Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I Just Discovered How Bad the New Star Trek Series Is

As much as I dislike "Discovery," I enjoy Jason Isaacs' portrayal
of Captain Gabriel Lorca. His character comes across as someone who Just.
Does. Not. Care. about anyone or anything other than his own goals.
Unfortunately, the creators of "Discovery" seem to have adopted a similar
approach to the entire series at the expense of creativity and originality.
I haven't written anything for the blog in a long, long time. No movie reviews. No thoughts on the latest Dr. Who news. Life gets in the way, I guess. While convalescing from surgery this week - nothing too serious, mind you - I am confined to sickbay* (home) for a few days and decided to finally check out "Star Trek: Discovery."

Nurse - give me another dose of painkiller, stat.

I say this as someone who is old enough to have watched the original series as it was first broadcast back when Gorns roamed the planets of our imagination. I still remember waiting in line for "The Motion Picture" on opening night, when a college friend dramatically announced for local TV cameras as he purchased his ticket - "One for Star Trek - PLEASE." I fondly recall gathering with friends to watch (and record with the latest technology, something called videotape) the premiere of "Next Generation." With "Discovery," I find myself wanting a Vulcan mind meld to erase it from my memory.

Let's begin with the premise that "Discovery" takes place in the Star Trek universe about ten years before the original series. From a practical standpoint, this might be the worst decision of all. Thanks to CGI advances, the tech of the new series outshines the original series with the brightness of a supernova. In a way, this cannot be avoided. But at least "Enterprise" made an effort to make its tech look underdeveloped when compared to other series.

Also, in no particular order ...

Who are these villains? They aren't Klingons. They don't behave like Klingons. They don't look like Klingons. And all the subtitles are annoying.

The Spock Family Tree: Remember in "Star Trek V" (no winner itself), when we were surprised to learn that Spock had a half-brother? Now we learn he has a half-sister, sort of. Whatever happened to "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations"? Or is this simple laziness on the part of the writers?

Speaking of Vulcans: Did the character of Michael Burnham learn nothing while being raised on a planet of cold-blooded humanoids? What kind of Vulcan betrays their captain? What kind of Starfleet takes her back?

These are just a few examples. I could go on and on, but I have spent far too much time on this already.

What is most frustrating is that all of these issues could have been dealt with - dare I say? - logically.
The award for Best Use of Spores
on a "Star Trek" series still belongs
to "This Side of Paradise."

  • For God's sake, set the series in a time past the other series. Take advantage of the latest special effects technology to make it look like it should - new and exciting.
  • For Kahless' sake, find a new race of villains. Someone new. Someone we have not seen before. "Deep Space Nine" excelled at this.
  • If you must have another human-Vulcan hybrid character, fine. But do so with a little more originality. Minimize the Sarek character as an adviser to Michael Burnham's Vulcan family. Make Burnham a Vulcan agitator or spy, working on behalf of Starfleet military. Having her suddenly turn on her captain with little explanation is - here I go again - highly illogical.
In short, whatever happened to "explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before"? The new series does none of these things. It has broken its promise while showing little promise. 

I wanted to love this series. Failing that, I wanted to like this series. Failing that, I wanted to be able to say "nice try." I can't. Phasers on kill, Mr. Sulu. I'd rather spend my hard-earned quatloos on something else.

* Sickbay? Seriously? This never came to mind before, but they couldn't come up with a better name? Following this nomenclature, why don't they call the restroom "pissbay"? Or Ten Forward "drunkbay"?

1 comment:

  1. You haven't even gotten to the worst episode yet.

    Sometimes a show needs a while to find its footing - heaven knows TNG did - so I haven't given up on Discovery yet. It's much better than the J.J. Abrams abomination, which is about to have Quentin Tarantino unleashed on it. Faint praise, I know, but enough to hold on for at least the rest of this season.