Television

Star Trek: Discovery What do we Know So Far

The short answer is a lot but probably not enough to make any calls on quality.

PREMISE

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ will be set roughly 10 years before the events of the original series. Instead of focusing solely on exploration ‘Discovery’ will focus on the beginning of the Klingon-Federation cold war. Seemingly with more emphasis on the diversity of the Klingons.

CHARACTERS

Michael Burnham: Spock’s secret adopted sister, who is human but was raised on Vulcan. The decision to give the character a traditional male name was made during the time that Bryan Fuller was Producing the series (he left the series in October of 2016). Bryan Fuller is known for giving his female characters traditionally male names. But it fits into one of Star Trek’s goal of showing a progressive future (gendered names won’t matter in the future). Michael Burnham will be the First Officer of the USS Shenzhou (And probably later the USS Discovery). She will be referred to as Number One. Famously in the same way that Captain Picard would refer to his First Officer. But also as a tribute to the original unsuccessful Pilot episode of Star Trek in which a female First Officer was referred to as Number One. Played by Sonequa Martin-Green

 

Philippa Georgiou: The Captain of the USS Shenzhou. She has a sort of mother-daughter relationship with Michael Burnham. Played by Michelle Yeoh

 

Saru: Science Officer of the USS Discovery. This character will introduce a completely new species to Star Trek canon, the Kelpiens. Played by Doug Jones

 

Gabriel Lorca: Captain of the USS Discovery. Jason Isaacs who plays Captain Lorca was asked at Comic-con to compare his Captain to the other Captains in Star Trek, to which he responded “…he’s probably more fucked up than any of them”

 

There will also be younger versions of Sarek, Spock’s father, and Harry Mudd, a con-man who appeared in the original series.

 

DESIGN

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ has completely redesigned the look of Star Trek in several ways. Mainly by updating the aesthetics for a more sophisticated (and higher budgeted program). Bryan Fuller has said that;

“We have to update the style of the effects, the style of the sets, the style of the makeup … all of the other series have been produced [at a time that] isn’t as sophisticated as we are now with what we can do production-wise, we’re going to be reestablishing an entire look for the series”

Although Bryan Fuller has left some of his ideas for the re-imagining have been retained. In particular the look of the Klingons.

Aaron Harberts (Executive Producer) has said that;

“There’s is so much artistry and custom craftsmanship that go into every prop, every costume, every set. These things have to be designed and manufactured.”

Gretchen J. Berg (Executive Producer) adds;

“You can’t cut corners or have 95 percent of what’s on screen be completely original and inspired and then have five percent something you bought at a store. It has to be cohesive—and it is. I’m so proud of what’s on screen, it’s so beautiful and it’s taking world-building to a whole new level.”

 

WORLD BUILDING

Set in the mid-2250’s (probably 2255-56) ‘Discovery’ will explore many of the aspects that we have come to know and love about the Federation. Focusing on things like the Prime Directive. But also mainly looking at developments in the Klingon culture. How they came to be the way that they are and why there is a cold war between the Empire and the United Federation of Planets.
Just as importantly the show will focus on the relationships between the characters, how a crew is pretty much like a family and how people of different world views and backgrounds (species) interact with each other in a cohesive way. This is pretty much the central tenant of Star Trek. To quote a Vulcan proverb “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.”

REACTIONS

As with any long lasting and popular franchise there is a lot of division from the fan base. As usual with any new series of Star Trek there are instant detractors saying; ‘it will never be as good as the original’. Something which has been said every since ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ premiered in 1987.
There are also those in the fan base who don’t like the ‘action heavy’ take that the series appears to be going for. Again this has been a criticism at least as early as 1993 with the debut of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’. But also more vocally and recently with the rebooted J.J. Abrams Star Trek films.
As mentioned in my previous post  there have been accusations by a small minority of fans that the new series will be too ‘politically correct’. With accusers going as far as calling ‘Discovery’ ‘white genocide in space.’ Whilst this is odd and clearly a minority view there have been similar accusations levelled at ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ in the mid to late 1990’s. And by looking a bit deeper one can infer that there were always these accusations thrown at the series from the beginning. Even before the beginning. One of the reasons the pilot wasn’t initially picked up was because there was a female First Officer. Obviously these individuals were not fans of the show though.
To the open minded, hungry for new trek fans, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is an answer to their distress calls. It looks great, the sound track is uplifting and from what we have seen so far the philosophy of Star Trek will be continued.

 

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ will premiere on CBS and CBS All Access with two episodes on Sunday, 24th September and on Netflix internationally on Monday, 25th September. You can look forward to episode reviews right here on MCXV.com

Joseph Paul John McCarthy

Joseph Paul John McCarthy

Joseph Paul John McCarthy has wanted to be a writer since before he could write.. He was a long time film reviewer for wildsound.ca as well as reviewing film scripts for their monthly competitions. He has one self published book - The Science-Based Baby Book for Skeptical Parents and a novel which will definitely be published any decade now. He had an aneurysm and died on September 10 2015, but thanks to medical science he got better.