STAR TREK: DISCOVERY season two premiere REVIEW – Am I back on board? Well…

WARNING: Teeny-weeny spoilers ahead

On Thursday night, I watched the season two premiere of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, the episode”Brother.” I also watched the latest episode of The Orville just before because fate and network programming executives have seen fit that new episodes of both shows debut on the same night!


Mostly, the reviews I’ve read seem to be positive. My friend Dave even texted me the following morning and said, “Considering all the banter, I thought you’d have enjoyed it…”

For me, it wasn’t that simple. “It was good” or “it was bad” or “it was better than season one” or “it was closer to Star Trek” oversimplifies what I consider to be a very complex reaction to a show that is obviously hitting the “reset” button after its first season struggled to attract an audience. Discovery had to make a lot of course corrections for season two, and on some maneuvers it succeeded and leaves me hopeful—and for others, I sigh and shake my head as the show is still missing the mark…at least for me.

In other words: it’s complicated…


Hooray for Anson Mount! I love him as an actor (Hell on Wheels was awesome; Marvel’s Inhumans, not so much), and his portrayal of Captain Christopher Pike was a much-needed breath of fresh air in this series.

As you know if you’ve read my laments from season one, I really didn’t care about any of the Discovery crew (maybe Doctor Culber, but he’s mostly dead now). I found most of them one-dimensional or just not what I’d always imagined Starfleet officers to be. But Pike is the first (and I think, so far, only) character introduced on the show—other than the original Captain Georgiou—who feels like a Starfleet officer that I could picture on the other Star Trek series.

Why? Well, first, he wasn’t all wrapped up in himself and his own problems and angst. He reaches out and tries to get to know his crew, rather than pushing them away (which nearly every other character did in season one…except maybe Tilly). Heck, Pike even asks the bridge crew to tell him their names—a “gift” to all of us viewers who can’t remember who is who because no one seems to use names when addressing supporting characters!).

Second, Pike uses banter. Remember what I said in season one about banter…how there wasn’t any of it? Well, Pike’s got it, and thank GOD for that! He’s likable. And unlike Lorca, Pike isn’t wound so tight that if you shoved two lumps of lithium up his butt they’d come out as a dilithium crystal!

And finally, he’s a brave hero who charges into danger. Another Kirk? Maybe. But damn, he feels like a starship captain from that era! And since the original character of Pike (played by Jeffrey Hunter) was never really defined well—and Bruce Greenwood’s Pike is in the JJ-verse—Mount and the writers can essentially do anything they want with the character….except make him come from the Mirror Universe (please don’t do that again).


It’s obvious that this show is in correction mode. CBS knows they screwed up in straying too far afield from established canon. In fact, new Trek Tsar ALEX KURTZMAN has promised, “We do end up syncing with canon by the end of the season.”

They’ve already made some moves in that direction: explaining that Pike’s Enterprise crew had the “new uniforms” (although why wouldn’t Discovery have the same ones; didn’t they just leave Earth?) and that Enterprise was out in deep space on a five-year mission and sat out the war. In later episodes this season, we’ll see a proper D7 battlecruiser and the Klingons will grow their hair back.

But all of this feels a little like trying to glue a broken vase back together after it’s been smashed into a hundred pieces. And despite sprinkling in classic Trek references like ornaments on a Christmas tree (this episode mentioned Bolians, Tellarites, and showed a 3D chess set and a Vulcan lyre and bell thingie from “Amok Time”), Tilly still mentions tribbles…which should not be known to the Federation yet. (If Starfleet had known about those pesky fur balls before “Trouble with Tribbles,” McCoy wouldn’t have needed to figure out that you shouldn’t overfeed them or they’ll breed because that information would be in Starfleet’s medical database.)

Also, the show is definitely trying to lighten up the mood. It used to be that only Tilly was the comedy relief. She’s still one-dimensional that way (annoyingly so!), but others are getting a chance to quip. I counted at least one gag line from each of the following characters: Burham (who seldom says ANYTHING funny), Saru (when his neck thingies start to noticeably tingle), Stamets, and Detmer & Owosekun. Oh, and of course, there’s a new comedian in town: TIG NOTARO as Commander Jet Reno.

The laughs weren’t a mile a minute, and some fell flat for me. The sneeze in the turbolift was just dumb—and Linus (the sneezer) should have apologized to Connolly rather than just ignoring what just happened. But all in all, at least there was a healthy amount of banter this episode…more that in all of season one combined!


Writing for Star Trek is kind of like writing inside of a cage…and the bars and walls are 52 years of canon and continuity. Suddenly changing long-established Star Trek “reality” sends ripples through fandom and—like redesigning the Klingons or suddenly being able to beam across hundreds of light-years or having Khan be some British white guy who looks like Sherlock Holmes. So Star Trek writers are constantly having to ask themselves the question: how long do we keep ourselves locked inside this cage?

But let’s face it, the Star Trek tech of the first TOS pilot “The Cage” was outdated before the second pilot was even shot. Lasers became phasers. Computers no longer dispensed printed readouts. And warp speed stopped being such a big deal.

The tech of TOS was dated before TNG, although at least the latter series jumped a century forward. But heck, even ten years ago, my iPhone 3G did more than Kirk’s communicator and Spock’s tricorder combined! So setting Discovery 10 years before TOS was going to be problematic no matter what. Millennials want their sci-fi to look cool, and 1966’s ideas of future tech weren’t gonna cut it.

Unfortunately, this has led to a problem that Discovery has had since day one: writers and producers asking, “Wouldn’t it be really cool if….?”

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the creators trying to do stuff that is new and different. After all, it’s nice to see something on Star Trek that you’ve never seen before. But sometimes, it goes too far—at least for me—and my canon cannon explodes right in the middle of a scene!

Case in point: the turbolift scene. They’re riding up to the bridge from the transporter room, and someone on the production staff must have said, “Wouldn’t it be really cool if we showed the OUTSIDE of the turbolift? That’s never been shown before on any Star Trek!” (Actually, we have…in this very quick scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture…)

And that scene is believable because all of that open space is being utilized for cargo storage. But apparently, the USS Discovery IS an atrium hotel with all this empty space around turbo shafts that may as well be the Wonkavator speeding through Willy’s Chocolate Factory! And so, my mind just sorta went WTF??? when I saw what the producers think is outside of the Discoveryturboshafts…

Cool? Sure. Reasonable? Not in a reality defined by starships that are filled floor to ceiling with every available piece of space utilized. It wasn’t until JJ Abrams filmed the Enterprise engine room in the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys, CA that starships suddenly were filled with crazy pipes and huge open spaces for people to fall through.

Another “Wouldn’t it be really cool if….?” idea was the space helmet that materializes out of nowhere. Totally cool. But a century later, Picard has nothing like that when he, Worf, and Hawke suit up for their space walk in Star Trek: First Contact. You’d think by the 24th century, such nanotech would have advanced even more, right? So yeah, it looked cool…but it was more believable for Iron Man in Avengers: Infinity War than a prequel to 550 different Star Trek episodes that featured nothing like it.

And don’t even get me started on how the heck this…

…five seconds later became this…!

Who needs the Transformers or Harry Potter when you’ve got Star Trek: Discovery?


As I said, I watched both The Orville and Discovery back-to-back. Actually, it was more of a sandwich, viewing a half-hour of Discovery before making dinner. And then my wife Wendy joined me as I watched The Orville while she worked on legal stuff and half-paid attention. Then I finished up Discovery.

I only mention this sequence of events because of what Wendy said to me about 10 minutes into Discovery. She came in just after Pike and Burnham landed on the asteroid. By the time we’d met the new engineer, Jet Reno, Wendy turned to me and said, “Am I supposed to care about any of these characters? I mean, I’m only half-watching, but I couldn’t tell you what’s been happening or anything that they’ve said. At least with The Orville, I knew what was going on. I can tell you some of what they were saying. I honestly have no idea what is happening right now or who these people are. There’s nothing to connect to.”

Keep in mind, my wife is not a Trekkie and is only passingly interested in science fiction. (I have no idea why she married me!) But then again, CBS All Access is already attracting Trekkies and sci-fi fans. That’s likely the vast majority of their viewership. But my wife represents the potential for growth in viewership. And if Wendy isn’t connecting, is she indicative of Discovery‘s limited appeal outside of its core audience?

It’s hard to know for certain, of course. But Wendy did voice a significant preference for The Orville, where she connected to multiple characters and felt really sad for Captain Mercer at the end (no spoilers). She was willing to watch it again with me. At the end of Discovery—which I had watched mainly on my computer last season, so Wendy had never really seen it before—she was ready to never watch another episode of the show again.

Are you listening, CBS?


So that returns us to my initial question: am I back on board with Discovery? Well, I’m certainly not quitting the show entirely. CBS already has my six bucks for the month! And I do freely admit that this episode was better than the premiere of season one (and actually, it was better than EVERY episode of season one!). But that’s like saying it’s a country larger than Luxembourg—the bar wasn’t set all that high.

I’ll admit that I was actually kind of bored during the first half, and my mind kept going, “Was that really necessary?” from the moment I first saw Pike and his crew beaming from the Enterprise one at a time rather than simultaneously. Visually interesting? Yes. But sorry, after 52 years, I know in my DNA that that’s not how transporters work. Even the “flying through the asteroid field” simply felt like I had seen this same scene before in Star Trek Into Darkness instead of feeling like an adrenaline-filled thrill ride.

On the other hand, yes, there WAS finally banter…the thing I’ve been complaining about the loudest since last season. So I do appreciate that problem finally being tackled. And I also appreciated the introduction of Pike…that first character on the series that I would actually want to have on my starship! As for the rest of the characters, well, I still feel nothing for most of them, but at least now I’m hopeful that maybe this will change. And of course, I’ve got Kurtzman’s promise that, “We do end up syncing with canon by the end of the season.” Fingers crossed!

And finally, I have to remember that the first five episodes of season two were made before CBS fired show-runners GRETCHEN BERG and AARON HARBERTS last June. So it will be another month before we see Kurtzman’s vision on the screen. Will it be even closer to the kind of Star Trek I and many other fans have been wanting to see? Or will I start cringing all over again.

Time will tell, but I’ll stick around to find out. My wife, probably not…

46 thoughts on “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY season two premiere REVIEW – Am I back on board? Well…”

  1. Well, where do I start? I found it to be a mixed bag, as well. There was much improvement overall, but still scenes and details and errors where you have to think the writers either don’t know better or simply don’t care. Like showing the much discussed Enterprise schematic with the TOS era numbers, but stating the 203 The Cage era crew complement in dialog. Or that turbo lift scene. I didn’t really catch the Tribble reference, but yeah, that’s another one then.

    On the other hand, the Spock backstory was interesting and well done, and this was the first episode I really bought James Frain as Sarek (did they even change the hair/look a little to more match Mark Lenard? At least seemed that way to me)

    Considering the “general public”, my wife actually says Discovery is the first Star Trek series she enjoys, and that was during watching of season 1 (which upon rewatching wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered, I must admit). So I guess not all hope’s lost just yet 😉

    1. At 31 minutes into the episodes, Tilly says, “If you ask me any more questions, I’m going to start crying like a baby tribble in a kill zone”…whatever that means.

        1. And how do we know this? Who brings a baby tribble into a kill zone???

          And how do you even know it’s a baby tribble? They’re practically born pregnant. 🙂

          1. Spock did mention that a tribble’s environment “predator filled”. Interestingly enough, that line from The Trouble With Tribbles lends credence to the idea that something was known about tribbles prior to that episode. How else would Spock have found out the kind of environment tribbles came from unless he had been able to look it up somewhere?

          2. Spock had examined Cyrano Jones’ logs by that point and probably looked up any research that existed about the planet. But Tilly was using tribbles as though “crying like a tribble in a kill zone” was a common saying.

          3. I don’t know how common, Tilly is a quirky person and possibly made it up on the fly. Given that Lorca was apparently studying Tribbles, she could have been privy to the research and it was there in her mind for her to make the analogy.

            Speaking of that, the research Spock looked up may well have been (or included) Lorca’s.

    1. Yes, it was chock full of Trek tropes and plot lines. It was like eating my mother’s mac and cheese.

  2. Well not a lot to disagree with there there was some unnecessary stuff in there which felt like filler some very expensive filler and why bother introducing a new character just to kill him off. I am surprised he wasn’t wearing a red shirt. The whole flying through the asteroid thing was boring and obvious, hardly action packed and seemed to have been shoehorned in just so they could put it in the trailers.

    Sadly they still aren’t getting it ST is about the people first that is where the Drama, the tension the actual keeping people on the edge of their seats comes from. The introduction of Captain Pike just highlighted the shortcomings of the other actors and deservedly so. Saru kept up though wasn’t given a lot to do but unfortunately Michael Burnam (Why such a stupid name and why not use this episode to explain it) Though given some great lines just couldnt get through the Vulcan reservedness to display enough emotion in the way that Leonard Nimoy did even in the original series.

    Such was Anson Mount’s screen presence that I was left with thinking why did CBS go with Discovery when they could of just explored the original five year mission on the Enterprise.

    As to the supporting cast I can only think of them as Tilly the annoying one she’s just not funny endearing or a starfleet officer in any shape or form. A female Wesley Crusher except more annoying, Robot girl and the doctor who doesn’t engage my attention in any way shape or form. I didnt care he had lost his BF and did not believe he was some tortured genius There might be others but they are so unmemorable I have forgotten them.

    However I shall continue watching it was without a doubt the best episode so far and we have the lovely MY to look forward too as section 31 gets involved My worries about that is SMG up to playing against her not that I do not think that she is a good actress in her own right but is she good enough?

    In the meantime my ST fix will still be the Orville but I can hope that Season two is the first of many steps in bringing STD back into the fold.

    1. My wife couldn’t stand Tilly. I left that out of the blog because I didn’t want her to get hate messages from Tilly-lovers out there. Personally, I’m not as annoyed by Tilly. But the producers aren’t doing actress Mary Wiseman any favors making her into the super-smart jester week after week and forcing her to squeeze into that ever-tighter-fitting uniform. Not that I’m one to body shame because I am a MUCH larger kettle! But those Discovery uniforms are not at all forgiving to a plus-size human.

  3. Very nice stuff – as always, Jonathan.

    My wife (who watched both with me) just made a number of very significant observations:

    1) Pike is a captain who is not afraid to die and will do everything he can for his crew (even if it’s a brand new one) and for the Federation – just like Mercer in The Orville. (spoiler ahead) Lt. Malloy decides to try Command training to find the substance in his life that he’s missing (and to pick up chicks), and he eventually finds it by watching his captain, Ed Mercer, make a decision that he initially considers foolhardy. Cmdr. Grayson tells him that that’s command in a nutshell – you make the decisions that don’t make sense on the surface, knowing they’re for the greater good. Very “the needs of the many” for Seth, don’t you think…

    2) Why does every freaking episode feature Burnam as the one who makes the heroics???
    It really doesn’t build any empathy for her. We’ve had an entire season of angst and self-loathing, and she’s always trying to prove herself – EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE. I will admit that it was much more doled out (Tilly, the bridge crew), but still it’s Burnam who ends up the hero.

    This may be one of the issues concerning Disco compared to the shows in the TOS timeline – all of those shows were more ensemble-driven. Yes, Kirk/Picard/Sisko/Janeway/Archer made the final decisions most of the time, but it never relied on the easy (and boring) plot device of “…Kirk does something heroic and saves the day.” If they’re slowly changing that away from Burnam (and actually allowing them to delve more into her inner conflicts while the “action” part of the plot doesn’t completely concern her), then more power to them.

    There are some GAPING flaws, but it’s gained my interest. Actually, the Short Treks did a lot for that – I loved the way they aptly told a story in a short time frame. (Gee…sort of like a certain film that we both like…)

    1. My compliments to your wife’s insights! I would only remind you that Kirk did, however, get most of the heroic stunts to do during the five-year mission and beyond. Not so much Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer, but Kirk was the swashbuckler of his show and era! 🙂

  4. Gosh..
    A man dying of thirst in a desert may be able to lower his standards.. but in this case, why?
    There are some good audio books out there, good Star Trek books.. other things to take up time.
    CBS is fighting tooth and nail not to reunify with Viacom (and) get back rights to Trek, its hired Kurtzman to run the show.. these are not the signs of a franchise on the road to recovery.
    The movies have really gone no where with canon or any consistent “story” that carries over from one movie to the next.. its not even a series anymore. I think a McDonalds Happy Meal has more depth.
    Until its sold off, and CBS and Viacom are smashed together and scrapped for spare parts, Trek is marooned with no help of salvation.

  5. Dilithium Crystals are not made of two lithium atoms in a covalent bond. Li2 in the Star Trek Universe. It was funny though 😉

    1. I was going for funny, not scientifically accurate. If I were going for both, I would have said…

      So this ion walks into a bar and says to the bartender: “Can you help me? I’ve lost an electron.”

      The bartender asks, “Are you sure?”

      And the ion replies, “I’m positive!”

      1. I can’t be the only one that likes ST09. This was very much the same, fast paced and fun, with great actors, characters and high production value. Oh yeah, there’s lens flares too!

        1. There were also a whole bunch of incredibly stupid scenes, not well thought out, thrown in simply to make the movie more fast-paced. For example:

          – Spock wastes an escape pod to maroon Kirk on a dangerous ice planet rather than just throwing him into the brig. The Enterprise is about to go into battle and might need that escape pod.

          – On said ice planet, Kirk is chased by a giant red scorpion…which is likely NOT something one would find on the surface of a frozen ice planet.

          – This ice planet, Delta Vega, is close enough to Vulcan to see it destroyed. Since even a huge gas giant planet like Jupiter just looks like a tiny dot when viewed from earth (in the same solar system), we need to assume that Delta Vega is a moon of Vulcan. If so, then why is Scotty feeling so abandoned? I would guess the Vulcans (members of the Federation) would be stopping by frequently to resupply him…even if it’s just with plomeek soup.

          – Why is Nero’s mining ship so much larger than the Kelvin? That doesn’t make sense. Also, why doesn’t it have railings and instead have all that wasted space inside?

          – Speaking of Nero’s mining ship, it seems to have a LOT of weapons…for a mining ship! Tell me again how it destroyed a dozen starships single-handedly while taking no damage whatsoever?

          – Structurally, the Enterprise is not designed to be assembled on a planet’s surface where gravity would be a constant strain on the nacelle support pylons…especially during an ascent trying to reach escape velocity. Stat Trek was always about the scientifically plausible. Sure transporters are pretty much an impossibility in real science, but most of the other elements of Star Trek tried very hard to hew to actual science. ST09…not so much.

          – Don’t get me started on Transwarp beaming! Why does Starfleet need starships anymore if you can just beam across hundreds of light-years…onto a ship moving at warp, no less?

          – Why does the inside of the Enterprise engine room look like the Budweiser brewery? When has anything in Star Trek ever looked like that?

          – Uhura and Spock, huh?

          – And finally, Kirk is NOT someone I would follow into battle…at least in this reality. He’s smart, yes, but he’s also impulsive and reckless. At the end, he makes a half-hearted offer to help Nero and, when the offer is rejected, decides to blast them all to hell. Nice guy! Really someone for my son to look up to. The prime Kirk had compassion and mercy…even for his enemies. Look at “Arena” or the end of “Wrath of Khan.” He only destroyed his enemies when there was no other choice in the heat battle (like Chang).

          Not only that, but based on one mission, Starfleet command decides to take a kid who was about to be kicked out of the Academy two days ago and make him the youngest captain ever in Starfleet??? Sure, his performance in saving earth was worth NOT kicking him out of Starfleet and maybe even giving him a medal…but NOT a starship. Promotion from Ensign directly to Captain is unheard of in any military service. Nothing takes the place of experience in the field. Want to give Kirk a big promotion? Fine, make him an XO who can learn under the command of an experienced veteran. But not the flagship of the Federation.

          I could go on and on—Starfleet bullies in bars, no ships closer to Vulcan than Earth (not even Vulcan ones!), sending every starship from earth all at once without sending an advanced scout to see what’s going on, a red drop of fluid that can destroy a planet but doesn’t hurt a ship that carries it, why “fire everything” when that will just leave you with no defenses left—but I think you get the idea. 🙂

          1. Spot on! Didn’t object to half of them while watching, but you’re absolutely right. And there’s so many more. And don’t even get me started on Into Darkness 😉

          2. I do indeed get the idea.

            I guess I just have a different opinion on the movie. All the Trek films have problems IMHO, take Generations with the worst plot hole of all the films when Guinan tells Picard he could leave at any time. Or First Contact, why did the Borg send just one cube, why not time travel a distance away from Earth? It would be interesting to see which film has the least nitpicks, TMP probably. Certainly not the TNG movies, Picard is unrecognisable in the best of the TNG films, and Nemesis has terrible problems.

            To address a few of your critiques,
            Spock ejects Kirk to the planet out of anger. He is reacting emotionally.

            Nero’s ship and the conceit of Delta Vega are narrative devices to move the film along.
            Similarly bothersome is the speed at which the torpedo Soran fires from Veridian 3. Or the speed at which Enterprise reaches the Great barrier in V. Or why no one mentions Lore in Nemesis. The film just needs to move along.

            Trans warp beaming is seen in Assignment Earth. I dislike the concept.

            Uhura and Spock flirt in Charlie X. And it’s an alternative timeline, so unlike Discovery, it won’t annoy fans like us.

            I though Pike in Disco was very similar to in ST09. I liked that as he was played very well by a great character actor in the movies.

          3. There was a time in Trek films when the plot holes weren’t quite as glaring. TMP was pretty tight, although the sheer size of V’Ger was ludicrous, especially if a machine planet simply wanted to send it back to its creator. Also, the uniforms were a bit too complex in terms of section colors—what was the difference between the powder blue, the beige, the tan, the brown, the off-white, etc.? STII:TWOK had only the one major flaw of Khan recognizing Chekov at the beginning. STIII:TSFS was a little more ridiculous in many of the contrivances (including the “Jim, the Enterprise is 20 years old!” when it’s twice that at least!). STIV:TVH played a little fast and loose with the temporal prime directive but was overall solid. STV: TFF was just a mess and the first time fans were all over the movie straying from canon (Spock has a half-brother he never talked about???). STVI:TUC was actually really well done and only seemed to strain believability with a tiny patch on Kirk’s uniform not being detected by the Klingons…AND them letting him and McCoy keep their uniforms instead of being given prison clothes.

            Then yes, the TNG movies got incredibly sloppy for the reasons you stated….and it got progressively so that by the time we reached Nemesis, the shark had been jumped.

            But then ST09 managed to jump not only the shark but most of the ocean. It was just too far for me to really enjoy unless I completely turned off my brain. Which was actually fine; I don’t mind turning off my brain to watch a movie. But not Star Trek. Star Trek always invited my brain to think and be a part of the story. So when I had to turn my brain off completely, it ceased to be Star Trek for me.

          4. Actually, Jon, TWOK has the gaping plot hole of how did the Reliant miss the fact that the Ceti Alpha system was missing an entire planet when they first approached it. Then there’s the notion of a shock wave perpetuating in a vacuum….

          5. I always like to do the following when Chekov yells at Khan…

            CHEKOV – You lie! On Ceti Alpha Five there vas life! A fair chance…”
            KHAN – THIS is Ceti Alpha Five!
            CHEKOV – Six!
            KHAN – Five!
            CHEKOV – SIX!
            KHAN – FIVE!!
            CHEKOV – SIX!!!
            KHAN – FIVE!!!!
            CHEKOV – FIVE!!
            KHAN – SIX!
            CHEKOV – FIVE!
            KHAN – SIX!
            CHEKOV – Okay, Doc, I give up. You win. It’s Ceti Alpha Six.

    1. Visually, maybe. Story wise it falls just as short. Oh, and both featured Pike on and Kurtzman behind the camera, maybe that’s what you meant? 😉

  6. For the most part I enjoyed it. Geek that I am, I took the time to pause every now and then to read the background screens, and I was rewarded with finding the Okuda shout out. (Check my Twitter feed @Charlie_Z if you missed it…)

    Couple of points:

    1) Despite similarities to the 2009 space jump and the demise of Olson, the pod sequence furthered development of the bridge crew and Pike’s trust in them, not just Michael. And while the obnoxious ass science officer was not wearing a red shirt, that was okay… his destiny was clear.

    2) Advanced tech – I’ve had my bit of angst last year, and it’s now just come down to this: the only canon the writers care about (arguably) is the occurrence of specific events and overall timeline continuity. One either needs to accept that or just stop watching if it bothers one that much. Otherwise we’re just going to be commenting on the obvious every week, and that gets as old as the 21st century Axanar battles.

    Another way of looking at it: If you want visual/tech progression that lines up with another Trek series, just start with Enterprise and move forward.

    3) Jet Reno – Her character is the new techno miracle worker but also the sarcastic voice of the viewer… I like her. I see her snark and Tilly’s over the top joy (which I also like) being a fun mix to watch.

    4) Spock v Michael – if you can’t accept Sybok as Spock’s unexplained unknown brother (interested to see if he’s ever mentioned in Discovery), then at least this episode springboards Spock’s well-known estrangement from Sarek in establishing his disconnect with Burnham.

    Characters: Big fan of Pike (how DID he win that Okuda Award??), Tilly, Saru and the rest of the bridge crew. Burnam had maybe TOO MANY moments… I like her, but want to see more of the crew.

    Afterwards: I watched The Man Trap… quite the contrast, not just visually but in acting and storytelling style as well, but enjoyed them both!

  7. Yesterday I watched two season two premieres. “Discovery’s” and “The Punisher’s.”

    Like you, Jonathan, I really liked Anson Mount’s Captain Pike. In fact I liked him so much that, the longer the episode went on, the more I had this fervent wish that CBS would cut their losses with Discovery and just make a Captain Pike series. Young Spock, Number One, the classic (almost) Enterprise… God, how I would love to see that series!!

    Despite that yearning I thought that maybe Discovery was going to be better this season, and I ended the show thinking that, if I just ignored everything that came before, maybe the premiere episode wasn’t that bad. Then I watched “The Punisher” premiere.

    Wow! What an incredible difference in quality. The writing is so good that a short scene is all that’s needed to re-establish and update old characters or bring new characters fully to life. And with little to almost no exposition, they’re able to hint at bigger mysteries and challenges ahead. And the dialogue is excellent. This is a master class in how to write for television. By the end of the episode I was so stoked to see the rest of the season.

    So, yeah, Discovery… sigh.

    1. Discovery tries so hard and struggles so much, like a child with a learning disability. The Punisher is the kid who’s a prodigy and breezes through classes, making it look so easy.

      I keep watching Discovery for the same reason I don’t want to give up on the kid with the learning disability.

  8. You touched on something I’ve felt as I still make my way through Season One…I really don’t care about the characters yet. The only one I find interesting is Saru. And the bridge crew? I couldn’t tell you their names if I had to. Probably the first Trek series I could say that about.

  9. The impression that I have left after this episode is summarized in “Too little, too late”. I appreciate the attempts to be lighter, more fun, to put names to the bridge figures … but as we say here ,,, “you see the threads” is like those puppets that you see the threads of the puppeteer ,,, note very much the intention to please and that makes it false ,,,, on the other hand my two main problems are still there ,,, Burham is INSUFFERABLE in his perfection ,,, (I do not understand how they did not say that she designed those crazy pods) and the advanced technology, I understand your point that the aesthetic TOS is outdated, but for me the continuity of Star Trek is as solidly established as that of the Roman Empire, it would be great that in Gladiator the Roman legionaries attacked from helicopters …. but nobody would accept that in a cinema without throwing the popcorn against the screen ,,,,, Oh, by the way how is it that nobody has thrown Tilly by the air lock? … this series is like having a clumsy boyfriend, you want to love him but do not stop messing up, step on the dance and throw yourself on top of your new blouse the glass of wine …. I do not know when I will continue to hold it just because its name is beautiful ….. wait for the next appointment but I will not wear good clothes just in case 🙂

    1. One episode? No. But $5 is paying for 4-5 episodes. So maybe. Certainly not for my wife. On the other hand, I’m not sure I would have spent money on an inflatable snowman for our front yard. 🙂

  10. I enjoyed both this week’s Orville and this week’s Discovery. However Discovery as well as any future Trek for some will always have the problem of living up to a past legend and this also means things like… the phaser looks different… or how can they have that because TOS or Next Gen never had it for example…. If you look at it that way most of you will never be satisfied. Ask yourself this If there never was 800-900 hours of Trek and Discovery had no canon I bet most of you would like it. Which means to me most of the arguments are silly…. no offense. My wife also watches both Orville and Discovery with me. We both disliked most of Season 1 of the Orville mostly because of the first season Female mutilation episode and the childish bathroom humor. This year it’s a little better but a peeing episode is just plain stupid… I’m glad they didn’t overdo the jokes… like… Captain why are all the Rocks on Moclus yellow… or what the largest nation on Moclus… Urination… Also why do you think the kids drink… maybe because the adults spend too much time in the bar. The 4th episode Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes I liked very much. I have read many of the fans opinions here and elsewhere on the net and what I have observed is that there are many fans who want Discovery to fail. They want revenge for the killing of the most prominent Fan Films and this is the way they do it… some even complain about the 5 or 10 bucks you have to pay to watch it. I say be careful what you wish for because next year you may not have neither Orville or Discovery to kick around… then who loses… If anyone from the Orville reads this I hope you are thinking about an episode about reconverting Bortus’s child back to a female.

    1. I don’t think we’re in danger of losing Discovery or Orville anytime soon, xman. CBS seems committed to throwing as much money as it can into making Star Trek three of the four legs supporting All Access. In the meantime, The Orville is holding onto Gotham’s audience and building on it slightly. Although the ratings are slightly off of the season one numbers, Fox still wants to keep Seth MacFarlane happy so as to not lose Family Guy to another network (or any other future show Seth might create). Were Orville’s ratings truly tanking, even Seth’s fame might not save the show. But Orville’s numbers are strong enough at the moment to keep things going.

      As to those wishing ill on CBS for “destroying” Star Trek, they would have nearly the same impact were they to create Voodoo dolls of CBS executives and stick pins into them.

      And finally, I now find myself wondering: were Discovery not sold as “Star Trek” (with or without hewing to canon), would I still watch it? Actually, no, I wouldn’t…at least, certainly not for $6 a month. I might not even watch it if it were on the regular CBS network or Fox or the CW. I just really don’t care about the characters. I do like Pike now, but I don’t think I’d stick around for only one character.

      I’m curious what others who are on the fence about the show would say if it were not officially or unofficially tied in with Star Trek at all…?

  11. Well, I think I’ve managed to boil my response down to a coherent theme:

    Discovery doesn’t violate canon anywhere near what you think it does.

    Now, it doesn’t help when Kurtzman says things like “We’ll sync up with canon by the end of the season.” They are not out of sync as far as story-telling goes. He’d probably be better off to say “Wait until the season is over before you judge its place in Trek history.”

    No, the only way Discovery “strays from canon” is in the visual department, and I will maintain with my dying breath that visual canon is far less important a thing than historic canon. Reason I say so is that such things lay in the purview of creative efforts. If the ability to create what we can existed 50 years ago, no doubt TOS would have taken advantage. And I think you recognize this to a certain degree, but at the same time you hold on to what you’re used to things looking like to say it isn’t quite right. Take the transporters. You take issue with them because “that’s not how they’re supposed to work”. Well, which type? TOS turned you into yellow and black static. TMP you became a moire pattern. In TWOK you had a bunch of lights dance around you while you got dematerialized from the inside out by parallel red lines. You could also carry on conversations through the beaming process in that one. TNG went back to static, this time of the grey and black variety. On Voyager, you have a blue ball that splits apart into the static. And let’s not get into other species’ transporters……

    So, I have to take a bit of an issue with how you “know how transporters are supposed to work”, when there have been multiple variations on transporters just in the Federation.

    Now, I will give you the whole Space Mountain turboshaft scene. That was definitely indulgent on the part of the CGI team. However, the space helmet thing is a good way to illustrate how people misuse the term “canon”. You seem to think that because you hadn’t seen the fold-out space armor in the 24th century that it shouldn’t exist in the 23rd. But using absence of evidence as evidence of absence is a logical fallacy. Maybe they did refine it, but found that regular suits were more cost effective in the long run. Maybe the technology ended up being too buggy, so they decided to drop it. Or, maybe they do still use it, but only on smaller starships where space is a premium, or as an emergency backup suit. All of those explanations are valid, as there is nothing shown on the screen to contradict them.

    As for the gravity thing? I guess you’ve never seen those videos of 3 bedroom houses folding out of a cargo container……

    As for your wife connecting more to The Orville than Discovery….putting aside the fact that she came in to the middle of the Disco episode, it make sense that someone who is only vaguely interested in sci-fi would initially find interest in The Orville given that it trades a great deal in tropes familiar to both Star Trek and TV shows in general. It is, essentially, comfort food.

    1. Just focusing on the trasnporters for a moment, in this one, Discovery breaks its own established canon. Discovery transporters also beam everyone up all at once. We’ve seen it multiple times. So what if the shot looks more interesting if the camera pans around as the three officers beam up in sequence? Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you should.

      But for me, it’s not just the visual inconsistencies with established canon—although DS9 and Voyager were both able to deal with what came before without going overboard on the redesign. My problem is simply that Starfleet crews shouldn’t be so dysfunctional, and that a show with good characters isn’t simply comfort food, it’s enjoyable to watch. When I care about none or almost none of the characters, then the plot has to blow me away. In Discovery’s case, neither is happening for me…so if the title didn’t include the words “Star Trek,” I’d probably have given up on the show long before this.

      1. I disagree that it “breaks its own established canon”, for there is nothing that says that materializing one person at a time is not mode of operation the transporters are capable of.

        I don’t know why you don’t care for any of the characters on Disco. I find myself having no problem doing so. Therefore, it must be a matter of opinion.

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