As a child, I grew up watching Star Trek and it became a firm favourite, as well as a staple part of my television diet. Captains Kirk & Picard were icons, as well as my hero Spock, portrayed by the late, great Leonard Nimoy. As I grew, so did my favourite shows, developing into Deep Space Nine, Voyager and the much criticised (but enjoyed by me) Enterprise. Each story carefully crafted, each character worming their way into my heart… and then came Discovery.
Launching today [25/09/2017] in the UK on Netflix and yesterday in America on CBS and then CBS All Access, Discovery was meant to bring life back into the franchise in the form of a weekly episodic show, yet after the first two episodes, do we really want it to boldly go forward? Should we continue to make Gene Roddenberry roll around in his grave?
Let’s go through the basics of Discovery. The main point this show has gained so much backlash on is the Klingon race, and I must say, it is absolutely fantastic that we get to hear more of the Klingon language, it is a key selling point to any hardcore Trekkie and is used well. Their clothing, whilst bearing no real resemblance to the familiar suits of old, are a thing of beauty, each one seems different in colour as well as design yet at the same time quite symmetrically violent and clearly works not only as armour but as a warning deterrent to those not prepared for battle with the children of Kahless. The Klingon vessels bear a passing resemblance to the familiar Birds of Prey, as well as a few new designs I am unfamiliar with.
Then we have their faces. Whilst each one has different ridges and skin tones, I cannot get past the fact that these look like sea-dwelling aliens, with a definite watery bone structure and horrific facial features, it comes across as though CBS has hired the cheapest beginner makeup artists they could find. They look so terrible, I expect beginner cosplayers doing this version of Klingon to do a far greater job.
Of course, the shows premise is the interactions between the Klingon Supremacy Squad [not an official term] and the Federation, because prophecy dictates that purity must rule so that they can make Qo’noS great again. Needless to say, the interactions between the KSS and the Federation will most likely be a regular thing, but here’s hoping for a bit more variety and actual similarity to past Star Treks.
Oh, wait, nope, just names it seems. Even Warping somewhere and teleportation has been tampered with.
The USS Shenzhou is the first Federation vessel we see, with a cross between the mirror universe and the Kelvin timeline, the ship comes across quite dark… then you notice the crew uniforms and cannot help but shake your head in dismay. Unfortunately, the blue with gold trim comes across as a reject from the Enterprise series wardrobe pile, luckily with an all too familiar badge to almost renew our faith.
Captained by Philipa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) I started to feel a little better, she reminded me of a cross between Picard and Janeway, firm but fair, a kind heart but a stickler for protocol. I instantly liked her and would happily be a part of her bridge crew. Then we have Number One, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) a human that grew up on Vulcan. As the main character in the show, she should be well-liked, but she makes Tom Paris from Season 1 of Voyager look like a straight-A student. Whilst Martin-Green is clearly a good actress, the character of Burnham should be dumped on the farthest uninhabited planet for she is reckless and a danger to any lifeform.
All in all, scripting these days can be hit and miss with new shows and this is no exception, I’m hoping this will balance out and gain as much substance as the Vulcan ears have gained height, but I really do think they should just cancel it now before any more damage is done, then contact the lovely people that did Prelude to Axinar and arrange to buy the finished product from them or hire
the Axinar team to work on a Star Trek series. Then we’ll get the series we deserve.
Star Trek Discovery – 3/10