And for people who are geo-blocked (and why the heck would they do that?)…
And for people who are geo-blocked (and why the heck would they do that?)…
Now THIS is exciting! I don’t know whether the producers of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
intentionally leaked this snippet of the script for the first episode of season two or if it just “sneaked” out the door somehow. But it provides an intriguing look at the direction the creative team will be taking going into the second season.
As has been reported elsewhere, the writing team for Discovery re-assembled at the beginning of last month to begin breaking down season two. Co-creator Alex Kurtzman, who will be directing the first episode of season two, recently explained, “Breaking story is, in some ways, the easier and faster thing; it’s the ability to execute on it that’s much harder. We want to take the right amount of time and don’t want to rush.”
But with production on the first episode set to kick off later this month, the first script needed to be completed quickly. Jonathan Frakes, who just confirmed that he will be directing an episode later in season two, commented, “I just read the first script of the second season and the outline for the second script and it’s on fire now.”
Indeed! And from this leaked scene, I think he’s right.
Granted, there’s no guarantee that the following snippet from the season two premiere script will make it into the actual episode exactly as initially written. Dialog can get changed, segments added and cut, etc. But if this leaked scene does make it into the finished episode, I think we’ll all be very surprised and even enthusiastic about the new direction of the series now that the Klingon War is over.
Naturally, the most exciting thing about this leaked snippet is that fans get a glimpse into how the series will be handing the character of Captain Christopher Pike of the USS Enterprise who, like Sarek, Amanda, and Harry Mudd, has already been seen in canonical Star Trek history. Will Captain Pike hew closely to his original version (like Sarek does), or will he be a radical departure (like Harry Mudd)?
Wonder no more!
I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to post this, so read it fast before I get an e-mail on Monday morning from someone with the initials of “C.B.S.” telling me to immediately take it down.
Enjoy this sneak peek into season two…
Over this past weekend, at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY show-runner AARON HARBERTS released what he referred to as a “secret scene. ” He told the audience, in what I thought was a strange comment, that they decided to cut the scene out of the season one finale because it would be “…more exciting to bring it to a place like [WonderCon].”
By now, many of you have probably viewed the two and a half-minute “secret scene” (complete with a full minute and a half of credits…which seemed odd and unnecessary to me). If you’re in the U.S., you can view the clip below…
Almost immediately, fans started talking excitedly about this “new” scene and what it means for season two. And not surprisingly, a whole bunch of folks e-mailed and/or IM’d me to ask what I thought about it. I guess all those Discovery blogs I’ve written have marked me as some kind of fan barometer or something…or maybe they were just hoping I had some interesting insight or that maybe I’d find some fun way to trash the scene. Who knows?
But since I’ve had a bunch of people ask for my opinion, I thought it best to just write it once. Obviously, I’m not going to put any spoiler warnings here, as the season ended last month and the “secret scene” is right here on this blog.
So here we go…
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY broke with tradition to give fans an odd montage of seemingly random images—a drafting sketch of the USS Discovery, the Victoria Crater of Mars, a human nose/mouth/neck, a close-up on a human eye, an EVA-suit, a phaser, a communicator, a Vulcan salute, a Klingon blade, a weird giant plant spitting out the Discovery, a grappling hook, two space-gloved hands reminiscent of the iconic “The Creation of Adam” biblical fresco by Michelangelo, and finally the logo for the series and a fly-by of the USS Discovery again.
But no space (the final frontier).
The music is an eerie-sounding composition that transitions into a sometimes driving, sometimes mournful orchestral piece culminating in the familiar opening melody of the original Alexander Courage Star Trek theme. Composed by Jeff Russo, the Discovery music combines with the visuals to create an intensely surreal impression similar to the opening title sequence of the series Westworld.
For those who haven’t watched Discovery yet, here’s the opening title sequence that begins each episode…
Like the series itself, people seem to either love or hate the opening title sequence for Star Trek: Discovery…just as they did for the “Faith of the Heart” opening for Star Trek: Enterprise.
But Enterprise was canceled before YouTube existed (or rather, just as it was being launched). Now, however, fans feel quite comfortable making and posting their own new versions of the opening title sequence, and there are currently dozens of videos out there!
After reviewing all the ones I could find, I selected my TOP TWELVE. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be TOP TEN, but I just couldn’t eliminate the final two. They were just so good!
I’ve assembled those twelve fan-made videos here in one blog—ranked in order so that my favorite is last. Which one is YOUR favorite?
Yesterday, I began by noting that there were a number of Trek fans who believed that CBS was somehow in a “panic” about the poor performance of Star Trek: Discovery, and that there was some kind of pressure being put onto the production team to retool the series, possibly bringing in the USS Enterprise to somehow replace the USS Discovery…or some nonsense like that.
It’s true that, at best, Star Trek: Discovery is just about breaking even for CBS…or possibly losing a few million dollars. I didn’t do all the math yesterday as I ran out of space, but I’ll do it quickly here for you.
Since last September when Discovery premiered, CBS All Access has added approximately 500,000 new subscribers (going from 2 million to 2.5 million). I learned that the majority of those subscribers were actually tuning into the NFL on All Access and not Discovery, but let’s assume that they all joined because CBS added a new Star Trek show.
All Access allows subscribers to watch with commercials for $6/month or without for $10/month. Let’s average that to $8/month. Discovery was on for five months:
[ 5 months x $8/month x 500,000 subscribers = $20 million ]
As I mentioned yesterday, Discovery cost CBS about $30 million to produce (the portion not covered by Netflix licensing).
So how does Discovery break even if it’s losing $10 million? Advertising. Also, not all of those subscribers canceled after 5 months, so the revenue continues. In other words, Discovery is doing just fine as far as CBS is concerned.
On the other hand, the license to stream the NFL on All Access likely cost CBS upwards of $250 million…and there’s no way they didn’t lose money on that deal! So why keep throwing major bucks into All Access if you’re CBS? Hasn’t this experiment essentially failed?
And to make matters worse, this is how All Access looks when measured up against Netflix and Hulu subscribers (and this is only in the U.S. alone)…
YEESH! Sucks to be CBS, right? So why not put All Access out of its misery? Why bother keeping Star Trek: Discovery on the air and losing money on the NFL?
There’s a very simple reason…
Like a number of Trek fans, I watch and enjoy the Midnight’s Edge video podcast. The production values are high, and the updates are interesting and informative. But they’re also full of rumor, conjecture, and innuendo.
I sometimes feel as though I’m listening to fan “wish-fulfillment” and conspiracy theories, and I occasionally find myself wondering what is true and what is simply something that the creator(s) of Midnight’s Edge WANT to be true.
It’s often really hard to tell the difference! In their most recent video podcast, Midnight’s Edge mentions that, “There were reportedly no Star Trek: Discovery toys revealed at the 2018 Diamond Select ToyFair.” Note the word “reportedly.” It’s a relatively careful word. The “report” they reference was a single tweet from Gabriel Koerner, who was apparently there…
Three days later, however, TrekMovie.com reported that McFarlane Toys was displaying a brand new Star Trek: Discovery phaser at ToyFair. So perhaps sourcing a single tweet from a roving, non-reporter VFX artist might not be the most reliable way to confirm one’s facts.
And so it was that I took the following quote from the most recent Midnight’s Edge video podcast with a pretty huge grain of salt:
“While CBS displayed confidence to the public, there was rumored chaos and panic behind the scenes, and the latter episodes of the series were allegedly retooled to address fan concerns going forward. Because from season 2 onwards, it is going to be increasingly important to win back the fans.”
Sounds all juicy and dramatic, don’t it? Of course, notice the words “rumored” and “allegedly” included in there. Some fans, dissatisfied and angry about the new series not hewing more closely to TOS and established Star Trek designs, would love to think that there are huge regrets at CBS about the way Discovery was rolled out and handled…and that the higher-ups are putting pressure on the producers to fix this and that. It’s certainly a compelling narrative if you’re an angry and resentful Trek fan.
So it’s time for me to put on my Special Agent Dana Scully red wig and provide an alternative, more reasonable analysis of the situation currently going on with CBS and Star Trek: Discovery. Then you can decide whom YOU want to believe…
I know it seems like all I ever do (or most of what I do) is criticize this show…and many have asked why I’ve even bothered watching it in the first place. It’s a fair question, and the answers I can come up with are: 1) it’s not that the show sucks, and 2) I’m a 50-year Trekkie…how could I not watch this show? Even if I’m choosing to be critical of it (as I am of the rebooted Star Trek films, as well), I want to know what it is that I’m criticizing.
But as I said, folks, the show doesn’t suck! It’s well acted, well produced, well edited, has great music, mostly great pacing, looks visually stunning, and is obvious the result of a team of very dedicated individuals working very hard to produce a quality television series.
So why the heck don’t I like this show more? Why don’t I LOVE it???
It’s not simply that I don’t like the bling-shiny uniforms or that I wasn’t thrilled with the new-fangled Klingons and their crazy ship designs that look more like bats and the Federation technology that looks like 25th century rather than 23rd. I moved past all the cosmetic issues I had with the series early on. So their USS Enterprise NCC-1701 doesn’t match the original. My head canon can just shift this entire series into an alternative reality, and all is good.
So again, why don’t I like this show more?
I know I’ve sounded like a disgruntled broken record in my editorial reviews. But that’s just me trying to figure out the answer to this question in my head (and sharing those thoughts with all of you).
And as the first season brought with it what I considered to be a very unsatisfying end to the Klingon war, I finally put my finger on what’s been bothering me the most…
I touched on the question last week: What is STAR TREK: DISCOVERY about? The original Star Trek and Next Generation were about exploring strange, new worlds and stuff. Deep Space Nine was about healing the spiritual, cultural, and environmental wounds of a decades-long occupation…both of a race of people and also of a space station that were suddenly thrust into a role of prime importance in the Alpha Quadrant. Voyager was about getting home. And Enterprise was about exploring the final frontier for the first time.
But what is Star Trek: Discovery about?
If you watched the first episode of Discovery, it initially appeared that the show would be about Michael Burnham getting ready for her first command. That went out the window quickly when she attacked her captain. By the end of the second episode, Burnham was in chains and a war had started with the Klingons.
The third episode establishes Burnham as a pariah, brought aboard Discovery because, well, because she’s awesome? Because she deserves a second chance? Who knows? It’s still early. So okay, now we’ve got a show about an “awesome” officer who’s been flung down into the abyss of life and is slowly clawing her way back up the Starfleet Jeffries Tube to a place of respect. Fine…except the show abandons the “pariah” part pretty quickly. Burnham makes a best friend, becomes a useful part of the crew, and even gets a boyfriend. Heck, by episode 5, she’s even giving Saru Captain Georgiou’s old telescope and having a “moment” with him.
So, no, the show isn’t about Burnham’s redemption, as she’s pretty much redeemed by a third of the way through the season. Hmmmm, maybe the show is about Burnham’s voyage of internal, um, discovery and learning to forgive and love herself the way others have.
Nope, way too much else going on in the show for that to be it!
Last week, I wrote a blog that started with a few paragraphs drawing comparisons between CAPTAIN GABRIEL LORCA and DONALD TRUMP. Let me be perfectly clear: I WAS KIDDING!!! But apparently, no, I wasn’t…at least as far as the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY writing team was concerned!
In what was probably the most obvious and direct reference to a political issue since Bele and Lokai were each colored half-black and half-white, LORCA/TRUMP says the following things during the most recent 13th episode, “What’s Past Is Prologue”…
I’ve watched for years; you’ve let alien races spill over the borders, flourish in our backyard, then have the gall to incite rebellion. The Terrans need a leader who will preserve our way of life, our race.
…we together will make the empire glorious again.
Here’s the full scene:
My wife Wendy, who normally doesn’t watch the show with me but just happened to be in the living when this line was delivered, asked me, “Are the writers always this lazy?”
Now that Lorca is the established bad guy, let’s draw a direct line from him to Donald Trump. It’s not that Wendy and I like Donald Trump or anything. But seriously, was this kind of dig really necessary? Should Star Trek be used to take cheap political shots?
And now we know. Well, lots of us already knew. I’ve written about it repeatedly here and elsewhere. I and others have debated with those in the fan base who believed that Captain Lorca was simply a tough-as-nails leader who would always put Starfleet first. In this time of war with the Klingons, we needed someone like Lorca to make the United Federation of Planets great again!
But now we have all, er, discovered that Lorca has been playing us this whole time. He’s really from the Mirror Universe, and he’s a bad dude. For those fans who supported Lorca, stood up to defend his disturbing behavior and his dark methods—guess what!—you’ve placed your loyalty in someone who is just out for personal gain and doesn’t care about the UFP or anyone in our Prime Universe. In fact, he doesn’t seem to care about people from his Mirror Universe either…certainly not women. “Her name was Ava, and I liked her,” Lorca tells the brother of a woman he’d killed years before. “But you know how it is. Somebody better came along.”
Sure, he can be charming and talk crew members like Stamets into doing almost anything. But Lorca’s been keeping a lot of secrets from all of us, including from the people he leads. As far as I’m concerned, Lorca’s lust for power trumps anything that might have made him seem admirable in any way…and he’s fooled at least 37% of us all along.
Okay, enough of the fun double entendres. Let’s start doin’ some reviewin’!