Star Trek returned to our TV screens recently and it was a lot different from what we're used to. As someone who's been a fan for years, I've got some strong feelings about it. In this post, I'll take a close look at the series and where it fits into the Star Trek universe.
Star Trek Discovery really tried to deliver something different, but did it pull it off?
Like my recent post, A Star Wars: The Last Jedi Post for Star Wars Fans, I'm going to write this for people who really understand Star Trek and focus on the world it brings to life. Although I've kept away from the main plot points, there are some minor spoilers if you haven't seen it and want to go in fresh.
Just in case you need a Star Trek refresh, it all started with the original series, then the movies and then The Next Generation. This then lead to Deep Space Nine and Voyager before even more movies.
We were then given a prequel, Enterprise which featured a 'Temporal Cold War', so it was never clear if it took place in the original timeline. Time travel also allowed JJ Abrams to reboot the series, with his movies set in an alternate timeline.
Star Trek Discovery is the first show to take place in the 'prime' universe since the Abrams movies, and it's set just before the original series.
I've now watched the entire series on Netflix and I wasn't impressed. It tried to change far too much for me, but three things really ground my gears:
Although the show is set before the original series, it looked more high-tech than The Next Generation. It also featured technology that was far beyond the reach of Kirk and crew, and it didn't even look like the Abrams movies. If we really go down the rabbit hole, humanity has to go through a catastrophic nuclear war before they get into space in this universe, so we can surely forgive clunky tech.
While we didn't quite get Abrams' shinny 'USS Apple Mac', it would clearly be hard to watch the original after this.
While you could probably live with this if it was a whole new universe, they made the shocking decision to feature the original Enterprise in the final episode. That's right, after all the new ships and tech, the Enterprise sill has round, shinny warp nacelles and THAT radar dish. This just didn't make sense to me, especially after the classic Klingon ships had disappeared.
To me, the whole series just didn't look like Star Trek.
Even if everything else had remained faithful to what we knew, there were just too many changes. None of them improved on the older shows in my opinion though. On that subject, I just don't understand how you could go back to watching them after this.
While we're on the subject of changes, I really hated the new Klingons. I will never understand how anyone could think they were an improvement. Over the last 50 years, the Klingons have grown into sci-fi icons and it was a hard to take as a new Darth Vader.
How can you watch The Next Generation now Mr Worf has been reimagined?
Enterprise even explained why Klingons look different in the original, but they ignored this opportunity. A new look was one thing though, but new ships and technology were really hard to understand.
The classic Klingon battle cruisers have been in every show and movie series. They are instantly recognisable and they're simply iconic.
I don't think anyone will remember these new Klingons and their generic ships. Given all the technology, surely it would have been better to set this series after Star Trek: Nemesis and make these new Klingons an entirely new alien race. Seriously, it's like we're dealing with the Xindi all over again as they just don't work.
Ferrengi as the bad guys in the first series of The Next Generation were better than this.
I've left my biggest issue with the series until last, but it's probably the most significant thing...
Despite Star Trek Discovery being a radically different series with its new serial format and edgier storytelling, I did get my Star Trek fix this year. The problem is, it was from Seth Macfarlane's Orville.
I think it's safe to say that The Orville was the series that Star Trek fans have been waiting for.
Despite a far more light-hearted approach, this series delivered the type of episodic, clever stories that Star Trek has always delivered. They make you think, and there's usually an interesting twist.
Discovery didn't deliver anything like this, and I have no idea why.
Orville also looked and sounded just like The Next Generation, which will always be my favourite version of Star Trek. I think the most significant thing is that Seth Macfarlane realised that people had just had too much Star Trek in the early 2000s and that there had been some poor creative decisions on the later show and movies.
This didn't mean they hated it, which I presume is the assumption of Dicovery's creators.
Despite everything I've written above, it's still worth watching Star Trek Discovery as it isn't a bad show. It's just not 'my' Star Trek, and it never will be.
I will give them an opportunity to change my mind with the next series though, as it's not too late to turn things around.