It Boldly Went
It’s out, and I loved it. Star Trek: Discovery is like no series of Star Trek that has come before, and (thankfully) unlike any of the recent films.
Some of the best Trek is the exploration of individual struggles, and the contrasting of perfect Federation values and the exaggerated imperfect ‘real world’, in the form of societies like the Klingon Empire or Cardassian Union.
Two episodes might not be enough to judge the series, but it looks promising. One of the aspects I worried about before the première of the show was how it would treat cannon. The recent films (though they are in a parallel universe) take a nostalgia approach, attempting to add fan-service on as a decoration to generic action plots. Discovery might have some of the aesthetics of the films, but so far, it feels like real Star Trek, in the tv-universe.
Being the unashamed Trekkie that I am, I read the Deep Space 9 continuation novels, which give a look at the galaxy from the side of the Cardassians and the Founders. These dives into the motivation for the acts of the show’s villains gave the events of the DS9 episodes another dimension. I hope that a journey through the origins of the Federation/Klingon conflict, especially the internal drivers and philosophies of characters like T’Kuvma, bring that same depth to the wider Star Trek universe.
In the same way, episodes of TNG, DS9 and Voyager that focussed on one character, and her or his life-story, were among the most engaging made. DS9 Season 2’s ‘The Wire‘ brought the enigmatic Garak to life; TNG Season 5’s ‘The Inner Light‘ gave Picard a whole extra life to learn about himself; and Voyager Season 6’s ‘Fair Haven‘ asked how Janeway could overcome isolation in command.
Already in Discovery, we’ve had a feature-film’s worth of character development for Michael Burnham, and I certainly can’t wait until next week to find out more.