Star Trek: Discovery

"The Vulcan Hello" / "Battle at the Binary Stars"

3 stars

Air date: 9/24/2017

The Vulcan Hello
Teleplay by Akiva Goldsman & Bryan Fuller
Story by Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman
Directed by David Semel

Battle at the Binary Stars
Teleplay by Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
Story by Bryan Fuller
Directed by Adam Kane

Sonequa Martin-Green (Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham), Michelle Yeoh (Capt. Philippa Georgiou), Doug Jones (Lt. Saru), James Frain (Sarek), Chris Obi (T'Kuvma)

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"That's the beauty and legacy of Star Trek when coupled with its already available library. It exists in different tones and time frames, with different visions and creative goals, delivered by different casts and crews — all at once. Sooner, later, and previously, there is a Trek to fill every need."

I think a wise man once said that. He might be wise, or he might just be a tool. Only a tool would start a review by quoting himself.

Either way, after 12 years of being away from television, Star Trek has returned with Discovery, which — after its first two episodes, anyway — plays like the living embodiment of the above sentiment. This particular take is "Star Trek reinvented for a 21st-century audience." Does it work? Yes, albeit with the usual caveats. This is a solid start, but far from perfect.

There's stuff to talk about here with regard to the substance of it all (although the plot here is fairly straightforward), but perhaps the most notable and unavoidable things to talk about (which undergird that substance) are structural and production-related. "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars" reveal Star Trek for the binged-and-balkanized TV era. These first two episodes, which really should be viewed as a two-hour premiere, play like an extended prologue for whatever Discovery ultimately will become. The series' eponymous starship (and its crew) does not even make an appearance; this story takes place entirely on the USS Shenzhou. And the major developments at the end of the second hour pull the rug out from under us in a fairly unexpected way, suggesting that episode three will follow the consequences of these actions and essentially reboot the reboot.

Because this is promised as a sprawling, serialized show with a lot of dialogue and slow builds for characters and multiple viewpoints, it remains to be seen how easily these episodes can be viewed as individual episodes, rather than chapters. My hope is that the structure will allow for a somewhat episodic viewing (and thus reviewing) experience, but time will tell. I will say these first two episodes together, and even separately, have their own story beats that allow them to stand up as episodes even as storylines are being set up, continued, or left incomplete. (Probably the best comparison is Ron Moore's reimagined Battlestar Galactica, although based on two episodes it's really too early to say.)

Let's talk about the production values. In a word: Wow. Discovery feels truly cinematic and looks amazing. We can probably thank the ever-rising bar set by Game of Thrones for that. The level of detail in the CGI and sets is impressive for television; this is modern feature-film-quality visual razzle-dazzle. The overall visual template is clearly modeled on the J.J. Abrams movies (with considerably less lens flare, thankfully, though there is some) but the camera (and characters) spend enough time admiring the beauty and wonder of it all that it feels more like we're being guided through a discovery rather than rushed through a plot. (That is, of course, before the shooting inevitably starts.) Meanwhile, the sound design is an amalgam of familiar sounds from TOS, TNG, and the more recent films, which helps ground us in familiar Trekkian territory. And although they didn't blow me away, the score by Jeff Russo and the opening title sequence are appropriately evocative. This feels Trekkian and familiar, but also new.

Set 10 years before TOS, this series has chosen an era that puts it in that precarious "prequel" territory. While I do wonder if it might've been better for Discovery to simply go forward rather than backward, I'm agnostic about prequels and don't think they're good or bad simply because they're prequels. It all depends what the story and setting are trying to service. In looking at what happened before the Klingon Cold War of the TOS era (presumably this will all end with the formation of the neutral zone, as it does not exist here), can this be used to spin a Trekkian tale for our times?

Regarding continuity, I'm not much concerned about updates to the tech to make the show look more aesthetically modern (the same was the case with Enterprise), including the usage of, say, holograms in place of the viewscreen. As long as they aren't changing tech in ways that significantly alter the capability of the characters, I'm not likely to object.

The storyline continuity, however, is more important. I hope, for one, they explain the radically reimagined Klingons in some way that holds water, as well as why we've never heard of the main character who is essentially Spock's foster sister. Supposedly, the producers have a plan, but we'll see. (That plan could always turn out to be "just forget about it.") As with any Trek series, this show comes with built-in baggage and will have plenty of minefields to steer clear of as well as plenty of material to mine.

Primarily, these first two shows serve to establish (a few of) the main characters, the tone, and setting ... before then ripping up that playbook. I felt they did an effective and efficient job of doing so. The pre-title scene on the desert, while packed with exposition, shows us the close relationship between Shenzhou first officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh, billed as a "special guest star" for reasons that become very clear by the end of the second episode). We get some rivalry/camaraderie on the bridge between the confident Burnham and the cautious science officer Lt. Saru (Doug Jones, in what already looks like a promising portrayal of a memorable alien character from a race of hunted prey called the Kelpiens), and this crew overall feels decidedly Starfleet.

The pacing is dead-on as pilots go. It allows us to get to know the characters and setting without rushing straight into action sequences. Instead, we get a slow build with a show-stopping, majestic EVA sequence where Burnham investigates a mysterious artifact that turns out to be Klingon in origin. Her unexpected encounter with a Klingon warrior (resulting in his death at her hands) is an incident whose magnitude you can only realize in retrospect; it is actually the first step leading toward open warfare.

The Klingons of this era are led by T'Kuvma (Chris Obi), who invokes the legacy of Kahless in long-winded speeches featuring much religious and cultural fanaticism that vies to unite the Klingon houses together against what he sees as the peace-claiming but actually aggressive Federation. His "Remain Klingon" mantra feels sort of like a take on "Make Kronos Great Again," but if anything, the Klingons here reminded me of the sort of overheated paranoia and rhetoric long associated with the North Korean regime; they exhibit a terminal distrust of the cross-cultural Federation, who, in their view, is conducting hostile business way too close to their borders. Hopefully Discovery will find interesting ways to explore current-day issues within this framework.

But the scenes with the Klingons are perhaps the biggest problem of these first two episodes. While there are hints here that we will see this conflict play out long-term at least partially from the Klingon point of view (there are flashbacks here to T'Kuvma's childhood), the scenes here feel painfully repetitive, and the over-the-top way they've redesigned the Klingons to be so otherworldly — almost creature-like — makes them feel shallower rather than deeper. There's also the problem of the subtitles in every scene with the Klingons. I understand that, yeah, these guys have their own language, but between the heavy prosthetics, the subtitles, the cultural mumbo-jumbo, and the vocal bass-o-meter, all semblance of coherent performances beyond "GROWL!" are completely lost and make the Klingons into cardboard villains rather than interesting or complex adversaries. This needs work. (The production design of the Klingon sarcophagus vessel is amazingly full of impressive visual detail, but that's not enough to carry these scenes along.)

A standoff between the Shenzhou and the Klingons ensues, and we get some welcome, if familiar, Trekkian debate about peace, diplomacy, and strategy, with Burnham convinced the Klingons are here to start a war while Georgiou urges level-headed caution. Saru just wants to get outta Dodge. Burnham's "expertise" regarding the Klingons is informed by flashbacks to her youth and conversations with her stepfather, none other than Sarek (James Frain); she was raised from a child on Vulcan after her parents were killed in a Klingon attack. But I was less than convinced about the titular "Vulcan hello" that is central to Burnham's key decision to first urge Georgiou to preemptively attack the Klingons, and, when Georgiou refuses, to stage a mutiny to do it unilaterally.

You see, the tale of the "Vulcan hello" was a logically calculated always-fire-first tactic the Vulcans adopted against the Klingons once upon a time to gain their respect through displays of strength, which eventually led to the establishment of diplomatic relations. I have my doubts that this could make sense and not simply enrage the Klingons into starting a war, and I also have my doubts about Burnham thinking it's a sound strategy here — to the extent that she would betray her own captain/mentor, render her unconscious (via a Vulcan nerve pinch) and try to single-handedly cut the head off the Klingon threat herself. She fails, because Georgiou regains consciousness in time to stop her (right around the time all the Klingon reinforcements show up). It seems like an insane gamble based on faulty logic, but Burnham seems absolutely certain about it. I don't know; something is off here.

Most of both episodes are carried by Martin-Green's strong and calibrated performance, which tries to balance the cool Vulcan detachment with an undercurrent of volatile emotion. (Watch how personal she makes it about saving her mentor, her captain, even as she claims it's the logical right move detached from her personal history with the Klingons.) There is a conflict here. Granted, this is a conflict we saw before with another certain Vulcan who was also raised by Sarek (and who is not mentioned here), and it will be hard for Discovery to live up to that template. It will need to find its own unique way of doing so. We spend some helpful time in flashback exploring Burnham's arrival on the Shenzhou seven years ago at Sarek's recommendation, when she was much more Vulcan-like. Discovery suggests its character development will be an ongoing journey where we'll learn more over time.

"Battle at the Binary Stars" documents the shooting war that erupts (perhaps too hastily) between the Klingon fleet and Starfleet reinforcements, while Burnham herself sits most of the battle in the brig for her attempted mutiny. She has conversations with Sarek (via a mind-meld-enabled telepathic link across light-years of space, which, if real and not imagined, is really pushing it in terms of Vulcan mental abilities) and also the ship's computer (which she talks into ethically letting her out of the half-destroyed brig through unassailable logic). The battles feature the requisite sound and fury and VFX — well-rendered and acceptable but not especially original, and with some moments of questionable strategy/logic.

A plan is hatched late in the game to smuggle an explosive onto T'Kuvma's ship to disable it, which our heroes do with some clever trickery by putting the bomb in a Klingon corpse (which T'Kuvma is obsessed with collecting — a piece of business that runs counter to established Klingon lore and something I hope the writers eventually have an explanation for). Burnham and Georgiou then beam aboard the Klingon flagship in a plan that seems like it should've maybe involved more crew members.

In the course of this plan, Georgiou is killed as Burnham watches helplessly, which we probably should've seen coming. T'Kuvma is also killed, just when it looked like he was the show's Big Bad; we now see he was only a temporary placeholder pending what will essentially be a second pilot next week. The fact T'Kuvma is so easily replaced without us much caring is not a testament to this show's ability to create individually compelling Klingon characters. Hopefully time will improve this, as well as other rough edges on Discovery.

In the aftermath of the battle which marks the beginning of the war, Burnham faces a court-martial for mutiny and is handed a life sentence in prison. Clearly she'll be given some sort of reprieve, but this sets her up to have compromised integrity when she gets to her next assignment, however that will happen. Putting the protagonist at her nadir is an intriguing way to start a show.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the casting of Discovery given the current political climate, where there's almost an irrationally reflexive backlash to promoting or even acknowledging diversity in certain corners. Casting Martin-Green as the series lead (and Yeoh as co-lead, at least for two episodes) is in keeping with the long-standing tradition of Trek's embracing of diversity — and, of course, a complete non-issue within the story itself. It's a notable attribute that of course will not make or break this series.

Just what will Discovery become over the remaining 13 episodes of this season? Will there be episodes that aren't about the war with the Klingons? Will there be some exploration and discovery? Or will this show run its wartime setting through an unremitting singular focus like Galactica did? We shall see. The pilot does what it must do — moves Star Trek into the modern streaming age under new creative leadership, refreshing the franchise while also staying mostly true to its most precious rules and attitudes. (If you want a retro throwback that lives in the past, The Orville is airing on Fox.)

Considering we haven't even seen the USS Discovery yet, I have few predictions of where this might go. But I am very interested in finding out.

Note: Expect future reviews to be significantly shorter than this.

See also: Should you pay for CBS All Access?

Next episode: Context Is for Kings

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271 comments on this review

Brian
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I actually didn't know this show was also airing the old fashioned way... just stumbled on it by chance, and missed the first half. The difference in the appearance of the Klingons is pretty jarring... unfortunately it seems like they are trying to "demonize" them since they are The Enemy in this show... they look much more menacing but also less dynamic, less like real people. The visuals are fantastic however, making me wish modern special effects were around for shows like DS9 and Babylon 5, two shows with their epic space battles and massive fleets would be amazing with modern visuals.

As a side note I liked seeing Lord Privy Seal Cronwell from The Tudors cast as a Vulcan, he's a great actor.

Getting used to a new show can take me some time so I'll do my best to keep an open mind despite my instinctive skepticism given the fact that it's another prequel. Right now the characters aren't impressing me as much as other Sci Fi series I like, they seem a little bland. But we'll see.
Iceman
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
I've only seen the first episode. Overall, I enjoyed it far more than I was expecting to. This is easily the best Star Trek pilot: good pacing, interesting characters, and polished production design. Martin-Green in particular really impressed me. I'd go 3 stars for "A Vulcan Hello".
Other Chris
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
War drums right out of the gate, huh? Broken Bow was better, and I could feel Akiva Goldsman's influence throughout this thing.
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
The first hour was the least impressive first hour of any Trek pilot. I'm all for backing away from ADHD pacing but it was sloooow. The EVA scene was glacial.

Sonequa is not a strong actress which of sge is to be the lead doesn't bode well for the series. Probably chosen cause of her profile with The Walking Dead. And the rest of the cast are cyphers. Even ENT did more with its cast at this stage.

James Frain didn't do good job channeling Mark Lenard

The opening to the Federation Klingon war was plodding. Compare this to the start of the Dominion War

If the story didn't impress the visuals sure do as well as the production design and the update on the Klingons was marvelous. Loved the idea of a sarcophagus ship

And while I'm not a continuity nazi the tech here is anachronistic to what the period calls for. I mean DS9 was toying with holographic communication in For the Cause and here it is part and parcel of communication
William
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
A bit uneven. On one hand, some of the visuals were fantastic, most of the space shots, on the other hand the desert looked really fakey. I thought Michelle Yeoh was good, so it is a bit of a shame that she is obviously dead meat for the next episode. The main actress, Martin-Green was a bit shaky, as sometimes she seemed to be overacting, but she did sell the scenes in space well. Not a fan of the new Klingon makeup, as they seem to look too much like the Uruk-Hai and the actors can't really emote under that much makeup. Also, I miss the old viewcreens. They've always been such a staple, and the holograms just don't do it for me. Overall, I am curious to see where it goes, but I'm not going hogwild.
Mr. Roboto
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
Well, I found the acting horrible, the pacing weird, and the plot lame.

Otherwise, it was great!

Oh and the directing was awful, as well. Every other scene doesn't need to be shot on a Dutch angle, jackass! Also, did you go to the Michael Bay school of directing? How about letting a shot linger for more than 1.5 seconds?

Is the actress playing Michael reading her lines so woodenly on purpose, as I guess she is part Vulcan? Is the captain part Vulcan too?

How the hell does a species get bred to "sense death?" Isn't Star Trek ostensibly science fiction?!?

The only solace I have is that TNG started pretty bad as well.
Brian
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Having finished watching the opening offering of DSC I would say I am definitely more optimistic than I was before I watched the pilot, even though I missed the first half. That said, I am still very skeptical as to whether this series will be able to challenge the glory of DS9 and TNG and become another "true" classic Trek show, but I think it may turn out to at least be decent in its own right (and have lots of eye candy).
Iceman
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
@Other Chris-Are you kidding me? "Broken Bow"'s the worst Trek pilot next to "Encounter at Farpoint".
RedSportsCar
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
You can surround actors with all the flashy CGI and colorful lens flares you want, but you're telling me after all the development time, you can't figure out a more elegant way to do an 'exposition dump' than two characters walking along in the desert, delivering said exposition? During the opening scene?? Naturally, they have to repeat each other's names and ranks several times for our benefit, JUST like people who have known each other for years typically do.

I laughed during this scene and it didn't get any better for me, either. Dull, obvious dialogue and endlessly pretty lighting. The artistic striving of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Product.
Tempeh
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
The whole entire time I was watching this first episode, I was thinking how great it would have been to have this show take place in the future, beyond Voyager. After all, the technology shown would have been great for such a time period: holographic communication, people on the bridge with electronics embedded in their heads, etc.

Instead, we get more re-treads of early Federation history. The show will always be in a "box," where everything that happens has to conform to the already established timeline. There will likely be continuity errors aplenty. Each one on it's own would be innocuous, but all of them together can further erode the stories we've come to love in the past 50 years.

The overseers of Trek are literally stuck in the past, and I fear that the franchise has missed it biggest opportunity ever.
Canjobear
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
The thing I like the most is that almost all the scenes and lines from the credits were in this and the next episode. So the rest will be new!
Canjobear
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
I mean from the trailers. Whoops!
Mertov
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
Notice: This is written before Jammer posted his review, which I am sure will provide much more depth.

I agree with Iceman's post above:
-- I've only seen the first episode. Overall, I enjoyed it far more than I was expecting to. This is easily the best Star Trek pilot: good pacing, interesting characters, and polished production design. Martin-Green in particular really impressed me. I'd go 3 stars for "A Vulcan Hello". --

I remember the general reaction when TNG, DS9 and Enterprise aired their premieres: it was not good, and deservedly so (Broken Bow and Encounter at Far Point being garnering the worst reactions, I personally thought Caretaker was not far behind but it garnered less negative reaction, although still weak). Still a toddler when TOS premiered, so I can't speak for that pilot :).

The space scenes and designs are impressive. I don't have a problem with the slow build-up of the first 35 minutes. I read in an article written by someone who saw the first three episodes that it was not until he saw the third episode that he decided he would definitely recommend it to his audience, and that first episode alone should not be used for judgment. I will do so, except I will not be paying CBS All-Access $6 per month to do so. Sorry, I find the idea of making Trekkies pay money (and still have to watch commercials) to watch a Trek show online "appalling," and I am saying that with the same tone that Phlox said it to the Organians in the Enterprise episode "Observer Effect."

I will either find the episodes "somewhere" every week, or wait until they come out on Netflix (or until I go to Europe, where they will have the episodes on Netflix one day later).

Only complaint that I have for now ---- > Too much lights, flickers, flares, thick yellowish hue, and a loud score... Together, they have a distracting effect. I had trouble hearing the actors at times. This is not CSI or NCIS. It almost felt like a video game screen once or twice.

Potential second & third complaint ---- > (Second) We were told ST: Discovery would be true to the original timeline, but I think (can't be 100% sure) there is a huge discrepancy. Wasn't the cloaking technology acquired from the Romulans?
(Third) I believe the Captain said that the Federation has not encountered Klingons for 100 years. Soooo, the two-parter from Enterprise was the last time the Federation encountered the Klingon?



Dobber
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Well, the Klingon makeover is universal. The entire high council had it (and did it have a woman? Not possible in their system). I guess we won't be seeing any augment virus OR TNG Klingons.
Rahul
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
After all the hype, I guess I'd say I'm disappointed. Overall, "The Vulcan Hello" is a mediocre episode. Definitely some cool visuals, but I'm not the type to get blown away by technology, special effects etc. Anyhow, this is Star Trek over a decade after ENT and the general public's taste demands this kind of production, which I think won't really impress the hardcore Trek fans.

As for the characters, Burnham is clearly the most interesting and Saru provides a nice counterbalance. It is a bit weird with the flashbacks for Burnham seeking advice from Sarek. Hard to get a read on the captain so far -- seems experienced, wise, but maybe not tactically astute. As for T'Kuvma, I guess he's a bit of a Klingon visionary but I'm miffed at how the Klingons are being represented now.

Do they not actually put the title of the episode on the screen anymore?? That is one thing I always look for when I watch a Trek episode -- really disappointing that I never saw "The Vulcan Hello" at anytime on the screen.

Now about the Klingons. Immediately, I was reminded of orcs. That's not good. It's also frustrating that they are speaking exclusively in their language -- really inhibits their character development. The effort to make them seem so new, alien etc. can't possibly make sense given how integral they are to all the other Trek series. Their facial makeup make it difficult to see any facial expressions.

Examining this pilot episode in the same way I look at all the other Trek episodes, I'd give "The Vulcan Hello" 2.5 stars (maybe a tad generous). The strength of the episode is the newness of it and I liked the idea of Burnham going in a space suit to investigate the Klingon beacon (like Spock in the first Star Trek feature film). This episode is definitely Star Trek, but I doubt it blows the socks off long-time Trek fans.
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
2 stars. Not an auspicious start

I personally enjoyed all of the pilots from Encounter at Farpoint to Caretaker to Broken Bow this was the worst. Very poorly written. All the other pilots has a sense of awe and wonder and/or a solid action adventure with interesting aliens like Q, the Kazon, Ocampans, Suliban, the Prophets. But here we got flaccid storytelling and warmed over Klingons.
Cosmic
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Hmm. This premiere episode was mostly alright. Like a lot of series openers, it gets saddled with obvious info dumps and with setting up all the characters, which is rarely the most interesting in terms of material.

The actress playing Michael seems like a more capable lead than Seth Macfarlane, but that is not saying much at this point. Her character came off as overly reckless at points, especially for a Starfleet officer. It's a bit frustrating and reminds me of the reboot movie version of Kirk. Not too crazy about her at the moment.

The interplay between the bridge crew was very welcome, reminded me of the old TOS/TNG days.

Out of the characters so far, Saru stood out to me the most. A hesitant science officer, who is tied down by his evolutionary history. Could make for an interesting character if utilized in the right ways.

James Frain was great, although I feel it would've been better had he played a whole new Vulcan, and not just Sarek. He wasn't really channeling Mark Leonard, so why not just make him someone that is wholly new? Maybe it'll make more sense down the line, but for now, it seems like a cheap way to be like "Aha, see? It's a character from TOS!".

If you don't care for Klingons or their culture, then oh man, you're going to have a rough time watching this episode. I happen to love the Klingons and I appreciate the amount of detail that they're throwing into those scenes with them. That said, their race has been "down to death" at this point, so while this new house felt unique and a little bit refreshing... it still kind of reeked of the "same old, same old" in places.

Like people have already stated - everything looks and sounds great, CBS clearly pumped a lot of money into this.

Interested to see where this all goes and if it'll achieve anything close to what TNG and DS9 did. It's an OK start to a show that will hopefully prove it's worth as the season continues on.

2.5/4 on the Jammer scale.
Michael
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
Well, I'll say this: we have finally found someone who loves the sound of his own voice more than Dukat.
Shannon
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Better than I thought it would be, but I will reserve judgement until we are at least 5 episodes into the series (I watched the pilot and the second episode ). Let's not forget, folks, that as great as TNG turned out to be, it started out with the blah Encounter at Farpoint, the just okay The Naked Now, and the beyond abysmal made me want to vomit Code of Honor. In fact, Season 1 only had a handful of episodes that were good. It really wasn't until Season 2 that the show found its legs and started telling some pretty great stories, like The Measure of a Man... This new series definitely has potential, and we have yet to see the main cast on Discovery. The special effects are terrific, but as Patrick Stewart once said, the key to Star Trek is telling a good story. The jury is out, but I'm hopeful this prequel delivers.
Jeanne
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
I loved it. The retconned quasi-Egyptian Klingons we're glorious and felt new enough to jump over my resistance to seeing the klingons again generally. Captain Giorgiou is great--shades of Janeway/Seven in her interactions with Burnham (more in the second half than the first).

Watched the ENT episode "Proving Grounds" immediately after and got command competence vertigo basically: seeing the legit tension Giorgiou has between trusting Burnham and respecting Starfleet's general ideals meant something to me, especially as I'm working through ENT and watching Archer's garbage whims pass as Enlightened Decisions. "The Cage," "Where No Man Has Gone Before," much of DS9: Star Trek just works when captains have to agonize, and I didn't even realize how much I'd missed that. Watching Burnham then raise the stakes felt legitimately dangerous, and I like that her mutiny didn't work--that there are just too many checks and balances on a starship for that to go forward. I like that there were bold choices, meaningful questions about how to deescalate a conflict, clear consequences that the episode didn't shy from. This is kind of all I want from Trek! Burnham even gets to outsmart a computer in "Binary Star." I'm more enthusiastic about Trek than I have been since I was a kid watching fifth season TNG.
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
Tng may have started out the gate awkwardly BUT they had a good cast and likable characters to carry it through rough times. DIS so far doesn't have that. I have a feeling this series will make Fans discover a newfound appreciation for ENT
Chrome
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
I need to watch the next episode to judge this, so I’m just going to post some initial thoughts:

- The visuals are breath-taking, just as good if not better than the 2009 era films.
- Sonequa Martin-Green is amazing, definitely nailed her role as Number One. All the other actors paled in comparison, even Yeoh. I also like the Michael character, which I believe is a human who attended a Vulcan science academy? Definitely makes for a cool background story.
- The first episode is gripping, and I can see this is going to be CBS’s crown jewel to make people want to buy into All-Access, which I still think is lame. Tempted to sign up because episode two is on it now apparently, though.

All and all thoroughly enjoyable and a great start! The only big downside were the ads for “Young Sheldon” which looks plain silly.
Cosmic
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Nice to see that some people really enjoyed it, I still haven't seen the second one yet. Looking forward to checking that one out through the... All Access trial... ugh.

I will say that Star Trek premieres are usually "whatever" in the grand scheme of things - Farpoint and Caretaker stand out as being notably mediocre - and this episode was certainly better than those ones. I quite liked Emissary and thought Broken Bow was OK at the time... but I honestly haven't seen them in forever.
Eric
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 12:38am (UTC -5)
I caught the first two episodes at a party in NYC. Not bad, but not good enough to make me want to subscribe to All Access. I liked the idea that The Federation went through a cold war with the Klingons but never actually fought a war. This has ditched that completely. I like the actor playing Michael, but making another prequel was a bad idea.
Phex
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 12:40am (UTC -5)
The best word I could use to describe Star Trek: Discovery is alright. It's not terrible, but that doesn't say much.
Somehow, the Discovery writers found a way to make Klingons unimaginatively boring. It's almost like them being Klingon was just fisted in there because it's a recognizable name. They are almost entirely un-klingon. When the leader speaks, he does so without much tone, and just stands there. Klingons are ferocious and rough. They move around and speak with their body language. But in Discovery they stand there balking at one another boringly. During a scene, one Klingon questions the validity of his leader's plan. This would almost assuredly result in physical contact between the leader and the Klingon. Instead, both hardly act like it's an issue. It's so mind-numbingly uninspired, I started to moan when the Klingons came on screen, which has never happened before.
The design of the Klingons is... odd. The show is set only about a decade before TOS, and they look nothing like any of their future counterparts. I was fine with the discrepancies in Klingon visuals between TOS and TNG because they made sense. TOS was prohibited by its budget and practicality in making a believable looking alien race. However, Star Trek's canon attempts to explain why Klingons look different is unnecessary. They don't even explain it in Discovery, either. None of it makes any sense.
The Klingon ship designs look like something ripped out of the Abrams-verse. The ship and uniform designs are so flashy and un-klingon. Since when did both the Federation and Klingon empire get such a fetish for gold? It's why I think that the decision to make them Klingon was last minute. The Klingons are the WORST part of this new series so far.

The Federation's depiction is OK. Burnham is sort of a weird character. Two episodes in, and I couldn't really guess how she would act in a situation. I'm having a hard time pinning her personality down. Conversely, I feel like I can't pin this show down much either. I don't get the tone or direction of the show as well as other Trek pilots or other pilots in general. It feels.... Akward? Then again, it's nowhere near as bad as I expected it to be. But I'm not really excited for future episodes. I am excited to see Jason Isaacs in his Captain's role, but I'm sad that the show will not be based around his character. That being said I'll try and keep an open mind.

Possibly unpopular opinion: I did not enjoy Michelle Yeoh's performance or character. [SPOILER] I am personally glad she died because I didn't want to see her in another episode.
Startrekwatcher
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Honestly if they were doing a prequel I'd rather they have just relaunched ENT. At least when it was set was a very interesting point in Trek history and would have added more to the Trek universe. The writers had some intriguing ideas in the pipeline that revolved around several different species from the Borg Queen to the Vulcans to the Romulans to the Andorians to the Orions to the Cloud Minders. Here looks like we are just having vulcans and Klingons and I'd rather see the a Earth-Romulan war
Dick
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:20am (UTC -5)
Against all odds I actually liked this. It was a nice change of pace from the frantic, borderline-incomprehensible reboot movies. Hopefully we'll see a little more collegiality among the crew as the show progresses, but "The Vulcan Hello" was a good introduction to Michael, our main character.

It's hard to compare this to any previous Trek pilot episode because it's so different in tone and purpose, and it ends on a cliffhanger. Lacking any decontamination chamber sequences, it was better than "Broken Bow" anyway.

Continuity-wise, the Klingons and overall production design are so wrong for a show set in the 2250s, but ENT had the same problem with anachronistic technology and alien encounters (e.g. Ferengi, Borg, proto-holodecks) in the 2150s. As long as the characters are interesting and the stories are good, I can deal with lapses in continuity.

I am somewhat concerned about Star Trek headlining CBS's new All-Access service. DIS could be vulnerable to the corporate meddling that left VOY stagnant for seven years trying to prop up UPN, especially if the initial subscriber count is below projections. Trek was at its best off in the wilds of syndication with TNG and DS9.

Other random thought:
- Though slow-paced, the EVA scene was a nice callback to Spock's spacewalk in TMP.
- The opening theme music is great. The title sequence itself is slick, but leaves me a little cold.
- So Spock has *another* long-lost sibling that no one has ever heard of before? Hmmm.
- The Klingon sarcophagus was giving me serious Stargate vibes.
JOEY L
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:21am (UTC -5)
I saw both episodes. And they suck donkey balls. All it was ''boom boom boom boom''. OMG, what happened to character development? Or some dialogue? I guess my Trek is dead. At least I have my TOS, TNG, DSP, VOY and ENT to watch. DSC is dead to me
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 2:11am (UTC -5)
So judging from all the reactions here:

(1) As an hour of TV it was alright, but nothing to right home about
(2) Continuity-wise it was all wrong

You tell me:

Am I correct in assuming that - given my known personal perferences regarding the importance of cannon and continuity in the Trek universe - I was correct to pass this?

Oh, and for all those who said that it's stupid to jump to conclusion before a single episode aired, I have another question:

Was any of the things I claimed in the past year turned out to be wrong? (Yes, I'm going there. After all the personal attacks that people like me had to endure in the past few months, I think we deserve an honest answer)
WTBA
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:10am (UTC -5)
I must say that I was really pleased with the first (and second) episodes.

Criticism first:

The pacing was a little slow, and the exposition heavy in the first ep. (I will save 2nd ep thoughts for that thread).

The theme is great, but the visuals are not very good. I would rather space visuals (as in TNG/VOY/DS9), but they seem closer to the ENT theme visuals. The orchestration in superb, but I wish it was matched to better visuals.

While I appreciated the Klingons speaking Klingons, the subtitles wore on me. I usually have captions on anyway, but having to read all the translations was tiresome (especially watching two eps back to back). Also, a quirk of the captioning, it would sometimes say "speaking Klingon" and cover up the translation. I had to go back a couple times (with CC off for a minute) to catch the translated lines.

Praise:

I was gripped. Yeoh and Green were very believable and led the show well.

While there seemed to be a concern beforehand that this was Trek in name and trappings only, I think the established universe (and my knowledge of it) made the episode much better than had it been new folks in a new universe.

The was a lot of emotional resonance. In part, because I already care about the Federation (and Humans and Vulcans, etc.).

There is a certain movie-ness to it, especially in the visuals. This does not feel as Trek per se, but it did not diminish my enjoyment. I did not want it to look like the 1960s or 1980s.

3 out of 4 for episode 1. Solid start. Eager to see where we are going. Lots happening already.

PS: I will say that I wish CBS did like Netflix and realized all the eps at once. I signed up for the free week and will pay for the next couple months (or whatever months the eps air), but I prefer the Netflix method, wherein I can pay for one month, watch all of something (say a new season of House of Cards) and then cancel again.
James Smith
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:02am (UTC -5)
I tried to like it. I really did. I can deal with the JJ-Trek set design, I figured I could rationalise the Klingon makeup change, I even decided I could live with the ship designs being a) out of place and b) extremely ugly.

But I can't get past the fact that I don't like very many of the characters presented so far, especially Michael Burnham. This isn't a bash on the actress - Sonequa Martin-Green is great, but Burnham is monumentally bone-headed.
JP
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:35am (UTC -5)
I love the Klingon language but when you spend so much money on eye candy you want people to notice it. That's not what happened in the Klingon scenes where I had to focus on the subtitles to make sure I didn't skip a line.

The heavy makeup on the new Klingons makes them look like the reptilian Xindi, expression (or lack thereof) included. Their new burial method reminded me of Voyager's "Emanations" in clear contradiction with TNG's "dispose of it any way you want, it's an empty shell". But my biggest issue was with the Klingons deceiving admiral Anderson and crashing into the U.S.S Europa while cloaked, where's their honor?



wolfstar
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:39am (UTC -5)
3.5 stars for the two-part premiere - vastly better than the last 4 films, Enterprise and Voyager. Best Trek since DS9. (Spoilers for episode 2) The captain is fantastic so it's a shame we're losing her already. Saru was also a good character.
Darren
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:45am (UTC -5)
Did anyone notice just how much like the Abrams' films this (and the next) episode are? The visuals themselves are much alike, but, it seems to me that it goes beyond that.

[Note: Spoilers for both "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars" below.]










- For instance, starting off with Starfleet officers out to save a planet / civilization? (Questionable as to whether the Prime Directive would allow it?)

- The whole Vulcan learning center? (Whatever especially those pits in the floor are called?)

- A young child, raised Vulcan, getting emotional from a distressing incident in said center? (For Spock, kids teasing him for and disrespecting his human mother; for Michael, the examination asking about the attack that killed her parents?) With Sarek there / near to converse with?

- A young child attacked by other kids? (Emotionally in Spock's case; physically in T'Kuvma's?)

- Phasers that shoot bolts, not in streams?

- Officers beaming to the enemy ship to retrieve someone, shooting along the way? (Pike; T'Kuvma?)

- A ship soon destroyed, with little emotional investment from the audience? (The Enterprise; the Shenzhou?)

- A ship that hardly seems practical, inspired more from space opera and fantasy than science fiction? (Nero's mining vessel; the Klingons' sarcophagus ship?)

- An officer being beamed back, just after witnessing the death of someone they really cared about? (Spock after his mother; Burnham after Georgiou?)

Did I miss any? These specific similarities / rips aside, if someone told me these episodes took place in the Abrams' universe, I wouldn't doubt it. Despite CBS' claim that Discovery takes place in the prime universe, with actual episodes now out, I think, at best, the argument of where it takes place hasn't yet been settled.
jb1234
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 5:09am (UTC -5)
I found this first episode kinda boring, to be honest. Not a lot really happened and the characters are very thinly sketched. Only Michael and Saru leave any impression, out of an entire bridge crew. And god, the Klingon scenes. What were they thinking? Dull, dull, dull.

On the plus side, there's a lot of money on screen, for sure. The people who love eye candy will be pleased. It'll be interesting to see how long they're able to maintain this budget as the series progresses. Is it just reserved for the pilot?

(It amuses me that Jeff Russo more or less has maintained the McCarthy/Chattaway era of musical wallpaper, albeit in a more contemporary, Zimmerified idiom. When you can hear it at all, of course. The mix is quite low. If it's one thing that The Orville slaughters this show's production design in, it's the music.)
Hunter
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 7:33am (UTC -5)
So, some random thoughts I had ..

Over the past two weeks I've been re-watching TNG from the beginning. I'm currently reaching the end of season 2, so it's going to be quite interesting comparing the two. I have to say that while Discovery has quite a few things down off the bat (set design, visuals, sound, ambience and so forth) but it's characters and plot are leaving a lot to be desired.

The opening scenes of this episode were so poorly acted, and the exposition dialogue was awkward. The pacing and dialogue did gradually improve as the episode went on, but it's almost as if that opening scene on the planet was the FIRST scene they shot together - I certainly hope that is the case. Michelle Yeoh's performance was lackluster, but she still had her moments. While watching her I briefly recalled a similar role.. I think it was Captain Yao (The Expanse) of the Donnager, which was one of my favorite portrayals of an Asian captain in recent times. She carried an on-screen presence that I really got a kick out of. It was a shame I didn't get those feelings here.

I didn't much care for Michael Burnham, I liked her even less than the captain - I guess we'll have to see if this character can evolve into something more than just a person inserted to create conflict.

With regards to the new look of the Klingons - Well, it had to happen eventually. If only they just had some hair... THEN they'd look a little more like what we're used to. As they are right now, they look more like articulate Night Walkers than Klingons. And what's with the different colors? Possibly an idea to portray alien races as not being entirely homogeneous, as they usually have been over the years? (On that note, wouldn't a warrior race be mostly homogeneous by default?)

Did anyone notice the use of sound effects from 23rd and 24th century Star Trek? I heard sounds that were definitely from TOS, while others sounded like they came from TNG, DS9 or the TNG movies. Peculiar choices, why not make new sounds? Also I didn't like the warp in sound effect. Seemed like it lacked bass. It sounded less like a powerful starship dropping out of warp and more like an insect being wiped off a windscreen.

Seeing the holographic communicators reminded me of that DS9 ep with Eddington. You know, if this was a show set in the 25th century, I'd be happier about that...

****

Quoting Brian "The visuals are fantastic however, making me wish modern special effects were around for shows like DS9 and Babylon 5, two shows with their epic space battles and massive fleets would be amazing with modern visuals."

Yes, but modern visuals can be done poorly too - Just take a look at low budget shows such as Killjoys for an example of that. I think the CGI in that show is actually worse than Babylon 5. Maybe the texture resolutions are higher, but the lighting and visual style is terrible and uninspired. Dark Matter and The Expanse are certainly a lot better, still, careful what you wish for.. :-)

Trent
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 7:38am (UTC -5)
Wow, I thought the first episode was great, with very interesting symbolism.

Notice that we open with the Klingons berating the Federation. In the eyes of the Klingons, the Fed's are an Empire who pose an existential threat which they hide behind altruistic values: "we come in peace".

We then cut to a desert planet - essentially the Middle East - in which the first lines are "Isn't that why we're here, we come in peace?" Our heroes, rather than drill for oil, then symbolically bring rushing water to a desert's surface. They're the good guys, or so they believe.

What follows is an interesting First Recontact tale between hyper relgious zealots (who hopefully won't be essentialized, and will be portrayed as merely a sect of Klingons) and smug, emotionally damaged Feds. Whether this devolves into a reactionary, right wing bash-a-muslim narrative, or something more symathetic or beautiful, remains to be seen. But as a sheer thriller, which touched upon and wrestled with utopian values, the pilot was excellent. The question now is whether Discovery degenerates into simpleminded DS9 styled war porn, or becomes something more hopeful and "humanitarian". Very impressed so far.
E2
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:11am (UTC -5)
I've only seen the first episode so far, but I can take a whack at this:

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

"(1) As an hour of TV it was alright, but nothing to right home about
(2) Continuity-wise it was all wrong

You tell me:

Am I correct in assuming that - given my known personal perferences regarding the importance of cannon and continuity in the Trek universe - I was correct to pass this? "

For you, I would say you have made the right decision.

This show is clearly a reboot, in the 'Starbuck is a girl now!?' Vein, they were just a lot less up front about it.

Beyond that, I liked most of what was in the first episode, and felt it was much better than just an hour of TV; I will continue watching (at least for now.)
Del_Duio
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:18am (UTC -5)
I have to watch it again but honestly I really liked it. Way better than I thought it'd be, and hey props for them even remembering the Stoval Kor death howl and Kahless which is cool. Too bad they look like the spawns of Satan now. I'll agree the whole opening in the desert was a bit weird and I think the captain called her "Number One" a bit too much throughout the episode.

The space scenes I thought were really well done. Strangely enough I really liked how it showed the ships from outside while you could hear the hail. Whatever effect that was it was pretty great.

And hey guys they have another Albino Klingon again like in Blood Oath!

And it did its job: I ordered CBS All Access last night, just haven't watched the other one yet.
Del_Duio
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:20am (UTC -5)
Oh and so far the only characters that really grab me at all are the lead Klingon, the captain (Yeoh), Michael, and that tall science officer alien who senses death and etc.

The rest are just faceless humans (for now) to me.
Alex1939
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:05am (UTC -5)
I thought this was pretty good! Only thing I really didn't care for was the main actress which may be a tough thing for the series to overcome. Did not find her very believable as a character.
Patrick D
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Woof. I thought ENT's "Broken Bow" was unappealing. But at least "Broken Bow" had some humor and took a little time to establish the characters. Here, the characters are 100% at service to the unimaginative storyline. Star Trek used to have time travel, parallel universe travel, god beings, and strange aliens that would teach us about ourselves. Here: it's...the Klingons...again. And the whole story is about a stand-off in a sector of the galaxy. That's it.

I hope this show gets better. I won't know because I'm not plunking down money to rent a whole new streaming platform to watch it. (I'll always have my TOS, TNG, DS9 DVDS and TOS and TNG Blu rays to get my fix).
Ivanov
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:27am (UTC -5)
I'm not paying for there stupid streaming service, so this will probably be the only episode I see, until they cave and let U.S Netflix stream this.

It was alright. I don't understand why they redesigned the Klingons, they could have just made a completely new species.
Robert
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:31am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi - I'm passing until some combination of the reviewers on this site that I typically agree with and/or Jammers tell me the entire season is worth buying on VUDU for $30/$40. Because CBS All Access can go oo-mox itself :P

The holograms/Klingons sound concerning to me as well. Although I am happy Chrome/Del_Duio seem to like the main character that seems to be a minority opinion right now. I'm curious to see how that back and forth shapes up over the coming weeks.
Frank
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Mixed feelings in abundance. And spoilers. And ramblings. Sorry. I am trying to order my thoughts by writing them down here, and maybe some of you can enlighten me.

I thought I'd hate the Klingons more, but I actually can look past their makeupt (even though barely). Great that they speak klingon. But there was a point where I thought "Those are not real people". When the Klingons of old interacted with one another (ST:The Motion Picture comes to mind) they seemed like they had purpose. There was a captain and a clear structure and a workable society behind it - at least that was what I got from it. In this new series, with the completely horrible ship designs and the changes to their culture (keeping dead bodies instead of seeing them just as remains) I thought "These are just some random people acting evil in a B-movie".

But then came the point where I realized that the Klingons aren't even evil. They defend their culture against Starfleet - and Starfleet gave them the perfect excuse by showing up in force, instead of leaving once they discovered the sacred artifact of the Klingons. Starfleet are the intruders.

But it gets worse. First, I thought to myself: What would Picard have done? I guess he would just have left to negotiate a border change later. Problem solved. Series over. There was no threat from the Klingons, they didn't lock on phasers, they just defended themselves from Micheal intruding onto their station, and they showed no sign of aggression. So why stay there when you are outgunned and on enemy territory? Is this system in any way valuable? There was a small sensor probe out there, thats all. It is not like the Klingons threatened something valuable. Granted, they talked about a space station and a colony a few lightyears away which could be threatened by the klingons - but they didn't, so retreat is the Starfleet option.

Then comes Sarek and tells Micheal how they made peace with the Klingons. And Micheal wants to do that now herself. But as he said, that won't work. And it is kind of un-vulcan to begin with. Attack the Klingons until they respect you? Ok, maybe but ... that must have taken decades to work. It just feels off, in an odd way. I just can't see Vulcans being the aggressors. Then the whole mutiny-shebang happens ... and then it's war already and the federation fleet gets beaten, and after that, instead of trying to escape, they try to destroy the klingon ship - by transporting explosives to a dead body that is recovered by the Klingons? Really? Would Starfleet do that when there is no need? The Klingon already told them they would not be attacked any further, why would he lie? But they bomb him anyway (and I guess he must have deactivated his shields, but that was never stated), and then they beam on board to capture the klingon leader and two human females beat two klingon warriors in a melee battle? Jesus... I get it, they are the heroes, but seriously ... Whats the point of having a warrior race if they get beaten so easily? Now there is no menace left. And worse of all, they even talk about beforehand that if the leader dies he will become a martyr, and they will only strengthen the klingon resolve - so they go ahead and do just that. They are stupid.

Then that scene with the star trek tribunal - all in dark, with shadowy figures passing judgement. Since when is Starfleet the Tal Shiar or the Cardassians?

I just can't point my finger at what went really wrong with this. The scene where Micheal is stuck in the brigg was meant to be tense, but we knew she wouldn't die, and why not just have her rescued the normal way? Why does starfleet not try to retreat?

Why is she named Micheal? Oh i get it "You shouldn't judge her because it is 2017 and a woman can have a mans name" and all that but ... why? What story purpose does it have?

What higher meaning are we supposed to get from these two episodes?

Why did Micheal say that retreat is not an option anymore when it clearly was?

Why didn't they introduce their characters? It is straight action after twenty minutes. How am I supposed to emphasize with characters I don't know?

Why is Micheal just a copy of Spock from the new movies? The whole "Non-Vulcan being treated strangely by vulcan society" is getting old, hell, even the "Oh, I am a Vulcan, I am so logical, yet I am not" was also done to death. We had Spock, we had Tuvok, we know what Vulcans are like - and she isn't even convincing. One moment she tries to be ultra logical, the next moment she tries to be overly emotional, but she just seems ... off.

Why is the crew behaving as if this was their first mission? Constant bickering, Micheal shoving the Science officer out of the way, wtf is going on here?

Also, what is with all the references to previous star trek? "We have engaged the Klingons" = "We have engaged the Borg", but this time it has no meaning. That line was great when Picard said it because we knew shit was going to go down, as the borg where then a real threat with buildup. Apparently everybody calls their first officer Number One now.

Having watched the Orville beforehand, I am really disappointed.

The Orville promised to be a contiunation of galaxy quest: Light humor and star trek spoofs. Instead I got a series that has only minimal humor and really feels like star trek, has likeable characters and that tackles modern day issues in a very star-trekkie manner.

STD on the other hand promises to be a Star Trek show but is ... Battlestar Galactica meets Star Wars meets the Walking Dead ... IN SPACE! Forced character drama and violence and meaninglessness. I really only liked the Science Officer - he was the only one who made sense throughout. The other characters had constant mood swings and didn't act like real people. Everything was far to quickly paced. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Trent
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:41am (UTC -5)
"Also, what is with all the references to previous star trek? "We have engaged the Klingons" = "We have engaged the Borg", but this time it has no meaning. "

Did you notice the series begins with a zoom out from a Klingon's eye, much the war First Contact did? I think Discovery posits The Federation as a Borg-like race bent on cultural assimilation. And unlike DS9 - which let all its morally dubious actions off the hook - it hopes to critique this slowly, before portraying the Feds understanding that they must evolve further into a genuine utopia.
MidshipmanNorris
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Pros:

- The point of view of the immersion character or protagonist has shifted. This feels interesting to me, I have followed the exploits of 5 gung-ho, go-get-em Starfleet Captains who win all the time.

- SPOILERS. This is an episode of Star Trek where the Federation gets its bony butt handed to it, both physically in terms of the outcome of the Battle of the Binary Stars, and philosophically in terms of the "We're the good guys, we want everyone to get along," mentality that Trek seems to have (60's-Era 'Wholesome Family Values' that TV was comfy with, I'd bet). Basically, "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars" take Federation principles and New Age Star Trekkian Peace Philosophy and take them over its knee. Just what I'd hoped, personally. The cotton candy-like "Everything's ok at the end of the episode" formula was wearing ultra thin for me. I've seen all 5 series multiple times and all the movies except for Beyond, which I didn't finish.

- Burnham is a neat character, but Sonequa Martin-Green is going to have to grow into the role. Still, her backstory (After Spock leaves to join Starfleet, Sarek adopts her after her parents are killed) and the later permutations of it which are played out in the climax of Episode 2 are hard hitting and gritty in ways that similar scenes in recent Trek offerings (I'm looking at you STID) have utterly fell flat for me. When Burnham is staring at the transporter pad after Saru beams her back against her wishes, it feels harsh, as it should.

- Echoing what everyone else said, production values on this are top notch.

Cons:

- As I stated above, Sonequa Martin-Green isn't quiiiiiite there in terms of her delivery and timing. You can taste the nerves a little. Not too bad.

- The Klingon remake, while interesting, also is overly loved by the camera a bit. Lots of scenes of speechifying by T'Kuvmah, and little interaction between Klingons or story about them...I'd beef up their characterization somehow if I were the writing staff. Cardboard Cut Out Villains aren't good enough for Trek, no matter how scary they look or act.

- As far as continuity, I am afraid all Trek fans will have to resign themselves at this point to it having been abandoned in the continuing quest to keep making new stories. The writers who write for Trek, since about the time Insurrection came out, have, in my opinion, started to thumb their nose at it somewhat more heartily with each passing year, and I don't think they are willing to cater to fans in this regard anymore. But yeah, there are 12+ plot holes in this thing being generated by the extensive backlog of continuity the series has; On the plus side, those who've never watched or liked Trek won't notice, and it doesn't affect the characterizations that badly.

I am not preferential for either the Prime or Abrams verse, I don't get into meta storytelling stuff when I think about what entertains me. I just wanna feel something, feel like these people having space adventures are saying something about the world we live in today. And if you look into "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars," you do see a reflection of what we are today. Peace and cooperation are enduring an inquiry where they're being roasted alive, and I can only pray that the world will come to its senses.

But this is Trek for the world we live in now, and I'm on board for it. I wanna see where they take this, because they can't just make it all crap blowing up for 20 episodes or however many they're gonna do per season.

Note: CBS All Access has certain ads which disable your ability to mute the sound from within their player. I muted my TV instead, but thanks for demanding I listen to your giant overcompressed person's voice announcing the side effects of Lyrica which can kill me, CBS.
Frank
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 11:33am (UTC -5)
@Trent: Hm, that certainly seems possible. It certainly is the Klingon point of view that Starfleet encroaches on their culture. I am not sure that this will work out in the end, though. If the Federation, which promotes peace between at least four named alien races, and stands for universal acceptance, is the enemy - who are we supposed to root for? The nationalistic klingons? And if they transform the Federation from an "invading" force to a true utopia - aren't we where Star Trek already was five series ago? And what would be the overall message? Imposing your values on others is wrong? Then whats the point of the Federation? If they can't expand their values to other cultures and unite them under their banner, what are they supposed to do? Guess we have to wait how the series answers those questions.
James
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -5)
"STD on the other hand promises to be a Star Trek show but is ... Battlestar Galactica meets Star Wars meets the Walking Dead ... IN SPACE! Forced character drama and violence and meaninglessness. I really only liked the Science Officer - he was the only one who made sense throughout. The other characters had constant mood swings and didn't act like real people. Everything was far to quickly paced. It just doesn't make sense to me. "

Couldn't agree more. It's the Abrams movies made for TV.

The Klingons were grotesque, like something out of a horror film.

I don't think I will bother to continue watching this nonsense.
Brad
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Caught the premiere last night, and the show certainly looked pretty. It also had some interesting concepts. As opposed to others, I found Michael to be a rather compelling character - she is clearly conflicted to some degree (her humanity versus her Vulcan training) so I look forward to further exploration of her background. The Science Officer was also unique and entertaining. I liked Michelle Yeoh, but found it hard to get invested in her character when I knew that she would be kicking the bucket soon.

My issues with the show so far are as follows:

1. Continuity is out the window. I honestly am confused whether this is supposed to be in-continuity for the Abrams-verse or the original universe. Certainly seems much more Abrams to me.

2. The Klingons makeup. HATE it. Too heavy, too fake. Yuck.

3. The Klingons motivation. "The Federation are too nice. Me fight them." Unless I missed something (which is possible).

4. Lens flare. Please...just...stop.

5. CBS All Access. No thank you. See you on Netflix.

Lots of comments comparing this premiere to the prior Trek outings. While I agree that Farpoint was a very weak episode, at the time of first airing I seem to recall that most fans enjoyed it rather than hated it. I will grant that the reaction was more akin to "Yay, new Star Trek!" than to the quality of the episode itself, but that is my recollection.
Jason R.
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
I really wish they had not made another prequel. I just have zero interest in this setting. Colossal miscalculation on their part. I think fans would have clamored for a continuation of the story and setting they loved (post ds9 / Voyager) not another backward looking retconn. I'll watch the series if Hammer gives it phenomenal reviews but otherwise meh, won't bother.
Frank
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Spoilers, again.

Another thing: Vulcan mind meld now works over thousands of light years? After the long range torpedoes from Into Darkness and the infinite range transporter from Star Trek (2009), why do they keep making the galaxy smaller and smaller? Whats the point of going out into space if you are just as close to everyone anyway?

And Michael was supposed to be dead after 19 minutes .... yet she lives ... without consequences ... and is healed in five seconds. Please, writers, could you just make up your mind if you want to put a character into mortal danger or not? Ok, Star Trek always had mirculous handwavy healing, but not in the first episode ... at least give us a little time to suspend our disbelief first.
NCC-1701-Z
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Sigh...

I tried, tried, tried not to prejudge this. I went in with an open mind and really tried to give this show a chance. I really wanted to like it, and I was willing to let some of the continuity issues slide if they told a good story (e.g. Burham related to Sarek somehow).

Sadly, I didn't like the first ep. Not one bit.

The Klingons are boring cardboard villains, the acting and dialogue is terrible, and the visuals are just too dark for my liking. If I want dark corridors, I'll tune into BSG.

Given the disappointment that Orville turned out to be (I didn't watch past ep 1), not to mention certain real-life commitments that take up a lot of my time now, I can't imagine myself paying good money to see the rest of DSC. I'll tune back in if I hear good things from my friends, but other than that, I'm out for now.

Then again, I said similar things about Star Wars Rebels when it first came out. Rebels changed things for the better two-thirds of the way into season 1, and I got back into it at the start of season 2; here's hoping DSC does the same.

I guess I have to fall back on Star Trek Continues for anything resembling Trek as it was. Sadly, they're wrapping things up this year (their last ep comes out in two parts in October and November, I believe). ST Continues isn't always on point, but at least they try to shoot for the stars. There's at least an attempt at the cerebral high-mindedness that defined TOS and TNG. (And John de Lancie guest starred in their last ep!!!)

I also have Star Wars Rebels for pure "escapist" entertainment, although sadly that's in its last season too.

Best wishes to DSC and those tagging along on the train. I genuinely hope it gets better and justifies my tuning back in, I really do. But if they want my money and time, they're going to have to earn it.
Elise Kehle
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
First of all, I REALLY like what I've seen of the aesthetic- a pretty good blending of TOS inspired chic with modern sensibilities. It'll be interesting to see if it develops as much as TNG-DS9 era evolved. The effects are a bit too Abramsesque for my taste, but they are well handled. Lots of new ship designs, few of which have any obvious parallel in the TOS era, which is troubling, but there are two elements that give me hope here. 1. T'Kuvma's flagship looks to be an early basis for the D-7 battlecruiser. 2. the USS Europa seems to be a Miranda class, which is a) awesome and b) finally shows what they looked like pre refit. A bonus point for the Zhenzhou looking like some cool designs from the Ship of the Line calendars, showing that this Trek has at least a modicum of respect for what came before, unlike Abrams nutrek.
Nice question to ask- what happens if the story of Kahless is not used to justify the status quo but to change it? Really makes the Klingons seem more dynamic. T'Kuvama and Voq have an interesting relationship, and I'm quite interested in seeing what happens next with them. I do hope they go back to smaller teeth prosthetics though, it's a shame to see such key characters speaking through muzzles with no great necessity for it.
As for the look of the Klingons, let's just say that the folks at CBS have done what some Star Wars nerds like me have longed for- visualize the Yuuzhan Vong. Unfortunately, this has no place in Star Trek, but I'll just headcanon it as a side effect of the Augment virus. I'm similarly disappointed by the look of the other Klingon ships, showing as they do no continuity I can see with either Enterprise or TOS era Klingon cruisers. (The absence of true Birds of Prey IS in keeping with established canon, although those smaller ships looked similar in wing, if not in primary hull).
Right away, it seems that they're trying to do DS9 again from the getgo, and I mean that in the best way possible. Streaming is also the way to implement this. Devoting the first two episodes to prologue, leaving the majority of billed main characters unseen is a gamble that no Trek series has been able to attempt before, and I think it really pays off in getting us to root for Michael Burnham, and to reintroduce us to Starfleet. This is not going to be another series where the protagonist is always right. It looks, however, to be a series where we can always get inside the protagonist's head, and this works to make ex-Cmdr Burnham the best developed female character the franchise has ever seen. She's more believable than Janeway, more sympathetic than Seven, and more dynamic in two episodes than Tasha, Crusher, Troi, Uhura, and Kes were in a combined 17 seasons. The only female characters to go through comparable development were Torres, Kira and Dax, and Torres and Dax both went through their changes as accessories to male-driven storylines. Michael Burnham (why the masculine name? Could Burnham be trans?) is already tied with Kira Nerys as a developed, believable woman with her own background, ideas, and personality. Her backstory of being a traumatized human orphan raised in a repressed Vulcan society, then latching onto her human coworkers and being loyal to them to a fault is a perfect setup, and it's honestly the sort of thing they said they were going to do with Tasha then forgot about. Burnham is Tasha done right, Kira done deeper, and there is a key ingredient- she's gotten to where she is, going a long way in what little we've seen of two episodes, largely through the mentoring, sisterly, almost maternal friendship of Captain Phillippa. Their relationship is a brilliant opening to the story.
The fact that Burnham was raised by Sarek is... interesting. Why would Sarek, who has been shown to be so outwardly disdainful of humans, not only volunteer to raise one, but show more tenderness with her than he ever did his own sons? (Not that that's saying much).
This brings us to the best part of the pilot episodes. Burnham's eagerness to explore the asteroid field, and Phillippa's indulgence of her curiosity. The effects here are stellar, and the best way to use modern technology to expand the Star Trek franchise. Seeing Burnham jetpack around the (then unknown) alien satellite, and her commentary (coupled with an earlier scene's establishing her as a anthropologist) go a long way to reminding us that Star Trek has always tried to be about humans' great capacity for, well, discovery. And as Burnham says, it is sublime.
Question of the week- will T'Kuvma's death ritual of placing Klingon corpses in coffins and using them as hull plating be rejected, leading to the Klingons' treating corpses as "empty shells" in the TNG era?
Overall I have to give these episodes a 3 out of 4 but that's heavily weighted. Great introduction to Burnham and Starfleet, not so great episodes overall, but they do what they need to do.
Startrekwatcher
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
I also frankly didn't buy Michael's motivations or the Klingons' for starting this war. It felt more like the episode was less interested in laying down plausible understandable reasons and more interested in just starting the war because the writers wanted a Klingin war
R.
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
I've seen both episodes now and they were kind of a mess.

As pilots went, it was better than the sometimes atrocious 'Encounter at Farpoint' and worse than the fairly immersive, tone-setting openers of DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. It felt like a very watered-down product lacking any real character or soul and it had way too much of the Abrams movies hammered into it.

I hope it gets better from here. It's painful to see my childhood paid such a disservice.
Trent
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Frank said: "If the Federation, which promotes peace between at least four named alien races, and stands for universal acceptance, is the enemy - who are we supposed to root for? The nationalistic klingons?"

The first line our hero essentially says (sarcastically) is: "isn't that why we're here, to bring peace?" on a Middle Eastern looking desert planet which is experiencing drought and severe climate change because of foreigners and their mining accidents. Our heroes then altruistically driill, not for oil, but water, which they bring to the planet's surface.

This tension between Federation as noble ideal and blundering force with its own forms of cultural chauvinism, seems to be the theme of the series. My guess is, the Chinese captain represents high Trek values, whilst the new male captain (a southerner and militarist no less) will represent very base, primal values. The dichotomy will be shown on the Klingon side as well. Michael, our hero, seems poised to oscilate between the two.

Who do we root for? Surely good Trek positions us to empathise with everyone, from the zealot-like, fundamentalist Klingons, to the "shoot first" and "don't shoot ever!" branches of the Federation.

I personally like my Feds as utopian as possible. But good political scifi critiques contemporary power and its systems of control, which in our world today amounts to a kind of goody-two-shoes democratic, global capitalism which specialises in raiding cultures, invading nations and impoverishing people in the name of highfalutin moral values (freedom, democracy, free markets etc). A Feds vs Klingons war narrative is thus only (arguably) morally defensible in our world if you do one of two things: portray the Feds as being just as bad, or mount a robut socioeconomic sketch of the Federation as a genuine, post-capitalist, post-scarcity, egalitarian society. The first one audiences will tolerate. The second, and more interesting take, means you have to go full commie. And Americans and American writers are incapable of going full commie.

So we will get a kind of moral relativism narrative in which the Feds are semi bad guys, whilst the Klingon's are bad but also sympathetic. This is a thoroughly formulaic narrative nowadays, where action movies try to have their cake and eat it too, simultaneously warmongering and violent and exciting whilst also begrudingly sympathising with the Other (who never quite escapes pre-war racialist overtones).
HH
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the episodes and am hopeful for the series. My biggest fear before watching was that this show would be all style over substance like the JJ Abrams movies, which felt more like action movies than scfi. I was pleasantly surprised by the slow build,roomy, open spaces of these first episodes - and now time will tell as to whether they fill the room with classic scfi or explosions only. As for the acting, it was undoubtedly wooden. but from all the trek I've ever seen, other than ro laren, Picard, Q, the EMH, Dax and Spock...it always takes awhile. If I could get over Sisko sounding - out - every - word and still love DS9; there is nothing yet to say that this wont be a classic. fingers crossed.
Trent
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Frank said "why do they keep making the galaxy smaller and smaller?"

Did you notice the Federation backup ships took less than 4 hours to arrive? 4 hours to the edge of Federation space seems fairly quick.

Elise said: "largely through the mentoring, sisterly, almost maternal friendship"

I loved this as well. So bummed that Phillipa dies so soon. The duo's relationship offered real heart and warmth.

Elise said: "Seeing Burnham jetpack around the (then unknown) alien satellite, and her commentary (coupled with an earlier scene's establishing her as a anthropologist) go a long way to reminding us that Star Trek has always tried to be about humans' great capacity for, well, discovery."

Agreed. Surprised nobody else here has praised this sequence. Indeed, it seems heavily criticized on other websites.
HH
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
I'm interested by the way the Federation, in its original TOS and then TNG conception, was designed to read as the fulfilment of the 60's liberal and meritocratic and multicultural ideal dream for the future of humanity - and this dream viewed in the context of the modern zeitgeist post Brexit, Trump and the recent European elections showing swings to nationalism even in Germany against Merkle.

Its an interesting real world backdrop for this fight between the nationalist Klingons and the Federation. I hope they deal with in an interesting a nuanced way - as they began to do in DS9 with characters like Garick and Quark who both appreciated and feared to cultural hegemon of the cloying 'root beer' federation. and also Bajor who knew to join the Federation would mean losing some of their identity as a deeply religious people.

Could be good themes if explored.
Dom
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Hmm.... This is tough. I liked the first two episodes much more than I thought, but they're also not great Star Trek. I share the general sense of relief that the show hasn't been a disaster so far, but there are a few small things and one big thing that really bugged me.

Like others here, the new look of the Klingons, the futuristic/non-TOS aesthetic, the one-dimensional depiction of the Klingons, the clunky exposition were distracting but never fatal. In fact, I quite enjoyed the first 40 minutes or so. I loved how excited Michael's character was to explore an unknown object. Exploration and discovery in Star Trek - who'd have thought!

Then Michael physically assaults and injures a superior officer, and that officer in turn draws a gun on her. Forget the whole Roddenberry concept of no conflict amongst the crew. That's just an insane behavior for officers on any ship, much less a Starfleet ship! The show never really sells why they behaved in this way. If anything, Michael, who grew up on Vulcan, should be more emotionally detached and pacifist. I really don't get her character so far.

Moreover, the situation doesn't really justify such desperate measures. This isn't like the BSG, where Tigh pulls a gun on a subordinate because any delay will mean certain doom for humanity. The Klingons weren't even attacking and there was no evidence that they planned to.

Finally, it just didn't seem like an earned moment. We as the audience haven't learned to trust and respect Michael or Georgiou. I don't know them well enough to be shocked by their actions. It feels like such a major development might have worked better later in the show.

Fortunately, I was relieved that the show does treat Michael's mutiny as a serious event. Ending with a court martial makes me think that the show won't rush through the consequences for her character.

Overall, I like the show enough to give the next few episodes a chance. It's definitely a fun and entertaining show. For what it's worth, my girlfriend who was a casual Trek fan during the 90s liked it a lot. It just I hope the writing improves over the course of the show. I especially hope the writers realize that just because you can have character conflict doesn't mean you need to or should.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
@Brad

"1. Continuity is out the window. I honestly am confused whether this is supposed to be in-continuity for the Abrams-verse or the original universe. Certainly seems much more Abrams to me.

2. The Klingons makeup. HATE it. Too heavy, too fake. Yuck.

3. The Klingons motivation. "The Federation are too nice. Me fight them." Unless I missed something (which is possible).

4. Lens flare. Please...just...stop.

5. CBS All Access. No thank you. See you on Netflix."

Be careful, Brad. People here get really pissed when you say things like this before the series even aired... oh, wait ;-)

I wonder what the "don't prejudge the series" folks are going to say now. Are we finally allowed to state with confidence that Discovery is a sneaky reboot of the TOS era? Are we now allowed to state with confidence that the creators of this show have zero regard to continuity?

I mean, it was BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS from the moment the very first trailer came out. Actually, it was blindingly obvious from the moment the very first promotion pics began circulating a year ago. I called it all the way back in November 2016, and I was right on every count.

So, are we finally allowed to say the obvious now? I hope so.

At any rate, here is a question I've been thinking about ever since it was announced that Discovery is going to be about a pre-TOS Klingon-Federation war:

Filling this gap in Trek history could have been a very interesting premise. It was extensively delt with in fannon (The Four-Years War, the Battle of Axanar) and getting a canon perspective of these events could have been quite intriguing.

But Discovery is throwing continuity out the window, which means that all sense of (fictional) history and continuity has been lost.

So given that, what's the point of interest for this show?

Del_Duio
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Would it be too much to ask that for those who have seen episode 2 already to not post spoilers about it on episode 1's review page?

Some of you have properly noted "SPOILER" while others haven't. It's not like TNG where the show's been out for 30 years yet.

Thanks!
Cosmic
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
(This post will include some spoilers for the first two episodes, then again, if you're reading a discussion thread for an episode that you haven't watched yet...)

So, I've seen the second episode now and I'm still left feeling "mostly alright" about this 2 hour premiere. There were some good moments in Battle of the Binary Stars, particularly the breakdown scene regarding Phillipa and Michael's friendship after things go down between them. It's a shame Michelle Yeoh is leaving the show so quickly, but I suppose she served her purpose.

Did Michael and Phillipa violate the Prime Directive in the opening scenes on the desert planet? It kinda seems that way, but maybe I missed something or maybe someone can explain it to me.

The Klingon scenes grew tiresome by the 2nd part. Chris Obi's voice feels far too weak for a leader that is rallying his people. ALSO - there is still no firm establishment that this whole group of Klingons is a special sect of them... it certainly seems to be leaning that way, but they need to blatantly spell that out at some point to placate hardcore fans. This part of the two episodes is my biggest complaint so far.

People keep saying "Is this the main cast? Only Michael and Saru stand out", etc. That's because we haven't seen most of the main cast at this point. Discovery, along with Lorca and the other main characters, will come in on the next episode. Kind of an interesting way to start off the show, but also kind of strange.

Going off of the reactions so far, Discovery is currently a "love it or hate it" sort of thing. I feel like I'm squarely in the middle right now. Some things are good, some things need more work or further clarification.
methane
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
The first episode left me intrigued, although it didn't make me feel compelled to see more right away (a side note: I checked Amazon, and you can buy digital episodes of the first season of "The Good Fight", another CBS streaming exclusive, but apparently no Blu-rays or DVD's yet).

It mostly looked good, except for when they put flares in. No more lens flares! The aesthetic reminded me more of TMP than any other Star Trek design, which is a bit of a surprise.

This episode was mostly plot. There was little characterization beyond the main character, and I'm not sure how I feel about her yet. Oh, and Saru seems promising. The big problem in the episode seems to be the new Klingon makeup getting in the way of the actor's abilities to emote. It's possible that I'm mistaken, and the director simply wanted the Klingon dialogue to come off as a somber speech with little overt expression (a bit strange for Klingons). If not, that might be trouble when the Klingons recur in this series.

So the pilot is certainly promising enough to give the series a chance, but we still don't know how interesting the characters will be, nor whether the writers can tell new stories week after week.

Now, for a few more complaints. If the stories are good, these won't matter much, but I'm going to list them anyway:

-No reason yet as to why Sarak. If there isn't some key story point there, they would have been better off with a new Vulcan.
-I do like a lot of Fuller's stuff, but naming a woman Michael is just silly.
-I'd like to see a little more color differences in the uniforms. It doesn't need to dominate the uniform, but make the differences in field stand out. That's an iconic part of Star Trek.
-For that matter, the ship sets could use some color.
-This may seem like a strange complaint, but did the bridge seem too big to anyone else? This is something else that I might take back when I look at more episodes in the future, but I would think you'd want a tighter set so you could get some shots with basically the whole bridge crew in one frame.
Del_Duio
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Hey Cosmic, this is for "The Vulcan Hello" and I'm referring to spoilers for the 2nd episode "Binary Star". It's not too much to ask, really.
Cosmic
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Sorry Del_Duio, I saw your post about 2nd episoder spoilers after I had already posted. My 2nd episode spoilers are light and vague, if that helps. I also included a warning.
Temp
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
People should not be posting reviews or spoilers for episode 2 within this thread. Wait for the second episode review to be posted. Anyone starting to view the series may come here after seeing the first episodes.
KosstAmojan
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Eh, Star Trek for kids. That's what Discovery is. We now have our own Clone Wars series. Or GotG (not GoT).

But visuals are outstanding.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Regarding spoilers:

Why isn't there a discussion page for episode #2?

It has already aired, so there should be a place-holder page for it.
Frank
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
@Trent: Huh, I guess this will end my posting carreer here, but here goes anyways.

Moral relativism is bullshit. Some values are good, others are not, period (not attacking you, you just brought it up, and it seems plausible that the producers are going for that). And that was always Star Treks stance as well - otherwise the show wouldn't have had any meaning in the first place. Worf had to leave Star Fleet to fight in the Klingon Civil war, and if I remember correctly, Picard forbade him at one point to take revenge, as he was a Star Fleet officer, and as such bound to their moral code. If your predictions are true - and I guess they are, it more or less fits with what the producers have said, including likening Klingons to Trump-supporters - this will be another "Bash the West" story. Exactly what I needed. Guess I'm just to bitter. But if I want to watch people doing evil stuff I watch the news.

Also, if you are right with your story predictions, the wise woman (Yeoh) is asian, the nationalistic anachronistic counterpart is a southern white man, and in the end everybody is save by our hero, the male-named female black woman. Oh, what a bold story that nobody has told before - except everybody in the last ten years, and this story, btw., is also the reason we have Trump in the first place, and a nationalistic backlash in Europe. Brexit (in regards to another poster), was about democracy, not nationality, as the EU is basically undemocratic. The decision-makers are not elected by the people and can not be removed by vote, thats why the Brits left. Now, I know that race shouldn't matter, and it doesn't for me, but today it really does matter, as everybody talks in racial terms. The way the producers of STD boasted about having only a minority white males in the cast makes it painstakingly obvious that race and gender are the only thing that matter, apparently.

So no thanks, I don't need that. Babylon 5 already did the whole gray-and-gray morality thing, and I doubt this new show will be any better. Hell, thousands of shows did the gray-and-gray morality thing. Especially in this time Star Trek should give people hope and make them remember what our species can achieve, not show them that everybody is an asshole (especially the white males).
Paul M.
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
"I wonder what the "don't prejudge the series" folks are going to say now. Are we finally allowed to state with confidence that Discovery is a sneaky reboot of the TOS era? Are we now allowed to state with confidence that the creators of this show have zero regard to continuity?

I mean, it was BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS from the moment the very first trailer came out. Actually, it was blindingly obvious from the moment the very first promotion pics began circulating a year ago. I called it all the way back in November 2016, and I was right on every count.

So, are we finally allowed to say the obvious now? I hope so."

I don't want to be rude, but... who the f*** cares about canon? ;) Okay, okay, I'm being a bit silly here, but not really. I am a hardcore Trekkie that watched TNG as a kid when it premiered so I'm far from new kid on the block. TNG and DS9 are by far my favorite TV Trek. Movies 2-4 are probably the best Trek movies taken together. But this fixation on continuity and canon is baffling to me. I mean, I like it just fine, hey cool, respecting finer points of what came before. But the heart and soul of Trek has always been in its themes and writing, not whether Galaxy class Type X phaser array emits enough power to blast a Bird of Prey in 7 or 23 blasts or if Klingon have ridges or if Warp scale makes any damn sense.

Yes, this is obviously a soft reboot, but so the eff what? It was always going to be a soft reboot because frankly there was no other way to justify the new aesthetics. And there WERE going to be new aesthetics no matter what. Even if this show was set in 25th century, anyone who thinks old races and earlier history would remain untouched is very much in error.
Frank
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Not caring about canon is fine - if you name your show something else every time, or have a show that does not take itself too seriously in the first place, like Dr. Who. They could have just named this "JJ Trek" and nobody would have cared about continuity issues because there would be none. Instead they chose to say it's prime universe.
Paul M.
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
Or BSG... Clearly an awful show for rebooting/reimagining the original...

I dunno. The amount of focus hardcore fans, be it Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, BSG, GoT/ASoIaF etc put on canon to the exclusion of so much else has always been so strange to me. But to each his own I guess.
Dobber
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
If it WAS a reboot, that would be one thing. But the producers insist that it's not.
Mertov
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
Just saw the 2nd episode (my first episode thoughts posted above, way above, earlier, and I won't say anything about the 2nd one here).

All I can say is... I am in !! (meaning, I recommend them, not "buy CBS All-Access," just to be clear)

The first two episodes together trump any other series' pilots in my opinion.

One comment about the opening scene in "The Vulcan Hello" (and I realize I am nitpicking, hard). Burnham and Georgiou have goggles on the whole time they are walking in the desert to protect their eyes from the sun and sand, but when Shenzhou approaches - not to mention the sand storm approaching - and sand is flying everywhere from the ship's closeness, they take them off... ok...
RichDixon
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
I saw the first two episodes. The 2nd episode was better than the 1st. There were some things I loved, and things I didn't love. It was a mixed bag. Things I didn't care for, I'll begin with the theme song. It's not good. It just seems like they were lazy. Where's the creativity? Another thing that disappointed, was the character development of the crew. I'm sure we'll get to know the rest of the crew later, but for now , they did not do a good job in introducing them. The dialog in parts was stilted. Having said that, Burnham is a great character with great potential. Martin-Green was solid. Saru also has good potential. James Frain was great in the few scenes he was in as Sarek. Klingons. Excellent choice to once again, bring them into the fold. I have always thought that the rich Klingon culture is one of the best aspects about Star Trek. I found myself completely transfixed with their scenes. The continuity was great, particularly invoking Khaless. Lastly, I just want to mention the production value, set pieces and effects. They are off the charts good for a tv show. Here is where I mention the influence of GoT, which has raised the bar with any tv show that cares to step on its level. That's a good thing. The end result is that we get a fantastic looking show. The 1st two episodes served as an introduction into Burnham's character. As the season progresses, I expect big things. Overall, I was pleased, especially after hearing the drama surrounding the production over the past two years. Good stuff.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M.

"I don't want to be rude, but... who the f*** cares about canon?"?

I do, and many other Trekkies do as well.

Other Trekkies, of-course, don't care about about it all, which is perfectly fine.

What *isn't* perfectly fine, is attacking people for having a different personal preference than you. And it becomes even worse when you try to cloud this personal attack with rubbish excuses like "oh, you shouldn't prejudge the show until it airs".

Look... There's nothing wrong with doing a reboot as long as:

(1) They admit it is a reboot (which they vehemetly denied. They've even boasted hiring an "expert on continuity", and for the life of me I have no idea what this guy has been doing in the past years given the way the final product turned out)

(2) The plan for the series makes sense as a reboot. This is one thing that the JJ-films did right. I don't like the specifics of the Kelvin universe at all, but the very idea of rebooting Kirk and Co was an excellent one. Discovery, on the other hand, doesn't make any sense as a reboot (which is probably why it was never marketed as such).

"But the heart and soul of Trek has always been in its themes and writing, not whether Galaxy class Type X phaser array emits enough power to blast a Bird of Prey in 7 or 23 blasts or if Klingon have ridges or if Warp scale makes any damn sense."

Very true.

But unless you ever saw me nitpick such irelevant minuta like exact phaser power outputs when criticizing Discovery, what you've written is completely irelevant to the issues at hand.

Also, you've mentioned "writing"... Well, one of the biggest strengths of Star Trek writing is the idea of all the stories fitting into a single coherent whole. Doing whatever you like while completely ignoring continuity is an example of bad writing, espcially in a franchise which has a rich 40-years tradition of doing otherwise.

"Yes, this is obviously a soft reboot, but so the eff what?"

That's exactly my point: Can you (or anyone else) really say in good faith that this is a "soft" reboot?

They've changed f***-ing everything.

I'll tell you what: If you make a convincing case for Discovery being only "a soft reboot" I will personally apologize to you and declare that you were right and I'm just a whiny old guy who loves telling the new kids to get off his lawn.

Deal?

"It was always going to be a soft reboot because frankly there was no other way to justify the new aesthetics. And there WERE going to be new aesthetics no matter what."

Why?

And please don't repeat the tired mantra of "we're not in the 1960's anymore" because this doesn't justify 99% of the changes.

Let us start with the most jarring visual change: The Klingons. Why? What the **** is the problem with the look they had in the past 30 years? And even if they HAD to change them, why make them look like hairless reptilian Xindi? Can you give any justificiation at all for doing such a thing?

I'm all for making changes when they make sense, but when people start changing stuff just for the sake of changing it then there's no way in hell it is "a soft reboot".

But let's take this one ever further: Even if we accept, somehow, that the visual representation of the Klingons just had to be transformed in this manner... why is their behavior so un-Klingon? The Klingons are probably the most fleshed-out culture in Star Trek, and the pilot of Discovery - if fan reaction is any indication - is turning its back on 20 years of Klingon legacy established by TNG,DS9,VOY and ENT.

So tell me, Paul, why was this change necessary? And how can a show that makes such a massive fundamental change in it's most prominent alien species can be called "a soft reboot"?

Back to the visuals:

why does the special effects echo the JJ-verse films rather than classic Trek? I know it sounds nitpicky, but why change something that stood the test of time for 40 years? How are "phaser bolts" any more modern than the good old phaser beams?

Now let us move to more serious issues:

Why give Spock a new step-sister? This really stretches credibility unless we're assuming the show is a hard reboot.

Why do we have an android serving on the starship of the 2250's, when the whole Data story arc from TNG pretty much precludes this possibility?

Why have mind-melds that operate over thousands of years and ships that can traverse the entire federation in a couple of hours? This isn't just "nitpicking warp factors". These are fundamental changes in the rules of the Trek universe and the stories which can be told in it. If Trek ships were anywhere close to being this fast, then 95% of the classical Trek stories wouldn't have made any sense.

And now back to the visuals:

Why do the ships in Discovery look completely different than anything we would expect from the 2250's? Are you saying that the very well known 23rd century designs cannot be updated to modern sensibilities?

What about the design of the bridge? Are you seriously claiming that the bridge of the NCC-1701 (or something in the same style) cannot be updated to modern sensibilities? They did a wonderful job in updating the tricorders and the communicators, and this seems like exactly the same kind of work.

Keep in mind, that since the Discovery *isn't* the Enterprise, they didn't even have to wreck their brains to create an exact updated copy. All they had to do was to built something that GENERALLY has the same feel. Surely this can be done without offending the expectations of a 2017 audience?

To summarize:

Can you give ANY argument at all for why all these changes that I've listed were "necessary"? I've heard people make this claim like a million times in the past year, but not a single one of them had ever managed (or even seriously tried) to support their view with actual reasoning.

(and no, saying for the umpteenth time "it's 2017! We got be new and cool!" is not an actual piece of reasoning)


Trent
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Some more thoughts on the pilot's opening scene:

"Follow in my [the Federation's] footsteps", Phillipa says, advice Michael will later disobey. Later Phillipa says: "What would you do if left alone? How will you survive?" "Learn about the local culture," Michael responds, the assumption being that peace hinges upon xeno-anthropology and cultural understanding.

The series seems to know exactly where it's going.
Trent
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Was the Intergalactic Mind Meld thing a dream experienced by Michael, or did that really happen? If so, that's the stupidest thing I've seen in Trek since the Nu-Trek mega transportation devices.
NCC-1701-Z
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
[*****SPOILER FOR EPISODE 2 BELOW*****]


(Maybe Jammer can move this to the proper discussion board afterward)



I'm going to tackle one part of Ep 2 HISHE-style:

Georgiou: "Great job, we've disabled the Klingon flagship! Now Burnham and I are going over there to capture T'Kumva!"
Saru: "Uh, Captain, I don't think that's a good idea."
Georgiou: "This is how Trek works. Officers do everything themselves with no backup whatsoever. We must face him alone!"
Saru: "First, that's Darth Vader's line. And second, since you'll probably hit heavy resistance, can't you at least bring, like, a squad of MACOs with you?"
Georgiou: "Oh, my gosh, you're totally right!"

[Transporter room]
(A squad of MACOs, plus one red-shirted ensign, are present)
Georgiou: "Okay! Now the one thing we DON'T want to do is kill T'Kumva and make him a martyr! So before we beam over, I'm going to double check each of your phasers to make sure they are set to STUN! Got it?"
MACOs, redshirt, and Burnham: "Got it!"

[Transporter room - a few minutes later]
(Georgiou, Burnham, the MACOs and a tied-and-gagged T'Kumva beam back, plus the redshirt who has a bat'leth through his chest)
T'Kumva: (says something angry and muffled in Klingon)
Georgiou: Oh, shut up. (to MACOs) You two, take Ensign Ricky's body to the morgue. The rest, take T'Kumva to the brig.
Burham: Well, that could have gone a lot worse.
Georgiou: Can you imagine if just the two of us have gone? One of us might have died! We can't have that this early in the series, now can we?
Jammer
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
Housekeeping: I was originally going to have two postings go up at the same time yesterday for these first two episodes. But then I realized there would likely ultimately only be one review, so I only put up one posting. To clarify, I will post both episodes 1 and 2 at this location as a single review, since this is really a two-part premiere "airing" on the same night. This was complicated because of strange nature of the premiere, half of which was available on CBS broadcast, and the other half which wasn't.

But I'm working on the review and it will be one review, so you can simply discuss both episodes here. Out of courtesy, you may want to warn of spoilers for episode 2.
sardin
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
The hand-wringing brought to you by the "I'm not going to prejudge" crowd (I would hate to see what it looks like when these people DO prejudge; one would need a bile mop to clean up the hate) would be laughable, were it not so sad.

Continuity as an end unto itself does not make something good, or better. If that were the case, James R. Kirk, the Vulcanian, and I never forget a face would be regarded as Star Trek roadkill, which they are not (they aren't, are they?)

Studying what constitutes deviation from established canon would require learning the entirety of established canon, a task that cannot be completed in one lifetime.

Therefore, the issue of whether canon is being respected is, to a large degree, in the eye of the beholder. Some people don't want to admit this, because such an admission would reveal that their "facts" are simply opinion, some more informed than others, but none perfectly formed.

And, of course, the prejudging-by-claiming-not-to-be-prejudging crowd would have grounds to complain even if total continuity recall could be achieved: in such a case, the program would be "slavishly devoted to fan service," or "overly self-referential" or "so beholden to Star Trek lore that it can barely pull itself away to tell a story." I would ask this crowd to name an example of science fiction entertainment that "worked" primarily because continuity (as opposed to entertainment value) was upheld

I haven't gotten into whether Discovery is any good (I think it is off to a good, if unremarkable start). How good the show is should not depend on whether it is a walking Xerox machine; it should depend upon characterization, plotting, production values, writing, acting, and so forth. A decent facsimile of continuity can be achieved if these element are there. If these elements are not there, well, how many people like watching paint dry, provided that it does so uniformly and at an unchanging rate of speed?
Red Arremer
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
Formulaic action movie in the form of a two parter pilot.

It's clearly post-Abm-verse, you can feel from the start the action-centric ship in dangerous space feel. Zero nuances narrative. For me, even more jarring to accept in a ST show for the TV.

Here comes the baddies from the get go, showing very little individuality (btw they seem to wear masks, bad choice). Can't guess the reasons to use the label klingon, could be anything really, if you're annoyed just rename them to whatever random species.

Withou spoiling the next episode the situation escalates in a matter of nanoseconds. Not that I liked too much the chilled pre-battle atmospheres of TNG but this is a bit out of place. Also, cheap modern terrorism parallels aplenty. The bad guys have warp travel and all sort of sci-fi advancements but act mindlessly (yes, much more than TNG klingons). Smells like generic space opera a la Star Wars to me, not ST.

Long story short: a tv action movie set in space but no sign of ST as of now.
I wonder how they'll deliver the bulk of ST narrative, which is almost all in self-contained episodes, with this framework. Maybe it will be a simple Mass Effect-esque story with all the episodes running on espionage, ships pursuits, battles, etc.
Startrekwatcher
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
Thats the problem with prequels they raise all these canon/continuity issues and overshadows the series itself. That's why they should have set the series post Nemesis. And frankly Trek has gotten too bogged down in recent years with an unhealthy obsession with TOS--used to be a special thing done once in a blue moon with an episodes like Relics, Trials and tribble-ations and the series could be it's own thing rest of the time. The other issue is too much of a focus on the marquee Trek races. They used to be used ever so often. TOS and TNG rarely featured Klingons, Romulans for instance. They told a variety of stories from character pieces to weird sci fi mysteries to occasional political intrigue to thought-provoking outings Rarely did they involve What one would describe as the staple Trek races. Instead they sprinkled them in here and there and did new things and created new species

Frankly I've had more than enough of wars, insufferable characters, hyperkinetic action and a fixation with TOS. I'd like Trek to get back to basics and focusing on interesting characters going out and exploring the unknown and having adventures. And stop with the trying to address some longstanding TOS question or contributing to an already bloated Trek mythology. Trek's initial appeal via TOS and TNG wasn't what Trek puzzle piece can we do an episode about. It was the characters, the ideals and the adventure. TNG didn't namedrop TOS or tell a large serialized story or constantly feature Andorians, Tellarites, Klingons, Romulans, Orion's, Harry Mudd etc. and for me recent writers' impulse to serve the Star Trek Universe Mythology rather than good writing has been a BIG issue. You know it's okay for an episode or series to have nothing to do With TOS or it's elements
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
@sardin

Nice how you haven't bothered to answer any of my questions or deal with any of the points I've rised.

But why not? I'll play.

"I would hate to see what it looks like when these people DO prejudge"

Seems you've completely missed the point, which is that the pilot proved all our "prejudgements" to be 100% accurate.

"Continuity as an end unto itself does not make something good, or better. If that were the case, James R. Kirk, the Vulcanian, and I never forget a face would be regarded as Star Trek roadkill, which they are not (they aren't, are they?)"

Sure, compare the early mishaps of the first season ever of Star Trek with a show that's throwing 40 years of established continuity out the window. After all, it's exactly the same thing, right?

"Studying what constitutes deviation from established canon would require learning the entirety of established canon, a task that cannot be completed in one lifetime."

Nobody is expecting perfection here.

Heck, given the artistic considerations, "100% perfect continuity" is probably not even desirable. There ARE sometimes reasons to violate continuity for the sake of the story. But you better have very good reasons to do what you're doing, which the Discovery team obviously doesn't.

But there's a difference between an occasional error and not even trying.

"Therefore, the issue of whether canon is being respected is, to a large degree, in the eye of the beholder."

So basically, you're saying that if a subject is really complicated and it requires many years of study, then we can just make up stuff as we please instead of actually studying the subject?

This statement is so silly that it isn't even worthy of a rebuttal.

"And, of course, the prejudging-by-claiming-not-to-be-prejudging crowd would have grounds to complain even if total continuity recall could be achieved"

Guess that's why I loved every iteration of Trek from TOS to ENT. That's 28 seasons of stuff, in many different styles spanning over nearly 40 years of television.

"...in such a case, the program would be "slavishly devoted to fan service..."

You mean like:

Relics [TNG]
Trial and Tribble-ation [DS9]
Flashback [VOY]
In a Mirror, Darkly [ENT] ?

Loved all those shows.

"...overly self-referential..."

What does that even mean in this context?

"...so beholden to Star Trek lore that it can barely pull itself away to tell a story..."

Which would be valid criticism against an episode guilty of this sin... Yet I can't think of a single Trek epsiode that gave me this impression (and that's over 700 items to pick from).

Boy, I really *am* an impossible-to-please grumpy old geezer, ain't I? 28 years worth of Trek episodes, and I loved them all. Still do.

"I would ask this crowd to name an example of science fiction entertainment that "worked" primarily because continuity (as opposed to entertainment value) was upheld"

It's not an "this or that" proposition.

A good sci fi show needs both entertainment value and continuity to work. And Star Trek, during its first 40 years, had both.

"I haven't gotten into whether Discovery is any good (I think it is off to a good, if unremarkable start). How good the show is should not depend on whether it is a walking Xerox machine; it should depend upon characterization, plotting, production values, writing, acting, and so forth."

Finally, something I can agree with.

And if you search my posts here over the past years, you'll see that I've never claimed Discovery will "be bad". I openly stated that it might turn out to be a good sci fi series.

What I did say, was that this show has turned its back on the franchise's 40-years-long rich legacy. And so far, you've said nothing that puts this assessment of mine into question.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
@StarTrekWatcher
"Thats the problem with prequels they raise all these canon/continuity issues and overshadows the series itself. That's why they should have set the series post Nemesis."

Yet they didn't. And you know why?

Because it was CBS's intention to do a hard reboot of the TOS era. They are doing an 1984-style rewrite of Trek history and hoping the fans won't notice it if they repeat the lie of "we're respecting continuity!" enough times.

If they actually wanted to make a genuine prequel, it might have turned alright. But that's not what they want, so it isn't what we're getting.

Frank
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
@Trent: It seemed to really be long range communication. At least there were none of the normal tells that it would be a dream sequence. She got her eyes open all the time IIRC.
Chrome
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Ah, finally saw “Battle at the Binary Stars", so SPOILERS may follow:

I’m not sure any Trek series has started off with such a heated conflict. Commenters above called this a standoff, but this was nothing less than the first large-scale battle between the Federation and the Klingons. So if you were hoping for DS9-like battle-heavy scenes from the get go, you were in for a treat with this.

Like I said earlier, Burnham lit the show on fire by coming off as both intelligent and conflicted. Her Vulcan connection made her easier to sympathize with vis-a-vis Sarek and Captain Philippa, but you could always see that something volatile was boiling underneath Burnham’s calm exterior.

And really who could blame the poor First Officer for being upset? Here, we have a Starfleet recipe for disaster where its protocols to establish a peaceful Union get it in trouble with an enemy who cares not for peaceful exploration and only understands the iron fist. A few understandable but botched interactions and the aforementioned battle ensues.

Discovery’s symbolism is ripe for the picking with religious and terrorist allegories. What happened between the Klingons, Vulcan, and the Federation in the past remains unclear but we get pieces and vision of the past in the popular Lost-style flashback manner. Thankfully, none of these were too long, but they do deliver enough exposition to give drive to the intensifying battle that surrounds this story.

The ending is a merciless downer, where Burnham takes full responsibility for the escalating violence and is sentenced to a life in prison. Here, I’m reminded of Paris in “Caretaker”, and I know from from the previews attached to the ending that Number One is in for rehabilitation and perhaps redemption.

So with all this prologue abound, I liked this. This is an “Emissary”-level of fascinating backdrop, and that’s in a new Star Trek series! I suppose the acting of the support cast was less than stellar, and the Klingon scenes are a bit too drawn out, but those are minor blemishes to this shining start.

3.5 Stars

Joy of the Trek
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, I didn't enjoy it too much. Michael is not believable as a first officer. She is so unrefined that it's more believable that she would be an Ensign, like Ensign Ro, passionate, perhaps right most of the time, but lacking self-control and defiant. She seems so "green" like she has little experience. I am convinced the actor who plays her has never seen an episode of any Trek in her life. Her delivery of lines makes me feel like I'm watching an HBO drama instead. The cinematography and just the whole feel of the show is more reminiscent of Star Wars, which highly offends me. I am defiantly an either or kinda person and Wars looses. Period! LOL The whole thing just doesn't feel like Trek. I'm on the fence with the redo of the Klingons. I liked the hologram communications and the graphics and special effects are impressive. Eh...we'll see.
Garak
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 12:33am (UTC -5)
I liked that the show attempted a darker tone. I embrace more serialization, in general. I can forgive a relaxation of continuity if the stories are done well.

However, the effects and visuals were decidedly Abramesque and, frankly, lacking in key ways, especially during aspects of the battles. The Klingons were portrayed in an unforgivably poor way. Subtitles, costumes, makeup, bizarre Egyptian mythos, but-most importantly- they lacked any meaningful balance as credible villains in the story. Without wholesale changes, I see no way to remedy what they've done going forward, either.

I liked the bravery to do something new with the protagonist, but they went too far. Burnham comes away as unbelievably impulsive, completely out of place in the trek universe. Her knee-jerk reaction destroyed any credibility she might have had as a character.

Speaking of character, were there any others in the pilot? The captain was the most likeable aspect of the first episodes, despite some eye-popping moments, but she's gone. Saru was terribly minor, way too fussy, and hardly memorable at all. Sarek bore no resemblance to Leonard, and his portrayal of Vulcan society seems far more linked to the new than old Trek. The whole foster sister plot seems totally forced. Given its rediculous breach of continuity, I can only hope that the Sarek/Burnham relationship adds more meaning down the road.

Trek's meant to be on television. It's been too long. I want to embrace this latest iteration. Certainly, the other series pilots have had their warts as well. Hopefully, the coming episodes sail a truer, more sensible course.
Bobs
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Loved it. Great start to the new series. I'm looking forward to seeing how the emotionally damaged First Officer gets on with her new crew (hopefully the science officer is on it)

Cosmic
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:48am (UTC -5)
Great review as always, Jammer, even though I don't necessarily agree with the overall rating. After seeing both of the episodes, I would give both parts a 2.5/4 on your rating scale. It was an average start to a show that could turn out to be worthwhile... or maybe not. Too soon to tell, especially considering that this was a pilot without most of it's main cast.

More of my thoughts on the "two part premiere":
"Oh, come on..." were the words I uttered when Michael intentionally shot T'Kuvma on a kill setting. It was YOUR plan to capture him... you did the exact thing that you were trying to avoid... very logical. Clearly all of those Vulcan lessons had no impact on her as she grew up. It's hard to gather sympathy for a character that is so utterly reckless.

So yeah - Michael is the most frustrating central character that this franchise has ever set upon us. I get the feeling that this is intentional. With her being dishonorably stripped of rank, she is clearly being set up for some sort of redemptive story arc throughout this season. I hope I come out liking her by the end of it, because right now? Not so much.

Somebody pointed out that a "Vulcan Hello" that involves blowing up Klingon ships seemed very un-Vulcan and I would agree. The writers should've written it as them "disabling" Klingon ships. Their ships are more advanced that Klingon ships, so it wouldn't be hard for them to do so. Fixed it.... come on, writers.

The Sarek/Michael katra thing doesn't seem that far-fetched considering they did something similar with Trip/T'Pol on Enterprise. Also, a katra was "carried" and used to resurrect a whole person in Search for Spock. So, that part didn't bother me, because it seemed in line with the crazy mystical ways that they've used it in the past.

Looking forward to seeing if this show actually lives up to it's namesake. If not, there's always 700+ episodes to go back and enjoy instead.
Vulcan Logick
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:23am (UTC -5)
(Spoilers)
I loved it. The look and feel of it is amazing. These 2 first episodes made alot of bold moves, which I respect. Unlike Enterprise, I actually care about the characters. Why couldn't they have killed off Capt. Golly Gee Willickers off in the 2ND episode? Which brings me to: Discovery is miles and miles better than Enterprise. Thank Kahless!

I thought Captain Philippa Georgiou was pretty damn good and enjoyed her introduction and the way she went over Michaels head to use their steps to trace a combadge to alert the ship of their location. I liked her witty and sarcastic sense of humor, it's a damn shame she went the way she did.
I kept waiting for a life sign to whimper so she could be brought back to the ship. :(

The Klingons, yes I hate reading subtitles like everyone else but I think we're moving away from that, as you can see towards the end of the episode. Some of you brought up some good points that they should be more animated, I'll give that one to you but it's not enough to make me cry in my beer. I like what Jammer said about them being analogous to the N.Koreans, altho my first impression was Islam, or at least the radicalized manifestations of it. The Klingon houses finding a common enemy to unite behind is very much the same kind of sentiment that bin laden used to rally the sunni tribes together to fight the West.

Michael. We need to know more about her. I agree that her mutiny may not have been completely justified but judging by the preview for episode 3, it seems necessary to put her in that spot, as being a sort of outsider and on the fringes of the federation. I see a lot of Capt. Kirk and to a lesser degree Spock in her. *hint hint* I don't want to give my predictions away because I'm usually right and don't want to ruin it, but I think I can see where this is going ;)

Ok, I have a lot more to say and ground to cover but it's 3am and I need sleep. I'll see you guys later.

karatasiospa
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Let me say it straight: the last thig i wanted to see in a new star trek series is a war with the klingons. They were allways cardboard villains ( allthough DS9 tried to give them some depth ). Unfortunately the new klingons are even more so. After all even in a prequel series there were so many stories to tell why the klingons? And if the whole season will be about this war why not rewatch BSG? What more there is to be said about war, fanaticism etc beyond BSG?
The sow's name is Discovery, the name of the ship is Discovery ( or at least it it will be from the next episode ). And exactly what they discovered? the Klingons?
I don't mind the change in the design of the ships ( unavoidable in a 2017 show). But i still try to find the theme of this show. The first episode had, occasionally, some depth but no defining theme came out of it. The second was an action episode. It was well acted (mostly not allways) with impressive visuals (allthough, unfortunately with lens flares my god why they do that? ) and some promising moments. I suppose i must wait for the next episodes to judge. But it is propable that Fuller's departure left the show in the hands of people who don't know exactly what they want to do.
2.5 stars from me.
Rahul
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:00am (UTC -5)
My thoughts on the 2nd DSC episode "Battle at the Binary Stars" after a re-watch on Monday 9/25.

Will reiterate my disappointment at DSC is not putting the title of the episodes on the screen anymore...

We get the flashback of the initial meeting between the captain and Burnham -- starts out pretty acerbic, reminds me of 7 of 9 meeting Janeway. Still struggling to understand how Burnham could subdue the captain and expect to get away with it -- all for TV, I suppose. I wonder how ofter Sarek is going to be showing up for Burnham either through Vulcan long-distance "communication" or katra stuff... Did they mention Spock at all here as a half-brother or whatever of Burnham?

Overall, I'm not a fan of the Burnham character -- definitely not Vulcan in her behavior, highly volatile as a human with poor judgment, staging a mutiny in the opening episode...

Anyhow, the battle scenes weren't anything special as compared to prior Trek series (mainly DS9). But what was pretty cool was seeing the damaged Shenzhou and how the brig is just there with open space just beyond the forcefield. Nice touch there.

Some clever stuff here with disabling a Klingon ship by sending a warhead to a dead Klingon body in space getting tractored into the ship. This seemed odd to me -- aren't Klingons supposed to consider the dead bodies useless empty shells?

The episode does leave some serious question marks as Burnham is sentenced to life in prison for mutiny and other charges while the captain is apparently killed while trying to take T'Kuvma as a prisoner. So is the 3rd episode going to fill in what happened before this episode or do we go forward from here? This would mean seeing more Capt. Georgiou. Or is her part totally done and Burnham gets a reprieve and we continue forward?

The ending wrapped up real quick with Burnham's trial (which is pretty much a no-brainer). And T'Kuvma dies and we are left to assume the captain is dead. What's disappointing is the Klingons -- they were way more interesting in prior Trek episodes. Can they not just speak English?? I can't help thinking that fight scene with the 2 females on board the Klingon ship was a lot like in "The Hobbit" where the elven female battled one of the pale orcs (Bolg son of Azog).

This opener did set the stage of a major event and the fallout is about to come. It was about character development but the one character most interesting to me is Saru. Burnham's character is conflicted and a bit of an unpredictable mess.

2.5 stars for "The Vulcan Hello/Battle at the Binary Stars" -- definitely nothing exceptional in terms of battle scenes (might have helped not to have all the asteroids around) or plot, some Klingon deception, some cool visuals, and I'm left with a somewhat unsatisfied feeling -- we start anew in the 3rd episode with, presumably the introduction of the USS Discover, Captain Lorca etc.
Nic
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:52am (UTC -5)
The only thing I can say for certain based on this "prologue" is that I am not a fan of the J.J.Abrams-inspired visual style (color filters, lens flares, overuse of Dutch angles, phaser shots that sound like an 80s video game, etc.).

As for the things that actually matter (writing, acting, etc.), we'll see. Compared with other Trek pilots (especially TNG's and DS9's), this was more plot and action-oriented, so most of the characters don't make much of an impression (and obviously, a lot of the regulars haven't even been introduced yet). Martin-Green is a serviceable lead, and if previous series are any indication, she will improve with time, so that's promising.

I for one wouldn't mind not seeing the Klingons again until the season finale, giving us time to get to know the characters and, you know, do some actual EXPLORATION. But I don't have high hopes for that actually happening. When I saw the cast list, I had this idea that the story would follow both the Discovery and the Shenzou simultaneously, on different missions that would end up being interconnected. That would have been cool. But I'll try to judge the series based on what it is trying to be rather than what I want it to be.
james
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Awesome. Star Trek Lives.
Mark
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 8:20am (UTC -5)
The negatives outweigh the positives for me with this show.

First, I love the actress who plays Burnham. She plays her as exactly what a Starfleet first officer should be. Strong, smart, capable, bold... and then Burnham decided to mutiny for Plot Contrivance reasons and that ruined her character for me.

Let's be clear: just because the Vulcans--after the Klingons had already attacked them in a previous encounter--came up with the idea of shooting first in all subsequent Klingon encounters, that doesn't mean the same approach would necessarily work with Starfleet. Maybe the Klingons were impressed that the relentlessly logical and essentially pacifist Vulcans were willing to embrace violence--to act like Klingons, basically--to deal with them. Maybe being attacked first by Starfleet wouldn't engender the same admiration from the Klingons. Regardless, the ethos of the Federation is, "We don't shoot first." The captain said it and it's true and Moreover, this must be the kind of thing that is drilled into officers' heads over and over at the academy. For Burnham to discard this and actually stage a mutiny is bewildering, especially considering the close relationship she's supposed to have with her captain. Why do the Klingons case such a sense of panic among this bridge crew? It took me right out of the show.

Burnham's casual decision to mutiny over, essentially, a question of mere battle tactics reminded me of the Abrams movies' casual disregard for the command structure and military traditions of Starfleet. In the first Abrams movie we had fistfights on the bridge and academy graduates taking over for seasoned officers, culminating in Kirk himself mutinying but then being promoted from, at best, a lieutenant, all the way up to Captain over a matter of days. In the Abrams version of Starfleet, I can see bridge officers engaging in mutiny over a relatively small thing like battle tactics. In the real Trek universe? It would never, ever happen. Add in the Abrams-style Klingons and I think this show takes place in the Abrams continuity. Certainly, I don't consider it canon.

The new alien, Lt. Saru, looked great and had an intriguing backstory. I also liked his banter with Burnham. But his suggestion that they retreat from the Klingon ship was taking his self-preservation instinct a step too far. A Starfleet vessel, retreating from FEDERATION space at the mere sight of a Klingon ship? I'm not sure why the writers want us to see the Klingons as a menace on par with the Borg, but it's a head scratcher, and the bridge crew was acting like deer caught in headlights at the mere sight of them. You'd think this crew had never encountered a hostile alien species before.

And why are we focusing on the Klingons at all? TNG and DS9 did them to death. Why not create a new alien species rather than change an existing one? I also found it objectionable that they decided to change Spock's backstory: now he had a step-sister. Why? If the writers wanted a human character raised by Vulcans, fine, but why did they have to pick Sarek? Burnham's adoptive parents could have been any Vulcan family. Stop trying to change the canon. Create something new!

I guess the best summation of my feelings about Discovery is that I watched the first episode and didn't sign up for CBS All Access to watch the second. I'm not a fan of Abrams-style Trek, or silly plot contrivances.

And, oh yeah--I don't like the design of the new Starfleet ships--other than the saucer sections they look a lot like TOS-era Klingon ships-- and I have no idea how they could be made to fit into the current Trek design lineage.
philadlj
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 8:26am (UTC -5)
My friend and I bought commercial-free CBSAA knowing full well ST:D would be the only thing we ever watch on it, but that doesn't matter. We've been so conditioned by Netflix, Amazon, et al to watch things without commercials that the CBS broadcast of the first episode, interspersed with loooong commercials, felt like torture (#firstworldproblems I know).

Three stars is fair. The excellent production values and, more importantly, the fact that STAR TREK IS BACK ON TV BABY WOOOOOO makes up a LOT for the fact there were some instances of pretty sloppy writing and bizarre decisions by the protagonist, and the fact Michelle Yeoh was only a "Special Guest Star."
philadlj
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 8:38am (UTC -5)
A few stray thoughts:

- Yes the Klingons are different and perhaps scarier-looking and more hard-line, but considering the age this show takes place in, and the fact the Klingons of DS9 were perpetually bored when there wasn't a war and constantly chomping at the bit to fight and conquer, I for one am glad to see them back as an enemy. At the same time, I was a bit confused why T'Kuvma's command of English seemed to be better than that of Klingon (or maybe his halting speech was part of his particular regional dialect). Also...Albino Klingons are back!

- Where ST:D (ugh, what an unfortunate acronym), or at least this prologue two-parter, excels is actually keeping us aware at all times that these ships are in SPACE, and space is dangerous, with or without Klingons. When battle breaks out, it isn't just consoles that explode in sparks (though of course that does happen); holes are blown in the wall, and for a split second before the forcefields go up, a crew member or two is sucked out (seat belts, guys!)

- Burnham going out in her thruster suit is a nice nod to Spock's trippy excursion in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Not sure why they couldn't launch a PROBE...interference I guess.

- I realize MACOs probably aren't a thing ten years before TOS, but still...the Captain and First Officer boarding the Klingon flagship with NO armed escort...Saavik would be appalled!

- Really bold move to not introduce anything at all about the titular ship or its crew. This would be as if the DS9 pilot were nothing but introducing Sisko, Jake, the Vulcan captain of the Saratoga, and that Bolian guy, leading up to the Battle of Wolf 359 and ending with Sisko evacuating in an escape pod.

- I have no earthly (or otherworldly) idea how someone convicted of assault and mutiny (albeit completely unnecessary assault and mutiny) is going to end up with her commission back. I mean, it's not like she saved Earth by bringing two humpback whales from 1986 to communicate with a mysterious alien probe!
Chrome
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Excellent review, Jammer. I figured you'd land around there on your star meter. Just one thing I wanted to discuss from your review since I didn't bring it up earlier:

"She has conversations with Sarek (via a mind-meld-enabled telepathic link across light-years of space, which, if real and not imagined, is really pushing it in terms of Vulcan mental abilities)"

While I'm not sure about established Vulcan capabilities, there's at least Sci-Fi precedence for this in the Foundation series. There, the people skilled in "mentalics" could communicate with imperfect visual images over great distances in space. The advantage was that unlike a technological device, no mentalic communication could be intercepted. Anyway, I'm cool with Star Trek: Discovery borrowing ideas from the greats, and hopefully they'll explain it (and other things) as the series continues. That's one of the advantages I allow the series over the movies; not everything needs to be explained up front.
Del_Duio
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I enjoy canon and continuity quite a bit with Trek.

Somehow the thing that's been bugging me about STD is if I remember correctly it took up until season 5 or 6 of DS9 to invent the tech to have holo comminucators but they guys had them 100+ years earlier.

Weird nitpick but still.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 10:47am (UTC -5)
I've only seen The Vulcan Hello so far so I won't read Jammer's review or reply to the comments about both parts. I'll mirror what many have said about Michael's mutiny: wtf? It's a trash piece of writing in that scene. But more than it being preposterous for a Vulcan-trained Starfleet commander, I worry about what it's saying about what is apparently a trans character. We don't know exactly whether that's what Michael is supposed to be, but a 'woman' with a man's name suggests to me something in that ballpark, and if so does it really do a service to people like that for Michael to be an emotional basketcase from the word go? He/she's the least professional and most child-like person I've ever seen on a Trek show, and that includes Wesley and Nog. Why was she borderline terrified at going out in the space suit? Shouldn't that have been old hat? And how dense could she be not to notice the irregular walking path taken in the teaser, that she (I'll just call Michael a 'she', whatever) should saying they went in 'a circle' where there's no chance whatever that ever *I* would think we were walking in a circle after creating a pattern like that? It just makes her look arrogant and stupid, on top of being immature. Why am I supposed to like this person again?

Overall my feeling was echoes by what the great Wayne Campbell said in Wayne's World 2: "Can't we get a better actor?" Except I thought it whenever someone on the show would speak, except for maybe the science officer. Then again, even in his case, I felt that a cowardly Starfleet officer is inherently illogical. Want to claim he's suspicious by nature, cautious, etc? Cool, let's have diverging philosophies on the ship. But he came off simply as a cowering wimp. Also I assume the Captain will only be there temporarily (to be replaced by Isaacs), which is a blessing because she's awful.

Moving past the actors and casting, I thought the ship and general technological tone was excellent. In every single other Trek show it feels to me 'like Trek', whereas when this one opened I was quite surprised to note that "Oh, this feels like science fiction!" And that's something I'm very happy to see. It's the sort of ship and approach to space shots that are less Trekkish and more of what you'd see in a non-blockbuster science fiction movie, and to be honest I'd prefer that to a refurbished Trek standard bridge and external shots.

I also had no problem with the Klingons. They remind me of the primal Klingon from TNG's Genesis, and I'm happy to have them less human-like. My problem with them was the plodding pace of their speech. It seemed less like Klingons and more like a KSL class where they're practicing for their beginner's exam. It was quite irritating to listen to, especially when at the end when he speaks English it sounds better than his Klingon!

My favorite takeaway from this is the idea that Vulcans would strike first if it was the logical thing to do. I believe it was a contradiction in previous series to paint the Vulcans as being totally peaceful and totally logical, because that implies that it's always logical to avoid violence. Perhaps they could have some in-depth explanation for that, or maybe it's just the way of Surak, but I like the idea of their logical nature trumping their peaceful nature. It would give them more of an edge if they would certainly resort to violence - even with no provocation and no warning - if it was the logical thing to do. It would make them more like sociopathic geniuses rather than arrogant teddy bears, and I'm totally cool with that. As much as many people didn't like the crazy Vulcan from DS9's Field of Fire, I think that is actually a good template for what should be the extremity of logic gone wrong. It means that supplying the Vulcans with accurate information would be extremely important.

Anyhow I'll withhold judgement on anything else until I see part 2.
Mal
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Mal’s review following Jammer’s…

Star Trek: Discovery, Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

The Vulcan Hello
Battle at Binary Star


“When emotion brings ghosts from the past, only logic can root us in the present.”
- Sarak of Vulcan, explaining to a young Michael Burnham why trigger warnings are never used at vulcan schools.


ST:D is set 10 years before Kirk and Spock, but in reality we are 50 years from the America (and the world) in which The Man Trap first aired. To put that in perspective, 50 years is the time from when Kirk was taken by the Ribbon at the beginning of Generations, to the year when Capt. Garrett commanded the bloody C at Narendra III in Yesterday’s Enterprise. 50 years is a long time. A lot changes.

And it seems we’ve changed a lot too. But no matter how hard we try - and that's what these prequels - from Trek to Star Wars - are all about: going back; we can't. It seems Time’s Arrow really only points one way.

Back in the first years I read Jammer, we had a saying, “9/11 changed everything.” Enterprise (without the "Star Trek”) was supposed to become a post-9/11 Trek. And Archer tortured some poor idiot, and it was torture sticking with ENT through even two seasons (which is where I got off the merry-go-round), let alone four. But at least ENT had an entertaining Pilot. That’s more than I can say for the derivate two hour premier of ST:D.

Let me count the ways DISCO mines our past:

1. The opening scene is on a planet, where Burnham and Philippa have to skirt the Prime Directive to save a dying species. This is of course the same opening of the recent nu-Trek move Star Trek: Into Darkness (there it was a volcano, but whatever). The first hour of ST:D is essentially and ad for CBS All Access, so we can forgive TPTB for trying to hook fans of the movie.

2. Oh wait, before the desert there is a prologue with a trumped up klingon at one of his rallies with a crowd of deplorables chanting “Blow her up! Blow her up!” Never have klingons been so boring. And that’s saying something, considering we've had 50 years of klingons! As Eric Green once said in an absolutely awesome debate when he was running for mayor of Jericho: Kor was a friend of mine. I knew Kor. And you, T’Kumva, are no Kor.

3. Next, Burnham narrates her log, “Dear diary, we're on our way to the edge of Federation space where some beacon is not working.” Or as another character says later in the episode, the Federation has great tech hygiene, and the mission is essentially IT Support. WTF. At this point in Encounter at Far Point, we had Picard with his amazing voice narrating his diary, and their mission was to snoop around at Farpoint station, sign a trade deal, while also trying to figure out how the station was built so quickly. And then - BAAM - Q. But by all means, let’s have a Trek series about IT support. Have you tried turning it on and off again?

4. In her log, Burnham tells us “all life is born from chaos and destruction.” Wait, I thought chaos is a ladder? Yes, I know the first episode is supposed to justify buying CBS All Access, because people pay for HBO. But dude, Game of Thrones was super popular before the show. Oh, and so was Trek before... this show.

5. Burnham gets to the artefact and does battle with a Shrike from the Hyperion Cantos. Funny that her computer identifies it as klingon armour?

I’m not going to go through all the points where another show has done the same thing we find in these two hours, only better (ok, maybe just a few: the pre-flight announcement before Burnham takes off was a lot funnier on The Expanse, where Alex tried it but folks told him to STFU; and the less said about “we have engaged the _____,” the better).

To be clear, I liked Philippa, the captain of the Shenzhu, but I liked the captain Philippa who judged Data’s humanity in Measure of a Man a lot more. And anyway, the Shenzhu is destroyed and Philippa dies, so who cares. Yes I know, Game of Thrones. But dude, Ned dies at the end of S1, so we have time to come to care for him. Here, not so much. Anyway, I hope that CBS was right, and Philippa brought in a lot of asian subscribers. The South China Morning Post has a great piece on the latest Star Trek to stream on Netflix in Hong Kong. Yes, in the 50 years since TOS first aired, the US went from the best country in the world, to being the only shitty country where you can’t get ST:Ds on Netflix.

The Pilot was basically boring. Compare it to past pilots. We meet Odo in Emissary, and he's doing his shape-shifting thing. I was just a kid, and T2 had come out a year or two before (10 years old, my first rated R movie!), and holy crap - shape shifting on TV, wow! Even the Orville seems to have caught on that living goop in a pilot is key. Or take Janeway going to recruit Paris from a jail. I don’t think I had ever seen a Federation jail before. An ex-con on the crew? Pretty cool. Count me in. Note to TPTB: it was cool the first time, because Paris had been a fuck up since the Academy (retconning The First Duty), but evidently Burnham will be an ex-con also. Wop-dee-do. Heck, even a klingon running through a corn field is pretty awesome. But there wasn’t anything in the two hour pilot for Discovery that I can get excited about.

And no - it ain’t cause I’m old now. Holy crap, I can hardly wait for the next season of The Expanse. Or the next season of Man in the High Castle (wait, is a show about Nazis running Washington, DC still technically scifi?). Or the sequel to Wonder Woman (yes, I realise that you realise why, but it was fun for both a boy and girl...). And despite my curmudgeonly attitude towards prequels (versus Jammer who is just neutral), only a real grouch would reject the joy of Star Trek: Beyond, or the feel good feel-goodness of Disney’s the Princess Jedi. But DISCO was just busto.

The final solution our anti-heros stumble upon is to booby-trap a dead klingon body. What Jammer calls "clever trickery," the civilised nations of world call a war crime. This is far beyond the moral ambiguity of In the Pale Moonlight. This is bumbling towards the actual dark side. The episode ends with judges shrouded in literal darkness who sentence Burnham to life in the slammer. Trek has had no shortage of courts martial. And every single judge - from Admiral Sati in the Drumbeat, to the panel in The Menagerie, to even the arbitor in the bloody Cardi Tribunal - every single one, we could see their faces! What messed up confederation of mirror verse misfits is this?!?

So 2 out of 4 stars. But fuck it. It’s just $10 bucks, and I ain’t on an allowance no more. So sign me up to boldly go where pretty much everyone has already gone before. Cause it’s Trek. And I can’t say no. (Really, I can’t).

Love,
Mal
John Harmon
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 11:59am (UTC -5)
One thing that stood out to me as being iffy was the Klingon beacon. It was literally just a bright light.

This is sci-fi isn't it? Unless the Klingon ships are already in that Star system, it would take them thousands of years to ever see that light, if at all. That part made me laugh at loud.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@ John Harmon,

Not only that, but when the Captain asked to have the damn light turned off they...couldn't? "Filters are at maximum"? That was probably the single dumbest moment of the episode. Being unable to prevent a bright light being shined in their faced - through the shields!!! - is some stone-aged BS.
Bufo
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
I'll keep this simple to try and send the strongest possible signal about the show. The first episode was characterized by 3 main things.

First, the bad acting and dialogue, stilted, full of bickering. It simply didn't feel remotely like a real crew aboard a distant exploring starship (see BSG pilot for much more convincing sci fi dialogue). And the easy "phone home" technology destroyed any sense that we were far from home. Did any of the creators even watch an episode of TOS?

Second, the great effects were impressive, at least twice as much effects time as say TNG, and that's welcome for the modern era. But, as with ENT, this technology feels like it belongs 30 to 50 years AFTER TNG. Oops.

Third, the Klingons. After 50 years of trek and other sci fi, we're all hungry for fun new sci fi stories, discoveries, exploration, and especially new and mind-bending aliens to encounter (the Borg, Species 8472, on and on). After all that, we get....drum roll please...the Klingons. But not the Klingons that TNG labored for a decade to convert from paper thin to somewhat 3D. No, we get unintelligible Klingons barking from behind heavy rubber masks. That's what's supposed to drive the excitement of ST well into the 21st century? Uh-huh. How much are these show runners getting paid again?
Robert
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
"the US went from the best country in the world, to being the only shitty country where you can’t get ST:Ds on Netflix. "

That's because we have better virus protection :P
Vulcan Logick
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -5)

"This is sci-fi isn't it? Unless the Klingon ships are already in that Star system, it would take them thousands of years to ever see that light, if at all. That part made me laugh at loud."

Maybe that artifact sends a subspace signal and the light is just there for symbolism. It is supposed to be the torch of kahless after all. I don't think it was necessary to go into complete detail here. Leave some things for your imagination.

"5. Burnham gets to the artefact and does battle with a Shrike from the Hyperion Cantos. Funny that her computer identifies it as klingon armour? "

The armour clearly displays klingon iconography, which her computer recognizes.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
I'm reading all the comments and I'm getting more and more baffled.

Forget "continuity" for a second. Can somebody explain to me where's the "Trek" in this series? From what I've read so far, it's a generic sci fi idiot plot with random fanwonk references (which don't make any sense anyway) thrown in.

So I ask you... all of you: where's the Trek here? Where's the great writing (mentioned by Paul M. as one of the staples of the franchise)? The exploration? The sense of wonder? The first two episodes are just a generic sci fi story about going into war with faceless aliens, and not a very smart story of this kind either.

The "Klingons" are awfully one dimensional. Burnham is an XO that thinks and behaves like an emo teenager. Some people here say it has been a very fun ride and I believe them, but where's the Star Trek?

And another question:

Some of the people who attended the early screenings compared Discovery to Deep Space 9. Is this claim as absurdly silly as I think it is?




Vulcan Logick
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Somebody brought up a good point about why are the klingons retrieving the dead when they are just supposed to be an empty shell to be discarded? A fair point. I did a little bit of research and there is some justification for the body retrieval mummification:

"There is a Klingon mummification glyph, indicating that at some point in the past the Klingon mummified their dead. Spock identified this glyph during his mental retraining following his fal-tor-pan. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)"

-wikia.com/wiki/Klingon_death_ritual

Star trek is riddled with inconsistencies in this matter. Especially with the opening of the eyes.

In light of all this I'm allowing it.

IMO, as long as they stay within 60% of cannon, I will be happy
Robert
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi - Some people still say DS9 was a "gritty war drama".

It was grittier than TNG. It was darker than TNG. It was neither dark nor gritty in a vacuum though.

This sounds like it is meant to be a dark and gritty war drama. Gone are the "If Wishes Were Horses", "Shadowplay", "Explorers", "Little Green Men", "Trials and Tribble-ations", "In The Cards", "Who Mourns For Morn?", "One Little Ship" or "Take Me Out To The Holosuite". We've take the "edgiest" moments of DS9, many of which have been hardcore debated on these very forums (like Sisko poisoning a planet, Odo betraying Rom or Pale Moonlight) and dialed them up to 11.

A mutiny in the first episode? Really?

To say nothing of holo-communicators, long range mind melds, retcons and redesigns. This sounds like it spits on the spirit of Trek and the canon of Trek. Thusfar not interested. Anyone care to argue?
Startrekwatcher
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Well TNG DS9 and VOY was a special era in the 90s with a great man at the helm of creating and guiding things in the late Michael Piller. All those series felt like Trek--possessing that certain intangible feel easily identifiable as Trek. Sadly that time has passed as television and filmmaking has moved into an era defined by gimmicks ranging from spectacular effects, dizzying pacing and an over reliance on twists and gotcha!s. The crop of writers heading these properties just don't get good writing and clearly don't have to since Hollywood studios keep hiring them, giving them a blank check and letting then blow good money on what amounts to poorly written fan fiction

Writers nowadays don't care about proper pacing, tight writing or coming up with fresh inventive ideas. They recycle that of their predecessors who actually has writing talent and vision. And what they can't recycle they cover over with spectacle. There's a reason they keep going back to TOS or passing straight up lifting of scripts as "homages" not plagiarism--they are bereft of new ideas so going forward in the Trek universe would mean having to work for their paycheck in coming up with something original and that's clearly beyond their capabilities.
Chrome
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
@Robert

"A mutiny in the first episode? ... This sounds like it spits on the spirit of Trek and the canon of Trek. Anyone care to argue?"

To begin with, you need to understand the mutiny in context. Burnham thought she was saving the Federation from all-out war by her course of action. She has a history with the Klingons as well as advice from Sarek that tells her what she is doing is likely right. Then, Burnham was faced with a hard-nosed by the books Captain, and her course of action was never seriously considered.

In the end, Burnham completely had the book thrown at her, just like you'd expect in the Federation. She owns up to her wrong doing by pleading guilty on all counts, but it's never made clear whether her plan which caused her to mutiny was wrong.

We'll see in coming episodes that Burnham will do hard time and work to earn back her crushed status. Chances are she'll learn a lesson from all this, and will be a better person from it. That all sounds very humane and very much in the spirit of Star Trek to me.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
@Robert

For the sake of this discussion, I'm even willing to play along and say that DS9 was "a dark and gritty war drama".

And for the sake of this specific discussion regarding DS9 and Discovery, I'm even willing to forget for a moment that "war drama" isn't something one would normally associate with Star Trek.

I'm speaking here strictly about the intelligence and depth of the plot. DS9 had these traits in abundance. And you can certainly have a dark-and-gritty war drama along similar lines.

My question here is: Does ST:Discovery even remotly fits the bill? Perhaps those who actually saw the premiere can tell us.

Startrekwatcher
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
By the way I wasn't intending to say VOY was great Trek the way TNG and DS9 were.--just that michael Piller gave it the elements it needed to be good Trek and it felt like Trek.
I think part of VOY's problem despite having some TNG writers on staff was that those writers who have us solid TNG episodes out so much into TNG while they were there that they spent their creative juices and probably needed a break to regenerate them. But again even as mediocre as it was VOY still felt like Trek which I can't say the same for Abrams films which I thought were awful or so far DIS
Tempeh
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Why combine two episodes onto one page? Many of us are waiting to see the second episode, so we can't read everything. There were credits at the end of the first one, so it's it's not like this was a movie.
Jammer
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron

I would say the reports of darkness and grittiness are thus far overstated. It very well may get there in coming weeks, but the premiere was no darker than the mid-level war stuff of DS9. Much was made of the fact Discovery would be TV-MA. These two episodes were a fairly soft TV-14, and could even be a hard TV-PG, honestly. That may change.

@Tempeh

I combined the two episodes into one page because that's simply how most people were likely to view them and that's how I did my review. I had considered two pages at one point but it ultimately didn't make sense.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer

"I would say the reports of darkness and grittiness are thus far overstated. It very well may get there in coming weeks, but the premiere was no darker than the mid-level war stuff of DS9."

You haven't answered my question, though.
Paul M.
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
So let me get this straight: Omicron still hasn't watched Discovery and continues with the hate? This keeps getting better and better.
Jammer
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
What question do you need answered? If a 2,000-word review didn't give you enough information, I am not sure how I can help you.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
SPOILERS

Just watched part 2. It's hard to believe that was an entire episode, because it felt like almost nothing happened in the 40+ minutes it had. Did we really need to waste time in a ridiculous mindmeld, or spend minutes in a row watching Michael escape from the brig? And way too much wastage with the Klingons with nothing being said that meant anything. I'd rate part 2 far lower than part 1 in terms of story structure and content. I'll list a few pluses and minuses:

Plus:
-The uniting of the Klingon houses: awesome idea. More on this below.
-They do court martial Michael, which is at least something.
-The Federation tribunal looks like a Cardassian court (lol)

Minuses:
-The space battle looked like garbage and is indicative of Abrams Trek. The phasers looked like they were pissing on each other, and there was no choreography or sense to the battle. That DS9 should make a 2017 show look like garbage is sad indeed.
-Too much time spent on the Klingons and on Michael
-Michael and the Captain fighting hand-to-hand with Klingons and sort of holding their own. Garbage. We had enough of this on DS9, and at least there is was sort of earned because of who in the cast was actually doing the fighting (Sisko: ex-wrestler, Dax: Klingon martial arts expert, Worf, etc.). Here is just looked feeble and silly.
-No plot, and it wasn't even clear when the battle ended or how it ended! Really sloppy direction and story editing.

But back to the premise: the story idea is outstanding, and is so poorly told that I think it won't even get across to the viewer. The premise is that because the Federation unites so many worlds and requires them to all adhere to certain standards it ends up spreading quickly and effectively assimilating cultures; this is surely a throwback to Eddington's accusation and I like it. The Klingons, having previously been a divided people - adventurous but without single aim - were always a menace but never a threat, until the looming prospect of the Federation expanding into their territory forced them to unite the Houses in order to contest them. This is a crazy good idea, that the only reason the Klingons ended up how we see them in TNG is because they needed to unite against the Federation. But by uniting they ended up having to make compromises to keep the alliance going, such as we see in The Sins of the Father, and so in a roundabout way the Federation corrupted the Klingons in the end anyhow, by turning them into a united bureaucracy. And it's exactly what Kol (or whatever) is predicting here, and to be frank, it is predictable. From the Klingon perspective I really do think their options were to bow down and make peace or to unite and go to war.

Either way this episode was weak. All the good stuff I liked from part 1 didn't make enough space for part 2 to have much impact on me. I'll keep watching, but I'm very hesitant that this will just end up as a televised version of Abrams Trek. If so I'm out.
Ruth
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
I really liked it! I wanted to hate it - I particularly hated that they robbed the klingons of their luscious locks when I first saw it - but this is promising!

I'm scratching my head a bit at the idea that you have to be a genius and brave to not die in the brig when the ship is crippled, and getting life imprisonment for doing something pretty minor which you thought was for everyone's good (or was it that they've pinned the entire war on her? It's what the prisoner's comments in the teaser imply). Not very Starfleet.

If you haven't watched it yet, you have to! It's worth it for the scene where Burnham is exploring the unknown object alone. It's no good trying to work out if you'd like it or not just from other people's comments. It's new Star Trek for heaven's sake, don't deprive yourself unnecessarily! If you hate it fair enough but if you like Star Trek enough to be reading this, at least give it a go!
Del_Duio
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Though the first episode was better than I thought it'd be there's no way I'd compare it to Emissary. DS9 was a lot more than just the Dominion War. If STD wants to emulate it I hope they look at the whole picture.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M.

It's funny that you accuse me of "hate" when you are the only person here who isn't discussing the show itself.

How about telling us what you liked about Discovery? What you thought of the plot? Really, Paul, nobody here is interested in your private little wars (TOS reference!) against "the haterz".

(and yes, I find the community here at Jammersreviews.com to be far more interesting and thought-provoking than the actual show. Also, participation here doesn't cost $6 a month :-))

@Jammer
"What question do you need answered? If a 2,000-word review didn't give you enough information, I am not sure how I can help you. "

I've asked specifically if the people here think that Discovery can be compared to DS9 in terms of how intelligent and deep the plot is. I've seen this comparision made quite a few times, and I would like know if there's any truth in it.

And while I thank you for your effort to answer, your reply wasn't exactly relevant to the question I asked.
Other Chris
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Amen, @Startrekwatcher. You said it all.
Jammer
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
No, this is not in the same league as "Emissary." That pilot had a lot more story ambition. Considering the third Discovery episode will essentially be a second pilot (I don't see how it can't be), I think we may get a better idea of where this is going.
Startrekwatcher
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron

DIS and DS9 have only the most superficial similarities--a war and apparently the season will focus on deconstructing the Roddenbeeey philosophy which ds9 did

Other than that there's no comparison. The Founders were smart adversaries whose motivation was plausible and developed. These Klingons' motivation has as much depth as the Romulan in the first Abrams film--that is very thin and unconvincing

Also the actions that precipitated the Dominion War were understandable and smart. You knew Sisko had to mine the wormhole to prevent any further Dominion build up. With DIS you have writer fiat. Michael's reasoning and the whole set up didn't hold together one iota

Hope that helps
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
BTW my questions here were sincere.

When I asked "where's the Trek in this show", it wasn't a taunt or a sarcastic statement. I'm really curious to hear what the people who liked Discovery have to say on this topic.

Looking forwards to hear your input.





OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
@Startrekwatcher/Jammer

Thanks for your answers.
Canjobear
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
There’s been a lot of talk that this series is devoid of intellectual content and that it’s just JJ Abrams lens flares and pew pew shooting action. I think that’s totally wrong and short-sighted. Just because this doesn’t look like Trek from before, and just because its intellectual content has a different flavor, doesn’t mean it’s dumb and has no content. What is the content?

Look no farther than the title “The Vulcan Hello”: when I read about the title I thought it was a silly reference to the hand gesture or something. The hand gesture is old Trek. It turns out the Vulcan Hello itself is something we would not have expected given previous Vulcan stuff: the Vulcan hello is violence. It’s a pre-emptive and unprovoked attack against the Klingons. On one hand, we haven’t seen Vulcans attacking pre-emptively, but the truth is that Sarek’s point is totally logical. If you think being logical implies being nonviolent then all I can say is you haven’t thought this through very carefully. If you’re facing people who only respect violence, you have to speak the language of violence. Being logical doesn’t mean you won’t be violent and it doesn’t mean you’ll always follow the Federation ethics code. Being violent in this case is definitely logical and deeply in keeping with Vulcan behavior, but superficially different since we haven’t seen a lot of Vulcan violence before. It adds intellectual sophistication and depth to the Vulcans, and above all, what I like the most, is it’s a fresh take, and one that deeply respects the underlying ideas. “Violence brought respect, respect brought peace.”

Just that was enough intellectual depth for me in one episode but this one has more. The Klingons are fascinating. We’ve never seen a Klingon prophet before, a real mystical religious movement with a charismatic leader. The visuals of the Klingons and their ornate ship are gorgeous. The idea that their ship is encrusted in sarcophaguses of their fallen dead is awesome and heavy-metal. T’Kuvma is putting forward a straightforward anti-Federation ideology, something I was hoping for from Star Trek Beyond but didn’t get. The Federation is multicultural and T’Kuvma is anti-multicultural, which is a very very relevant distinction for today’s world. T’Kuvma’s whole idea is that under the guide of multiculturalism, or “we come in peace”, the Federation will actually destroy Klingon culture. That the Federation’s supposed diversity and equality are actually death for everything he loves. It seems like the big political question today is globalism vs. nationalism, and this show appears to be addressing that question right on the nose, and not in an explicitly moralistic way either. You can see T’Kuvma’s point. When Admiral Whatsisname shows up on T’Kuvma’s ship in the holoemitter or whatever and says “When we’re fighting, we’re not talking”—then you understand T’Kuvma’s beef with the Federation, and in my mind when I saw him saying that condescending garbage, I was ready to sign up with T’Kuvma and ram that ship to smithereens.

I think T’Kuvma’s idea isn’t fully fleshed out yet. How does the Federation pose a threat to Klingons under the guise of “we come in peace”—exactly how? I can think of some arguments how, and I’m sure we’ll see them fleshed out. The people that think this isn’t addressing contemporary humanistic issues are either nuts or they’ve had their heads in the ground and can’t recognize interesting intellectual content unless it’s completely identical to 90s Trek.

Another question which I think is really interesting is Michael Burnham’s behavior during her mutiny. It’s true Sarek gave her advice which I think is totally logical, and she was following it. And you could see her adopting the Vulcan set of behaviors when she was trying to push her idea. But when she knocked out the captain and was getting people to fire torpedos, she seemed quite emotional. The question is whether her behavior is really purely logical or if it is true that she is being emotional. And I just don’t know, and I think that’s a good thing. Sonequa Martin Green’s performance left me in a state of tension about it and I want to know more. I thought that part was great.
Vulcan Logick
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
"the Vulcan hello is violence. It’s a pre-emptive and unprovoked attack against the Klingons. On one hand, we haven’t seen Vulcans attacking pre-emptively"

Not really. In the first encounter with the klingons the vulcans got their ass handed to them. They didn't make the same mistake twice. I don't think this deters from the cannon, especially when it has been established that the vulcans have a violent history.
Trent
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
StarTrekWatcher said: "Also the actions that precipitated the Dominion War were understandable and smart."

How so? The Federation entered Dominion space, were warned not to return, repeatedly re-entered with flag-ships and cloaked war ships, tricked Romulans at least twice into wiping out the Founder home-world, and would eventually resort to false flags, chemical weapons and Hiroshima-styled tactics, all heavy handed attempts to solve a problem the Federation started. The Federation has no problem obeying the territorial demands of other Empires, but bizarrely abandons all logic when around the Dominion.
Sheap
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
"Why the masculine name? Could Burnham be trans?"

No. Well, she could, but not because of the name.
1) Female characters with traditionally male names is a Bryan Fuller tradition. He may be gone, but his name gimmick isn't.
2) Most trans people change their name, if they didn't start out with a unisex name.
3) Michael isn't a totally unheard of name for a woman. I went to school with one, and it's her real name. (I knew a female George too, but that was a nickname).

Planning to post my complete thoughts, but the short version is I didn't like it.
Startrekwatcher
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Trent--

Yes it would not be my first choice to repeatedly enter the Gamma Quadrant however I suppose the Federation may have felt that a race staking claiming to an entire quadrant of the galaxy to be outlandish and --like the Us has on certain occasions--didn't recognize the Dominion's claim on the entire Gamma Quadrant when in the past the Federation DID respect the borders of alien civilizations like the Klingons or Cardassiand
So that's why they kept exploring the Gamma Quadrant

But more specifically i was talking about the actual event that started the hot war between the Federation and the Dominion--Sisko mining the wormhole. It made sense I could understand why Sisko did that and how it provoked open war.

The whole reason for the Klingon war on DIS I didn't buy. I know what the writers were going for but I didn't believe it. Michael came across as mentally unstable
Samuel
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Man—who taught her how to Vulcan nerve pinch? It was not super effective. Maybe MB missed that day at Vulcan school. Somebody, quick, page Admiral Archer! We need a Vulcan nerve pinch here—stat!
The Doctor
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
One thing I don't understand - if the intention behind the Klingon makeover was to make them look more "alien" and distance the show from the bumpy forehead aliens of past Trek series (which is an intention I can fully get behind), why not give the Vulcans a makeover as well?
SlackerInc
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 11:49pm (UTC -5)
Shoot, I was excited to talk about the premiere, and now I see I have another episode to watch first!
Skeevo
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 3:49am (UTC -5)
Vulcans shot first. - my lame star wars joke.

[spoilers ahead. duh.]

This didn't look like Star Trek and it didn't feel like Star Trek. It looked and felt like a generic sci-fi show.

No starship 'Discovery' in the Discovery pilot? Lame.

They say that no one has seen a Klingon for 100 years, but didn't they kill Mike's parents by attacking some outpost? Maybe noone saw them do it. Maybe Mike is 110 years old. Or maybe I missed something.

The science officer is essentially a cow. He's literally livestock. The rest of the crew is meaningless so far, since they all die or will be replaced anyway, I guess. Though IMDB lists Capt. Georgiou as being in all 15 episodes, though she died. (?) Same with Ensign Connor who was blown out into space and died. He's listed as being in 13 episodes. Also it lists T'Kuvma as being in 3 episodes, though he dies after 2. This better not be a season full of flashbacks. I hate flashbacks. There were too many in it already. But then again it lists Capt. Lorca as being in 15 episodes, and he wasn't in the first 2. I don't know what's going on.

And how does this holo-communication work? The admiral 'beams' to the Shenzhou and turns and talks to other people on the ship, and walks around and points at people and then opens a channel from the Shenzhou to talk to the Klingons. Is his real self doing that on his own ship at the same time? Walking around aimlessly and talking to thin air and pointing at random things on his own bridge? I don't get it.

What's with the giant sattelite dish transporters? This is supposed to be 100 years after Enterprise, and in that time they turned the transporter into a bulky inefficient piece of crap, and 10 years later on TOS looks and works like the original one from Enterprise again.

Oh, and Starfleet are bad guys now, btw.

2 stars

p.s. Hollywood, please stop making every single sci-fi/superhero show/movie have transparent computer screens already. I think maybe 'Minority Report' started that, and it's annoying. They are starting to do that irl now too apparently. Why would you want that? That would be awful.

Moegreen
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 6:34am (UTC -5)
Where was Jason Isaacs? I got all excited when I saw his name but nowhere to be seen. I know he's a serious character actor and could probably hide under prosthesis but I'm pretty sure he didn't make an appearance.
Darren
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 6:38am (UTC -5)
@Canjobear:

"There’s been a lot of talk that this series is devoid of intellectual content and that it’s just JJ Abrams lens flares and pew pew shooting action. I think that’s totally wrong and short-sighted. Just because this doesn’t look like Trek from before, and just because its intellectual content has a different flavor, doesn’t mean it’s dumb and has no content. What is the content?"

I appreciate your thoughts on this, and there's no doubt that the creators intend it to have intellectual content. I'd say you're right about the whole "Vulcan Hello" bit:

"Look no farther than the title “The Vulcan Hello”: when I read about the title I thought it was a silly reference to the hand gesture or something. The hand gesture is old Trek. It turns out the Vulcan Hello itself is something we would not have expected given previous Vulcan stuff: the Vulcan hello is violence. It’s a pre-emptive and unprovoked attack against the Klingons. On one hand, we haven’t seen Vulcans attacking pre-emptively, but the truth is that Sarek’s point is totally logical. If you think being logical implies being nonviolent then all I can say is you haven’t thought this through very carefully. If you’re facing people who only respect violence, you have to speak the language of violence. Being logical doesn’t mean you won’t be violent and it doesn’t mean you’ll always follow the Federation ethics code. Being violent in this case is definitely logical and deeply in keeping with Vulcan behavior, but superficially different since we haven’t seen a lot of Vulcan violence before. It adds intellectual sophistication and depth to the Vulcans, and above all, what I like the most, is it’s a fresh take, and one that deeply respects the underlying ideas. “Violence brought respect, respect brought peace.”"

I too originally thought that the title might turn out to be kind of silly; but in fact, it referenced an argument the episode implicitly makes, that some level of violence might indeed be necessary, particularly in the face of a culture than prizes courage and honor through aggression above much else. Even better, Sarek noted that what worked for the Vulcans might not work for other member worlds of the Federation, which was a very true and nuanced touch.

However, whatever the Klingons were so adamant about--and however it's meant to be allegorical for our times--to me seems quite muddled at best, and rather dreadful at worst.

"T’Kuvma is putting forward a straightforward anti-Federation ideology, something I was hoping for from Star Trek Beyond but didn’t get. The Federation is multicultural and T’Kuvma is anti-multicultural, which is a very very relevant distinction for today’s world. T’Kuvma’s whole idea is that under the guide of multiculturalism, or “we come in peace”, the Federation will actually destroy Klingon culture. That the Federation’s supposed diversity and equality are actually death for everything he loves. It seems like the big political question today is globalism vs. nationalism, and this show appears to be addressing that question right on the nose, and not in an explicitly moralistic way either. You can see T’Kuvma’s point. When Admiral Whatsisname shows up on T’Kuvma’s ship in the holoemitter or whatever and says “When we’re fighting, we’re not talking”—then you understand T’Kuvma’s beef with the Federation, and in my mind when I saw him saying that condescending garbage, I was ready to sign up with T’Kuvma and ram that ship to smithereens.

I certainly see what you're saying; but, it just doesn't seem to me that the episode pulled it off well at all. Most notably, the episode establishes that the Klingons haven't been seen in a 100 years. (Never mind, like @Skeevo pointed out, they attacked the Vulcan Learning Center in the recent past .... Perhaps just the Vulcans, not the Federation as a whole?) That means then, no diplomatic relations; no cultural exchange; no immigration either way; and very likely no economic interdependence either. (After all, the Federation and the Empire both hold large territories. With no reason to presume that either section of space would hold many resources the other doesn't, the mutual benefits of trade wouldn't even be that great.)

Further, we know from other series than the Federation isn't a conquering force. Sure, they seek out new civilizations and hope to engage with them; but, for that matter, admission to the Federation requires that a world meet certain conditions, and that they want to join in the first place. So yes, the Federation would like to open a dialogue with the Empire; but the Empire need merely say "no", and that's that. Engaging with the Federation would likely begin cultural changes; but no one's forcing such engagement to begin with.

So unless T'Kuvma and the other House leaders fear an ever-strengthening Federation--that it might eventually try to conquer them, which they should know full well the Federation simply wouldn't do--hasn't done--their motivations just aren't clear at all. (I mean, like the Romulans once did, they could fear for their own empire's future ability to expand to new territory, to conquer even; but T'Kuvma said nothing about that--only that the Federation's cultural influence would hurt their own.)

And so ... what allegorical connection does this have to our world? A world where the process of globalization is arguably already quite far along? Where music and movies and such from certain countries are well-known and shared; where that influence has changed the entertainment that others produce? A world where economic and financial ties between nations run deep; where exchange students, migrant workers, and citizens living abroad are plentiful; and where immigration is one of the most central and debated issues? Where the most widely-spoken of languages are even studied or learned by so many people?

Versus a federation and an empire than could easily just continue in isolation of one another, who currently have none of these things? Not much of an allegorical connection, I'd say, if any.

Now you *did* imply that all this needs to be fleshed out, and that you think it will be:

"I think T’Kuvma’s idea isn’t fully fleshed out yet. How does the Federation pose a threat to Klingons under the guise of “we come in peace”—exactly how? I can think of some arguments how, and I’m sure we’ll see them fleshed out."

But to me, it seems like fleshing out won't be enough--something more like retconning will be needed, for it seems that the whole setup (prologue?) was really botched. (But, if I may ask, what ideas and arguments have you thought of? Maybe I'm just really missing something; something already shown, or something feasible going forward.)

Just briefly, I might mention something else that seems quite bizarre .... Since Michael's mutiny didn't succeed, it seems to me she played no role there whatsoever in starting the war. (The Shenzhou called for reinforcements once they engaged the Klingons, and once those reinforcements came, the Klingons opened fire; with her failed attempt, she literally had no role in what happened.) Of course, she *did* accidentally kill the Torchbearer; and later, by killing rather than stunning and capturing T'Kuvma, she blew the chance to stop the war before it truly began. Yet the episode, the preview, and even the marketing materials all suggest that she made a deliberate choice that started the war. Mutinying and successfully opening fire would most certainly have been that--but this isn't how it transpired. Weird.

"When Admiral Whatsisname shows up on T’Kuvma’s ship in the holoemitter or whatever and says “When we’re fighting, we’re not talking”—then you understand T’Kuvma’s beef with the Federation, and in my mind when I saw him saying that condescending garbage, I was ready to sign up with T’Kuvma and ram that ship to smithereens."

You know, that admiral, I think, managed to be the most unlikable Starfleet higher-up ever ... I too was pleased to see him bamboozled.
Ruth
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 6:47am (UTC -5)
I'm surprised there's so many people thinking T'Kuvma's actions seemed stupid. This has several real mirrors in our own history. Maybe it's stupid and simplistic, but it happens and it works! It felt very real to me. Something I didn't quite get, I wonder if it will be explored further now he's dead - was he a true believer himself? Or maybe both, it started as a revenge thing and he began to believe along the way.

Recruiting the pale guy was very obviously terrorist/gang recruitment. All that stuff about "you don't fit in either do you". It's not 2D at all. I think maybe the prosthetics are making it seem blander than it is, they are a bit much. It seems like many people are having problems with the subtitles? If they interfere with CC I understand and that's awful, but i didn't know so many people weren't used to subtitled film and television to the point where some scenes subtitled could be distracting

I also totally buy Michael. I thought it explained her reasoning really well. She loves her captain, like her captain she wants to defend the nearby settlements (why the captain refused to retreat). Her background as a survivor of a Klingon attack (btw, I think it's that the federation haven't seen them for 100 years - when she was asking Sarek it was clear that the vulcans DO have a relationship, not a good one but they have one) and being raised by vulcans informs her perspective on vulcans. It all seemed pretty clear to me.

I don't think she's very unstable either. She is obviously still traumatised but it's not unusual in starfleet (the captain mentioned being scarred by battles when she was trying to reason with her). Mutiny is extreme, especially when you're knocking your mom out in the process of this mutiny against her! But she thought the circumstances were extreme and she was right! Now they're at war, after this huge and horrible battle. She and the 3rd in command were right. It's interesting that they were both right, the captain and admiral was wrong, but the two of them had totally different ideas on what to do with the threat. (He's still alive right? I liked him!)

The more I think about it, the more I am cross about the glorious Klingon manes, and the more confident I am about the series as a whole.

It's sad that we won't get a sequel even if we get another series or several of it. It seems to me, though this is super early so I could be wrong, it ends with the formation of the neutral zone, and this will get stale with the klingons if they drag it out too long (if it's still very sporadic contact, it could work). It can't go alongside TOS like TNG, DS9 and VOY went together. I hope it's not another 15 year break at that point!
Trent
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Ruth said: "Mutiny is extreme, especially when you're knocking your mom out in the process of this mutiny against her! But she thought the circumstances were extreme and she was right!"

Hey Ruth, not to disagree with you, but I've seen many people make the point you've made, and I've never quite understood it. How was Michael right? Weren't the Klingon's waiting on the Federation to shoot first? Weren't they attempting to be provocative to instigate a fire fight?

Peter G.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 9:16am (UTC -5)
If it's Federation policy not to shoot first, no matter what, then it doesn't matter whether shooting first would be strategically convenient or not. It's simply irrelevant. It's not for some first officer to decide to scrap Federation law and to start a war on her own volition. If anything the science officer was correct, that strategic withdrawal in the face of a new threat would at least be sensible, if somewhat weak in terms of enforcing Federation borders. TOS did quite a lot of work demonstrating what happens when Captains take Federation law into their own hands, and the show repeatedly came out against it. TNG and the later series seemed to take it for granted that Captains are a marvelous invention, but as usual TOS was the most sensible and knew how serious it is to invest one person with the power of a starship. In this case we're talking about the #1 rather than the Captain, but the fact remains that it is simply wrong for one person to unilaterally decide to start a pre-emptive war. In modern terms it's wrong, and in future terms it's even more wrong because trust in Federation law is what keeps the alliance alive. How would new races be able to trust Federation promises if "we never shoot first" turns out to not really be true? No, Michael was plain wrong, it's not ambiguous. She frankly has no business on a starship as long as she believes as she does. As a side note, I also find it hard to believe that Sarek, the *ambassador to the Federation*, would advise Michael to a course of action that directly violates Federation law. Wtf.
JohnG
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 9:32am (UTC -5)
I only watched "The Vulcan Hello" and thought it was horrendous.

a) The acting was horrible. I normally don't even notice what many people consider to be "bad acting" but it was blatant here. SMG was by far the worst offender. I liked her on TWD, but she seemed like she was reading from cue cards. The terrible writing that had the characters trying to be formal and glib at the same time probably didn't help matters.

b) The retconned Klingons were an abomination. Do we really need a THIRD, totally different version of the classic Trek race? The looked like Xindi Reptilians. Between their un-humanoid appearance, their oddly slow speech and the stupid subtitles, they came across more like an impersonal force of destruction (like a pack of wolves, a deadly virus, a storm, etc.) rather than morally accountable beings that you could have feel anger towards.

c) The mutiny was probably the least believable plot point in the history of Trek (a history that includes mirror universes, bodies being taken over by aliens and a captain and one of her officer being transformed into giant salamanders and mating).

It is inconceivable that a commander would assault the captain she served under for 7 years and supposedly loved and admired, because she thought she knew better how to handle a situation.

Mutiny is something that is either committed:
1) By dastardly subordinates seeking to grab power.

2) In the gravest situations. - The captain is about to commit genocide, or is violating Federation treaties, or has gone mad, or has is under the control of an enemy, etc.

If officers used Mikey's standard, there would be mutinies every other day.

d) I hate that they went out of their way to give the female lead a male name. It might be a minor annoyance, but I think it is a symptom of one of the biggest problems with show. The creators are focusing way too much on being different rather than on being good.

e) None of the characters were written in a way that made me care on iota about them.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 9:49am (UTC -5)
@JohnG

"Mutiny is something that is either committed:
1) By dastardly subordinates seeking to grab power.

2) In the gravest situations. - The captain is about to commit genocide, or is violating Federation treaties, or has gone mad, or has is under the control of an enemy, etc."

Which is exactly why, in the actual prime timeline, there wasn't a single mutiny on a Federation starship prior to 2268 (source: "The Tholian Web [TOS]").
Chrome
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Ruth, Canjobear, and Darren, I haven't seen you around before but I really appreciate your thoughtful comments.

"If it's Federation policy not to shoot first, no matter what, then it doesn't matter whether shooting first would be strategically convenient or not. It's simply irrelevant."

Correct, I think the take-away is that this policy gets the Federation in trouble, just like the Prime Directive does at times. "We come in peace." is a wonderful philosophy, but there are races in the Trekverse like the Klingons that do not respect the coming part to begin with.

"Michael was plain wrong, it's not ambiguous."

She's clearly lawfully wrong as the show tells us, and she's probably morally wrong too. The ambiguity is possibility that the ends of peace justify the means of violence. Here, we have a situation where everything went by Starfleet's peaceful codes and regulations, Burnham's plan was not followed, and *Starfleet's* methods got it into war.

"Weren't the Klingon's waiting on the Federation to shoot first? Weren't they attempting to be provocative to instigate a fire fight?"

No, the Klingons provoked the attack by putting armed soldiers in Federation territory. They knew it would lead to conflict and were hoping that conflict would unite their people. All that the Shenzan and its crew could change here was the nature of the conflict.
Del_Duio
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -5)
I wonder what would've happened if Riker ever knocked out Picard after being issued a direct order like that. Hell he was ready to court martial him for simply not telling Picard and etc. the details about the Pegasus!
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"Correct, I think the take-away is that this policy gets the Federation in trouble, just like the Prime Directive does at times.
[...]
The ambiguity is possibility that the ends of peace justify the means of violence. Here, we have a situation where everything went by Starfleet's peaceful codes and regulations, Burnham's plan was not followed, and *Starfleet's* methods got it into war."

Once again I think TOS was light years ahead of the other Treks, in that it both created the idea of the Prime Directive and also explored in great detail what it would mean to have a rule like this. The directive is supposed to be so supreme that a ship and crew should be lost rather than violate it; it's practically the foundation of the UFP itself. It's clear, as you say, that following Federation law can get a Captain into trouble, or even create major inconveniences for the Federation. That's not a bug that needs reconsidering but is a 'feature', so to speak. It's not some idealistic rule that doesn't really work in the real world; it's a very well understood choice made by a people who would prefer to be wronged than to do wrong, and who would prefer to lose tactical advantage in order to live up to their ideals. That's exactly why the Federation is better than any government we see today. They know very well that they will experience setbacks and even lose ships and territory because of their policy, and they go into that with eyes wide open. Strategic setbacks don't bring "we come in peace" into question, it's understood that setbacks are preferable to sacrificing the ideals. And it's not just some wishy-washy ideal, either. The premise is that living up to these ideals is what makes the Federation alliance possible in the first place, and that backing away from ideals for the sake of expediency is why we (humanity) aren't ready for a Federation-type government yet.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I'm very possibly disagreeing with the show runners, depending on what they make of Michael's actions going forward. If we get a "you broke the law, by off the record you were right" scene I'll be displeased.
Chrome
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:15am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

To be clear, I also think it would be horrible if the show decided to fully vindicate Burnham's actions in this episode, not just because it's anti-Federation, but because I think it would rob the viewer of the choice to agree with her or not. On the other hand, Section 31 could make a marvelous operative out of her at this point. It's up to Burnham from here on out whether she still embraces the path she took in "The Vulcan Hello".

"I wonder what would've happened if Riker ever knocked out Picard after being issued a direct order like that."

Riker would be so screwed unless Admiral Nechayev was conducting his Court Marshal.
methane
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:31am (UTC -5)
"Once again I think TOS was light years ahead of the other Treks, in that it both created the idea of the Prime Directive and also explored in great detail what it would mean to have a rule like this. "

I still haven't seen the second episode, but I have been somewhat following the comments. I just want to note that the Prime Directive has no application here. The Klingons are a technologically advanced, space-faring race, who have already established contact with humans and Vulcans.

The idea "We come in peace" for the Federation has no application either...they're in Federation territory! It's the Klingons who have invaded Federation space, and they're not saying "we come in peace". By the end of Archer's era it should be known that Klingons understand "shoot first & ask questions later" as a perfectly appropriate response to any incursion into sovereign territory. In fact, it should be known that any other response would be seen as a sign of weakness.

Once the Federation established that the Klingons were refusing to talk to them (the Federation way of resolving disputes), taking military action against them (the Klingon way of resolving disputes) is a defensible course of action. Ironically (to us), shooting at them actually shows respect for their culture.

Which isn't to say that I agree with her attempted takeover of the ship. But her recommendation to start shooting was reasonable.
Peremensoe
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Looks like Discovery is going to fit right in to the zeitgeist of 2017: "Divisive!" ;)


I've got some trepidations about how things will play out, but I'm pretty solidly on board for now.

The biggest line of division here seems to be with the reimagined Klingons. Frankly, I love them—my favorite aspect of the show so far. I love the more-alien visualization. I love that their culture is rendered with (what felt to me like) a sense of depth and seriousness. No bloodwine keg parties for these guys, I think. T’Kuvma is a compelling character. He is alien, and mistaken (we think we know) in his interpretation of the Federation, yet his aura of faith and sincerity rings true. I hope the writing and acting of the other Klingon roles supports their apparently central place in the series. I love the alternative story perspective, very much hope that is maintained—and having them speak in subtitled Klingonese among themselves supports this feeling of looking in on the Other side. Basically, I think I have the exact opposite view of all this than Jammer (and some others). On that note—to "explain the radically reimagined Klingons in some way that holds water," vis-à-vis previous visual representations, as Enterprise did so stupidly and unnecessarily, might well ruin them for me.

The overall look of the show is pretty great. I have zero complaints about sets, costumes, makeup, props, or effects. How we might wish Trek had always had such production resources! The Crepusculans, for example, were a wonderfully-done creature cameo. I hope similar care and creativity is brought to bear in non-premiere episodes. William thought the desert looked fake? That was location shooting in Jordan (with some synthesis in the sky, obviously).

I'll leave thoughts on the character of Burnham, and the moral shading of the Federation, for another time.
Wouter Verhelst
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I am so glad you mentioned the Klingons. They look awful. I don't mind the different looks of all the houses (there's a pretty good explanation there by the writers in the aftershow) but the shape and look of their skin? It's like they're a completely different species

Other than that, love the look of the new show. 'Wow' is pretty damn right. The pilot is engaging and exciting, and I look forward to next week!
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@ methane,

I only brought up the Prime Directive because Chrome mentioned it as being another reason, along with not shooting first, that perhaps gets the Federation into trouble. It's tangential to the episode but directly related to the Federation's values.

Regarding Captain Archer and all that, I wouldn't focus too hard on continuity if I were you. This episode establishes flat-out that humans have had little or no contact with the Klingons for a century. As such, this is practically a first contact situation and requires the utmost care. Attacking them preemptively because the 'word on the street' is that they're bad guys would violate both Federation principles and even modern principles. A people can change a lot in 100 years regardless of what rumors say. And even if it were 100% certain that the Klingons were most likely hostile, that still doesn't change the fact that the Federation had no formal relations with them and their mandate is to establish peaceful relations if possible. Being too frightened to accept a little danger to achieve that goal would make the Federation more or less worthless as an ideal, since there is plenty in space to be afraid of and things are never safe.

HHH
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
What upset some fans is they said this was a prequel to the prime timeline's TOS. It is obviously not. When the new Battlestar Galactica came out, the producers called it a '' reimagining''. They didn't lie about it. The makers of DSC should've just been honest about it and call it what it is. A '' reimagining''. Not releasing press statements saying they are ''honoring canon''....
methane
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Peter G.:

If they were meeting the Klingons in neutral space I would agree. If the Klingons responded to hails to say "let's talk," I would agree. If this was an unknown species in Federation space (not the Klingons) I would agree.

But in 100 years the Klingons wouldn't have forgotten how to communicate with the Federation. In 100 year the Klingons wouldn't have forgotten the notion of borders, or that civilizations have a right to protect them.

The Klingons of 100 years before would have looked on another nation entering their space as an act of war. The current-day Klingons would have understood that they were declaring war by entering Federation territory, and their refusal to communicate was a refusal to initiate any sort of diplomacy that would change that impression.

If you're a multi-cultural idealist, you have to respect everything you know about Klingon culture & understand that they're starting a war. You'd also understand that they'd respect you if you shot first. Indeed, every moment you spend not defending your territory demonstrates to the Klingons that you are their inferior. If you're a pragmatist, you also understand you have a better chance of winning the confrontation if you shot first.

Everything known about the Klingons indicates the Federation would have more respect from them after a battle. That respect could actually lead to diplomacy in the future, which the Klingons were quite deliberately refusing at the time.

I don't think responding to an act of war as if it was an act of war violates any of Starfleets principles. It isn't an act of aggression (the act of aggression was the invasion of the Klingons). It isn't an act that shows a lack of understanding or respect for other cultures (quite the opposite). And it isn't an act that eliminates future diplomatic options.
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
@ methane,

"But in 100 years the Klingons wouldn't have forgotten how to communicate with the Federation. In 100 year the Klingons wouldn't have forgotten the notion of borders, or that civilizations have a right to protect them."

Maybe, maybe not. With no diplomatic relations it's not clear how official the borders were between both sides. Don't forget that there's most likely no neutral zone yet, which would have to be hammered out in a treaty. Do you realize what 'borders' means in space where no treaty has drawn out the proper lines? It just means that the Federation leaves colonies and relays wherever they please, and that is now 'Federation territory.' It has no more legal truth to it in the eyes of the Klingons than that. In fact, the episode specifically states that the Federation is expanding, and we can probably deduce that they're getting closer to Klingon space than they had been before, which is what's precipitating this conflict. For a modern analogy, think of the U.S. deploying bases and missiles all around the perimeter of Russia. "We're not threatening you, we're in our own zone here!" Well to the other side it sure looks like aggression. I do not agree that the Klingons would necessarily recognize this border as belonging to the Federation. Borders are something that only exist because both sides either agree to them or can't push past that point militarily. Beyond that it's just 'he said/she said.' As a diplomatic people the first duty of a Starfleet Captain would be to confirm with the Klingons that they are, in fact, aware that they've violated Federation space, and if there's a contest about whose space it is, to bring that to the negotiation table. The fact that you might foresee the Klingons having no interest in negotations wouldn't affect that mandate at all. The Federation still has to exhaustively pursue that route until it's no longer possible to.

"Indeed, every moment you spend not defending your territory demonstrates to the Klingons that you are their inferior. If you're a pragmatist, you also understand you have a better chance of winning the confrontation if you shot first."

The Federation isn't about demonstrating that they aren't inferior. That kind of pissing match isn't what they're about. Peace through strength is a modern notion, and the Federation is supposed to be more advanced than that. And they most definitely aren't pragmatists. DS9 created a scenario where the Federation had to become somewhat more pragmatic in order to survive, and in that instance imminent defeat challenged the Federation's idealistic values. Nothing in this episode threatened the safety of the entire Federation, and so there was no need to bend its values for the sake of expediency.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
@Peremensoe

"Looks like Discovery is going to fit right in to the zeitgeist of 2017: "Divisive!" ;)

I've got some trepidations about how things will play out, but I'm pretty solidly on board for now.

The biggest line of division here seems to be with the reimagined Klingons."

Huh?

No. The biggest line of division is whether inter-series continuity matters or not.

Discovery was advertised as a prequel for TOS (and by extension: TNG, DS9 and VOY), and by now it is very clear that this was false advertising. There's no way... none... that this show can be seen as an actual prequel to anything. It doesn't even try to be a prequel. The story seen here could have happened in the 27th century or even in a completely different universe, and it wouldn't have mattered at all (excluding a few fanwonk references like Sarek, which have zero effect on the story anyway). The enemy here could have been any faceless alien race, and it wouldn't have mattered. Indeed, setting Discovery in a different continuity would solve many jarring inconsistencies.

The reimagined Klingons are just another symptom of this. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't even an important one. And even if we limit ourselves to discussing the Klingons, the redesign of their behavior and culture is a much bigger offender than the redesign of their faces.

At any rate, the main line of division is that some people care about these things and others don't. It's strictly a matter of personal preference.

(there are other lines of division as well: some people are impressed by the story we've been presented, while others think it was popcorn-movie level stupid. Some people liked the acting, others thought it was wooden. When you say "Discovery is divisive", you weren't kidding...)
Alexandrea
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
I'm surprised that Jammer didn't comment on the moral implications of planting bombs in corpses after a battle had ended. The only reason that anyone on the Shenzhou is alive is that the Klingons did not slaughter the incapacitated and helpless, and now our protagonists strike at them through their funerary rites. No interstellar equivalent of the Geneva Conventions exists this early in Trek history, but it seems like a violation of the kind of principles the Federation would uphold.

I like stories that challenge Federation ideals; "In the Pale Moonlight" is an all-time favorite. But the episode didn't present any kind of moral quandary or consequences. It just represented the move as a clever tactic which the crew and the audience appear intended to cheer. Does this mean we cheer this sort of tactic in real life also?

Jammer also describes T'Kuvma dying in the passive voice--he "is also killed." More specifically, Burnham shoots him with phaser set to kill after her C.O. is already dead. She holds a firearm, he does not. Burnham then focuses on recovering Georgiou's body rather than bringing back T'Kuvma when she was the one to argue how he must be captured, because his martyrdom would plunge the Federation into neverending war. Should we understand her as failing all of her Vulcan logic and murdering him in rage? Did she intend to create a martyr and a war? What does either option say about her?

Jammer's spot-on regarding the visuals and most other strengths and flaws of the premiere, so I'm introducing two points I haven't seen emphasized above. Also, personally, I am referring to these new Klingons as the Uruk-Hai, since they are approximately as monstrous in both appearance and in complexity thus far.
borusa
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Well this does not look like it is happening about the same time as The Cage does it?
Why are these people all wearing the insignia for the USS Enterprise pre-movie era on their very unfamiliar uniforms?
I am absolutely not one of those fans who think that they should have further explored the 24th century-that is a completely played out seam as far as I am concerned and I am afraid that I just don't much care for TNG anyway.

However I am one of those fans who would much rather have had a few more seasons of ENT.

I award this an unspecifed but provisional number of wormholes but am open to being persuaded.
Peremensoe
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Quick thing,

Peter G.: "As a side note, I also find it hard to believe that Sarek, the *ambassador to the Federation*, would advise Michael to a course of action that directly violates Federation law. Wtf."

I understood Sarek to have advised her *against* automatically applying the Vulcan Hello to the Federation's situation. She didn't listen.

Also, I don't recall Sarek being identified as an ambassador (yet) in this, but perhaps I missed it.
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Peremensoe,

You might be right, I'm not sure. Sarek, telling her of all people what the 'logical' course of action is, and knowing she's impulsive, would seem to suggest a winking suggestion to do just that even though he didn't say it verbatim. That's how I took it anyhow, maybe I'm wrong. About whether Sarek is ambassador, from Journey to Babel it seemed clear he was already a somewhat older and distinguished ambassador already. But maybe it's a soft recon and he isn't yet, fair point.
navamske
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Every Star Trek production (except for TAS, probably) after TOS has featured in its premiere episode a cameo by a character from a previous incarnation of Star Trek: McCoy in TNG, Picard in DS9, Quark in Voyager, and Cochrane in Enterprise. I was disappointed that the new show did not follow this tradition. (Sarek doesn't count, as his role was more than a cameo and apparently he's a regular or recurring character.) Why not have an elderly T'Pol do a walk-on?
Brian S.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
"who the f*** cares about canon?"

I've seen this argument pop up a lot throughout this thread, and I honestly do not understand it.

If none of us care about what came before in Trek, then what the **** are any of us doing here on a 20+ year old blog site for fans of old Trek episodes?

As Omicron noted earlier, good writing fits coherently into the whole. A chapter that is noticeably incongruent with the rest of the story is a sign of poor writing that negatively impacts the product.

I mean, if I write the letters of the alphabet as: "A-B-2-D-E-X-4-H-%-J..." it's not the reader who is to blame for being so nitpicky to notice that something is obviously amiss.

If someone wants to write a "Fiddler on the Roof" prequel that tells the story of Tevye's early life and marriage to Golde, it can't include a scene where Tevye has a bad date with a chick he met on JDate.com. It doesn't matter how small a detail it was or how well-written the rest of the story is, putting technology that is noticeably a century out of place for the timeline of the story is going to be jarring to anyone who understands or cares about the story enough to pay money to see a FOTR prequel.

I didn't care much for the JJ Trek movies. But Abrams did make one astute comment in an interview I read to the effect of it's hard to write new stories in the Trek prime universe because you are shackled by 40+ years (or 400+ years) of prior stories. I respect that. I respect the difficulty of that. I understand the desire to break free and do new things.

But that's why you go into the future. A post-Dominion War Federation/AQ was ripe for storytelling that mirrors our time. Detente, new relationships among the superpowers (at times both peaceful and distrustful), battle scars, letting go of old grudges, new villains, perhaps even the potential for small factions of radicals that emerge to threaten the established order and test the bonds of galactic peace and stability. To go with new imagined technologies and exploration. The 25th century has fertile Trek storytelling ground, even with the weight of the past.

ENT, the JJ movies, and now Discovery all decided to shackle themselves even tighter by telling stories we already know the larger outcome to. It can be done and even done well. But re-treading over the same territory just ups the difficulty level. TNG only had 3 seasons, a cartoon, and a couple of movies to deal with, and it flew nearly a century into the future to spread its wings and avoid the shackles
Brian
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
There wasn't much sci-fi in this pilot--just a whole lot of modern, sleek looking sets and space scenes as a back drop to a lot of extended speeches to cameras. Even Michaels final scene where she faces the Federation tribunal, falls completely flat--no attempt was made to make it realistic in any way. It appears that she is speaking to a camera, delivering a speech written on note cards. The entire premier was that way---most scenes with the Klingons were just the main villain giving a speech to the camera. There was zero emotional impact when the captain died, zero when the shenzou blew up, zero when Michael got sentenced to prison. So, the pretty much a zero by the end.

The subject matter was extremely limited. The Klingons don't like the Federation telling them what to do. A border dispute with said Klingons leads to war. Yawn. They couldn't have come up with anything better than that?? It seems like the laziest possible way for the writers to get a war started.

Compare this to "The Caretaker" which had the crew and ship being pulled to a different quadrant of the galaxy by a powerful alien being. Encounter at Farpoint may seem quaint to us now, but it was still a better pilot.

Now, we haven't even seen the enterprise or her new crew yet, so I will wait to pass judgement. But, based purely on what I've seen so far, STD appears to be a lazily written war drama set in space using the name "Star Trek". Sort of like what they did with Rogue One, only drawn out over a season of TV. If STD doesn't manage to transcend that limited story, it will fail miserably. Remember, the episodes about Klingons in TOS and TNG were cool because they were rare--once or twice a season, we would be treated to an epic 2-part episode full of explosive Klingon politics and posturing, with a story line skillfully woven into the lives of the Enterprise crew. And then we went back to other subject matter until the next time. That's what made the whole thing work.

You can't base an entire season of television on a federation-klingon war and a bunch of shiny costumes. This premier was poorly written, formulaic, and lacking any deep sci-fi concepts.

Style over substance is the rule now. Hopefully it gets better.
Maquis
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Has anyone considered the Biblical implications of the name "Michael"? In Judaism the archangel Michael was the protector of Israel (Earth) and was prophecised to arise again during endtimes for a war against Satan.
JohnTY
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 2:43am (UTC -5)
I don't think anyone has pointed out the biggest question of all..

With these Starfleet uniforms, how do we distinguish between ranks for anyone less than Captain?

Also, how would the completely illogical "Vulcan Hello" have prevented the war? The Shenzhou would have fired everything they had at the Klingons and gotten their butts kicked and the war would have started anyway.

Also, thought the opening episodes were not very engaging as set-up, poorly scripted and had very wooden acting -- So only gonna get better from here, right?
Skeevo
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:24am (UTC -5)
All I can say is that I want to see how the next episode resolves Mike being put into prison for life.

Otherwise nothing else made me interested at all.

I wanted to see something more reminiscent of TOS or even TNG, but what we got was a special effects laden show, who's main objective seemed to be 'look how much better are effects are then the other shows!' and that's about it.
karatasiospa
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 5:48am (UTC -5)
It is true that one major problem of these episodes is that they completely failed to make us feel engaged with the characters. The only i really liked was captain Gheorgiou and they killed her.
Darren
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 7:03am (UTC -5)
@Navamske:

"Every Star Trek production (except for TAS, probably) after TOS has featured in its premiere episode a cameo by a character from a previous incarnation of Star Trek: McCoy in TNG, Picard in DS9, Quark in Voyager, and Cochrane in Enterprise. I was disappointed that the new show did not follow this tradition. (Sarek doesn't count, as his role was more than a cameo and apparently he's a regular or recurring character.) Why not have an elderly T'Pol do a walk-on?"

You know, I wondered for months whether the first episode would include an Enterprise character. And T'Pol for one was an excellent choice, because we already saw a much older version of her in Enterprise. (Shran seemed a potentially good choice too.) But I held out so little hope of the tradition being honored that when it wasn't, I didn't even immediately notice.

I suppose for Discovery, it was too much to ask.
wolfstar
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Why would Discovery - trying to establish itself as a successful Trek prequel in the prestige TV era - want to associate itself with the least popular, least watched and least well-remembered series in the Trek franchise, a disastrous failed prequel with wooden acting and terrible writing that remains the only Trek series to be cancelled since the original?

A cameo in the Discovery pilot by anyone from Enterprise was never going to happen because Enterprise was a terrible series that killed the Trek franchise on broadcast television, and that is completely forgotten outside the fandom. "Why not have an elderly T'Pol do a walk-on?" Because Blalock in particular is an atrocious actress who (especially in S1/2) sunk practically every scene she was in, and by extension the show, given that she was the female lead and intended breakout character. She had near-zero acting experience before Enterprise and has barely acted since.
stRiker
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 9:57am (UTC -5)
What about the Mushroom Heads from Silent Enemy?
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Yes, it would be nice if there had been a cameo, of course, but I'm troubled to think of an actor with enough viewer appeal from the franchise who would also make sense in this era. I mean, in ST:2009, Leonard "I am Spock" Nimoy made a cameo and it still wasn't enough to please some old school fans. Would some random ST: Enterprise cameo really help that much?

That said, I think there's room for cameos as the show progresses. It took years for TNG to get Nimoy and eventually Doohan to climb on board, though Shatner was notably absent until his ill-fated debut in Generations. I hate to beat a dead horse, but you know who I'd like to see even as another character? Michael Dorn. His portrayals of Klingons are legendary and it would be germane to DSC's plot.
Robert
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:12am (UTC -5)
@Chrome - NOOOO!! We don't need to see Dorn in the strange new Klingon getup!!
Robert
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:16am (UTC -5)
"Because Blalock in particular is an atrocious actress who (especially in S1/2) sunk practically every scene she was in, and by extension the show, given that she was the female lead and intended breakout character. She had near-zero acting experience before Enterprise and has barely acted since. "

T'Pol was often one of the better received characters (after Phlox and Tripp). And fans have warmed to ENT over the years. I actually feel like public opinion of ENT has risen and VOY has soured. And it's about attracting old-guard Trek fans (because you're already pissing them off with the umpteen million canon issues).

That said we'll have to settle for the Chateau Picard wine bottle cameo.
Peremensoe
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:27am (UTC -5)
There was a tiny little shout-out to ST:Enterprise, in that one of the Federation ships that warps in is the USS Shran.


"With these Starfleet uniforms, how do we distinguish between ranks for anyone less than Captain?"

There are pips along the bottom edge of the badges. The badges and trim colors gold/silver/copper correspond to TOS yellow/blue/red.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:31am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar
"Why would Discovery - trying to establish itself as a successful Trek prequel in the prestige TV era - want to associate itself with the least popular, least watched and least well-remembered series in the Trek franchise, a disastrous failed prequel with wooden acting and terrible writing that remains the only Trek series to be cancelled since the original?"

You gotta be kidding, right?

Enterprise, with all its problems, was - at least - an actual prequel. It had a pretty strong 22nd century vibe and actually felt (with very few exceptions) as a series set in a world bridging the present day and the familiar 23rd/24th century Trek-verse.

The writing and acting were often problematic, I agree. But the plot of the average "Enterprise" episode still made much more sense than the mess we've got here.

In short: the guys who made Discovery could learn a thing or two from those who made Enterprise, especially in the department of making prequels.

Of-course, having an Enterprise cameo in "Discovery" would still be totally pointless, because nobody is going to believe that the two shows were set in the same timeline anyway. There's no point in this "passing the torch" technique when there's no torch to pass.
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:33am (UTC -5)
"NOOOO!! We don't need to see Dorn in the strange new Klingon getup!!"

He doesn't have to be. The showrunners have explained the new Klingon design and costumes are specific to the religious zealot sect we see in this episode. There may yet be Klingons out there from houses that look more like ones we know from TOS-Movies/TNG/DS9.
Andrew
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -5)
From just the first episode, I thought it was average but unsatisfying ... too much exposition without the characters or plot being interesting enough (especially as it felt like there was also too much padding). Burnham was OK but having her raised by Vulcans, let alone mentored by and close to Sarek, let alone even (not in the episode but I know later) raised by Sarek, feel like trying too hard to make her cool. The relationship between her and Saru also felt trying too hard to be too much like the dynamic between Kirk or McCoy and Spock.
Andrew
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Ending the first (and only free) episode on a cliffhanger and not introducing most of the cast, especially combined with the padding, make it overall feel particularly unsatisfying.
Maverick
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Wow… 3 stars? I'll bet if this show was called Voyager, Jammers woudn't give it more than two.
It's only value was the production value… otherwise, very few character development and interesting storyline.
To me, the Klingons were the worst. I know that people probably lost their shit too when the Klingons became magically different on the Feature Films, but that was at least an improvement over the original ones (granted that, decades later, Enterprise gave an explanation for the change). This guys just seem more wooden than ever. It was painfull too watch them talk. As for the improvements on the technologies and set designs, thats ok… I didn't expect a wooden board full of push buttons and blinking lights or purple/lime green background lighting.
Anyway, nothing much but mindless bang bang boom bom action. This could easily be the fourth film on the JJ reboot sequence and nobody would bat an eye.
I know this wont happen here, but I would love to see some interesting episodes dealing with human and/or current debateable dilemmas. Some of the best Trek episodes i've seen were grounded on that territory (Measure of a Man, In the Pale Moonlight, etc…). Not heavy action or special effects oriented shows, but greeeeat storytelling.
I'll keep on watching at least for now. Orville started even more shitty than DSC and by the third episode has already been much improved.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
@Maverick
"Orville started even more shitty than DSC and by the third episode has already been much improved."

And TNG by the third epsiode gave us "Code of Honor" :-)

So I guess there's still hope, eh?
Maverick
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Hahaha... don't remind me! :P
I had forgoten about that steaming pile...
But now that you brouth up TNG... in a kind of way, The Vulcan Hello/Battle was their modern version of Encounter at Farpoint. Lacking interesting story and character development but with some good eye candy. What i best remeber of Farpoint is that long and unnecessary saucer section separation sequence. Useless to the story, unless to show the awesomeness of the new special effects possibilities. Although, I think that Q had a better introduction as a villain than the Klingons. I really didn't buy much of the "keep the klingon pure" motivation.
navamske
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

"Yes, it would be nice if there had been a cameo, of course, but I'm troubled to think of an actor with enough viewer appeal from the franchise who would also make sense in this era. I mean, in ST:2009, Leonard "I am Spock" Nimoy made a cameo and it still wasn't enough to please some old school fans. Would some random ST: Enterprise cameo really help that much?"

It didn't have to be anyone particularly noteworthy; just the appearance of whoever it was would have been a nod to Star Trek history and continuity and respectful of the tradition that started with DeForest Kelley's cameo in "Encounter at Farpoint." It could have been Phlox; we don't know how long Denobulans live. According to his bio on a Defiant computer screen in "In a Mirror, Darkly," Archer lived long enough to see the launch of the Enterprise NCC-1701 -- but that onscreen text is supposedly not to be taken as canon, as the writers didn't intend for any viewers to actually read it.

I think Nimoy's role in the 2009 film was integral to the plot and not a cameo. His appearance in STID, though, was a cameo -- and it was totally pointless and gratuitous. He had said his goodbyes to the role in the 2009 film and should have left it at that.

I'm a big fan of Bryan Fuller's work, but I would not have believed this production came from him if I had not learned it beforehand. What I would have liked in a new series would have been a show set in the Kirk era, using the sets and costumes from "Trials and Tribble-ations" (but current-day special effects). The surviving TOS cast members could have done cameos, as long as they weren't seen (i.e., if the cameos were audio-only).
navamske
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Also, I know that Majel Barrett is dead, but I wish they could have found a way to make the computer sound like her. Maybe a voice-double or some electronic trickery based on existing audio of her.
Peremensoe
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
What some call padding, I call welcome breathing room, and a good pace to appreciate everything we're being given. Something is wrong with a Trek that doesn't have room for admiring the binary system, or the Beacon flyby. And things like the great single Steadicam shot, a full minute long, that introduces Burnham to Shenzhou in the flashback at the beginning of the second part, following and rotating around her and the Captain as they leave the transporter room, walk through the corridors, take the turbolift, and step out onto the bridge. (Aside to Peter G.--just before this, Georgiou does indeed welcome "Ambassador Sarek.")





Hank
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
The point is - none of this makes any sense. The Klingons wanted the Federation to shoot first, or at least show up in force, to show the intrucive nature of Starfleet. Starfleet does exactly that. If the Shenzou would have retreated, T'kuvmas plan would be completely foiled. His 24 Great house leaders come to the scene, ask what is going on, T'kuvma says "Yeah, uh, they warped away", everybody goes home, roll credits.

The Vulcan Hello makes no sense in these circumstances. Sure, the Vulcans shot at the Klingons until they realized that the Vulcans were worthy of diplomacy - but that must have taken decades or longer. In this situation, the Shenzou is clearly outgunned, and shooting would violate standing orders from Starfleet.

Next, there was nothing at stake here. If the Klingons show up above a Federation colony - fine, defend that. But they are in a system far away from anything important (only a remote sensor drone is in the system, after all), so why risk war? Beause Michael hates Klingons? Wow, such deepness, much moral ambiguity.

This all seems like everbody involved was just a bumbling idiot (at least on the side of the Federation - the Klingons got exactly what they wanted and more, because they played 4d chess). Those were the same kind of descisions that make Janeway the worst captain of Star Trek: Irrational, shoot first and ask questions later, fuck the consequences kind of descisions. This wasn't even about Star Fleet principles, since when is it iron law of Star Fleet to never budge an inch if nothing is at stake? Sounds more like ultranationalistic chauvenism to me. If they want Star Fleet as the bad guys, sure, but don't expect anything worthwhile to come out of it.

And while everybody was praising the visuals, the ship design of the klingons is atrocious. The TOS and TNG klingon ships looked purposeful, militaristic, simplistic and menacing. These look like some kind of space amoeba with cancer. The Klingons are not some kind of extradimensional higher beeing, with ship designs so alien that nobody can understand them - they are space russians. They are at the same technology level as the Feds are, so why give them ships that look like horrorcreatures? Who in their right mind would design something like that? The D7 Battlecruiser was the counterpart to the old Enterprise - and look at Russian and American naval vessels of the cold war, and you see the difference. These ships are just garbage.
Robert
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
"Also, I know that Majel Barrett is dead, but I wish they could have found a way to make the computer sound like her. Maybe a voice-double or some electronic trickery based on existing audio of her. "

It's probably too difficult. It's not like they have 25+ years of stored up voice commands that they could use or anything....

/EXTREME SARCASM
Robert
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
" According to his bio on a Defiant computer screen in "In a Mirror, Darkly," Archer lived long enough to see the launch of the Enterprise NCC-1701 -- but that onscreen text is supposedly not to be taken as canon, as the writers didn't intend for any viewers to actually read it."

Admiral Archer and his prized beagle are mentioned in ST'09. He is 100% definitely still alive as of STD.

Kirk was born 4 years before STD, and up until that point everything is the same in the Prime verse and JJ verse. So unless Archer somehow died in the Prime verse in those 4 years specifically and not in the JJ verse he is alive as of this time.

So ya, having Archer do a cameo as the admiral giving them their orders or whatnot would have been 1000% plausible.
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
"If the Shenzou would have retreated, T'kuvmas plan would be completely foiled. His 24 Great house leaders come to the scene, ask what is going on, T'kuvma says "Yeah, uh, they warped away", everybody goes home, roll credits."

The answer is simple, T'kuvmas picked a region of Federation space similar to one the Federation has defended in past encounters. Let's use real world terms; North Korea may not get in any hot wars with the US, but I'm sure it could figure out where to park a battleship in order to provoke a US attack. The U.S. defends even unincorporated territories like Midway Atoll and Kingman Reef, there's no reason to think Starfleet wouldn't do something similar in its unincorporated space.
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
"Admiral Archer and his prized beagle are mentioned in ST'09. He is 100% definitely still alive as of STD."

We don't know that for sure. Scottie's anecdote involving Archer's beagle took place in the Kelvin timeline, whereas discovery takes place in the Prime Timeline.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@Maverick
"But now that you brought up TNG... in a kind of way, The Vulcan Hello/Battle was their modern version of Encounter at Farpoint. Lacking interesting story and character development but with some good eye candy."

The difference being that "Farpoint" - as flawed as it was - showed us the soul of Trek from the very first minute. You could see the potential there for a great series. And actually, the premise of the story itself was a very good one. It's just that the execution was... well, lacking.

The story of "the Vulcan Hello/BotBS", on the other hand, didn't strike me as anything special. In many ways the problems here are the exact reverse of the problems with "Farpoint": Good production values all around, meh premise.

@Navamske
"I'm a big fan of Bryan Fuller's work, but I would not have believed this production came from him if I had not learned it beforehand."

And you would have been right: Discovery (mostly) isn't Fuller's work.

Fuller left the production team of this show in a *very* early stage, and the reason for him leaving seems to be creative differences. He didn't want to make a prequel at all. Rather, he wanted to do an anthology series, jumping from era to era (which sounds really cool btw).

We also know that Fuller wanted the 2250's portion of his show to have a much more authentic look in the technology and the uniforms. OTOH the weird redesign of the Klingons was also his idea.

@Chrome
"North Korea may not get in any hot wars with the US, but I'm sure it could figure out where to park a battleship in order to provoke a US attack."

Yeah, but the UFP is not the US. They are supposed to be better than 21st century humans, no? A little less hot-headed?

That's exactly the difference I expect to see between a Star Trek series and a generic sci fi series. Starfleet doesn't shoot first. They've even f***-ing said these very words in the episode itself.





Hank
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome: No, that doesn't work, as the show tells us that nobody has seen a Klingon for 100 years, so they don't know what the Federation would or would not defend. And Midway Atoll is still inhabitated, this beacon in the middle of nowhere is more like a buoy in the middle of the Pacific.

And even if it was not - the presence of the ancient klingon artifact is clear evidence that the Federation is the intruder in this case - the Klingons came first, so Starfleet would of course retreat, or at least try to establish who has a right to that system before trying to provoke a battle.
Robert
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome - "We don't know that for sure. Scottie's anecdote involving Archer's beagle took place in the Kelvin timeline, whereas discovery takes place in the Prime Timeline. "

I addressed that, walking back my assertion of 100%.

"unless Archer somehow died in the Prime verse in those 4 years specifically and not in the JJ verse he is alive as of this time"

The Kelvin/Prime timelines are identical up until 4 years before discovery takes place. So Archer is either a) alive or b) has died extremely recently. Meaning that if they wanted to do an Archer cameo there is no reason why he couldn't be alive.

We know in the Kelvin timeline that he was alive for several more years, so it's unlikely he dropped dead of old age within the last 4 years in this timeline, possible, but unlikely. Obviously he could have died some other way.

But him being alive is 100% plausible.
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
"No, that doesn't work, as the show tells us that nobody has seen a Klingon for 100 years, so they don't know what the Federation would or would not defend."

Just because they never saw the Klingons doesn't mean the Klingons couldn't ask questions and gather intel. Starfleet is a known force in the AQ.

@OTDP

Whether the Federation or the U.S. the same tactics is irrelevant. The point is that historic data of the Federation could be used to predict when it uses force.
Hank
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome: Ok, but if that is true - then the UFP themselves would have gathered Intel about the Klingons and they would know far more than they seem to know. That whole line makes no sense anyways as we KNOW that the Klingons attacked and killed Michaels parents at some point, which was not 100 years ago. So yeah, both sides should know more about each other as they seem to do. But alas, sloppy writing is sloppy.
Blair Schirmer
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
"That's the beauty and legacy of Star Trek when coupled with its already available library. It exists in different tones and time frames, with different visions and creative goals, delivered by different casts and crews — all at once. Sooner, later, and previously, there is a Trek to fill every need."

Sadly not the case.

We can imagine a great many examples of series that are not Star Trek. Think of Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse, the Stargate franchise. These are not Star Trek. You could also create an alien race that differs in most respects from canonical Klingons and call them "Klingons," but they won't be Klingons.

You could create a main character who lives by none of the established precepts of Vulcans, and claim she's a "Vulcan," but that hardly makes it so.

That's the case with "Discovery," which features very little discovery. It also features very little Star Trek. If you removed the Star Trek banner and a handful of references from the series, you couldn't know it was Star Trek.

You'd have a series that featured a ton of plot holes, one awesome sequence where an actress jet packs to a phenomenon, and little in common with the venerated series, Star Trek. And that's what "Discovery" is.
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
"then the UFP themselves would have gathered Intel about the Klingons and they would know far more than they seem to know. That whole line makes no sense anyways as we KNOW that the Klingons attacked and killed Michaels parents at some point, which was not 100 years ago."

Not necessarily, the Klingons were obviously more proactively interested in engaging the Federation than vice-versa. As to the second point, the episode gives us no information of when or how the Klingons attacked Burnham's family, it's quite likely it happened outside of Federation territory.

"We know in the Kelvin timeline that he was alive for several more years, so it's unlikely he dropped dead of old age within the last 4 years in this timeline, possible, but unlikely. Obviously he could have died some other way."

Yeah, sorry if I missed that, by my only point is it's possible Archer died earlier in the Prime Timeline. Space is dangerous, maybe he bumped into Nagilum on a trip to Risa.

Blair Schirmer
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
--"How the hell does a species get bred to "sense death?" Isn't Star Trek ostensibly science fiction?!?--"

If Goldsmith and Kurtzman were actually smart, and not just decent at turning a profit (they're the 'brains' behind Batman and Robin, Lost in Space, Transformers, I, Robot, etc.--this is in whom CBS is entrusting your Star Trek), they might have come up with something actually believable:

***My species was originally bred as food. When terrified we produce an enzyme similar to your adrenaline that was said to make our... meat.... more delicious. In that sense we were bred to sense the coming of death. I sense it coming now.***

"The only solace I have is that TNG started pretty bad as well. "

--Uh-oh. Trek for Teens? That doesn't bode well.
Hank
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome: Not, that is extremely unlikely, as Michael is the adoptive child of Sarek - if she was on some random world outside of Federation Space, she would never have had the opportunity to come into contact with Sarek. There was also a sequence where there was an attack on the Vulcan "think holes" or whatever that was, but I don't know if that was a dream or not. Some characters also mentioned that the Klingons use terror attacks. So no, this whole "mysterious Klingon menace" in the vein of the Borg or Romulans makes no sense, as it was entirely obvious to everybody that the Klingons were involved in the first place. That also answers the question of wether the Federation would want intel on the Klingons: If they run around the Quadrant terrorizing its people, the UFP needs to know what is going on, as it is the biggest territorial power.
Chrome
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
"Not, that is extremely unlikely"

Likely or not, the show will explain it in coming episodes. I only offered a possible explanation.
karatasiospa
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
btw on both rotten tomatoes and metacritic critics seem to like Discovery but the viewers not so much.
Peremensoe
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
I'm pretty sure Michael is not trans, and the name's unremarked-upon (in the show) use by a woman doesn't mean anything, apart from "this is the future." Same as women characters of our time named Sidney or Ashley would indicate to a reader a hundred years ago.
JonJon
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
I'm tired of Hollywood and their 'remakes of remakes' and dark, brooding, shaky cam, dystopia, over-dramatic, taking everything way to serious, etc etc etc. and so are the majority of people. That is why STD has only gotten a 63% rating from audiences on RT.

I sure hope things get better for the rest of the series. 5 out 10
Hank
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Rotten Tomatoes had a 51% audience approval rating a few days prior. Apparently more people liked episode two, but I wouldn't bet on it succeding. Rumor has it that season two will only premier in 2019 - if the season is approved anyways. Looks not so good for STD.
Peremensoe
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
A lot of people made up their minds to hate on this before they saw it (if they saw it). There is certainly a racist-troll factor in the RT ratings, given that it was labeled on racist-troll sites for months as a "SJW" manifestation.
Hank
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Oh yes, I am sure all those long-time star trek watching racists are just annoyed that there are no white people in this ... As we all know, Star Trek has always been a vehicle for white supremacy. /sarcasm

And being against SJWs makes you in no way a racist or a troll either. I have read about 100 reviews on that side (only the negative ones), and not a single one even mentioned race. Everybody was just annoyed that they shat on canon and the story made no sense. There was one mention of racism: "Racists will hate this show". So no, I don't think throwing the racists-troll label around brings us any closer to the actual reason this show is disliked.

I think it is more that old-school ST fans wrote their reviews first and were utterly disappointed.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
Hank, do you even know what "SJW" means? You might want to look the term up.

Yes, as strange as it sounds, there *are* vocal detractors of Discovery who hate it just because it features a black female iead and an asian female captain. How these people didn't notice that Trek has been leading the way on diversity from day 1... it really boggles the mind.

I wonder what these guys think now, given that the said female captain is already dead and the lead character is facing life imprisonment. Maybe they'll like the show more. ;-)

SlackerInc
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Usually, I at least try to read the other comments before I weigh in.  But that looks like a nearly hopeless task, so although I do plan to go back and try to skim through them at some point, and I will definitely keep up with replies after I post, I'm just going to plunge in.

First thing: did anyone watch the "After Trek" show?  I watched a few minutes before being bored to tears.  But something I found really (albeit unintentionally) funny was that the host read Twitter comments off of CARDS.  Srsly?  Some PA had to run and print comments and glue them to heavy cardstock for the host to then hold upside down and struggle with?  This is a show about the future, about tech, and the set for this talk show even has fancy display screens that mimic the view out of a space ship.  But Twitter comments go on cards, like it's still the "Mad Men" era?  He couldn't have them on a TelePrompter, or even on a tablet or phone or something?  Sheesh.

Okay, on to the show and Jammer's review.

First off, can someone who's been in the Navy tell me if it's really such a cumbersome process to respond to an enemy attack?  This has always bothered me in Trek, and on BSG etc. for that matter.  An enemy comes in firing (in this case, seeming to destroy several Federation ships in the first few seconds?!?), and the good guys' ship just sits there like a dead duck until the captain tells one crewmember to "take evasive action" and another to arm weapons.  Shouldn't there be some kind of standing order in a faceoff like this for these crewmembers to just start doing that immediately if hostilities commence?

"Burnham and Georgiou then beam aboard the Klingon flagship in a plan that seems like it should've maybe involved more crew members."

Great point!  Why not bring all the security personnel you've got left?

Overall, I thought it was actually pretty good, despite the nitpicks.  Like Jammer, I would give it three stars and look forward to more.

P.S. I decided to "take the temperature of the room" after all and skim through a few comments, especially from familiar names.

Regarding Michael's name, I immediately thought of Michael Steele (the female bassist for the Bangles, not the male former RNC chair).  But a quick look at Wikipedia informed me that she was actually born Susan Thomas.

That's really, really sad if racist trolls downgraded the show simply because it had a diverse cast (presumably, their positions in command were what really bugged).  People are disappointing. 

@OmicronThetaDeltaPi:

You and I agree once again (as with "Orville") about "Enterprise", which I watched and enjoyed as it came out (except for that atrocious opening song).  Very underrated, and they did a good job IMO making it look less high tech than the shows that aired before it but which came after it on the timeline.  (BTW, I give "Discovery" a pass on this, because I think it's fair to see TOS as being like a simplified theatrical presentation of its ship rather than a hyper-realistic one: after all, our tech in 2017 is beyond a lot of what we saw there, in terms of controls and displays.)

But I'm disappointed to hear you thought "Discovery" was a mess.  I quite liked it.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"But I'm disappointed to hear you thought "Discovery" was a mess. I quite liked it."

Well, we can't agree on *everything*, can we? That would be too boring.

Still, 2 out of 3 aint bad. :-)
Hank
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:25am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThedaDeltaPhi: Yes, I know what SJWs are, I have enough interaction with those types to know exactly what they want. In a sense, they are the dystopian vision of what Star Trek becomes when good intentions go wrong.

And I also know that there are people that hate the show because they see it as SJW-agenda-crap. I am just saying that throwing labels around baselessly is not helping anything, on the contrary, it got us to where we are today. I just finish reading all the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and the ONLY one there with a Pepe-the-frog avatar (who would be the "racist trolls") said that he LIKED the show and that it had less SJW-pandering than he expected.

When news of discovery first started appearing, I tried to find those SJW-haters and trolls. To my big suprise, almost NOTHING came up. It is an extreme minority, as Star Trek always was far left. And in the concrete example of Rotten Tomatoes, there is NOTHING to suggest that ratings are low because "trolls" are downvoting it. There were actually four or five reviews mentioning SJWs, but most of them also cited the lack of canonicity and other reasons why the show sucks. Many people downvoted because of CBS All Access, and very few said they wouldn't watch because one of the actors dared people not to watch the show.

I just don't want another false narrative to spread. Fact of the matter is that long-time fans are utterly disappointed, and the positive reviews can be summed up in a simple sentence (they are really all more or less the same): "It looks great, I really like the new style/acting/story, this is not Star Trek of old". Most people actually agree that this is not really Star Trek as we know it.
Bonk Bonk on the Head
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:59am (UTC -5)
I have not bothered to watch the show yet. The trailer made me yawn. How is it that a life long Star Trek fan no longer cares? I didn't even bother to go see the last movie.

"It's dead, Jim"

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 8:19am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"BTW, I give "Discovery" a pass on this, because I think it's fair to see TOS as being like a simplified theatrical presentation of its ship rather than a hyper-realistic one: after all, our tech in 2017 is beyond a lot of what we saw there, in terms of controls and displays."

Fair point.

But do the TOS sets really look like "a simplified theatrical presentation" then what we've seen on Discovery?

Here's the thing: Once you get past the cardboard sets and the obsolete tech, the design of the original NCC-1701 bridge is incredibly functional. It really looks like an practical control room of an actual ship, with every switch and every button serving an actual function.

Now, I'm all for updating this kind of design with more modern tech, but that's not what we got with the Shenzou. It looks like some f***-ing museum multimedia display rather than a functional starship.

As the saying goes: less is more.

BTW there's a very good reason to use mechanical switches and indicators for controlling a spaceship. Digital controls look neat, but they are far more prone to malfunctions. Nothing beats the reliability of a mechanical instrument/switch which is physically connected to the thing it is reading/controlling.

At the very least, there should be backup analogue instruments to verify the readings of the digital ones. In fact, modern cockpit designers are now learning this the hard way, which is why pure glass cockpits are beginning to fall out of favor.

Robert
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 8:33am (UTC -5)
I agree with both of you (Hank & Omicron). Yes there are people who don't like the show because it's too diverse (aka pandering from certain view points). I think we may see them more on the internet. And I think it's possible many of them aren't even Trek fans but are trolls. I know there are conservative Trek fans who roll their eyes at this stuff, I do, but if they were going to stop watching over it they'd have done it already.

Say what you will about Gene, he had his pluses and minuses for sure, he's just human... but in the 60s he crafted a show with a representative from every continent except South America, an alien, our biggest enemies and he attempted to make the first officer a woman. Damn that's impressive. And TOS ends (ST6) with Kirk overcoming his racial prejudice against the Klingons, who killed his son, to making peace. A peace they then honor in TNG when you see a Klingon seated on the bridge of the Enterprise.

I still am on the fence about watching. More of you like it than I expected, especially of the reviewers that I usually agree with. But it sounds like it takes a massive dump on canon and that aggravates me. So still on the fence. And also CBS All Access can still bite me. I've felt insulted ever since Paramount made the DVDs 4x the price of every other TV show because Trek fans are rabid nutjobs and they'll buy anything. I know it's not that much money, but I resent them trying to kick off their new service on the backs of my fandom while also kicking us in the canon. So to speak. But I shall continue to monitor the situation :P

If you all love how it ends and some of the stranger things get answered (long range mind melds? holo-communicators?, where the heck are all the normal looking Klingons?) I'll strongly consider buying the season when all is said and done.

As for Michael, I don't think it's that weird. Fuller has a thing for women with male names and it's the far future. Lesley and Lindsey were once male only names. All it would honestly take is for a Kardashian to name a baby girl Michael and suddenly it's unisex.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 9:09am (UTC -5)
@Hank
"When news of discovery first started appearing, I tried to find those SJW-haters and trolls. To my big suprise, almost NOTHING came up."

I guess you've been lucky.

My own experience was that I kept bumping into these people even though I was trying to avoid them. They're probably a small minority, true, but they are an incredibly busy and vocal minority who stirs a lot of trouble.

The biggest problem with these guys is how they hijacked the public discussion about the series. There are too many people who assume that any person who has issues with Discovery is an SJW-hater and a racist. We can talk about canon and continuity (or lack of) until our faces are blue, yet some people will just assume we're looking for excuses to ditch "the SJW show".

The really funny thing here is that Discovery - if anything - is less SJW then any prior Trek series. "Oooooh... let's make the Klingons cardboard villians who cannot be reasoned with, and have Starfleet give them 'The Vulcan Hello'...". Even TOS, which tended to treat the Klingons as one-dimensional adversaries, never stooped to *that* low a level.
Ruth
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Trent - I don't think she was wrong because I think they were spelling out that T'Kuvma was starting this war no matter what. This whole righteous crusade - it was neither going to be caused or avoided by one woman's actions. She aims up just before the other Klingons drop out of warp (I think? Need to rewatch). I didn't get the impression that he threatened, she escalated and he attacked. I think he was just doing that anyway. I got the impression that he deliberately wanted to kill an admiral ASAP too.

The only wrong thing is that she's basically put a Klingon expert - or at least someone able to get secret info on the Klingons from the vulcans that they're not sharing with the federation otherwise - in prison but as that expert is her I'm willing to overlook it.

Morally, she does what she does because she thinks it's the only way to save her shipmates (particularly her captain) and perhaps the federation as a whole. And I think what we saw shows she was right. I think it's interesting they opened with T'Kuvma setting out his goals. They could have been more ambiguous like "did this happen because no one was willing to sit down and talk?" - no it happened because T'Kuvma whipped it up. It may be that WIDER federation actions actually did influence him, but that day we open on he has already made his mind up

The other wrong thing is her killing him! I think one of her plans would have worked, even if shooting might not have worked, I'm almost certain capturing him would have. And the captain was with her on that one. You can imagine that when both agree they're probably right. But that one was way more heat of the moment, revenge. I wonder if it's because of that that she also considers herself responsible. He started the war by himself but if she'd captured him they could have stopped it. But two human women vs two Klingon men? They had to have known it would end in tears

Chrome - thanks!

By the way, I don't necessarily think Burnham was right - after all it didn't work - but she wasn't responsible for the battle, or doing something particularly wrong or stupid. She thought she was avoiding bloodshed. The captain thought she was out for blood, consumed by revenge. Was that also true? I'd say at least 10%

I have mixed feelings about the bomb in the corpse too. They may have felt it justified because they wanted to catch T'Kuvma and end the conflict but it's still shady. How can the captain be so adamant they don't fire first and then this is okay?

But I find that interesting. I like Janeway a lot. I liked when Picard had to have sense talked into him. I want starfleet people especially the captains and first officers to be better than average people but at the same time these are human beings in stressful situations and discovering new things. Of course they are sometimes wrong. I don't want to see first officer hitler or something but I want to see good people making mistakes and hopefully learning

(I was also really reminded of Picard in that Burnham has apparently become a figure of hatred when this battle and its losses aren't her fault. You could blame Picard more for wolf 359 than you could blame Burnham for this because at least his compromised body was responsible even if he himself wasn't. So her as both hyper logical appearing and shoot first is an interesting contrast to Picard who is mainly emotional appearing and pacifist. They're also both apparently born explorers and extremely interested in other cultures, even more than your average starfleet member. Her wonder and joy at finding the ship was apparently very her and so was the mutiny! An interesting character)
Chrome
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: the pointless "SJW" witch hunt, can't we just use normal words like activists or progressives or something? I feel like SJW is a net-only derogatory term that just leads to polarized discussions. As the discussion applies to this episode, I don't think there's anything as heavy-handed and DS9 or VOY in terms of material that discusses minority struggles. The one line I see is when Captain Georgiou questions Burnham for her Klingon racism and brings up the past of Burnham's people. But this is quickly and cleverly addressed by Burnham rightly stating that race and culture are two different things.

@Ruth

"By the way, I don't necessarily think Burnham was right - after all it didn't work - but she wasn't responsible for the battle, or doing something particularly wrong or stupid. She thought she was avoiding bloodshed. The captain thought she was out for blood, consumed by revenge. Was that also true? I'd say at least 10%"

We don't know if her plan wouldn't work because no mutiny actually occurred (the crew didn't side with Burnham and Georgiou aborted her plan). I agree that Burnham's plan was at least partially inspired by revenge as Burnham was unstable from her wounds and the shock of the incident. Georgiou was likely right to dismiss the plan, though hindsight might make her decide differently.
Hank
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron: Then we are in full agreement - the only reason I objected to the troll argument is precisely because every discussion gets hijacked, and pointless labeling serves no purpose. I gather that on this site, we'd rather hear arguments than engage in pointless tribalism.

@Chrome: It is the correct label, though, some people even use it for themselves. But I agree, there is no need to discuss this any further. And you are right: The line about race and culture is actually a talking point of those opposed to the left, or the activists, as you call them. I myself am surprised that the show is like it is, contrary to the impression given by the cast and producers prior to release. A rare positive thing about this series.

@Ruth: I disagree, this whole action could have been avoided if the Shenzou just withdrew. They knew they were outgunned the moment the Klingons showed up, and if the Shenzou is anything like the Enterprise, they have families and children on board, so it was indeed a deriliction of duty to put them at risk needlessly.

As for Michaels reasons: I think the writers wanted to spell out extremely clearly that she has two sides: Vulcan and human. In my opinion, they overdid it. She goes from logical reasoning ("The Vulcans shot the Klingons, and the Klingons started talking, so we should do the same") to absolutely illogical behaviour (T'kuvma kills Giourgiou -> she takes immediate revenge even though she knows the consequences are the worst possible outcome to a bad situation). For me it feels forced. It's like she has a split personality. I also didn't like the line about Giorgiou "plucking off [her] vulcan shell": I get it, you want her to express her humanity, but this sounds like contempt for Vulcans. A strange thing in Star Trek.

I am surprised that so few people complain about the booby-trapping of the dead klingon. I really can't imagine anybody at Starfleet approving of this action (well, except Janeway maybe). It was a needlessly violent action, and given how much time TNG spent on respecting other cultures, feels out of place. Starfleet acted like terrorists, further fueling Klingon propaganda (which at this point isn't even really propaganda - given what we have seen so far, they are entirely justified in their actions, and one has to wonder, if Starfleet officers are jumping to such drastic measures at a hunch, what have they done in the past that is equally despicable?) I guess we would have a hard time rooting for the allied forces in the invasion of Normandy if they were booby trapping dead bodies and bombing hospitals, or shooting red cross medics.

Another point about the Klingons: Is it just me or are there no control stations on their bridge? They are all standing around in that giant room, but I can not make out anything resembling controls. Contrast that with the bridge of the Klingon cruiser in TMP, where everything looked like it came straight out of a russian submarine. That bridge oozed functionality, militarism and menace. This one looks like a temple, and the Klingons look just like setpieces, as nobody on the bridge seems to have a function. Missed opportunities everywhere.
Andy's Friend
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, @Omicron (below)

Chrome: "Re: the pointless "SJW" witch hunt, can't we just use normal words like activists or progressives or something? I feel like SJW is a net-only derogatory term that just leads to polarized discussions"

You're right about the last part, but that is true of any term, regardless how correct it is: using terminology to divide people and limit them to one of two positions in a discussion, even when objectively correct (positivism vs hermeneutics; idealism vs physicalism; isolationism vs contextualism, etc., etc.), tends to be divisive, as if no compromise, not even dialogue is possible.

But---and this is a big but, for I am not American and don't live there, and American reality, from my European point of view, seems tragically and almost hysterically warped these days---I also tend to view "SJW" (a term I never use myself) as a very unpleasant type of personality.

The way I see it (and I may be wrong), SJWs are beyond simple "activists" and "progressives", as you suggest. To me, they seem to be radicals: the sort of unpleasant people suffering from some monomania, whether animal rights, women's rights, or whichever cause they have become enamoured with.

Such people tend to be exceptionally obnoxious, as they seem to live to see transgressions of the particular cause they have adopted everywhere. They see little else and speak of little else, but speak about it a lot.

I agree with you that we should avoid simple labels; we are all more than Marxists, meat-eaters, or Real Madrid fans. But I always thought that the more intelligent type of people who nevertheless use such terms used it to denote an excessive zeal of some sort---whether a radical, a true fanatic, or simply a youth who just wants to belong somewhere, doesn't really have a clue of what he or she is talking about, but does so excessively.

Tell me, is this perception wrong? Is the term really used that loosely?

@Omicron

I'm with you on this one. I haven't watched Discovery yet, and may never. The trailer suggests anything but Star Trek to me: take away the familiar badge etc., and all you have left seems to be a war saga in space. None of what has been written here indicates otherwise.

That is not what Star Trek is about. Star Trek is single stories---episodes---dealing with single issues: myths, as Elliott, who doesn't seem to frequent this site anymore, so well used to put it. Star Trek is larger than life. Star Trek doesn't need continuous story-arcs and character development, for that is not what Star Trek is about.

It's funny: I used to disagree with Elliott on many particulars, but he was absolutely right on the universals. Star Trek is about myths, and archetypes. And above all, like so many of you here have noted, it's about making us believe in a brighter future.

Let us compare the levels of ambition. In "Encounter at Farpoint", TNG began its run by putting humanity on trial by an enigmatic entity who was, shall we say, a little more powerful than you and I. And that entity said it himself, all those episodes later---the trial never ends: for it's about the unknown possibilities of existence.

Forget about flaws in execution: there is a greatness to that episode, an ambition that sets the tone for what TNG would become, and also reflects what Star Trek is all about. I just can't see that ambition in anything the many commenters here have written about these episodes.

P.S: I have read all the comments here by all (took me a while!). Thanks, everyone :)
Peremensoe
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Chrome, I invoked the “SJW” term, as a quote, to make the specific point that the people who use it, non-ironically and not quoting, have an agenda which is not necessarily much related to the subject at hand. In my experience, the non-ironic usage is a strong flag that the speaker *is* a racist troll, that they are more interested in fanning flames of polarization than in providing or receiving insight to anything.
Hank, you do realize that the Rotten Tomatoes audience score is derived from (now approaching) 2,000 ratings, the majority of which have no associated review at all, just a star rating? Although, just as I write this, the top audience comment happens to be “Terrible acting, bad special effects, a show for SJWs not SF fans.”
I’m not saying racist trolls are actually reviewing the show; I’m sure most of them have not seen it, beyond the trailer—if they even bothered watching that for themselves. I am saying, Discovery is a racist-troll Thing to mobilize on; they drop in on RT, or Youtube comments, or wherever, just to shit on the rep of anything that their online community marks as “SJW.” This has been clear since at least May; see https://www.rawstory.com/2017/05/white-genocide-in-space-racist-fans-seethe -at-diversity-in-new-star-trek-series/ for some examples, though there are innumerable other pages I could point to. (“White genocide” and “cultural Marxism” are even better flags for these people, since they literally don’t mean anything outside racist ideology.) For that matter, we were talking about it at that same time here (see the Jammer’s Blog thread following the trailer). So, of course, as soon as the RT page for the series was open, a bunch of them ran over there to give lowest-possible scores.
If you’re going to cite general-audience-website aggregate rankings as evidence for Discovery’s weakness, then it’s on-point to note the factor that has to have skewed the day-one score way down.
Peremensoe
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Hank, I like your latest comments on the erratic character of Burnham, and the shade on the Federation actions, which comport closely with things I've been thinking about since the premiere. I understand that these aspects may turn off some people, that it "isn't Star Trek" as they understand it, if the lead character and the Federation itself aren't ethical exemplars. For myself—and pending further development—I like the ambiguity of it all. I still want stories that make me think, but I don't need the Feds to be right, or even in the right, all the time.
Skeevo
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
All this stuff about SJW's doesn't make a whole lot of sense, seeing as how the actual captain of the Discovery is a white male. And a lot of the cast is actually white. Or will be when the real show starts, instead of this prologue or whatever it was.

Also I want to add that the (future) captain's name is Gabriel, and the other main character is Michael. The only 2 angels actually given names in the Bible. IDK if that was done purposefully or not, but it's an odd coincidence if it wasn't.

Maybe it's some sort of allegory for the righteous (starfleet) to be fighting evil (the demonic looking klingons). They should have named T'Kuvma or Voq, Lucifer instead.

Chrome
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
"The way I see it (and I may be wrong), SJWs are beyond simple "activists" and "progressives", as you suggest (...) But I always thought that the more intelligent type of people who nevertheless use such terms used it to denote an excessive zeal of some sort---whether a radical, a true fanatic, or simply a youth who just wants to belong somewhere, doesn't really have a clue of what he or she is talking about, but does so excessively. "

I'm not making any judgments on the intelligence of people who use the word SJW, my issue is that it's typically used to pigeon hole any type of person the writer doesn't agree with. I'm sure there are overzealous individuals out there without a clue about their cause, but they shouldn't be lumped with people who have a legitimate cause, which is often the case in my experience.
karatasiospa
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
It seems there will be a mirror universe episode

https://trekmovie.com/2017/09/16/jonathan-frakes-reveals-big-star-trek-disc overy-spoiler/
HawgWyld
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
I really hope this series improves. I was rooting for the Klingons by the start of the second episode. Humorless, soulless and boring stuff in spite of all the explosions. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the premier was when that whining guy got sucked into space before he could complain that he didn't sign up for a war, he only joined Starfleet for the benefits.

They had 12 years to develop a new Trek series and get it right, and this is what they came up with? This might turn out to be a good series, but there's a lot of work to do.
Vladimir Estragon
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
I was surprised to find out in the second episode that Burnham had been on that ship for seven years. The way the crew behaved in the first episode, I thought it was her first day. I didn't get the sense that they knew each other's moves at all. Remember the intensity with which Data said "drop the shields," and Picard recognized that and trusted him? I saw nothing like that here.

By the way, Burnham just doesn't seem that good to me. Don't you think that, if he wanted to, Riker could lock out the bridge controls and get a shot off before anyone could stop him? We know Data could do it. Could LaForge? Or Dax? Or Tuvok? Or Trip? Or even Lt. Kevin Riley? I think so.

I liked the redesign of the Klingons, but the way the head guy…spoke…as…if…he…was……read…ing…syl…la…bles……fro m…a…script …was incredibly irritating. Of course, that's exactly what the actor was doing. I also think they should have showed the Klingons doing something other than standing around sermonizing. Show them flying the ship, shooting the weapons, eating gagh, anything. Instead of drinking and shouting and butting heads, these Klingons are religious zealots trying to repel the infidels advancing on their territory. Hmm, that sounds familiar.

Why did this have to be a prequel? This could easily have taken place 100 years after Voyager, and maybe the design of the ship would have started to make sense. Also, I love that the Shenzhou was considered to be an old ship. What do the new ones look like? Do they have even more space on the bridge for the officers to stroll around and emote?

My prediction is that the third episode is going to be very very different from what we've seen so far.

So, we're all here bitching about one thing or another, especially about CBS. There's no way I'm going to pay for another service, just to watch this show. However, I do have to admit that it was kinda nice looking forward to a new Trek episode again.

Caz
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 1:41am (UTC -5)
Decided to watch this tonight after seeing a good review, and pirated it like Blackbeard. Glad I did.

Did I love it? Not all of it. It's Abrams universe in aesthetics, the characters were as thin as a series premier can get away with, and no respect for canon outside of winks and nods.

Otherwise, I'm good with it. Setups with actual sophistication and even-handed understanding of differences are hard to come by now, and they are what Trek has always offered that I appreciated. It's here, and depending on how they treat it, it could stay and interesting questions can be asked while different points of view can be investigated. Some of these calls took guts, including the purposeful remaking of Klingons as more alien (they always should have been, budget notwithstanding) and the willingness to question the universality of Federation/Western value systems.

Politically, it must be hell trying to make shows which take seriously the concept of cultural identity without stepping on landmines. The temptation to Flanderize the Klingons will probably be extreme as the show progresses; I would not be surprised by a lot of viewers being turned off in distaste if the show takes Klingon culture seriously. Most people seem to prefer a straight good versus evil plot. But the Klingons here mostly made sense as an honor culture. It is not unheard of in human societies to test outsiders with a challenge and consider those who shy away and try to placate or talk their way out of it to be weak and ripe for conquest. Their actions, within the logic of conflict-oriented people maintaining borders and differences down to the individual level, work well as a stand in for real issues and test the modern moral and ethical system Trek represents. They could be stand-ins for fundamentalist Muslims or Trump voters, neither comparison perfect (both Muslims and Trump voters get their ethic from Abrahamic faiths blended with extant honor culture) but both serviceable.

They skimmed the idea that interaction softens borders and values with constant compromise and eventual assimilation, but the potential is there for a bigger investigation. You could easily call it a legitimate issue at this point.

I'll watch it again, and I might keep watching it so long as they don't dumb it down and someone posts pirated episodes, because I'm just not buying this All Access crap. And I still like the Orville better, mostly for the humor.
Caz
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 2:03am (UTC -5)
One elaboration. This statement from Jammer shows what the show can do:

"You see, the tale of the "Vulcan hello" was a logically calculated always-fire-first tactic the Vulcans adopted against the Klingons once upon a time to gain their respect through displays of strength, which eventually led to the establishment of diplomatic relations. I have my doubts that this could make sense and not simply enrage the Klingons into starting a war..."

Sorry Jammer, but this is a failure of imagination. You're seeing the Klingons through Federation eyes, which is of course the entire point of the plot. Burnham, familiar with the Vulcan policy and understanding of its logic, was trying to prevent exactly this kind of thinking from getting them into trouble.

There are borders. The Klingons tested them. The appropriate response was to defend them. The Klingons were not going to be able to identify with and respect a people that does not do this. Remember Quark's conversation with Garak on DS9 about the Federation being "insidious"? Or even better, Eddington saying "you know, in some ways, you're even worse than the Borg"? All this in the series most known for darker realpolitik, compromised ethics a la Pale Moonlight, and a war with an empire fundamentally incapable of peacefully dissolving into the individualistic slurry of the Federation.

This matters. And it needs to matter when we next decide to berate China for its lack of democracy and individual rights, or when we wonder why anyone could possibly object to making borders irrelevant as cheap labor pours into their society and gets granted legal citizenship as part of a blanket amnesty every couple of decades.

The show left open what exactly the Vulcans' "diplomatic relations" looked like. It is probably not full trade and interaction in the open borders sense. Should it be? If you're a universalist, then certainly it should, but universalism is an ethic predicated on dominance of its ideas if not its hierarchies. It brooks no opposition and functions with the same hysterical self-righteousness as the most brazen religious ideologies. There's no "but" to it: either you recognize that universalism is a culturally subjective point of view, with vulnerabilities and internal contradictions, or you deny it, and you hold to universalism based on individual welfare or some other higher value which justifies it. Trek has been wishy washy on this; if Discovery continues to have guts, we might get better answers out of it.

Worth the watch.
Stefan T.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 2:37am (UTC -5)
There are two viewpoints which you may have to consider when watching those two episodes:
If I am watching it without taking in account the cultural/political background in the US, and the earlier series, I'd just enjoy it. Mostly quite a good cast, gorgeous graphics/CGI and an intriguing story as well which happens to end in a cliffhanger with Michaels being sentenced to a life term in prison. Honestly - this was something which I didn't expect at all when I started watching the episode. Some things are overdramatic, some thing really bad, but overall a stable performance and 3 out of 4 stars feel perfectly fine for me.

The problem, well, is the other viewpoint.
Just to add something in advance before I start: Star Trek has always been more or less progressive, and it took in everyday situations and/or questions of their respective real time counterpart. Take, for example, the kiss of Kirk and Uhura in "Plato's Stepchildren", which happened to be the first interracial kiss in the US TV.
Gene Roddenberry's Vision of Star Trek has always been an utopian one. And utopian means, it is not real, but a positive perspective on a possible future.
So therefore, even that kiss didnt have an agenda but it was something which would provoke of course during that time when it aired. The problem is, however, that even a black actress in a main role like Nichelle Nichols would be provoking more than enough in the 60s.
Star Trek presents us possible outcomes of what will happen in the future and how conflicts may be solved. This philosophical background was always typical for the trekkian world.
But let me be clear: There never was any kind of agenda. And this changed a lot with those two episodes.

The cast was never that relevant. It always consisted of different people with different genders and different races. In fact, the race didnt matter in the Trekkian universe.

But what would it be, calling the main character "Michael", (Mary Sue with mental problems) even though she's a woman?
And lets go further: Remember the scene with the science officer Saru being hesitant to press the button? Michael did. Moral of the story? Only women can press a button which man can't do. Women are heroes. Men are whimps and have absolutely no courage at all. Then the Klingons. They used to be brown, now they are black (brown wouldnt be politically correct enough I guess), except for - guess who ?- the only white born klingon who is more playing like he wants to make klingons great again. If he'd have a blonde toupet you could even mistake him for Trump. Of course, he is seen as unworthy, until he shows his determination, which turned all klingons in the room to favour him - like a miracle. Of course, it's also just a simple coincidence that on the Shenzhun, there was also a small topic about "Race doesnt matter".
All klingons are evil and men. That's what the spectator would get after watching the episode. Looks more like Orcs in Space to me.

While the earlier Star Trek series had political aspects, but was not political itself due to the fact that it they also had a plot and it was more about philosophical questions, this series already stands out by far as stated above. It has a political agenda to promote a certain kind of ideology. And as some may realized, i explicitely didnt use the term "SJW". It simply doesnt matter, I'd say the same to every kind of ideology-promoting series.

And that's the core reason here: This isnt Star Trek at all. It is just some random-generic Sci-Fi-series which happens to have Star Trek in name. The name "discovery" is just a mockery to the earlier series which really had "discovery" in their plot. It starts with an open war. Even the darkest of all series, Deep Space nine, needed some seasons to get the dominion war started. This one starts right in the first two episodes. Klingons are reduced to religion/nationalism-driven terrorists against the "good side". Roddenberry would have turned in his grave if he'd have ever seen that.

Up to now, "The Orville" has all, what Star Trek: Discovery should really have become. And on top of my review, which happened to be longer than I wanted it to be, I didnt even talk about some of the massive logical mistakes which they did with the series at all.

All in all, I dont think I will become a friend of this series. Oh, and just for disclosure, I am German and therefore have no relationship to Trump or any inner-US-conflicts though I read a lot.
Paul M.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 3:52am (UTC -5)
"This isnt Star Trek at all. It is just some random-generic Sci-Fi-series which happens to have Star Trek in name."

Google defines generic as "characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific". Regardless of whether we consider DIS good, bad, or in between, I'd like to know to what Sci-Fi "genericness" in your mind this series compares to. For example, we could say that various CSI spin-offs are generic in that they bear striking similarities to numerous other TV shows. We could say the same about a lot of court dramas or police dramas or hospital dramas.

I am having a tough time thinking of TV shows that look and feel like Discovery so I am not entirely sure how one call it "generic", whataver its failings may be.
SlackerInc
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron: Interesting about the move back to analog controls.  You make good points, but at the end of the day, I think they feel, and probably rightly so, that they have to have a "wow factor" that just won't be there if they don't jazz things up.  I'm glad to hear some of the sounds we remember, and that the transporter controls still involve moving something (even if it's not a physical object but something on a touchscreen) forward/upward within a rectangular path.

I'm sorry to hear you get lumped in with the racist trolls, just because you happen to criticize the show on non-racist grounds.  I don't share your dislike for this show (and as you say, we can't agree on everything), but I don't doubt your motives are pure.  I've been in that circumstance too, or just been told to "go watch Michael Bay movies" if there is a particular indie film I express reservations about.  It's frustrating.

BTW, in terms of all the "SJW" stuff: I suspect there might indeed have been something of a political motive to have the top two officers in the pilot be women of color, but more of a butt-covering move since the actual captain of the Discovery (the ship the show is actually going to be about on an ongoing basis, presumably) is a white man.  Had they just gone straight into that mode, meaning four of the five starship captains we've had in Trek (not counting secondary characters) were white men and all five were white, I think I'd be one of those SJWs complaining.  As it is, it looks like they tried to inoculate themselves hardcore with a black woman and an Asian woman, but it's actually questionable whether they should get away that clean.

@Ruth:
"I have mixed feelings about the bomb in the corpse too. They may have felt it justified because they wanted to catch T'Kuvma and end the conflict but it's still shady. How can the captain be so adamant they don't fire first and then this is okay?"

I don't even understand your question.  I completely understand why firing first is wrong.  I don't at all understand why the corpse bomb was "shady".  Shady was when the Klingons fired first and killed massive numbers of Federation crewmembers, then the Federation admiral STILL tried to end it peacefully and HE got killed in a sneak attack.  So...do you have a really strong feeling about desecration of the dead or something?  Because I will admit I have never understood why, for instance, anyone ever puts soldiers' lives in jeopardy to retrieve the body of a fallen comrade.  When I die (hopefully a long time from now), they can throw my body into a ravine for vultures to pick at for all I care.

@Hank:

"Another point about the Klingons: Is it just me or are there no control stations on their bridge? They are all standing around in that giant room, but I can not make out anything resembling controls. Contrast that with the bridge of the Klingon cruiser in TMP, where everything looked like it came straight out of a russian submarine. That bridge oozed functionality, militarism and menace. This one looks like a temple, and the Klingons look just like setpieces, as nobody on the bridge seems to have a function. Missed opportunities everywhere."

More great points.  Almost everything about the Klingons was poorly done, and not in some boldly original chance-taking way, but in a clichéd way that reduces the impact of the otherwise high-budget appearance of the show.  We've all seen sets like that ship--wasn't that how the bad guys' interiors in "Stargate SG-1" looked?  Matching the look of B-grade '90s syndicated sci-fi is not what you want here.

@Peremensoe: Solid argument, backed by examples.  That does sound damning about RT.

@Vladimir: "I liked the redesign of the Klingons, but the way the head guy…spoke…as…if…he…was……read…ing…syl…la…bles……fro m…a…script …was incredibly irritating."

Right?!?  I was wondering if Klingon was supposed to be so staccato (I  can't remember), and if any language ever heard has been like that.

@Caz: "Decided to watch this tonight after seeing a good review, and pirated it like Blackbeard. Glad I did."

I'm not.  Your free riding is (involuntarily) paid for by those of us who don't steal this content.  And if enough others do like you do, the show will go off the air.  This is pure parasitism, and not cool.  Not cool at all.  (Ironic that you ended a later comment with "Worth the watch.")

@Stefan: Your MRA interpretation of the show is ridiculous.
Stefan T.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
@Paul M.
CSI spinoffs is the PERFECT example to what may happen to a Franchise sooner or later. In this case, the last spinoff "CSI: Cyber" got cancelled just after 2 seasons. Why? Because it was CSI in name only and maybe had the same place, but not what the show really made successful. And that is the combination of very powerful storytelling, deep character development, often very interesting procedural plot and personal involvement.
The plot was ridiculous and obvious, the spectators didn't buy it and it got often bad reviews.
We had something similar with Star Trek ENT.

@SlackerInc
I more think your interpretation of my post is ridiculous. I am asking for clear consequences which you as a spectator would draw from that plot. What would you think? It's ridiculous? It's this plot which leads to ideas like that. Even the producers admitted it. Just read the interview on Rolling Stone.
By the way, I do enjoy watching a deeply philosophical series about different ethical aspects or problems which happens to be in the same time a series like that was produced. BUT! Even if you see older episodes where it may be clear that there is some certain motivation from our history, there is one thing.
Star Trek was indeed a political subject, but it got never politicized like that.
Just watch, in comparison, "The Orville". This is Star Trek like it should be.
stRiker
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Would be better if they had new technology from TNG and VOY - like Transwarp, that Metaphasic Sun thing and Mobile Holo-emitters.

Then show them having the Cardassian and Klingon in the Federation and Romulans signing a peace treaty, allowing them to go in the Beta Quad.

Then we can have the aliens that were unexplored, like Gorn, Sheliak, Breen, those Children of Tama, some Hirogen hunters, those dinosaur people, stranded Jem Hadar in the Alpha Quad, a Changling baby, etc.

What happened to these aliens?

Time Frame: 20 years after Voyager came home

That's the real Trek people want. Be honest.
The Dirty Mac
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
Jammer,

I've been reading you for a long time. You write very well, and I often agree with most, if not all, of your insights on Trek.

Thank you for jumping back in the saddle and writing Discovery reviews! And God bless you on your family! We've all, in a sense, watched you mature into a family man!

I understand your questioning of Burnham's actions when she attempts mutiny. However, we cannot forget the history of her character.

She is a HUMAN raised as Vulcan. Which means she has logic, but her logic is tarnished (forever) with human emotion. Which is what Sarek tells her. Her mind is not the problem, rather her Human heart. That is why she did what she did.

She believed her actions were justified. The fact that Captain Georgiou was not listening to her advice on attacking the Klingons first forced her hand. Burnham saw her course of action as the only true way to save her crew and avoid the very conflict she inevitably instigated. Hence the paradox of her character for the rest of the show.

There are elements of dialogue throughout that underlay Burnham's character. Though her actions were shocking for the average Trek viewer (based on what we have been used to with older shows) they were not carried out merely as a random course of action by a crazed character. Rather, they were actions taken by our first human who was trained as a Vulcan, but who still struggles with her Human emotional need to sometimes act illogically.

I love the simplicity of the plot. Here we are, here is the problem, Starfleet struggles with the solution. In the end we have a main character in the heat of trouble for us to explore for the rest of the show.

Additionally, this show looks great, and feels mature and serious as no other Trek has.

I do not know how you sift through all the blather in these comments. Those who dismiss this show as not Trek are ridiculous. This is 2017 and we are getting into the 21st Century. A war with the Klingons can show how Humanity struggles and ultimately comes to be the "pure" result Gene Rodenberry envisioned way back when. A touch of BSG can only enhance ST in my view....

Anyway, could go on forever! Love your reviews.

Please keep them coming!

Thanks,
The Dirty Mac

The Dirty Mac
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
That was my very first post, in all these years, by the way.
:-)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
"I do not know how you sift through all the blather in these comments..."

Apperantly you haven't sifted through the "blather" either, since your criticism has nothing to do with the actual content of those posts.

Glad you enjoy the show. But next time, please, try to be a little more respectful to those who think differently than you, okay?

"A war with the Klingons can show how Humanity struggles and ultimately comes to be the 'pure' result Gene Rodenberry envisioned way back when."

No argument there. After all, that's the kind story-telling we had in Deep Space 9, didn't we?

But the execution matters. And unfortunately, Discovery is no DS9.
Dick
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
I finally got around to watching "Battle at the Binary Stars", and some of my optimism surrounding the first episode has dissipated. Burnham's violent hatred of Klingons, manifested here when she cranks up the phaser and kills T'Kuvma in violation of her own advice minutes earlier, is becoming less understandable and simply reflects poorly on her as a character. Worf hated Romulans and O'Brien and Kira hated Cardies due to prior tragedies in their lives, but they were *never* as unhinged as Burnham.

This episode also jettisons any semblance of wonder and discovery from the first installment in favor of a straightforward fleet battle between the Klingon and Federation forces. I get that they're trying to establish Klingons as the Big Bads for the rest of the season, but can we get a glimpse of optimism or classic Trek philosophy here? Every other Trek series managed to do it in the pilot, even when confronted with a malevolent trickster god, Cardassians, a 70-year journey home, or a Temporal Cold War.

Other random thoughts/nitpicks:

-Burnham is sentenced to *life* in prison for mutiny. Doesn't seem like the Federation has a very enlightened philosophy of penology. Maybe she'll get time off for saving the Earth in a future episode (a la Kirk).

-Captain Georgiou's death is awfully anticlimactic. In theory, it should have been a jolting and emotionally resonant event, but there's something about the pacing of the sequence that just left me cold. Actually, pretty much everything about this episode left me cold.

-Shades of "Star Trek: Nemesis" in Burnham's flight through space, but didn't Ensign Deadmeat mention in the first episode that the temperature outside was -260 °C (just 13° above absolute zero)? Does that seem remotely survivable?
SlackerInc
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Extremely cold temperatures are not the same in terms of survivability as extremely hot ones, especially if there is no wind. There is no temperature a human absolutely cannot survive, as long as the time exposed to it is brief enough. That's because while "heat" is an actual thing, "cold" is not: it is just the absence of heat. So you don't lose enough of your own body heat in those few seconds to destroy you. I wouldn't expect exposed skin to be in very good shape, but whatever's covered by clothing should be fine.
Caz
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 1:31am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc re pirating the show: I didn't say I would not pay for it, as I might later through Netflix or video rental. CBS All Access simply has nothing else I'm interested in.

The majority of the people on here commenting certainly watched the show on a CBS broadcast, which also has no direct cost. The only income CBS can make from it is indirect, from Nielson ratings and eventual subscription, and I am not currently on Nielson's list (I was last year). So the substantive complaint comes from not tuning in at the time it went on the air, which was a matter of inconvenience on my part. I still watched it, and it was worth it, not as a matter of expenditure of cash but as a matter of expending the attention. I don't think your objections are proportional. Maybe you just didn't like my comments.
intro2001
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 2:43am (UTC -5)
From what I've seen so far, Sonequa Martin-Green is the best-acted Star Trek lead since Patrick Stewart
SpaceHippy
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 10:39am (UTC -5)
I really really tried to like this but the redesign of the Klingons was too much for me to pass over. Even though the ENT episode that explained the TOS era appearance of the Klingons was totally unnecessary, the point is that they did explain it and now it is part of canon. Still, I told myself, maybe not all the Klingons were affected by the Augments' genetic manipulation. Maybe T'Kuvma's sect lived apart from the rest of the empire and was never affected. But then the high council members looked the same, and I said to myself, maybe only the Warriors and not politicians were affected. But still, if that's the case they are so unKlingon it's distracting. Give them hair for crying out loud! And they are so stiff under all that makeup, totally unlike what we've grown accustomed to over decades of Trek. Just why, why, why, why?

Having a female character named Michael doesn't bother me because I've known a girl who was named Michael. Uncommon for sure but not unheard of.
Hank
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
@Stefan: I think you nailed it with your alternating interpretations. In the current political climate, it is far too easy to misunderstand such things. People are conditioned to think a certain way, simply by being exposed to all the stupid agenda pushing that is going on today. And as you pointed out correctly, the comments of the staff are not helpful in defusing such a reasoning, on the contrary, and that you get called an MRA for playing devils advocate ... is pathetic.

@SlackerInc: Starfleet is supposed to be better than mining corpses. That is a terror tactic. It was used in Vietnam, for example. The Klingons can do whatever they want: In love and war, everything is allowed, and Klingons are always at war. The Feds are supposed to be their good counterpart. Thats the problem with that tactic. It is not about desecrating the dead bodies. It is about striking a mourning, vulnerable enemy that has already announced a ceasefire in the most devious way. And it didn't even accomplish anything, in the end, which just made it worse. Now that I think about it: Klingons probably wouldn't do it because it is dishonorable.

@Dick: If you look closely, you can even see her face freezing and her skin going necrotic while she is in the vacuum, only to be fine a minute later. Just like her irreparable DNA damage earlier.

@The Dirty Mac: Did Giorgeo also force her hand when Michael set her Phaser to kill? And does being human mean you have to be an ultra-impulsive, not-thinking entity? Because if it doesn't, her character is just badly written, and I can find no maturity in a basic plot that has not risen above such high-brow productions as "Universal Soldier".

Also, nice "Current Year" argument while simultaniously insulting everybody who disagrees with you. But hey, it is 2017, we have advanced beyond polite disagreement.

Regarding gray morality: DS9 got away with it because they took time to establish the conflict, and it was always clear that in the face of destruction, moral codes will have to be bent. And the characters were always in conflict over the things they thought they had to do to achieve a higher goal. Michael is not. Her remorse is only reactionary: Because her plan didn't work, she is sulking. It is not that she had reservations about doing it in the first place. Chief O'Brian hated the Cardassians, but he struggled to not let this hate dictate his actions, and he always succeeded in that, I think. This series has so far not earned the right to portray starfleet as a bunch of idiots.

Finally, a final note to Peremensoe, feel free to skip this one, this is not the right forum to discuss this.

@Peremensoe: You realize that when you say "people who use SJW unironic are in my estimation racist trolls", that includes me and omicron, for example? I'd also argue that cultural marxism is a real thing, and we could discuss for hours who the real racists are in most of the cases, but I won't go into it any further. Regarding the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes: I still maintain that if you are a racist troll, you want everybody to know about it, and just typing a one liner like you quoted from the site takes no time, so it is still my belief that, if those trolls indeed caused the low scores, they would have told us exactly why they didn't like it. Oh, and your link is dead, but I read those stories too, but couldn't find those comments in the "mainstream", but on dedicated trollsites. Sure, if you ask the 14-88ers, they will tell you that it's pure SJW-dribble. But enough of that.
Brandon
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Just saw it, finally. Some thoughts:

* This show is designed for those who entered the franchise through the Abrams door. Whatever their words to the contrary, they clearly went "F it" when it came to continuity in production design and in-universe tech, and they don't really care what we think of them for it because GOTTA KEEP THE NEW VIEWERS. Understandable. But it WILL pull veteran Trekkies out of the immersion every once in a while. We have intelligent computers and insta-emergency forcefields in the pre-Kirk era, but Burnham has to go for an EVA ride because they can't scan an asteroid belt?

* It's nice to see Trekkian characters acting and talking more like real people, instead of the bizarrely paced, stentorian dialogue that marked the earlier series. Go watch a TNG episode and then this. The difference is enormous.

* Visuals are terrific, as expected. The cost of this kind of production suggests that CBS' decision to place the series behind a firewall must have SERIOUSLY paid off, given that it's already been renewed for a second season.

* Sonequa-Green and Jones are also terrific, to nobody's surprise.

* It's a little off-putting that the entire first two hours of the series exist almost solely to create Burnham's guilt and lack of trustworthiness. Sonequa-Green's certainly strong enough to convey it, but it still feels like the entire intrigue and purpose of the series await to be...well, DISCOVERED, har har. This premiere could have benefited enormously from taking a handful of the "arrival on Discovery" scenes shown from the end-of-hour trailer and integrating them into the end of "Battle", instead of slapping the trailer on while showing a kid T'Kuvma getting bullied before he gets shot in the back.

* Gamma Hydra, worker bee, and General Order 1 are nice subtle nods to the nerds, even if the writers feel free to toss aside other canon when it suits them (like Klingons gathering their dead).

* I didn't buy the Shenzhou being totaled. Everyone looked way too comfortable standing around holding conversations after the battle had left her adrift.

* I liked the telescope. At least there's SOME imagination here.

* The title scene is dumb. And way too evocative of Fringe.
puppies
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
@ Brandon - nothing wrong with "Trekkian stentorian dialogue". They are military types, not average civilian types.
God Bless America
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 1:30am (UTC -5)
This production is created by globalist communists. Read the actors and producers tweets! Be careful! Stay vigilant. REMAIN KLINGON!! Communist shills go to hell. Latinum haters. God Bless the free market. Commies F off.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 2:09am (UTC -5)
I know we shouldn't be feeding the trolls, but that "commie" remark was so funny that I just couldn't resist:

Can anybody here imagine CBS CEO Mr. Moonves as a communist? "This production was made by communists: it panders to the lowest common denomenator because that's what sells, and you'll need to pay $6 a month to watch it".

Next thing, they'll start selling us slug-o-cola ;-)






OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 6:59am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"Interesting about the move back to analog controls. You make good points, but at the end of the day, I think they feel, and probably rightly so, that they have to have a 'wow factor' that just won't be there if they don't jazz things up."

In other words: They've took the easy wait out. Is that a staple of Trek in your view?

Besides, since every f***-ing contemporary sci fi show has these transparent screens, where's the "wow factor" here? They're just pandering to the lowest common denominator by doing what everybody else is doing.

Now, if they actually bothered to make consoles which are analog/digital hybirds, *that* would have been impressive. Such a design would be:

(1) Hyper-realistic and actually in par with how 2010's experts would expect a futuristic spacecraft to look like.
(2) Very innovative. It would have looked very original and futuristic, rather than another copy of what we've seen on a dozen other shows. Now *there's* your "wow factor" right there.
(3) Easy to reconcile with the designs from TOS, making the 1960's consoles *really* look like a "theatrical reconstruction" of "the real thing".

Of-course, they had other ways to do this as well. Had they felt really brave (ha!), they could have gone even closer to the TOS designs and just revamp the few displays that existed on the TOS sets while keeping the rest completely analogue.
After all, why not? Who's to say that analogue controls aren't more practical when it comes to operating a warp-capable starship?

And here's another intriguing idea: Add some cool tech to the analogue controls. Perhaps they give the user some hidden feedback through touch. Or how about this: Whenever a person touches a knob or a lever, he sees the relevant digital reading projected somewhere (perhaps even on his very own retina!).

In short, there are plenty of innovative ways to "updating" the TOS look without it looking cheesy and out-of-date. And even if we decide, for some reason, to go for a completely new look, there's really no excuse for them using the most banal contemporary sci fi design that has become so common these days.

BTW, in case anyone wonders why I overthink the consoles thing so much: I have a hobby of building realistic spacecraft simulators. Nothing with warp drive (just your plain VASIMR nuclear engines) but the human interface design problems are pretty much the same. And believe me, once you get used to the idea of yoursef sitting in that couch and operating those controls, you learn to appreciate practicality and user-friendliness over anything else.
Hank
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Hah, now I can totally see Quark selling this series to the Jem Hadar. Then Sisko and Bashir find it in the Holo-Suite and play for half and hour and can't believe what they are seeing. Just imagine any previous Star Trek character dropped into the series. I can only wonder how Picard would react. Thanks Omicron, that really made me chuckle.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
@Hank
"I can only wonder how Picard would react..."

With a face palm of-course.

Riker, on the other hand, would have no problem with it. He is known to take grossly inaccurate historical simulations in stride ;-)

(I actually loved "Enterprise", but boy was that finale an abomination of an episode...)
BZ
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
I have mixed feelings regarding the apparent continuity violations we've seen. The first thing I should point out is that TOS internal continuity is a lot less solid than many remember it today. The second thing is that Star Trek is set in our universe and purports to be our future. As such, when real life conflicts with TOS in, say, technology level, it is quite logical to side with real life.

That said, we have changes for the sake of changes here. For example, holographic communication isn't really a thing, and there is no reason not to suppose that viewscreens would be used for communication 200 years from now. Similarly, there is nothing about the new Klingon makeup that is any more believable or advanced than ENT-era Klingon makeup. Compare to ENT-era Andorian makeup which actually improved on TOS-era makeup.

As for Klingon culture, there are really a lot of contradictions in what we know here as well. The whole "honor" aspect, for example was missing from TOS. It was added in TNG and retconned into ENT. Their treatment of dead bodies ranges from "empty husks devoid of life" to "watch over them so they can begin their journey to the afterlife". So the culture of the Klingon empire as presented here does not bother me. What does bother me is the internal logic of their motivation and actions here. I understand that T'Kumva's main motivation is to unite the empire under his rule, but his *stated* motivation, one that the other house leaders buy, is that the Federation is somehow a threat when, in fact, it's not. As long as they leave it alone it does not affect them in any way. Also, remember, the Klingons never dispute Federation borders. T'Kumva effectively says "this is only Federation space until we conquer it".

And then there is Vulcan's relationship with the Klingons. Aren't Vulcans part of the Federation? How do they have relations with outside powers independent of the Federation? Maybe Sarek was actually speaking of Vulcan's past relationship with Klingons before they joined the Federation, but then how do Klingons launch an attack on Vulcan without being on the Federation's radar?

All in all, I'll give this a chance to play out. It may all be resolved and, anyway, I'm not rabid about continuity if there will be a good story there.
Stefan T.
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
@Hank
Yeah and the more I think about it, the more I am having massive doubts about the series.
I just read a German article a while ago, called "Star Trek wird erwachsen" (Star Trek becomes adult).
Then, I asked myself a few questions which I will post here:

Is it adult
- Saying to avoid contact with Aliens but walking through their hatchery?
- building wells with laser weapons?
- Running a circle in the desert which can impossible be seen through the storm, not to mention the clouds, until the ship comes through only to pick them up??
- That curiosity only leads to one woman almost being killed in action?
- having totally irrealistic ideas and description of a radiation disease? (Ok, its fiction, but still!)
- to attempt Mutiny only to shoot first?
- To Mine corpses for blowing up an enemy ship?...Not even Sisko would have dared to do that without questioning himself for hours. Morals, anywhere?
- To do a two-Women-Invasion of a Klingon mothership where NO ONE has seen Klingons for a hundred years?
- To give command after leaving on a suicide trial to the only shown person on the ship where it's most likely he will run away?

Yeah, the Star Trek of the 90s had something. It's called decency. Morals. Something which this series totally lacks if you start thinking about it more deeply.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
"Star Trek of the 90s had something. It's called decency. Morals."

I think some of us may have our rose-tinted glasses on, no offense. Kirk was known for violating Starfleet's codes all the time, including a conspiracy to sabotage a Federation starship and steal another ship for personal reasons. Picard ripped apart a living crew member because he felt the crewmember was too Borg to save, even though he himself had come back from worse. Don't get me started on Janeway, ordering her officers to get surgery against their will. Plus, all these captains were operating in a later time, some much later, where Starfleet officers are held to even loftier standards than a pre-TOS show.
Hank
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
@Stphan: I think in this case growing up means more gore and violence, nothing more. So far there have been no mature discussions, or even concepts throughout this series, at least any that I can find.

@Chrome: Yes, sure, every Star Trek series had that moment where you thought "Hey, that totally goes against what you are preaching". Janeway is the worst offender in this, her actions are sometimes utterly horrible. But, and this is a big but, they all started with high ideals, and tried to uphold them. Caretaker had Janeway make the selfless choice to destroy the Phalanx, Encounter at Farpoint had Picard arguing with Q, and even surrendering, because his moral code told him to, and Broken Bow - well ... at least had that little moment at the end where Archer asks T'Poll to stay. Most of the worst offenses came after a few seasons, when the shows tried to up the ante, or were trying to go for spectacle to impress the viewers, or just had run out of Ideas.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
@Hank

"Most of the worst offenses came after a few seasons, when the shows tried to up the ante, or were trying to go for spectacle to impress the viewers, or just had run out of Ideas."

So it's okay if other Trek Captains are immoral as long as it doesn't happen in the pilot? I think the later 90s Trek is precisely the problem. We get all these people begging for more TNG/DS9-like series but they forget or don't recognize some of the terrible things Rick Berman did with the material, some of it worse than Abrams, who probably gets more flack than he's due (especially since his name hasn't been attached to Star Trek since Into Darkness).

Anyway, I think the Star Trek morals are still present in productions like Discovery, they're just approached from a different angle. That's certainly different, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Hank
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

No, I'm not saying it's okay, it is just understandable. After you have written 200 episodes, there comes a point where you just need a new idea, and you get lazy and come up with something that is not in the spirit of the show. Much like Dr. Who had a period in the ... eighties, I think, were things just didn't work anymore, everybody was exhausted. TNG had the same thing, where they went from endless (and for some people, boring) episodes preaching morals to more action oriented ones in the later seasons.

I just can't see any morals in Discovery. Yeah, sure, you get that intro scene with talk about the prime directive, but that seems more like a nostalgia thing to attract older fans. The Orville gave us About a Girl three episodes in, and while we can argue about the execution or originality, they at least tried. In Discovery, Star Trek morals have so far been only subverted.
Chrome
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
@Hank

I understand what you mean about writers getting tired or bored, but those late season episodes and movies are still official canon of Star Trek.

Hopefully we will see more of the moralistic Starfleet we saw from the opening of this episode. I think the odds are good; Burnham's complex character aside, the supporting characters like Saru and Tilly come off as very decent folks who are just going through a tough time.
Hank
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome: Uh, sorry, what kind of moralistic Starfleet? I honestly didn't see that. I agree that Saru is an interesting and decent character, Tilly just comes off as ... comic relief, almost, and not in a good way.
FindersFee
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
... um, because morals are boring.
Discovery Forever
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 3:08am (UTC -5)
What an amazing show! This new Trek is superb and thoroughly enjoyable.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi Analog controls are boring!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 9:39am (UTC -5)
@Discovery Forever
"Analog controls are boring! "

You certainly showed me, heh? I'm stumped now. Good work!



Yanks
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
"Most of both episodes are carried by Martin-Green's strong and calibrated performance"

Truth. I love Michael. Ms Green nails it IMO. so happy we have her to be the centerpiece for our new series.

More to follow once I've watched these episodes for a second time.

Right out of the gate I LOVE what I'm seeing in Star Trek Discovery so far.

Discovery Forever
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi What makes you think I was out to "show you" anything? Do you assume the world is out to get you? lmao
methane
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
"Peter G." (from...dozens of comments ago)

"Maybe, maybe not. With no diplomatic relations it's not clear how official the borders were between both sides. Don't forget that there's most likely no neutral zone yet, which would have to be hammered out in a treaty. Do you realize what 'borders' means in space where no treaty has drawn out the proper lines? It just means that the Federation leaves colonies and relays wherever they please, and that is now 'Federation territory.' It has no more legal truth to it in the eyes of the Klingons than that...The fact that you might foresee the Klingons having no interest in negotations wouldn't affect that mandate at all. The Federation still has to exhaustively pursue that route until it's no longer possible to."

Diplomacy is exhausted when one or both sides refuses to talk. That is the case here.

About borders, I agree there would have been all sorts of chances for disputes over the previous 100 years, and the Federation would surely have liked to discuss that at some point during that time. Yet the Klingons have refused to do so for 100 years. They haven't refused to fire at human settlements/ships/whatever (the first episode gave basically no information on the attack that killed Michael's family, other than it happened).

And space is big. The Klingons deliberately came into Federation space and still aren't talking.

"Peace through strength is a modern notion, and the Federation is supposed to be more advanced than that."

Peace through strength isn't a modern notion, but that's irrelevant to a show set in the future.

In every Star Trek show, strength has been essential for safeguarding Star Trek ideals. The Federation actually has been at war many times (although these wars usually happen prior to the filmed series). Even when at "peace", the Federation is constantly tested by other powers (Klingons, Romulans, Xindi, Cardassians, Borg, and Dominion are just the big names), and its military strength is always absolutely necessary to keep another war from breaking out. The writers sometimes take the time to have the characters say the Federation is stronger because of their ideals (citizen soldiers have more to fight for; it's easier to find allies; etc.), but it's always clear that without ships with phasers, torpedoes, and shields, those ideas would be lost.
The Ghost of Jerry Falwell
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
That SJW stuff is awful. You people should be ashamed of yourself for pushing such noxious garbage in the guise of discussing Star Trek -- I especially love when these right-wing idiots pretend, oh no it's not ALL lefties and progressives, it's just pink-haired tumblr girls that go too far!

Lies. Go to any right-wing forum or subreddit. SJW is used as a slur against anything remotely progressive or left-wing. Or caring. Or humane. Or empathetic. Yes, a handful of people use the term ironically to describe themselves. That has NOTHING to do with the 4chan/The_Donald/GamerGate/MRA/Redpill unholy Legion of Doomed jerks chanting it nonsensically at anything that isn't right-wing swill.
DLPB
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
@The Ghost of Jerry Falwell

I see you don't disappoint in showing us all how lame and backward and intolerant the Left are.
Trent
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
The Ghost of Jerry Falwell said: "the 4chan/The_Donald/GamerGate/MRA/Redpill unholy Legion of Doomed jerks chanting it nonsensically at anything that isn't right-wing swill."

They're the new victims of a system - a global debt ponzi capitalism that has 80 percent of the planet in poverty - that previously cushioned them by going after third worlders, women and minorites first. Now everyone's fair game (75+ percent of even a superpower like the US lives precariously paycheck to paycheck), and so they're feeling the heat as well. But rather than blame the system - a system which inherently cannot provide full employment (workers dont earn in aggregate enough to purchase what they produce, making bankrupcy/unemployment inevitable), and in which all business is mediated by interest based currencies such that there is always less money globally than debts owed (such that all profit pushes another human being into debt and so poverty) - they lash out at those who they perceive "ruined" an idealised, 1950s version of utopian America. An America that was fine before blacks, muslims, feminist and activists started "ruining things".

Discovery is sketching a similar divide, but it is too timid to sketch the Feds as a genuine post capitalist culture. Its Fed's will instead perhaps be like modern mainstream "liberals"; ie- culturally left wing but economically and politically not much different from the right. Which is to say, in a sense, hypocrites.
The River Temarc, in Winter
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
With the exception of the Klingon makeover, pretty much every objection I've seen as to why DSC contradicts "continuity" is bunk. To take a few examples:

>Why give Spock a new step-sister? This really stretches credibility unless we're assuming the show is a hard reboot.

Hardly. We've seen plenty of examples where Vulcans don't talk about their family as much as humans. Kirk didn't know that Sarek (who was apparently already famous as a Vulcan diplomat) and Amanda were Spock's parents. This despite the fact that Kirk attended Spock's *wedding* only a few episodes before. Kirk didn't know about Sybok, either.

And not every conversation between Kirk and Spock takes place onscreen. We don't know what Michael Burnham's fate will be, but I suspect history will ultimately remember her for something bigger than being The Mutineer.

>Why do we have an android serving on the starship of the 2250's, when the whole Data story arc from TNG pretty much precludes this possibility?

We've had androids in the Trek universe since, what, the third episode of TOS with Richard Korby? And an entire planet full of them in "Mudd's Women"? The point isn't that Data was the first android that Starfleet ever encountered. It was that he was the first *sentient* android (and frankly, in light of Mudd's Women, even that is stretching it), thanks to the positronic brain. If you want to blame a Trek series for breaching continuity, blame TNG, not DSC.

>Why have mind-melds that operate over thousands of years and ships that can traverse the entire federation in a couple of hours?

This wasn't a mind meld. It was an imagined conversation, perhaps guided by an echo of Sarek's katra. That's consistent with the whole idea of a katra. And remember the Intrepid, the Vulcan ship in TOS? Spock sensed its destruction light-years away. Spock sensed V'ger light-years away, too. Again: if you've got a problem with that, blame TOS, not DSC.

>Why do the ships in Discovery look completely different than anything we would expect from the 2250's?

They don't. We haven't seen ships from the 2250s. You're extrapolating from what a Hollywood designer in the mid-1960s *thought* ships jwould look like in Kirk's era.

>What about the design of the bridge? Are you seriously claiming that the bridge of the NCC-1701 (or something in the same style) cannot be updated to modern sensibilities?

With cardboard walls and analog buttons? Seriously? Those became dated when the iPhone keyboard came out, at best -- and likely a lot earlier. I have no desire to see a 1960s aesthetic on a modern show, or even a 1990s aesthetic.
Yair
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -5)
A previous commenter asked to mark SPOILERS, so I'll just do that.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

For me, Star Trek is defined by two things: people and ideas. And I believe people should come first. I don't care for visual style.

This chapter of ST:DIS fails on the first, and the second is so-so. The crew of the _Shenzhou_ has no chemistry whatsoever. I can't believe these people served years together, or that the captain has a special relationship with Michael.

A crew with chemistry wouldn't have needed the captain to assert her authority over and over. Every single Trek captain so far has gotten away with far more debatable actions and far higher stakes before a mutiny is even considered, the last two while having Vulcan second-in-commands. Michael would have heard Saru's story years ago. Saru is too cowardly for his role (he does get a bit better in the next chapter). Michael is particularly dislikeable. The only person I cared for was the captain - which dies during the 2nd part.

As for ideas, I liked the new Klingons. Ultimately aliens should not be humans with masks (if and when they are - just use actual humans with masks and find a way to justify it in-chapter). TV which understands that is more interesting TV. Make aliens weirder again I say.

The Klingon's motivation for fighting was quite plausible (not that they need much), the staccato speech could be some sort of ceremonial Klingon. It's Michael again which almost ruins them, with her simplistic comments which reduce them to deterministic physical particles with no variation or diversity between them. Apparently killing T'Kuvma when firing first is fine but not right after the battle. And nothing whatsoever could possibly change in a culture in the last 100 years. Ultimately, her comments are not that different from a Wesley Crusher "change the polarity" type of comments, and just as tiring.

Lastly, I cared little for the 'action' abroad the Shenzhou and later on the Klingon ship. Michael's talk with the AI is a callback to TOS which doesn't work (the AI all but concedes release at start), and well, Trek has a tendency for action scenes which doesn't quite make sense in all iterations, the last one again shows Michael in a bad light. I expected her to get a different sentence given that Starfleet is now at war, something more like 'You are demoted, here's your red shirt, now join a new crew' but in the end of course she will get a role even quicker.

TL;DR: Can't stand the lead, the rest is so-so.
Yair
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:37am (UTC -5)
I forgot to add that while I didn't like this chapter (or the next) I won't write-off the series just yet, most Trek needs a while to get going. And perhaps later We'll gain a different perspective to see these chapters again.
Dusty
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 12:50am (UTC -5)
At first I was surprised and bewildered by two Star Trek-type shows suddenly launching at the same time (this and 'The Orville'). Now that I've done a little research, I think this show is the one I would actually be interested in watching and reviewing ... but if CBS expects me to pay for the privilege, then forget it.

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