I’m a Trekkie. Always have been, always will be. I enjoyed watching the original Star Wars movies when I was significantly younger than I am now, but it didn’t change my mind about Star Trek being the better of the two. Granted, it’s hard to compare them with anything other than both being set in space, and sharing half of their titles with each other, but it’s usually the case that you like one over the other. And I like Star Trek a whole lot more! That being said, I’m not a hardcore fan, but I did grow up with TOS and TNG, am a sucker for Janeway and loved the Ferengi in DS9. I even enjoyed the reboot movies to some extent, but that was mainly due to a lot of good actors.
Before I start to vomit my thoughts about Discovery all over this entry, let me get 2 things out of the way. Yes, I am very well aware of the lawsuit against the series, but I won’t get into that here. And no, I have not watched the Orville (yet?). Also, this entry was scheduled at an earlier date than posted, so some of the issues I am writing about might have been fixed by now, but I highly doubt it. Okay, here we go… Spoiler warning for season 1 by the way.
My boyfriend and I got pretty hyped when we saw that Netflix was releasing new Star Trek content on a weekly basis, and of course we watched it with excitement the week of release. Now, the opening bothered me a little back then, not only because it’s not set in space where we see the main ship cruising past planets, but also because of the music. It’s not a bad soundtrack at all, but it fails to build up a good atmosphere, and so does the sad brown color scheme that runs with it. It lacks energy and adventure, but it does look a bit like a tribute, so there’s at least that. I’ve learned to just ignore it though.
Then we meet Michael Burnham, and she’s a thing of her own. I mean, she literally is, because she’s the main character of the series. Yes, there’s a main character in a Star Trek series, and it feels so awful and out of place. Not only does it bother me that I’m forced to follow this one specific character, but she’s also horribly unlikeable. I fail to believe that anyone watching the series can even remotely relate to her. Of course this was a decision made with feminism and inclusion in mind. But do we really need a strong female black lead in Star Trek? The series has always been very inclusive of anyone regardless of their gender and skin color. Janeway and Sisko were awesome not because of their gender and skin colors, but because they were badass captains, just to name 2 that played a very prominent role in the franchise without anyone ever batting an eye at them. As a matter of fact, I looked up to Janeway when I was a kid. Who looks up to Burnham? Anyone? I thought as much…
And with that, let me rant about the main cast. Who is the main cast really? Yeah, we have Michael, and then there’s Saru, and Lorca, L’Rell and… Tilly and Stamets? Those are the only ones I can name, and it’s probably because I’m already watching season 2 right now, and got my memory refreshed a little. I remember liking the short-lived love between Stamets and whatever the doctor’s name was, but he was taken away so fast that I didn’t even feel sad when he died, nor do I remember his name anymore. And I’m not gonna go look it up. Although it’s been ages since I watched TNG, I still remember Data’s cat Spot, and how he loved the shit out of it. I remember a cat over a character that was laid out to actually be important. Why? Because the cat had more personality than the doctor. That’s also the reason why I still remember Lorca; he had character. I know he was evil and all, but I really liked him. Pine? Not so much. I know he’s canon and all, but he’s not the right captain for Discovery, and there’s no one in the main cast who’s good enough to take over. When Picard wasn’t in his seat, he had Will, Data and Worf to take over, and I agree with all of them being up for the task.
Onwards, to the overall look of the series. It’s dark. That’s it. Dim lights everywhere, even on the bridge, and I keep wondering why no one is squinting or wearing glasses after working like that for years. I don’t mind the camera angles that much, or that we don’t see the staff walk around the ship that often, but the lack of light everywhere is disturbing. Star Trek has always been so bright and well lit, even when it comes to the older uniforms, but here even the clothes are dark. It’s all just dark with more darkness added to it, and I’m quite frankly sick and tired of looking at it. One must think that with a big budget and modern technology, they’d be able to make the ship look even more modern than in the older series, but no. It looks like some 80’s club in a basement, with some lights added here and there to not feel completely blind. The same can be said about the overall mood of the episodes; dark. I don’t mind that the story is being told in a different way than what I’m used to, but it’s just sooo devoid of humor. Tilly feels more like a comedy relief character than someone who is working really hard to become the captain of her own ship. I’ll give the series credit where it’s due though, and they do seem to try and correct this specific issue in the second season. It’s just impossible to change it right away.
Now let’s move outside of the ship, not only in space, but also to various locations. But, uhm, there aren’t really many. Other than seeing the Klingons on their ships and at their home, there’s not much going on when talking locations. We see asteroids and ship wreckages, but what else is there in outer space, other than that planet in season 2 with the peaceful people. Know what? I actually enjoyed that episode a lot, because we got out of the ship, a bit away from the main story, and saw a place that was truly bright for once. I also liked that the core codex of the Starfleet was the main focus, instead of war, Spock or Michael. It felt like a breeze of fresh air, and very much like Star Trek. But only for that one episode, sadly.
Is Star Trek Discovery bad? Well, no. I enjoy watching it still and I feel like it’s finally moving in the right direction after a bad start, but I do not consider it to be a real Star Trek series like the ones I watched as a kid. As a stand-alone spin-off series, it’s passable though, as long as it gets some of the main issues corrected throughout its runtime. This includes, but is not limited to: Abandoning Michael as the main character and include the crew more. Stop the Spock storyline. Visit IKEA for some nice new light sources around the ship. Stop the Spock Storyline. Visit more locations to better establish the Starfleet. Stop the Spock storyline. Get a strong and suitable captain for the ship instead of Pine. Did I mention that they should stop the Spock storyline? I really adored Spock in TOS and the old movies, but please, for the sake of all that is Vulcan… Stop this stepsister Michael shit. I can’t take it anymore… It’s so bad. I don’t care if it’s not even canon anymore, it’s just plain horrible. Whoever made the decision for Michael to be his (never ever mentioned) stepsister in the first place needs to get fired, and never work with Star Trek in any way again. Not even write fan fictions! Also, if the Discovery can jump between realms, why not make them jump forward in time and turn this into a sequel instead of prequel? Just an idea though.
Did I forget anything? Klingon heads maybe?
Please keep in mind that this entry is based solely on my personal thoughts. If you disagree with me, then that’s totally fine. If you like Star Wars the most, then that’s also cool. I just needed to get this off my chest. Now go live long and prosper, okay?