locked the series to a fixed point in Trek history.  So all that leaves me is alternate reality.

Yeah, the security chief is definitely a dick…but she’s a bad-ass dick.

Therefore, as I continue watching the series, and I will (hopefully enjoying it as much as I did episode 3), I’ll just keep imagining that I’m glancing into a parallel universe, like the mirror universe… except where those people were evil, these people on the Discovery are just passive-aggressive, bitchy little dicks to one another.

And hopefully they’ll grow out of it.

91 thoughts on “My real problem with DISCOVERY – the ship is full of D*CKS! (editorial / supplemental review)”

  1. On older Star Trek series The Characters act like trained professionals,
    your personal issues shouldn’t impair your ability to do your job. If they do you should be reassigned or relieved of duty.

    What Your describing should be a ship that is flying a Jolly Roger (especially with Black Alerts???).
    Burhnam Did Start the war she boarded a Klingon Vessel and Killed a Crew Member.
    Before that all that all that was done was damage a communications array.

    I gave up on The Show too much technobabble.
    We need to rate shows with a matrix scoring system.
    Techno Babble
    Rational Behavior
    Compelling Characters, etc.

    1. When Burnham beamed over to the Klingon ship, it was under the orders of her captain. What happened over there is not solely Burnham’s fault.

      And the third episode, Martin, was indeed head and shoulders above the quality and watchability of the first two…hence, my follow-up review.

      1. I think Martin referred to before then, when Burnham put on the spacesuit jet pack and went zooming off to the alien ship. She was only meant to flyby, a simple recon mission, but she went further and killed the Klingon over there. From what the Klingons said, that was what started the war. At the end when Michael beamed over with the Captain the war had already begun, the Federation and Klingons ships had already had a major firefight, the Admiral’s ship was no more, and giant pieces of the Shenzhou were already gone.

        1. Yeah, that’s kinda pushing it to say that Burnham started the war by killing a single Klingon that was already attacking her after destroying a communications buoy in Federation space. It’s nearly impossible to pin this on Burnham. The only thing she did wrong was investigate a debris field too thoroughly.

          1. Yeah, but that was kind of the point, that did start the war, this other faction wanted to unite the Klingons, they wanted Burnham to kill that single Klingon so that they could then turn to the other houses and go “look, the Federation just killed this Klingon, we need to go to war”.

            A bad point, I know, but the point this faction was making if you stayed awake enough to read the subtitles ;).

            So yes, not really Burnham’s fault but still, she started the war by giving this house the excuse they wanted, and she did so by not following orders.

        1. Landing on an unidentified spacecraft in Federation space that likely destroyed a Starfleet communications relay (without provocation) doesn’t seem like something where you can realistically say, “She started this war!”

          It’s really hard to erase “The Klingons fired first” from the narrative of who started this war. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. American forces didn’t start shooting at the “zeroes” until their bombing runs over O’ahu were well underway. Regardless of what America may or may not have done on December 7, 1941, the Japanese started the war with the U.S.–not vice-versa.

          1. She landed on the ship when the captain told her fly by only.

            She provoked the Klingon and killed him (by accident). Had she not landed and just returned to the ship she wouldn’t have killed that Klingon.

            Then she mutinied her ship because she wanted to fire on the Klingons first thinking it would prevent a war, however the Klingons were looking for a fight so being the only ship there at the time had they fired….would have been lost with all hands.

            So she messed up, messed up big time.

          2. Shame you don’t know your history and the role the US led oil blockade played in the lead up to Pearl Harbor.

          3. Or grab a few books from my dad’s TIME/LIFE collection off the shelf. Dad’s a big WWII buff, and we used to discuss the war a lot when I was growing up. We were both fascinated by it. (Dad served in Korea, BTW.)

            And yeah, there’s also Wikipedia. 🙂

  2. Well, you are just feeling what a lot felt with the JJ films: it is not Star Trek. I already said that, it could have another name and be better without any change. The choice of using the name is only marketing and leaves that uncomfortable feeling that something’s wrong.
    What is reproached to fanfilms is definitely valid here, they should have used their own sandbox.

    Now I will dare to compare with James Bond movies where the situation is very different. As the 007 franchise is rather long lasting too, actors changed, technologies changed, stories changed, but the character remains the same and a Bond movie is always action packed, with pretty girls and ugly bad guys. Some won’t like this actor or the other but still will enjoy the film and never say “this is not James bond”, so where is the difference ?

    That is the million dollar question !

    1. Ultimately, James Bond had only about two dozen 2-hour movies (perhaps 50 hours total) for fans to keep track of…and the internal continuity was loose at best. Multiple Blofelds, was or wasn’t James Bond ever married? And of course, the actor himself changed half a dozen times with a complete reboot thrown in (possibly more than one).

      Star Trek has over 700 hours of filmed content (14 times as much as Bond!), and is surprisingly consistent. Even when there were “flashbacks” to previous series (DS9’s “Trials and Tribble-lations” and Voyager’s “Flashback”) or appearances of original castmembers (McCoy, Spock, Scotty, Sarek, Sulu, Rand, Kor, Koloth, Kang), they were played by the same actors. The flashback sets were impeccably recreated.

      James Bond is the kind of franchise where you can, if you need to, paint a little bit over a part of the canvas that’s already been painted. Star Trek…no so much.

  3. The fact this show doesn’t feel like Star Trek breaks it for me. Actually, being standard contemporary sci-fi with the Star Trek name slapped onto it is something I find irksome. If I took the role of a potential viewer who isn’t an established Trekkie, I’d still probably not bother with it. The options for entertainment are huge and nothing about discovery stands out enough for me to pay to see it.

    1. Fortunately, I’m not paying to see it; I’m paying for dinner instead. So far, that’s been about $25 for two weeks. Ironically, by NOT subscribing, I’ll end up paying about TEN TIMES MORE than a $6 monthly subscription! 🙂

  4. When they did the Battlestar Galactica reboot, I’m sure it wasn’t ‘your BSG’ but you liked it all the same, right? In fact, I think you’d agree it was far better. One day, you’ll think this is far better too.

    1. Actually, I have a place in my heart for both versions of BSG, but I see them also as existing in two different realities…just like Star Trek and Discovery.

      Keep in mind, I’m NOT saying that Discovery is a bad show…just the opposite, in fact!!! They’ve done an amazing job with it, and I’m now quite enjoying it (as of episode 3). It just isn’t in “my” Star Trek reality. It’s a great sci-fi show…no argument there. But it doesn’t feel like the Star Trek that’s given me warm-fuzzies this past 50 years. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, Veggie.

  5. So a lot of the science ( spore drive) was explained in the after show (After Trek). They even had the real scientist explain how biology and physics cross and the spore drive might work. Also, the “dick” part is clearly Lorca being a military Captain on a science vessel and the scientist resenting Starfleet co-opting their work and their ship. My take is in this ST version the Federation is losing the war badly and they need people like Lorca and Burnham who are willing to do whatever to win including “firing first” and using spores that can modify cellular structure to create bio weapons or alter an enemies genetic makeup as in changing the Klingons look and war like nature. Another, thought on Lorca being abrasive is that it is war and doesn’t want to get close to any crew members. You can see what being close to her Captain did to Burnham. BTW, I saw a comment that the actor playing the Discovery Security Officer was in ST Continues

    1. Yep, Rekha Sharma was in the eighth episode of Star Trek Continues “Still Treads the Shadow” and did an awesome job!

      If the spores end up turning all the Klingons into TOS versions or TNG versions, that’ll probably make many hard-core fans even angrier, as it completely steps on the Klingons’ look established in Star Trek: Enterprise! That’s what I mean by painting over parts of the existing canvas. It also won’t explain why the Klingons stopped wearing the pointy style of armor…although Starfleet changes uniform styles, as well, so that’s probably a pass. 🙂

      I understand Starfleet being desperate to win the war by any means necessary. But again, to me, that’s not how it happens in the Trek universe I know. Instead, I see a war going the way it was described in Axanar. Not that the Discovery take on it isn’t valid. But Axanar, to me at least, just feels like the way such a losing war would have turned for the Federation. No magic bullet…just hard work, hope, good leadership, and perseverance.

      1. It just shows the difference in approach of the different Pre TOS Treks. Axanar had Admiral Ramirez forcefully stating that the Federation would not compromise its principles to win a war. Those principles he said would assure victory as opposed to Discovery where there appears to be a win at any cost approach. Lorca says he doesn’t have the luxury of principles.
        I too like the Axanar approach better where strategy and out thinking the Klingons wins the war and the peace that follows.

  6. My take is this. Discovery is good Sci-fi, but bad Trek. If you could have one without the other it would be great.

  7. I like this show. Yes, it’s not set in “our” prime star trek universe, but it could be. Here is my wishful senario.
    There is no “true” prime universe. The one we are familiar with, TOS et al, is just the result of the Discovery universe being changed. Thus, things seem similar but different from one universe to another. CBS says it’s set in the prime time line. “We” just don’t know that Discovery IS the prime time line and it was somehow changed to the TOS time line. Not in the sense that from point A going forward, everything changed, past and present. So when that change happens, some of the tech is not as advanced, some people don’t exist, Spocks step sister, Discovery never gets built. It’s not the Klingons who we have not seen for 100 years, it is the Romulans.
    Now I can enjoy THIS star trek series, and now worry about Canon.

  8. Ya I’ve said the same thing over and over again, if you want to create a new show that ignores established canon then go ahead I’m sure it will be good and people will watch it (orville). But don’t call it Star Trek if it isn’t Star Trek cause then your just lying to try and secure it’s audience. I said the same thing about JJ cause I’m less tolerant of the whole alternate universe jive, and I’ll continue to say it about discover even if I start to enjoy it, because it’s not Star Trek.

  9. Yep, I definitely put this show in an alternate universe. I also have many other gripes. The fact that the writers have made virtually every character into nasty individuals, is a big turn off. It’s a future I want no part of. And from what I’ve been reading, I’m definitely not alone. If this is supposed to be the beginning of the “Dark Universe” then it makes much more sense, except, Enterprise beat them to when. I really don’t much care how they try and tie it to any other universe, I see nothing redeeming in the show, or the characters. I mean, which villain do you root for? Profoundly sad.

  10. I feel that the discovery is a section 31 ship hence the black badge security forces and locked engineering bays, recruiting fringe elements of the federation

      1. Intrguing, but does section 31 exist as a part of Starfleet, or separate from? If separate from, doesn’t that all make it pretty damn obvious? Not really a secret organisation, and how do they have members of Starfleet there, including cadets fresh out of the academy? Or do you mean that some of the senior personal have secret affiliations with Section 31, like Admiral Ross did in DS9?

        1. I’m thinking the latter. It’s possible to S31 to place a few key people in charge of the Discovery…including Lorca himself. Remember S31 is tasked with protecting the Federation at all costs by any means necessary.

  11. And there you have it. I’ve had enough of dystopian, dark, edgy SciFi. That seems to be all that we get these days. I was looking forward to a bright, hopeful vision of the future. Didn’t get it; don’t want what we got.

  12. An alternate universe is a place where perhaps one important detail has changed and all the other differences are extrapolated from that. But what do you call a universe where only one or two things have remained the same, but everything else has changed — for no real, explainable reason? A reboot.

    Star Trek Discovery is a reboot. Plain and simple.

    It’s a reboot, not of TOS, but of the Star Trek setting itself.

    In Roddenberry’s vision, humanity itself had grown and because it had grown technology was now used to help improve the human condition. So his shows existed in a place where both technology *and* humanity had improved.

    In Discovery it’s only the technology that’s improved, apparently.

    Ok… if that’s the story they want to tell, I’m down. To echo your sentiment, it’s not my Star Trek but I’m a staunch defender of artistic freedom so I encourage their desire to tell the stories they want to tell. But that doesn’t mean I have to give them a pass when their stuff is bad and there’s a LOT here that is just downright awful.

    Another Jean-Luc, Jean-Luc Godard, once said, “the best way to critique a bad film is to make a better one,” and, as you pointed out in your first review that “better film,” at least as far as the Klingon War storyline goes, is Axanar.

    But even with all that stuff aside, Discovery still has a lot of problems. There’s still cringingly bad dialogue, story logic problems, and yes, that whole thing about Burnham starting the war is ridiculous. For the life of me I do not understand how, on a show made at this level, the central, underpinning backstory of the show’s main character can be so badly constructed. It boggles my mind.

    1. I think part of the weakness of the “Burnham started the war” storyline might have to do with the departure of Bryan Fuller and the show leaving aspects of his original vision behind. We’ll probably never know for sure.

  13. I completely agree so long as you don’t mean what you write as a compliment ;), but add to that even though the cadet apologised, why did she even think that “being nice to someone” would earn her anti-brownie points with her colleagues. I think that makes it even worse because okay, the ship was full of arseholes, rejecting someone for not acting like an arsehole I say makes you an even bigger arsehole.

    And what really got me raging was when Lorca told Michael that he liked what Michael did, and that they should have fired first and that Michael was right to mutiny. This just makes it all even less like Star Trek. I see a lot of arguments talking about Lorca as “a war captain” as if it were to make everything okay, but as you point out Axanar shows the way about how the Federation should act under war, and also we have Deep Space Nine, another “Federation at war” and we see how Sisko acts as “war-captain”, another shining light, sure he makes some faux-pas but only as accidents, led innocently astray by Garak. When Sisko has a choice he always does the right think, like in Homefront/Paradise Lost.

    In terms of canon, while I don’t see it as such a big problem (TNG painted over a lot of the TOS universe, shrinking the size of explored universe), I do wonder what they mean by “ten years before Kirk”, I had presumed this meant ten years before Kirk took command of the Enterprise, but as The Cage was set 13 years before Kirk took command of the Enterprise, which means not only should Kirk’s Enterprise exist out there all ready, but also all of her sister ships, the USS Constitution, the USS Farragut etcetera, etcetera. We also know that these ships survived through to Kirk’s time aboard the Enterprise, so the war couldn’t have ever gone that badly… this leads me to wonder if they actually meant the Disco gets set ten years before Kirk was born, which puts Disco into a much safer time-frame AFAIK.

    1. Discovery is set in 2256…that was was established in the pilot episode. Multiple Trek reference sources have Kirk’s historic five-year mission lasting from 2266-271. The “2266” is exactly 300 years after the first season of TOS, so that’s always been a firmly accepted date. This means the events of “The Cage” took place in 2252 or 2253, a few years before the events of Discovery. So yes, Pike and his fellow Constitution-class captains are out there somewhere…and none of them answered Shenzou’s distress call.

      1. Exactly, all of these federation vessels somehow managed to arrive at exactly the same time, and none of them was of Constitution class, very odd, and as I say, if all of these very powerful Constitution class ships manage to survive the war, then things don’t seem to go so badly.

        I say 13 years because that was explicitly stated in The Menagerie. Thank you for clarifying the year of Disco for me, so yes, very strange. I wonder if Disco will meet a younger Kirk, I don’t know the exact dates of his service record, but around this time we should find Kirk as a Lieutenant serving aboard the USS Farragut.

        1. Yeah, give or take. He might also be carrying a stack books back and forth through Starfleet Academy: watch out for Lieutenant Kirk–in his class, you either think…or sink. Of course, they didn’t really have books anymore, did they? Continuity glitch! Continuity glitch!

          1. What do you mean “didn’t have books anymore” Picard and Janeway both loved to read from real bound paper books :).

          2. Look at Kirk’s first scene with Samuel Cogley in “Court-Martial.” Yes, they still had books in the 23rd century. Spock gave “A Tale of Two Cities” to Kirk for his birthday. Of course, the book was an “antique.” 🙂

  14. I am enjoying Discovery as a good sci-fi action adventure, not Star Trek. I agree that the biggest issue is that the characters are not very sympathetic, nor are they people I would like to spend time with. This is only episode 3 and we have 12 to go. Maybe they will start to grow on me. I am afraid though that this approach is a deliberate choice. I seem to remember that the show runners were deliberately going to ratchet up the level of internal conflict among the crew of Discovery. So it’s possible that, similar to Game of Thrones, there aren’t really going to be many good guys and those that do manage to make an appearance will be killed off quickly. I am also afraid that they are setting Discovery up as a Section 31 ship, with all the bad guy baggage that accompanies Section 31. That would be a real disappointment. Between Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, I am getting tired of rogue Star Fleet officers. I’ll keep watching Discovery for the production values and excitement, but I’m looking to the Orville for stories that feel much more Trek-ish and a crew that I would enjoy hanging out with.

  15. Once again I will state the obvious. It’s all about making money. Putting the name Star Trek on any TV or Movie gives the project recognition and an automatic investment return. I bet if you asked the people who make Renegades once they took the Title: Star Trek off and changed uniforms the donation money dropped. Star Trek is a worldwide name that is knows all around the Globe…. Orville will have a much harder time getting into homes but if they re-named it Star Trek : The voyage of the Orville… viewership would at least double in my opinion. Most of the Discovery haters don’t want Discovery to succeed for many reasons. At the top of the list is it’s not Trek… I’m sure this was on purpose… They want the name and the background to be Trek but they want it to be different. You don’t want to pay for it now… then you certainly won’t pay for an online copy of TOS or Next Gen…. Some of you will pay for Fan Films but those of us that would pay is very small compared to the 350 million population in the U.S.A. and that’s not counting the rest of the world. Anyway Discovery is good… very good and Orville is getting better. Be glad and happy to have 2 series that you can follow. As for the cost… just a couple cups of coffee per month.

      1. Yeah, I watched the second Renegades movie, and without the Star Trek it didn’t feel anywhere near as good. It wasn’t the name, but the visual cues, the uniforms including the insignia, for starters they didn’t have the high level of design aesthetics that Star Trek has already invested a lot of money into achieve, so instead it all looked clunky, The Orville IMO managed to do this right, their uniforms look great, but then again they had the time and money to get that aesthetic right, difficult to do for a fan film. More importantly though comes from the imported backstory, and we see this with the difference between the first and the second Renegades film. When you say Federation, Klingons, Romulans, you know what they talk about, it conjures up a lot of imagery and feelings, aided by the iconography, the ships, the costumes, etcetera, without all of this I felt lost watching Renegades, I had no empathy because the names suddenly meant nothing to me, I feel that in order to enjoy it, I need a manual next to me of terms to bridge that gap.

        Likewise though the same thing also happens with Disco, it doesn’t feel Star Trek, the characters don’t feel like Starfleet, whether now on Discovery, or before on the Shenzhou, the way the crew interacts with each other, the ship design, the lighting, the camera angles used, and this basically comes down to the director, none of them have directed Star Trek before, which probably comes down to why The Orville feels way more Star Trek with 3 out of the 4 episodes directors having directed Star Trek before, all apart from the first episode which yeah, sucked the most, kind of obvious why when looking at it in terms of directors.

        1. I think Renegades suffered from way too high expectations. What they did with hundreds of thousands of dollars was amazing. But I think fans were expecting something with the quality of a budget with at least one or two more zeroes at the end. That wasn’t gonna happen.

  16. Its definitely going to have to become more than “military science fiction” to hold my interest as a Star Trek show. But that was my problem with the whole “Axanar” movie premise too. DS9 did War on Trek well. This is so far feeling like “Boldly Going Where Battlestar Galactica Has Gone Before”.

    Shame about Stamets. He’s Trek TV’s first regular gay character and he’s also a massive asshole. That’s gotta change fast.

    Loved Rekha on BSG and STC but Landry is miserable.

    I guess Tilly is supposed to be “Hi I’m the modern Trek TV riff on the autistic spectrum!” which is fine I guess since I’m one too.

    On the positives, the show LOOKS great, despite design language that has no connective tissue to the fictional era it is supposed to be a part of.

    But what I do is I put on “mental glasses” that this is a New Alternate Timeline. One where the Kelvin Shit didn’t happen but its a “New Prime Timeline” where EVENTS unrolled akin to “The Old Prime Timeline”, but its still a Totally Different Universe. That saves me the headache of trying to reconcile the mental/visual gymnastics it would take to dovetail This Show into TOS As We Know It. It makes it more enjoyable.

    1. “Boldly Going Where Battlestar Galactica Has Gone Before”

      I like that!

      As for Stamets, making him gay AND an asshole was actually a brave move on the part of the creators. Not all gay characters have to be saints. And honestly, I don’t see the two aspects as related in any way.

      Rekha played Landry the way she was directed to. I think someone what channeling that female space marine from “Aliens.”

      Tilly is Tilly. We’ll see what happens with her.

      It’s sounds like you and I are mostly on the same page with this, Gabe. Doesn’t happen often, but when it does, look out!

  17. A couple hopefully things… Lorca is potentially interesting. Mostly in part due to the strength of the actor’s caliber than the writing right now. But its nice to have a “Brilliant Tactician War Hero of the Federation” who looks and sounds like someone with REAL Screen Presence and Gravitas and not someone who looks and sounds like The Loud Guy at the Airport Bar on His Way to a Regional Midwest Sales Conference (sorry, Alec).

    And this whole fungus/spores/lab thing gives me slight hope that some *SCIENCE* fiction might be in play this year.

    But this show’s gonna need both a sense of Levity and a sense of Awe that its missing right now to feel like “Star Trek” and not “Generic Military Sci-Fi”.

    1. I let you get away with that dig ’cause I’d let Alec have a few free shots at you, too, recently. But let’s not make a habit of it, okay?

      As for the spores and science, I’m gonna need a VERY good explanation of how that works. Space is still HUGE, man!

  18. O.K. then 2 beers…. sorry ignore the beers…. make that 2 gasses of prune juice… a drink for a warrior… sorry again… a drink for a moderator.

      1. According to Clint Howard, when he played Balok the ‘tranya’ was really pink grapefruit juice. He HATED pink grapefruit juice. So NOBODY could ‘relish it as much as I’ because he thought it was absolutely disgusting! 🙂

  19. Interesting reading! I can’t comment on the show as I’m in Australia and haven’t seen it (although looking forward to it – with mixed feelings), but I was interested in your prefatory comments about the previous post.

    “….. incorrect impression that I didn’t like the new series and that I wanted CBS to fail.” You very clearly stated the opposite of this. It’s always interesting to see the number of people who read something as saying what they wish it to be saying, rather than carefully reading what is ACTUALLY and clearly stated. This doesn’t just happen in responses to your posts – it seems to be a frequent human trait, mainly with more antagonistic personalities.

    Must be a frequent source of irritation for you.

    1. Actually, I studied this phenomenon back in college while getting my psychology degree. There’s a personality test called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. One of the four personality scales mentioned is introversion/extroversion…which doesn’t mean how social you are. Instead, it looks at your focus: inward or outward. Extroverts in this test tend to make good sales people because they read others so well and know what they’re likely thinking and feeling. Introverts, on the other hand, can be very introspective and aware of their own strengths and shortcomings.

      At the extremes, however, extroverts can lose all sense of self. For example, the battered wife who only perceives the anger of her husband and concludes that she must have done something to make him so mad. She see the world through her abusive husband’s eyes and can’t acknowledge that she isn’t to blame.

      On the other end of the spectrum (on the extreme side) is the person who is so introverted in terms of their focus that you can tell them pretty much anything and they’ll probably get it wrong. I actually tried this experiment on one of my most annoying Trekkie friends who was always getting angry about stuff that never seemed to be what actually happened. One day, I decided to test him…casually. I said, “Steve, I’m about to tell you three things. I’m only wearing one sock today. I had a Pop Tart for breakfast. And I love the Beatles.” (Or something like that.) “Now tell me what I just said.” He couldn’t. I asked if he could tell me even one of the things I just told him. He said something that wasn’t even close.

      It was then I began to suspect that, for some of the most extreme people on the introversion scale, they filter incoming information through a “force-field.” What you tell them–or what they read–doesn’t even reach their brain accurately. If they’re thinking, “Well, there’s bad dudes on both sides of the rioting,” then nothing they see, hear, or read to the contrary will even enter their brain intact. It will be twisted and distorted before it lands in their cerebral cortex. It’s not that they ignore the truth; their brain simply adjusts the truth on the way in to fit whatever they are already thinking.

      I discovered that occasionally you can get around this by making the message about the other person themselves. Steve heard three things about me. He didn’t really care about me. But when I told him I liked his T-shirt, THAT he remembered!

      So those who already think, “Jonathan doesn’t like Discovery” can actually read the words “I LIKE DISCOVERY! IT’S REALLY GOOD!” on my blog and it literally doesn’t enter their brain in the same way I wrote it.

      Is there an element of autism or Asperger’s involved? Possibly. Back what I was at Cornell 30 years ago, not nearly as much was known about the Autism spectrum as is known now. I don’t think it was even considered a spectrum, yet. Therefore, my research didn’t really touch on it. In fact, nothing was ever even published (I was just an undergrad writing term papers for my major). Then I graduated and switched to graphic design. 🙂

      But I still remember doing those experiments on a lot of my most annoying Trekkie friends. It didn’t make them any less annoying; I simply understood them better afterwards.

      1. Jonathon – Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’ve diverted you from the theme of this thread, but gained an interesting and informative reply. There are others who should read it, but sadly, won’t (or won’t absorb any of it!).

        1. Well, as I responded to another commentor, I did simplify the research quite a bit. The whole thesis was something like 85 pages…although a fair portion was charts and data graphs. And in the end, it doesn’t change or fix any of the folks with the perceptual “force fields”…only explains their existence. 🙂

  20. I know many writers objected toe Gene Roddenberry dictum “no interpersonal conflicts” when he was involved with the development of NextGen, but it looks like this new show is pushing too hard in the other direction. If someone’s going to be a dick and let a fight continue, what’s to stop someone else from opening an airlock in a fit of pique? There’s a difference between having some problems during a space trip and having SO many conflicts you wonder how anybody gets anything done. As restrained at they were, most people acknowledge that the original crew would be bounced out of any real service for being repeatedly insubordinate. These guys make you wonder how they made it INTO the service in the first place.

    I like both Galacticas, but one main reason that the people behaved they way that they did was that their entire civilization had been destroyed. THAT’S what I call a good excuse. These guys don’t have that. Regardless of what’s said by official sources, this feels like it’s gonna go Kelvinverse all the way.

    Anyway, this is STILL based on the fact that I have only seen the first episode.

    1. I’ve met three astronauts in my life: Neil Armstrong, Fred Haise, and Samantha Cristoforetti. Each was way above average for a human being–smart, confident, and most of all, warm and friendly. Looking back, I have to believe that when it came to getting into the space program, the last two personality aspects had to play a big part. You can’t be cooped up in a lunar spacecraft for two weeks or in a space station for a year and be anything other than a really sweet and positive person. NO DICKS IN SPACE!!!

      I find myself wondering if the same is true in the 23rd century? Look at Wesley Crusher’s first attempt to get into Starfleet Academy. He didn’t make it because their standards were SO high. So yeah, I’d imagine that, even in the 23rd century, that there’s enough people trying to get into Starfleet that they can be choosy. As such, I doubt the assholes would make it through. That said, Stamets might not have ever gone to Starfleet. But that doesn’t explain the security chief.

  21. Jonathan, that is the biggest disappointment in all of this. Just like the Galactica remake there are even fewer decent people in this… Which I tuned out of that when they did the Pegasus remake… Care to guess which scene?

    While Star Trek started out as an adventure show,,, A Wagon Train to the Stars if you will… It’s come to be something that has inspired The Next Generation of scientists and dreamers. exploring Deep Space on an Enterprising Voyage of Discovery…

    Star Trek has legions of loyal fans, and has stood the test of time. Not because of a lot of drama, but because it was a thoughtful adventure, with a lot of heart.

    You said it yourself this is not a show you can watch with your children.

    It fully deserves the STD moniker.

    Where’s the viewer discretion warning? Language, Violence, Gore.

    This is CBS’s lame attempt at creating Game of Trek. or one could also think of it as a successor to GINO (Galactica in Name Only)

    There was another show where they took and threw almost every concept that made the original interesting and threw it out the airlock. There’s a lot of things that I could talk about there. But the Biggest one, Would be the Adama/Apollo Father son relationship. Growing up, being an only child with a Dad who wasn’t so great. Some of these TV Dads were life savers.

    The Original Apollo – Believed in his Dad knew he was a good man. And when he acted out of Character Apollo knew something was wrong. It was the same with Kirk, when he was split in two.

    Drama, and interpersonal conflict has it’s place, but when it comes to Star Trek, you can’t approach it the same way you would.. TWD or GOT or even Gino or the Expanse.

    This crew, Yikes!! I don’t find anything admirable about any of them.
    That includes Saru (Eating blueberries in the hall) If Voyager taught us anything it’s that those cleaning crews work really hard every week.

    Then there’s the tribble sure they make great Klingon detectors but is it really safe with Saru flinging his blueberries everywhere!

    The Gorn Skeleton,,,, no wonder they don’t like us much.

    It’s pretty obvious with the dissectionist hobby area there that this guy is probably going to be the Hannibal Lecter of Star Trek.. Who will likely make Tarsus IV look like summer camp.

    As for Cadet Drooly – the less said about that the better. Except that Maybe if they weren’t paying for 20 producers and executive producers. (yep that’s right 20!) They might be able to afford to get that poor girl some sort of CPAP machine, or at least some Breathe Right Nasal Strips!!

    And what’s up with the Breathalyzer!?! As forms of ID goes, I just don’t think that’s the one to Pick… Unless they want to check to make sure you haven’t Been Drinking Romulan Ale, before the start of your shift. In which case that thing should really be on the Bridge. So Saru can take away the keys to the Starship.

    And although I’m sure Kimber is thrilled that it’s called the Spore Drive. It’s obviously a dead end. Or else someone would be using it…

    And that opening scene, What the heck happened to the shuttle Pilot!?! Didn’t they like dispatch a rescue team? Or was it,,,,,, murder most foul….. (man i wish I had wavy italics) I mean seriously I didn’t see any rescue teams being launched… kinda suspicious… And if it was murder, whats his back story was he whacked by the Orion Syndicate for smuggling Relkan Glow Crystals and Romulan Ale?

    Not the best way to showcase your shiny new Pizza Cutter.

    And so,,, we have these prisoners in manacles, but then let them run free in the mess hall,,,, with a bunch of cadets,,, and scientists… yeah,,,, that’s safe. Great Idea!!

    And that prisoner costume, if she was stripped of rank, why does she get a shiny arrow on that?

    You know, I could go on but truth is… This isn’t Star Trek… It’s like a Dangerous Animal pretending to be Star Trek… It’s the Salt Vampire of Star Trek… Which I’m surprised there’s not one of those on display too.

      1. Speaking of On a roll… As a prey species one has to wonder if you can get a Big Saru with Fries and a Coke int he 24th. Century.

        Or if there’s an Intergalactic Geographic special where herds of wild Saru are hunted while eating at the local watering hole.

        Or what side dishes Gordon Ramsay would serve, with braised Saru, in blueberry sauce…

  22. Cogsworth. He’s the one that said, “If it isn’t baroque, don’t fix it” while taking Belle on the tour of Beast’s castle in the hall of armored suits.

  23. Hmm, I think you may have your knowledge of MBTI a little muddled here, Introvert / Extrovert doesn’t mean that at all, it has nothing to do with how well you read people. Every source I have seen describes INFJs as the best at reading other people, they get described as feeling what the other person feels before they even feel it themselves.

    In terms of remembering what you just said, again it has nothing to do with I vs E, remembering lists of information like that comes down to whether you have Si or not, aka Introverted Sensing, and in which position that MBTI function exists within you (Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary, or Inferior) and that does NOT depend on whether you classify as an introvert or an extrovert. An introvert can have either dominant Si, or tertiary Si, and an extrovert can have it one of the other, if they have it at all. In terms of Star Trek for clear examples of the two, think Spock as an ISTJ, and Data as an ESTJ. Their exceptional memory, aka Si, defines their personality. They also both have Te, aka Extroverted Thinking. Spock as an introvert prefers to use his Si more than his Te, Dominant Si, Auxillary Te, and Data as an extrovert means he uses those two functions (Myers-Briggs speak for Si, Te, etcetera.) the other way around. Watch the way they speak and this becomes clear. Data begins with a theory and then uses his memory to support it; Spock begins with his memory and then uses his logic to come up with a theory. Also neither functions relate to emotion, for that you look at the feeling functions, Fi or Fe, in terms of Spock and Data, both have Fi due to their Te, but extremely weak as located in their Tertiary and Inferior positions respectfully, very hidden away and difficult to detect but when you know MBTI you know where to look.

    In terms of Sales People, I think both Spock and Data make for good sales people, Data as an expert at small talk, thinking on his feet and relying on his vast databanks of knowledge can probably keep the door open with conversation that people find difficult to say no to; and Spock with his ability to coldly reel of facts, together with his Fi in 3rd makes Spock feel very honest and trustworthy, it becomes instantly clear that he knows his stuff and therefore also good at selling.

    1. Yeah, I was trying to simplify things a bit for my audience. As I recall, my senior thesis was about 95 pages long. Yes, sensing versus intuition, thinking versus feeling, judgement versus perception…all had a part in the process, as well. But it was amazing to me how the tendency to have this perceptive “force-field” correlated ridiculously strongly with being extreme into the introversion scale, most times regardless of how the rest of the traits played out. Had I gone on to graduate school, I likely would have taken this research further. Instead, I became a graphic designer. 🙂

      1. Cool! I love MBTI, it just makes so much sense! Do you remember the title of your thesis?

        Also I have a theory that Si exists as a double edge sword, whilst it gives users the ability to remember “facts”, I hazard a guess that once Si users have committed such “facts” to memory, they find it difficult to let go when those “facts” change or get proven incorrect. Imagine spending a long time memorising something like a telephone directory only for those numbers to change in a year. I think I would get rather pissed off at whoever decided to waste my time and invalidate all of that precious time that I devoted to learning those facts as facts. Also as SJs they tend to like structure and order, thus they like to keep only one set of facts and damn anyone who tries to mess up that nice logically ordered/indexed head of theirs.

        1. Remember the title 30 years later???? I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday! Oh, wait. Baja Fresh ensalada with chicken and vinaigrette dressing…no tortilla strips. But no, I don’t remember the title…only that it was long and boring and probably had the word “Correlation” in it somewhere. 🙂

          As for the breakdown of personality types, as Myers and Briggs themselves had to point out again and again, there was no one “best” or “worst” combination. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses…things they excel at and things they struggle with. The 16 basic types were also just generalizations. No one was “locked” into being this or that kind of person for all occasions, and people often found themselves changing even throughout their own lifetimes (it was a self-reporting test). I covered the lack of consistency and reliability of the test itself. I wasn’t reporting on the validity of MBTI itself so much as the surprising correlation between extreme introversion (in certain but most combinations) and a tendency to mis-hear or mis-read information…almost as though there were a mental “force-field” or sieve (I think I used the word “sieve” in the paper) altering the information before it ever reached the brain.

          Like most papers, I recommended that further research be done to better analyze and study this curious correlation. I’m pretty sure no one ever followed up. 🙂

  24. I understand where you are coming from. TOS, Next Gen etc have optimistic views of the future where there is hope for the future . Where there are role models and people who look at the crew members and aspired to be engineers, doctors etc… No more wars, no discrimination, money was not needed, no more hate, even the common cold was cured. Those are some of the messages and boy could we use those messages today. No politics intended… Today we have Trump, crazies with guns, killing of innocents, hurricanes, North Korea, Russia, Iran, War?, leaders who are school yard bullies, health care where profit is more important than the patient (I know that personally. One of my mediations costs almost 30,000 for 100 pills and I take 3 a day. Thank god I live in Canada where we have universal health care)… shall I go on… I think that’s enough. All that said the producers have no obligation except to turn out a TV show that is interesting, visually stunning with good actors and good scripts and that’s what they are doing. You have the power… you don’t like it then don’t watch. Anyway I’ll close by saying… The Producers tell us it’s the original time line and the writers agree… so eventually they will get to the Kirk and Spock era… and you will have your wish and things will be as you want but for now I think of Discovery as the path leading to a promising future and the difficult road that is being travelled to get there.

  25. Jonathan,
    “Instead I became a graphic designer” and part time comedic too. When I read what you write a few comments back, “No Dicks in Space” it struck me that you just gave someone a title to a fan film spoof of Disco. Think of the myriad ways this could be written, and played out in a short film. Like, for instance, a matriarchal Star ship, (Shenzo) that attacks every ship they come across with males on them. Of course, they first ejected all their own out the nearest airlock. Gee, this almost mirrors the actual First episode of Disco.

  26. Lorca was testing Michael all along from the moment the shuttle was launched and diverted to the point he asked her to join the crew. I interpreted the scene with the security chief holding her people back as part of the test. The security chief and Lorca seem to have a very tight relationship already She tells him in her final scene after beaming the creature onboard, “Anything, anytime, Captain,” leading me to think Lorca has lots he’s hiding, and that’s one of this show’s hooks to keep you coming back. What will they unfold this week? I agree, though, that the “new” versions of Trek whether JJ or this one, have more conflict inside the ship amongst Starfleet personnel than Rodenberry or his successors allowed on any of their iterations.

  27. Well said, especially the part about painting over the existing canvas. Whenever I try to express the same concern, my opponents allege that I want Discovery to look like in the 1960s, with “cardboard sets and Fu Manchu style Klingons”. But that is a strawman attack. I don’t want Discovery to look like TOS but like Star Trek. Star Trek consists of five live-action series, each of which more or less carefully worked with what was there and didn’t try to re-invent everything. And as much as I dislike some aspects of how Enterprise dealt with the existing continuity, it was still overall respectful of the established facts and looks of the previous series and also of TOS. Discovery could and should have done the same but decided to defy facts and looks of TOS as well as of ENT. Not to mention the dark atmosphere it creates.

    Coming back to the allegory of the canvas, it does harm the original when you paint over the existing history of Star Trek. It goes along with self-delusional whitewashing of the mistakes (“Well, thinking about it again, the Shenzhou may indeed look older than the Discovery. Look at the shorter nacelles, the more primitive dish…”) or with the denial of the principles of a fictional universe (“It doesn’t matter at all how starships look because all of it is fictional. How can you say it is a mistake when you have never seen an actual starship?”, “Visuals were never canon.”). Old facts increasingly require to be watered down or to be retconned. Ultimately we will have to accept that Worf never had hair or have to apply doublethink. That appears to be the current official canon policy for all I can tell.

    I don’t like the term “head canon” and I never use it to express my thoughts on something canon-related. I think we have one canon that was fine for everyone as long as it lasted. In the 90s the ongoing consolidation of Star Trek facts was fostered by the internet, by Mike and Denise Okuda and of course by TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT, which were all made by people whose goal it was to keep new productions in line with each other and with TOS wherever possible, including visuals. This is my canon and this should be the only canon. Unfortunately Discovery sets a new standard of everything being “loosely based on Star Trek”.

    1. Head canon has existed in Star Trek almost from the first airings when fans had to explain away things like why the Enterprise didn’t send down a shuttlecraft to rescue the landing party in “The Enemy Within” (or beam down tons of blankets and thermal jackets) or why Kirk orders Warp 9 in “The Enterprise Incident” when the top speed of the Enterprise is only Warp 8. Head canon also had to explain why Starfleet didn’t use cloaking devices after that episode…until it was explained in the TNG episode “The Pegasus.”

      So I’m okay with head canon…and a foamy head on a frosty mug of beer! 🙂

      1. I look at Star Trek the same way I look at my children. I have 5… (Winters are long and cold in Canada). When my first was born I held him in my arms and loved him instantly. For each of my children it was the same feeling. Are they the same… absolutely not but I have love and I care for each of them. They all have strengths and weaknesses and I love them equally. It’s the same for Star Trek. Each show be it TOS, Next Gen etc… has its strengths and weaknesses but I still care deeply for each incarnation. Discovery is the most different. One of my children is very different. He is adopted. He looks different and has gone through school in the same grade as his brother which was very challenging. He also had his own set of problems that we all dealt with but he still is my son and it makes no difference to us who his real parents are. (If he wants to search them out I will be happy to help). Star Trek is Star Trek… the same but different. Yes and one of the Trek’s is very different and probably needs more encouragement and opportunities than its brothers and sisters. It deserves it and like my adopted son… who now has a law degree maybe all it needs is a little love and understanding to succeed.

        1. Just wanted to mention that my son Jayden is adopted. It’s a wonderful gift to give to a child…especially if the adopting parents do, in fact, have the ability to conceive their own children naturally. I salute you, XMAN.

          1. Thank you Jonathan,
            The joy that he has brought us and the grown man he has become under the handicap he had to endure (Fetal Alcoholism) which was also a huge problem in his teens proves to me that we are not born equally. Some are quicker, smarter, better looking, live in a stable country etc… and some are the product of alcoholic parents. Our youngest child just graduated from University last Spring and has an office and bedroom in our basement where he works. He will be moving out in the spring of 2018. Right now he is paying off his student debt and after he leaves we are going to fund 2 foster children. One boy and one Girl. We have had a few faster children over the years… mostly girls, some who were mutilated by their tribes. Some even died (not any of our funded kids)… Now you can see why I hated episode 3 of the Orville. We have seen and experienced first hand the results… Sorry to have gone off topic… Sometimes you just have to vent.

  28. Here is another review that takes the show to task. And because he also thinks it could lead to a, or the, “Mirror Darkly” universe. Because, it’s definitely not “OUR” Star Trek universe, no matter how much they try and explain it. It’s insulting really, that they even try.

    https://thefederalist.com/2017/10/05/discovery-star-trek-mirror-darkly/#disqus_thread

    And yet, this reviewer says, he too will keep watching. As I imagine many other disgruntled will too? If only to have something to complain about, and not praise.

    1. It took me a little while to have enough time to read through that review, but the blogger makes some excellent points about the show…especially in his final two paragraphs. I heartily recommend that folks check it out. Thanks for sharing, David.

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