Star Trek: Discovery is coming. Let’s break down what we’re looking forward to the most and a few things that still have us uneasy.
Between Comic-Con and CBS’ presentation at the Television Critics’ Association Summer gathering, Star Trek fans have plenty to look forward to this fall. But there is still a bit of weariness residing in my gut. The photos are stunning and the trailer proves that the taking the extra time to get things right pays off.
But there are a few red flags that detract from fully embracing the series. Will the development of new characters take a backseat to the inclusion of classic antagonists? Can the series recapture the fear of the unknown? Is a great score enough to put fans at ease?
Here we break down everything to come out of Comic-Con and the TCA summer press tour.
’Star Trek: Discovery’ – What to look forward to
First Officer Michael Burnham
Whether you are talking to an imaginary cartoon in a midlife crisis, or on a colossal hit focusing on a family’s impressively high tear-jerking moments, you have to sell the show to your audience. The cast of Star Trek is working their magic to sell this property. With only a trailer and a few interviews to go on, Sonequa Martin-Green is female lead I am looking forward to seeing this fall.
She speaks with such appreciation of the history and future of Star Trek, it’s hard repress anticipation for the premiere. Plus, just look at her!
As First Officer, Burnham brings some unique backstory to her title– she is the first human to be educated on Vulcan.
Additionally, Doug Jones’ Lt. Saru is high on my must-see debuts for the fall. The trailer reveals that Saru can sense the coming of death. Expanding upon that, showrunner Aaron Harberts told EW, “He comes from a planet where he’s a ‘prey species.’ He’s the first of his kind to make it to Starfleet.”
That species is better known as the Kelpiens.
Bold prediction time — Saru is going to be my favorite character. As the first of his species to make it to Starfleet, Saru is the underdog on the bridge. The story behind why everyone is onboard a Starfleet craft is what makes Star Trek tick. And Saru must have one hell of a story.
Honoring Bryan Fuller’s Vision
Bryan Fuller’s exit from Star Trek was less than ideal. After witnessing the triumph of American Gods, however, the decision makes a bit more sense. As the press tour carries on, it’s becoming more obvious that even without Fuller in the chair, the course he locked in is still being crossed.
There are a few hallmark Fuller items in the series. First of all, the name Michael. Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham keeps with Fuller’s style for creating female characters with typically male given names.
Second, having a black lead actress on the call sheet is another vision Martin-Green is fulfilling for the departed creator. In terms of story, the series is highly serialized. While DS9 technically did it first, Discovery will not be a series you can tune into at will. It is meant to be consumed as a whole.
Additionally, the Klingons underwent a makeover. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman noted at the Television Critics Association panel, “One of the things [Fuller] wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons… that they wouldn’t be the thugs of the universe, that they’d be sexy and vital and different.”
Klingons… Lots of Klingons
There are a ton of questions surrounding the trajectory of Discovery’s opening season. But one thing has been made very clear — the Klingons are going to play a huge role in the series.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) August 2, 2017
There are several different houses of Klingons heading our way. The choice to feature the Klingons’ complicated history, especially as it is one that pushes them towards breaking a standoff with the Federation. The best part of their inclusion — the Klingon language.
For fans who study Klingon, they will be able to understand the Klingon-centric scenes. For those of us who still need a dictionary on hand, subtitles are going to be present.
That Anthony Rapp Storyline
Joining Martin-Green on the bridge is Anthony Rapp as Lt. Stamets, the series’ first openly gay character. His love interest will be played by Wilson Cruz as Medical Officer Dr. Hugh Culber. At Comic-Con Rapp noted, “We actually get to see me with my partner in conversation, in our living quarters, you get to see our relationship over time, treated as any other relationship would be treated.”
Aaron Harberts added, “We wanted to roll out that character’s sexuality in the way people would roll out their sexuality in real life.”
And the cast could not be more excited about the story arc. “I promise you that we passionately believe in what we are doing. We want to do something meaningful and honor what came before,” said Rapp on the panel.
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) July 22, 2017
And a few things we’re not…
CBS All Access
Full disclosure, I have had CBS All Access for nearly a year. While it is great for binge-watching Elementary and catching up on The Big Bang Theory, I don’t see it being worth the investment. At $5.99 for an ad-filled experience, you get access to a ton of CBS properties.
While I wish there was a Netflix-type deal in America (like there will be internationally) I am still stoked for new Star Trek enough to keep it for at least the show’s initial run.
If the property proves to be popular enough, which I don’t doubt it will be, I hope that CBS does not choose the gate the content further or tack on an additional numbers to the price tag. With Hulu, Netflix, and opting for those cable apps and/or channels, it’s starting to get costly to watch your favorite series.
Mudd, tribbles, and who knows what else
Tribbles are cute. They are not necessary. Mudd is a horrible, creep of a character. Again, nothing against Rainn Wilson who is incredibly cast in the role, but this character is unnecessary.
In the initial discussion of all things Star Trek: Discovery I came around to the idea of keeping Sarek. I’m on board with Spock Sr, but these other characters feel like nods that are more of a strain on the neck than they are worth.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS, Sunday September 24 before switching exclusively to available CBS All Access.